Sacred Contracts - What is an Archetype?

Archetypes are universal, impersonal energy patterns that provide the foundation for our personalities, drives, feelings, beliefs, motivations and actions. Functioning as inner companions, some are dominant, consciously shaping and controlling our perceptions and our behavior. Others are disowned, repressed and relegated to the “shadow,” where they act out beneath our awareness. Archetypal behaviors that garnered approval from our parents when we were young, we proudly display as our persona, the masks we wear to continue to gain acceptance. Our hidden selves, archetypes that embody either undeveloped potential or our dark nature, we keep secret, even from ourselves. These are frequently traits and talents our parents ridiculed or criticized. And what we don’t recognize in ourselves, we tend to demonize or idolize in others. Those reactions are the archetype’s way of saying, “Recognize me.”

Consider the Vampire Archetype. Most of us know people who suck the air out of a room. We’re exhausted after spending time with them. But how many of us recognize the complainer within ourselves who exhausts his or her friends by sounding like a broken record? How many of us own our ability to seduce and feed on the vulnerabilities of others, and choose not to?

The Victim is one of the four Sacred Contract universal Survival archetypes. We all have a Victim. In its shadow expression, it’s the part of us that wallows in our wounds while blaming everyone else for our problems. It also victimizes others. The empowered Victim knows there are no Victims, only lessons. It also warns us when we are about to be taken advantage of or when we are poised to take advantage of another.

Gaining insight into both the light and dark sides of our archetypes gives us the ability to harness the constructive power of an archetype while consciously managing its dark side.

"Archetypes are the architects of our lives.”
- Caroline Myss

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