Set Yourself Free; Love the Archetype in You
What are archetypes? For purposes of this post we will be looking at the god and goddess available to each of us. These are the deities that come down to us in myth and legend and represent the best and worst of human expression. Whether you are using the ancient Greek pantheon, the ancient Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Nordic, the Indian or any other mythology, the most important aspect is to truthfully and accurately identify those which apply to you.
The Rule of 3
Understanding your archetype is one of the most beneficial processes you can engage in. Archetypes exist in order to help us understand our multifaceted nature and it is through these facets that our personalities shine forth. The great psychologist Carl Jung identified 12 major archetypes which he found to be present in all the great mythological stories in history. It is no coincidence that these archetypes are also mirrored in the major Arcana of the tarot and it is these cross-references that show us the power and usefulness of these archetypes.
An archetype as we use it here represents a mode of expression, a way of thinking and acting, and a sphere of influence that we can use to understand similar Aspects in ourselves. It has been my experience that each person has three major archetypes; all women have an Aphrodite archetype plus two others, one of which will also be female but the third one might be male or female. All men have an Ares archetype with the remaining two usually also being masculine although of course it is possible for a man to have a feminine archetype. This is based on my direct experience and of course is not absolute although I have found it to be quite reliable.
Tradition and Ancestry
It is important to draw the archetypes from tradition that relates to your ancestry, as this represents an unbroken line throughout history to the beginning of time. This genetic memory plays a much greater role in influencing your expression in the world than most people realise and that is why it is important to acknowledge this memory through your choice of Mythology. In some cases it will be clear that there is an archetype that is not fully represented in a particular mythological pantheon and in those cases the correct archetype will become obvious. This is after all not religion or dogma but a method of understanding ourselves better and to that end the most important part is to correctly identify your archetype.
So how do you go about identifying your archetype? By far the easiest method is to look at pictures of the Gods from the relevant pantheon. These pictures should have in them the sacred animal, sacred plant, elemental attribute such as fire, earth, air, water, and also a description or depiction of any special weapons or tools or garments relevant to that archetype. It is through animals in particular that you might find it easy to identify one of your archetypes it is very often these are animals that we have seen in unusual circumstances. For example if you were someone who has often throughout life seen owls in unusual circumstances or had an attraction two owls or you’ve been gifted many owls it may be that goddess Athena from the Greek pantheon maybe one of your archetypes. Or perhaps you have found yourself surrounded by swans, or the swan imagery following you, or you’ve had a strange dream with swans then Greek god Apollo may be your archetype because swans are sacred to him.
So you can see how this works: you look at the images of the gods from the Pantheon that you’ve identified as being from your ancestry and then simply notice those symbols that are already in your consciousness as being peculiar to you. This may take some time because it may not be immediately obvious what it is that relates to you however once you’ve identified at least one then read some of the stories relating to that particular god or goddess. This will help give you some context and it’s amazing how often the stories contain within them those elements that you can relate to in your own personality.
Embodying the Archetype for Greater Happiness
Ok so you’ve identified your three main archetypes, what now? The first step is to take the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of them and to then reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to put your own behaviours, your own actions into context, the context of broader archetypes. Armed with this information you can now relax into being who you always were, a multi-faceted being; one who is complex and sometimes seemingly contradictory.
The beauty of this technique is that you can also apply it to other people, most especially your partner. Why is this important? Because it will help you to understand one another better I’ll give you an example; let’s say your partner is a man and his dominant archetype is Hephaestus, then he is someone who is very practical and likes to get things done but is perhaps not the most romantic lover. You on the other hand may have the archetype of Hera, and you like to be acknowledged as a powerful and respected Queen. Knowing that your partner is rather direct in his approach you can be more understanding when he forgets to buy you flowers but fixes the car. This is not to say that you must accept a life without flowers, but it does mean that you can help him to understand your need for acknowledgement as a queen, even if he finds those acknowledgements unnecessary for himself.
Having identified these aspects of yourself it is really helpful to have images in your home that reminds you of the different elements embodied in each of these archetypes. Using the previous example of Athena, having statues or pictures of owls, having a picture of Athena herself, or keeping a special jar of olive oil which reminds you that the Olive Tree is sacred to this goddess. All these gestures will help better integrate your archetype. This is extremely handy during those times when you don’t understand why you’re reacting a certain way to a particular situation, or in fact why your partner is being incomprehensible to you. This one benefit alone makes the effort completely worth it!
I’ve included some links to places where you can get the tools to help you identify your archetypes and then represent them in your home or in your life in general. Understanding my own archetypes has completely changed the way I feel about myself in the world and the way I deal with others in private and in public. It has even changed the way I dress depending on the archetype I want to activate in a given situation!
Thank you for taking the time to read this and we’ll see you on the podcast. (please note that the links are Amazon affiliate links, which means we make a commission, at no cost to you, its a great way to support us and one of the ways we keep the podcast running thank you!)