Following from the last post where I mentioned Carl Jung’s Red Book, which was his record of active imagination encounters with his personal unconscious archetypes, allow me to add to the exploration of (your) MyStory memoirs a way to identify your own “Archemes;” a concept which I introduced in Your Life Path (Skyhorse, 2018). Just as we each have a finite number of definite themes or threads of experience that run through our lives either in whole or during specific life chapters or segments of our lifetimes, with each of these Life Themes we also all develop specific sorts of ROLES that pertain to those themes and that transform dramatically over time just like the character arcs of any narrative epic protagonists.
For example, some common Life Themes people identify by sorting types of their significant shaping events into KINDS of events include: Family, Education, Work/ Career, Romance/ Relationships, Friendships, Spirituality or Religion, and Travel. Notice how when you reflect on some of your own significant or “shaping” moments with respect to a few of these different Life Themes, you are somewhat a distinctive character from one to the other, and these characters evolve or transform as you have developed through these thematic movements in your life.
As an educator, for example, Education has certainly been a major, lifelong theme for me. And within that theme I have been the STUDENT (role type/ character) and the TEACHER, in various modes over time. Friends have sometimes chided me when, during a conversation, I might “shift into Teacher mode.” Whereas, as a spiritually oriented person, my persona can be quite more ‘esoteric’ or even ‘dreamy,’ as I practice daily contemplation, chant mantras, keep a dream journal, and allow myself to “surrender” to inner awareness or nudges from inner guidance. Yet still, with my pets it is all about unconditional love and gratitude; I sing spontaneous song lyrics as though life is a musical while walking with my beloved dog, Sophie. So yes, I recognize a pantheon of characters within my Self, as did Carl Jung. Like Jung I also realize how we project archetypal character forms onto or into those we interact with in our life relationships.
This week then, I invite you to take some tome to reflect in your MyStory (or any) journal on who you ARE, how your character shifts with different thematic expressions of your own Self. You could simply list some of the Life Themes you recognize, and next to those, name the character Roles or personas you have been developing in your life with regard to those different themes.
E.G. Education: TEACHER, STUDENT
Relationships: LOVER, DESCENDER
Family: SISTER, DAUGHTER (and re. Pets: PARENT/ COMPANION)
Vocation: ARTIST (Writer)
Which of these Archemes are best or least mature or developed in your life? Would you like to give some of your more submerged selves some more breathing room by getting back to some hobby or pasttime that helps you expand your deeper self?
Why do we so need a good Vacation or Holiday now and again? (For our more carefree Traveler or Family based selves to emerge for some needed ‘time out’?) Why do we wear special apparel and let ourselves get so excited by some hobby or at a Sports event? More profoundly, how do your different Parts of Self relate to and interact with others as well as among themselves? Try dialoguing in your journal sometime amongst some of your own various personas, especially with regard to some difficult decision or choice you might face.
Recognizing some of our own distinctive archetypal personas allows us to move consciously in the direction of a higher integration or polishing of our individuated Self, in Jung’s parlance. Joseph Campbell noted that those who refuse to accept and exercise their own internal archetypal diversity are the ones most in danger of a ‘schizophrenic’ breakup.
images are from pixabay.com
Enjoy your journey!