Threshold Guardians

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After Heeding the Call and setting forth with your well-considered Departure, you are set to approach the first Threshold so you can Cross the Threshold into the full engagement with your Adventure to achieve your Quest. But wait! It is not quite so easy as that.  Approaching the Threshold of a deeply  significant transition or a personally meaningful adventure invokes Threshold Guardians!  Only if you can pass by these daunting agencies or meet challenges designed to strengthen your weaknesses will you in fact step across that Threshold better equipped to meet your challenges successfully and realize your dreams.

Threshold Guardians are common archetypal character forms found in many a mythic tale.  The Never-Ending Story represents them as monolithic, winged Gargoyle figures guarding the entryway to  Bastian‘s destination. He must pass their enigmatic questioning in order to rescue his Princess and prevent the Nothing from spreading to annihilate all of his mythical world.  Scylla and Charybdis are rocky shoals that block Odysseus’s path to complete his Quest and return to home to Ithaka in Homer’s Ulysses. Dorothy faces winged monkeys sent by the Wicked Witch to deter her progress.  So then, what are some of your own Threshold Guardians and how have they served you or how can they aid you in completing your own mythic Quest?

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Boundary Gremlins

In Your Life Path (see sidebar), I will share a story about a significant dream from a few years ago in which I visited a ‘high altitude’  region inhabited by beautiful winged horses which I felt served God-realized Masters in the far reaches of the Heavens. As I approached the boundary of their realm, excited to witness this, suddenly Gremlins appeared! Honestly I had never even known what gremlins might look like until after I woke from this dream, but there they were: little, broad faced imps with huge ears. They popped up along the boundary to prevent me from stepping into this rarifed realm of the Horses of Heaven.

Recognizing that these Gremlins were doing their own valuable work in this realm I had stumbled upon in my dreaming, I stepped back and knelt down at a respectful distance from the boundary. I felt grateful to have witnessed this realm at all and content to just be there for a moment. The Gremlins were not apparent then but I knew they would pop up again if I were to try to advance.

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images are from pixabay.com

Behind me in this heightened inner realm, two winged Pegasus horses arrived, returning from their heavenly missives. One, white-pink-bluish, knelt gracefully onto her front legs beside me. I knew this was her invitation, and so I climbed up onto her bare back and held lightly onto a shock of her white mane as she stepped across the Threshold of the boundary into her domain.

I woke immediately, humbled and deeply impressed by this encounter with the Horses of Heaven! I realized the Gremlins were Threshold Guardians.  I needed great purity of heart, deep humility in order to venture into this sacred realm.

What or Who Are Your Threshold Guardians?

Your Threshold Guardians will be appropriate to the Quest and to the Threshold you aim to cross so you can achieve your own heroic purpose. I invite you to share YOUR story of Threshold Guardians. What qualities do they help you better master in order to advance to realize your Purpose?

Integrating Your Mystic Ally

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This month we have focused on helping you to tune into the perspectives and Vision of your MYSTIC Archetype Ally. All of us have this aspect, this ‘energy of the unconscious’ that is available to us always, so long as we listen for and accept Its input.

The Twelve primary Archetype persona forms are most helpful to us when they are consciously enlisted to serve the Self and especially when they are allowed to form an integrated Council.

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I like to call this your Ensemble Cast of Mythic Archetype Allies, similar to Dorothy’s cast of Tin Man (Shadow Lover)/ Cowardly Lion (Shadow Warrior)/ Scarecrow (Shadow Teacher)/ Glinda (Mystic)/ and Toto (Animus) in the Wizard of OZ. Once these cast members work together in harmony, they come into their greatest Strengths and together they successfully rescue the Self from its imprisonment within the Shadow Descender’s (Witch’s) castle, dissolving the negative energy of the Descender altogether as the Integrated Self (Dorothy) assimilates that energy as a positive Strength and ultimately; well, you know the Story (it is yours too): She GOES HOME as a mature, well integrated “Total Self System” (my phrase). I figure after all of this, Toto is going to be okay. Dorothy has the Heart, Mind, and Courage fully self-realized to manage the intrusive neighbor and to assure Toto will not bother the neighbor’s garden any more.

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images from pixabay.com

Imagine a large, Round Table, reminiscent of King Arthur’s table at Camelot. There are thirteen seats around the table, for The Twelve primordial Archetype Allies, and the Self. Place an issue on the Table in some form (a request or an inquiry about a situation about which you would like a “concerted” input from your Inner Council). Imagine (listen to inwardly) or write out the conversation wherein various of your Ensemble Council members contribute their perspective or advice.  Take note of all suggestions received. Allow the Council to discuss the situation from all angles, among themselves and with You. Consider this input deeply; it may carry unconscious Truth beyond your conscious mind’s tendencies to conceptualize.  Express GRATITUDE to each and All for their input and constant Presence.

                                                                                Artist   Idealist   Nourisher    Self      Lover   Teacher  Elder-Leader

                                                                                             Capture

                                                                              Warrior   Mystic     Descender   Communicator   Healer  Golden-Child

Re-Member Your Golden Child

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I initially misread my own weekly topics agenda for this past month. The Golden Child archetype is associated with Leo, yes, but really this Leonine Ally is more associated in the Avalon Archetype Institute framework which I am utilizing here with August rather than July. The NOURISHER (or, Nurturer as I prefer) archetype is more directly connected with July Cancerian energy. (Being a late June Cancerian myself, I can verify this!) Still, it has worked rather well to pair the Golden Child Ally with our monthly postulate of Life is a Bowl of Cherries! So, I guess there was a method in the madness of Synchronicity!

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Before leaving this ‘conjunction’ of Golden Child archetype with the Bowl of Cherries postulate, I want to encourage you as you proceed forth from here to “re-member” your inner Golden Child as an Archetype Ally persona.  Re-membering (I got this from a spiritual passage long ago from ECK Master Paul Twitchell) means to put back together again or to reassemble elements of the Self into a new, holistic, synergistic Whole.

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GOLDEN CHILD is a strong, vital, generally outgoing and, at its best, a charismatic persona as a member of your archetypal ensemble. All of the members of your inner Council or Assembly or Cast of archetype character allies remain in the background of your conscious awareness once you have integrated them through identification and active dialogue. They remain available to be enlisted and may choose on their own as well to ‘step up’ in any given situation.  Dorothy, when leaving OZ to return to Kansas (or to ‘Conscious’, as  Jean Houston has aptly noted in her book THE WIZARD OF US) knew that her archetypal Allies of Tin Man, Scarecrow and (no longer a cowardly) Lion would remain available as mature  energies within her own Self long after her dream adventures in the Land of OZ. So too, you have accessible within you all twelve of the universal Archetype persona figures that comprise the architecture of human role-based consciousness which this year’s monthly blog themes are presenting.

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After identifying and exploring any archetypal facet of your Self, it is helpful to “ground” your connection and awareness of this internalized figure with a Symbol: an active TOTEM that will remind you of your treasured Ally. Carl Jung used the artistic vehicle of a Mandala to center and totemically ground his own archetypally integrated parts of Self. After engaging in “active imagination” episodes with his unconscious archetypal persona enrergies to the degree of achieving an integral awareness of their purpose and role in his life, Jung would paint (see his original RED BOOK/ Liber Novus) a mandala picture symbolically representing the archetypal awareness or persona in the Center, with meaningful images and/ or words surrounding the central figure to depict qualities, lessons or insights he connected perceptually with this persona aspect.

I invite you to compose a Mandala picture that represents your own GOLDEN CHILD part of Self along with qualities s/he brings forth within your integrated Self.

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An easy method for composing a mantra—unless you prefer to exercise your artistic talent ‘by hand’ with any artistic medium you choose, which I encourage!—is to select online graphic images such as clip-art icons and simply cut and paste them into a basic circle shape.  Let the central image represent yourself as the Golden Child persona, and place other images artistically around this central image to represent qualities you associate with this Ally in your life.

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 Place your mandala somewhere where you will remember its significance of representing your own Golden Child qualities. This archetype is one that sometimes is hidden or subdued in a culture that values humility over self-assertion. Yet it is a vital energy which in a balanced form empowers us to pursue and to claim our talents in service to life.

Who Has Your Back?

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I live with a wonderful family consisting of Sophie (a Shorkie), Loki (pure white, gold eyes), Emily (petite, orange-white, sensitive) and myself. We, like any family, comprise an archetypal grouping.

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Loki sleeps by my head in case I roll onto my back and sleep apnea kicks in; I once woke at 3 AM to Loki snatching lightly at the tip of my nose, waking me from what felt like a near death experience inwardly.  Suddenly my dream had shifted to an empty, chaotic void; I was still conscious and moving in a positive direction but all sense of timespace had vanished and I dimly yet dispassionately knew this might be death; until, Loki brought me back!

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Emily comforts me when I am feeling Down. Like my former harlequin calico cat of 20 years, named Ariel, Emily nudges at my blanket for me to form a cave and then she snuggles in beside me. This first happened the night I had returned from a two week trip to Ireland. Ever since, it has been our bonding time, and she always seems to know just when we both need to cuddle.

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And then there’s Sophia. Sophie literally has my back. Late at night when all are settled in for the night and then again in the morning before I can crawl out of bed for another round at life, Sophie jumps up onto the mattress and curls up intently to press her own back lightly against mine. During the night, my little Shorkie girl is also a competent watch dog; she lets me know of any odd noises outside the house. To honor her loving service I will sometimes get up to patrol the house thoroughly, defensive tool and phone in hand, prepared to defend the family too if ever needed.

So these are my home family ‘outer’ cast of archetypal allies.  We have each other’s backs, looking out for one another and relying upon one another harmoniously.

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Who has your back? We have been exploring this month how a Warrior archetype Ally serves to rally the troops of character types in an ensemble archetype cast, like Dorothy with her archetype Ally cast in the Wizard of Oz. What happens in our unconscious ‘land of Us’ (as used in a recent Jean Houston book) is often mirrored in our outer lives as well. Is there a time or a kind of situation in your life that calls your Inner Warrior forth to stand up for your interests and protect you from harm?

Tell yourself (and us, as you please!) a story of a time in your life when you–as your archetypal Warrior Ally part of Self–stood up for yourself or blazed a pathway to achieve something magnificent in your life or for someone else. Or perhaps there was a time when someone in your outercast of Allies stood up for and protected you?

I welcome your insights and stories!

Your Yellow Brick Road

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The more clearly you can envision your Life Dream or a future goal, the more you can collapse the space-time, so to speak, between yourself Here and your goal Now. That is, the better you can visualize and embrace the reality of your worthy end achieved, the more evident will become the path that connects you to the place or set of conditions your goal represents to you.

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Last week I invited you to imagine a set of Alternate Future Scapes as a mode of “Future Casting”.  If you established two or more of these Alter-Future visions, choose one now. (If not, go ahead and cast an alternate future scape; nothing is cast in stone so feel free to imagine a desirable set of future conditions that feels good to you Now.)

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Have you played the board game LIFE recently? My favorite recent version is the Wizard of OZ rendition. Dorothy and other characters wend their way from Auntie Em’s farm into the Land of the Munchkins, the Land of OZ, the Witch’s castle, and ultimately back Home, to Kansas. The image of a Life Path as a winding spiral, with bridges to cross, rewards to collect and obstacles or setbacks to overcome along the Way–like Dorothy and her Archetype Allies’ adventure along the Yellow Brick Road–is a classic mythical image of an Epic Journey or of a labyrinth pathway of self-discovery.

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Below is a rather rough sketch of a Winding Path motif.   I invite you to fill this in (or draw your own and fill that in) with incremental steps or phases that lead to the realization of your Alternate Future!  Use your creativity and your mindful awareness of your Goal to represent time frames or the processual stages you anticipate experiencing along the Yellow Brick Road of your own exciting Adventure to the manifestation of your Life Dream. You can share this with a loved one, friend, or children, too. Then you can each talk about what you have projected about your own Life Path.

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Have fun with this. You can create as many of these Life Path pictures as you like, to one or to several alternate futures. But take your time with each one, too. Focus inwardly on recreating–as it were, from the ‘end achieved’–the actual steps you CAN take to bring your Life Dream to fruition.

When I have filled in my own envisioned Pathway to a meaningful Life Dream, I have later been amazed to look back at this mapping some several months or even years later to find that I have been actualizing these stages pretty much in the sequence envisioned.

I invite your Comments and your Stories!

P.S.: Thank you for reading and for your Likes!!! Stay tuned for Friday’s post : Your Next Step

 

What Is Your Mission?

 

An early ‘Friday’ post this week…

Your Mission Statement 

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Every successful organization has something that helps its employees and customers to thrive: a Mission Statement. In a way this is like a narrative throughline, such as we have been exploring this week, except a Mission Statement highlights the endpoint to be achieved rather than the full process it might take to arrive there.

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A Mission Statement orients those aiming to manifest this Mission to be mindful of the End Achieved. It is like a positive affirmation or a goal based mantra phrase; it empowers a person to anchor their actions to the destination and, so, to arrive Here with clarity and Purpose.

So I invite you to create a logline to the manifestation of your deepest Dream, as a fulfillment of your Life Mission. To uncover your Mission, first think from the end achieved and write how you ‘got there’ as a fulfillment of Why You Are Here, the Dream accomplished in the highest sense.

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If it helps to think of a narrative parallel first, to help you to then write your own Mission Statement, choose a story with the sort of happy or Better Ending you desire.

E.G.:  She was Home, in Kansas! And she had learned so much while being away in the Land of Oz. She knew exactly what to say to her mean neighbor now; she would apologize for Toto’s behavior and take responsibility for making sure it would not happen again for she would build a fence around the yard so Toto would not traipse into the neighbor’s garden. She would appreciate her family and friends, now more than ever before. But, she would also always remember: Home is not the Farm itself; Home is in the Heart. She wanted now to eventually leave the farm and travel to find her destiny, her way to serve from the foundation of all she could learn. She was no longer afraid of being alone, for she would never be alone, Not Really. She was free to grow, to explore; free to give of herself to all Life. She was, quietly to herself alone, Dorothy, a Good Witch, a Wizard of OZ.

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Well, that was fun!  A Mission Statement: My Mission is to be All that I CAN BE, in service to All Life; to follow my Outer and Inner Guidance in order to follow this Dream fully, to Live my Dream, Now!

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Yours?

Your Narrative Statement 

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 Have you ever taken ‘time out’  to try to encapsulate what your life is “all about”? Of course, it doesn’t need to be “about” anything, but at the same time, since you like everyone else have a Life Story, then there is a meaning and a message to YOUR story that is uniquely important, if only to you. This week’s Life Paths for Better Endings topic is about a way to uncover the underlying significance of your own Story and the potential benefits of claiming a personal Narrative Statement.

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What I’ll call a Narrative Statement is known to authors as a “Throughline” or a “Logline”. E.G.:

The throughline is an invisible thread that binds your story together. It comprises those elements that are critical to the very heart of your tale — these elements needn’t be the same for every story you tell but should remain the same throughout a given story.  (Shot through the Heart: Your Story’s Throughline / Terrible Minds, by Chuck Wendig, http://terribleminds.com/ramble/)

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To begin, let’s look at some fictional stories or mythic tales to explore how narrative statements can function to make a story cohesive and well-focused on the key protagonists’ character arcs and plotlines. Writers know they should be able to boil down their story into one brief, tense statement, usually one sentence that fully encapsulates the story in terms of characters, goals, oppositions and outcomes. Here are some feasible narrative throughlines just as a practice in devising narrative statements (though of course the authors would do a better job):

  • An orphaned boy discovers on his 11th birthday that he is a “wizard”, destined to master the positive potentials of magical abilities along with a cohort of friends, in order to thwart the evil rise to power of the megalomaniac wizard fiend who killed his parents.
  • After witnessing UFOs firsthand a man becomes obsessed with replicating a mental image that turns out to be a UFO landing site to which he is being telepathically called by an alien race aiming to bring an Earth representative to their home world for interplanetary communication.

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Here are some actual throughlines I have found online that are associated with well-known stories:

Sleepless in Seattle: A recently widowed man’s son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner.- Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@imdb.com>

Oedipus Rex: Sophocles’ most famous work about the King of Thebes (translated here by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald) tells the simple tale of boy gets parents, boy loses parents, boy gets new parents, boy kills biological father and marries biological mother. http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/throughlines-oedipus-rex/Content?oid=1675058

The Wizard of Oz: After a twister transports a lonely Kansas farm girl to a magical land, she sets out on a dangerous journey to find a wizard with the power to send her home.  (from Gideon’s Screenwriting Tips: So Now You’re a Screenwriter…Tips to Improve your Film and TV writing and Your Career/ Writing Effective Loglines. http://gideonsway.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/writing-effective-loglines/)

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I invite you for the next few days to practice writing narrative throughlines for some fictional stories that matter to you. This practice will prepare you to develop a throughline or narrative statement encapsulating your own Life Story, later this week.  So first, I encourage you to practice the method!

  • What do you find yourself emphasizing about the stories you choose to write loglines for?
  • What does the very fact that you can write a logline, even for what might be a rather complicated story, say about stories or about storytelling in general?

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Throughlines or loglines are essential for writers. They are the very heartbeat of a story. In editing, it is often said that every line or even every word in a manuscript should propel or develop the logline; else, remove it! Hold that thought in relation to devising—later this week—a throughline for your own Life Story. What might be some implications? Stay tuned…

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As always, thank you for reading and I invite you to play in this life mapping sandbox!

Your Comments and Stories are welcome!

 

Giving ‘UP’ — The Way of Surrender!

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Never Give Up, but you can always give UP—or, surrender—to attain Better Endings. Giving UP means, to me, releasing a problem or an attitude to a Higher Force and Higher Awareness, however you choose to define that. “I give UP!” releases my attachment to a situation or to a specific outcome. Then, what is truly needed or appropriate is free to manifest.

Surrender. What a concept this is, riddled with a dual character. A warrior might regard surrender as a failure of mission, although it allows for them to survive to another day. I imagine the Wicked Witch of the West on her broomstick, spelling out “Surrender Dorothy!” in the sky over Munchkinland. “Never!,” we think. At the same time, though, surrender is a path to freedom from attachment; letting go, or letting God. Surrender your fears and anxiety; be willing to “Take the Journey!” Here’s the double entendre: what if the witch’s message was actually a positive invitation to Dorothy, a wake-up call in the form of a waking dream?

When we hold tightly to a fixed position, attitude, belief or desire, we might be limiting our flow of creative potential and insight. Release your grip just ever so much to be open to the Way. I had a Quaker friend who used to tell me, whenever there was any confusion about what next step to take, “Way will Out!”

So, Give UP; surrender to your higher awareness; Way will Out!

‘What Do you want to be when you Grow Up?’–Your Vision Quest and Archetype Helpers

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A vision without a task is a dream,

a task without a vision is drudgery,

but a vision with a task can change the world.

– attributed to Black-Elk, Oglala Sioux.

In order to Live Your Dream, Now! you must know what that Dream is, and set a Vision for your adventurous quest. This week’s Life Mapping prompt, “When I Grow Up I Want to BE…” allows you to seek a Vision and also helps you orient to the character traits you are aiming to develop.

When my sister was 8, she answered the proverbial question of what she wanted to be when she would grow up with delight: “a Bunny Rabbit!,” she replied. She is 55 now, a highly successful CPA and the primary family caregiver for our elderly mother, and she is much like a Bunny Rabbit, to me, in several ways. She is bright, cheerful, extremely productive, and at the same time she is sweet, friendly, and quite engaged with friends, family, work group and community; hopping about her many-dimensional life activities with cheerful skill. Like a Rabbit, she is an Idealist and a Nurturer.

Compare how you might have answered this question as a child, and then Now. Did you want to become a Superhero who saves the world and then studied to be a Doctor or became an Emergency Vehicle driver–or a writer about such characters–who saves lives? Did you want to be like Mother Theresa and now you are or aim to be a Teacher or a Healer or a nurturing mother? All of these kinds of persons or roles are character Archetypes.They represent significant aspects of your psychological personality makeup, whether you actively express them in your job or family life or they remain submerged ‘inner voices’. Like Walter Mitty in the new film being released, we all have multiple aspects of self with their own traits, goals, and fears. In the Life Mapping process I call these archetypal parts of Self your “ensemble cast of mythic characters”.

Like the characters aligned with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, your inner and outer archetypes each have their own needs and hopes and goals. Your opportunity, if you choose to accept it on the Yellow Brick Road of creating Better Endings in your life, is to befriend these parts of your own Total Self System, to get to know them so you can enlist their Strengths in assisting you to realize your greatest Life Dream. Because ultimately, they share this goal with you and fuel its vitality.

In the Life Maps Process which I will share in its entirety with my upcoming book and self-help handbook, LIFE PATHS, I will provide you with a complete “Archetype Mapping” process and with a six-step “Archetype Dialogue Process” to help you to identify and come to understand and develop your own archetypal Inner Assembly. I will introduce twelve “primordial archetype” figures that everyone can relate to. For this Blog version of Life Mapping practice activities, it is enough to consider what sorts of character traits show up when you answer this week’s prompt: “When I Grow Up I Want to BE…”. Go ahead, make a list of possible answers and beside each one, identify the character strengths or traits you are tapping into with this response. Just by way of example below, I will list some possible ways I might answer the prompt myself:

WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE:

As a Child:

(1) a Cowgirl (like Linda Craig, a children’s lit Western character) —  [Role Traits: Adventurer, Free thinking Idealist];

(2) a Detective (like Nancy Drew) —  [Role Traits: Using the mind, Communicating, Solving Mysteries]

As an Adult/ Now:

(1) an inspirational author and speaker — [using Teacher and Communicator traits];

(2) God-Realized during this lifetime (ok, this is no small dream!) — [developing Mystic and Healer traits].

Carl G. Jung stated in his major work on Archetypes that: “For every typical situation in life, there is an archetype corresponding to that situation.” The situational roles that you gravitate to, or that you enact day to day–like being a teacher or a writer or a nurse or a spouse or a nurturing parent, or any role at all–each invoke qualities which you inherently choose to express. As a cultural anthropologist, I recognize our everyday roles and statuses as basic frames which call upon these archetypal dispositions, so you do not need to believe in or invoke a mystical or metaphysical approach to accept Jungian archetypes as very basic to our social makeup as well as to our psychology.

Of course, not all archetype energies or traits are positive or fully developed as Strengths. Some may be in Shadow mode and in fact they can pull you down or hold you back from facing your fears or from going after your deepest goals and Life Dream.

In a later Life Mapping activity I will share in this Blog, I will provide a Meet Your Archetypes journaling activity. For now, reflect lightly on your various situational parts of self or alternative goals and perspectives on life. Next week I will coach you to actually start mapping the sorts of situations in which your personal ensemble cast and crew are already actively engaged.

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Please feel free to Comment with your questions or insights. Submit an answer to What Do Better Endings Mean to You for a Guest Blog. Submit a Story on this week’s or any week’s Better Endings weekly topics.

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Thank Everyone who is Following and linking to this blog! Better Endings to you all! – Linda