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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jung loved archetypes and felt they were an important key to the human mind because similar mythical images and stories overlap in various cultures. I am currently reading The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra, and one of the concepts he introduces is personal growth in one's destiny by discovering ones deepest archetypes. While we may have all the archetypes within us, a few resonate at a core level, not of who we wish we were or who we admire, but who we genuinely feel we are or are inspired by and authentically capable of becoming.

I really like these ideas because I was interested in the application of goddess archetypes to women's psychology when I was younger (for example I partially identified with Persephone as a teenager, and later understood this was about missing my mother and having a controlling, overbearing, critical step mother, and I later repeated the Persephone archetype by becoming involved in an abusive relationship, yet now as a more mature adult my fascination with her or identification with Persephone is minimal or negligible)...

So I know it must work. One of the reasons I chose Thalassa as my new user name was because of my humorous but persistent identification with cat pirates, which oddly manifested in my meditation on my work in the environmental field, so it has become a symbolic totem for me...and Thalassa is the Greek goddess of the sea, a natural setting I seek constantly, and it gives a name to my symbolic totem. Thalassa was also the mother of Aphrodite, and Aphrodite is a goddess I have strongly identified with since my teens and throughout my adult life, both personally and professionally.

My third feminine archetype is Artemis/Diana, because of her warrior spirit, and association with forests and animals, as well as being a protector of girls. She is also associated with the moon, like the sea, like women, and like madness or dreams.

Chopra recommended that the reader choose at least one archetype of the opposite gender, to fulfill a sense of balance in the person. I am still working on that.

Is anyone else interested in archetypes or totems, do you have a totem animal (mine is obviously cats, my wild animal being a cougar or mountain lion, though I came up as a wolf on a quiz, I'm not sure the canine aspect is so strong in me)...would you like to list or discuss them here...or how it applies to your life or may even have helped you in growth. It can be from any culture, not necessarily Greek god/goddess or totem animals like me.
 

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I've always identified with certain fictional characters, particularly from fairytales, though I'm not sure if they're "archetypes". On the one hand I've always identified with the little mermaid in Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale (not the Disney version), but on the other hand a part of me identified with Cinderella's stepsister(s). The second one has always been kind of a mystery to me, and it is not without a bit of shame and embarrassment that I admit to identifying with the "bad guy" (or bad girls, in this case). I don't think the little mermaid or stepsister are "archetypes" -- but then I don't understand enough about the concept of archetypes to really say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've always identified with certain fictional characters, particularly from fairytales, though I'm not sure if they're "archetypes". On the one hand I've always identified with the little mermaid in Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale (not the Disney version), but on the other hand a part of me identified with Cinderella's stepsister(s). The second one has always been kind of a mystery to me, and it is not without a bit of shame and embarrassment that I admit to identifying with the "bad guy" (or bad girls, in this case). I don't think the little mermaid or stepsister are "archetypes" -- but then I don't understand enough about the concept of archetypes to really say.
Yes I definitely would say fairy tales are full of archetypes of all kinds...mermaids are sirens, or are like Venus or Aphrodite, but the bitter ending also suggests death, the underworld, spirituality. ..the little mermaid is also kind of a hero/seeker on a quest. What's standing out to me though is that neither the original little mermaid nor the wicked step sisters got the prince, and I don't know what that means to you, outside of the step sisters being "bad girls"��...which is an archetype of its own, in fact both the little mermaid and the step sisters could be seen as rebels.

I don't know if you are familiar with Gregory Maguire, but The Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is my favorite of his books. It makes Cinderella look like the monster, Gregory Maguire is an expert in sympathy for the bad guy.
 

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I don't believe in spirit animals but I must admit I am fascinated by the concept and the culture surrounding it. I do believe that we have a lot to learn by observing and respecting animals so long as we are open-minded towards what they have to offer. Once you view everything on this planet as a potential teacher then it's impossible not to learn something every day. There is always some takeaway.

My cats have taught me about patience, subtlety and push-pull dynamics. Behaviors exhibited by antelope and tigers have been used as analogies to help me understand my PTSD. All the creatures outside and inside my home have taught me about the interconnectedness of life as well as about the beauty of nature. Even though I don't subscribe to shamanism, I do think that its proponents are quite on target in that viewing animals as teachers or reminders about the qualities in ourselves is a good way to go.

I suppose if I had spirit animals, they would be the house cat, tiger, leopard or jaguar. :happy:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Does Bender count? I've had multiple people tell me I'm exactly like him. :perc3:
Lol...the idea is that you see yourself. Other people can't tell you who your truest self is, or what you need to learn or focus on at a time in your life, etc.

But if it makes sense to you, maybe you could compare him to similar characters to ask why. Are you aware that he's very similar to the archetype of Bacchus or Dionysis? Except angrier or more caustic and manipulative.
 

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i remember i took "the hero within" personality test and my dominant archetype is "the warrior" :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't believe in spirit animals but I must admit I am fascinated by the concept and the culture surrounding it. I do believe that we have a lot to learn by observing and respecting animals so long as we are open-minded towards what they have to offer. Once you view everything on this planet as a potential teacher then it's impossible not to learn something every day. There is always some takeaway.

My cats have taught me about patience, subtlety and push-pull dynamics. Behaviors exhibited by antelope and tigers have been used as analogies to help me understand my PTSD. All the creatures outside and inside my home have taught me about the interconnectedness of life as well as about the beauty of nature. Even though I don't subscribe to shamanism, I do think that its proponents are quite on target in that viewing animals as teachers or reminders about the qualities in ourselves is a good way to go.

I suppose if I had spirit animals, they would be the house cat, tiger, leopard or jaguar. :happy:
Cool. I think it's definitely possible to learn from animals. Spiritual totems are more of a sense of identifying with that animal, and in terms of shamanic or totem medicine, it's based in the idea of synchronicity, that we notice things or qualities we need at that time.

I definitely consider the cougar/puma to be an important wild animal for me, cougar represents everything from feminine hostility or danger, to learning to come into ones own power and learn to be a leader without ego, to balance ferocity with gentleness. It's very apropos to this phase of my life.

And I think I just have general feline qualities in my personality, and have been aware of it on some level since childhood. I've been a crazy cat lady since I was eight or nine. I liked animals always, from my earliest memories I had preferred stuffed animals to baby dolls, had a puppy, had animal posters on my wall. That's why I think the archetype of Artemis/Diana is of critical importance for me to acknowledge in this phase of my life again, because I have been overly conscious of Aphrodite, and Persephone no longer serves me, in fact would invite self destructive or victim behavior. It's interesting to me too I've always liked horror movies, and for feminine archetypes, usually Persephone or Artemis or both are represented.

I think at this point, according to the totems, my male archetype I should probably attempt to integrate is the sage, the wise old man, I think has been speaking to me via Taoism, learning to stop reacting, to live in the world but not be so affected by it. That's my balance point.
 

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@Thalassa

For me when thinking of archetypes and how they play out in my life I'd say i'm often drawn to the James Deans, the Kevin Costners, the kind of man's man whilst having a bit of rebellion in me. To a degree, i'd say there is rebellion in the sense that I sometimes support an 'underdog', if it's just in my tastes, and yet come full circle by liking things that are mainstream even when it might not be 'cool' to do so. So I rebel against the rebels at times. I also tend to dislike authoritative structures a lot of the time, and I think that sometimes regardless of a persons pay level or whatever they are still ought to be treated like an equal to the success of the workplace. Some of this is reflected in the work I do and I might have a bit of a reputation of being the one that asks questions people don't want to talk about or perhaps challenging people to the point of annoyance, though this is just speculation based on what I think others might think.

Also the trickster hero, robin hood types, and the magician, merlin wise old sage. (I've even thought of leaving my life to become a monk on several occasions, especially in hard times.)

When i've read about this and read about the different trickster types, peter pan sticks out. I guess this is pretty spot on, there is a part of me that doesn't like the idea of 'growing up', in a sense of getting old and eventual death - wow what a lighthearted topic, though also in the sense of losing awe and mystery and wonder with the world. I'm getting revelations as I write this as I also think part of the problems i've had over recent years are to do with not always being able to experience or do things I might want to do and with perhaps feeling stagnant and needing change in my life, in lots of ways actually. I guess you could say almost that the work I do is giving me a chance as well to perhaps 'live a youth I never had' - which I do kind of feel in some ways, I was either reading or being indoors, where as parts of my job when i'm out working with young people, involves the outdoors and at times I kind of like it and i'm glad i'm not wrapped up in some office somewhere.

I never went out of my way to become a youth worker, it was a twist of fate really. When I analyse my life I can see how in some ways you could say 'life wanted my life to go this way'. What's been hard for me is how i've ended up doing it at a time where I was trying to deal with my own transitions and problems in life and thinking about my own future and wondering where it's going. I also don't feel like i'm really 'living' each day, some days and years in fact , have gone by so quickly and I feel that there is so much out there to experience and do in the world and i'm not sure with my concerns about career and or work or the struggles and problems i've had, that i'll ever get to do it all. Or at least the things that appeal to me anyway. I sometimes also feel like life in some ways came on too quickly for me and when I was at a point where I felt I had things handled and ready to start living and making a new life, other things changed in my life and at times it feels like I was ushered into 'being an adult' quicker than I was ready for - I guess.
 

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Cool. I think it's definitely possible to learn from animals. Spiritual totems are more of a sense of identifying with that animal, and in terms of shamanic or totem medicine, it's based in the idea of synchronicity, that we notice things or qualities we need at that time.

I definitely consider the cougar/puma to be an important wild animal for me, cougar represents everything from feminine hostility or danger, to learning to come into ones own power and learn to be a leader without ego, to balance ferocity with gentleness. It's very apropos to this phase of my life.

And I think I just have general feline qualities in my personality, and have been aware of it on some level since childhood. I've been a crazy cat lady since I was eight or nine. I liked animals always, from my earliest memories I had preferred stuffed animals to baby dolls, had a puppy, had animal posters on my wall. That's why I think the archetype of Artemis/Diana is of critical importance for me to acknowledge in this phase of my life again, because I have been overly conscious of Aphrodite, and Persephone no longer serves me, in fact would invite self destructive or victim behavior. It's interesting to me too I've always liked horror movies, and for feminine archetypes, usually Persephone or Artemis or both are represented.

I think at this point, according to the totems, my male archetype I should probably attempt to integrate is the sage, the wise old man, I think has been speaking to me via Taoism, learning to stop reacting, to live in the world but not be so affected by it. That's my balance point.
Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding. This is a neat idea and one I would like to research further.

It's also great to see another crazy cat lady on here. I have been with cats my entire life and I identify with them strongly. I think my animal totems would be the house cat and the tiger. I also identify with the wolf somewhat, though I'm loathe to admit a canine influence! I do also sometimes find that I am inspired by a big cat when I'm feeling low. Is there a website about animal totems you tend to reference? Just curious!

Taoism is great! Have you read Zhuangzi (Chuang-Tzu)? He's a bit different from Lao-Tzu but nevertheless eye-opening. I'd be happy to give you recommendations if you desire. :happy:
 

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I don't know that it's such a great idea that you dismissed Persephone so readily as a symbol of abuse, because in reality Persephone or Kore represents sex, death and rebirth not only in the human world, but of the earth. Your love of the environment could actually be represented very well by Persephone, as she is the goddess of agriculture or vegetation, and a really persistent problem with our environment today is deforestation and animal agriculture. Persephone also represents the divine Mystery and probably appeals as an archetype to anyone who loves horror or crime novels. or even just the topic of psychoanalysis and dreams.

Persephone is so much more than the maiden dragged into the Underworld. She's a woman who lived with duality, who changed with the seasons, who protected the earth and watched over its plants, who held powerful secrets, and the whole pomegranate seed thing is just a metaphor for sex or maybe more accurately enjoying sex, why else would she actually desire to return to Hades?

Yeah she was a victim, but she was so much more than that, so to disregard her as an inner totem or personal archetype is cheating yourself out of growth, it's what a lot of shrinks call "repression" which just leads to long-term bad...you have to lean into the pain to allow it to drift away. Maybe you figured that out by now, this thread is appropriately tomb-like in its age.
 
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