Archetypes are both in the world around you and within the structure of your own Psyche. On one level you recognize archetypal images in the forms of roles and “typical” experiences and relationships. At the same time, you have unconsciously internalized these same archetypal formations in the process of being socialized and becoming who you are; developing your complex identity. While this may sound like a different understanding of archetypes than you are familiar with from Jung or Hillman or from more recent, popular authors, as a cultural and psychological anthropologist I see the connection between our role based social identities and the unconscious makeup of human consciousness that embodies at least The Twelve primordial Persona Archetype forms which Dr. Charles Bebeau associated with Sumerian astrological gods and goddesses and that pertain very directly with Jung and Hillman’s archetypal theories and practical therapeutic methods.
The Elder Leader is an excellent example of how an archetypal form is both externally constructed or projected onto others as well as existing internally as a ‘Persona,’ a facet of a person’s character or–as I see it–a member of a person’s internal ensemble cast of archetype character modes. They may be experienced as ‘inner voices’–like the angel on one shoulder versus the Devil on the other–, and they often appear in our dreams as well as in our basic expression of Self in various distinctive situations.
When our various situational persona archetypes, from deeply unconscious to more consciously felt and expressed, combine with one another to contribute in our life pursuits, we draw upon and hopefully learn to integrate these facets of our Self identity as Strengths. In Shadow mode, however, persona archetype traits can also complicate or harm our sense of who we are and they might inhibit our actions and restrict our dreams.
Strengths of an Elder Leader persona can help you to achieve your goals and function effectively in any situation, but internal or external Shadow Elder Leader traits and attitudes can also block your progress or limit your enthusiasm and self-confidence. If you grew up with a punitive father figure, for instance, you may have internalized “Shadow Elder Leader” statements that your father conditioned you to which dog your footsteps, e.g.: “You are not college material!” or “Do something productive with your life, not art (or music, etc.).” To this day when I am writing, if I start to become didactic in what I am saying, I hear “Heil Hitler!” in my head; then I know to stop writing, loosen up, and be less rigid with what I am trying to say, because my Shadow Elder Leader has been dominating the work.
The opening paragraph above is more analytical than I usually aim to be with these posts, but if you are reading BETTER ENDINGS FOR YOUR LIFE PATH (this blog), then I do want you to have a clear understanding of how I see Archetypal Psychology uniquely as a cultural anthropologist and how this approach can help you to manifest and Live Your Dream, Now! Basically what I am sharing is that as we go through life from our earliest conditioning or socialization, we take on roles that help us develop our identity through repeating kinds of situations in our lives (our own recurring Life Themes). Each of these Themes, like Family, Romance, Education, and Work allow us to develop the relevant role aspects of our Self expression as, e.g. a Parent (Elder Leader and/or Nourisher), Lover, Teacher or Learner, and other archetypal persona character modes. Since each of our Life Stories emphasizes a unique blend of Life Themes, Life Mapping can help you uncover which archetypal modes and traits have been most helpful (and, hindering) as you have developed through your life experiences across your distinctive Life Chapters. All this will be in part the substance of the Life Maps Process tools I will introduce you to with my upcoming book, YOUR LIFE PATH. (My agent will finally begin circulating the book to prospective editors this next month.)
images are gratefully from pixabay.com
For Your Journaling or Contemplation Practice:
What are some of your own Elder Leader traits in both Strength and Shadow modes?
How do you construct the very notion of an Elder Leader based on your own life experience?
I welcome your Comments and Stories!