Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung brought the concept of archetypes to life as he explored the notion of The Collective Unconsciousness. In his 1936 work on The Collective Unconsciousness, he defines an archetype as, "an indispensable correlate to the idea of the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere."
If archetypes are present everywhere, how do we translate their meaning into our present day life? Caroline Myss insists that archetypes are not simply universal, rather they are by their very nature very personal. "...as personal archetypal patterns that are the foundation of our beliefs, desires, motivation, and actions, organizing and energizing all our relationships in life."
When I think of archetypes, I can't help but think of using the word symbol. A symbol is defined as a 'thing that stands for or represents something else.' As we observe ourselves and others, we often construct our meaning of symbols universally and individually. Universal symbols might include calling someone a teacher, a student, a caregiver, a visionary, a romantic, a child, a mother, an intellectual, etc. On a grander scale, we all have the ability to interpret meaning from these symbols.
As we adopt these archetypal symbols in our lives, patterns emerge from our interior life. These patterns are often constructed with an unconscious awareness. For example as I have been working with my own transpersonal coach I noticed that one of my archetypes is the Seeker. All archetypes have both a light attribute as well as a shadow attribute. The Seeker light attribute defined by Myss is, 'a thirst for wisdom and truth wherever they are.' The shadow Seeker attribute is, 'an inability to commit to a path once found.' I can totally see the journey of my life has been between the tracks of these two attributes.
My work is both to recognize my thirst for wisdom, but to also inquire about my commitment to the path once I discover it. This possibility of discovery excites me. I used to feel ashamed that I had taken such a long time to discover my dreams and the possibilities within them, now I embrace the journey as it has seasoned the path ahead! I am committed to the path of my own uniqueness. I am also committed to using all of my talents to impact the world. I am a multidimensional seeker on a mission!
As you gaze into your own life, what is a word or words that you would use to describe yourself? Perhaps nothing comes to mind, so think of one of your friends, how would they describe you? This word or phrase might offer you great insight into discovering one of your archetypes, or one of the lenses that you use to make meaning in your relationship to life. This lens offers you insight about your journey. This lens also offers an introspective focus on the challenges that you might be undertaking, on lessons that you are learning, on agendas that you are discovering within self.
As Caroline Myss says, think about this investigation as a 'fun adventure in which you will get to know more about me.' Your curiosity is limitless as you begin asking yourself rich life questions.
Undertake this adventure with qualities of curiosity, joy, understanding, compassion, and love. You my dear are one of a kind. It is up to you to begin discovering how you continually relate to the world around and within. Enjoy the journey!
May You Sweetly Seek:)