I bought a deck of archetype cards some months ago to further my study and understanding of archetypes in general. The deck I purchased is Archetype Cards by Carolne Myss (Hay House). Caroline is a pioneer in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness. The deck contains fabulous examples of archetypes in both their light and dark aspects. There are 74 cards in the deck with an additional 6 cards which have been left blank for personal use. As Caroline explains in the companion book, her list is not definitive, but merely a reflection of the most common ones that appear when working with clients on an individual basis, and when conducting classes or workshops. The blank cards allow for any additional archetypes you identify as having influence in your life. Whereas archetypes are considered ancient and inherited, new archetypes are being created all the time.
(by Caroline Myss – Hay House)
What is interesting about these archetypes is how well they correlate to the archetypal theme of the Major Arcana. Caroline does not promote her archetype cards to be used for divination purposes, but I have seen them used in this manner. She encourages their use for personal or shadow work, to better understand and gain insight over their influence and primal urges. Knowledge of the archetypes at play in our life can lead to empowerment, if we so choose to address them. Caroline suggests we are born with
“a support system of 12 archetypes’ which are the agreements you make before you are born to learn certain lessons and work with certain people. Because this group of 12 patterns of behavior is uniquely yours, you should think of them as intimate companions. They provide the foundation for your personality, drives, feelings, belief, motivation, and actions”. Caroline Myss – Archetype Cards (Hay House)
Caroline states we have several archetypes in common present in all of us, which are imperative to our very survival. However, the degree to which any of these archetypes is active can vary greatly from person to person and is very much linked to how they impacted us in our formative years. Those archetypes common to all are:
- The Child
Similar to tarot cards, Caroline teaches that no archetype is in itself negative, only our interpretation of it. Whereas one archetype may be destroying a person’s life or making it difficult, the same archetype could be having a positive impact on another. We can take control of this once we know what they are up to. We might compare their light and shadow aspects to the upright and reversed aspect in tarot cards. Polarity demands that both exist. We cannot have light without the dark and there is no upright without the reverse being present too. As above, so below, what goes up must come down, right/left, forwards/backwards etc. etc. The key is to find the correct balance between them. To make them work to our advantage, not against us.
In exploring the different archetypes Caroline presents, we are encouraged to select the ones we identify with most strongly, approximately 8 to go along with our common 4. These are the ones active in our lives, or in the past. They must be strong influencers and quite consistent in their presence. We are encouraged to be honest in our selection and not shy away from what we perceive the least attractive ones, as they all have something to teach us. Archetypes can be our best ally or stand in the way of progress. By becoming aware of their presence and the impact they impart, we are better positioned to use them to our benefit.
Not sure about archetypes? You can read more about them here where will find an in-depth explanation of them along with several examples.
I have been working my way through the 74 cards by linking them to corresponding tarot cards. At first I thought I might work solely with the Major, but many of the cards better suited the Minor or Courts when it came to archetypal action/behaviour or personality traits. I have been busy matching them up but will likely amend my associations over time. There are many ways these cards can be linked and you may see something different to me, which is fine because we all identify with them in our own way. I found some Major attracted several archetypes as they have so many angles to view them from. Others had less to choose from and I am still trying to match up a couple. Some are very obvious, while others are more ambiguous.
Today I bring you The Fool
The connections below are mine but are a take on what Caroline Myss describes on the cards and in the book. They may seem quite abstract, I couldn’t find any that really stood out, but I thought these the best for connecting with the Fool. Perhaps I will discover more as my studies further.
Light Attribute – Someone who dabbles in the arts without any real commitment or knowledge. Professes to be interested in many things but does not take the time to study them in detail. This can lead to superficial knowledge and a lack of professionalism. The uninitiated, novice, inexperienced.
Shadow Attributes – Attempts to pass them-self off as knowledgeable when they are anything but. Actually begin to believe their own propaganda. Inconsistent. Constantly moving on to the next new thing. Quite fickle and goes with whatever is currently trending. Not seeking deeper meaning. Remains the amateur but could become quite affected – looking and dressing the part for example.
Balance – Become aware of superficial knowledge. Restrain from multiple interests. Attempt to become more educated. Admit to amateur interest but not professional knowledge. Seek inside for answers to lack of depth.
Light Attributes – Creative and expressive. Sees life on many levels. Channels inspiration from other dimensions. Eccentric, boho and outside of normal everyday life. Abstract and symbolic. Use of the imagination to express art. The artist’s life.
Shadow Attributes – Overdoing the eccentric artist bit. Buying into the cliche of the starving artist. Artistic moods and drama.
Balance – Expressing yourself artistically. Supporting artists. Working with artists.
Light Attributes – Not taking yourself too seriously. Ability to laugh at yourself. Putting yourself out there. Not afraid to reveal your emotions. Lightening everyone’s mood with good humor. Upbeat and appear to be in good form. Innocent, harmless.
Shadow Attributes – Making fun of people with mocking humor or sarcasm. Attention seeking with foolish behaviour. Hiding true emotions behind the fool’s mask. Outwardly laughing while inwardly crying. Gullible, naive.
Balance – Removing the Fools’ mask. Appropriate humor. Not needing to constantly perform to an audience. Being able to have serious interactions with others when necessary. A time and a place for everything.
Light Attributes– Believing in magic and fairies. Seeing only the good in everything. Believing anything is possible. Powerful imagination. Seeing the magic and blessings all round. Enchanted by life and its possibilities. Not afraid. Positive outlook. Believes in miracles and the good in all. Everything will work out.
Shadow Attributes – Pessimism. Does not believe in magic, fairies or miracles. A fatalistic outlook. No point in trying anything as it will not work. Paralyses and fear. Depression and disbelief in a better future.
Balance – count your blessings. Look for the good all around. Have faith in life and those around you. Life will get better. Think positively. Look for miracles and you will find them.
Light Attributes– Taking the initiative. Acting on gut feeling and intuition. Open to exploring new territory. Open to new experiences. Pushes the boundaries. Expansive. Fearless. Trying something no one has done before. Frontier living. Ready to take a chance. Risk and dare.
Shadow Attribute – Never content to be still. Obsessed with new things. Restless energy that needs to keep moving. Looking for novelty and distraction. Cannot conform or settle. Cannot enjoy the present but lives in the future. Detached from the reality of the everyday living.
Balance – Sticking with something for a while. Resist the urge to abandon what you are doing instead of moving on to something new. See things through. Work on being still and content. Live in the moment. Relax.
(by Caroline Myss – Hay House)