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By Trish Briggs

Archetypes are powerful universal patterns of behavior that help us better understand self (our unconscious), others, and our place in the world.

Carl Jung used archetypes as navigational tools between the unconscious and conscious minds. He considered the language of archetypes, the universal language of the human soul, energetically connecting everyone in collective unconscious. They are tools that we can intentionally use in our self-discovery healing journey for the same reason(s).

“Although archetypes are collective symbols that everyone in the culture shares, they can also speak to us individually, as personal archetypal patterns that are the foundation of our beliefs, drives, motivations, and actions, organizing, and energizing all our relationships in life.” Myss, Caroline (2013), Archetypes: A Beginner’s Guide to your Inner-net, p.3.

We have access to the collective, containing multitudes of different archetypal patterns, but individually, we are also born already aligned with certain archetypal patterns. These patterns filter into every part of our lives and influence our daily behavior. Getting to know which archetypal patterns you align with, gives you better understanding of self. (And yes, archetypes can be related to incarnations, aspects and selves.)

For example, I know that one archetype that I have always been closely aligned to is "the hermit." I like to withdraw, meditate, read, write, and reflect on life. I like being out in nature. I typically feel a peace when I am alone. I don’t feel loneliness when I am alone. I can reflect and grow within solitude. I can also take comfort in knowing that this part of my behavior has to do with a birth archetypal pattern and not confuse it with antisocial tendencies. I can be social when I choose. 

By identifying and understanding our personal archetypes, we gain knowledge to consciously define our truth and live life authentically.

In addition to being a tool for discovery of self and others, archetypes are part of our survival mechanism, as are our gut instinct, intuitive hits, and fight or flight responses. When we encounter someone that we immediately don’t trust, it can be because we have never encountered this archetypal pattern before, or we can’t get a fix on which archetypal pattern we are witnessing.

Our brains are continually reading energy and scanning for patterns. It is through patterns that we come to understand someone’s behavior and thus our own. If we can’t identify the pattern, then we can’t predict the behavior. We have a tendency to trust the patterns that are familiar to us.

However, when healing is done right, evolution is a constant. Archetypal patterns are no different. They should evolve as we evolve. As we journey in our healing we may find certain archetypal patterns becoming stronger, while others are weaken. New archetypal patterns may emerge as we hit new stages in our understanding of life, while others fall away. As with any healing tool, they will evolve.

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