This is Sea Gabriel with Mythic Deviant and today I'm talking about archetypes.
We use the word archetypes a lot but we rarely talk about what an archetype is, so I'm to do that.
The original world archetype comes from two Greek words that I will now completely mispronounce: the first one is arché, meaning overarching, or umbrella: a quality that unifies.
The second word, tupos, means mold not the type of mold that you let accumulate in the refrigerator, if you're me, but rather the type of mold that you used to make ceramic duplicates, for example. But the word tupos, it's important to recognize, means both parts of the mold—meaning it means both of the mold itself, which is a negative, and the item created from the mold, which is a positive. This is an important concept because archetypes are neither positive nor negative but rather can go either way. ‘Archetype’ means an overarching mold and it immediately was used for the sacred so from the very beginning it was used in churches , etc.
“Archetype” is a mold that is overarching that embodies the sacred or a sacred energy, which means next I’ve got take on the sacred. I looked up ‘sacred’ it said ‘consecrated’. When I looked up consecrated it said ‘made sacred’. In other words sacred is a concept that most of us get, or at least many of us get, enough for there to be a word that we don't dispute, yet we cannot actually define it. So sacred really means something we can feel that we can't talk about in words. In fact that would be exactly my definition of sacred: something that defies words that is powerful and moving and word free. An archetype is a sacred, wordless, overarching, energy that can be positive or negative.
In my personal opinion the greatest strength of humanity is our ability to work together to cooperate. This is the reason that we are at the top of the food chain: together we can conquer pretty much anything, so far (I hope we keep up that trend). Nonetheless until this day we've conquered pretty much everything because of our ability to work as a group and that depends on our ability to communicate.
Communication is extraordinarily important when you're human: so we want to talk about these archetypes because they are important things in our lives and yet we have no good way to talk about these archetypes because they are sacred and by definition kind of wordless and this leaves us in a big quandary.
We want to talk about embodying these different energies and yet we have no good way to do it, so what we do is we create stories. Stories are fabulous, fabulous, things we create stories so that we can talk to each other about these archetypes and we do so by creating characters that have experiences that display or illustrate the way that the energy moves to our lives.
So we are now conveying archetypes through story. That's a great thing. Stories are awesome. But an archetype is not a character, so in order to have a story that people relate to, can really get into, you actually have to have characters in these.
Characters are embodying the archetypes so you essentially have this archetype, which is a sacred energy, within a character and the character has many other qualities in addition to having the quality of the archetype. So, for example, your character might have brown eyes and long legs and wear a leather jacket and a white T-shirt, because that's a great one, so you have your character and your character has many qualities that are not qualities that belong to the archetype.
As we create, through time, more, and more, and more stories we do the great things that human beings do through communication and we build off each other. So we have one character who has a white T-shirt and a black leather jacket and pretty soon were building other characters that also wear white T-shirts and black leather jackets until we come to the point where we've created a symbol and we can just take anybody and put a white T-shirt and black motorcycle jacket on them and suddenly they have become the rebel archetype: suddenly they will be interpreted as bringing forward new energy, as changing things, as having a different perspective.
Again, this is not good or bad, but in any case this becomes a symbol that links directly to the archetype and that is a fabulous thing. We can go from what is now a small visual image to this experience of sacred movement we get it. However it is only fabulous when you create symbols that you can take off. Some characteristics cannot be removed.
I googled ‘feminine’ and what I got were a tremendous number of pictures of females, which in some ways makes sense, however, they are not the same as the feminine archetype. It is the archetype of attracting things toward oneself of alluring things. The masculine archetype is going out and getting and conquering.
The feminine archetype is luring things toward you.
Not all females are feminine. Not all males are masculine. And, in fact, all people embody both feminine and masculine archetypal energy and can use both of them, hopefully at the appropriate times. Sometimes not.
But in the event the fact that we have come to identify females with feminine is just completely inaccurate and it leaves women trapped in a symbol of an archetypal energy that they may or may not carry, that they may have nothing to do with them in the moment. We've created lifelong prisons for women by using them as a symbol of an archetype.
This leads to inappropriate expectations and condemnation when those expectations are not met. Really not good. When I look up feminine I get almost entirely pictures of females. Many of them were not made of flesh, I might add.
So, when a physical quality has become a symbol of an archetype that that person may or may not actually hold, we have created the stereotype.
The stereotype is when we are blanketing an entire group of people who share a characteristic and assuming that they embody a sacred archetypal energy because of that characteristic.
Stereotypes can be harmful to all different degrees, so thinking for a moment about the cop and the doughnut shop, one could argue that laughing at police for eating donuts late at night could, in fact, slightly undermine our respect for that office and therefore our security in the world. You could make that argument. It is not a good argument. But it could be made.
However, that is nothing compared to women who, if they are tall and thin, blonde and attractive, are considered to be arrogant, snotty, cruel . . . or who, if they are chubby and short are considered to be loving, caring, nurturing, giving, lacking in self-respect.
These are stereotypes that we totally carry with us, that we impose upon other people in ways that probably don't fit, forcing them to disappoint the world by the fact that the world has assigned to them on archetype they don't carry. And yet this is nothing compared to the archetypes of color.
We inherently have the experience of darkness being frightening. We can’t see in the dark. We don't know what's going on in the dark, so we have an archetype of darkness. However, light allows us to see, makes us feel more comfortable, at least we have some idea what's going on in our mind. So we create archetypes of light.
I mentioned before that the mold has both a positive and a negative quality. There is a positive and a negative to light and dark. The dark archetype is also three-dimensional so the archetype of not knowing, which is darkness, or things being obfuscated, has its own dark aspect so the dark aspect of dark is evil and that's what we usually think of when we think of dark archetypes.
However the light aspect of the dark archetype is that there are things there to be discovered and they are probably going to be discovered soon. So the light aspect of the dark archetype is that something is becoming conscious. Things that we've been doing to undermine ourselves are coming to the light so that we can change them. We are about to have a healthier relationship with our own lives in our own world because we are about to discover something that will empower us. That is the light aspect of the dark archetype.
The dark aspect of the light archetype is shallow. So the dark aspect of the light archetype is something being completely shallow and impossible or elusive or delusional. The light aspect of the light archetype, of course, bringing light to that darkness is about illuminating, beautifying, understanding, gracing as we have dark and light. They’re great archetypes: not so great when we apply them to human beings.
They have nothing to do with skin color. They have nothing to do with hair color. They don't even have to do with the way we dress, if we might make that choice.
Harvard has some lovely quizzes where you can go to see your unconscious attitudes towards people. They warn you before you take the quiz that you might disagree with what your quiz reveals. I think it's kind of funny.
It’s better to discover that one is in racist and change it then to deny that one is a racist and continue to be one. We should never let pretending were good people get in the way of actually becoming them.
So you can read headlines everywhere about the way different people of different skin colors are treated, however there is a test done where people were shown a photograph of a gentleman and then they were told about the gentleman. They were told nice, good, things about this dark skinned gentlemen, and then they were shown a variety of pictures where his skin tones were made lighter or darker.
And the more positively they felt toward him the lighter his skintone became when they tried to identify him later. That is creepy. Our entire culture has bought into the stereotype; our entire culture and, yes, I mean our entire culture, there might be a few individual exceptions but there are only a few because the culture dictates it in our films and our television shows and our ads: we put forth the notion that dark people embody the dark aspect of dark energy and light people embody the light aspect of light energy and this is completely inappropriate, wrong, and deadly.
This is horrific.
The other day I walked by a church not very far from my house, this particular church has a recovery program for teenagers and there were two large signs on the side of the church wall. There was a dark girl talking about the horror of drugs and alcohol. And then there was a light girl talking about how great it is to be free of them, and how she can choose her own destiny.
And that is so perverse. So, we are taking a dark girl, whose into a dark thing, and using dark words, giving her the dark aspect of that darkness. And we are taking a light girl, who's gotten into a dark thing, but who is shown as a bringing forth the light.
That dark girl may live in that prison for the rest of her life. She may eternally be condemned as the dark human being went into it dark world and did dark things and then conveyed them through dark notions. That is horrifying. She may be condemned forever. She is a teenager. She made a mistake.
Then we have the light girl, who also made a mistake, but she is carrying the light qualities, in the light energy, and she is going to move forward and be beautiful: only in reality she doesn't have the power to. She is 3-dimensional. She is a human being, she is not an archetype.
Even if she were, she would have a dark and light aspect. She will either have the option of living in denial for the rest of her life and pretending that she really can embody that light archetype, the light aspect, all the time : a light. Or she will have to face the fact, on a regular basis, that she is a complete and utter failure, that she will never, ever, as long as she lives, be able to always embody the light quality, the light aspect, of the like archetype.
So, while it's nowhere near as bad for her, it's still bad for her. This is a no win game for anyone because we are all being flattened from our divine and sacred archetypes, which we all carry, from the light and dark aspects, which we all carry, into these two dimensional perceptions: symbols for one another rather than lives for ourselves.
So what in the world do we do about this? And I would love your thoughts on that as well.
My thought is that we need to start actually portraying a variety of archetypes with a variety of people. As it is now, our hero is generally a white man and he has a buddy who's also largely a white man (but sometimes a man of color and occasionally a white woman) and then the villain, of course, are dark people.
There is no need for this at all. Anyone can portray a hero and, in fact, everyone portrays a hero in their own life. Everyone is perfectly capable of carrying the hero archetype: we need it to survive in the world.
And we can take people who generally portray a particular type of archetype and mix them up. Right now we get a guy we go ‘hey, that guy looks heroic. He's going to be the hero forever’ instead of doing what we need to do to move him into a variety of archetypes so that we can show, in one fell swoop, that a single human being can actually hold all of these different archetypes: that, as people, we have choices.
We can use different energies, in different ways, at different times. We are not symbols for each other. We are the containers of the sacred for ourselves.
There’s a lecture on the archetypes I needed to get out of the way because I'm going to start going into the different archetypes, which I promise will have more stories and, frankly, be more fun. Thank you so much and I look forward to next time.