Archetypes can be used in many different ways and in most fields of life.
Archetypes make it easy to classify and understand qualities that are related but also to see which qualities that are opposite. Here is a map of Archetypes that I have developed. Let us explore.
Let us first look at some words and make a little exercise.
Try to find which two words that seem not to belong here.
As you look at them you realise they are not synonyms neither a class of words, but most of them express a quality that we can call an archetype. An archetype that could also be expressed with words like; strong, independent, decisive, irritability, cutting, heat, accident etc.
The word tenderness and harmony seems to not only misfit, but even to be almost opposite to the other words. You could say that one of the groups have qualities like the colour red, the other like the opposite green. But what are they? Not synonyms but rather archenyms or semionyms if we should invent a name for them. What should we use as a common word for the red or the green?
We can easily see if we organize the words that “Self-assertive” or a strong person with a strong “I” could represent the red words. The green words are more about adjusting to the other or the surroundings. You can say these represent the focus on myself or the other, I and You.
These two colours or groups of words represent two archetypes; Mature man and Young woman. Both are archetypical qualities that can be expressed in many different ways and in many different fields.
In the schema below you see the six main archetypes with the “Master” as number seven in the middle.
This illustration is a synthesis of knowledge from different fields and even with its simplicity it explains some of the most important aspects in so diverse fields of knowledge as astronomy, taxonomy, psychology, biology and many more.
You can easily see it has some basic geometric structures.
1: Each archetype has a polarity (The master has centre-periphery)
2: The zigzag from the child to young man, young woman, master, mature man, mature woman and old, represents the stages of development in life.
3: The three top ones represent maturity and age, while the three bottom ones represent the young and immature.
*My courses on archetypes covers more than ten other geometric relations and what they represent in life.
Let us look at the polarity between the two archetypes; The old and The Child.
As an archetype the old can both be used to describe a personality as well as qualities in nature.
We will start by describing a person that is typical of the archetype “The old” since that is easy to relate to.
This person does not need to be old of age, but will have some qualities that are more common as people get older.
The old is serious, responsible and like to have control. They will easily feel alone, isolated or estranged. They do not let people get close to them easily and will not show signs of weakness.
The control aspect can make them stuck and fixed particularly in how things should be, used to be or they need them to be.
There is an atmosphere of coldness, constriction and inhibition around these persons.
On a more abstract level you can say that any process that contracts and gets compact, harder and more material represents this quality. This archetype is cold, black, stiff and represents structure.
In chemistry you will recognize it in carbon with its blackness, hardness in diamonds, and being the backbone of the structure in all life as well as what is left when you burn things.
In botany the archetype is represented by evergreen trees. Living into very old age, often creating a dark forest, and not letting other plants grow close to them.
This kind of person has learned to master the challenges in life by taking control, taking charge, by observing how others have coped. It could be that early in life nobody was taking care of them, so they had to take care of themselves. It could be that early in life things were so painful that they needed to supress the emotions and put them deep into a hidden place within. It could also be that things were so scary that they needed to control as much as possible not to end up in similar situations. Some people are also just born serious and with a lot of duty.
These people will particularly get drawn towards persons dominated by the archetype “The child” because that represents what they need.
The child is the opposite archetype and by cultivating that part within “The old” gets closer to a balanced place in the centre, a place of mastery.
As an archetype anything said about The old finds its polarity in The child.
These persons are dependent of others, clingy, insecure and wants to be taken care of.
They love home life and family life and can be full of care and mothering feelings they are mild and playful.
Often they will be childish, timid, changeable, yielding and demanding.
As a polarity to The old, The child represents people that need to mature, become independent and take charge of the duties in life. They need to grow towards the old to find mastery in life.
Same axis – but opposite
Persons that are dominated by The old or The child will find their own polarity in the other. First we can see that both are concerned about others. The child will often focus on the closest people, people in the family, neighbours or close friends, often people that have been there all the way back to childhood. They will spend a lot of time making sure these close people get their needs of protection, food and care.
The old also has concern for others, but it is often for their staff, people at work, in the community, society or the bigger more extended family. When the old is concerned about the family it is more that they will feel the duty to gather the family together.
We can find common things in the axis The old-The child, but the easiest is to see the polarity. You can say they are inter-connected, that to become The old, you need to “suppress” the child and to become The child, you need to be “blind” to The old.
Often a person being dominated by The old will be attracted to The child as a partner or friend. The polarity will attract but also be the main challenge in a friendship and in a relationship it could even end up being the reason for a divorce.
The old will love the care, mildness and mothering quality of The child, but will feel strangled by the clinging and needy quality. The challenge is these relations can only be solved it they understand that they need to find the qualities they are searching in the other also within themselves.
The old need to challenge himself and be daring enough to be vulnerable, expose his needs, express his weakness and let others take decisions. The child also need to go within and say what can go wrong by making a decision myself, it could always be redone. Only by trying alone will I get the experience and wisdom to take responsibility.
So how can we find that aspect within, how do we use this in our life?
The old need to get in touch with his inner child, with his needs, with the more subtle aspects of life.
Here are a few sample exercises for the old:
1. Lay down for a few minutes when you come home from work, put your hands with the palms on the solar plexus and breath deep and slow. Just feel how your body feels; hot, cold, tired, tens, painful etc.
2. Ask yourself everyday what you should do today that you do only for taking care of yourself with no modal verbs (Should, have to etc.)
3. If you were a child is there any presents you would have liked, that you never got? Why not give them to yourself now? Or maybe a grown up version?
4. Indulge sometimes in something that you enjoy so much that you could imagine your mother, father or partner preparing that for you out of love and care.
5. Try to remember your dreams when you wake up, you might need to get used to snooze a bit.
6. When did you last time ask for a hug, ask for a kiss, a massage or just letting your head in the lap of your loved one.
These are just a few exercises for the old to give you a taste.
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