Spiritual concepts

Archetype

Archetypes are patterns.  They are ‘spiritual’ in the sense they apply to the systems of the universe.  As such they can be patterns related to entities and attributes or they can be related to functions/activities, and events and the way they play out in response to an event – the sequence of the functions and their likely outcome.

  • Entities and attributes - The entities might be ready formed ‘characters’ or ‘roles’ – like the Fool, the Jester, the King, the Prince, the Hanged Man – found in the Tarot cards, or the characters found in Pantomime.  There are also character archetypes in chess – the Queen, the King, the pawn, the bishop/hierophant.  Jung, who was particularly fascinated by this area, started to build a list of them all, although he never published his findings.  He included the Child, the Victim, the Mother, and the Father.  The Hero is an exceptionally well known archetype
  • Functions – Functions and function dependencies are often described in myths and stories.  It is exactly the same underlying script or sequence that gets played out, but a story is used to demonstrate the archetype in action.  In order for the archetypical transaction [series of functions and function dependencies] to be demonstrated,  characters then have to be involved, in effect the functional archetypes are described using named inputs and outputs.  We see this in works of fiction, the characters seem to conform to certain types and appear in just about every story. It is there in every play and their modern counterpart the movies.

The most important thing to remember about functions is that the archetype of the function dependency, the sequence of activities triggered by an event , may involve many different characters.  It is not describing the sequence of actions of a person.  It is like the script of a play in which characters play a part.  There are walk on parts and there are major roles.

“All the world’s a stage” By William Shakespeare [(from As You Like It)

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Symbolically the idea of archetypal characters with attributes, and archetypal sequences of functions that simply repeat and repeat in ‘real life’  is expressed in the idea of the theatre.  The play with its script and characters is simply repeated over and over again, but each time a new person takes the part and thus provides a different interpretation, perhaps some ad libbing, a change of scenery, maybe a change of dress, but the sequence and the ending is always the same.

The symbol of the mask describes the characters [or personalities] ‘we’ take on each new life [belief in reincarnation is assumed]. 

It would appear that history does repeat itself when the same conditions arise to trigger the function dependencies.  It also appears to be the case that history repeats itself when the play is interrupted and not allowed to take its natural course from beginning to end.  The system of the universe may be forced to pause, but it simply restarts once the cause of the pause has been removed.

The Horoscope and Archetypal astrology

As the subject of attributes and their combinations has been the study of astrology for some time, there is a branch of astrology that looks at these preformed archetypes and it is called – Archetypal astrology! 

More astrologers concentrate on the character side than the function archetype side, but this is beginning to change. 

  •  Functional archetypes - If one is successful at recognising that a functional archetype is being played out, one is in effect able to prophesy. And of course if you are able to prophesy, you are a Prophet and a Seer, a wise person and thus greatly respected! But the functional area is a great deal more difficult than character recognition and the fact that practically all the astrologers got it wrong in the last US elections, rather indicates that they might be better sticking to character analysis.
    There are also potentially millions more functional archetypes than character archetypes, meaning that this is a task requiring considerable analytical ability.  By concentrating on one archetype, there is also the danger that you see that archetype in everything.  If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  But knowing myths helps – as long as we have recognised the patterns in the myths, because these are important archetypes.
    The Signs of the Zodiac represent the types of task needed to evolve the universe.  It is also an archetype – a Method for evolution – and is thus essentially functional in nature.
  • Entity archetypes - Attributes [both positive and negative] are described by the symbolic planets, as such archetypical characters are built up by selecting the attributes they will have.  The symbolic Planets are like a storehouse of contrasting attributes [astrologers use the word ‘shadow attributes’ to describe the negative attributes] from which specific ones are selected to create a character.

A person’s horoscope is thus describing which types of task they will be involved in [ a functional archetype] during their life and which particular attributes they will be using at that stage – the Planetary attributes.  Overall it gives an idea of a person’s Destiny, in broad terms how their life is going to pan out – but only as an archetype, a pattern – the actual events only occur as the person lives from day to day.  Each person lives their own myth and enacts their horoscope.

In general it often appears the case that the person never actually knows what their life has been about until they come to the end of it and compare the actual events that took place with the horoscope and then see how the progression unfolded. 

This however, does not mean a horoscope is not useful.  All it means is that you know the types of task and the character, but not the actual events.  These will unfold if you let them and use this information to do things that match your apparent stage role. 

KNOW THYSELF

Some historical background

The idea of the archetype goes back to Ancient Egypt [and even before], but the civilisation that raised it to an art form and developed it, was that of the ancient Greeks, whose dramas were intended to describe patterns that would be repeated or would be likely to repeat if the same conditions arose again – the idea of the tragedy.

Greek myths and plays were intended to be lessons as well as entertainment.  Their intention was to teach people the archetypes they had recognised – both the characters and the sequence of functions. 

The Ancient Greece philosophers called the concept the archetupon meaning first stamp, issuance, or imprint  - a master copy - like a script and set of characters. Plato believed they were imprinted in the mind before birth, in effect they were in our minds like a sort of ready loaded operating system.  Plato also taught that that which we perceive in our mundane, earthly life is issued from something that exists as a perfect and absolute idea on the spiritual plane.  There is a master software [spiritual] package and then there are subset copies that are issued to each thing [the Name].

Plato recognised the existence of abstract functions too and he called these [confusingly] Forms. It is not a good choice of words, or maybe it is just a poor example of translation, because they include functions like Beauty, Truth, Justice, and Love. How do we know something is beautiful? In Plato’s terms, we know something is beautiful because we have a function which helps us to recognise it. 

Note that Plato said that these archetypal abstract functions could only be known through intuitive perception because they didn’t belong to the mundane world. Rather, they patterned and created it.

The psychoanalyst C. G. Jung also recognised the existence of these patterns – patterns of behaviour and patterns of attributes, but unlike Plato he believed they were part of the ‘collective unconscious’, and influenced, without us consciously realising it, how we reacted to events.  This point is not worth arguing about as the mind is in the ‘collective unconscious’ anyway, as such the only real difference being expressed is whether a copy is made to each mind, or we share the archetype [in computer terms multi-tasking!].

Archetypes and the night sky

The Egyptians, thousands of years ago, began to observe that the star Sirius, as observed from Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt, became visible just above the horizon at dawn at the same time that the Nile River was beginning to rise for its annual flood. In other words, the appearance of a certain star [event] helped them to determine when a certain pattern of functions [annual river flood] was to take place.

By using the night sky – always present, always available wherever you were and needing no books or papyrus - and by charting the cycles of Sirius, the Egyptians were able to plan the planting of their crops.  From this observation that the night sky could be used as a ready-made universally available open air university – the idea then came to them that it could also be used to map the archetypes and thus help them remember them.  Since the Great Work was of very great interest, each type of task in the method was chosen, a symbol was also invented to represent the task and then the shape of the symbol was mapped to the stars in the night sky – the constellations.  And the attributes were mapped to the Planets.

By lying on your back in the sand, on a clear night, with all your pupils around you doing the same, you could use the sky as a giant blackboard and use it to explain the archetypes.

Over time, as the various astrological systems evolved and merged, degeneration also took place.  More recent civilisations started to believe that these planets and physical star systems actually caused things to happen. Even today, many astrologers believe that the physical planets and stars cause events, and I for one [and I am not alone] deeply disagree.

The archetype of Pluto existed long before the planet was actually discovered by astronomy. Pluto symbolizes sex, power, death, transformation, and rebirth. Is it accurate to say that the physical planet Pluto causes death and transformation to happen in our lives? No.

But if an astute astrologer notices the archetype emerging, that of course is another thing completely.

But there is no doubt that these archetypes – all of them – the attributes, the functions and functional dependencies, the characters and templates of form have to exist somewhere, so where do they exist?   And the answer is the Cosmic Egg [or Atum], - the original atom.

Archetypes and the Elements

The part of the Cosmic egg that relates to the Mind or if you prefer Jung’s collective unconscious, is described by the Elements – Earth, Water, Air and Fire

  • Fire is the level and layer that is the storage area for the functional archetypes
  • Earth is the level and layer that is the storage area for form, templates of appearance, blueprints of appearance
  • Water is the level and layer that is the storage area for the emotions and perceptions and to a large extent the subconscious
  • Air is the level and layer that is the storage area for the conscious self with its memories, memory, learning and reasoning functions

In other words, the Elements describe in some senses each ‘thing’s’ horoscope.  The functional archetypes to which they will adhere and how their lives will play out, what they will look like [appearance], the types of Planetary emotions they will display [attributes] – anger, cunning, courage, etc, together with their intellectual abilities what kind of level of reasoning and memory they have.

It is a blueprint for each individual – the script, the character, the appearance, the mask, the interpretation of the role in the Great Work/Play that is evolution.

The aether level of the Cosmic Egg contains the master copy of all these things – the systems of the universe.  In other words in the Aether level exists the Tree of Life, at its centre the Ultimate Intelligence from which all the Intelligences in the Tree of Life have sprung and as a consequence the sum total of all the systems.  The Ultimate Intelligence – God – knows everything because it is everything at the archetype level.

Everyone and everything that is an entity has/is the cosmic egg.

Therefore the birth chart contains within its structure the code that literally constructs your reality. Its symbolic code is the software program that creates your perceptions of life, rendering astrology much more than the mere entertainment that daily/monthly horoscopes found in periodicals offer. In fact, nothing has done more damage to the collective perception of astrology than those lucky horoscopes blinking in the back pages of the daily rag.”

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.