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Intro 2: Archetypes in Daily Living

Knowledge of the various archetypal forms helps the ego determine what in life is personal and human, and what is compulsive acting-out of ancient divine patterns, which are instinctual in nature. The more we approach our individual wholeness, the more likely we are to encounter these divine principles from the field of archetypal experiences. They are unavoidable, whether we are totally unconscious of them, or not.

We begin to see archetypal forces operating under their own laws in various phases of human life and endeavors. They influence us on personal, social, and national levels. They come in the ever-changing guises of phobias Irrational fears), prejudices, complexes (interference by an archetype or group of archetypes with the conscious personality), and our runaway ego-trips. They play through our culture in art, literature, and the movies we so frequently view and in the stories we love.

When seen objectively in stories, we can identify with or despise them, but when their effects are subjective, we are entirely "carried away," "beside ourselves". Sometimes, we choose them to feel special and create drama in our otherwise listless lives - we mistake them for love, for destiny, for the voice of God, for supernatural "signs" in an unenlightened, even superstitious manner. They lie behind religiosity, pathology, and romantic vs. mature love.

Archetypes also lie behind fascinations, crusades, and enchantments of individuals and nations. They produce the phenomena of "love at first sight" and create fads and set trends or styles in the recreation and fashion worlds. They can be contagious as in the case of cults, or political and religious movements. The great attraction of sports is also archetypal in nature.

People will go to war and fight to the death an fanatical "true believers" to defend some political or religious principle. The belief system is influenced by the myth behind it. Charismatic leaders capture the projections of leadership through expressing the subconscious desires of the crown, or herd consciousness (like Adolph Hitler or Jim Jones). Activation of these archetypal powers opens the door for both good and evil, and creates an arena for the emergence of ethics and morals.

Ultimately, though self-awareness is a personal matter we should all tackle individually. Self-knowledge benefits society as a by-product of creating transformed individuals who can "make a difference."

Archetypes also account for the "mysteries" of life. They are behind the fascination with the great unknown. Expressions of this sense of awe, wonder, or mystery pervade such phenomena as ESP, psychic healing, Bigfoot, the Occult, the UFO controversy, etc.

Culturally modified archetypes are behind the modern drive to discover your "roots." These roots are probably physical in that they reflect your genetic heritage. But for some, they are psychological roots, drawn from patterns with which one feels kinship or relatedness. Whatever our belief system, from scientific to religious, rest assured there are a group of archetypal forces behind them.

When we consciously relate to archetypes, they begin to have a personal context, or meaningful place in our lives. This enlarges our ability to experience the transpersonal dimension of the psyche, or soul. By personification, we come to know the qualities and manifestations of the ods in "digestible chunks." We learn more deeply about them on ever-increasing octaves of experience. psychic energy (libido) may, therefore, be thought of as quantized (discreet packages).

We can begin to see Hermes, Athena, Zeus and Themis operating in our lives, even if we can't fully understand the reality they represent in its totality. We can be aware of its effect in our personal domain. In this perspective, the essential focus on "reality" occurs where inner material is being projected from the unconscious into your environment. This affects your work, relationships, as well as your spiritual transformation or process of changing to become what you aspire toward.

The deep mind manifests through these archetypal patterns, personified as gods and goddesses, communicating messages to the conscious ind. with an awareness of how these patterns recur, it is possible to influence your destiny. Many of us are somewhat self-defeating or even self-destructive. We could all benefit by understand these driving archetypal processes, which takes us beyond the normal boundaries of self and society. We suffer from our attenuated version of the archetype.

When you are out of proper relationship to the archetypes you can become "dominated" by them, to the detriment of your life goals and personality choices. They take over and live life through us, in a parasitic fashion when we are not aware of the growth of their agendas within us. When identified, we think these stereotypical thoughts are our thoughts, these feelings our own, this behavior our choice.

It is possible to learn to actively balance exaggerated dominance by any form through applied Creative Imagination. The basic myth themes represent all kinds of life situations, including realities of outer and inner experiences. If the personality is too one-sided, it is possible to revise it by consciously developing the qualities represented by complementary god-forms. This balances the personality and enriches life.

Intro 3:


Self actualization has to do with high functioning in both the outer and inner worlds of our lives. We can be successful in social and professional life and still be psychologically naive, without a conscious connection to our inner life. Having integrated ourselves into the outer world we can enter our inner world by examining our relationships with the archetypes. Archetypes can't always be subjected to intellectual analysis since they can be elusive.

Direct experiential contact is much more important than analysis. This comes by noticing the archetypal patterns in dynamic motion, or deliberately setting aside time for Active Imagination or perhaps journal work. A conceptual understanding of the range of archetypal manifestations is a useful tool, which we acquire through study, reflection, and application of knowledge. When we notice a pattern in motion in our lives, we can amplify our awareness, tune in on the issue the archetype is highlighting, and discover our feelings consciously related to that dynamic.

Archetypes represent a paradoxical synthesis of opposites and are therefore neither "good" nor "bad" as a prognosis on one's psychological condition. What is desirable is the experience of archetypes consciously, not any certain archetypes over others. Each archetype has its values and drawbacks, strengths and weaknesses, conflicts and harmonies. We seek to know the range of archetypes which are within us when we enter the inner adventure -- the hero's or heroine's journey of self-discovery in "foreign countries" -- the unconscious. In this manner we gain in humanity, versatility, wholeness.

Ultimately, the archetypes appear to synthesize together in the grand reconciling figures of the higher Self, which represents our wholeness or illumination. The inner guiding principle of the Self manifests to the conscious mind as the various archetypal forces with their eternal myth-themes or life-patterns.

We know directly when we have been touched by an archetype whenever we experience an exaggerated, irrational, over-emotional reaction. When we seem "out of control" it is because we are taken over by the dominating power of the archetype and are temporarily its slave. This affords us the opportunity to discover a layer of ourselves--that which watches this process impassively and objectively -- The Witness.

Self-analysis gentles some of the fury of the unbound self of the subconscious by developing understanding between conscious and subconscious drives, between the archetypal agenda and the simple human needs of the human personality. Our behavior can only become purposeful and coherent when inner and other goals harmonize. If we turn our attention inward to the archetypes and consider them valuable, they become our allies or guides.

If we watch ourselves continually for those moments when conscious control breaks down, we get insight into the realm of the gods, as well as our shadow, anima/animus, and Self. Watch what creates enthusiasm, anger or depression in yourself and others. Try to peer through to the god-form at the core of symptoms and situations. In this manner we can learn to relate to the play of events from a dispassionate perspective, mellowing over-reactive instinctual tendencies.

We can either be ruled by the archetypes, ridden roughshod, or learn to govern along with them by cooperating with the trends revealed by the psyche, and willingly exploring those spaces. Eventually, the archetypal figures which began as an arcane concept and seemed like strangers will become your constant companions and valued friends and advisors. Some may remain closer to you than others, but all will lie within your spectrum of acquaintance. A sense of inner self-assurance develops and an inner world every bit as enticing as the physical becomes yours.

Intro. 4

Western cultural patterns and scientific thinking have their roots in early Greek philosophy. Even today, a knowledge of Greek myth is included in all basic educations. The value of Greek myth is that it is well-suited for modern people, interested in increasing self-awareness since these gods and goddesses are familiar from schooldays. Here, the Greek pantheon functions less as a religion and more like a psychological framework, accommodating a wide range of psychic fragments and dynamic patterns.

To access this range of attitudes, viewpoints, and corresponding symbols, one cultural pantheon (or family of gods) is actually as useful as another. The key to its utility for personal transformation is a feeling of "resonance" with the archetypes and developing inability to determine a consistent set of characteristics within it.

One value of the Greek pantheon lies in its almost universal familiarity. The rich store of Greek mythologies contain numerous entertaining tales of behavior, to which almost anyone can relate. In viewing these heroes, bunglers, healers, tragedies, and exaltations we see little parts of ourselves in their non-personalized forms. The criterion for self realization includes conscious experiences with the realm of the divine, an ongoing I-Thou dialogue with the gods and goddesses. The elegance, accessibility, and comprehensive nature of the Greek pantheon helps us to rediscover the archetypes of our mindscape and culture.

But perhaps you dance to the tune of a different drummer, or come from an Asian or native culture. Even so, you be able to use these principles to discover keywords to translate the Greek forms into the pantheon of your choice. Tables are provided for this purpose, but you might augment with your own research.

The polytheistic orientation of current psychological practice offers a useful counterpoint to monotheistic religions, which can polarize dimensions such as good and evil. A pantheon represents all points of the spectrum, overlapping and interacting, including essentially human foibles and pathologies. They are all there. Both monotheistic and polytheistic realities constitute psychic reality. They are equally valid approaches, as human history has shown, seeing the one in the many or the many in the one.

Despite individual ethnic backgrounds, our Western cultural heritage traces back to the modes of thought developed by early Greek philosophers. This polytheistic complexity reflects the many complications of our modern lives. The pagan background of religion is shown in examples like the Catholic calendar where days of saints have taken the place of ancient pagan holy days.

The main reason and another major advantage of the Greek pantheon is that a large body of contemporary literature already exists concerning these forms, particularly in Jungian archives. Many common problems have been examined at length by Jungian psychologists, and we can take advantage of this research by applying it in our own quest. These Greek figures may then provide us with forms and categories to aid our understanding of the archetypal dimension.

Next: Relationship of Archetypes to Tarot and Astrology

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