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Archetypes: Mythology of the Self

Archetypes are universal symbolic patterns or ways of being found within the human spirit. They have been around since the beginning of human civilization, demonstrating ways in which humanity has made sense of the trials experienced in each era. They are foundational energetic forces that exist in each of us and depending on life’s experiences, we get opportunities to access these forces and live them out in some way.

As with all of history, it has been written and recorded by the victors, the oppressors, and those in positions of power. The same is true for myths and archetypal stories. For this reason, most of the mythologies and stories we have access to today have a masculine tilt to them, meaning they exemplify the outward, driven nature of humanity. Few stories or myths speak to the softer, more inward and reflective nature of our human existence.

The following archetypes are portrayed often in our historic accounts as well as our modern-day mythological, iconical characters and stories. Each one has a typical strength and a shadow associated with it.

As these are inherent to human nature, each person has the capacity to access these strengths and qualities and call upon them when needed.

Like every other skill we learn, we must also learn how to find these qualities within the self as we grow into more aware and balanced humans. This list is by far not complete; it is merely comprised of archetypes that have been portrayed often throughout history.

Sage: believes that the truth will set you free; uses intelligence and analysis to understand the world

Innocent/Child: Free to be happy, to be me, to be authentic, to play

Explorer: freedom to find out who you are through exploration, adventurous

Ruler:desire for control, like to lead and show the way

Creator: power of the imagination; visionary; creativity; manifest from thought to form

Caregiver: selflessness, compassion, generosity

Magician: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe; catalyst for change

Hero:prove one’s worth through courageous acts; strength; overcoming obstacles

Lover: willingness to be intimate;

Rebel: rule breaker; overturn what isn’t working; radical freedom

Most of these archetypes have a masculine tendency to them. They show us ways to do and achieve and create in the world. Fewer archetypes in our collective history really show us how to Be and Rest and Rejuvenate and Receive. This is one of the reasons we have an imbalance of masculine/feminine energies in our current civilization, focusing more on the doing and the achieving rather than the being, nurturing and loving.