Make a list a few of your most central roles in life (e.g.Mother/Father, Lover, Teacher, Son/daughter, traveler, mystic, business person, etcetera).
Next, look at the following set of 12 “Universal Archetype” Figures with their basic descriptions as character types (Note: These are informal descriptions.):
Elder Leader: Strength mode—strong authority figure, self-confidence, director, leader; Shadow mode—harsh authoritarian, strict, imposing
Lover: In Strength—romantic intimacy, self-sacrificing, passionate; In Shadow—over-attachment, selfish desires
Warrior: In Strength—fighter for a good cause, courage, blazing new paths; In Shadow—attacker, domination or exertion of power
Nurturer: In Strength–Caregiver, gentleness, supporter, giver of consolation or understanding; In Shadow—stingy, over-protective, undue worrier
Artist: In Strength—expressive, talented performer/artist, creative, innovator; In Shadow—blocked creativity, inhibited, introversion, negative fantasy
Idealist: In Strength—High ideals, far-ranging vision, traveler, manifesting change; In Shadow—frustration, feelings of persecution, criticism, over-perfectionism
Golden Child: In Strength—charismatic, mover and shaker, destined for success, generous with largesse; In Shadow—overly controlling, vain, needs to be onstage or center of attention, fickle
Descender: In Strength—introspective, reflective, thoughtful, cocooning; In Shadow—depression, self-restriction, hiding, avoidance, introversion
Teacher: In Strength—imparts knowledge with enthusiasm, studious researcher, reader, notetaker, patient instructor, coach; In Shadow—overly didactic, my way or the highway, micro-manager, overbearing
Communicator: In Strength—public speaker, writer/author, workshop presenter, interpersonal communicator, promoter, a good listener; In Shadow—tight-lipped, withholding viewpoint, holding ideas close to chest, suspicious, or overly extroverted, “rabble rouser”
Healer: In Strength—doctor or nurse, concern with diet and exercise, natural energy, implementing positive change; In Shadow—masochism, perpetuating pain or sense of fatalism
Mystic: In Strength—seeker, prayerful, contemplation or meditation, dreamer, focus on cosmos, monk-like, alchemy; In Shadow—addictive personality, dwelling in Darkness, isolated hermit, withdrawn
Now then, which of these archetypes or archetype Qualities “show up” for you in relation to each of your primary roles? You may refer to either Strength or Shadow modes, and all twelve of these archetypes could appear in masculine or feminine modes as well. List the QUALITIES of the Archetypes that you associate with your life roles:
MY ROLE Archetype Qualities
(E.G. Teacher role / TEACHER archetype/ coach, knowledgeable
Pet Mom / NURTURER Archetype/ caregiver, grooming, over-protective
This week we will be focussing on learning about and cultivating your own Archetype Allies. What makes an Archetype an Ally? It isn’t necessarily automatic; archetypes need to be acknowledged, nurtured, recognized and interacted with and listened to. They need to be encountered and INVITED to collaborate with you in reaching your goals and expressing your highest qualities every day. They need to be included consciously as important aspects of your identity that contribute greatly to your enactment of your roles. Then they are available, with all their strengths, to step up for you to help you be “all that you can be”!
For example, many years ago during some therapy I was undergoing to help own some of my own ‘buried’ strengths, my therapist, Janice, helped me identify an “older brother” part of self. I named him Jonathan. Janice invited me to let Jonathan “take me out” sometime where he would take care of his little sister. So I went to a drive-in movie, letting Jonathan as the older brother drive and take care of me, as Little Linda. We went to see Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, that had just been released. A pillow in the passenger seat represented me as Little Linda, but I was really more in the role of Jonathan. I bought popcorn and soda for Little Linda and made sure she felt safe at the drive-in. I got to feel the strength of my ‘older brother’ part-of-self as a Nurturer and Elder Leader. Afterwards, I felt that this Jonathan energy was more a part of me overall. Jonathan (that Nurturer-Elder Leader energy that I had been suppressing) was happy to step up and be included; See?
Try it yourself, in your own way! Is there an archetypal part of self you would like to acknowledge and invite to step forward with you this week?
I welcome your insights and stories!