Riding on the bus made me very anxious. Would it stop right in front of my home, or would it miss my stop and ride on? I wasn’t sure the bus driver even knew where to stop. After all, I was afraid to walk too far next to the big road that ran by my house. Being six years old and finishing a day in first grade was enough excitement for me. I can still vividly remember the one time the bus driver forgot my stop – it caused me to feel vulnerable. How many memories in our minds have caused us to feel anxious or vulnerable? These natural human feelings can often pile up on us. Whether the emotions are conscious, or unconscious is not the question here. Emotional pain, real or perceived, can affect all of us at some point in our lives.
“The primary objective of the victim archetype is to develop self-esteem and personal power.”
-Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts, Awakening Your Divine Potential
One of the patterns in our humanness can be how emotional pain sometimes feels like a jail. We may have lost a bit of hope and purpose when dealing with daily life. We may have learned to suppress our fears, angers and yes, even rages. Our culture does not allow us to “lose it” very often. Keeping it together all the time can seem like a victimizer lives in our heads. The light side of the victim archetype pattern in us can work with that bully in our heads. We can choose to nurture our victimized selves with essential oils. The pain that comes from our overachieving society can be one of the biggest victimizers. So how do we cope? How can we choose something immediate and healthy to soothe our souls? We can connect with nature. Using a simple oil blend in an inhaler, cotton hankie, Kleenex or diffuser can help our conscious and unconscious minds relax and calm down not only to cope, but to add a bit of hope. Up to 50% of the inhaled essential oils enters our blood stream and has a very quick effect, lasting up to two hours.
Some helpful essential oils to use when shadow victim thoughts enter our minds and cause emotional pain include the following: Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata, Sandalwood Santalum album for a sense of grounding, Neroli Citrus aurantium or Lavender Lavendula angustifolia for centering, and Petitgrain Citrus aurantium amara or Roman Chamomile Anthemis nobilis for an experience of release. Mixing just three of these oils can give a soothing connection to the spirit. Essential oils work on a conscious and unconscious level. So, we keep in mind the intention of ending the pattern of emotional pain which victimizes ourselves as we use our oil blends to remember who we are, feel a bit better about ourselves, and breath easier.
As always, if you need further and deeper help with emotional pain, please seek professional help by seeing your health care provider, qualified counselor, pastor, or spiritual director.
“Neroli oil may be considered for any deep emotional pain that robs us of hope and joy.”
-Gabriel Mojay, Aromatherapy for the Healing Spirit.
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My co-host Cyndera and I are very excited to announce a new format for the Archetypal Tarot Podcast. We will be revisiting the Major Arcana but this time with special guests giving their insights on the themes and ideas presented by these ancient yet totally relevant archetypal stories.
We start the new year off on the topic of Passion, it’s nature and how we can actually nurture a sense of vitality and adventure in our lives.
Our guest for this edition is an author who has literally written the book on the nature and nurture of passion, Gregg Levoy. Gregg is the author of the best selling Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life and puts his keen sense for creative insight as well as a Storyteller’s magic into his new book Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion.
Where his first book Callings was about finding passion, Vital Signs picks up on the why’s and how’s of losing our sense of passion & vitality and how to regain a passionate life with creativity and abundance. We love this new book and recommend you get a copy – it’s available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and many fine bookstores. Visit Gregg’s site and check out all of the resources in “Wow!” images, books, music and films to help you connect to passion and excitement. http://gregglevoy.com
Ultimately, passion is a life skill—a stance—that helps bring vitality to all our engagements: from work, family and school life, to creative, social and spiritual life. And it’s a survival mechanism—critical to health and well-being—because your attachment to life depends on your interest in it.
We think you will really enjoy Julienne’s conversation with Gregg about passion, creativity, the call of the wild, the archetype of the Fool, Vampires, Zombies, Intuition and the practice of living our lives fully.
Passion is an unstable element and will naturally degrade over time but some very simple, yet powerful practices have the ability to heat things up again. Not only is passion something we start to miss over time but it’s important to our overall health. As Gregg says in our discussion “Our attachment to life depends to a great degree to our interest in it.”. Without interest, everything fades, including our health. It’s no wonder Zombies and Vampires have been of such an interest in the last few years – we fear the life being sucked out of us by routine and a lack of creativity.
You can listen to the entire podcast below or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and never miss an episode. We have a very exciting line up of authors, teachers and creators lined up for future episodes.
Right-click and save this podcast to your device.
Gregg’s List of 5 Things You Can Do To Beef Up The Passion & Quality of Your Life:
1) Pay attention to what is trying to emerge in your life.
2) Remember that you have a ‘use by’ date.
3) Come up with a bucket list. (Check out this from Artist Candy Chang: Before I Die)
4) Always give yourself something to look forward to.
5) Look for where you’re restless – ask yourself: What wants to move? And where does it want to go?
6) Turn something upside down. (The Trickster archetype can be very useful in this.)
Want to email us about the Archetypal Tarot Podcast? We’d love that! ATPodcast@archetypist.com
Related articles & podcasts:
Harvesting From This Year’s Season
The Tower & Lightning Liberation
The Archetypal Tarot Podcast is a production of Both/And Media.
I Feel It All by Feist – An anthem for a full & passionate life.
Stephanie Meghan of Soulshine Tarot
How can you use the archetypal images of the Tarot to release limiting beliefs? In this special edition of the Archetypal Tarot Podcast, Cyndera has a conversation with Stephanie Megan of Soulshine Tarot about just that.
Stephanie Meghan a Tarot Archetypal Hypnotherapist and owner of Soulshine Tarot an online personal development practice that uses the archetypal images of the Tarot. Meghan is an ivy-league trained scientist who takes a no-nonsense approach to reading Tarot and helping her clients release limiting beliefs.
Stephanie offers customized sessions with guided meditations mixed with a gentle hypnosis. Meditation is an immensely powerful and beneficial tool that can enhance your well-being and can allow you to remove limiting beliefs that cloud your path to happiness.
Soulshine Tarot Website
Connect with Stephanie on Facebook
Want to email us about the Archetypal Tarot Podcast? We’d love that! ATPodcast@archetypist.com
Listen to the episode below or subscribe on iTunes
©Jason Blait courtesy of Flickr
Let’s consider for a moment that we all have a container in our psyche that holds the entire history of our being wounded: betrayal, abandonment, shame – the whole painful enchilada. This same container also holds the story of our healing: past, present and future. The archetype of the Victim is our guide through these storylines and shows us either a heroic triumph or an exasperating epic that never seems to end. The difference being which side of the pattern we pay attention to.
The Victim, like the rest of the survival archetypes has a bad reputation which might be why it’s easy to spot in others but sometimes difficult to own in ourselves. This bad rep is due to most of us only seeing the unempowered side. The unempowered version of the Victim is stuck, complains about how they have been wronged and are convinced that they had little to no bearing on the outcome of the wounding incident. We’ve all known “Debbie Downers” who incessantly complain about everything and re-frame their experience to get attention or sympathy. Often times this is seen as the Martyr which shares a good bit of DNA with the Victim, but lacks the element of witnessing a larger truth. The unempowered Victim will hand everything over and expect someone else to ‘fix it’. The balance of power lies outside when the Victim shows up in it’s shadow form.
“It’s your/their fault.”
“It’s all my fault.”
“I’m always getting hurt.”
“No one understands me.”
“I didn’t have a choice.”
“This always happens to me.”
Conversely, the empowered Victim has an intimate understanding of their own trajectory of having been wounded and what it took (or will take) to work with it to come out on the other side stronger and more wise than before. Their power remains within them even if they ask for help. Help for the empowered Victim is not handing the problem over to someone else but to actively engage to work through an issue with some assistance.
“I made a mistake, now I’m going to…”
“This is really hard but I can do this.”
“I’m going to need some help with this.”
“I’m getting back in the game.”
“Live and learn.”
Spotting this pattern as it emerges allows for a broader range of choices where one can decide which side of the Victim card they want to play. Recognizing that the Victim is an archetypal pattern that all humans share can be a first step to take the sting out of a situation and make room for real compassion. After all, compassion is one of the things we seek when we’ve been hurt. Recognition and attention to the situation seen first as a pattern also points us toward discernment and wisdom instead of harsh judgement which can just exacerbate the pain of the situation.
The richer more enlivening place to draw from is that of the path of healing, which is to say the empowered Victim. Healing encompasses the story of the wound as well as what it it took to get to wholeness again. Not only wholeness but an expasiveness that did not exist before the wound. What do I mean by this? This quote from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross the pioneering psychiatrist sums it up nicely.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen…”
©Garry Wilmore courtesy of Flickr
Having gone through something difficult and come out the other side with more wisdom, compassion and understanding is the Victim’s ultimate journey. The ways and means of a life with knowledge of the Victim pattern reminds us how strong we can be. A talisman that says we can’t rush healing to a perfection of wholeness but neither can we stay in the pure pain of a wound for very long. Even those who claim they are wounded beyond repair are not immune to what the world brings them as healing salve if they are open to it. The kindness of a friend or a beautiful piece of music can be healing. It’s the choices one makes to accept the gifts of healing and the stories we choose about what happened to us that make the difference. The Victim is a guide to how we work with the painful times as well as a way to be more generous with ourselves and others.
Dating can feel like a trip to the amusement park, filled with excitement, ups, downs and the occasional sense of inertia. Certain archetypes can help serve as guides for keeping grounded while amidst the thrills and spills of dating life. So far I’ve written about archetypal attraction based on shared patterns, paired needs and romantic chemistry. Now it’s time to dig into some of the archetypal characters that will likely show up for everyone dating. They also can play into why some people don’t even dip their toe into the dating pool. I call these our Survival Archetypes. They are roles we take on when we feel vulnerable as well as ones that can guide us to authentically being ourselves.
We all work with the survival archetypes. Some people are so in the thrall of the unempowered aspects of them that they have a hard time seeing beyond their negative effects. It’s my hope to turn this around a bit. Each archetype should be used as a guide – not a way to judge yourself poorly. In fact they are an excellent way of spotting how you might judge yourself and how to make a more empowering choice.
The four dating Survival Guides are: The Victim, The Prostitute, The Child and The Saboteur.
The names of these archetypes might seem to some harsh or intimidating, but that’s because we tend to know them only by their pathology. They also contain a wonderful possibility that often gets overlooked.
I launched this series on dating by recommending attention as a key for getting clear on who you are and who you want to form a relationship with. Paying attention to your thoughts and behaviors by seeing them as patterns helps you get clear on your options. That clarity can get lost however if we use the pattern to judge ourselves poorly or condemn ourselves.
The technology of using archetypes is best served with a practice akin to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) coupled with self-compassion. The basis of MBSR is moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness. Awareness and self compassion are powerful practices in life and especially in the necessarily vulnerable experience of dating. Developing awareness and self compassion practices can make all the difference in being able to be authentic (you know, the real you) and attract the right people into your life. This isn’t just me talking, there are increasingly more scientific studies showing how awareness and self compassion are amazing for us in every aspect of our lives, from reducing stress, relieving pain and bringing greater resilience and happiness to practitioners. Two other pioneers in this field are Kelly McGonigal, Phd and Kristen Neff, Phd. Neff’s book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind is an excellent starting place.
This series will focus on each of the four survival archetypes as they might show up for a single person looking to meet a significant other. They are of course useful to those already in relationship or those thinking about ‘getting back out there’. I’ll share ideas on ways to bring awareness to your actions and choices in a way that helps you enjoy yourself more in the process of creating new relationships. If we are enjoying ourselves from the beginning, we’ll be less prone to heap expectations on the person we are dating and vice versa. Sound good? Look for updates soon and links will be added to the list above so you can jump to the next exciting article.
Little things can mean a lot. Let’s say you’re having a crappy day and you’re at the store when the cashier pulls out a coupon that saves you a dollar. This gives you a boost and you walk out the door in a better mood. Maybe you don’t honk at the numbskull ahead of you for doing whatever it is that annoys you. That person doesn’t get irked with you for being a numbskull honking at them and who knows what other little improvements occur because someone did you a solid just for the heck of it. Little bits of beauty & generosity have a tendency to carry on long after their tipping point. Like watching a TED talk and getting inspired to write an article about something both simple and radically important about the patterns at work in our lives.
Neil Pasricha decided to do something seemingly small when he was going through a very rough patch in his life. His marriage was falling apart, his best friend took his own life and he naturally was finding it really hard to think of anything good. He started a blog in order to record and share what he called 1000 Awesome Things, figuring that it might help him focus on the positive again. Little did he know that this one effort would have him publishing books, calendars, TED talks and receiving a Webby Award for his blog in 2010. All of this AND bringing a grin or a LOL to millions of readers. Neil’s 17 minute talk about how all of this came about is totally worth watching so, go ahead, it’s right down there, I’ll wait. Then you can read about how this talk is an invocation of three of your core archetypes. (Or you can just skip to the next bit.)
Neil calls the major lessons of his experience the three A’s of Awesome: Attitude, Awareness and Authenticity. Each of these invokes one of your core archetypal patterns, the Victim (Attitude), the Child (Awareness) and the Prostitute (Authenticity). These are 3 of the 4 core universal archetypes common to everyone also known as the Survival Archetypes.
Neil’s own story has a lot to do with the Victim archetype. He could have simply wallowed in his circumstances, let them take over and obscure the beauty in his life. The unempowered side of the Victim is the part of us that can get wrapped up in anger, sadness, and blame. We all have a Victim pattern in our lives – we have setbacks, get hurt, make mistakes, have crappy days when we feel like we’ve gotten the fuzzy side of the lollipop. We also have the empowered side of the Victim that makes choices to get out of the mire of blame and move on. Neil calls this ‘Attitude’ and I see it as using the pattern of the Victim to make a gigantic difference in a few small choices.
The second ‘A’ of Awesome is Awareness and this invokes the Child archetype in us. The Child or as Neil says, our inner three year old, can be amazed at the simplest things, see beauty where most adults just see a knot in a piece of wood. Invoking the awareness of the Child archetype can help us enjoy something simple, open our eyes to opportunity or just appreciate something we would ordinarily pass by. This isn’t just a mood lifter, but a way to be in the world with a deeper sense of presence. The Child can be the antidote to a fast paced world where it’s difficult not to become jaded to little pleasures like putting on socks still warm from the dryer.
The third ‘A’ is for Authenticity which believe it or not, invokes Prostitute archetype. The unempowered Prostitute is that part of us that will negotiate our self worth away because of someone elses opinion or keep us doing something we dislike because we feel we can’t do anything else. The empowered Prostitute reminds us that we can be authentic and make choices not based on fear but out of an authentic belief in ourselves. Neil uses the example of pro football player Rosie Grier and his penchant for needlepoint as an example of authenticity. Rosie could have easily kept his passion for something unmanly under wraps and let what other people might think of him control who he was (keep in mind this was the early 1970’s) but he didn’t. In fact he published several books on his interests. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that.
While this archetype has a shocking name, it can be a guide for us to live authentically. Are you not doing something because you are afraid of what people might think of you? Are you putting the opinions of others over your authentic dreams and desires?
Understanding archetypes goes much deeper than a chat about a movie and beyond the confines of a psychology textbook. An archetype is not just a pattern “out there” in theory but it is a recurring set of experiences that unfold through the course of a human life. Our ability to spot when a particular pattern walks in the door makes the difference between acting out and making a conscious choice. We begin to view the shape of our lives within an archetypal language by introducing ourselves to four patterns that we all share, the Survival Archetypes. Let’s imagine that four well-known television characters become clothed for a time with each her own version of a pattern. Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia share a home somewhere in Miami in the Emmy winning television sitcom, The Golden Girls.
‘Rose’ image via Wikipedia
This pattern and the next are the most obvious to match with characters from the show. Rose captures the essence of the Child perfectly. Her wide, gullible eyes lack any indication of doubt because she accepts anything an adult tells her. The pattern itself balances innocence and responsibility. Forced to make her way through life by her own efforts, Rose gathers herself up from a fantasy world where she is taken care of by her husband’s pension plan or a steady job and takes life on directly. This is significant because the Child has to leave the safety of the family and enter a harsh world populated by sharply critical adults. When we want to run away from a situation and deny what is happening, we are confronting the Child within us. Yet this is also the pattern where we can choose to see each situation as overflowing with limitless potential and see things as new again.
‘Blanche’ image via Wikipedia
Of course it’s Blanche. In almost every episode, she decides to assign a value to her body by comparing her looks to another woman or using her body to advance her own interests. At every turn Blanche is chasing a man or furious that her wiles haven’t produced the results she expected. The Prostitute grabs a price scanner and makes its mark on every part of us it can so that we feel safe in the world, often by remaining in a relationship or a job. Whenever she is confronted with a problem, Blanche throws on a negligee and adjusts her makeup in order to barter her way through. She never fully believes in her own capacity to solve her problems beyond her salable attributes. Only by the end of an episode does Blanche find what is truly valuable: Her friendships and sense of herself beyond her outward appearance.
‘Dorothy’ image via Wikipedia
Dorothy is the “smart” one with the cold stares and the newspaper in her hand, ever expounding on the failures of society with its potential to violate and betray us. It is her voice that speaks up after silently burning for a few moments, waiting for the assault to stop, and sets appropriate boundaries. More than a few times Dorothy picks up a newspaper and hits Rose over the head when the St. Olaf stories go on too long. This is the Victim, present when we feel unable to defend ourselves but also when we go after someone else for revenge. Its empowerment isn’t in aggression and dominance but in being clear about our boundaries as they relate to who gets “in” as well as how far you get “out.”
‘Sophia’ image via Wikipedia
Sophia’s entrance is often preceded by someone starting to dream about a wonderful new idea or vision of themselves. She shuts them down with a opinion based on how they will fail, often gouging out a chunk of self esteem in the process. The Saboteur does the same. Dorothy, for her part the empowered Victim, slaps her hand across Sophia’s mouth to prevent the impending criticism. When you are about to make a choice that will interrupt a new opportunity for you to build self-esteem and connect to your destiny, the Saboteur has entered the room. Through the entire series, Sophia exemplifies the Saboteur in her attempts to pursue a vibrant, active life for a woman in her eighties and confronts the view that she is hastening towards senility and the grave. The ability to step into a new life for ourselves is guarded by the Saboteur, but make no mistake: This is the pattern where WE are blocking our way forward, not anybody else.
Blanche: What do you think of my new dress? Is it me?
Sophia: It’s too tight, it’s too short and shows too much cleavage for a woman your age.
Dorothy: Yes, Blanche. It’s you.
Picture it: One night you can’t get to sleep. Something’s really bothering you at work or you’re ashamed of your bank account. Maybe you’re not with the person you love anymore. Whatever it is, you get up and shuffle into the kitchen. Soon, you are surrounded by four of your lifelong archetypal pals, only they’re doing all the talking. You sit there on the table while they pick at you, bicker and lay into each other with their concerns and fears. Basically, you’re a cheesecake, slowly eaten away bite after bite. Instead of becoming a pile of crumbs when these voices are in control, we can take the time to pursue a relationship with them. We can know when we are making a choice that obscures or magnifies our destiny. At first a silent partner, studying our deeper motivations, but in time we claim our place at the table. Eventually, we will distance ourselves from their automatic choices and see what has been waiting beyond our fears in front of us the whole time.
More articles about the Survival Archetypes