Update on 1/19/19: My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories. I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.
Determining Your Archetype: If you would like to read about many different archetypes, I suggest you check out the websites and books of Caroline Myss. She covers various archetypes from the addict, advocate, alchemist, angel, artist, and athlete to the trickster, vampire, victim, virgin, visionary, and warrior. Even archetypes with negative associations have something to teach us about humanity and ourselves and are worth exploring. Archetypes are a creative way to classify characters and analyze literature, film, the world around us, and ourselves. If you want to take a quick quiz to determine some of your inner motivations and possible archetypes, Myss provides a short quiz.
Certainly, I didn’t have to take this quiz to know that I am driven to create (artist) and driven by a desire to learn more (intellectual). However, taking the quiz a few times might allow you to see how parts of yourself might be in competition. For instance, I have a deep longing for adventure (explorer), and a deep longing to help others (caregiver). Certainly, on some days, I don’t know whether climbing Mt. Everest or helping others seems more appealing. If I could combine a day of great adventure and helping others, then that would probably be my ideal day. Understanding yourself in a deeper way allows you to make better life decisions, and archetypes are just one tool of many available tools.
Joseph Campbell: Another writer who discusses archetypes in great detail is Joseph Campbell. In The Hero of a Thousand Faces, Campbell shows us that the most popular stories and films, even throughout history and various cultures, share the same specific formula of the hero’s journey and are full of characters/archetypes we immediately recognize like the hero, mentor, ally, shapeshifter , shadow, etc. Any fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings will certainly recognize the archetypes Campbell discusses. Campbell’s work is influenced by Jung, and his writings are memorable and beautiful. I highly recommend him for more in-depth analysis of archetypes.
Creative writers, both poets and fiction writers, can benefit from considering certain myths and interesting archetypes. If a character needs more development, you might give these character more traits of a particular archetype or have this character evolve out of certain stereotypes. As a poet, I have been inspired by descriptions of goddesses, and incorporate many of these descriptions into my poems.
Manifestations of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine: Many spiritual teachers talk about the need for healing the planet through healing the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies. Certainly, there has been much suppression and subjugation of female power in spirituality and in other roles. Additionally, some roles for men have been overused and abused, and men’s spirituality is sometimes considered more of a weakness in society than the strength that it truly is.
According to Jung, everyone has masculine and feminine energies though one might be more dominant than the other. Society and individuals function better when these energies are balanced. For instance, to be creative, receptive, and intuitive (more feminine traits) is wonderful, but without some level of action, power, and abstract thinking (more masculine traits) not as much will get accomplished. If either energy (masculine or feminine) is out of balance in a person or in society, life will become less fulfilling and destructive in many cases.
Manifestations: I made a video about six different archetypes and how these archetypes might be viewed through the lens of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. These archetypes include the Goddess/God, Queen/King, Priestess/Priest, Lover, Warioress/Warrior, and Wise Woman/Sage. If you watch my video, realize that we change from moment to moment and throughout our lives. You might have certain motivations that see you through your life in its entirety, but everything is subject to change. Gravitate toward the archetypes that bring you joy and the ones you want to enhance or heal in some way. Have fun with the journey, and as Joseph Campbell says, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
Don’t be afraid to learn more about yourself and your motivations. Without a struggle to learn and change, you won’t have progress. If you make the learning process joyful, your life will always be open to amazing, magical possibilities.