The Fifth edition of the Archetypal Tarot Podcast explores the meaning behind the Emperor card of the Tarot as a stage of a journey where one is asked to create structure and practical plans for your project or dream so that it can be fortified before going on to the next stage of the journey. The Emperor symbolizes the archetype of the Father as well as the King. Listen in as Julienne and Cyndera discuss these important patterns to our growth and flourishing.
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Listen in on a conversation with Tarot Dream Stone
consultant Cyndera Quakenbush and Archetypal Consultant
, Julienne Givot, as they discuss the symbolic and real world qualities of these archetypal characters.
Books mentioned in the podcast:
We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love by Robert A. Johnson
He: Understanding Masculine Psychology by Robert A. Johnson
She: Understanding Feminine Psychology by Robert A. Johnson
Below is an expanded list of these two archetypes in popular culture.
Examples of the Father Archetype’s light aspects in Film and Television:
- Gregory Peck in ”To Kill a Mockingbird'”(1962)
- Frances McDormand in “Almost Famous” (2000)
- Bill Cosby in “The Cosby Show”
- Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006)
- Paddy Constantine in “In America” – (2002) directed by Jim Sheridan
- Sean Connery in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) both shadow and light
- “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” (2005) directed by Zhang Yimou
- Alan Arkin in “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)
- Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica” (2005)
Examples of the Father Archetype’s shadow aspects in Film and Television:
- Jon Hamm in “Mad Men” (AMC)
- John Lithgow in “Dexter” (Showtime) and “Footloose” (1984)
- Kevin Spacey in “American Beauty” (1999)
- James Gandolfini in “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Examples of some of the shadow and light characteristics of the Father archetype but also an example of the cultures misunderstanding of this archetype:
- John Cryer in “Two and Half Men” (CBS)
- Homer Simpson in “The Simpsons” (FOX)
- Ed O’Neill in “Married with Children” (ABC)
Examples of the King Archetype’s light aspects in Film and Television:
- Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Gallactica (SciFi Channel) (both aspects)
- Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” (2010)
- William Moseley as Peter in the Narnia Chronicle series
- Keisha Castle Hughes and Rawiri Paratene in Whalerider (2002)
- Sean Connery in “The Man Who Would be King, First Knight, Time Bandits (both aspects)
- Good King Wenceslas (myth / song)
Examples of the Father Archetype’s shadow aspects in Film and Television:
- Marlon Brando in The Godfather (king/father)
- Christopher Walken in “The King of New York” (1990)
- James Gandolfini in “The Sopranos (HBO)
- Darth Vader in Star Wars
- John Noble as Lord Denethor in the “Lord of The Rings: Return of the King” (2003)
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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?
The next in the series about Archetypal Attraction and Romantic Chemistry
The Knight and the Damsel are a matched set of patterns with naturally occurring complimentary attributes and dysfunctions. This can be true of any couple with these archetypes no matter their gender, same, different or otherwise. While we think of the Knight as a man and the Damsel a woman, that’s not always the case. I’m going to go the traditional route here but keep an open mind that the archetypes are not necessarily gender specific.
The painting to the right is an eloquent image of the romantic chemistry of the Knight and the Damsel.
Notice the Damsel, who I’m going to call Miriam, stands above George (her Knight) which is symbolic of the pedestal of her more delicate nature, in other words, that which needs or wants protection. Miriam is dressed beautifully, her hair perfectly combed as she leans gracefully to tie her scarf (a token of her love and support) onto his armor before he goes off to battle the nasty icky dragon.
Miriam has a civilizing effect on George, whom she believes would probably be just another brute in jangling armor were it not for her inspiring beauty and attention. For George, Miriam is the reflection of his inner feminine nature, emotional, delicate and not something he generally sees in himself. For George, going off to slay the dragon is natural, Miriam’s support makes it all the more noble and important because he can do the manly things he needs to do knowing that she will be safe and there when he returns. Symbolically he can leave his own feminine nature safely at home while Miriam can see a reflection of her masculine side go off to do the tough and dangerous work.
The romantic chemistry for the Knight and the Damsel is so complimentary that it goes a long way by creating deep bonds and mutual admiration. It often imbues that sense of puzzle pieces fitting together that I mentioned in a previous article. But then there are the dragons, which in this image are both looming in the distance and perched at home on the balustrade.
The dragons rear up when one or the other get tired of all this projecting of what they want to see in themselves in the other person. George doesn’t want to deal with his emotions – especially when Miriam practically demands that he take off all his armor and do just that. Or when Miriam feels stifled up on that pedestal, maintaining her beauty for him and generally waiting for George to stop being so bloody insensitive. What attracts these two archetypes can be exactly what drives them nuts. The path back to being complimentary patterns who support each other (from co-dependent to interdependent) is often a truce of sorts that allows each to see the others nature as a reflection rather than a projection. George is able to see his own feminine nature and Miriam her ability to protect herself as they work to integrate the full breadth of these archetypes. When these two archetypes get together in a healthy way and honor each other for who they are – it’s a power team to be sure.
There are several sets of fictional characters that I can think of that model the empowered Knight and Damsel coupling. Interesting to note that several of them come from the mystery genre of fiction – both authored by men. Nick and Nora Charles are fictional characters created by Dashiell Hammett in his novel The Thin Man. While also boozily humorous, these two play off each other well in the generally empowered Knight and Damsel roles. Susan Silverman and Spenser in the long running series of Spenser mysteries by Robert B. Parker excel at being a Knight/Damsel power couple. Throughout the series of nearly 40 novels the two go through pretty much every archetypal peril and triumph with both heart and wisdom.
More recently, the BBC/PBS series Downton Abbey features an excellent example of an empowered Knight and Damsel in the characters of John Bates and Anna Smith. They remain steadfast and trusting of each other but not demanding. Bates does not treat Anna as if she is weak but he is protective. They both honor the masculine and feminine in each other.
Volumes have been written about Venus and Mars and their challenges which the Knight and the Damsel are rooted in. For a deeper , non-fiction insight into these archetypal relationships and the Western concept of Romance, I highly recommend Jungian psychologist Robert A. Johnson’s “We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love“.
Read Archetype attraction part 1: The Basics
Romantic Archetypal Chemistry is based on complimentary needs. Typically it’s either an archetype we value or one that reflects qualities we want to see in ourselves. This is the kind of attraction we usually think of in terms of romance and dating. You know, that subtle “the puzzle pieces just fit together” kind of attraction. That’s great right? Who doesn’t like feeling that way? Of course there are some pitfalls to Romantic Archetypal Chemistry because the ingrained traits and their shadowy bits can make for a rough time once the heady days of romance wane. This, my friends, is where the archetypal view becomes even more helpful.
Romantic Archetypal Chemistry means that there are qualities that you both have that work well together because each feels the one has something the other lacks. The big reality check is that this isn’t always strictly true, it just seems like it. Call it mirroring or projection, each need and need not fulfilled by the other can either be an ugly wedge into a relationship or a way to gain a much bigger understanding.
Take these classic Romantic Archetypal Chemistry combinations below for example. It’s not hard to see where the interdependence starts to form. And from that, guilt and resentment can grow like mold in a frat house fridge.
- Victim & Rescuer (or Healer, Caregiver,Hero)
Is this really considered Romantic, you might ask? In the way of Western Psychological Romance, I believe so. Look to many the romantic novel or film and you’ll see the dynamic of perceiving that the other has something one lacks and is attracted for that very reason. It’s based on a belief that you and the other person somehow complete a circuit, but many times it’s a circuit of lack and not necessarily fruition.
Are these combinations doomed because of their inherent attraction and difficulties? Not at all. Knowing what the expectations are can make all the difference. If you know you have a Rescuer archetype you have a much greater understanding of how you operate and can choose not to enter into a relationship with someone who needs rescuing or not. This is something one of my clients took on and found it life changing – read about it in this case-study.
Next in the series: Romantic Chemistry: The Knight and the Damsel
Stay tuned for more!
Commments? Questions? Leave a message below.
We are attracted to people by archetypal patterns. For most people it can be so subtle that you don’t know what’s going on, but paying attention to these powerful patterns can really improve your dating experience. I mean, wouldn’t you want something to help guide you through the sometimes dark and murky forest of dating life and toward what you are really looking for?
No need to take tests, get astrological information, blood type or genealogy, just pay attention, suss out the patterns and go from there. In this series I’m going to break archetypal attraction down to some usable basics. The key to all of this is to pay attention in a new way – one that is a bit less emotionally cloudy. You needn’t be a detective, but someone who can see, listen and be present to what is going on with yourself and the people you are meeting.
There are two basic ways to look at archetype attraction, Romantic Archetypal Chemistry and Shared Archetypal Chemistry. We are repelled by certain archetypes too but I’ll cover that in another post.
Archetypes are short hand for an indelible collection of behaviors, personality traits and most importantly motivations. They have a light side and a dark side. Unless you are living on another planet, you can bet that it’s only the happy shiny version of the archetype that’s showing up for dates for the first few months.
“When you date…have you ever noticed when you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their “representative”. Then after a about 3 months you meet the REAL Candidate” ~Chris Rock
Knowing the archetypal makeup of yourself (both the shiny and the dark) and the one(s) you are dating is a good way to have an idea of what the potential is for the relationship as well as steer clear of some unwanted dating mismatches. How do you do this? Well naturally working with someone like myself will give you that edge but I’m hoping that these articles will have you beginning to use these ideas.
To get you started – think about the relationship you are looking for – what archetypes do you want that person to have? What attracts you to those archetypes in another person? Use the archetype list here as a reference.
Archetype attraction part 2: Romantic Chemistry
I haven’t found a more potent and exciting combination of the Hedonist and the Revolutionary archetypes than in Jamie Oliver (formerly know as the Naked Chef). One of the the UK’s brightest culinary exports is taking America by storm and I for one love him all the more for it. He won the TED prize in 2010 and began by using his 100k grant to start a Food Revolution!. One year later his progress is stunning and includes a partnership with the American Heart Association and numerous thriving community projects. You can read more about it here at TED.com
Jamie is an archetypal Hedonist – he loves food – good food – nutritious and delicious food. He is rebelling against the status quo (Rebel) of processed food and unhealthy diets and is a Revolutionary leading a movement to change the way we eat, what we feed our children and how we treat food in general. Watch his impassioned speech from the TED Awards and you’ll see this Hedonist/Revolutionary using his powers for good and not evil.
Jamie’s mad as hell that American children are being fed so poorly and he’s not going to take it any more! This Food Revolution was televised last year on ABC and now can be seen online at Hulu.com. Besides being educational, the program was entertaining and engaging in a way only someone with a great deal of passion for change and a good bit of playful sensibility could. Along with the Hedonist, Rebel and Revolutionary archetypes, I’ve observed the Divine Child, Father, Teacher and the Fool playing out in Jamie both on television and how he presents himself in his work.
“This Food Revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way people eat. It’s not just a TV show; it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future, take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking, and find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better, it will also add years to your life.” ~ Jamie Oliver
What is most exciting for me is that the combination of Hedonist and Revolutionary presents a deeply personal examination of both how we care for our health in terms what we eat and the pleasurable, social aspects of eating as a joyous and healing experience.
Image via Wikipedia
Jamie is not the first Hedonist-Revolutionary however. Alice Waters of the famed restaurant, Chez Panisse began her crusade decades ago and continues to revolutionize how we grow, cook and share food through her Chez Panisse Foundation and the Edible Schoolyard.
Archetype Crib Sheet:
Hedonist (Related archetypes Bon Vivant, Chef, Gourmet, Sybarite) This archetype has an immense appetite for the pleasurable aspects of life, from good food and wine to sexuality and sensuality. Indulging the self is central to the psyche of this archetype, whether treating oneself to a health spa or creating and indulging in delicious food. The Hedonist celebrates life in all it’s pleasure, with joy and sensuality. The shadow Hedonist may manifest as being self-indulgent without regard for other people or one’s own good health.
Films: Babbette’s Feast, Like Water for Chocolate, Big Night, Tampopo, 91/2 Weeks, Sex and the City 2
Fiction: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding; The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; Les Liaisons Dangereuses by P. Choderlos DeLaclos.
Revolutionary This archetype of the Revolutionary is motivated to radically transform the conventional order. The Revolutionary awakens consciousness and works for change in any area from politics to science, art and in the case of Jamie Oliver & Alice Waters, the way we view and consume food. Revolutionaries are also inventors and business people who create and promote ground-breaking new products and services that create change. Director Lars von Trier and his Dogme 95 Collective are an excellent example of revolutionary ideas in action in the art of film making.
Films: Motorcycle Diaries, The Corporation, V for Vendetta, Fahrenheit 9/11, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Star Wars (original trilogy), The Social Network.
Theater: Bertolt Brecht
Books: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Future of Revolutions: Rethinking Radical Change in the Age of Globalization edited by John Foran,
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels
“Everything happens for a reason.” Says Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, who is one third of the pioneering rap group Run DMC and one of the most influential rap artists of all time. At the age of 35, DMC made a startling discovery and suddenly, everything he thought he knew about himself had changed. He told his story on stage at a Moth Storytelling event which was aired on the radio and subsequently published as a podcast. Info on subscribing to the free podcast here.
DMC’s story caught my attention because it’s about purpose, destiny and the seemingly small things that can lead us to it’s discovery. Even something as simple as hearing a song on the radio. The archetypes of the Artist, Midas, Angel and Orphan feature prominently in this true story. I’ve noted them parenthetically.
Darryl had everything he wanted (Midas). An incredible career, top selling records, fame, money, respect, a healthy family, good upbringing – the whole thing and yet he was depressed (Artist). While on tour in Europe he began to have suicidal thoughts. He could sum up all of the things that were wonderful in his life but he couldn’t connect it all together, something was missing. He decided to put off thoughts of suicide until the tour was over. When he returned home, he got in the limo and heard a song on the radio called “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. As he listened to the song, something in him said “life is beautiful, it’s good to be alive”. (Angel)
Image via Wikipedia
For the next year, listening to Sarah McLachlan’s music was all that kept him going. His obsession with her music confounded his friends and colleagues. He is a rap star after all and what is he doing just sitting at home listening to some chick folk singer? His manager convinced him to leave the house to attend a music industry party. DMC wasn’t interested in going, but agreed to go for an hour. Even though he was surrounded by pop luminaries like Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keyes, DMC couldn’t care less (Orphan). He was counting the minutes until he could leave when Sarah McLachlan walked into the room. He finally had the opportunity to meet her and tell her how much her music meant to him. To hear him tell it, he came off like a bit of a lunatic praising her music and how it changed his life. She demurred and thanked him saying “That is what music is supposed to do”. (Much like an archetypal Angel would do.)
Three years go by and Darryl is still trying to figure out what he is missing. He decides to write an autobiography and calls his Mom to ask her about when he was born. His perspective completely pivots when his parents tell him that he was adopted. (Orphan)
“Now if you think there is really a time to commit suicide, finding out you’re adopted at age 35… but right then and there something happened. I remembered, when I asked myself ‘am I here to be DMC?’ and summed it up, that, was the missing piece, the void was filled. I really wanted to kill myself but then I remembered something, Sarah McLachlan said ‘that’s what music is supposed to do’. So I said ok before I get suicidal, depressed and do something real crazy, I need to write a record that’s going to help that little orphan or that little kid in foster care who thinks they threw me away, I’m worthless, I mean nothin…because I may be DMC but what I really represent is purpose and destiny. I need to make a record that will inspire somebody the way Sarah McLachlan inspired me.” ~ Darryl “DMC” McDaniels
What this revelation brought about was just that. In fact he contacted Sarah McLachlan and they recorded a hip hop mash up of Harry Chapin’s “The Cat’s in the Cradle” together and dedicated it to “every life and every soul touched by the reality and experience of adoption“. Just as Darryl was leaving the recording studio Sarah said “I’ve got to tell you something. I was adopted too, and I didn’t know that.” Everything happens for a reason.
In 2006 Darryl “DMC” McDaniels was presented with the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award for his work with children in foster care promotion of adoption.
Click to watch the video of “Just Like Me” by DMC featuring Sarah McLachlan
Click to watch the video for Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”
We find ourselves in the middle of the first month of the New Year. The air is still fresh, dreams are new, and heartbeats run fast. Maybe, like me, you are starting to slump under the abundance of material on keeping resolutions for the next twelve months. Instead of yet another piece on holding your intentions for the next month, let’s look at an archetype that can be your ally for the rest of your life.
Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr
The Zombie, which is only increasing its popularity in films, comic books, and classic novel mash-ups, is an image that hardly needs an introduction. They are dead people returned from the grave, wandering around the land, and groaning after the living. Side-stepping the gory details, the classic Zombie is easy to recognize: Insatiable hunger, a monotonously numbing routine, and a lack of individual choice are three primary characteristics of this pattern. Any act, from voracious spending to pursuing increasing amounts of attention, qualifies as long as what you gain is never enough. This is not consuming for sustenance, but as a temporary fulfillment, stilling any discontent and numbing you to the full experience of life. Where is the ability to make a personal choice if one has glutton-ed themselves to the point of total numbness? That’s why you rarely see a lonely zombie. They’re part of a group, all of them chasing an endless appetite.
Zombies move in groups, lack a personal identity, and are attracted by that which is not like them, namely someone alive. They move together with a singular goal to consume and internalize some part of a person who, through their life, possess a personal share of destiny. Unfortunately, once a living person contacts a zombie they become part of the homogeneous group lacking independent animation and destiny. Instead of claiming their own destiny, zombies are attracted to someone else’s and consume what they can until everyone is in the half-life existence.
The Raising of Lazarus – Vincent Van Gogh
It is the empowered Zombie that wakes up and moves toward her passions and the life that has been calling her. Lazarus in the Gospel of John is a useful illustration to this point. He had been dead and in a cave for several days before Jesus finally rolled into town. After speaking with the deceased’s grieving family members, Jesus stood outside the cave and called to the dead. (This is the voice of destiny urging the zombie to stir from his half-life.) A few moments later Lazarus woke, walked out into the daylight and stood while his face, hands, and feet were unwrapped from the constraining funerary garments.
For you and I, we can detect the presence of the Zombie when we find ourselves deep in our caves, consuming all that spews out of our electric displays, wondering at those who seem to have a slice of their own destiny. We may dream at the possibilities of fame and glazed camera lights instead of making things happen for ourselves. There is a voice outside in the sunlight calling to us every moment to wake up and come out into the world. First, we have to shake off the bindings that block our walking and our talking. We have to struggle to move and at times even to hear the voice itself. But we can walk out into the brightness of the life that we were born to live and follow each our own destinies. What better time to resolve our own longings than right now?
Film & Television: 28 Days Later; The Night of the Living Dead; Shaun of the Dead; Office Space; Clockwatchers; Fido; Zombieland; the Borg in Star Trek
Fiction: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith; the Inferi in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling; 1984 by George Orwell; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Religion/Myth: Lazarus in The New Testament (John, Chapter 11)
My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead (New York Times)
The still life of an Artmonk
How do archetypal motivations become passions that bring something new into the world? Sometimes one enriches another so much as to create a whole new experience. Inspiration is the deity of the Artist and contemplation the mark of the Monk/Nun. These two archetypes might not ordinarily be considered a natural synergistic match but in 2006, Bay Area artists Betsy McCall and Christopher Fülling began such an adventure in creativity and contemplation called The Art Monastery Project.
The Art Monastery Project is a contemporary experiment in social sculpture inspired by the tradition of the Monk/Nun: to apply the disciplined, contemplative, and sustainable monastic way of living to the creative process of the Artist.
Labro, Italy – home of The Art Monastery Project
Betsy and Christopher, along with a growing group of like minded ‘Artmonks’ embarked on a search for a location to put down roots for their project in 2007. Europe is home to many monasteries and convents that now sit empty, virtually waiting for their next community to inhabit them. After a search of over 25 different locations, they found their ideal home in the monastery San Antonio in the medieval hill town of Labro, 70 minutes north east of Rome, Italy. The building dates back to the 17th century when it was a Franciscan monastery and now hosts the artists of the Art Monastery Project, as well as a world-class hotel and a restaurant.
This international group of multi-disciplinary artists seeks to create original, collaborative work and live together as an intentional community. The practices of the Monk not only serve the creative process of the Artist but also honor the community and environment in which they live. The people of Labro have embraced being a part of this symbiotic relationship and are active participants in cultivating their town as a center of art and cultural tourism.
The guiding principles of The Art Monastery Project
Our world has been shaped by passionate people who reflect deeply about what they can give and who embrace their full creative inspiration and dedication to manifest this insight into being. The Artmonks are passionate about artistic excellence, innovative spiritual process and the investigation into the nature and benefits of community living. They are open to new international collaborations as well as new community members. Local Artmonk groups are being formed all over the United States.
For more information on the Art Monastery Project, how you can give your support or even join in on the experience visit their website. They also have a You Tube channel with videos of their stunning dance, music and other artistic productions.
The archetype of the Artist is marked by passion to express a dimension of life that is just beyond the five senses. The Artist psyche is animated with the energy to express it into physical forms. The nature or relative grandeur of any form of expression is irrelevant; a chef can be as much of an artist as a painter or landscaper. The signature of artists is not in what they do but in how intense their motivation is to manifest the extraordinary. Doing what you do in such a way that you create an emotional field that inspires others also indicates the Artist energy at work, as does the emotional and psychological need to express yourself so much that your well-being is wrapped up in this energy.
The archetype of the Monk/Nun is marked by intensity, devotion, dedication, persistence, and wisdom. On the shadow side, the role of a religious recluse could be seen as removed from the real world, overly pious, even privileged in the sense of not having to be concerned about earning a living or raising a family. Yet, historically, monks have been extremely industrious and involved in real-world enterprises, whether draining swamps and planting vineyards in medieval Europe, working the rice fields in Asia, building monasteries, teaching, or copying and preserving texts. Today the Monk archetype may show up in the ability to be single-minded, assiduous, devoted to a spiritual path or to any great achievement that requires intense focus. In this sense, novelists and entrepreneurs can carry the Monk as readily as spiritual adepts.
I recently came upon a blog post by Arianna Huffingtoncalled Sarah Palin, “Mama Grizzlies,” Carl Jung, and the Power of Archetypes . Huffington points out the use of the shadow aspects of the Mother and Bear archetypal symbols being used by Palin and her cadre, the self-proclaimed “Mama Grizzlies” as having a powerful and popular appeal among women.
International Council of Grandmothers photo by Marisol Villanueva
The “Mama Grizzlies” are not the only movement of these two archetypes at large today however. The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come. There is also a non-profit called The Mother Bear Project which is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS.
Archetypes are thought to emerge from the collective unconscious, which in it’s simplest definition, is our communal hopes and fears. There is a great deal of change and chaos afoot so it’s not surprising that these archetypes are coming to the fore. I’d like to expand more on these two powerful archetypes in order to foster a better understanding of them and what might underlie some these movements in our world today.
The Mother archetype in it’s empowered (light) aspect, is one of nurturance and new life, symbolic of a life-giver, a source of nurturing and nourishment, an unconditional fountain of love, patience, devotion, caring, and unselfish acts.
The disempowered (shadow) aspects of the Mother are the same as the empowered but in reverse. If the Mother archetype in its light aspect is about bringing together people as a family, then the shadow is about abusing that relationship to manipulate and meet ends that are not about togetherness but of disharmony, selfishness, power and abuse.
The archetype of Mother will tend to bring with it our own experience of it on a personal level – whatever those personal myths may be. This is where things get tricky – the literal interpretation can cause a strong reaction that can prevent us from seeing anything else. Something along the lines of “this is my experience of Mother and therefore it must be the only truth”.
Mother - Buenos Aires photo by Beatrice Murch
To view the archetype symbolically, we have to pull away from our personal myths and see what the archetype represents universally. The photo of the statue to the left might be a better way to interpret the archetype of the Mother. Everything about the statue is the essence of the empowered Mother archetype, even the older child’s posture leaning against the Mother represents how we naturally lean into that which takes care of us.
The Bear in Native American, Pagan, Celtic and most other mythologies represents strength, introspection and the death/re-birth cycle. From a book on Native American animal symbols by Jamie Sams and David Carson: the light aspect of Bear represents a seeking of inner knowing. The Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, that which is found by looking inward versus to the outer world’s influence. Hibernation represents the going inward, away from the distractions of the outer world before taking action.
The shadow aspect of Bear represents confused perceptions, reactionary behavior and where one may have forgotten their own wisdom because they are seeking it from others. There are many different interpretations of Bear as a symbol although all mention introspection, strength, wisdom, discernment or reactionary lashing out and intimidation in the shadow.
Combine the archetype of the Mother with that of the Bear and you have a very powerful and evocative symbol – for better or worse depending on the aspects that arise and what people choose to align with in the coming days.
This is a true story about one woman, the Storyteller archetype and it’s power for both good and tragic. I came across it on a podcast recording from The Moth which is a not-for-profit storytelling organization.
photo by Eddi
When Nancy Finton was in her early 20’s she had a job as a bartender in New York City. She tells of riding the subway home late at night and walking along dark streets making up stories about how she would defeat any attacker who came her way. Sometimes she would walk with such belief in her own goodness that she imagined that no one would dare hurt her. She relates how these stories would make her feel safe and how they had seemingly worked as she had so far never been assaulted.
A few years later, she was living in Norway and was attacked when walking home from a bar late at night. She escaped the would-be rapist by talking to him, telling him that this was not what he wanted, not really, and asking him about himself. In trying to get his story from him, she disarmed him (figuratively) and got home safely.
A week later she heard a news report that a woman had been raped in the same place where she had been attacked. She had not reported her incident because she told herself (another story) that since she had not seen his face it was useless to report it. The truth was that she was embarrassed that she had taken such a risk walking home alone so late and she feared that the police would mock her. She was also feeling good about herself that her power to tell stories had again kept her safe. She admitted that what she had been telling herself had blinded her to the fact that it was not just her story. The story included others – including the girl who had been raped and who she could have possibly spared by stepping out of her story and taking the opportunity to report it.
There are several layers here that illuminate just how powerful the Storyteller archetype can be:
- She used the Storyteller archetype to feel confident and then when threatened, to distract her attacker.
- The Storyteller also kept her inside her own story and blinded her to the greater context of what happened.
In an act to relay how she herself got ‘storyfied’ (got caught up in her own story) the author chooses to share it via a medium that attracts other Storytellers. I have no way of knowing her real intentions, but it strikes me that her ability to communicate the whole story – including the crappy bits about her actions – has a curative power for her. Could it be catharsis? A cautionary tale? Maybe both. Either way it’s a powerful and real example of the Storyteller in action.
Films: Rod Taylor as Sean O’Casey in Young Cassidy; Laurence Harvey and Karl Boehm in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm; Judy Davis as George Sand in Impromptu; Barbara Bel Geddes in I Remember Mama.
Fiction:Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad; Beloved by Toni Morrison; A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
Religion/Myth: Homer (combined history and mythology in the action adventures of the Odyssey and the Iliad); Blaise (Welsh storyteller who in Arthurian legend became Merlin’s scribe); Thamyris (Thracian minstrel who won so many contests that he challenged the Muses themselves, and in return for his presumption was struck blind).
Fairy Tales: Arabian Nights (Tales of Sheherezade)
Once upon a time I was in a grocery store check-out line and struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me. We were talking about good deeds and she mentioned how her friend liked to put quarters in parking meters for total strangers. She called her friend the ‘Parking Meter Fairy’.
While we often associate the Fairy Godmother (FGM) archetype with children’s stories and fairy tales, they do walk among us. They might not have a talking umbrella or a magic wand, but people with the FGM archetype are real.
What makes a Fairy Godmother in terms of an archetype?
The Fairy Godmother and Fairy Godfather archetypes are closely related to the Angel archetype in that they generally have loving, nurturing qualities and a tendency to help those in need, either anonymously or with no expectation of any return. While their natures can be maternal, they don’t necessarily have children of their own but often serve as foster parents or guides to others. Some other tell-tale characteristics are:
- Enjoy throwing parties, dressing up and helping others to have a good time
- Provide make-overs and ways people can feel better about themselves
- They can see the potential in something or someone and can help bring that to life
- Excellent gift-givers (and many times anonymously)
- Adopts or otherwise takes on a protégé (or several)
- Has unbridled support of one’s growth and achievement
- The FGM/FGF might grant a wish or two but nearly always teach how we have magic of our own
- The ability to see the best in someone but also administer a stern word or two if necessary
- Tends to be smart, knowing, wise and slightly aloof
- Often portrayed as eccentric or quirky if not down right odd
As with any archetype, the expression is up to the individual, so not all of these characteristics will be the same person to person.
“Live! Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
Film: Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, Sleeping Beauty, Princess and the Frog, Cinderella and Auntie Mame all feature a Fairy Godmother archetype in action. The title character in ‘Amelie’ is a Fairy Godmother/Angel as she anonymously does good deeds for people as well as some mischievous ones. Dustin Hoffman’s role in ‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium‘ is a prime example of a very endearing Fairy Godfather as is Robert DeNiro’s Captain Shakespeare in ‘Stardust’.
Literature: Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, Aunt March in Little Women, Uncle Andrew in The Magician’s Nephew, Lady Lilith de Tempscire of the Discworld series, Leanansidhe from the Dresden Files series, Mrs. Madrigal in the Tales of the City series
Television: Oprah, Stacy and Clinton from the make-over show ‘What Not To Wear’ (They might be catty, but you can also tell they really enjoy helping people feel better about themselves.), the animated series The Fairly Odd Parents, Stephen Root as Jimmy James in ‘News Radio’
The Shadow side of the FGM:
It would be nice to think that these generally lovely and helpful archetypes don’t have a shadow side, but alas they do and it can be a doozy!
Hepzibah, the angry Fairy Godmother in the Disney version of ‘Sleeping Beauty ‘curses the baby when she isn’t invited to the christening. Fairy Godmother in ‘Shrek 2’ manipulates and plots against the heroes to get her way – in fact she shows only the shadow aspects of the FGM.
Glenn Close as the Marquise in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ is about as evil as a Fairy Godmother can be. The very good can go very, very bad. In ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ you will see that the Marquise has the same archetypes as Auntie Mame, only they are all in shadow.
The shadow aspect of the FGM usually has to do with putting in effort and then being resentful when they don’t get thanks or attention. The FGM gets the Princess ready for the ball but never gets to go herself. The downside of being both aloof and giving can be spite and self-pity. Not a lot of fun.
I’ll stick to the wisdom of Mr. Magorium:
“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
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The film “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” provides a prime example of the hero’s journey of each of the four core (or survival) archetypes: the Child, the Victim, the Prostitute, and the Saboteur. This film is an archetypal treasure trove, but for brevity’s sake I will concentrate mainly on these four.
The first character that we meet in the film is Dorothy – the Child. She looks for attention and is struggling to be heard and recognized by the adults (the Child seeking self-authority, responsibility). She longs for a place “somewhere over the rainbow” where she can have both authority and innocence – that is to say, a home of her own. The Child is the guardian of innocence and is the part of us that both wants and shuns responsibility and protection. Her hero’s journey begins when she is whisked out of Kansas by a tornado (chaos) and is taken to Oz where she finds new friends who will aid her on her journey back home.
After being recognized as a Hero by the Munchkins for doing away with the Wicked Witch of the East, she asks how to get home and is told that she needs to go ask the Wizard in the Emerald City for help. And so with a gift of ruby slippers on her feet, she starts out on the yellow brick road and happens upon the Scarecrow, her first ally on the journey.
The Scarecrow – the Saboteur, points in one direction and then another because he can’t make up his mind. He is stuck on a pole and announces that he is a failure because he hasn’t got a brain. The Scarecrow sings about all the things he would do ‘if only’ he had a brain. This is the Saboteur in the shadow aspect. The Saboteur is the guardian of self-esteem and choice. It represents both the voice in ourselves that sees things as confusion, lack or ‘if only’ as well as the voice that sees the attributes, resources and abilities available to transcend difficulties. In this sense the Saboteur is both our best ally and worst critic depending on what aspect we choose to imbue (shadow or light). You’ll see throughout the film the Scarecrow claiming he isn’t smart (shadow) and then using his intelligence (light) to help Dorothy and the others succeed in their quest.
Next our heroes meet the Tin Man – the Prostitute. He is standing alone, frozen and unable to speak in the forest. With the aid of Dorothy and the Scarecrow his joints are oiled (is given attention and love) and he can once again move and speak. The Tin Man’s complaint is that he hasn’t got a heart and sings about how loving he would be if he had one. He could then love freely without becoming frozen in fear. The heart here is symbolic of his faith in himself. The Prostitute archetype represents our internal negotiator, our guardian of faith and integrity. Like the Tin Man we can become frozen in fear when we feel our survival is threatened and will negotiate a price for ourselves to feel safe again. When Dorothy asks the Tin Man to join them he asks “Suppose I got there and he wouldn’t give me a heart?” – another question of faith.
The Cowardly Lion comes on as the Bully/Coward archetype but quickly transitions to the fourth and final Survival Archetype – The Victim. He claims that he has no courage and is therefore always the Victim (shadow). He is tormented by his fears and even scares himself. He complains about how unbearable life has been (seeking pity – shadow) and wants the Wizard to give him courage so he could be victorious (light). Later in the film he sings about how he would be transformed into a gracious and compassionate King (light) once he gets some courage.
Each of these characters is on a quest to get what they perceive as lacking from someone outside of themselves.
They have given the Wizard of Oz the authority to grant them what they need and have to face their fears and obstacles on their way to meet him. Each of these fears and obstacles are conquered using the exact thing that each of them believes they are missing. Only when they discover the Wizard to be a fraud do they begin to realize that they had what they were seeking all along. Being gracious though, they accept the blessing of the Wizard along with the symbols of their quest; a medal for courage (empowerment and self-esteem), a scroll for intelligence (choice and esteem), and a heart shaped pin for love (faith and integrity). Dorothy was carrying her symbol, the ruby slippers, the whole time and so too was her ability to get home (self authority).
We all have these powerful and transforming archetypal patterns in us and like the characters in the Wizard of Oz, we are on a quest to re-discover them. These are some of your powers – use them for good and not evil ;).
Interested to know more about how these archetypes work in dating and relationships? Dating Survival Guide series