Archives for August 2017

The Wisdom Family of Archetypes

This month we will conclude our exploration of archetypes – the language of the Unconscious mind – by exploring the Wisdom Family of archetypes. In the Wisdom Family we will look at the Mentor/Coach, the Teacher and the Student/Seeker. We will then see how understanding our twelve major archetypal patterns can help us to understand our behaviour.

There are three archetypes which sit very closely together – Mentor, Coach and Teacher.  For the purpose of this analysis we will look at the Mentor and Coach as the same although their professional roles can be differ. In its light aspect, the  Mentor/Coach is trustworthy, passing on wisdom, refining a student’s character, taking individual students under his/her wing and guiding many aspects of their life. In the shadow aspect, however, the Mentor/Coach can develop an overbearing attitude that imposes control. There may also be an unwillingness to allow the student to become empowered and become a Master. Examples of the Mentor Coach archetype are Alec Guiness in Star Wars, Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven and Paul Newman in The Colour of Money.

The Teacher archetype is slightly different. The Teacher communicates knowledge, experience, skill, and wisdom to another. In its shadow aspect, however, there can be the manipulation and/or abuse of pupils. Along with too great a desire for recognition and acknowledgement, there can also be the teaching of negative traits and destructive skills. Examples of the Teacher archetype are Betty Davis in The Corn is Green, Sidney Poitier in To Sir with Love and Michael Caine in Educating Rita.

Finally, let us look at the Student/Seeker archetype. In its light aspect there is the desire for constant learning and the need to search out wisdom and truth wherever it is to be found. In its shadow aspect, knowledge can be misused or the person can become lost and aimless, with no particular goal of learning. Moreover, the Student/Seeker can become infatuated with a certain practice or guru without learning new things from them. An example of this is Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where he plays the Student Wizard who gets carried away with his own unperfected talent and causes havoc. An example of the Student is Julie Walters in Educating Rita and an example of the Seeker is Brad Pitt in Seven Years in Tibet.

The purpose of looking at some of the archetypes in the Family, the Power Family, the Relationship Family, the Justice Family, the Creative Family, the Spirituality Family and the Wisdom Family has been to glimpse into the possibilities for the other eight major archetypes that each of us work through. Once we know what these are we can then add them to the shared four survival archetypes of Child, Victim, Saboteur and Prostitute to give us our major twelve archetypal patterns. This knowledge then gives us a much better chance of understanding the default behaviour that lies in our unconscious minds so that we can then choose how to respond rather than react before we have had a chance to think about it.

I do hope that these glimpses have been interesting for you and that, as a result, you have a better idea of your and others’ behaviour. These archetypes, however, make up only a small number of the possibilities and if you want a deeper understanding then I run workshops on archetypes as well as private sessions in person or on Skype and would be delighted to work with you personally.

Exploring archetypes is a lifelong journey so continue observing yourself and others on this wonderful and fascinating journey we call life.   Enjoy September and the beautiful start of Autumn.

Love Laurelle