One of the decks that I have chosen to work with for the monthly cards is the new Archetypes deck from The Wild Unknown. I love this deck (and will be posting a detailed review for you to see this deck in depth), but to be clear, a tarot deck is filled with archetypes. An oracle deck is filled with archetypes. The whole world is filled with archetypes. You do not need this specific deck in order to work with archetypes. Like Kim Krans says in the guidebook, there is no one creator of archetypes.
Archetypes are created for and by the collective; that is precisely what makes them an archetype. This deck merely includes the archetypes that Kim Krans felt most connected to in her artistic rendering. The reason that I chose, and want to work with, this deck for the entire year of 2020 is because archetypes are meant to be opened, shared, understood, and integrated. However, as we begin to open the door to the Desert (the archetype for January) it is important to know and understand what exactly an archetype is.
http://www.dictionary.com defines archetypes as:
the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on
which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
(in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought,
image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.
This means that each archetype once started as on original form of itself and took on an identity that transcends the form. Archetypes are steeped in the psyche of the collective, across culture, location, or time. This means that archetypes are therefore steeped in the individual’s psyche as well. Archetypes can take on various layers of form or understanding, but the core identity of the archetype remains the same.
For instance, if I asked you to draw an image in your mind of a witch, what form does it take for you? If I were to mention a female deer, do you see the doe as a victim of the hunt, or as a radiant earth-mother? Both themes exist with the archetype of the doe. The hunt and persecution of a female deer (Bambi anyone?) can then unfold to other archetypes. The gun is often an archetype for male domination and sex (Freud is the most well-known for attributing these phallic archetypes to the idea of male regeneration and women with penis envy). The archetype of the orphan comes in when the Bambi’s mother has been shot down because Bambi is now left alone in this now cruel world.
There is often an overt sexual tone to the archetype of the hunt as well. The pursuer and the pursued match each other in raw visceral energy, opening the door to both themes of violence and sex. I recommend reading the poem Pursuit by Sylvia Plath (a poem written right after she met her future husband, the daunting, charismatic, and unfaithful Ted Hughes) to see how the archetype of the hunt mirrors both themes of violence and sex, predatory
Archetypes create the way for more archetypes. The archetype of the temple gives way to the archetypes of prayer, candle, healer. The archetype of the ruler brings up the archetype of the crown, the throne, the castle. What this means is that archetypes are fluid, born of the collective perception, but understood through symbols, images and stories. Archetypes arise from the psyche in a way that can show a connection of understanding to the collective narrative. This connection often anchors and comforts us, because it gives us an outline that we can
identify within ourselves.
Do you, or do you know people who like to see which Disney, Star Wars, or Superhero character they get on a Facebook quiz? Those are archetypes. They may not be the most accurate, more based on algorithms that honest answers, but it can be comforting to know that your answers reveal an archetype that speaks to you. In fact, while doing some research for this blog post I came across the Jungian Archetype test. You can take it by clicking here.
Another article that really helps to showcase how influencing archetypes are is here. In this article, Jeffrey states that archetypes are patterns of behavior. Archetypes arise during certain situations depending upon predispositions, attitudes, and even perhaps nature versus nurture. These archetypes can, again, be broken down, into smaller categories or other archetypes to explain the complex and multifaceted nature of the
human experience or human psyche.
In looking at the archetype of the Desert, we can immediately pull on other archetypes to create a deeper understanding. For me, the Sun (another magnanimous archetype) is present. Many depictions of the Desert also show cacti or even the iconic bull skull. This archetype is one of harsh and fierce, but beautiful energy. The Desert is an archetype that speaks to survival and death. It also speaks to being lost, exposed, and lacking in some way.
I have gone in depth to the Desert in my zine which you can access by clicking here.
There is way to much to say about archetypes to be fully contained into one blog post. I would like to end here by saying that archetypes, however you hold to them or not, is something to be open too. Look to where the Desert, or other archetypes, are opening for you. Look to where archetypes are speaking to you, to an idea, or a pattern of behavior and see how the archetype resonates with you. Working with archetypes can be incredibly challenging, highly revealing, or sometimes comical and fun.