I might overthink things sometimes, but questions that breeze through my mind daily include philosophical ponderings about who I am, who others are, why we’re here, etc. The first one might be the easiest to answer, but that answer is always changing. Each life stage we go through makes us evolve into something different; I was a child, then an adult, then a mother, and at times have been many other things. All of this informs the decisions I make, from big-picture subjects like careers to fun stress relievers such as art journaling.
Recently Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli enlightened me a little more, regarding who I am, at least in this moment. You’ll see what I mean after you read the following excerpt from her brand new book, Art Journal Your Archetypes: Mixed-Media Techniques for Finding Yourself (part of an exclusive kit that includes stencils and more!).
What is an Archetype? by Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli
When I tell people I’m an archetype consultant, it’s funny how often they mishear me and think I’ve said I’m an architecture consultant. I’m not sure why the word “archetype” isn’t ingrained as common knowledge. It should be because archetypes are literally everywhere. Archetypes are used in literature, script writing, marketing, branding, self-help, psychology, sociology, mythology and even the tarot. But still, the concept often seems obscure.
Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, who popularized the notion of the archetype as an expression of human experience, defined an archetype as “an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.” Another way of saying this is that archetypes are simultaneously society’s energetic blueprint as well as your own energetic blueprint. They are seen in people at the macro and micro levels.
Caroline Myss, who is one of today’s leading teachers of archetypes, says, “Knowing your archetypal patterns is the beginning of understanding why you are the way you are.”
Be careful not to confuse archetypes with stereotypes. They are not the same thing! An archetype is a representation of humankind, while a stereotype is typically a negative, oversimplified idea of a person. An archetype is a repeated pattern of behaviors based on the decisions you’ve made or wish to make in your life.
These patterns can show up in your career choices, college majors, relationships, how you spend your money, your spirituality, and all other areas of your life. Why you choose to do something or not to do something can be threaded back to your guiding archetypes. For example, because of my Artist and Liberator archetypes, I have chosen to write this book instead of trying out for a role in a community theater production.
I first became aware of archetypes while traveling in my early twenties. No matter where I went–India, Korea, Bali, Saipan, London, Boise, or Baltimore–there seemed to be the same kinds of people everywhere. There was always The Politician, The Artist, The Comedian, The Athlete, The Mother, etc. The world didn’t seem so big because of this. What I was actually picking up on was archetypal energies.
I deepened my understanding of archetypes while obtaining my master’s degree. There are hundreds of archetypes. Some of them, like The Warrior, have been around since the beginning of time. Others are new, such as The Computer Geek. Some archetypes can have multiple forms. For example, The Mother can splinter into The Working Mother, The Stepmother, The Doting Mother, etc. In Art Journal Your Archetypes, you’ll get to know the 33 main archetypes that show up most commonly with my clients.
It’s important to keep in mind that archetypal energy is fluid and can change gradually over time due to maturation or life transitions. So there will be times when one guiding archetype steps down and is no longer as active, while a different archetype emerges and becomes a core. This would not be something that happens overnight, but rather a slow change.You’ll notice that your focus is on something different, or you’re spending your time, money, and energy on something more than you once did.
Discovering your core archetypes will unveil a new layer of yourself–a layer beyond interests and skill set. You’ll learn who you are and (maybe more importantly) who you are not. This new knowledge is essential for self-acceptance, happiness in your career, and clarity about your relationships. If you’re in business, this information will also help you authentically market yourself. You’ll be able to answer that proverbial question we’ve all asked ourselves, “Who am I?” You’ll be able to answer it with pride, acceptance, and love. Your past and present will be recalibrated and brought into focus. ~Gabrielle
In her book, Gabrielle helps you determine your main archetypes so that you can then apply this knowledge to art journaling exercises, including layering with stencils, altered paper art, origami, and collage techniques. There’s even an in-depth quiz you’ll take to find out which figures represent your authentic self.
My quiz results surprised even me; while it shows that I’m an outgoing Networker and Performer, it also reflected the Hermit archetype (plus Artist, Writer, and Rebel, none of which shocked me). I’ll need to look at these closer to narrow them down further when I start art journaling so that I stay focused throughout the exercise; you may need to do the same. My hope is that after you read Art Journal Your Archetypes, you’ll take the quiz and share the results with your friends, too, and inspire more inner reflections.
Happy art journaling,
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