Have you ever read a story before and felt so deeply in your bones that this story was speaking to a part of you? Have you ever felt so moved by a book to question your life decisions and goals? Perhaps you've watched a movie and felt a deep resonance with the characters' struggles and joys, like feeling parts of your life play out in front of you?
Mmmm, this can be the power of archetype.
Archetypes are characters, of a sort, that we all automatically understand in similar ways. For instance, if I say "the hero", "the bully", or "the seeker"; we usually share a common understanding of what these terms mean and how this person might think or behave.
In our personal healing and growth, we can harness the power of these potent *characters* to help us embody an aspect of ourself. Perhaps we're choosing to develop a new skill, or we're reclaiming a part of ourself that we seemingly lost along the way, or we're owning a part of us that we've tried to run away from for a long time...archetypes can assist us in powerfully claiming the energy of these aspects of ourselves.
Think about it for a moment:
What part of you is calling out from the shadows? What part of you has been denied for so long (probably because of something you believed to be true when you were growing up) that's ready to be expressed right now?
Who is most inspiring you lately? What about this other person inspires you? Where is that in you and your life, and can you begin cultivating it more consciously for yourself?
What new skill or habit have you been longing to commit to? What aspect of yourself or archetype can you draw power from?
Here are some examples to help you understand the three questions above more fully:
Are you someone who struggles to accept, understand, and even express your anger in healthy ways? Perhaps you suppress feelings of frustration, irritation and anger until it all comes pouring out in inappropriate ways? SO maybe you can draw upon the archetype of the protector to strengthen your boundaries and remember that healthy anger is okay. Or maybe you draw upon the aggressor when you're working out to really allow your anger to move through your body when you're lifting weights? Or maybe you allow the voice of the bully self to come out and say all of the *mean, ugly, or hurtful* things that you wish you could say - except you say them privately, in your car, so that you're honouring your anger and giving it a voice, while remaining within the healthy window of what it means for you to be an adult.
Mmmm think of someone that gets you so fired up to make a move, take action, or create change. Think of someone who you aspire to be like. Then notice what specific qualities you're most drawn to...is it their financial freedom, then you can exemplify the archetype of the business person to get things moving...is it their relationships and friendships that you admire, then you call upon your inner best friend, and connector to kindle deeper friendship with the friends you already have or seek new friendships. Pay attention to what exactly it is about this inspiring person and then link it to an archetype.
Are you stepping into new terrain in your life? Perhaps you're going on dates again (as best as you can during the continued Covid protocols!), going back to school, starting a new job, committing to drinking however many litres of water each day...so call upon the inspiration and power contained within an archetype. Call upon the seductress, the student, the learner, and the task master.
So you might be wondering, okay Briar I've figured out what archetype I want to work with (and if not, then google a list of archetypes and see what calls to you), now what?
Well I'm so glad that you asked!
Here are some of the ways that you can unpack the wisdom contained within an archetype - taking something broad and universal and making it specific and impactful for your unique self.
Write a letter to this archetype asking for help with specific questions or ideas. Put the letter aside and then a few days later channel this archetype, by reading the original letter and writing a response from the perspective of this archetype.
Read stories or watch movies where this archetype is present and notice what connects with you personally.
Write down the traits or specific behaviours that this archetype offers you and then brainstorm manageable, everyday ways to mindfully choose these behaviours.
Everywhere we look there can be inspiration and wisdom. The power of story and archetypes is simply another layer of wisdom for you to explore as you continue to grow and embody the beautiful, unique version of yourself!
On a personal note, I'm over here embodying the archetype of Earth mother and what this means for me. I've been diving deeply into this practice of channeling mama vibes as I'm now in my 8th month of pregnancy and preparing for my maternity leave to begin in a few short weeks.
I offer all of the beautiful folks I've had the honour of working with a huge thank you as they continue to move alongside me in my parenting and business transitions over these coming months/years.