What are Archetypes?

Projecting our inner world onto our outer environment is not something we do consciously. This is simply the way the subconscious functions. This projection happens so continuously and unconsciously that we are usually totally unaware of the process even taking place. These projections, however, are useful tools in gaining self-knowledge for as we become aware of what is happening, we begin to know who we are. There are major streams of energy that flow through each human being depending on the faceted configuration used for each incarnation. These streams are pure energy patterns or archetypal energy, but they become distorted by daily living and begin to colour the projection of energy in a specific manner

Down through the millennia, these projections began to assume personalities until in more modern times we began to know them as archetypes. These archetypes function in the subconscious in much the same way as instincts function in the conscious.

Although the specific form of these archetypes may vary from culture to culture and even from person to person, their basic character remains the same because they are based on the seven universal principles that have initiated our local universe. These seven principles have diversified into many forms and many archetypal images. The most commonly known archetypal images that we are familiar with are the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the 22 Tarot Trumps with their analogies to the 22 Hebrew Letters, the Egyptian gods and goddesses, the Roman gods and goddesses and the Greek gods and goddesses.

Sometime in the futureI may list a summary of some of the different guises that the seven principles of our local universe have donned over the years. They have never been embodied, but they have never left us. Their influence today is as strong as ever it was in the past. They exist in subtlety in the collective unconsciousness of humanity but their influence continues to come through the various nations and ultimately the personality types.

These archetypes that are expressed through astrology, the tarot, the Greek, Egyptian and Roman gods and goddesses are not of course, these beings, they merely represent the fact that these universal principles are known about through many different cultures.

The Different Archetypes or Inner Selves

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 3.51.37 PMYou are not a single entity and neither am I.  Each of us is made up of a set of reincarnating facets that contain the different archetypes, or inner selves. These selves are the building blocks of the psyche. They are independent facets and each has a distinct personality. Each of these selves is like an actual person living inside of us. Each has its own history, its own way of looking at life and each has its own way of living in the world, and operates through its own programming.

How you will behave in any particular situation will depend upon the inner self that is in charge at that moment; this is normal; there is nothing strange about it. Perhaps you have inside you a critical self, a demanding self, a supportive self, a pleaser self, a pusher self, an inner child, and so on. All these selves are really part of the faceted structure of the personality you have adopted for this incarnation to help you experience your life lessons. They are formed by the balance of the four elemental principles, of fire, air, water and earth, and whether the polarity is negative or positive at the time.

Do you have days, or even moments at work, or at home when you know that you are completely in charge, when things seem to flow smoothly and the right answers are there when you need them? And at other times you feel awkward, and everything seems wrong; it is as if somebody-else inside of you is running the show. Decisions are difficult to make, you have an insecure feeling, you question everything you do, and nothing feels exactly right.

Actually, somebody else is running the show. There are two different facets or inner selves operating at these two different times, The first is someone who is both in charge and decisive, The other is an inner critic who criticizes everything you do or say, and makes you feel awkward and insecure. If you are aware of your personality type, it is certainly helpful in working out which element, and subsequently which inner self is dominant at the time.

Here is an example of two different selves as they operate in two different parts of someone’s life. Take for example, an intelligent, attractive, thirty-five year-old lawyer who specializes in mediation. She is an independent person who worked hard to get to this point in her life, she worked hard to get her degree, she never complains, and is now a partner in a highly respected law firm.

She loves her partner dearly, and is devoted to her family and has many friends. But she is literally one person at work, and a totally different person at home because different facets of her personality (different selves) operate in each of these circumstances. If you saw her at work you would be impressed with her ability to deal with complex situations and sometimes, quite angry clients. She has an ability to consider the needs of others, but she keeps her eye on the objective facts of the situation and deals with it accordingly.  When she is at work she is totally positive, and her ability to see facts clearly helps her to make the right decisions. She is totally professional and dispassionate in this situation.

However, when she gets home, things are different; she becomes more personal and emotional, easily influenced by the feelings and needs of her family and friends. She wants everybody to love and appreciate her. At home her decision making and her actions are deeply affected by the people she loves, and the objectivity and professionalism she uses at work are nowhere to be found. Again, these are two different selves; they are operating in two different situations. The first self is one we would call an impersonal self and the sec­ond is a personal self.

Now think about how different it is to relate to some­one as the selves in charge begin to shift. These selves can be responsible or irresponsible, protective or attacking, nurturing or needy, controlling or passive, self-assured or self-critical, supportive or judg­mental, loving or hateful. There are all kinds of possibilities and they are all in each of us!

When we know about these different selves and the elemental influence, much about our relationships becomes clear; when we do not, we are easily hurt, confused and angered by our partners. We often feel betrayed by them, and bemoan their lack of consistency, and question both their truthfulness and their underlying motivations.

When we do not know about the different selves, we judge our partner or we become critical of our partner and even openly criticize him or her. Or perhaps we become withdrawn or depressed. Sometimes we even become critical of ourselves and worry about why we ruin all our relationships. Some people feel so hopeless about relationships that they decide it just is not worth the bother.

Well, it definitely is worth the bother, and if you begin to recognize the different archetypes or inner selves, and learn about what really goes on in your relationships, it will open up a whole new dimension for you. When you know about the archetypes within each of us, and how the elements influence us through the different personality types, changes and inconsistencies are no longer a mystery, and you begin to recognize that your partner has not changed at all. It is, instead, an archetype or some of the inner selves in charge of your partner’s interaction that have changed. When you become aware of this, you will find the negative facets will begin to dim, the more positive ones will become enhanced, and your relationship will become more spiritual.