“Useful Idiots”

A slight departure now from our customary Chrysalis-focused writings with a single purpose in mind; namely to shed some light on the agitating racket and disharmony as the inauguration of Donald Trump approaches.

As I’ve written before, the world is experiencing birth throes of a new paradigm. This truism has been proclaimed far and wide for years; it has been anticipated by those with “eyes to see and ears to hear.” A search for “new paradigm” on Google returns over 6-million hits.

It remains to be seen if this new paradigm is born healthy. If so, her birth will herald a new Golden Age. If not, the pain we thus inflict upon ourselves depends upon how hard we as a species – and as a nation – push back against the inevitable winds of change. Clearly, even those with stunted spiritual antennae accept that humanity’s present course – the status quo – is unsustainable.

Since the politics of the day is incendiary, I shall reflect on the politics of the past to make my needed points. This is where the somewhat sinister looking character pictured above assumes center stage. He is Saul Alinsky, who died back in 1972 at age 63. As spiritual symmetries and synchronicities would have it (so to inform us), Alinsky’s story includes intriguing parallels to today’s perturbed political landscape.

Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 to Jewish immigrants from Russia. Wikipedia calls him an “American community organizer and writer.” He wrote a book in 1971 titled, Rules for Radicals, which is considered to be the Bible for community organizing. William Buckley called him an “organizational genius.” Alinsky is not the villain here, just the foil.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley on Alinsky, but let’s not entwine ourselves in that political kudzu. Instead, we’ll just recount a few of Alinsky’s ideas he termed “power tactics,” as outlined in his Rules for Radicals.

I’ll pick and choose 5 from his list of 13 (emphasis is mine):

  • Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
  • A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.
  • Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
  • The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
  • Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Alternatively, perhaps it’s better simply to accept legitimate change, adapt and move on. America, by the way, also has a Bible, along with a few rules for being a “good American.” It’s known as the Constitution. Dissent and civil disobedience are Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights we all cherish. Disrespect and lawlessness, not so much.

16-kaliWe live in the Age of Kali, whose ongoing cosmic mission is creative destruction. “May you live in interesting times.” Chrysalis Tarot fans are intimately familiar with Kali, even if they sometimes don’t fully understand her or immediately spot her spiritual footprints.

For those who are not familiar with her, Kali is an archetype; Chrysalis Tarot is first and foremost “archetypal psychology” that was designed to increase self-awareness and, therefore, consciousness (symbolized by Kali’s chain of skulls). The “tower” in the image symbolizes the human ego, which is in constant tension with the Higher Self. As ego decreases, Higher Self increases. This can be described as spiritual growth, which is essential in order to see things clearly – to think clearly and critically.

Since the word Bible came up a couple of times in this stream of consciousness, it calls to mind the theological doctrine of eschatology. In metaphysics, as opposed to religious dogma, this doctrine refers to the study of, and the reasons for, profound change and evolution of consciousness; you cannot separate eschatology from paradigm shifts and evolution of consciousness. Eschatology is, therefore, a spiritual truism independent of religious dogma.

Two thousand years ago there was another birth – another paradigm shift – one that gave name to the “common era (CE).” Back then, before the era was common, the eschatology of John the Baptist, a Jewish prophet, was apocalyptic. The eschatology of Jesus, also a Jewish prophet, was the coming of a New Kingdom (new paradigm) – a new Golden Age. Paradigm shifts always reconcile a tension of opposites. “A tension of opposites is like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.” ~ Morrie Schwartz.

It is not my intention to parrot some facile Christian lesson with references to John and his cousin Jesus – I’m a spiritual naturalist, after all. I simply wish to remind the reader that at its core the situation in America and the world today is spiritual and far more complex than tedious left vs. right politics or sectarian religious zeal might have you believe. This brings me to the title of this blog: What on Earth is a “Useful Idiot?” Well, these hive-minded folks abound and abide and are “having a ball.”

“In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.” ~ Wikipedia

In other words, a useful idiot is a tool for Kali.

 

© Toney Brooks

The Warrior Archetype

tammo-warrior“A dark and powerful warrior’s face in blacks and reds. He wears a steel helmet, broad square face, open mouth with square teeth and a full black beard.” That’s Tammo de Jonge’s description of the Warrior archetype from his The 12 Faces of Humanity artwork.

As we all know, Chrysalis Tarot may correctly be called a “feminine tarot deck.” Traditional tarot, by contrast, is decidedly masculine and patriarchal. In Chrysalis, we emphasize the Divine Feminine, Earth-centered spirituality, healing, intuition and, above all else, balance.

In our schema, we emphasize many other attributes commonly associated with the Divine Feminine: goddess archetypes, anima and yin symbology, and the importance of the right brain to spiritual growth. In other words, Chrysalis relies upon symbols, patterns and free-flowing feelings, emotions and correspondences.

You will find the exact opposite characteristics in the Warrior archetype. Warrior energy is more commonly associated with the left brain: controlled feelings, logic, and rigid structure. Tricksters have warrior-type characteristics and are generally male figures because tricksters are antistructural agents who help restore balance by restraining or derailing the status quo. This is not to suggest the Warrior archetype is inherently negative. Not at all; he is a transitional archetype who manifests negative energy only when ungrounded.

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Herne the Hunter fulfills the Warrior’s role in Chrysalis. He himself is a facilitator of change and well grounded Gatekeeper of Higher Consciousness.

For thousands of years, most of humanity has been living a patriarchal paradigm that has no firm grounding in Divine Feminine attributes. Consequently, we witness rampant aggression, oppression of women, endless wars, and heavy-handed religious dogma instead of holistic spirituality marked by interconnection and a commitment to personal growth.

Fortunately, things are rapidly changing. Once the dust settles, consciousness will  evolve to unimaginable new heights and the world will be a better, more balanced place. This will happen in part because women themselves will form the vanguard of a new warrior class called Rainbow Warriors.

rainbow-warriors“There will come a day when people of all races, colors, and creeds will put aside their differences. They will come together in love, joining hands in unification, to heal the Earth and all Her children. They will move over the Earth like a great Whirling Rainbow, bringing peace, understanding and healing everywhere they go. Many creatures thought to be extinct or mythical will resurface at this time; the great trees that perished will return almost overnight. All living things will flourish, drawing sustenance from the breast of our Mother, the Earth.” ~ from the Rainbow Prophecy as purportedly passed down by women of the Cree Nation.

Collective Unconscious archetypes provide filters and focus for our lenses of perception and imagination. As the Warrior archetype completes his mission and subsides, the pendulum swings in the opposite direction and balance is restored. Remember, the reemergence of the Divine Feminine does not mean a return to Minoan Civilization matriarchy; quite the contrary, the essence of the Divine Feminine seeks eternal balance.

(This blog is the 8th in a series inspired by artist Tammo de Jongh’s, “The 12 Faces of Humanity.” See the “Recent Posts” section below for the previous blogs.)

© Toney Brooks

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Art by Darrell Driver

The Joker Archetype

tammo12 “A picture in bright reds and yellows is of a smiling twinkle-eyed Harlequin with his typical gold-stuccoed, triangular hat,” is how artist Tammo de Jongh described his Joker archetype, commonly known as the Trickster.

Archetypes are multivalent fields of information that exist in tandem in the human psyche and the Collective Unconscious. They count upon reflexivity to acquire meaning.  This is to say they reflect nuanced attributes and values to whomever mirrors them. Archetypes are psychological chameleons. Getting your head around the Trickster archetype, for example, can be like fumbling your way through a hall of mirrors. The Trickster is elusive, cunning, deceitful, wise and bizarre.

Trickster, joker and jester archetypes are known as liminal figures; they exist in the margins, the numerous betwixt and betweens experienced in life. It’s the Trickster’s role to jump boundaries and expose inconvenient truths in hope of changing perspective. He is the pin that pricks the bloated balloons of ignorance and delusion, thereby advancing understanding, individually and collectively, and evolving consciousness; awakening new truths.

It ain’t often pretty. Take the recent  U.S. election for example, which has Trickster markings all over it. Manifestations of the Trickster, “generate ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty; they provoke feelings of unease, worry, and even paranoia,” noted George P. Hanson in his book, The Trickster and the Paranormal. Hanson is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

There are other familiar examples of the Trickster in history. Quick-witted Will Sommers, who was King Henry VIII’s personal fool or court jester, said outrageous things to the king that no other members of the court would dare say and expect to keep their heads. The trickster has a knack for imparting wisdom and challenging the status quo. He is the quintessential agent of change.

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We recently celebrated Guy Fawkes Day. You recall: “Remember, remember the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot. I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.” The phenomenal Guy Fawkes’ mask art (above) is by Alex Grey. Fawkes indirectly inspired the movie V for Vendetta as well as the Occupy and Anonymous movements that challenged government tyranny.

Many believe the gunpowder plot to blow up parliament was a false flag operation, and that Fawkes along with his co-conspirators were mere patsies. Tricksters often blur distinction between good guy and bad guy. Eventually, history chooses a narrative – the narrative intended by the trickster all along.

corsairbwChrysalis is filled with trickster magic. It is imbued in cards such as the Ravens, The Corsair, Kali, Three of Mirrors, The Illusionist and, of course, Merlin and Morgan Le Fay. As I wrote in the Chrysalis companion book, “When the world needs to change, the world turns to tricksters. We could no more excise tricksters from magic than trees from forests or stars from heaven.”

The trick to understanding the unseemly messes made by tricksters is to elevate your perspective (The Acrobat) and discern the bigger picture. As the Somali pirate said in the film Captain Phillips, “Everything gonna be okay.”

(This blog is the 7th of a series inspired by artist Tammo de Jongh’s, “The 12 Faces of Humanity.” See the “Recent Posts” list below for our previous blogs.)

© Toney Brooks

The Patriarch Archetype

tammo8Archetypes, first and foremost, can be defined as constellated energy/in-formation substrates formed in humanity’s Collective Unconscious. The visible, manifest types of these invisible, unmanifest archetypes emerge and re-emerge throughout human history. Archetypes are timeless, hence they become active at different times, in different ages and epochs, and in different cultures. The Collective Unconscious is humanity’s “memory bank.”

Archetypes are “spirit guides” for those who have ears to hear.

Archetypal manifestations in the physical world begin as emanations from the Otherworld. They gradually unfold and help shape our stories, ideas and creative arts. Here, they become templates for reality to awaken the collective imagination, shape individual lives and help fulfill humanity’s common destiny.

Archetypes require no worship, no invocation, no propitiation or mythic hocus pocus of any kind. We anthropomorphize (personify) some of them simply to engender communication (semiotics) and develop personal relationships. Two-way information exchange with archetypes (resonance) is the mother’s milk of human evolution, both physical and spiritual. Communication with archetypes is most effective when it is contemplative, selfless and motivated by the heart. Mandalas, such as Golden Flower (below), are the archetypes of contemplation. The circular image represents wholeness – the Oneness of seen and unseen worlds.

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While an archetype itself may constellate many various characteristics or attributes – for instance, the Patriarch calls to mind father, wise old man, leader, holy man, tyrant, emperor, etc. – the level of participation of that particular archetype in human consciousness varies according to the collective need and common good.

When Tammo de Jongh created his image of the Patriarch archetype in 1967, Rachel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring, had only recently been published (1962). Her seminal work started a revolution that soon became known as the Environmental or Green Movement. Perhaps that’s one reason the above image of the Patriarch subtly hints at ecology.

The idea for the image’s greenness, nose shaped tree trunk and leafy foliage could have been derived from the same archetypal emanations that influenced Carson years earlier. It’s fun to speculate about such metaphysical convergences and synchronicities. In any event, Tammo’s image depicts a morphology of the Patriarch archetype to the Green Man archetype, a challenging transition that greatly impacts our world today.

4-green-manArchetypes, like psyches, are dynamical structures. They simultaneously mirror and influence the course of human events via their light and dark, positive and negative aspects. As human consciousness transitions to a more rational, natural, Earth-centered spirituality influenced by the growing awareness in Gaia and Green Man, we find ourselves simultaneously and adversely impacted by the authoritarian, negative side of patriarchy. As patriarchy devolves, its positive qualities are transferred to the evolving successor; as balance is restored, its negative characteristics dissipate into the dustbin of history.

The dark, negative, heavy hand of patriarchy is characterized by rigidity, control, single-mindedness and a rather cold, intellectual way of relating to most everything. Institutionalized, it evolved into its most virulent stage: the three absolutist, monotheistic religions. Patriarchy’s darkness is starkly contrasted with the Green Man’s desire to protect, not destroy, things of value, such as the environment, natural law and cultural integrity. Patriarchy, on the other hand, is most interested in protecting and perpetuating its power regardless of the consequences.

“He values ecology, spirituality, gender equality and concern for future generations,” wrote futurist Sohail Inayatullah about Green Man, who represents what author William Anderson termed the “Archetype of Oneness with the Earth.”

In Chrysalis Tarot cosmology, Green Man is an archetype of regeneration – of the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth – as well as the voice and birdsong of Gaia, Mother Earth herself. The resurgence of interest in the Green Man archetype, which in part began with Silent Spring, represents a clarion call to reckon with the probable outcomes of our unsustainable Western lifestyle. Green Man seeks to maintain equilibrium in nature, as well as in each individual.

Rachel Carson dedicated Silent Spring to Nobel Laureate Albert Schweitzer who wrote, “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” Let’s hope it’s not too late.

N.B. You may read and/or download a digital copy of Silent Spring for FREE at this link. (This blog is the 6th of a series inspired by artist Tammo de Jongh’s, “The 12 Faces of Humanity.” See the “Recent Posts” list below for the previous blogs.)

© Toney Brooks

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Mother Nature Archetype

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By artist Tammo de Jongh

In Chrysalis Tarot, as with Greek mythology, the Mother Nature archetype (left) is called Gaia. She is the personification of Earth itself. As far as I know, she also is the only archetype that lends her name to a scientific theory.

Gaia Theory, which was formulated by scientist James Lovelock in the 70s, posits that Earth is a self-regulating, evolving, conscious system that maintains optimal conditions for sustaining life. Gaia, the archetype/goddess/system, regulates the salinity of oceans, the processing of carbon dioxide and the oxygenation of the atmosphere, among other conditions necessary for life to thrive on planet Earth.

We have life on Earth not because of a mythologized supernatural act of creation but because of evolution. Gaia effects her life-giving ministry via a complex system that facilitates the exchange of information between animate and inanimate matter. It’s known as a cybernetic feedback loop and is the same type of complex system that allows us as individuals to exchange information or communicate with organized, coherent energy fields such as archetypes. Without having this effective two-way exchange of information, the universe hasn’t been around long enough to randomly evolve even a blade of grass!

We can appreciate the importance of cybernetic communication by using a Rubik’s Cube analogy.

Let’s say we hand a Rubik’s Cube to a blindfolded person and ask that person to make one random move every second, which is pretty fast. Probability dictates it will require something on the order of 100 billion years longer than the universe has existed before the cube could be ordered by random chance alone.

Now, let’s add simple binary feedback, i.e. someone who communicates to the blindfolded person by responding either yes or no after each move. How long do you suppose it would take to order the cube correctly? The answer is surprising – less than 5-minutes!

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Gaia, The World Soul, by Alex Grey, 1989

Today, it is more important than ever to increase conscious awareness and gain knowledge through critical thinking in order to evolve a more rational understanding of how our world came into being and how it actually works. We should also embrace the co-creative role humanity plays in cosmic evolution. It’s important to remove our rosy blindfolds because our present way of living is unsustainable. A dramatic paradigm shift – a new worldview – is essential to the survival of our species, if not to the survival of Earth itself.

3 - GaiaPut bluntly, Gaia urgently needs our help. Each year, humanity consumes one-and-a-half times what Gaia is able to regenerate (source). This fact alone paints an excellent overview of what the black clouds of unsustainable living imply. The consequences of our doing nothing are unimaginably horrific.

If the Mother Nature archetype has formed in your psyche, as it has with most Chrysalis Tarot users, this indicates you are a nurturing, healing, questioning individual who strives to maintain harmony and balance in all aspects of life, including the environment.

The Gaia worldview regards our evolving world and cosmos as a unified, dynamic, conscious organism with its own collective divine mind. Since human ingenuity is integral to this complex, evolving divine mind, we should accept our co-creative response-abilities.

Link to a 6-minute YouTube video on global population growth.

This is the 5th in a series of blogs titled “The 12 Faces of Humanity” and inspired by the artwork of Tammo de Jongh (below). The 1st blog in the series is here. Next week, the Patriarch archetype or Green Man.

© Toney Brooks

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The Observer or Sage Archetype

observr3Artist Tammo de Jongh created an image of a scientist to represent his Observer or Sage archetype. It was an interesting choice in that we seldom associate scientists with spiritual nouns such as archetype, a term frequently used in analytical psychology and metaphysics. That’s because we’re mostly unfamiliar with the metaphysical dabblings of many of the world’s greatest thinkers.

Einstein himself wrote, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Einstein believed that imagination was more important than knowledge.

Issac Newton was as interested, perhaps even more interested, in alchemy and in re-discovering the occult “Wisdom of the Ancients” than in science. Another example is the renown astronomer Johannes Kepler, who gave us the laws of planetary motion. Kepler himself was infatuated with astrology. One volume of his collected works is filled with hundreds of his horoscopes.

French Philosopher and Nobel Laureate Henri Bergson championed depth experiences and intuition over rationalism and science as avenues to understanding the true nature of reality.

c12Great minds are observant minds. Observers are often found on the edges of society where their introverted personalities can best protect their sensitive souls. But the observer archetype exerts a significant degree of influence on the personalities of many not-so-great minds. One’s personality is an expression of many unrelated archetypes. This is why in tarot some archetypes will resonate with more clarity than others. These archetypes are seen as kindred spirits or souls.

Which Chrysalis archetypes are your kindred spirits? The answer to that question will reveal much about your personality and even suggest areas in need of psychological development or shadow work. Do you need to become more like our Chrysalis observer, the Celtic Owl?

12-faces-key-tammo-de-jonghThis multitude of resonating archetypes is one reason we describe Chrysalis as polytheistic, for lack of a better term. Polytheism itself is defined as a belief in many gods. But we don’t use the words god or goddess in any literalistic sense, but rather as memory aides that permit us to resonate, heal and connect using a rich variety of mythological values, i.e. kindness, compassion, mercy, intuition, freedom, curiosity, etc.

In Chrysalis, depth experiences come from this connection to the Otherworld, a connection facilitated by the deck’s archetypes and by the user’s imagination, intuition and open mindedness. Collective Unconscious archetypes are, “the deepest patterns of psychic functioning and fundamental fantasies that animate all life,” wrote Jungian analyst James Hollis in The Archetypal Imagination.

While these archetypes are found in the human psyche, they are indigenous to the Otherworld where they exist as coherent, dynamic fields of information. In tarot readings, we exchange information with them about who we are (Self) and about destiny (Higher Self). They help us reach our fullest potential as human beings, evolve our personal and collective consciousness, and grow in knowledge and wisdom.

Working with Chrysalis is, “polytheistic psychology, in that it attempts to recognize the myriad fantasies and myths, gods, goddesses, demigods, mortals and animals—that shape and are shaped by our psychological lives” – James Hillman.

The first blog in this series can be found here.

© Toney Brooks

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Archetype of the Actress

actressThis is the third in a series of blogs inspired by artwork titled The 12 Faces of Humanity by Tammo de Jongh (below). The first blog in the series can be found here.

Jongh describes this portrait (left) as an, “Egyptian girl with long pearl earrings and many pearl necklaces around her neck… she has tears in her eyes.” We aren’t told why she’s crying. Perhaps it’s because she feels trapped in a life she doesn’t desire yet cannot escape and must therefore pretend to be someone she’s not.

This interpretation fits the actress archetype: to a varying degree it’s a classic example of Actress (or actor) behavior. It’s also quite normal. At one time or another we all pretend to be more or less than we really are. We don a mask or persona in order to fit in. This archetype in Jungian terms is known as the Conformist – an actress conforms to her role just as an individual conforms to societal expectations.

“Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appall.” ~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Jung often sought spiritual guidance by talking to an archetype. His favorite archetype was the Anima – his “female side.” The anima represents those feminine psychological qualities men possess. Its personal unconscious counterpart is the Animus, which represents those masculine psychological qualities women posses.

In the Collective Unconscious, these two archetypes express the ideal experience of men and women living together; at times appealing, at times appalling. In the modern world, however, men are discouraged from experiencing their female side just as women are discouraged from living their male side. In patriarchal cultures and religions, this obviously leads to a devaluation of feminine qualities, which is referred to metaphorically as the Exile of the Divine Feminine. It’s not without a pathology: society becomes forced to live insincerely behind the many masks of mindless conformity.

There are two archetypes in Chrysalis Tarot worth discussing this issue with. The first is Bella Rosa. Her card is titled the Devil in traditional tarot. A brief word about this fear mongering cartoon character. While he may be a legitimate Collective Unconscious archetype, he is not an existential reality. There is no cosmic bogeyman. You certainly can choose to empower him if you like. Credulous millions do. In Chrysalis cosmology, we simply ignore him. Chrysalis puts forward archetypes worthy of resonance (invisible energy) while bearing in mind that one of the most powerful obstacles to personal transformation is fear.

devil10As an aside, among Collective Unconscious entities the devil is regarded as a Sociopathic Archetype and represents the darkest, most narcissistic aspects of unawakened humanity.

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Bella Rosa is worth talking to because she or he (the archetype is gender-neutral) can help you get in touch with your anima or animus and coax it into yin-yang balance. Bella can also help kick addictions and defeat self-loathing tendencies by unmasking the shadow side of the psyche, thereby elevating it to conscious awareness.

The other Chrysalis archetype worth chatting up as a spiritual exercise is Psyche. This archetype represents the fullest expression of the Divine Feminine who dwells within every man and woman.

observr3The subject of the next installment in this series is The Observer, “A scientist type person with round spectacles pushed up above his brow, mostly bald head with white hair at the sides; his left hand is held up to his chin, he looks thoughtful.” ~ Tammo de Jongh

In Chrysalis Tarot, the role of the Observer or Sage archetype is performed splendidly by the Celtic Owl. By the way, if you’re enjoying this series, please consider sharing it with your Facebook friends.

© Toney Brooks

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The Archetype of Self

12-faces-largeNote: This is the second in a series of blogs about Jungian archetypes inspired by artist Tammo de Jongh’s The 12 Faces of Humankind (pictured above). The first blog can be found here along with the location key to the names of all 12 archetypes pictured.

In Jongh’s painting, the archetype of the Fool is the ruddy “laughing man with the wispy beard” in the right side panel. Some may recognize him as King Crimson since this particular artwork was used for one of that rock group’s albums in the 70s.

In Jungian parlance, the Fool is the archetype of Self. In Chrysalis, I chose Merlin to represent this archetype for several reasons. First, although Merlin is often referred to as a magician, he is, in fact, an alchemist. The simple definition of an alchemist is a person able to transform one substance, usually spiritual, into another. Merlin, as you recall, helped transform young Arthur Pendragon into a heroic King. Secondly, we chose Merlin because tarot, again in Jungian parlance, allegorizes the monomythic Hero’s Journey, the overarching theme of Chrysalis Tarot. Your first reading with Chrysalis launches you on a Hero’s Journey of personal transformation.

In tarot, this quest is an alchemical, inward journey leading to enlightenment. It’s also referred to as an awakening or ascension. In Chrysalis, Merlin’s role is to accompany the individual making this journey. Merlin can best be described as that individual’s alter ego or best friend. He is spirit guide, mentor, and guardian.

That said, the archetype of Self, whether idealized as carefree Fool or courageous Hero, is a persona growing comfortable in his or her own skin. Jung called this growth process individuation – the process of becoming whole and wholly individual. The cartoon below explains quite well what this both does and does not mean:

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Jung harbored no fondness for groups like the one depicted above because groups, and over-identification with them, stymie individuation and impede spiritual progress. The ego, as we all know, loves to be admired and accepted. It gets along by going along. But the Hero’s Journey requires the difficult unification of opposites and consequently it can be a lonely journey.

For example, the unification of conscious and unconscious; of sun and moon, light and dark, seen and unseen, God and man – of acceptance and rejection – are all struggles characterized by the illusion of separateness. The Hero’s Journey is about reconciling opposites and embracing wholeness (coincidentia oppositorum).  Unity of opposites is the “great work” of alchemy: We are all connected; we are all one.

We often write Self with a capital S. We do this to call attention to undifferentiated ego-self from unified Higher Self, which is a way of expressing unification of personal conscious and unconscious (the shadow) with the Collective Unconscious. The archetypes of the Collective Unconscious actively aid the conscious mind in coming to terms with the totality of Self (Psyche) by loosening the grip of ego.

Coming to terms with the totality of Self is an unpleasant notion for the ego, which desires to be in control. You overcome the struggle with ego simply by being aware of it. Ego and awareness cannot coexist.

“Most people are so completely identified with the voice in the head–the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it–that we may describe them as being possessed by their mind. As long as you are completely unaware of this, you take the thinker to be who you are. This is the egoic mind. We call it egoic because there is a sense of self, of I (ego), in every thought – every memory, every interpretation, opinion, viewpoint, reaction, emotion. This is unconsciousness, spiritually speaking.”

~ Eckhart Tolle quoted from A New Earth, Chapter 3 titled, “The Core of Ego.”

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The Fool (center left) is flanked by The Actress (center right). The Actress is the subject of our next installment. In Chrysalis Tarot, this important role is performed by La Bella Rosa.

© Toney Brooks