Archetypes: Who Are You? (by Caroline Myss)
(From Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine, issue 33, Spring 2013)
My new book, Archetypes: Who Are You?, explores the intriguing subject of these universal patterns of consciousness with a very mainstream voice. Unlike my previous book, Sacred Contracts, that introduces archetypes through the thesis that we are assigned pre-life contracts that are governed by our archetypes, this new book does not involve spiritual theory. Rather, the intent was to communicate the role archetypes serve in your life in a more practical voice. That is, I perceive life as an archetypal theater in which everything we become in life or create as individuals, as groups and even as nations is rooted in the myths associated with these cosmic patterns of consciousness.
I believe the time is right for the power of archetypes to go mainstream for several reasons, though I am limited to writing about only one; that is, the most pressing question people ask me is, “What can you tell me about me?” In other words, “Who am I, really?” Beyond what we do for a living or what our background is or what we own, we share a need to know our inner mysteries. We want to know why we are drawn to certain people, why we have the passions we do, why we seem to be possessed by addictions, or why some people seem to have “all the luck” while luck appears to evade us – or perhaps the other way around. This need to know is something we all share – and anything we “all share” hints at being an archetypal pattern, a set of behaviors that each of us inherently understands because we, too, participate in them.
Though I have addressed that question many times through the years, it wasn’t until I understood – even in small measure – how intimately bound we are to archetypes that I felt I could offer a reply that had substance to it. I credit this to my own study of archetypes, which actually began as a result of doing medical intuitive readings with my colleague, Norm Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. My intuitive readings were my portal into recognizing archetypal patterns and the subtle way in which they constantly influence our way of perceiving the environment of our life. Not one aspect of our life is without an archetypal thread – not one. Even the way we dress, the way we talk, the way we walk, the dreams we have, the way we fantasize about what we want out of life and who we “imagine” as a partner – all of these aspects of ourselves have their origin in our archetypes and the myths or stories that go with them. When I discovered this, I felt as it I had found the center of the human universe.
This knowledge, for me, became sacred truth – sacred because it was eternal, consistent, and applied to every single human being regardless of religion, ethnic origin, and gender. This was the core soul knowledge that made us who we were and united us as one humanity, the universal thread of evolution upon which all of us were bonded. I knew that if individuals truly could grasp life through an archetypal perspective – as well as understand their own life through their personal archetypes – a transformation of conscious could genuinely occur. It might take awhile, perhaps a long while indeed. But such is life. So long as humanity moves in a positive direction, then all is well.
Somewhere in the collective intuitive soul of humanity, I also believe that we intuitively sense that the time has come to bring the language of the unconscious, specifically archetypes, symbols, and the power of our myths, into the wide-open spaces of our conscious minds. The new frontier that we have a passion to explore is our “interior space” and we long to grasp who we are beyond our name and the limitations of our physical form. Consider, for example, the ways in which we now talk about ourselves or introduce ourselves. At workshops, for instance, people will often introduce themselves to me as an “Intuitive” or a “Healer” or a “Psychic”. All of these are “archetypal power” terms. When someone tells me, “I am a Psychic”, for example, that person is not just using a “word”. That individual is clearly communicating an entire set of “archetypal power myths” with which she intimately identifies. From these myths come her sense of power and authority in the physical world. Most often people do not realize that they are presenting their archetypes to me when they introduce themselves like that. In fact, when I bring up the word, “archetype”, many find it difficult to understand what I am talking about. Yet, they are “speaking archetype fluently”. I find that to be the case almost consistently these days with people.
Why do we feel this compulsion to let people know who we are by our archetypes, even if we don’t realize that’s what we’re doing? Not only are archetypes universal patterns of behavior and myths that everyone just automatically recognizes. They are, in their own way, conscious. We connect to the power inherent in the myths they hold for us. When we tell someone that we are a Healer, we are simultaneously visualizing everything or everyone we associate with the Healer archetype. We are projecting those images onto the person we are speaking to in that moment, hoping that individual will “see” all of that success in us, and thus respond to us with the same awe and respect. This micro-micro-micro second of association-projection is usually unconscious, moving faster than the speed of light through a person’s subterranean unconscious. And yet, this one story of the famous Healer that inspired this individual could well be the most potent “myth” operating in that individual’s entire psyche. Break that myth – that is, tell her that she does not have what it takes to be as great a healer as that other person – and her whole world might come tumbling down. Such is the power of our myths, our archetypes, and our attachment to their power and authority in our lives.
Not only are archetypes universal patterns of behavior and myths that everyone just automatically recognizes. They are, in their own way, conscious.
There is yet another reason why we have evolved to a point where “speaking archetypes” is becoming a necessity. We now reside in the age of energy or the age of the psyche. We are redefining ourselves as a species. We are finding new ways of approaching health and healing not because we find the chakras fascinating but because we are realizing how utterly inadequate our understanding is of ourselves, given what we are learning about the vast domain of human consciousness. And among the jewels that we are gleaning is that the defining difference between the study of external – that is, physical knowledge – and interior knowledge, is that physical knowledge is factual and subject to change. Interior truth, on the other hand, has an eternal quality to it and appears to be connected to a quality of power that is indescribable by physical standards. Archetypal patterns, for example, exert a quality of power in a person’s life that is invisible, indescribable and yet this mythic force has more authority than anything in the physical world. We were not ready to acknowledge such a realization two or even one decade ago in the mainstream but we are now. It seems that the younger generations are wired to just “get it”, maybe because they have to get it.
Archetypes: Who Are You?, could not be more suited for this time, as I felt it was time to illustrate how earthy, grounded, practical, and present archetypes are in our lives. They are not just dwellers in our unconscious and Carl G. Jung’s dearest research companions. They govern every detail of our lives, including our life challenges and our desire to reach our highest potential. You cannot take a breath without being inside one of your archetypal patterns. What an extraordinary thought.
Caroline Myss has been in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness for over 20 years. Since 1982, she has worked as a medical intuitive, providing individuals with an evaluation of the health of their energetic anatomy system. She specializes in assisting people in understanding the emotional, psychological, and physical reasons why their bodies have developed an illness. Her New York Times bestsellers include Anatomy of the Spirit, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, Sacred Contacts, Defy Gravity and Entering the Castle. TAKE THE QUIZ! Visit www.archetypeme.com to take the quiz and discover your archetype. www.myss.comarchetypes, consciousness, issue 33, myths, psyche