Let’s Get to the Bottom of Things! (I invite you!)


November is the month of the Archetypal DESCENDER.  It is interesting that this Archetype is associated with a phase preceding the onset of Winter, a time of hibernation either literally or figuratively for many. I love the DESCENDER Archetype part-of-Self; it is one of my own dominant  ensemble Cast members.


Please don’t mistake the DESCENDER for Jung’s notion of a Shadow archetype. Any of the TWELVE UNIVERSAL ARCHETYPES (shown below) can manifest in either Strength (positive) or Shadow (negative) modes of expression.


DESCENDER is s/he who Descends to the depths or to the Core/ Heart of matters. (Often it will be your MYSTIC part-of-Self who brings back UP or re-emerges with that which your Descender unearths or discovers.) Consider our use of language to convey our natural Descender impulses:

Dive Deeply into the Matter

Sink Down

Plunge to the Bottom

Plumb the Depths of a situation

“I need some Down Time”

“I feel Depressed/ Down”

Under the weather

“Let’s Get to the Bottom of this”

At Base Level


This Month of the DESCENDER, I invite you to take time to reflect DEEPLY; to PLUNGE TO THE DEPTHS of one or more situations that deserve your DEEPEST focus and attention. Let’s start with ONE: print out this post and write into the blank space in the CAVE image below (do your own “Cave Art”) ONE THING you feel drawn to EXCAVATE or to inspect on a DEEP level. Journal this month about this topic. Dialogue with your DESCENDER Part of Self (I will give you a template later this month for that sort of Active Imagination Archetype Dialogue).


And please, do not be afraid of your DESCENDER. It is not a ‘demon’ or even a ‘dragon,’ though if it has been repressed or denied it does deserve to be LISTENED TO and SEEN. To encounter your DESCENDER, you must only DESCEND; don’t expect It (Her/Him) to come to the Surface but you will find your DESCENDER in a cozy place of repose. Hint: Bring a Mystic Guide with you to encounter and learn from your DESCENDER.


photo images (and Gandalf) are free from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!


A Shadow of the Golden Child: Trump?


I don’t like being too political with this venue, but it is striking to me as an observer of the current political platforming in the US presidential campaign that the candidate of D. Trump exhibits all of the distinctive traits of a Golden Child archetype presenting in “Shadow” mode. That means in a modality that inverts the most positive (what I call “Strength”) mode of this primary persona archetypal character form.


A ‘Shadow Golden Child’ archetype strives to draw a lot of attention to himself or herself, posturing as all-knowing, all-giving or all-wise. This Persona wants power and control over others, a following. H/she is hyper-critical of any who would oppose their own platform or is outside their realm of control. Often this Persona wants to dictate to others what to do and how to do it, but tends to be fairly lazy in terms of actions of their own. They can be jealous, harping, and autocratic as leaders, with many complaints when things do not go their way or when they are not at the center stage of attention.


Like any Shadow archetypal form, it exists as somewhat of a mirror to the positive, Strength bearing traits the same individual could be expressing if not feeling suppressed or defensive.  I have seen some persons generally exhibiting in this mode for many years gradually become less ‘shadowed,’ usually through developing strong familial ties where they come to take on a more positive, respectable, nurturing role. So let’/s not be typing individuals (Whole Self) images here. As with any shadowy traits it is helpful for the individual to gain more self-awareness and to nurture their own shadowy aspects, perhaps with therapeutic help and/or through good relations. And of course, the same person may present in Shadow mode in one  situation (e.g. publicly) and differently in another (e.g in private).


Still, I can’t help myself but to cringe at the notion of having a relatively non-self-aware, dominantly Shadow-Golden Self figure as president of a (my) nation! (Of course, there have been many, generally in autocratic societies or under dictatorships).  I suppose we should consider the sorts of constellations of archetypal networks that cluster to form political party segments or social platform groups that give rise to social movements of any one form or another. For myself I want to support a strong Elder Leader who demonstrates strong service and leadership capabilities.


images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Jabberwocky: A Poem of Descent



When I was in high school, for an art class I chose the theme of the Jabberwock for an assignment using pointillism.  I composed a black-and-white pointillist image of a dragonlike creature matching Lewis Carroll’s description in the famous Jabberwocky poem.

As it took me several weeks to accomplish the image, I had time to reflect on the meaning of this poem. To me it is about the Outcast or  Outsider or Otherness itself: the Jabberwock “monster,” who had the misfortune of being regarded as a shadowy fiend by ignorant humans who had moved in to its own “tulgey wood.” Then also from the human perspective, there is a futility represented here: the futility of battling Jabberwocks is like that of Don Quixote tilting at windmills; there will always be yet another monstrous creature around the bend, if that is what you set out to encounter in your Descent! And yet, how might your Jabberwock be enlisted as a Friend, an Ally? Then may you tame, rather than slay, your “dragons”!



BY LEWIS CARROLL (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171647)

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;

      Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)


images from pixabay.com

 The Elder Leader Archetype Ally–a Role Model of Service to All Life

Winged lion statue

“Make it So!,” utters Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and once again the Enterprise and its crew survive yet another harrowing threat.

Leaders are found in all societies throughout time and around the world. They are often the stuff of legend as culture heroes, yet villains are also often portrayed as Shadow leaders; that is, individuals who have gone over to the Dark Side. In general, a positive Elder Leader offers support, protection, or guidance to others; he or she SERVES OTHERS by developing and sharing from their own inherent strengths of character. Those negative, Shadow Elder Leaders usually aim to serve only themselves.


Followers are another aspect of the archetype of the Elder Leader. To become a Leader, one is first an Aspirant, an Apprentice, an Acolyte or a Disciple. So a true Follower of a bona fide, positive Elder Leader figure aims to develop their own leadership skills and potentials based on the role model provided by their respected Leader as mentor or guide.


Leaders STEP UP when the situation calls for that; they drive ahead without looking back, forging a path to success or survival for all those they can. There are various leadership styles and strategies, some more direct or more indirect, more humble or more directive. But the Leader creates a pathway or shows the way for people to accomplish their goals with a sense of clarity and responsibility.


Still, many people fear the Elder Leader in themselves, especially if they have been raised by Shadow elder leaders rather than fully positive ones. Many parents—who are models of the Elder Leader in either positive and/or mixed positive and Shadow mode for most of us—may fall short of always being able to manifest positive leadership traits; so as children we might struggle in developing our own highest leadership potentials.


Mythic and fictional stories present collective ELDER LEADER scripts that we all can learn from; again both in positive or else in Shadow formations.  The very stuff of Good vs. Evil tales is the manifestation of this Elder Leader duality.


So this week I invite you to contemplate your own Elder Leader potentials. Who are your most positive role models, either in your life or in mythology or fiction? What makes them the leaders they are? What are your own greatest leadership traits? What situations bring out the best of these in you? And, what of Shadow leader traits? How can you increase your own positive Elder leader traits to help you achieve a valued goal?

I welcome all of your insights and stories!


Your Dream Messages

 Light Graphics

Descent is a vital process whereby a person can ‘sink’ into their unconscious depths to discover or learn about their deepest motivations, challenges, abilities, and needs.   Western cultures tend not to emphasize the Inner or unconscious dimensions of our psyches, favoring rather the Outer, surface appearances. This can be problematical, because we tend to “bury” our conflicts or sensitive issues, often resulting in unbalanced behaviors and emotions and ‘off-kilter’ attitudes.


One of the easiest ways to take stock of your inner unconscious messages is through paying close attention to the content of your nightly dreams. You can establish a two-way communication with a deep level of awareness by asking for help in your dreams, then tuning in!


Two very common forms of archetypal figures that might show up in your dreams are what Jung called the Shadow (or Shadow aspects of any number of archetypal forms), and animal figures.  The classic Jungian Shadow is a same gender, dark figure that appears to dog your footsteps or threatens you in your dream. Animal figures—sometimes representing what Jung would call Animus and Anima archetypes—may reveal aspects of yourself that you tend to project onto others and may need to “own” in order to better integrate your intrinsic strengths and awareness.


A dream dictionary is a helpful tool (see the Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp for this and many other helpful dream techniques). In the back of your Dream Journal, you can keep a log of the special dream images that show up in your dreams. Some of these will change in their appearance and in their significance or message to you over time. You are the best interpreter of your own dreams, so long as you pay attention and ask yourself what the message of an image or dream story is, to you.


I went through a period of many years of dreaming about being chased by Tigers or Bears. I would admire the Animal, but then I would run from it, sensing that in its wild nature it would come after me; and then it would! Over time I came to realize these graceful, powerful animal figures represented my own strengths that I was not owning; I projected my own strengths into others for fear of wielding too powerful and thus possibly dangerous feelings. Once I was able to hold my own anima/animus powers in a balanced way, these dreams ceased.


What are some of your own Shadowy figures that turn up and recur in your dreams?  What messages do they bring you? If you are not clear about their meanings, I invite you to engage in an active imagination. Go within, and ask to be shown what these images are meant to teach you. I did this once after a Bear dream in which after petting a cub, I realized the Mother would come after me and my sister. I sent my sister to climb a pine tree, and I clambered up behind her. Below me I saw this graceful, powerful Mother Bear scaling the tree as though on flat land. When I asked in an active contemplation two days later about the message of this dream, the whole scenario replayed before my inner eyes and I heard: “Even though you run from Her, she is pushing you to greater heights!”


The Archetypal Twelve, by Debra Breazzano


{Today’s post (through Monday) is an Invited Guest Blog from Debra J. Breazzano, MA/LPC, Archetypal Psychotherapist and Gifted Children Program Director.

I invited Debra to answer some questions readers might have about the “Twelve Universal Archetypes” that I am featuring in Life Paths and here at our Better Endings blog. Debra has co-authored articles and chapters with me before on this subject and has written an Appendix about “The Twelve Universal Archetypes” for Life Paths.  I sent Debra a set of questions in an interview sort of format, and here below is her reply.- Linda}

from Debra Breazzano:

The late Dr. Charles Bebeau (1944-2008) was the Founder and Director of several graduate Psychology training programs in Boulder, CO beginning with the Colorado Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in the early 80s, and ending with the Avalon Institute from which his wife, Nin, continued teaching his system of Archetypal Diagnosis under her directorship in Archetypal Academy until 2010.  I was privileged to learn from and teach with Dr. Bebeau and Nin for over 10 years and continue to incorporate many of the Universal Twelve concepts into my own work as educator and licensed counselor in the Boulder and Colorado Springs areas.  Traditional archetypal psychology has generally used dream images, poetic images and mythic-images in its efforts to “provide soul with an adequate account of itself (Hillman: 1983).”

Dr. Bebeau’s unique contribution to archetypal psychology, supported by years of research, concluded with the Twelve Universal Archetypes as a basis for his Archetypal Diagnostic approach.  This pioneering work synthesized the psychology of Carl Jung and other archetypal theorists such as James Hillman with the psychotherapeutic techniques from Wilhelm Reich, Fritz Perls, Carl Rogers and many other profound theoreticians.  From an archetypal perspective Dr. Bebeau explored the unfolding process of the soul and was able to empirically show through numerous case studies the unfolding cyclical processes relating to the Twelve moving through mind, body, spirit, soul, nature, dreams and personal events at one time.  Continuing this work, I also have discovered how powerful using the Twelve Universal Archetypes is, to equip people to meet life directly as they move through the challenges that are inherent to personal growth.


The question arises:  Why Twelve?

As we know, archetypes are universal principles governing the order of the manifest world. Long ago ancient mysticism and hermetic sciences explored and documented the world of archetypal patterns.  These universal principles are very elusive. In conceptualizing the inconceivable, some of these systems chose to anthropormorphize the archetypes, bestowing upon them the form of angels or gods.  As internal deities or underlying archetypes, these Greater Powers instigate the dramas of our lives.   In archetypal psychotherapy, the archetypes are identified by names which characterize the way they appear in human personality.   The following names are used to describe the Twelve Archetypes that appear in human personality:

Originating             Maintaining     Dissolving





These principles are not only metaphysical theories but are a series of structural patterns which underlie all existence and can be understood in practical terms.  On the most elemental level, the individual characteristics of each archetype are based on the interplay of two factors—the four primary elements that are naturally found in the physical world:  earth, air, fire, and water; in combination with the three natural states of universal movement: all manifestation is either coalescing into form, maintaining the form it already has; or dissolving its old form.  The frequency of this interplay is the signature of each of the Twelve Archetypes.  When the knowledge and wisdom of these twelve states of awareness is acquired, consciousness moves from the mundane to the sublime.  The essential pattern of each archetype never changes because it is dictated by a particular vibrational frequency.  However, the possible combinations for manifestations are endless. There are many possible ways the Twelve continue to be combined to produce a great variety of human personalities.  However, the characteristics always echo the same network of relationships unique to that archetype.



The process of becoming whole is one by which the psyche strives to incorporate all Twelve faces of consciousness into a harmonious blend.  Through grappling with the issues, challenges and personal talents inherent in each personality type, the individual expresses some of the divine force of the archetype.

Are the Twelve the absolute truth of the number of core patterns found at the base of life manifesting?  Possibly.  Or possibly not.   Dr. Bebeau believed and was able to demonstrate that these were the building blocks of the Universe.  However, that answer isn’t relevant if the purpose for archetypal diagnosis is to provide a powerful and useful tool for communicating and understanding each of our own unique personalities on the soulful journey we wish to engage.  For myself, and in my work with others, this system has provided an empowering structure that heals.  The multiple combinations of the Twelve are unending, and each individual is the authority of their own mythic evolution and its meaning.


In addition, each archetypal pattern has qualities that can be considered “Feminine” and “Masculine” although all archetypes are inherently androgynous for they are embodied by both men and women. When energies expand outward they are designated as Masculine, while inward, contracting movements are considered Feminine.  However, these are not to be confused with gender; nor, does a man or a woman necessarily embody one correlating aspect more easily than the counterpart.  However, due to societal bias, masculine expression of an archetype may be more accepted in a man with their energies focused externally out into the world, and the feminine more socially accepted in a woman with her focus drawn towards an inward awareness.  A truly integrated being has equal access to both poles of consciousness and can express in either in accord with the demands of the moment.

Gold Yin-Yang, symbol of harmony.

Carl Jung’s idea of the Shadow—or inferior function– shows up in a particular wound physically, emotionally, or transpersonally as the  energy manifests in repressed or exaggerated aspects of an archetype. If the wound is addressed with archetypal awareness this shadowy aspect can transform into the healthy expression and the individual aligns themselves again with the awesome life generating power of the energetic force.

Open Door Sky Background

I have discovered over and over again, that when people consciously align their state of consciousness with these natural cycles of life, they accelerate their psychological growth.  The Twelve Archetypes provide the foundational tool for understanding the soul’s evolving process.  Combining this understanding with Dr. Linda Watts’ Life Path Mapping process, the sense of empowerment for an individual as they navigate their journey through life, is truly profound.


******   ******

Thank You, Debra!