Oregon Somatic Therapy

Understanding Archetypes

Archetypes can be mysterious. Here’s an brief excerpt from my talk at the 2nd Annual SoulCollage Facilitators Conference in Monterrey California.

“Carl Jung believed that our minds come coded with patterns, like magnets attracting iron filings. These archetypal pattern shape us. They and direct us to perceive the world in a particular way. He called these predispositions archetypes. They have some interesting characteristics:

They are often present at birth and have the power to command our attention and lead us to action. Carolyn Myss suggests that archetypes have to do with a Sacred Contract that The Soull made before we were born.

Archetypes act like magnetic fields. These fields reveal themselves only when we place metal filings around them to reveal their shape, power. Then we notice what they attract.

The Archetype takes our life force and gives it a direction, provides focus to help us realize our potential.

When the archetype chooses us, it commands our attention and leads us to events, people, and opportunities that we might other wise never notice. We have a built in mechanism to notice the things in its domain.

Like a bee drawn to a flower’s nectar, the archetype is a light that draws us to develop and grow according to the Soul’s Purpose.

Archetypal drive energizes us so that we can work through challenge to their resolution. For example, staring at a blank canvas, the Artist pushes through to creativity. Without the archetype to energize us, we might give up and do something easier, more natural. Even though The Critic pays us a visit raining down a storm of judgments, the Artist Archetype gives us endurance to push past The Critics road block to persevere. When others might give up, you persevere.

We gradually learn who we are through the challenges and accomplishments gifted us through the archetypes. They also lend us faith when confusion and chaos strike. They help us know what to do when the manual is missing.

Like the Hero’s Journey, our struggles have heightened personal meaning when the archetype has chosen us. We shape and develop ourselves with the passion endowed by the archetype, as the blacksmith’s forge tempers fine steel. We are refined into authentic, resilient human beings. The challenges we face in the archetype’s domain, make us question, face and ultimately shed our fears. And the True Self is born like the acorn and the oak tree.

The archetype moves us from our familiar place in the world of the known and the secure and the predictable, to the world of the possible.

Most great literature, film, poetry, or plays capture us through the lens of the archetypes. These powerful stories reveal the Archetype’s Journey:

  • The Castaway with Tom Hanks: Surviving against all odds or Alien with Sigourney Weaver
  • Indiana Jones: Thrive in challenges and being victorious,
  • Fatal Attraction: How the shadow of a suppressed archetype, in this case the The Lover, makes errors in judgement over and over that leads to their demise

We listen to these stories, learning from their successes and fearing their mistakes. The very nature of our identification and fascination with the story, hints at the degree to which an archetype has claimed us.