Archetypes, a concept introduced to Western psychology by Carl Jung, can be especially problematic. Jung said they are mental images of our physical instincts, but “So what?” people wonder. “What do they have to do with me and my life?” My answer is, “Everything!” In this and future posts I’ll explain.
In The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, Joseph Campbell notes that one of humanity’s four primary goals or “ends” is to attain power and success. We measure this through the things we do with and to our bodies and material objects like money, food, books, houses, weapons, geographical boundaries, natural elements, offices, cars, courtrooms, places of worship. It makes no difference whether we seek power and success primarily in the universe without or the universe within; as long as we inhabit physical bodies achieving our goals is directly tied to our interaction with the physical material world. This is the province of our instinct for activity.
For example, 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. Through their tireless labors, they craft our bodies and souls and effectuate our successful development into our fullest empowerment.
Our Warrior is the motivating force that moves us physically outward into the world, ideologically forward into the future, and spiritually upward toward the heights. He is a diligent worker and a high flyer with the commitment, determination, and perseverance to enter the world, conquer the dragons, and make our own unique mark, therein fulfilling our destinies.
The Mother is the motivating force that moves us into the universe within and down to the depths in a determined effort to excavate our core truths and fully experience our realities. She is an observer, a listener, a digger, an artist, and a befriender of dragons. She is the one who hears our calling and honors our creative genius. In her aspect as Earth Mother she is the fully present, fully alive Earth-dweller who appreciates and relates to life’s mysteries, the marvels of nature and matter, especially our own bodies, and the wonder of being alive.
Separately, neither Warrior nor Mother energy is capable of fulfilling us, but when these twins are mature, reflective, and integrated they comprise the Creator archetype. As the Creator awakens we acquire a profound desire to become powerful and successful at creating our soul’s magnum opus: an authentic life in which we claim our destinies.
Archetypal psychologist Carol S. Pearson says in her book Awakening the Heroes Within (p. 171) that when this happens we are as consumed with the need to create a life as artists are with the need to paint, or poets with the need to write. Just as great painters and poets will be willing to give up money and power and status to create their art, when the Creator is active in our lives, we are pushed to decide to be ourselves, even if it means that we will die unknown, poor, and alone.
Usually, of course, people who empower their authentic selves do not pay this price—indeed many are well known, wealthy, and surrounded with friends and loved ones.But whether it lives in rich or poor, the Creator archetype is a physical reality that empowers us to successfully contribute to healing the world Soul and co-creating the universe. How successful have you been so far in creating and manifesting your individuality?
Thank you to Mr. Cahlil for allowing me to illustrate this post with his exquisite art!