On a Path to Personal Transformation? Let Archetypes Light Your Way
I can’t escape Archetypes. And it’s not just me. As one of the founders of CultureTalk, I want to share some of the recent, powerful testimonials fans have sent my way. Each one from an individual on a path to personal transformation that now, with the power of Archetypes, finally has the answer they’ve been looking for.
But first, a story…
At the beginning of many CultureTalk training sessions and workshops, I like to start with a personal story. It’s about a cloudy evening in Washington, DC, in the Fall of 2000. A friend had invited me to a presentation to be given by Dr. Carol Pearson.
I knew nothing about Pearson. But I did know that, like me, my friend ran a freelance marketing practice and we were both struggling to find work during an economic downturn. I came along for the chance to commiserate. The event was held in an anonymous-looking building on the second floor in a dimly lit classroom with folding chairs. It felt as unpromising as the market for new clients.
But then came Carol Pearson, Jungian Archetypes, and a conversation that changed the entire course of my career.
From the overhead projector, and a television cart with VHS tapes, I saw example after example of how Archetypes – universal stories and characters that are easily recognized as part of the shared human experience – show up in individuals and organizations.
For me – there were fireworks.
I had an immediate connection to these “story patterns” and how I could incorporate Archetypes into my work with clients. In fact, I came face-to-face with one of my own core Archetypes – the Creator – a story that is based on seeing patterns, and turning concepts and chaos into things of beauty and meaning. It wasn’t the first time I had met Jung. I had already earned a bachelor’s in Psychology and a master’s that incorporated positive psychology as a path to wholeness and health. And while my early career path meandered to jobs that allowed me to pay the bills, here was Jung again knocking on my door and telling me to pay attention.
When you have fireworks – that’s a clue about the Archetypal themes that are key to your purpose here in this life. I felt like the biblical Jonah being spit on the shores of Nineveh from the belly of the whale.
Have you ever had moments like that? Moments of crystal clarity that hit you out of nowhere? Perhaps your Archetypes are sending you clues about who you truly are – and the unique gifts you must offer the world.
Leading Others to Personal Transformation with Archetypes
In the 17+ years since meeting Pearson, I’ve been privileged to lead others on a course to personal transformation through Archetypal discovery – helping business leaders, organizations and individuals define and articulate their purpose and passions. Often in this work, the transformational moment is not in discovering something new that they are yet to become. Rather, it’s the recognition that the essence of who they are was there all along. The change is not about adding, but about ‘letting go’ of the activities, beliefs and false selves that have shown up along the way.
In her article, The Grand Promise of Transformation, Anja van Kralingen, the Director of the Centre for Applied Jungian Studies, speaks to this truth as a key element of Jung’s work:
There is a major paradox in the personal growth movement. A critical fault line running down its centre. We are sold and often tempted by promises of transformation, but, critically, what we most want is to be authentic.
The eureka moment in the process of becoming conscious, is when we finally let go of the fiction that has both sustained and trapped us these many years of our adult lives.
Authenticity is about being honest with yourself about who you are, where you are going, what drives you, what you do not like, what enchants you, what you love. It is your unique perspective. It is your psychic fingerprint.
Testimonials: Archetypes in Personal Transformation
I recently received two notes from attendees of an event I spoke at. Each one took our personal Archetyping Survey – CultureTalk for Individuals. This is what they sent after receiving their results.
Thanks again for the opportunity to take the full survey. My results: primary of Innocent, with Magician and Caregiver supporting. Latent Ruler.
It’s funny that in our meeting, Innocent is the Archetype I chose as “not me” but it makes total sense now. OMG! I have wanted to channel my energy into helping people slow down for as long as I can remember. Yet I have often shied away from this energy in very driven corporate environments where it seemed like my impulse for valuing and wanting what Costa Ricans call “Pura Vida” would be viewed as a lack of motivation and passion (neither of which I lack) — indeed the pressure always has seemed to be for more “Ruler” energy (be more assertive, more decisive, more take charge).
Yet the clues of Innocent, Magician, and Caregiver are all there:
- I ran a body care company for 5 years that had a brand vision of “helping women slow down to pamper themselves each day”
- I also worked as a life and business coach for several years and deeply enjoyed the sense of helping others
- My co-workers in my first job out of college gave me the nickname “smiley” because of my generally upbeat and optimistic spirit
- I am currently working on a website to help people find and encourage them to visit botanic gardens… and the key motivation is just a desire to inspire people to go to slow down and connect with nature, beauty and themselves.
My reaction to all of this is that I feel like the pressures of life and work in recent years may have taken me a bit away from my “true self.” But this feedback gives me impetus to reconnect with the essence of “who I truly am” with greater courage and determination.
Equally intriguing was the latent archetype of Ruler. Because I can see that if I were able to bring forth more of this energy, I might experience more success in achieving my professional and personal goals.
You do fascinating work… thank you!
I sit here with moist eyes as I read the report and recognize what I have not fully owned in the past few years.
I was pleasantly surprised at how some of the phrases that described characteristics or behaviors felt like they could have dropped from my mouth. I am pegged as a Hero supported by Everyman and Magician.
When we started on this journey, my partners and I had all had personal experiences with the power of Archetypes. But it’s the words of our customers and fans that continue to amaze.
So, now I ask you: Are you living in alignment with the Archetypal direction of your life, your relationships, your career? Or have you been running from your highest calling, hiding behind ideas that other people or situations have put in your path?
Only you can answer this question. Only you can follow the clues. Consider this an invitation.