The Archetype Universe: Is It Real?

Before I get into a fuller discussion of The Archetype Universe, I first want to clarify where I am coming from in presenting this realm.  Many would look at the idea of The Archetype Universe and assume that it is pure fantasy.  I, for my part, do not.  From my perspective it is real and the Archetypes that reside there are living beings.  It may sound crazy, especially in this current age of rampant materialism.  But I firmly hold this to be the case in light of my own experiences, and in that light, I am not alone.

In regards to the reality of the Tarot and the Archetypes as living beings, there were two geniuses who approached this question from a positive perspective.  The first was British Occultist Aleister Crowley who wrote concerning the Tarot in his 1944 work The Book of Thoth, “Each card is, in a sense, a living being; and it’s relations with it’s neighbors are what one might call diplomatic.  It is for the student to build these living stones into his living Temple.”  (Crowley pp. 47-48).  And he further clarifies towards the end of the same work, “It being now established, at the conclusion of the Essay, that the cards of the Tarot are living individuals, it is proper to consider the relations which obtain between them and the student.”  (Crowley p. 249).  Agree or disagree with his perspective, it seems clear to me that Crowley considered the Tarot and the Archetypes behind the cards as living beings who could commune with one another, and with the initiated student who understood this esoteric truth.

Another who considered the Archetypes as being living beings who dwelt in the realm of the Collective Unconscious was Carl Jung.  Jung was a Swiss psychologist who lived from 1875 to 1961.  And in his work Liber Novus (The Red Book), Jung speaks very poetically about his communion with the Archetypes and the often strange messages and insights he received while connecting with these ethereal forms.  While I have only just begun reading this book, I feel it is clear to me (at this point anyway) that Jung considered the Archetypes with which he worked to be living beings.  This is the perspective that I share, as it matches my experiences with the inhabitants of this realm as well.

So from the insights of these two great minds who lived at around the same time, we can see that considering the Tarot and the Archetypes behind them as living beings is nothing new.  But there is another school of thought that goes a bit deeper in explaining how these beings might be considered living entities.

In the book The Kybalion a great deal of consideration is given to the construction of The Universe and how a Divine Mind (The All) could possibly have brought it all into being.  In The Kybalion the writer states something that now seems obvious to all; that matter is made of energy.  But, what kind of energy is the Universe composed of?  The answer given in The Kybalion is Thought Energy.  Matter and all that exists is made up of the Thought Energy emanating from The Mind of The All (or God).  Now if this is true, I think we can begin to see how all that is (not just the Tarot or the Archetypes) might be considered to be, in a very real sense, alive.  If all that exists, both in realms seen and unseen, is made up of the living Thought Energy emanating from the Divine Mind of The All, then all things might be considered to be alive in a very deep and real sense.  We, the Archetypes, plants, animals, even rocks and minerals are all composed of Living Energy coming from the same Living Divine or Metaphysical Source.  So, if one accepts this point of view, it can be seen that all “things” are alive.  Remember that notion the next time you slam a door or pound your fist on a table.  Deeply considered, this point of view is a real game changer.

So, with all that said, I think you can see how a few nuts such as Aleister Crowley, and myself, can run around saying that the Tarot Archetypes are “alive.”  For, indeed, to me they are.  But, don’t just take my word for it.  Take some time in meditation to reach out to The Archetype Universe and connect with some of the inhabitants there.  After a few years of practice, you may well come to the same conclusion.  “It’s true…All of it.”

Stan Lee and The Archetype Universe.

What does Stan Lee, Tarot, and the Archetypes have in common?  Probably a lot more than most would realize.

The late Stan Lee was an incredible and humble genius whose influence on our world was greater than what he would ever admit to.  The characters he created influenced and inspired countless millions around the globe.  Where did the ideas for these characters come from?  His Marvel Comics super hero’s came from his rich and fertile imagination, that is for certain.  But what is overlooked is that they also came from another realm which I will discuss briefly here;  the realm of the Collective Unconscious.

Writers and artists and Tarot readers alike are influenced by forms in the Collective Unconscious called Archetypes.  Archetypes are the universal representations of common personality types found the world over.  Personality types like The Hero, The Sage, The Innocent, The Warrior, and many others exist in many different places in many different ways.  A writer may dream up a hero like Captain America, and that hero is partially the product of that writer’s imagination.  But the main form of The Hero exists independently of the writer and independently of Captain America.  The main archetype of The Hero lives and moves and has it’s being in the realm of the Collective Unconscious; a place we all have access to, but which exists independently of any one person. Writers and artists delve deeply into this realm for inspiration, and from it draw ideas and information which they then use in their various arts.  To illustrate, lets have a closer look at one of Stan Lee’s creations; Peter Parker (AKA Spider-man).

The character of Peter Parker can be seen as two-fold.  To start off with, he is a shy and innocent kid who is also kind of a nerd.  He’s smart when it comes to science, but foolish and insecure when it comes to girls.  And, when it comes to bullies, he can’t even fight his way out of a paper bag.  But, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, he becomes a super hero who no longer suffers bullies, but who instead makes the bullies suffer.  Peter Parker/Spider-Man is one of my favorite Stan Lee characters.

But, while the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is the work of Stan Lee and Marvel Comics, there are other parts of Peter Parker/Spider-Man which are common and universal to all.  The first can be seen as being the Archetype of The Innocent or The Regular Guy.  The Innocent and The Regular Guy Archetypes are what makes Peter Parker so lovable to so many around the globe.  He is the average guy that so many of us can relate to.  He does not want to be a hero.  He just wants to be himself and maybe sit next to Mary Jane in biology class.  But, his sweet and innocent nature gets the better of him as he is bullied and shown up by more ambitious and aggressive personalities.  His story is one that has been told and lived many times over by so many people throughout the ages.  Why?  Because this personality that has found expression in our world in so many ways preexists our world and probably even our species.  He lives among the Archetypes in the realm of the Collective Unconscious.

The other side of Peter Parker/Spider-Man follows the Archetype of The Hero.  This is the personality that is on a quest to bring justice to the world and to fight evil.  Like the Archetypes of The Innocent and The Regular Guy, The Hero is also common to all who have access to the Collective Unconscious.  Although the particulars of hero’s around the world vary, they all have a few basic points in common.  Those commonalities go back to the primal Archetype of The Hero residing in the Collective Unconscious.

So now, what is the Collective Unconscious?  This is a realm (spoken of in the works of Carl Jung) that we all have access to, but not all are aware of.  When we sleep and dream, our dreams connect us to this realm of the Collective Unconscious.  In this realm we are given thoughts, information and ideas that may seem to be our own, but which also can be seen as coming from a place beyond us.  For example, how many times have you had a dream about a future event that later came true?  This kind of thing is actually more common than most believe.  Where did that information come from?  Your own mind?  How could you know what was going to happen before it happened? According to Jung’s theory, that information came to you from the realm of the Collective Unconscious.  It is here that we find wisdom that seems to transcend us and inspiration that propels and motivates us.  In a sense it comes from within us, but it also transcends us.  It is a realm of Consciousness that is deep and mysterious.  And it is a realm (a Universe if you like) that houses the many different Archetypes spoken of by Carl Jung and known to readers of the Tarot.  In memory of Stan Lee, I’m just going to call this realm The Archetype Universe!

The Archetype Universe can be thought of as a place in the imagination of people, but I see it as transcending humanity.  The Archetype Universe is something we all have access to, but it is far bigger than any one individual or even the whole of humanity combined.  It is like another dimension of reality, but a dimension of reality that closely interrelates to and interacts with our own rock solid sense of reality here in the physical world.  It is a deeply mystical realm that we can touch in dreams or in deep meditative states.  And it is a realm that not all are aware of or that all can accept.  To some The Archetype Universe is a place of pure imagination, nothing more.  To me it is real.  More real, in fact, than what most call reality.  It is the home of the Archetypes and the Gods and Goddesses of both the modern day and of extreme antiquity.  When we learn to touch this Universe, we tread where mystics and shaman of countless millennia past have gone before.  And, it is in this realm where the secrets of ages past still live awaiting to be rediscovered.  It is a land beyond lands in a time beyond times where we can go to meet the Archetypes for ourselves.  In upcoming posts I will discuss some of these Archetypes from my own perspective and the perspective of the Tarot.  Keep an open mind.  I think you will find it fun.

Until later, keep moving onward and upward.  Or, as Stan Lee put it…Excelsior!

 

The Fool.

 

The Fool: Tarot Short Video

The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana.  He represents Spirit being born into the material world.

The Fool can be thought of as a new Spirit or soul being born into the physical realm.  As such The Fool also stands for a beginner just starting out on a new journey.  In this regard The Fool can sometimes be thought of as being an Innocent or a naive person (a fool of sorts) who is lacking in experience, but who never-the-less is eager to get going on some new adventure.

Although The Fool is depicted as being a young man, his sex is not set in stone.  The Fool can be thought of in either the masculine or feminine sense.  One vision I had while meditating on The Fool was of two planes playing together in the sky.  The planes swooped back and forth as if playing tag with each other as they made their way to the ground below.  In this vision I interpreted the two planes as representing the two biological sexes.  So, in this understanding, the soul coming into being can be male, female, or a mixture of both.  People come in all varieties; so too does The Fool.

As far as life struggles go, The Fool can represent a new project which the seeker may be considering, or the need to see things again with a fresh set of eyes.  The Fool can also represent new life choices the seeker may be asking about, or a new relationship just coming into play.

The early Golden Dawn practitioners called The Fool, “The Spirit of Ether.”  He/She is the Trump of Air.  Clearly The Fool is closely tied to the world of Spirit, and as such can be thought of as new life coming into the world, or even the birth of a new child.  The Fool is what happens when the world of Spirit first seeks to break into the world of matter.  The Fool represents the very first step in one’s metaphysical journey.

A Simple 7 Card Spread. (Video Presentation)

When I first started doing Tarot readings in the 1970’s I started with the standard Celtic Cross Spread and stayed with it for many years.  But over the past 10 years I’ve found the value in using different spreads for different occasions.  The one spread I’ve come to depend on the most is this simple 7 Card Magic Spread demonstrated above.

The Magic 7 Spread is very adaptable and suitable for answering any question.  The meanings of the card positions are general enough to leave ample room for the reader’s intuition to fill in the needed details.  Take a look and see what you think.  I find the Magic 7 Spread to be a simple straight forward spread that is a joy to work with.

My Spiritual Journey: Embracing The Shadow.

Carl Jung

Spiritually, it’s been a wild ride for me in this present incarnation.

I was born into a conservative Roman Catholic family, where early on in life I embraced ambitions of becoming a priest.  I also had an early interest in the occult and all things metaphysical.  When I entered the Catholic seminary program, I expected to be trained in deep spiritual disciplines.  Not exactly “Jedi Training,” but something similar.  Instead I underwent 8 years of training which emphasized head knowledge over heart knowledge and which hardly (if ever) taught any deep spiritual disciplines.  But, I did learn how to meditate, and that in itself took me pretty far along my present path.

While in my seminary and college studies I happened to develop a very serious drinking problem.  My friends would joke that my drinking problem more than qualified me for the priesthood, as many of our priests were obvious alcoholics.  But all jokes aside I knew, deep down, that something was seriously wrong.  I had no idea how to address it, so I denied it and buried it deep down in my psyche.  It would take over 30 years of hell for me to finally admit the problem and confront my Shadow self.

My life path took many twists and turns, many of them fueled by alcohol.  Ultimately I found my way into church ministry on the protestant side of the fence.  I was chosen to be the senior pastor of a mixed congregation in a rural agricultural township.  It was a small church of around 35 members, and we had people from many different Christian backgrounds all the way from Catholic to Baptist.  But, different as we were theologically, the one thing we all had in common was living in denial of our Shadow side.

Now, I am no expert in Jung.  But I have picked up some wisdom along the way (gleaned mostly from AA sources) that has introduced me to some basic concepts of Jungian thought.  The one key concept I will deal with here is The Shadow.

The Shadow is an archetypal entity which contains our darker selves.  We all have a Shadow, but few admit it or openly try to deal with it.  The common religious solution to dealing with The Shadow is by denying that it exists in us, projecting it out into our outer world, and then condemning it and fleeing from it.  This “solution” does not work.  Instead it leads us down a path of condemnation where we blame other people and even other Spiritual Forces for our many problems and weaknesses.  Instead of taking personal responsibility for our faults, we blame them on others.  It’s either, “The Devil made me do it,” or the alcohol, or society, or what-have-you.  We (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike) play a combination game of denial and blaming others for our faults.  Instead of bravely confronting our own Shadow nature, we hide from it.  We think (in religious circles) that answering altar calls and living pious lives will make us better people.  But, until we are willing to see ourselves as we truly are, we have no hope in overcoming our Shadow side.  This requires mindfulness and “rigorous self honesty” as they say in AA.  Some get it early, some get it late, and the vast majority, sadly, do not get it at all.

In my case my Shadow side was so out of balance, I had to either confront it or give up on life entirely.  My daily drinking of over a fifth of liquor each day was making me a threat to both myself and others.  In desperation I reached out to AA, and there I finally found relief.  In the program I was able to rediscover the Spirituality of my childhood and the strength needed to face my Shadow nature.  I rediscovered the practice of meditation, and engaged in the art daily.  I began to realize that my problems were mostly of my own creation, and that blaming them on others was futile.  In my first 12 months of recovery, I began to realize that I (like all of humanity) was an interesting mix of Good and Evil; a light side and a dark side.  By denying neither and embracing both, I started the path of self discovery that I am still on today.  It’s now been nearly 12 years of recovery from addiction and self destructive tendencies, and I still consider myself a student along the way.   It’s been a wild ride, and an enlightening one.

How can you come to grips with your Shadow side?  It depends.  In my case my Shadow side was so strong, I had to either come to terms with it or face destruction.  Most “normal” people do not find themselves in that extreme.

For people who do not have to deal with addiction or alcoholism or other self destructive behaviors, you can see your Shadow side in the faults you project upon others.  There is a Wayne Dyer observation that, “When you judge another person, you do not define them.  You define yourself.”  Usually the faults that really bother us about other people are the same problems we have within ourselves.  That’s why these faults bother us so much.  We can not see them directly within ourselves, but we know deep down that they are there.  And, when we encounter another person with those same faults, we see the problem within the other person and condemn the problem within the other person, not realizing that we are also condemning the Shadow side within ourselves.  If we want to grow spiritually we have to face certain facts about The Shadow, ourselves, and the world around us.

The first thing we must accept is that all of us are a combination of both Jesus Christ and the Devil Incarnate.  This is a hard truth for many to face, but it is a truth none-the-less.  It does us no good to assume that we are right with the Universe and everybody else is all screwed up.  We must daily take an inventory of the good and bad that we see within ourselves and seek to balance it; learn from it; grow with it.  We must also come to realize that other people can be a mirror into our own souls.  When we see something that really bugs us about another person, we must come to realize that this same fault is also buried within ourselves.  This is where the “religious” mindset of condemning the sins of others is very counter productive.  Condemning other people in no way facilitates our own spiritual growth.  Instead we must learn from others and accept that the faults we find in others do in some way mirror the faults within ourselves.  When we can deal with those problems within ourselves, we can more easily deal with other people who suffer from the same faults.  As Gandhi once famously said, “I can forgive the scoundrels in this world because I realize I have been a scoundrel myself.”  When we take this first step of awareness and self honesty, we are ready for spiritual growth.

Another thing that helps me in my own Spiritual Path is that I do not consider The Shadow to be evil (even though the old SOB nearly destroyed me a few years back!).  Rather I see The Shadow as one of my many physical and metaphysical teachers.  The Shadow exists to teach me the harder lessons in life.  It is no more evil than a hard-nosed instructor or an army drill sergeant.  It is there to teach, and the difficulties I encounter along the way are but the many tests I face to drive the lessons home.  These are tough lessons and tough tests, but extremely valuable ones.   Once learned, you discover a new truth within yourself.

Are you ready to come to grips with your own Shadow side?  If so, you will find yourself on the path of a lifetime.  Look at the world around you with wide open eyes.  Learn to view things from the perspective of love rather than condemnation.  Spend time daily in the practice of meditation and become willing to see the dark and the light within you.  Then get to know your own inner guides and seek their help in striking a balance between the dark and the light.  Be willing to learn from all who can instruct you, and set your mind to learn your lessons with joy.  For, when we learn to truly integrate the dark and the light sides within us, then we find harmony and balance and become true people of integrity.   I find that life is a deeply personal encounter between The Shadow, The Light, and other people that I must incorporate within myself.  Once you are on this path, you are well on your way to Spiritual Growth.

Fate Or Free Will?

Does Fate control your destiny or Free Will?  And where do the Tarot Cards fit in?

This is a question and an attitude that comes up in Tarot Reading periodically.  Most of the time it comes up in the attitude behind the questions asked:

Will I ever find happiness?

Will I ever find love?

Will I ever become rich and famous?

People will ask these questions as if their lives are outside of their own control; as if the Universe must give these things to them if these dreams are ever going to be realized.  In other words, it becomes clear the client believes in fate and that (in their own world view) fate has the ultimate control over their destiny.  And they come to a Tarot Reader to find out what fate has in store for them and to somehow (if at all possible) appease the gods or the Universe in some way hoping that the reader can work some form of magic to help them live better lives and force fate to give them a better deal.  In my own world view, nothing could be further from the truth.

In my point of view we are all free beings created in the image and likeness of the Supreme Deity, in whatever way a person understands that most personal concept.  We are not slaves but rather Children of The Divine with Divine elements and qualities residing within us.  We are each manifestations of The Divine in flesh and blood existence; each loved and empowered by our Creator with certain rights and powers.  And, among these powers is Free Will; the liberty to live as we choose in this world and to create our own destinies.  Yet many do not understand this gift of Free Will.  And so they neglect it and surrender it to a deck of cards, not knowing the power they are throwing away.  A waste of Cosmic proportions.

It has been said, “When you know the power that dwells within you, you will never need to be frightened again.”  I am in full harmony with that statement, and keep it in mind daily.  We are not powerless children, although at times that very well may appear to be the case.  Rather we are Immortal Spirit dwelling in flesh for a limited time with certain gifts and powers at our command.  But, these gifts and powers are not readily apparent to us in the beginning, and we all need a guide or a teacher to help us in discovering our own unique abilities.  That is where Tarot comes in.  Tarot is a tool that we can use to help use discover the gifts we carry inside.  And a good reader using the Tarot can aid us in thinking more creatively about who we really are and where we fit in within the grand scheme of things.  To me Tarot is not a god or a tool of fate.  Rather Tarot is a teacher we can go to for guidance and comfort during times of uncertainty.  And, if we listen to the lessons given and ACT UPON THEM, we can change our lives for the better and go from begging the Universe to be kind to us to building the kind of Universe we would like to live in.  We create our own reality each and every day with each choice we make.  But most people do so unconsciously and passively allow others around them to steal their power.  I see my job as a Tarot Reader as being to help awaken those who unconsciously create so that they may become fully aware Co-Creators working with the Deity of their understanding to build a better world for themselves and others.  That is how I handle my cards, and that is the attitude I carry into each reading I do.

When you come to me for a reading, what I will do is to look at the energy surrounding you to discover the powers at play both within you and around you.  After that we explore how to use those powers to your greatest benefit.  So, in the end, I will not be making predictions about what may or may not come to pass in your life.  Rather I will help you see the gifts you have within to help you build the future you desire.  My goal is to help take you from passive observer to full participant in your own life and to help lead you along the path of self improvement and self discovery.   If you are seeking help in becoming the best possible person you can be, then you and I are on the same page.

If you would like to order a reading, click on the link below.  I do readings by phone and am available by appointment.  Whatever your question, I am here to be of service.

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