Archetypal Alchemy

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Carl Jung’s recognition of the value of encountering unconscious archetypical aspects of Self through active imagination leads to his understanding that this is a process leading to the “integration” of archetypal energies within the overall, individual identity of one’s Self. James Hillman further recognized that there is value in experiencing the dynamic vitality of usually submerged unconscious archetypal persona aspects, not necessarily to ‘raise them to conscious’ habitation but to explore the dynamics of their own field of influence within the Depth levels of Self.

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Each archetypical mode or energy complex within our overall human consciousness formation has Its own nature and can be a staunch Ally in Its most positive (Strength, to me) mode— or an impediment if repressed or in Shadow. To me, as with Jung, Hillman, and Jean Houston, the forming of an Archetype Council— what I like to call your Ensemble Cast of Mystic Archetype Characters— is an important process that facilitates the integration and mobilization of your dynamic archetypal energies in the most positive way. I think in terms of Archetype Pairings and Archetype Constellations within your Total Self System.

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Allying with your Warrior nature can be a good opportunity to forge an Archetypal Constellation in working toward a specific life goal or addressing a situation in your life that seems to call for your Warrior— at least in one aspect— to step forward. By Itself in full force, Warrior can lead the charge, when needed, to bring about a major shift in a situation. But Warrior also combines well with any of the other 11 universal archetypes (and/or their sub-modal, individualized forms), especially when you desire to establish a more tempered, balanced approach to a situation.

Combining archetypal modes or ‘guises’ normally happens unconsciously, but as an “alchemical” practice, the individual can choose consciously to enlist and combine specific archetypal elements in order to facilitate a specific objective. By the way, if this is not done, and as Joseph Campbell has reminded us, in some situations you might feel ‘dissociated’ or ‘split’: one part of you thinking or acting in one manner, another feeling or speaking from a very different ‘location’ within your Self. This is represented by the classic “angel on one shoulder, devil on the other” motif.

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One technique I offer to you for forging an archetypal Constellation to explore how best to approach a specific goal or deal with a difficult situation, is what I’ll call the Roundtable Room technique (based on the symbol of King Arthur’s Roundtable):

  1. FRAME a question or a situation;
  2. State your goal in relation to this situation or decision;
  3. On the picture below, circle those persona archetype characters you feel might be helpful to enlist to help you realize your goal or arrive at your decision:

Rountable

 

4. Enter into an Active Imagination (imaginative contemplation) session and Descend to the Roundtable Room where these selected Archetype characters have been assembled. Now invite each of these Archetypical personas to offer how they can help your overall Self with the situation or decision. Have an open conversation with these parts of your Self, seeking their input and asking to draw upon each of their Strengths in a team-based, collaborative manner.

5. Emerge from your Active Imagination contemplation and write down all that transpired (you can also journal this conversation as it occurs if that works better for you).

Below are some spaces where you may print this post and  record which archetype modes you have invited to help you work with the situation you have focused on with your active imagination.

 

SITUATION:

Ensemble Cast Allies/Strengths to Draw Upon:

Warrior  /  (e.g. resolve)

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

 

So, choose a situation for which your inner Warrior would be one ‘part’ of your Self that it feels appropriate for you to recruit in the Roundtable Room. What does your Warrior want for you and of you in the situation? How can he/she help you to deal with the situation and achieve your goal? What other parts of your Self have something to add to this? What Strengths can these Archetype Allies each contribute to help you implement this plan and manifest your goal?

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images from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

 

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