Archetypes, 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.
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.
Archetypes, 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