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I've been mentioning the heoic archetypes for many months now, and have never gotten around to explaining much about the concept in any detail. I'm going to use this entry to explain the concept, and plan on having later enries describing each individual archetype in detail. Everything I say, of course, is flitered through my own perceptions and understandings of the concpets, so salt to taste.

The concept comes from a woman named Carol S. Pearson, mainly from her book "Awakening the Heroes Within". She has other books relating to the subject, but I think this one is her most accessible one. She ties together a fair amount of Jungian archetypical theory, some literature and film, and some Tarot. Her premise is that the main characters of literature, folklore, and film are all the heroes of their stories. Our behavior and attitudes often mirror these heroes. We mirror them in some bad ways, and in varying good ways. One particular hero archetype isn't appropriate for all situations, and there is no 'best' hero archetype. Understanding the role we're playing in any given situation, and the roles other are playing, can help your own growth and understanding.

The 12 archetypes are grouped into three sets of four. The first set is the Ego set. It's the set that is more basic, needs-driven, and focused on the core needs of existence. The second set is the Soul set. It's more focused on meaning slightly past the individual identity. The third set is the Self set. In this set one's identity and meaning is resolved, and now world-changing is the focus.

Ego: The four archetypes are the Innocent, the Orphan, the Warrior, and the Caregiver.
Soul: The four archetypes are the Seeker, the Destroyer, the Lover, and the Creator.
Self: The four archetypes are the Ruler, the Magician, the Sage, and the Fool.

More details of each achetype will be upcoming in individual entries on each one (helpfully tagged with "archetype"), but I'll wrap up the introduction with an example of each one.

Innocent: Adam and Eve in the Garden
Orphan: Cain, Lucifer, the Wandering Jew
Warrior: Alexander the Great, David (of David and Goliath)
Caregiver: Florence Nightengale, Mother Teresa
Seeker: Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz", knights questing for the Holy Grail
Destroyer: Vampires, zombies, and more generically, any character that "wipes the slate clean". Jesus could be in this category, as is Shiva.
Lover: Romeo, Juliet
Creator: Scientists, artists, Gallileo.
Ruler: King Arthur, Prince Humperdink.
Magician: Merlin, shamans, Meg O'Keefe (Of the Madeline L'Engle books, she becomes a "Namer")
Sage: Christ as the teller of parables, Zen masters, Nasrudin of the Sufis
Fool: Comedians, Mae West, Coyote, Don Quixote


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March 2011

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