Celebrate the Idealist / Amelia Earhart


This week I heard a news account about Henry Worsley, a man who aimed to cross Antarctica alone and on foot. He completed all but thirty miles of his arduous journey, then he succumbed to the effects of a brutal infection he had been battling and perished.  So close, I think almost all would agree that Henry achieved his goal.  People like Worsley who aim for the highest achievements possible to test their own human endurance and capabilities—people who climb Mt. Everest or set out to achieve world records of any form—embody and express their Idealist nature. These bold individualists often set the standards of being a Dreamer higher for us all.


This month we explore and celebrate the IDEALIST Archetype persona. To start us off on our adventure, let us envision the life and success and the fateful final voyage of Amelia Earheart. The History channel over the past couple of years has broadcast a biopic of Amelia including what is now known or surmised about her final days.  Experts now believe that she crash landed with her mechanic, Frederick Noonan, near a small island in the Pacific and perished there.  Amelia’s jacknife nd some other probable pieces of evidence have been identified. The details are not so important here; apparently Amelia endured a gruesome death succumbing to crabs on the beach that may have ultimately claimed her body. Noonan perished sooner from an injury incurred during the crash landing in the waters near the island.


Because Amelia Earhart fully embraced her inner Idealist; because she broke the mold of what women could expect to accomplish in her day; because she presented herself as a fearless adventurer for whom the Sky was No Limit, I cannot myself but imagine Amelia on that tropical beach finding serenity and finally welcoming her transition into the afterlife Beyond. Perhaps how Spirit took her was ultimately her own Better Ending: alone on a beach, with several days to reflect, to contemplate her life and to prepare for the Beyond. Let us collectively imagine Amelia finding fulfillment and aiming even further on that beach than what one meager lifetime has to offer.


images from pixabay.com

No human experience is wasted, of this I am sure. We accomplish what we have come here to experience (whether planned for or not), and we take the lessons, the insights and wisdom and strength of character forward as we continue Soul’s Journey of eternal proportions.

So please join me in celebrating the IDEALIST–in you, in the collective consciousness–this month.  Who are some Idealists whose stories inspire and encourage you to reach for the Stars and Beyond? What have been some of your own Idealist moments when you have aimed high and achieved your goals? How can you inspire others to never sell themselves short; to envision and to manifest their own Better Endings?

I welcome YOUR insights and stories!

Integrating Your Elder Leader



This year for the final post every month let’s focus on INTEGRATING the Archetype of the month within your Ensemble Cast of Archetype Allies. Your archetypal persona parts of Self function best in dynamic interaction with one another within what I like to call your Total Self System. This harmonizes their various energies to bring a greater balance to your perspective and more depth to your thoughts and creative expression.


Consider your Elder Leader mode with respect to your overall  presentation of Self. Acting alone, this archetypal role persona can be overbearing or rigid. Yet tempering this focus by integrating it with other archetypal energies such as the Nurturer, the Healer, the Lover or the Artist can bring a much more dynamic and brilliant approach, a multidimensional depth to your leadership style.

To help you integrate your Elder Leader, think about a leadership role that you occupy either as a parent or at your work or in your social or spiritual group. Is there a plan of action you are intending to implement from your leadership stance? How might your plan of action or a leadership decision you may face benefit from taking multiple internal (and external) archetypal perspectives “to Heart”?


The list below represents The Twelve primary persona Archetype modes that are universal to human consciousness.  For each of these, I invite you to contemplate and write down how each might contribute to your plan of action, then write out a unified account of how you might utilize these various perspectives in implementing your leadership strategy for the situation you are facing. In italics just as exemplar statements I’ll model the practice but I encourage you to try this one yourself!


The Situation requiring a plan of action:  Acquiring some needed resources for my department.

Contributing archetypal input (abbreviated):

ELDER LEADER:  Draft  a formal  request specifying needs and itemizing costs.

NOURISHER: Discuss needs with department faculty and staff, collecting their input.

WARRIOR: Identify benefits for the group and establish a strategic, logical argument explicating needs.

LOVER: Compromise where possible to temper your request in relation to the needs and feelings of people in other departments.

IDEALIST: Reach for the highest! Don’t settle for less than what is truly needed for all concerned.

ARTIST:  Design your presentation to be well organized and clear, to shine.

GOLDEN CHILD: Be assertive in order to be generous, taking everyone you represent into full consideration. Envision abundance and deliver that.

DESCENDER: Consider deeply what the true needs are versus frills, and prioritize. Consider carefully before proceeding.

TEACHER: Demonstrate the key elements of your needs assessment clearly.

COMMUNICATOR: Write carefully to frame the request effectively.

HEALER: Aim to present how the needed elements can improve/ repair the capacity of the department to better fulfill its role for students and will benefit the whole system.

MYSTIC: Use wisdom, not just knowledge; approach this process wholly.

Dynamic Plan of Action: Gather input from faculty members and develop a well considered list of needs. Frame the request carefully and deliver it effectively and with wisdom.

thai craft art

images from pixabay.com

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! Try this for yourself!

I welcome your comments and stories.

Leadership Quotes

Quotes from Goodreads :


“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
― Dolly Parton


“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth RevisAcross the Universe


“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
― Lao Tzu


images from pixabay.com

Your Elder Leader Archetype


The following is an abbreviated table showing some characteristic traits of the Elder Leader Archetype (composed by Debra Breazzano, MA/ LPC, an archetypal psychologist.) Do you recognize these traits (or Shadow traits) in Elder Leaders you have known and in yourself in certain sorts of situations?

The Elder Leader: Archetype of Structure, Leadership and Authority

Alchemical Correlation: Earth originating; coming into being
Astrological Association: January / Capricorn
Mission/Purpose: To provide structure, leadership and authority for the benefit of the group or community
Emotional expression: Values composure rather than display of emotions

Can detach from emotions or emotional expression

Thinks through emotions; rationalizes

Focuses on feelings of respect (respecting others, being respected)

Emotional satisfaction through discipline (with self, with others)

Values commitment and devotion

Shadow characteristics: Critical and judgmental (of self and others)

Intolerant of others with differing beliefs

Autocratic, dictatorial and often corrupt leadership

Rigid; unforgiving

Brutal with discipline

Interests/Involvements: Politics, legal systems, military, education, government, business…positions of authority or responsibility


What–or who–brings out the Leader, and in what mode, in you? Have you felt inhibited in leadership positions because you have been influenced by Leaders with SHADOW characteristics such as a hypercritical or dominating parent or boss?

The Elder Leader archetype is within each of us, and we have internalized this archetype unconsciously from our experience as a collective, recognizable ‘energy’ or persona mode.  Sometimes we first need to work through our reactions to Shadow Leader influences in order to let our positive leadership strengths develop and shine. I can relate to this quite a bit from my own life experience.  For most of my adult life I shied away from engaging with anger either in others or in myself. In leadership roles, where invariably such emotions might be encountered, I found I had a “flight or fight” response. I would avoid confrontation all the more because if forced into an encounter with an anger-expressing person, I could become overly (though briefly) aggressive myself.

Learning about the Elder Leader archetype and exploring its manifestations in my own life history has helped me come to understand that my imbalance around expressions of anger had to do with the fact that my father had a harsh temper and often expressed himself angrily toward me as a force of domination and control.  After reflecting on some of my interactions with my father I have used ‘archetypal dialogue’ to come to a better understanding of how his behavior influenced my own outbreaks of over-assertiveness in stressful situations in reaction to others’ anger.  This has helped me to relax, to pull back from immediate confrontations in order to LISTEN before continuing or advancing in such an encounter. Now I aim to demonstrate understanding of the other point of view without either responding in like mode.  I aim now to arrive at a win-win situation collaboratively with the other person, as I now realize that anger is a common reaction to real stress and real needs.


images from pixabay.com

I welcome your insights and stories!

Postulates Guide Our Footsteps


This month as I am focusing this site on how understanding and working with the  Elder Leader archetype can help us to achieve our better endings, I find myself thinking more than usually about how the Elder Leader archetype manifests in the world and in my own consciousness. This morning I awoke thinking about this in relation to the idea of POSTULATES and how these orient and direct our actions.

On the level of common human experience it hardly matters what any of our belief systems might be. Atheist, existentialist, agnostic, or theist, we all make our way through life applying conceptual frameworks of one sort or another and operating as if this framework is naturally so.


When I was in my teens into early adulthood, I read a lot of Albert Camus and other existentialists (Nietsche, Beckett, Sartre, Kierkegaard) and at the time this shaped my perceptions and guided my actions considerably. If there is no absolute purpose or meaning to life, I felt then, with Camus I accepted great personal responsibility for the creative unfolding of my little lifetime. “To live and to create in the midst of the Desert” became a creed for me to follow.


Now of course, not all existentialists (or atheists or agnostics) accept this same credo of creative engagement as an answer to the relative or potential meaninglessness of existence.  There is wide latitude with this spectrum of outlooks. Some find life to be quite stark; Camus opens his book of essays The Myth of Sisyphus with the line: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” (http://users.humboldt.edu/jwpowell/sisyphus.htm). How a person answers such monumental questions, based on whatever considerations they allow “in” from influential factors and in response to life conditions, shapes their outlook on life and their capacity to act in accordance with postulates they might thereby forge.


Ethics follow from the postulates we hold. The new Star Wars movie (Episode VII) dramatizes quite well differences that may result from holding nihilistic as versus spiritualistic or theist outlooks as true. Genocide, selfish greed and egotism flow from the “Dark side” of the life force; camaraderie and reliance on inner awareness and harmonious synergy determines action from being grounded in the more positive, life affirming “Light side.”  Consider though, that these are not equal in the outcomes they inspire, at all. Spoiler alert: Kylo Ren (the newest villain, grandson to Darth Vader) kills his own father from even a playful, evil glee; with no apparent remorse whatsoever. And this is not just scifi fiction (wish that it were!); such outlooks on life and such behaviors permeate our collective realities daily in this age of mass murders and political and so-called religious terrorist plots aiming to draw attention to extreme violence perpetrated against strangers or even family.


For the past forty-two years in my life I have adopted more of a theistic/spiritual outlook, and I find this frames my postulates about life and informs my attitudes and behavior quite differently from my earlier existentialist viewpoint. I still get Camus’ or other non-spiritualistic postulates to live life as NOT under the constant purview of Church or God or congregational fervor or communal judgementalism, but not all spiritualistic postulates require this either.  On the other hand I value deeply the sense of holistic interconnectedness with Life Itself—with nature and Cosmos and Spirit inflecting through all! I enjoy the camaraderie of synchronicity and the acceptance and deeply felt sense of the Sacredness of each and every form and inflection of the life force, as noncorporeal Spirit and as embodied Soul. From this vantage point I accept and welcome supra-dimensional at-one-ment with nonphysical and physical agencies that help me consider my every step in life, though it remains my responsibility to set my postulates and frame my ethics and to live accordingly.

Unconditional love becomes (for me) a primary postulate from this spiritualistic outlook.


images are from pixabay.com

What I am saying is that each of us develops—among and interactively with other archetypal persona traits—our own Elder Leader faculties that help us forge and express our postulates day by day and that inform and can shape or allow our behavior. We get to choose—we must choose—what sorts of archetypal forms we accept and enact of ourselves—i.e. Strength or Shadow Elder Leader formations. Hence we are responsible for the postulates that guide our footsteps, and for the consequences that flow from these.

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I always welcome your insights and stories.

A Letter to Your Elder Leader



I invite you this week to write a letter to an Elder Leader figure from your life who has at times been less than fully encouraging or supportive of your ambitions. An example is a high school guidance counselor who once told a friend of mine, Barbara—the best artist in our high school class—that she was “not college material.” This affected my friend’s life considerably. She did not go to college but she did go on to become a very successful artist who apprenticed at Toussaud’s Wax Museum in Niagara Falls and eventually became a wax figure artist herself. Barbara peopled several full wax museums in the US and one in Ireland, and she created a line of period historical wax dolls!

I remember that at one point Barb decided to take a college course just to see how she would do with that, based on the disparaging remark of our high school guidance counselor. Well, she aced the course, but she also realized how grateful she was for not having gone on right to college after high school; her real life experience brought her many more opportunities and allowed her to develop her artistic talent in her own ways.


Elder Leader figures like the high school guidance counselor serve as “gatekeepers;” in fact many elder leaders fill that role. Elder leaders are also by their very nature or position role models. Most parental figures can be considered Elder Leaders in their children’s eyes at least. For example, the other day while I was writing the previous blog at a local café, I overheard a conversation between two young children (a boy around 8 and a younger girl) and their mother. The boy repeated several times to his mom that: “Dad is my Hero!”

What might my friend Barb like to have said to that gatekeeping guidance counselor, either at the stage she was discouraged from going to college or later, after she had achieved far more than that counselor could have ever foreseen?

I invite you to think of an Elder Leader figure from your life who has influenced you either very positively as a role model or who may have inhibited you in some manner as a gatekeeper; or, both. I invite you to write a letter to this Elder Leader figure, and then I also invite you to write a RESPONSE to your letter from that person in return to you.

I will provide a brief example just to illustrate the process. Then I encourage you to practice this dialogue on your own. I welcome any sharing of your practice!

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Dear Dad,

First let me thank you for how you encouraged all of your children to find and then to follow their own path in life. Also I thank you for demonstrating the values of fortitude, perseverance and self-discipline.  My own leadership abilities follow in many ways from your example. At the same time, I needed to overcome a lot of inhibition because of how demanding and critical you could be. I always wanted to please you, yet it was difficult to earn that positive encouragement.

I do thank you especially for how in the late stages of your life, Dad, you were there to LISTEN and to honestly communicate with all of us about the difficulties you underwent as a young man. You were toughened and hardened by your experiences, and you tried to help us to develop a “tough skin” too, to survive in what you perceived as a harsh world.

I will never forget the day you taught me to swim by standing a few feet away in shallow waters, asking me just to go that far, then gradually establishing further distance so I could expand my reach!  That lesson applies to my whole life, so I thank you for the independence of spirit you invoked and for the idea I could attain my goals.




Dear Lindy,

Maybe in the end there are no accidents. From the bigger perspective, we all find our way. I am glad that you are following your path. Know that you are never alone!




images from pixabay.com

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I welcome YOUR insights and stories!


The Elder Leader Archetype



Archetypes are both in the world around you and within the structure of your own Psyche. On one level you recognize archetypal images in the forms of roles and “typical” experiences and relationships. At the same time, you have unconsciously internalized these same archetypal formations in the process of being socialized and becoming who you are; developing your complex identity. While this may sound like a different understanding of archetypes than you are familiar with from Jung or Hillman or from more recent, popular authors, as a cultural and psychological anthropologist I see the connection between our role based social identities and the unconscious makeup of human consciousness that embodies at least The Twelve primordial Persona Archetype forms which Dr. Charles Bebeau associated with Sumerian astrological gods and goddesses and that pertain very directly with Jung and Hillman’s archetypal theories and practical therapeutic methods.


The Elder Leader is an excellent example of how an archetypal form is both externally constructed or projected onto others as well as existing internally as a ‘Persona,’ a facet of a person’s character or–as I see it–a member of a person’s internal ensemble cast of archetype character modes. They may be experienced as ‘inner voices’–like the angel on one shoulder versus the Devil on the other–, and they often appear in our dreams as well as in our basic expression of Self in various distinctive situations.

When our various situational persona archetypes, from deeply unconscious to more consciously felt and expressed, combine with one another to contribute in our life pursuits, we draw upon and hopefully learn to integrate these facets of our Self identity as Strengths. In Shadow mode, however, persona archetype traits can also complicate or harm our sense of who we are and they might inhibit our actions and restrict our dreams.


Strengths of an Elder Leader persona can help you to achieve your goals and function effectively in any situation, but internal or external Shadow Elder Leader traits and attitudes can also block your progress or limit your enthusiasm and self-confidence. If you grew up with a punitive father figure, for instance, you may have internalized “Shadow Elder Leader” statements that your father  conditioned you to which dog your footsteps, e.g.: “You are not college material!” or “Do something productive with your life, not art (or music, etc.).”  To this day when I am writing, if I start to become didactic in what I am saying, I hear “Heil Hitler!” in my head; then I know to stop writing, loosen up, and be less rigid with what I am trying to say, because my Shadow Elder Leader has been dominating the work.


The opening paragraph above is more analytical than I usually aim to be with these posts, but if you are reading BETTER ENDINGS FOR YOUR LIFE PATH (this blog), then I do want you to have a clear understanding of how I see Archetypal Psychology uniquely as a cultural anthropologist and how this approach can help you to manifest and Live Your Dream, Now! Basically what I am sharing is that as we  go through life from our earliest conditioning or socialization, we take on roles that help us develop our identity through repeating kinds of situations in our lives (our own recurring Life Themes). Each of these Themes, like Family, Romance, Education, and Work allow us to develop the relevant role aspects of our Self expression as, e.g. a Parent (Elder Leader and/or Nourisher), Lover, Teacher or Learner, and other archetypal persona character modes. Since each of our Life Stories emphasizes a unique blend of Life Themes, Life Mapping can help you uncover which archetypal modes and traits have been most helpful (and, hindering) as you have developed through your life experiences across your distinctive Life Chapters. All this will be in part the substance of the Life Maps Process  tools I will introduce you to with my upcoming book, YOUR LIFE PATH. (My agent will finally begin circulating the book to prospective editors this next month.)street-artists-117290__340

images are gratefully from pixabay.com


For Your Journaling or Contemplation Practice:

What are some of your own Elder Leader traits in both Strength and Shadow modes?


How do you construct the very notion of an Elder Leader based on your own life experience?


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I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Joan of Arc


When I think of archetypal female Elder Leader figures, Joan of Arc comes quickly to mind. She exhibited strengths of a Mystic and a Warrior, and as a Leader, Jeanne d’Arc led an army to victory at Orleans in defense of her beloved France. This brave young woman listened to her own inner voices, whether from her unconscious archetypal assembly and/or spiritual agencies supporting her mission.

I acted in a play while in college in the the role of a schizophrenic woman who believed she was Joan of Arc. For the part, I read all I could find about St. Joan so by the time the play was performed I really did identify strongly with La Pucelle.  The night before the first performance of this play, Chamber Music, a well-known author focussing on women’s psychology gave a talk on my college campus and she mentioned Joan of Arc as a primary example of the highest qualities of a heroic figure. She ended her lecture after mentioning Joan, saying, “having spoken of Joan of Arc, I cannot say anything more.”

I felt the weight of the world land on my shoulders then, and I promptly went to my dormitory to re-read the entirety of George Bernard Shaw’s play, Saint Joan, that night.

The Good Joan

Along the thousand roads of France,
Now there, now here, swift as a glance,
A cloud, a mist blown down the sky,
Good Joan of Arc goes riding by.In Domremy at candlelight,
The orchards blowing rose and white
About the shadowy houses lie;
And Joan of Arc goes riding by.On Avignon there falls a hush,
Brief as the singing of a thrush
Across old gardens April-high;
And Joan of Arc goes riding by.The women bring the apples in,
Round Arles when the long gusts begin,
Then sit them down to sob and cry;
And Joan of Arc goes riding by.Dim fall the hoofs down old Calais;
In Tours a flash of silver-gray,
Like flaw of rain in a clear sky;
And Joan of Arc goes riding by.Who saith that ancient France shall fail,
A rotting leaf driv’n down the gale?
Then her sons know not how to die;
Then good God dwells no more on high!

Tours, Arles, and Domremy reply!
For Joan of Arc goes riding by.

Could there have been a “better ending” for Joan of Arc, who died by being burned at the stake in 1431 at the age of 19? We know of the tragic betrayal and of her torturous death for having held to her truth and fought for her people. She was declared a heretic for not denying that she heard the archangel Michael and other spiritual agencies directing her campaign. Women were not expected to have a direct communication with God or angels then, let alone to set out to lead an army to victory. St. Joan could have recanted; she might have escaped, but history records how she chose not to betray her spiritual agencies just to save her physical form.
I can hardly abide the more recent biographical films about Jeanne (though from a modern context they are well acted); it is Ingrid Bergman’s 1948 film depiction of St. Joan, based on Shaw’s play, that feels to me to be the best or better ‘rendering’ of this true tale of valor and faith that has become culturally iconic and archetypally embedded in human consciousness.
I cannot conceive of a better ending than what St. Joan chose by her own nature and conscience to endure for the sake of her faith and her relationship with Divinity Itself.
The best account of Joan’s passing to my sensibility is Leonard Cohen’s song of tribute, https://www.youtube.com/embed/gtwUyDPXROQ?rel=0“>Joan of Arc, as sung by Jennifer Warnes. Click on this link or select:   to see this excellent YouTube performance.
images gratefully from pixabay.com
Those attending Joan’s heroic passing witnessed a White Dove flying to the heavens as her bodily form crumbled to dust. Watch this video (above link) and read about St. Joan to contemplate your own archetypal Elder Leader (combined with Warrior and Mystic) potentials!