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Archive for October, 2010

Our universal story is made up of archetypal experiences, those that connect us to the source of basic human tendencies and to the timeless elements of the human experience. This is because archetypes are ultimately the Imago Dei, or God-image, within us. When we consciously experience an archetype in our lives, the archaic becomes contemporary, and, most importantly, the universal becomes personally sacred.

Myth and ritual incorporated archetypal experiences in order to bring about the transformation from one state to another that was desired to maintain and strengthen the community. So when these universal archetypal elements emerge into our lives today they carry a transformative power. They keep us in the vital, nourishing riverbed through which the water of life has flowed for centuries, and which is the soul of our existence. They bring us to life, and keep us truly alive.

An archetype integrates into a meaningful whole all the illusory splits of apparent oppositions. It is in this way that archetypes also carry a “healing” function, in unifying the differing facets of the same reality, and their presence is felt as also having a profound spiritual significance.

A 42nd way to explore your soul’s story – It is important to grasp how and why living an archetype can help bring about healing. This will add much more meaning and depth to the life story we have lived. Think of any experience where some aspect of your life was healed, reconciled, or resolved. Then think of whether that experience could possibly be unique to you, or if it is more likely shared by others. Was it the uniqueness of the experience, or was it the universality of the experience, that ultimately enabled the healing to happen? Was it the fact that only you could have experienced it, or the fact that many if not most other people could have also experienced it, that made it healing for you? What is it about either uniqueness or universality that makes it healing? How and why is this awareness important in telling your life story? Incorporate these reflections into the telling of your life story, and share them here if you would like to.

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In addition to the unique story we live (our story like no one else’s), and the group story we live (our story like some others), we also live a universal story (our story like all others). Our universal story is shared by all human beings, due to the deep-seated patterns and processes we all have in common. This is the form of our life story we will look at for the remaining blogs here.

The place to begin in understanding our universal story is with myth and ritual, since this is where the timeless and sacred patterns are contained that gave meaning to every aspect of the constantly changing lives of indigenous peoples worldwide who created these original wisdom stories in narrative form. Because myths contain deeply held beliefs about the nature of life and the people’s relationship to their Creator, myths around the world describe a common process of change and transformation.

This universal process, also contained within the sacred rituals of the world’s religious traditions, makes up a common, therefore sacred, pattern and consists of timeless elements, repeated over and over throughout life at key transition points, known as archetypes and motifs. These define and facilitate the process of transformation.

Archetypes are latent potentialities, or pattern-forming elements, residing in the human psyche – the actual “energy-charged,” or meaning-making content of the collective unconscious. As Jung might say, archetypes are part of our vast store of ancestral knowledge about the profound relations between God, man, and cosmos, that remain unconscious until our own real life experiences bring them forth into consciousness, making our individual experience part of the universal human experience.

When an archetype passes over into consciousness, it is felt as an illumination, or a revelation. The archetype itself is the original form of a type of experience from which all other forms of that experience follow and are copied; it is a recurring ‘mythological component,’ a type of a common situation, or a type of universal figure, what we would think of as a literary motif, that is part of our inherited humanity. Examples of such archetypal situations would be “the hero’s quest,” “the battle for deliverance from the mother,” or “the night sea journey,” while archetypal figures would include the divine child, the trickster, or the wise old man. The archetype carries a power to impress, influence, awaken, and therefore transform us.

A 41st way to explore your soul’s story –  When in your life have you experienced the archetypal energies that have always existed within you bursting forth into your consciousness? What was going on in your life at the time? How did this illumination from an archetypal level change or transform things for you? Reflect on this, and then tell this part of your universal story here for others to benefit from.

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