PANTHEON - Patterns in Nature & Man
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Jul 25, 2002 ... Pantheon is a broad survey or study of the archetypes as discussed in ... PANTHEON. ARCHETYPAL GODFORMS IN DAILY LIFE. by Iona Miller, c1983 ...
In the journey of life we all encounter forces and behavior patterns which seem beyond our capacity to understand and control. We say and do things we never believed we were capable of, and then claim we "must have been beside ourselves." Or, "I wasn't myself." Our subconscious minds provoke us into behavior we would never consciously choose. Some of these are self-defeating or self-sabatoguing and come through our shadow, while others let us glimpse that we are more creative, talented, or wise than we ever thought possible. These gifts come from the transpersonal end of the spectrum.
At first glance, each individual's problems, experiences, and innate qualities seem unique. Yet, from another perspective, we all share the common inheritance of a mythic dimension of life, which psychologist Carl Jung termed the "collective unconscious." We are walking compendiums of universal forces from which the details of our individual stories flow. Every story is a unique version of universal themes, the infinite in the finite. We are the very embodiment of universal themes of life, death, and rebirth.
All of our human potential for both "good" and "evil" comes through this subconscious source. It reveals itself through dreams, visions, art, fantasy, imagination, and myths or tales in all cultures. These themes and myths contain a value far greater than their creative or literary merits. Not only do myths inform us of the origins of thought and philosophy, they also reveal an ancient, sacred dimension of human experience.
The realm of the collective unconscious is "populated" with mythical figures which are described as gods and goddesses. Each has a retinue of corresponding moods, landscapes, personality traits, preferences, etc. These figures personify man's qualities or modes of being in the world. Each has particular characteristics. Knowledge of these characteristics or styles can enhance our personal journeys of self-discovery, and give us insight into our own motivations and choices.
Through personally discovering these godforms within and without, we gain access to a deeper understanding of both ourselves and others. We all share the journey of self-exploration, even though different aspects of it appear to each of us.
Certain of the gods and goddesses may play a major or dominant role in our lives and those of our loved ones, but our imagination or psyche contains them all. The more of these basic patterns of life we have access to, the greater our experience of this mythic dimension of life which makes our conscious day-to-day lives even more meaningful. The point is not to consciously live one myth, or even one's myth, but to live mythically, in touch with that fabled dimension of experience.
The realization of our purpose, path, or personal potential has often been considered a "key" to life's meaning. To realize the fullness of one's personality and to develop our native abilities and personal characteristics to the highest degree possible is a worthy long-range goal. This has been the orientation of the human potential movement, and the personal goal of self-actualization, or self-realization...to experientially understand that, "I am That."
PANTHEON, as a manual of personal self-discovery, is a practical guide to recognizing and realizing the origins and development of our individual characters and characteristics. As such, it leads to a growth of self-knowledge, and gives us insight into the traits and behaviors of our acquaintances and intimates.
Pantheon provides not only background knowledge for reference, but also practical psychological technique which we can impliment in our journey toward understanding. One can gain access to the deeper psyche, soul, or imagination through both the rational and experiential methods. These are self-analysis and active imagination.
Active imagination includes consciousness journeys deep into the psyche, identification, and internal dialogues with personified archetypes. It is the dialogical method. This is a way of building experiential relationships with archetypal forces--harmonizing with them, honoring them. These are "as if" real relationships, not taken literally.
These internal dialogues can be useful, revealing the autonomous dynamics and agendas at work in our lives. They reveal things to us we know, but don't know we know. We can use many methods for this communication, such as journal work, hypnosis, or ritual. These are moments where we create and enter sacred space. These relationships reveal the meaningfulness behind the many complications in our modern lives.
The more we approach our individual wholeness, through expanding our awareness and experiences, the more we are likely to encounter these divine principles from the realm of imagination. This journey toward wholeness is easier to integrate into daily life with a psychological framework for containing and accomodating a wide range of images, emotions, moral views, styles of thought, beliefs, and even dress.
When we know the characteristics of the various archetypes, we find them relected back to our consciousness from the environment. We can learn to view their effects on our lives directly and gain in personal, social, and spiritual freedom. If we fail to become consciousnely aware of their effects, their spontaneous activation may produce devastating effects on the personality. They can create internal divisions in the psyche which may lead to the disintegration of personality. This can result in disease, self-destructive behavior, or even culminate in death.
As we mature into adults, many of us are forced by environmental factors to travel roads which do not follow our natural predispositions. This may create conflicts or crises in our lives, which require either change or understanding. Some of us are forced, for example, to work in occupations which do not really suit our personalities. For some it becomes a challenge to be met and accepted; others of us just feel like "square pegs in round holes."
Pantheon is designed to help us recognize and realize our talents and natural predispositions. In this manner, many misplaced persons should be able to develop latent talents in areas where they could excel through natural aptitude, at the same time finding a sense of self-fulfillment on the job and in relationships.
THE CONCEPT OF ARCHETYPES
The work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) has become of greater and greater interest to the general public. His works or their summaries are part of almost every seeker's list of books to read. The growing interest in Jungian Psychology (or Depth Psychology) stems from the fact that it answers the needs of many people as a means for relating to "internal" as well as "external" reality. These people are seeking a fuller understanding of the meaning of life in such areas as dreams, fantasy, compulsive behaviors, and self-exploration or spiritual enrichment.
The main focus of Jung's work stressed the search for meaning and the development of individuation, psychological wholeness, or integrity of the personality. Jungian therapy opened the door to the collective unconscious for many, not only to their subconscious desires and motivations but also to their higher spiritual aspirations and potentials.
Jungian psychology describes the meaning of symbols and events on the spiritual quest for self-actualization in non-religious terms. It is extremely useful for self-analysis. By gaining a working knowledge of the temperaments of our various facets and how they interrelate, an integration or synthesis of personality becomes possible. This results in high well-being and increased creativity.
In practical terms, Jungian therapy includes developing awareness of internal guiding principles, or archetypes. You don't need a personal therapist to discover these archetypes within. We can discover them ourselves if we know what to look for during periods of reflection or introspection. Knowing the patterns, they can strike us directly when we catch ourselves in the act of watching them act through us.
An archetype is an innate, or in-born pattern, part of our hardwiring, which functions as the underlying matrix behind any event. They are not necessarily transmitted through our genes, but they are fundamental to our method of perceiving nature, God, and man. They are the very substance of our experience of life. They act like filters or lenses for our perception.
Archetypes may be seen as embodiments of specific functions, and their characteristic patterns may be personified by giving each a name. In this way, we can learn to recognize archetypes when they appear in our lives affecting styles of behavior, thought, emotions, attitudes, and dress. By personification, identifying and naming them, we can take up a meaningful relationship with these characters of our internal world. We gain the option of holding imaginal discussions with them about their attitudes, desires, and opinions.
The Jungian perspective sees the human perception of "reality" as originating in a projection from an internal motivating factor (or archetype) onto our environment. Since we do not perceive the universe of experience directly, but through the filters of our senses, we experience archetypes through sight, touch, taste, smell, and sounds, and the metaphorical equivalent of these senses in our imaginal life.
They also appear in human typology, and the various functions of feeling, sensation, intuition, and thinking. Because of their nature's we are introverted or extroverted, thinkers or feelers, knowers or doers. They are constantly maneuvering our human lives as if we were puppets. In the ancient past, when these powers of the archetypes over the human will were intensely dramatic, or negative, this phenomenon was termed "possession," and it could be demonic or spiritual in nature.
On a more common level, archetypes are constantly affecting our value judgements, priorities, emotonal relationships, work situations, and daily life responses in the physical world in an unconscious way. Sometimes these appearances of archetypal patterns are appropriate, in tune with conscious goals; but sometimes the archetypes seem to have a goal of their own, independent of (and perhaps self-destructive to) our personalistic ego desires. "They" don't seem to know or care what we want. How can we be self-directing when their influence is capricious and subconscious?
Civilization is largely the result of mankinD's conscious understanding and taming of primitive instinctual forces of the archetypes. With fewer and fewer "taboos" to control our society, we need to understand our own emotional upheavals so that we aren't overwhelmed by them. We can evolve to an understanding of our subtle and not-so-subtle inner urges, in which case they cease to compel us and begin to work on our behalf. Thus, we can grow out of counterproductive behaviors into the abi
lity to actualize our higher goals.
It is these underlying matrix patterns within the psyche which produce the outer behavior. When we can see that archetypes are motivating factors, it is also possible to intuit how a knowledge of their particular characteristics cold be useful in understanding the complexities of life.
But, are these gods and goddesses real in the objective sense? Can they really manipulate our behavior so subbtely without us noticing them? According to Jung this is true, and we all share this condition. Even those trained in these areas maintain psychological "blind spots" where we fail to see the archetypes moving us.
Jung saw man, not as an isolated individual, but as being linked with the whole of mankind (and mankind's abilities) through the collective unconscious. This unconscious manifests in the multiple forms of gods and goddesses. These figures take different, though analogous forms in the various mythologies of the world's cultures.
Thus the goddesses Isis (Egyptian), Artemis (Greek), and Diana (Roman) all share a common essence and use the same lunar symbolism. The same generic form is also behind the Catholic's Blessed Virgin Mary, and all are derived from the theme of Celestial Queen.
These forms, or archetypes, should not be thought of as nouns (things), but rather as semantic metaphors. They represent powers or qualities, but when we personify them it is "as if" we take up a relationship with another entity. They assume an anthropomorphic form in imagination in order to make a dialogue easier. This dialogical exchange is just a variation of the I-Thou communications of mysticism.