The Creative Family of Archetypes

This month we will continue our exploration of archetypes – the language of the Unconscious mind – by looking at the Creativity Family. There are many different types of members of the Creativity Family from painters to musicians; from writers to poets; and from crafts people to inventors. All are concerned with finding the beauty of form in whichever medium they work in.

The Author, for instance, uses words to describe the essence of beauty, truth and life. The Artist will use art and the Musician music. The Inventor will use machines and the Designer clothes. All share a need and ability to discover beauty in the people and things around them and express that beauty in a way that helps others. They also share a passion to express the extraordinary and inspire others, along with an emotional and psychological need to express themselves. In the shadow aspect, however, they can manifest eccentricity and the madness that accompanies genius – for example Van Gogh. There is also the potential for using their art for negative or destructive effect. Examples of this archetype are Amadeus by Peter Schaffer, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and Gene Kelly in An American in Paris.

The Storyteller relays wisdom or foolishness, mistakes and successes, facts and fiction, tales of love and the impossible, on a plane that is often exaggerated beyond ordinary life but that brings us into contact with our inner being. There is usually an element of entertainment as well. The shadow aspect is lying, exaggeration and inventing a story to conceal something. Examples of the Storyteller archetype Judy Davis as Georges Sand in Impromptu, fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.

Finally, let’s look at the Scribe archetype. Unlike the writer/novelist/author, the Scribe copies existing works rather than creating new ones in order to record and share information. In the shadow aspect, scribes can plagiarise, alter facts and sell information that belongs to others. Examples of the Scribe are Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in All the President’s Men, Holly Hunter in Broadcast News and the shadow aspect portrayed by Sally Field in Absence of Malice.

These are only a small example of possible archetypes within the Creative Family. However, if you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, 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. Phone me on 07964 161527 or email me on laurelle@laurellerond.com

Meanwhile, keep observing the behaviour of yourself and those around you. Next month we will be looking at the Spirituality Family of archetypes.

Love Laurelle

The Justice Family of Archetypes

This month we will continue our exploration of archetypes – the language of the Unconscious mind – by looking at the Justice Family, in particular the Judge, the Advocate or Environmentalist, the Mediator, the Detective, the Liberator and the Avenger.

The Judge archetype loves justice and, in its light aspect, has high standards of ethics, morality and compassion. In its shadow aspect, however, the Judge can become over-critical and merciless and s/he can also have a hidden agenda. Examples of the Judge archetype are Dominic Guard in The Go-Between, Spencer Tracy in Judgement at Nuremburg and for the shadow aspect – John Forsythe in And Justice for All.

The Advocate or Environmentalist loves to champion human rights and/or animal/nature rights and is dedicated to inspiring others to empower themselves. However, the shadow aspect can cause them to back a negative cause or to support one for personal gain. Popular examples of this archetype are the fairy tale Puss in Boots, Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovitch and the shadow aspect from Robert Duvall in The Godfather.

The Mediator, on the other hand, finds peaceful solutions for antagonistic groups, individuals or warring parties. They can see both sides of an argument, are patient and skilled with an ability to read people and situations. In the shadow aspect they can have ulterior motives and hidden agendas and even use both sides for personal gain such as double agents. Examples of the Mediator archetype are The Ambassadors by Henry James and, once again, Dominic Guard in The Go-Between.

The Detective is able to seek out knowledge and information and has great powers of observation along with a highly evolved intuition. The shadow aspect is voyeurism, falsifying information and/or selling out to the highest bidder. Examples of the Detective archetype are plentiful: Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s novels, Richard Burton in The Spy who Came in from the Cold, Kathleen Turner in V.I. Warshawski, James Bond and Charlie Chan.

The Liberator is a rather different archetype. S/he frees others from tyranny, from political control or negative thought patterns and beliefs. In the shadow aspect Liberators free us from one tyrant only to impose their own tyranny afterwards. Examples of the Liberator archetype from history are Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela. In film there is Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek. Tom Selleck in In and Out and Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc. Herman Hesse’s Siddharta (one of my favourite novels) is also a portrayal of the Liberator archetype.

Finally, the Avenger archetype balances the scales of justice. Avengers can be lawyers who work for the disadvantaged, animal rights activists or people who avenge on a more global scale. In the shadow aspect they can resort to violence, terrorism, eco-terrorism and self-destruction. They can also become obsessed by the need for revenge. Once again Joan of Arc is an example. Other examples are the old television show The Avengers, Ingrid Bergman in The Visit, Jane Fonda in Cat Ballou and, in the shadow, Al Pacino in The Godfather.

These are only a small example of possible archetypes within the Justice Family. If you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, 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.

Meanwhile, keep observing the behaviour of yourself and those around you. Next month we will be looking at the Creativity Family of archetypes. Perhaps you might like to begin to make a list of archetypes that you particularly resonate with. Remember, we are looking for your personal eight to join the shared archetypes of Child, Victim, Saboteur and Prostitute.

In the meantime, have a lovely June!

Love Laurelle

The Relationship Family of Archetypes – Part Two

This month we will continue our exploration of archetypes – the language of the Unconscious mind – by continuing our exploration of the Relationship Family with the Bully/Coward, the Rebel, the Clown/Fool and the Trickster.

The Bully/Coward is not an easy archetype to own but, as with many of the more negative sounding archetypes, it is very powerful indeed. In its light aspect, it teaches that the spirit is always stronger than the body – “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.” The Bully/Coward archetype is about confronting the power in oneself and standing up to being bullied by inner fears. The shadow aspect is obvious from its name. Examples of the Bully/Coward archetype are Matt Dillon in My Bodyguard, Mel Gibson in Braveheart and Bert Lahr (the cowardly Lion) in The Wizard of Oz.

The Rebel archetype helps someone to break out of old tribal patterns, systems and conventions which no longer serve the common good. The shadow aspect can be rebelling for the sake of it, out of peer pressure or for the sake of fashion and trend. It can also reject legitimate authority because it is difficult. Examples of the Rebel archetype are James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Meryl Streep in Silkwood and Kirk Douglas in Spartacus.

The Clown/Fool archetype is fascinating. Not only do Clowns make people laugh, but they also release deep feelings through an acceptable face of tragedy. This is why a clown’s face is painted with both a smile and tears. This archetype enables someone to do or say what other people are thinking and, in addition, allows someone entry into the most powerful of circles. This was perfectly exemplified by Will Somers who was the King Henry V111’s Fool and who was able to speak the truth where no-one else could, saying things which would have been declared High treason in anyone else. The shadow aspect is the wearing of a mask to hide true feelings, cruel mockery or betrayal and the breaking of confidences gained through knowledge from the inner circle. Modern examples of Clowns/Fools are Danny Kaye in The Court Jester, Jim Carrey in The Claw and Charlie Chaplin in The Circus.

The Trickster is a key figure in the human drama who plays dubious jokes or tricks, makes fun or is made fun of, presenting alternatives to the straight and narrow path and conformity. The shadow aspect is duplicity. Donald Trump plays this admirably. Other examples are Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Eve, Peter Cooke in Bedazzled and Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headley in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

There are many more archetypes within the Relationship Family. However, if you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, 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. Meanwhile, keep observing the behaviour of yourself and those around you. Next month we will be looking at the Justice Family of archetypes.

Until then, enjoy observing and enjoy May!

Love Laurelle

Relationship Archetypes – Part One

This month we will continue our exploration of behaviour and its archetypes – the language of the Unconscious mind – with a look at the Relationship Family. It is very helpful to be able to recognise these patterns within ourselves and also others. We will be looking at the Lover, Casanova/Femme Fatale, the Companion, the Networker/Communicator, the Rescuer, the Hedonist and the Dilettante.

The Lover is romantic and exhibits great passion and devotion. S/he can be a lover of such things as painting, music, cookery, beauty, clothes, a person and nature. His/her enthusiastic appreciation can also show up in attention to physical appearance. The shadow aspect of the Lover is obsession that has a destructive effect on physical or mental health and self-esteem. Examples of films and literature abound using the Lover archetype, for instance Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Chaucer’s Troilus and Cressida.

The Casanova/Femme Fatale archetype uses sexual and/or financial energy to provide power. The light aspect of this is that the archetype can open a heart that is capable of deep love. In its shadow aspect, however, this archetype can become manipulative, unreliable and unstable. Examples of this archetype in films are Marilyn Munroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and Kathleen Turner in Body Heat.

The Companion archetype, on the other hand, is loyal, tenacious, unselfish and serves another person who carries more authority. For example, personal assistants take care of the day-to-day details of life and provide emotional support. The shadow aspect is self-betrayal where the person themselves neglects their own needs. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis portray the Companion archetype in Thelma and Louise, as does Dr Watson in Sherlock Holmes and Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello.

The Networker or Communicator expands their sphere of influence by forging alliances and making connections among differing groups of people. The light aspect is the bringing together of people and the empowering and inspiring of groups. In the shadow aspect, they Networkers/Communicators can use others for personal gain. Films portraying this archetype are Network with Peter Finch, A Message to Garcia with John Boles and Between the Lines with Jeff Goldblum.

Finally, let’s look at the Rescuer who also belongs to this family. Rescuers are wonderful in a crisis and help others when needed but they withdraw once the rescue mission is accomplished. In the shadow aspect they can fail to withdraw thereby keeping the rescuee powerless. Examples of the Rescuer in films are Sigourney Weaver in Alien, Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan and Jason Gedrick in Iron Eagle.

Next month we will continue looking at the Relationship Family but if you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, 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. Meanwhile, keep observing the behaviour of yourself and those around you.

Until then, happy observing and Happy Easter!

Love Laurelle

The Power Family Group of Archetypes – Part Two

After several months of a break from exploring the archetypes of the unconscious mind, let’s take up the subject again. If you need to refresh your mind with the part one of the Power Family group of archetypes, refer back to October 2016’s post. If you wish to go back to the beginning of our exploration of unconsciousness and the way that behaviour is affected by this 95% of our minds, then refer back to the initial post in March 2016.

This month we will look at the Hero/Heroine, the Warrior and the Knight, the Beggar, the Servant and the Martyr.

The Hero/Heroine is an archetype which is central to most of our great myths and stories. The light aspect shows an individual on a journey of initiation to awaken inner power. In the process, s/he has to face physical and inner obstacles, confronting fears of survival by conquering obstacles and performing tasks. Life is never easy for the Hero/Heroine but once victory has been attained, s/he can return to the tribe bringing something of great value to all. The shadow of this archetype is the gaining of power through disempowerment of others.

The Warrior is an archetype whose light aspect includes the qualities of physical strength, loyalty, independence and the ability to protect, defend and fight for rights. There are many types of this archetype: for instance the Mercenary, the Amazon Warrior Woman and the Sacred Warrior. Warriors right wrongs, defend their families and are brilliant at self-defence. The shadow aspect distorts or abandons ethical principles and decency in the name of victory at any cost.

The Knight, on the other hand, has the different qualities of chivalry, courtly romance, protection, honour, devotion to someone, service, loyalty and the ability to get things done. S/he walks the fine line between self-sacrifice and self-neglect. When the Knight goes into the shadow aspect, there is an absence of honour and chivalry, loyalty to a questionable ruler or principle or the rescuing of others to the detriment of self.

The next examples of archetypes within this family might seem to be in opposition, but they are in fact also Power archetypes. The Beggar archetype shows someone how to confront self-empowerment from the base level of physical survival. It also teaches the nature of generosity, compassion, and self-esteem. The shadow aspect is never having any money and/or scrounging off others.

The Servant archetype causes someone to be in service to others while in simultaneous service to the self. The shadow aspect rears its head when that person is consumed by needs of others, consequently losing the focus and value of his/her own life.

Finally let us look at the Martyr archetype, one exemplified by Jesus and other great spiritual leaders. In its light aspect, the Martyr archetype combines service and suffering for others so that others might be redeemed. In its shadow aspect is a lack of self-worth, respect and honour.

If you would like a deeper understanding of this subject, then I run workshops on archetypes as well as private sessions in person or on Skype and would be delighted to help you discover what you were born to do and who you were born to be. Email me: laurelle@laurellerond.com.

Enjoy watching your and others’ archetypes and have a happy March.

Love Laurelle

How to Embrace your Inner Alchemist

As Syria continues its horrifying war, Donald Trump settles into his presidency of the United States and Teresa May negotiates Brexit, it would be all too easy to feel that we are living in a cauldron of chaos. But what if we chose to see these circumstances as opportunities for change rather than hot beds of fear, anger and prejudice?

Alchemy is the art of changing base lead into magnificent gold and is every bit as relevant for the human condition as it is for metallurgists. Embracing our Inner Alchemist means that we can transform chaos into productive peace but it requires a change of focus. Instead of slipping into worry, we have to learn to keep our cool and this is done through awareness, not naivety, cynicism or a refusal to accept what is happening.

Fortunately, we each possess a system which unfailingly tells us what is going on, even if it ends up shouting at us through pain. Our bodies are the barometer of our experience and learning to read the language of the body is essential if we are to move forward in a positive way.

It helps to think of illness as an opportunity for change rather than an inconvenience to be ignored or suppressed. Each part of the body has a message to give us. For example, our backs represent our support. Back pain and problems are our body’s way of telling us that we need to find a way of finding more support as well as strengthening ourselves not only bodily, but also in mind, emotions and spirit.

Our legs carry us ahead in life and when something goes wrong with them we are being urged to explore the path we are treading and remove any blocks that are preventing us from moving forward.

Our digestive systems digest food so when something goes wrong here we are being shown that we may not be accepting our lives and/or new ideas and allowing them to nourish us. Alternatively, we may be hanging onto people or situations that we need to let go of.

And so on through every part of our body.

Biography becomes biology which means that whatever we do, think or feel will be stored somewhere in our cells until we face and deal with those energies. Refusing to listen will eventually cause them to solidify into illness and pain.

So, every time anything “goes wrong” whether externally or internally, ask yourself: Why am I experiencing this in the bigger picture? What is it teaching me? What is the behaviour or habit that I need to change?

Increasing both internal and external awareness in this way will create the power and confidence to do what we have come here to do and enable our Inner Alchemist to transform us from lead into gold. So watch yourself and observe what your body is telling you and be aware of your feelings, working with them rather than trying to block them out or ignore them. Focus on what is good and nourishing rather than what is bad and disempowering and visualise enhanced peace and happiness rather than worrying about what might or might not go wrong with the world. Be grateful for everything – yes, everything, even when it is painful. Pain is a road to be travelled and, if we have the courage, it can take us on the path of transformation.  Finally, be gentle with yourself and others and realise that everyone is undergoing tremendous internal changes.

So watch, learn, observe and detach. Then enjoy embracing your Inner Alchemist. It will help you to become your extraordinary self and, in so doing, will allow the world to become the extraordinary world it was created to be.

Happy February.
Love Laurelle

2017 – The Year of the Wake Up Call

On 28th January 2017, we will move from the Year of the Trickster Monkey to the Year of the Fire Rooster which will last until 15th February 2018. Just as the Year of The Trickster Monkey has been predictable in its leg-pulling unpredictability, the time of the Rooster will be a wake-up call in which triumph and success will only be achieved through hard work, efficiency and patience.

The Rooster is flamboyant and likes to strut his stuff with his chest puffed out. He also holds his head up high and likes to be noticed. It is important to realise, however, that his rather grandiose love of centre stage can mask an inner lack of self-confidence which means that he can be susceptible to flattery and loves to be adored. He can also hide his weaknesses behind a veneer of arrogance. The Rooster can be exceptionally blunt and direct and diplomacy is completely out of his remit. Moreover, his sharp mind can lead to argumentativeness and he can be particularly harsh with anyone with woolly thinking. (Whoops, not good news for me as a Sheep, then…!)

Roosters tend to make larger scale plans than they have the capacity to achieve but because other people’s opinions are seen as criticism rather than counsel, they are unwilling to take advice. As a result, their feathers are easily ruffled causing them to fly into rages. However, this is generally short lived and they are soon off to strut their stuff once again. Fortunately, Roosters tend to be rather well organised and efficient although they do like other people to live by their rules, irrespective of the situation.

Animal signs in Chinese Astrology also include an element and 2017 will be a fire year with the colour red, meaning that it should be an auspicious year for marriage, relationships and pregnancy. Fire Roosters are exceedingly dramatic in nature and like to cut a dash in bright and expensive clothes, so this will be a great year for all concerned with fashion. They are natural high flyers and tend to achieve great things in a short time. Utterly single minded, they are rarely distracted from their goals and easily gravitate to the top of their professions in which they demonstrate great talent for organisation and leadership.

However, beware! It will be essential to balance all this fiery, dramatic energy with time spent in solitude and harmony with friends and family. Alternative healing therapies and meditation will also be particularly advisable and help to keep stress at bay.

The keys, therefore, for 2017, will be hard work, efficiency, and single mindedness and as long as they are balanced with patience, self-discipline, sufficient rest and harmony, the year could be filled with potential.

Interestingly, just as a certain Donald looked as though he was the archetypal Trickster Monkey, it would appear that he is the archetypal Fire Rooster as well. Methinks 2017 is going to be quite a show. At any rate, it will be something of a wake-up call. The question is, a wake-up to what…?

Wishing us all a happy and peaceful 2017

Love Laurelle

What is the real meaning of the Winter Solstice?

At this time in the world when many of us are feeling unsettled with the political arena and wondering what on earth is going on, let’s take a two month break from discussing archetypes to look first at the ancient meaning behind this upcoming winter festival and, next month, to what leaving behind the Year of the Trickster Monkey will mean for us. The Midwinter Solstice festival is celebrated all round the world by many traditions. Some of its names are Christmas; the Jewish HannukkahPancha Ganapati, a five-day festival in honour of Lord Ganesha, celebrated by Hindus in USA; and Shabe Chelle, an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil.

The word solstice comes from the Latin sol stretit which means “sun stands still”. For approximately six days at midwinter and again at midsummer, the sun does not seem to move and appears to stand still in the sky. These solstices divide the year into two halves and serve as important anchor points in the farming year.  To move the year on, dances were choreographed to mimic the seasons and coax them forward and these masked dancers are still reflected in the masked “guisers” who tour outlying villages of Britain and Ireland today. In more ancient times, shamans, who were the first priests, would climb up the World Tree to reach the Otherworld and climb back down again with the gifts of prophecy and wisdom to give to us all and this is still enacted by Father Christmas coming down the chimney to give us presents.

All over the world, humans have celebrated midwinter as the demise of the old year and the birth of the new. In the North, various symbols have come to represent the fears and hopes of the turning of the year over thousands of years: fire as a symbol warmth and light as a symbol of the returning sun, boughs of greenery bound into rings to represent the circle of creation and images of deities that have the strength to bring spring back again.

There are many pagan and religious symbols in our modern day celebrations. A long time before Christianity, the Christmas Tree began life as the Solstice Evergreen, promising that life would return after the death that winter represented. The Yule Log originated in pagan Scandinavia and represented the turning of the magical year. The ancient carol “The Holly and the Ivy” derives from pre-Christian times when the Lord and Lady of the Greenwood were honoured by the hanging of green garlands from the ridge poles of houses. Indeed, the true origins of the Spirit of Christmas – Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Old St Nick, Syre Christemas and Sinter Class – are as old as history. In Arthurian times, The Green Knight – who represented winter – arrived at King Arthur’s Court just as the Christmas festivities were starting. He offered to play a strange game. Anyone brave enough should strike him with an axe on the understanding that he would return the blow in a year’s time. Only Gawain had the courage to accept the challenge but eventually his head was severed by the Green Knight. Of course the killing of Gawain was merely a prelude to his battle for the hand of The Spring Maiden.

Then, of course, two thousand years ago a baby was born in Bethlehem bringing love and forgiveness to the world. Afterwards, in Medieval Britain, a bishop called Nicholas was so saddened by the poverty in his Parish that he would slip into houses at night and leave presents in the shoes of his parishioners, especially children, as a gift of compassion.

Though it’s all too easy at the moment to feel discombobulated by what’s happening in the world, let’s choose to mark the solstice as a time of hope rather than despair. The choice to live in faith rather than fear allows us to demonstrate our hope for the future knowing that, however bleak things may seem, spring will come again. By touching history at its very heart, we can connect not only to the lives of the millions of people who have gone before us but also to the rest of humanity, joining hands across the globe in trust and love, whatever religious faith we do or do not observe. After all, the light is still there just waiting to shine on us again. All we have to do is to be brave enough to lift our heads and look up.

Wishing you a happy, peaceful and joyous Solstice.

Love Laurelle

How do you work through the Power Family Group of Archetypes? – Part One

In our exploration of the archetypes of the Unconscious mind, let us now look at the Power Family which includes the Queen, the King, the Hero/Heroine,

the Princess, the Damsel, the Warrior and the Knight. Perhaps surprisingly, it also includes patterns such as the Beggar, the Servant and the Martyr. This month, we will explore the Queen, the King, the Princess and the Damsel.

Queen Elizabeth I gave us a clear picture of what it meant to be a Queen. The Queen archetype represents power and authority but it is not easy to work through. The Queen often leads a lonely life and has to be aggressive to protect her position. However, she protects those in her court, and sees her own empowerment enhanced by her relationships and experience. Variants of this archetype include Snow Queen, Drama Queen, Drag Queen and Queen Bee. The shadow aspect means that she (or he) can be prone to hysteria and being manipulative. S/he can also be arrogant and defensive over the protection of her personal and emotional power.

The light aspect of the King archetype is benevolent, has natural authority and rules his kingdom by exerting just control over it. However, we only have to look at history to see the shadow. Henry VIII may have begun his Kingship in a benevolent way but the abuse of power became all too evident in his later life with his demonstrations of cruelty, entitlement, a resistance to criticism, questioning, controlling behaviour and even murder.

The Princess archetype was wonderfully embodied by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Always beautiful, pure and young, she was polite, courteous, considerate and caring. Her nobility demanded that she marry a prince. The Princess, however, is always given a test to break her sense of powerlessness. If she fails to overcome the test, her shadow aspect will appear. She won’t use her intelligence, she will have little control over what happens to her and she will be generally passive.

The Damsel archetype is similar to the Princess but with important differences. She also is always beautiful, vulnerable, and in need of rescue. However, her rescuer will be a Knight rather than a Prince and, once rescued, she will be looked after and stay locked up in her castle rather than venturing out to become a Queen. Like the Princess, the Damsel must become empowered and learn to take care of herself in the world. However, she will never be rich like a Princess. The shadow aspect of the Damsel is the suggestion that women are weak, helpless and in need of protection and it teaches women to expect someone else to fight her battles for her. Though we no longer live in medieval times, how many modern women are still longing to be rescued by a Knight in shining armour?

If you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, then I run workshops on archetypes as well as private sessions in person or on Skype and would be delighted to help you discover what you were born to do and who you were born to be.

Happy observing of yourself and others, and enjoy November!

Love Laurelle

How do you relate to the Family group of Archetypes?

We have already explored the four shared survival archetypes – Child, Victim, Saboteur and Prostitute – in the hidden world of the Unconscious Mind, so now let us look at some possibilities for the rest so that we can more easily understand our and others’ behaviour and learn how to deal with it appropriately.

Let us begin with the group known as the Family. The Family consists in the main of Child, Brother, Sister, Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Grandmother and Grandfather. Each of these archetypes are related but subtly different. It is important to remember that each archetype has a light and shadow aspect, both of which help us to raise our consciousness. The shadow is not bad, but merely the part that we have not yet integrated.

The Mother can be worked through by women who are not physical mothers, as well as men. Light aspects of the Mother Archetype include such abilities as life-giving, nurturing, unconditional love, patience, devotion, caring, unselfish acts, compassion and forgiveness. Other variants are Working Mother, Foster Mother, Mother-in-Law and Step Mother. The shadow aspects include the Devouring Mother who consumes her children psychologically and emotionally, makes them feel guilty at leaving her or becoming independent. The Abusive Mother and the Abandoning Mother speak for themselves.

Likewise, the Father can be worked through by anyone irrespective of gender or physical fatherhood. The Light side of the Father archetype instils such qualities as courage, protectiveness, guiding and advice, and self-sacrifice. Again, there are variants: Godfather, Step Father, Patriarch and Father God. The shadow aspects show up when caring guidance and protection turns into dictatorial control, tyranny, dominance or abuse of authority.

Archetypes are laden with historical and cultural meanings as is exemplified by the Grandmother. In these days of worshipping youth, the Grandmother can be a frightening archetype to own since it suggests getting old. Even the language is fraught with difficulty. The word Crone, another word for grandmother, actually comes from the word Crown, alluding to the halo of wisdom around the head. Another variant is the Hag, which comes from the word hagio, meaning holy. Despite the beauty of these original meanings, both Crone and Hag have negative connotations for us today. Indeed, female wisdom has been so feared over many centuries that the shadow of the Grandmother archetype has become frighteningly famous with the millions of women who were burned at the stake for being witches. Because we still hold the ancestral knowledge of this horror deep inside our memories, most of us are scared of owning this powerful archetype. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful archetype and imbues qualities such as wisdom, the keeper of stories, the seer, healer and midwife.

Most of us come to know that the family can be a complex and challenging group to belong to and it is no less so with its archetypes. Over the next month, try exploring some of these archetypes within yourself and observe if they come to play in your behaviour.

Next month we will continue the journey by looking at the Power Family. If you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, then I run workshops on archetypes as well as private sessions in person or on Skype and would be delighted to help you discover what you were born to do and who you were born to be.

Enjoy observing yourself and others, and have a happy October!

Love Laurelle