RECOGNIZING YOUR ARCHETYPES
Archetypes are universal psychic images that structure all human mental functioning. They
are energies, patterns of thought that the mind uses to frame perceptions, experiences and
Archetypes can be defined as blueprints that we use to project certain behavioral patterns.
According to Carl G. Jung, archetypes are outside of space and time and form part of the
so-called collective unconscious. As such, they constellate and manifest in us individually as
organizers of the psyche and give meaning to our life's experiences.
Most archetypes and myths are lived and experienced at a subconscious or unconscious
level. We usually don't even know that the roles we play in life and that the persona we
assume in our daily interchange with others are just our own individual reflections and
interpretations of universal energies and modalities of conduct. Every person we meet,
every situation we encounter, tends to be categorized or compartmentalized according to
preset notions that we have learned to accept through the socio cultural environment or
frame of reference that defines us.
We react instinctively to people and circumstances in our surroundings. Like attracts Like.
We are like radars and we have feelers that transmit and receive. Some of us are more
receptive and intuitive than others, and we build our lives around archetypes with special
language and vibratory levels that attract similar patterns. Tarot can help us identify these
behavioral patterns, as well as the myths that shape our daily life. Both Majors and Minors
display images, situations, landscapes, and stories that open new doors of communication
with our Higher Self. All that is required of us is to be still and receptive; and open our
hearts and minds to the incredible wealth of information embedded in the images and
wisdom of Tarot.
Hermetic and alchemical principles, vices and virtues, modes of behavior, states of mind,
mythic stories that we weave and live and breathe. This is the world of Tarot. And as we
try to unravel the core of our own Self at any given moment, we need to start by identifying
our personal archetypes and understanding why they have been with us and how they are
reflected in our actions and reactions. All archetypes have positive and negative qualities
and we don't need to start judging these energies in any way, but rather greet them
humbly and learn to work with them. Some of these energies are very complex and might
take months or years to fully understand them. This is not an easy task. In fact,
throughout a lifetime we will be usually discarding one archetype and embracing another,
depending on our age, our changing priorities, our spiritual maturation, and many other
At any given moment, we might have a retinue of at least six or ten basic roles that we play
almost unconsciously, such as being a daughter or son, father, mother, spouse, teacher,
student, judge, sage, hermit, martyr, victim, king of household (or worse, king of the
road). So many roles we multitask ourselves with that often hide who we really are. Often
the roles we play are those expected of us from society and we seem to accept willingly this
cast of characters. However, when we analyze each energy or modality in full light we realize
how one role can serve as an excuse for behavior we would otherwise reject, and another
as a pattern of conduct that helps us get through the day at work or at home, or that
helps us hide our own sense of fear or lack of worth.
Sit quietly and breathe deeply. As you exhale, be aware of the energies
flowing through your body and try to harmonize the breathing with the
tingling and various sensations that will be pouring around your energy
Start surrounding yourself with white light as you call and invoke your
Guides and Teachers to help build a Sacred Space all around you.
Command your subconscious to only follow guidance from your
As you continue inhaling and exhaling, a rhythm will develop. Now it's time
to either pick a period in your past life that needs further clarification or a
present situation that is asking for resolution. You could also ask for
clarity as you examine closer a specific pattern of behavior recurring in your
Take as long as you need breathing slowly and placing your intention inside
the question or situation. Keep a perspective, a distance that allows
emotions to stay at bay and not overwhelm the visualization. Imagine
yourself floating on top of the question or issue. Be as detached as you
can be while still in control of the images and reactions.
Pick your deck, shuffle slowly as your question comes up clearly and
purposely. Place the deck in front of you and fan it. As you fan the deck
ask Spirit the question. Some examples:
What archetype(s) serve(s) me now to tackle the present situation?
What archetype(s) was I embodying when ..............?
What archetypes were or are involved in my relationship with ........?
What archetype do I play at home? In the office: with my colleagues, with
my boss? With my parents? With my husband/wife/children?
What archetypal energy can serve me now in this situation?
Framing a question is pivotal in seeking clarity and we need to be as
humble as possible.
Pick a card with your less dominant hand and meditate on the answer
received. Don't discard the card if at first it makes no sense to you or if it
makes you uncomfortable. Allow the energies of the card to weave
themselves into your mind without words, without having to frame the
answer. ""Entertain" the images with an open heart. After a while, write
on your jounal your feelings and thoughts. Now, if you still feel the need
for clarification or expansion, pick another card to amplify the energy, but
try to limit the number of cards and allow your mind to wander, because
these answers usually take time to make any real connection with your
Get to know your behavioral patterns and propensities through the cards
that come up for you more frequently. After about six months, you should
be able to map the blueprint of archetypes that most often constellate in
your daily life.
Get to know your archetypes, feel comfortable in their presence as you
acknowledge them and greet them. They are your friends. They reflect
states of mind as well as energies that have been integrated or constellated
to help you with specific situations or challenges. Meet them half way and
understand their usefulness. Then, you can start sifting and prioritizing
and even discarding, replacing or improving their usefulness to you.
"Meet and Greet" Exercise
Meet your archetypes one by one; greet them and ask them when or
why they came to play such a role in your life, and get to know them.
We can use Tarot very effectively for this purpose because it is not a
threatening process. You can even use more than one deck with the
same question at different times, to add layers of meaning and to
develop a deeper sense of the complexities involved with every single
archetypal energy that has embraced you and that has constellated in
your life for whatever the reason.
Images from the beautiful Fey Tarot by
artist Mara Aghem
copyright © 2010 ymrobinson