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The Irresistible Power of Archetypes

Updated: Feb 8

Archetypes don’t let you off the hook. They are extremely powerful and pull you towards your inner desires and soul urges. They don’t allow you to escape their imprint and you will find outlets for your archetype throughout your entire life, even if at times it is very challenging for you to do so. There may be times when you find yourself wanting to escape an archetypal push in a particular direction. This is because an archetype can seem to disrupt your life when you think you should be focusing on other priorities. However, you will quickly discover that you are only fooling yourself if you think you can ignore your archetype, at least in the long run.

If you don’t let an archetype play out in life at all, you will find there is an ongoing soft voice within that keeps reminding you there is something missing in your life. It may come at an inconvenient time for you and you may not want to hear it. You may even pretend the voice doesn’t exist and tell yourself it is merely a phase. This approach may be successful for a while, perhaps even for years.  Eventually you may even come to the conclusion that any artistic talent you thought you had was nothing more than a fluke.

After a while you may talk yourself into believing that you have silenced that voice, only to discover that something is missing, something in your life is not as fulfilling. But you don’t quite understand what that is. At this point you may have lost the connection because you rationalised it away for too long. In other words, you may have silenced it so much that you have forgotten what it was that pulled you in the first place.

Falling under the spell of forgetting is how we end up not knowing what we really want from life. At this point you have to start digging to find the missing piece. If you have a strong logical mind, it will almost certainly try to talk you out of uncovering anything that could be inspiring and risk disrupting your status quo. By now the nagging voice within you transforms into a different state. It will make itself heard by giving you the uncomfortable sense that there is more to you, but it is too vague to be identified. You may feel dissatisfaction even if, on the surface, your life looks really good and on track. You may think that you are not living to your full potential but don’t quite know what that means. Getting lost in these thoughts is another trick the mind can play on us.

We are intuitive beings living in a world where the logical mind is dominant. While we need logical thinking and reasoning, we also need to tap into our intuitive mind. All successful people report that, in addition to their gift and skills, they have tapped into their intuitive mind and received guidance and information that furthered their creative outlet. Musicians have written new compositions, writers have tapped into new material, scientists have uncovered breakthrough ideas. Unfortunately, we have learned to ignore our intuition and, as a result, many of us have lost the skill of noticing the hint altogether.

Our environment supports this trend as we have trained each other to give logic and reason the upper hand and not to listen to the ‘weird voice’ that pops up out of the blue with no reason at all. We have set ourselves priorities and have left no room to allow ourselves to follow our dreams and calling. Logic and reason is the second voice in your head and that voice will try to talk you out of following your dream and calling. But your archetype is stronger. You may be able to silence it for a while, but not forever.

My grandmother was a good example of how to stay connected to one’s dreams and calling. She dreamed of becoming a singer while all the odds were stacked up against her.  She went through two World Wars and endured the Great Depression in between. She was born just before the First World War into a strict Catholic family that had strong views on discipline and what a young girl needed to learn to prepare herself for life as a woman. Her parents had already determined that she would learn the useful skills of cooking, mending and cleaning in a school for young women that focused on teaching those skills. Considering the period, that was actually a step up from the education most other young girls received at that time. My grandmother was granted an education that would help her in the future when she would likely marry and raise a family. Her parents had the best intentions with this plan, and indeed it was a great plan for a young woman of that time, until one specific day in my grandmother’s life changed everything; a day when her eyes were opened to a whole new world of possibilities.

The day started like any other, only on this day my grandmother ran into a group of street performers. She had never seen people like this before and was completely mesmerised. These performers had a horse and carriage, they were wearing interesting and exotic clothing and, above all, they were artistic and they sang! My grandmother loved to sing; singing was in her soul. She followed those street performers the entire day, singing and dancing every step of the way. It was the best day of her life.

My grandmother could really sing. She had a beautiful voice and she was gifted with the vibrato and therefore had the genuine talent to become an opera singer. Before meeting those street performers, she probably didn’t even know there was such a thing as an opera singer, but now the idea of becoming one occupied her entire being. She was dreaming of a new world, where she could see herself on stage, immersed in the feeling of radiating her talent to the world, lost in the beauty of her own voice. And then she came home. In a single moment the stage collapsed in one big fell swoop beneath her feet. Her parents were not impressed, to say the least, and I can understand why, given the difficult times in which they were living. How could they possibly, as good Catholic people, allow their daughter to live such a frivolous life, which was the typical perception at the time, of an opera singer? So, this was not only the end of an amazing day, it was also the end of my grandmother’s dream.

True to her parents’ wishes, my grandmother attended the school for young women. She then married my grandfather, had four children and put all her learned skills to good use. But she also found a way of giving her singing the life it deserved. She sang everywhere she could. She sang in the church choir, she sang at weddings, she sang at celebrations. In fact, she continued to out-sing everyone else around her until well into her late eighties!

My grandmother balanced her soul urge with another deep-seeded life purpose – being a mother and a wife. Some would say she managed to balance her creative expression with her priority in life. This is what we do. We label the singing as creative and the family life as the priority. From an archetypal perspective, both are creative expressions and soul desires, and both need to be expressed, if that is the archetypal pattern of the individual. How you do that is up to you.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the image we have in our minds of how our life is meant to be that if our life doesn’t match the image, we label the outcome as a failure. In my grandmother’s case, she could have blamed her parents for not allowing her to become an opera singer. She could have been stuck living an unfulfilled dream. But that wasn’t her. My grandmother got on with life and adapted.

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