Many who are fascinated with the psyche have tried to draw clear boundaries around the archetypes. I’ve worked on this for years in search of a framework that could help me understand myself, and I’m passing on what I’ve learned because it’s been useful; however, nobody knows for sure how closely our descriptions fit reality. In truth, it’s not possible to fully understand.
Sometimes we mistrust our instincts so much that we can only like ourselves to the extent that others esteem us. Sometimes we’re so afraid of our hidden emotions that we try to escape through intellectualizations or addictions that divert our attention. Sometimes we shield ourselves by conforming to the letter of the law, or by letting conventional wisdom be our guide, thereby allowing others to define reality for us.
Love and pleasure are related to the instinct for sex. For primitive humans, whose struggle for survival must have consumed almost every waking moment, sex was probably the only activity that took them away from the daily grind of work and provided emotional satisfaction, if only briefly. Even today, most people still find it extremely difficult to separate their desire for love and pleasure from their desire to have sex with another human being.
Sages have little or no need to control or change the world; they just want to understand it. The Sage’s path is the journey to find out the truth—about ourselves, our world, and the universe. At its highest levels, it is not simply about finding knowledge, but about becoming wise. It is our Sage within which, like Wisdom People from every tradition in every age, resonates to the adages, “Know thyself,” “To thine own self be true,” and “That ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
I might see power and success in terms of attaining wholeness and spiritual enlightenment, but even though this is a psycho-spiritual matter I cannot separate it from my physical behavior. I might meditate, write, pray, study scriptures, attend my place of worship, write down my dreams and discuss them with others, take classes in yoga, make a pilgrimage to a holy place, or enter an ashram or nunnery.The Warrior and Mother are the workhorses who embody our instinct for activity.
“We can’t be complete if our sensitive side is not cultivated.” On hearing these words last weekend I touched the Notes icon on my iphone and wrote them down before I lost them. I was sitting in the studio of dancer and choreographer Douglas Dunn with about 25 fellow travelers who had come for a long weekend […]
Throughout history mothers and grandmothers have dedicated most of their energy, and often their lives, to nurturing and preserving life. Of course, many fathers and grandfathers have done the same. But women’s contributions have been educationally, financially, politically and spiritually limited, vastly underrated, and largely taken for granted except for occasional lip service.
Emotions are the body’s expressions of our instinctual, archetypal selves. If we’re hungry we feel anxious or irritable. If we see blood we feel fear. If someone says something mean to us we feel hurt or angry. If an object of our affection rejects us for another we feel jealousy and pain. If someone thwarts our desire we resent them. If someone dies we feel sad. These are powerful physical realities.
The other night I dreamed an entire blog post. I woke up a few times thinking, “Yay! This will be a good one!” but dozed off again before writing anything down. When the alarm rang we jumped up and raced off to watch our grandchildren ‘s soccer, baseball and volleyball games. By the time I thought about my dream it had submerged into that place where unremembered dreams live. I sure wish I could find that place. I hate losing a good idea for a post. But I’m trying not to stress over it.