What Are Archetypes?
Archetypes are universal symbols, themes, or patterns that appear in stories, myths, dreams, and human experiences across cultures and throughout history. They represent fundamental human roles and emotions and often take the form of characters, situations, or symbols that resonate with the collective unconscious that all of us share.
How an Archetype Reading Works
Identifying Archetypes: For an archetype reading, the first step is to identify and recognize the archetypes that are most active in your personal chart, called the Chart of Origin. Archetypes include the Hero, the Mentor, the Trickster, the Mother, the Vampire, the Alchemist, the Mystic, the Rebel, and many more.
Casting your Chart: Once your archetypes are identified, the reader will help you cast your Chart of Origin through an intuitive process during which you will let your higher self determine in which of 12 houses each archetype best serves you. The houses of the chart are based on the 12 houses of an astrological chart.
Interpretation: The next step involves interpreting how the presence and interaction of different archetypes in the 12 houses can reveal deeper meanings and insights into the roles they play in your life. The significance of the archetypes varies based on which house each archetype falls into when you cast your Chart of Origin.
Personal Growth and Exploration: Archetype readings can be used for personal development and self-exploration. By recognizing which archetypes are more prominent in your life, you can gain insights into your own behavior, motivations, and challenges. This self-awareness can lead to personal growth and transformation.
Storytelling and Art: Working with your own most prominent archetypes can also help you to learn and understand the roles played by the many archetypal patterns that exist in the collective unconscious. In the realm of storytelling and art, archetypes are often used to create characters and narratives that resonate with the audience on a deep, subconscious level. Archetype readings can help writers, filmmakers, and artists craft more compelling and relatable stories. For example, when the filmmaker George Lucas created his enormously popular Star Wars series, he was influenced by the writings of Joseph Campbell, who spent his life studying the function of archetypes as initially described by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.
My experience with Archetype Readings
I have more than 12 years of experience working and teaching with Caroline Myss, from the earliest days of her work with Archetypes and Sacred Contracts. I helped to write her major best seller Sacred Contracts (2001). I also collaborated with her in creating the deck of Archetype Cards used at CMED Sacred Contracts workshops since 2003 as well as her current online class. At her CMED Institute in the Chicago area, I compiled notes of all workshops and created workbooks to help students absorb and digest Caroline's teachings as they developed. I have remained in continual contact with Caroline as her teaching has evolved, so I have a unique perspective on her thinking about the archetypes.
At Caroline's request, I developed a course in Sacred Journaling to help guide more than one thousand CMED participants through their two-year training to become Certified Archetypal Counselors. Few people understand her teachings on the archetypes and the Archetypal Wheels as thoroughly as I do, or know better how to cast charts, do readings, and process the insights that result.
I have been giving private Archetypal Readings and counseling sessions for more than 15 years, and have developed my own approach to working with this profound material, with an emphasis on making it more accessible and direct. By condensing the material, I make it easier for you to learn it in a much shorter period of time. This is especially helpful if you want to use Archetypal Counseling in your professional work as a therapist, counselor, or healer.
I live in Woodstock, 90 miles north of New York City. I occasionally give readings at my home, but I do most of my counseling and consulting by phone and Zoom with email follow-ups. If you already have determined your archetypes, either from reading Sacred Contracts or by attending Caroline Myss's workshops, I can cast your chart and give you a reading in one session. If you need me to help you select your archetypes first, it usually requires two 90-minute sessions to complete this process and give you your reading.
Most of the people whom I've helped to gain insight into their Archetypes have been extremely enthusiastic about this work, and have remarked on how well it fits with their desire to understand their lives without endless psychotherapy sessions. Many have also said that a familiarity with archetypal patterns has helped them in the work they do as schoolteachers, yoga instructors, life coaches, healers, therapists, artists, actors, writers, and business people. But most of all, they use the insights they learn to see themselves and others in archetypal terms.
Booking an Archetypal Consultation Session
The nature of archetypes and how they function within each of us.
How to determine the set of 12 personal archetypes that are most active within you.
The methodology for using these 12 archetypes to cast charts for personal guidance for yourself and others.
How to interpret these charts to help you create a course of action to resolve life issues concerning career, business activities, personal and professional relationships, health, and other crucial subjects.
Sign up for a single 90-minute session - $150
Sign up for two 90-minute sessions for $250
Subsequent sessions can be arranged at the rate of $100 an hour
If you have any questions, please send me an email
(if you want to know more about the Archetypes)
We all want to know more about ourselves, especially about the underlying forces that may seem hidden to us, but that make us who we are. Perhaps the most compelling set of hidden powers within our psyches that I have worked with over the past decades are the Archetypes. There has been plenty of buzz about archetypes recently, and new books and websites devoted to them. But I haven’t seen much solid, useful material that can be applied to your personal, psychological, and spiritual development, or how they can be used in counseling or life coaching, for which I think they make ideal companions. So what are they, exactly? Archetypes are ancient patterns of behavior encoded in our DNA—or what the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious.” Some are impersonal patterns that affect us all, like Death and Rebirth. Others have names based on age-old human roles, such as the Mother, Knight, Warrior, Vampire, Rescuer, Sage, Victim, Saboteur, and Child. These are patterns that we all share, but certain archetypes are more prominently on display in each of us. Properly understood, archetypes provide a window into the motivations and actions of ourselves and others.
The concept of archetypes dates back at least to the time of Plato, who referred to ideals that he called Forms. Plato believed that these eternal Forms were reflected in material objects. The Form of Beauty, for example, is abstract and applies to all beautiful things. We may experience many different individual manifestations of Beauty—a beautiful person, horse, or flower—but the Form itself never changes. Early in Carl Jung's career, he was the protégé of Sigmund Freud, 20 years his senior, who built his practice of psychoanalysis on the concept of the unconscious mind. Freud believed that our neuroses and complexes were created by events that happened early in life and were then sealed away in the unconscious mind. Jung believed that in addition to what he called the personal unconscious, which is unique to each of us, "there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature that is identical in all individuals." This collective unconscious, he believed, was inherited rather than developed, and was composed mainly of archetypes.
Although Jung mentioned a limited number of archetypes, his ideas have been expanded in recent years by a number of spiritual teachers, including Caroline Myss. Caroline developed a way of identifying the 12 primary or dominant archetypes in the psyche of each individual, and then casting those archetypes into a chart consisting of 12 houses corresponding to the 12 houses of the astrological wheel. She called this group a "support team" that guides each of us throughout our lives. By identifying the archetypes that are most active in your life, you can learn how to turn them into your allies. You can also learn to identify their presence in other people, and deal with them accordingly. For example, if you know the Hermit archetype is one of your 12, you can learn to accept your need to have time alone as a regular part of your life. If you identify the Rescuer, you'll need to be alert to your tendency to want to save other people, which may come with a hidden agenda. For instance, the Rescuer might take care of people in exchange for an expectation of their eternal gratitude and dependency.
The archetypes provide the foundation for your personality, drives, feelings, beliefs, motivations, and actions. But they are not passive entities floating around in the psyche like old family portraits hanging in a dusty corridor of your ancestral castle. They take an active role as guardians and inner allies, alerting you when you are in danger of falling into "shadow" behavior. The Saboteur, for instance, warns you when you are in a situation in which you tend to sabotage your own best interests. The Victim alerts you when you might tend to play play the Victim or, conversely, to victimize others. Once you learn to recognize these patterns instead of ignoring or denying their presence, they become your friends and can help you avoid sabotaging yourself or becoming a victim.
The shadow is a term popularized by Carl Jung, and refers to the part of our psyche that is unacceptable to our conscious mind. The shadow doesn't imply evil, but simply that which we unconsciously keep in the dark. You might have a shadow artistic talent, for example, but be unwilling to acknowledge it because the career of an artist might be much less secure than your current occupation. All archetypes are essentially neutral—neither good nor bad in the conventional sense—but each archetype has both "shadow" manifestations as well as "light" aspects. The shadow has power precisely because it remains in the dark. Only when we face and acknowledge the shadow's presence can we bring it into the light and neutralize its potential negative impact on us.
Determining Your Archetypes
The first step in learning to work with your archetypes is to determine which 12 archetypes make up the support system of your primary archetypes. This takes introspective work and a bit of research. You'll need some time and self-exploration to discern which archetypes are at work within your psyche. Part of the process is intuitive and part is logical, engaging both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. If you feel you would like some help with the process, including detailed guidance with choosing your support team of archetypes, and then casting a chart for guidance, you can book a session or two to let me help you choose your archetypes.
In our first session, I'll help you determine which of the many archetypes in our collective unconscious have played a significant role in your life—and continue to do so. Remember that we each have the Child, Victim, Saboteur, and Prostitute, so you will need to select only eight more to fill out your circle of 12. I'll show you how to avoid common misunderstandings in choosing archetypes that have been with you through various stages of your life. In the second session, I'll help you cast your Chart of Origin, and then discuss in depth the significance of where each archetype lands on your chart.
If you enjoy the process and feel that you resonate with your archetypes, I can show you how to cast other charts for specific guidance with your health, relationships, career, and finances.