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Carolynn Myss defines the victim archetype in her Sacred Contracts course as one of the essential characters we all embody at some point in our lives. There are four survival archetypes present in all of us representing life challenges and our methods of maintaining self-esteem. These four are child, victim, saboteur, and prostitute. The lesson each one offers pertains to use of power and self-image. The child is needy, showing us good reason to strive for learning and independence. The victim endures bullying of various kinds in order to learn courage. Eventually the victim teaches us how to recognize and stand up to bullies. The prostitute teaches the value of maintaining integrity. Once the prostitute recognizes the folly of selling him or herself for support of others, individual mature ethics are developed. The sabatuer archetype lets us know when we are working against our own best interests. Self sabotage can be avoided once we learn to spot it. These universal psychological traits can be traced through the stories of our lives, and interact with the other 8 archetypes in our make up.
I have gotten far enough in the course to have drawn my archetypal wheel, which is played out exactly like the wheel in an astrology chart. The number 12 was chosen because it already has meaning in astrology. In reality we all have more than 12 archetypes, an unknown number. To make a practical study and apply it in a personal way the student is asked to identify the 8 most pronounced archetypes present in our lives. Placing the archetype in a house creates a kind of map. The combination of the house and the character tell a story about an aspect of our nature as it reacts with a certain aspect of our circumstances.
I find it interesting to compare the symbolic characters in my astrology chart with those in my archetypal wheel. My victim is in the 12th house, which rules self undoing and our unconscious. In my astrology chart my 12th house is loaded. It contains Venus, North Node, Jupiter and Mars. If I believe these charts my shadow side must be a deeply intuitive victim. It is very hard for me to see myself as a victim, although I have a normal life with ups and downs. Our shadow is not our bad or undesirable part, but the part of ourselves about which we remain unaware. As I take up my course work I need to write essays about when and where I encountered these archetypes in my history. I met them in others and played them all myself. The goal of the course is to learn about the dynamics of the soul. I have my work cut out for me on this victim essay. It should prove to be very self revealing. Have you ever studied the archetypes, gentle reader? Astrology is based on archetypes assigned to each house and each planet. The symbols represent characters we can recognize as actors in our world. When you hear the word victim, who pops into your mind?
I have begun an in-depth study of archetypes with Caroline Myss, a favorite author. She has recorded the lessons and homework for an on line course entitled Sacred Contracts, based on her popular book of the same name. As a home student I have already done a few things out of order, which seems to go along with my choice of the rebel in my core archetype group. I am a teacher, another one of my core archetypes, but this is balanced by the rebel not exactly following any orders ever. It is fascinating and will eventually make me follow all the sequences in order because I really do want to learn to teach this subject.
The process I am learning is based in part on the kind of Jungian analysis that takes years with a therapist to achieve big expensive revelations. The archetypes used by Jung, and also made popular by Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers, and PBS, are similar to the gods in any pantheon. They are primal forces, and active participants in the journey of the soul. When I was about 40 a friend gave me a book about analysis and archetypes and proclaimed that I am definitely Aphrodite. With this intro, I read the book and agreed with my friend. I don’t remember much about the book, but am sure I was not enough involved with the depth of the subject at that time to be able correlate what I read with my life experience. I just liked the idea that my friend saw me as Aphrodite.
Now as I honestly remember and become familiar with these players on the karmic stage I am struck with how powerful they can be. I am in the very beginning of an understanding that is changing the way I perceive time, space, and matter. I feel that I am expanding my way of looking at phenomena. Usually one needs to look back over time to notice profound change. This one I am doing on purpose. Since the purpose is to discover the purpose of my life, I thought it best to do it on purpose. I have done similar studies and reading before so I feel appropriately warmed up to the task. I love being a student, and this subject matter suits me perfectly.