Archetype Discussion

“Archetype huh?” is the typical first reaction when the topic of archetypes is raised. Carl Jung coined the phrase in the early 1900s to encapsulate energetic entities he knew to exist in the cosmos. “Huh?” We humans are energetic beings. As such we employ energetic entities to help us express our personalities. Think of your personality as a beautiful cut crystal, or gemstone. The facets cut into a crystal gives it depth, brightness, beauty and a unique identity. While crystal facets reflect light, archetypes give your personality a way to shine through. Archetypes are facets of your character. If I were to tell you Shelly is a great Mother, you would translate that into the image of what you feel comprises a great mother. You might imagine Shelly baking cookies, having bandages with cartoon characters, or maybe she is a cuddler who sings her children to sleep. Of course, mothers don’t all come in June Cleaver packages. Your Mother image might project a criticizing disciplinarian with anger management issues (whether you think she’s great or not may be up for discussion). So, while my descriptor of Mother gives people an idea of what Shelly is like, it still leaves plenty of room for individual interpretation. According to Jung, there is an infinite number of archetypes we can tap into, and as society changes so does our use of archetypes (e.g. 50 years ago Geek wouldn’t carry the same meaning as it does now; it evolved from being an insult into being a sought-after compliment). I studied archetypes with Caroline Myss and C. Norman Shealy in two simultaneously conducted programs they ran (a four-year medical intuition program they co-taught, and Norm’s Holos University where Caroline is on the faculty). As a result of these programs I did my dissertation study on using archetypes to combat depression. I chose depression because improvement is measurable (a requirement for a statistical study), but in my heart I know archetypes can be used as tools to combat many medical and emotional conditions. The nutshell reason for my theory is that chakras store the energy for our emotions and physical maintenance; and archetypes live within these chakras. I don’t expect you understand this (unless you study energy medicine, a phrase coined by Caroline) but just know that you subconsciously employ a ballpark of 216 archetypes at any given time. Of course a group that large would be too overwhelming to tackle when trying to get to the root of a problem, or when working to better understand Self. Caroline teaches a program that works with 36 archetypes (check her out at We are born with 12 natal archetypes (I call this our default setting). As we grow and observe we select 12 random, constantly changing, archetypes to assist the natal 12 in meeting our goals. Then, as the Universe sees us facing our challenges we are blessed with 12 (divine) archetypes, also ever-changing, to help us in our pursuits. Within this group of 36 archetypes, only 4 are consistently owned/shared by everyone, our Survival Archetypes: Child, Victim, Prostitute and Saboteur. Are some of our archetypes more dominate than others? Yes, they can be. We decide how we use them. For instance, if you were a character in a book or movie cast as the Hero, you would be expected to exhibit heroic behavior. You would rescue the kitten from the tree, score the winning touchdown, carry home the head-cheerleader’s books and take out the trash for your mother. But that is one-dimensional character portrayal (think of 1960s B-movie plots). Human beings are multifaceted creatures. In other words, even Heroes have dark sides or just simply want a vacation from being the go-to guy. Maybe when Hero is stressed or tired Bully comes out to frighten people away, or Artist appears to vent creative energy (and creates so much noise in the garage that the neighbors call to complain). Being born with 12 archetypes (the 4 Survival and 8 others) as our foundation to build on helps us channel the many energies and interests that make us unique individuals. Having an infinite number of archetypes to draw from in any given moment makes us creatures of infinite possibilities on an ever evolving journey. So, why discuss archetypes? To help us know ourselves better. To help us understand others better. To help us understand the world around us better. To help us fight dis-ease at the root level. And finally, why am I Queen of Special Archetypes? I was bestowed that title by Norm Shealy upon graduation of the two programs mentioned earlier. Everyone in the world of energy medicine or medical intuition (both coined by Caroline Myss) knows that Caroline is the undisputed Queen of these realms. I took her work a step further in using archetypes to promote healing, and still further in describing archetypes in depressed states (and since that time in using them to help with heart health and mending relationships). Norm recognized my contributions by bestowing me with a title, and with it comes the responsibility of helping to teach archetype behavior. With that said, thank you for riding along on this journey of archetype exploration. Feel free to add your comments and take your personal excavations even deeper. The more we understand the archetypes that make us who we are the better we can predict our behaviors, work toward better balance, and honor our body’s physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.


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