"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.  What a man can be, he must be."
(Abraham Maslow)

What is an Archetype?

Most people, if asked, could name someone they know who:

  • Is the quintessential mother,
  • Has everything they touch turn to gold, 
  • Is the ultimate athlete,
  • Has an eye for spotting the real truth in any situation, or
  • Tells jokes better than anyone they know.

These are all archetypal patterns. These archetypal patterns are dynamic living forms of energy that weave together to form this lifetime. 

Archetypes are often defined as patterns of behaviour.  And this is true. But to describe them as just patterns of behaviour would be like describing computers as being like typewriters.  You can use a computer to create a type-written letter, but in today's world computer's are involved in everything from communications, knowledge distribution through to complicated surgical equipment. 

Archetypal patterns affect every aspect of your life.  From the way you look, the way you feel, the way you react to events, the people you attract into your life, the way you think, your value systems through to the events and milestones in your life. 

If your life were a painting, archetypes are the soul's paints

Archetypes are divine tools that your Soul uses to create this lifetime. They are as fundamental to your existence as having a physical body. If you see each lifetime as like a painting created by the Soul, then archetypes are the paints the soul uses to create each lifetime. 

Archetypes provide you with a set of tools, skills, capabilities, lessons, opportunities and potential for this lifetime.  They are the source of your personal power in this lifetime and they combine with your soul to co-create your life's journey. 

Where does the concept come from?

The concept of Archetypes has been around since at least the time of Plato, who believed that archetypal patterns were imprinted upon the soul at the time of birth, and that the soul then played out these patterns. 

Since that time, there have been many notable philosophers and writers who have talked about the role that archetypes play in our lives.  William Shakespeare, for example, wrote:

"All the world's a stage and all the men and woman merely players."

But it was Carl Jung, the father of modern psychoanalysis, who is probably best known for his work on archetypes.  Like Plato, Jung said that archetypes are essentially independent energies that exist apart from the individual.  He referred to this as 'collective unconscious'. For Jung, archetypal patterns and the collective unconscious formed the bridge between man and the Divine, between science and religion, and established that all is 'one'. 

Caroline Myss's Archetypal Model

There are many different models of working with archetypes today, and at their core, they arguably all teach the same fundamental truth.  However, the model that I believe best covers the fundamental nature of archetypes is Caroline Myss's model which she wrote about in her book Sacred Contracts

Caroline says that learning about Archetypes is like learning another language - the language of your soul.  She says:

"By developing archetypal language, you will grasp the whole of your life with a level of spiritual clarity that can heal the emotional and spiritual wounds you have accumulated and fill you with awe that your life is also of great importance to everyone you encounter.  It becomes possible for you to trust that everything that is meant to come your way will arrive in due time, that you will be with the right people at the right moment, and that divine guidance endlessly flows into your soul.  It can't be otherwise."

Your 12 Archetypes

In Caroline's archetypal model, everyone has 12 archetypes that are with us for our entire life.  These are known as 'chronos' archetypes.  It is these 12 archetypal patterns that are the core energies that your soul uses to form and create your path through this lifetime. 

In addition to your 12 core archetypal energies, which are like the star players in your individual life's story, you can also have 'guest stars' that come and visit you for a period. These are known as your 'kairos' archetypes.

Why would I want to understand what my archetypes are?

Whether you are conscious of it or not   and most people aren't until they have learned to 'speak archetype' - you already recognise, react and respond to archetypal patterns every day - without a second thought.  Learning to understand both your own archetypes and those of the people around you helps you to consciously respond to the archetypal patterns that are in your life - whether your own or those of the people around you.

Understanding your archetypal energies and how they are playing out in your life is understanding the very fabric of your life itself.  Knowing the individual archetypal patterns at play in your life can:

  • Help you to understand your 'Sacred Contracts' in this lifetime;
  • Enable you to make truly conscious and wise choices - choices which will lead to your highest divine potential in this lifetime.
  • Give you insight into the key challenges and choices that each of your archetypal patterns will bring into your life; and
  • Help you to find your true source of power, which comes from knowing the strengths and potential in the archetypal patterns in your life.

More information about Archetypes

For more information about Archetypes and how you identify them, you can select one of the links below.  You can also read more articles I've written on Archetypes in my Blog - 'Archetypal Musings'.