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