THE ORIGINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGE:
The Archetypes of Adaptation, Transformation, and Evolution
What is Transformation?
To me, the most interesting thing in the entire universe is transformation: that is, significant psychological and spiritual change. My fascination began in a Christian context with questions about “conversion” and “salvation.” What is major and real transformation? Is it the same or different from ordinary development? Is there a “pattern” of change? Is that pattern really universal? If so, can we “engineer” change? What would keep it “right,” as opposed to the failed social engineering of the Twentieth Century, such as that found in communist re-education camps and methodologies to straighten sexual orientation?
The Forms of Transformation and ORIGINS
An important milestone in my undergraduate life was reading The Hero with 1000 Faces, Joseph Campbell’s study of the Hero’s Journey Monomyth, which I quickly recognized as a fundamental pattern of change common to all humanity. At different levels of our being, we are constantly evolving according to this pattern. Our human existence is intrinsically dynamic and dramatic, journeying ever further, against formidable obstacles, into becoming ever more whole.
Years of studying the nature of development and transformation in America, England, and India ended with a year at the Jung Institute in Zurich. Thereafter, at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, the cradle of the “Human Potential Movement,” I learned how existential methodologies, such as gestalt therapy or yoga, can foster and accelerate our natural processes of development. Combining archetypal psychodrama, gestalt therapy techniques, and various forms of ritual and meditation, I developed “mythogenesis,” a methodology of creating and interpreting fundamental personal myths that underlie the dynamic processes of our personal evolution and lives. I called this methodology ORIGINS.
Early on, I structured the transformative process of the ORIGINS workshops on the Hero’s Journey form, permitting participants to create a foundational “Dream” that reveals how the universal process of development is unfolding in the seminal adventure of their present lives.
Spending a lot of time in Asia, I was struck by the prevailing importance of the epic Asian romance, the Ramayana. I came to understand that romantic stories the world over have one universal form, distinct from the Hero’s Journey. Some of its themes – the empowerment of the feminine, its balance with the masculine, and the relationship to nature – were coming to the forefront in world culture. Experimenting with this “romance monomyth” in a parallel ORIGINS Process, I found that it generates a second form of personal Dream that displays the process of transformation from another perspective that is possibly even more fundamental than the Hero monomyth.
I call these two universal story systems the Archetypes of Transformation. The mythogenesis method, using these two monomyths and their distinctly different processes, has proven dramatically effective. For many years the ORIGINS Process has enhanced the well being of participants by providing them with unique access to their overall process of development, thus clarifying their life challenges. For me, the workshops have provided an empirical laboratory for studying the nature of transformation and evolution in terms of these two universal patterns.
Based on this long study, I have come to the following conclusions as to the nature of these universal forms.
The inborn genius of the human psyche is its dynamic capacity to embody and express itself in spontaneous symbols. This symbolic function is largely unconscious, but we experience it every night in our dreams and every day in the subliminal imagery that determines our fixations and idiosyncratic interpretations of the world.
How the Psyche is Structured
What is signified by this symbology is the actual structure of the psyche. This structure is “archetypal,” meaning inborn and common to all humans. For instance, all humans understand nurture and the imparting of wisdom. Psychologically, these experience forms are universal in the same way that the parts, functions, and systems of the body are common to all humans. In the psyche, the corresponding structures are all experiences, and the systems are the lawful structures of experience.
How the Psyche Expresses its Structure
By virtue of the dynamic symbolic function these common experiences get projected into the imagery of our dreams. Thus a Mother expresses nurture; a Wise Old Man expresses wisdom. In Jungian psychotherapy, dreams are the road to unconscious meaning, because their archetypal imagery can be “read,” that is to say, interpreted. Interpreting ones own dreams is called “tending.” Archetypal images, made conscious through therapy or tending, are the media to greater self-awareness and well-being.
“Archetype” Has Two Meanings
Archetype thus refers both to the experienceable structure of our being and the symbols that commonly express them. The “Mother archetype” designates both giving nurture and its projection into the image of the Mother. I have adopted the convention of capitalizing these archetypes.
Archetypal Image Systems Express Universal Processes
Archetypal symbols group themselves into story forms. These groupings are not arbitrary, but strictly structured, expressing the lawful processes of human being and experience. These structures are found in the basic forms of stories. Stories are systems of archetypes that are themselves archetypal. The stories have a lawful dynamic structure that expresses a given form. All dreams are more or less fragments of such stories.
Archetypal Systems Express “Mythologic”
This given dynamic of human change and evolution, as well as the story systems that rigidly reflect them, reveal underlying lawful, universal psychological structures that I call the “mythologic” of human process. It is inborn and comes to be known partly by story telling, information and intellect, but primarily through intuitive self-awareness. Mythologic reflects the imagistic logos of the psyche, which is anciently referred to in the West as “the word.” In the East it is called dharma (“the placed or given”) or Dao (“the way”).
Mythologic is as lawful as the structure of thought known as formal logic. Just as an understanding of logic enhances our capacity for clarity in thought and discourse, so by virtue of our awareness of this inborn mythologic, we can interpret and understand our dreams, myths and legends. Dream and myth analysis depend upon our intuitive awareness of mythologic. Self-awareness and wisdom are the “knowledge” of mythologic.
Dreams are individual myths. Myths are collective dreams. All legends and stories follow mythologic, and an understanding of mythologic can greatly enhance both self-knowledge and the interpretation of stories and their hidden meanings.
The Transformation Process
The constant of the human psyche is change and development. The psyche is intrinsically dynamic. The mythologic of the Archetypal systems display how psychological change takes place. Normal change is called development. Significant psychological change is called transformation. All change and transformation relate to the greater concept of evolution.
Transformation is Cyclical
Change and transformation happen in cycles from one status quo to another. The primary archetypal form of the process of transformation is found in a formula common to both Archetypes:
Separation – Initiation – Return.
In any form of psychological change, one separates from one’s status quo, undergoes an initiation, and returns to a transformed status quo.
The Eternal Adversaries: Saboteur and Nurturer
Psychological change is adaptive and evolutionary or else fails and becomes devolutionary. These are the psychological and existential nature of good and evil.
Existentially speaking, we are constantly choosing between the force nourishing our adaptation and evolution and the force towards deadness, dissolution and death. Every choice we make ultimately expresses one of these two forces. Those of us who are “fit” evolve. Fitness here is the capacity to creatively follow the force of evolution to adapt to new circumstances. We see all too often among our fellow humans that those who are not fit fail and self-destruct. Existential evolution therefore succeeds in ongoing cycles of development according to the survival of the fittest.
These two archetypal adversaries dominating our existence are expressed in the archetypes of the Saboteur and the Nurturer. These are the most basic archetypes. In the West their eternal war is ultimate as the struggle of Good against Evil or God against the Devil. In the East, these adversaries are a function of a greater whole, which is divine. The Eastern approach is the theoretical base for the ORIGINS work. The whole (divine) Self necessarily includes both antagonists. Upon reflection, this changes things dramatically.
There follows a description of both archetypal systems in terms of how they express these eternal adversaries.
THE HERO’S JOURNEY ARCHETYPE
Joseph Campbell abstracted the Hero’s Journey from a study of dreams, myths and legends from all over the world and throughout history. It has the following cyclical pattern:
SEPARATION: a Hero receives a Call to Adventure, sets out from Home, and encounters a Magic Helper (Nurturer), who gives him a Magic Implement. Continuing on his journey, he confronts a powerful Guardian (Saboteur) who prevents him from continuing. In the ensuing Confrontation, the Hero uses the Magic Implement to overcome the Guardian.
INITIATION: The Hero continues into the Land of Adventure where he confronts many Trials and is assisted by Helpers. Ultimately he undergoes a Supreme Ordeal that yields a great Boon.
RETURN: The Hero departs the Land of Adventure with this Reward, which he uses to transform his Home.
The Mythologic of the Hero’s Journey
Existentially speaking, the Hero represents the chooser, the protagonist who must align with the force towards evolution (the Nurturer) to overcome the force towards devolution (the Saboteur). This is represented in a Mandala used in the ORIGINS Hero’s Journey Workshop, which represents the mythologic elements of the whole self-system unified by the power of the Magic Implement, as constituted in the Hero’s Journey Archetype.
The elements of the Hero’s Journey, however, are not static. Being a trajectory of change, the Archetype is essentially dynamic. It is also essentially dramatic in that, at any point, the Hero may refuse to change, which is the function of sabotage, the force towards deadness, inhibition and death. The chooser must steer through the nurturing and sabotaging elements to keep on the path along the archetypal trajectory of Separation – Initiation
The elements of the Hero’s Journey, however, are not static. Being a trajectory of change, the Archetype is essentially dynamic. It is also essentially dramatic in that, at any point, the Hero may refuse to change, which is the function of sabotage, the force towards deadness, inhibition and death. The chooser must steer through the nurturing and sabotaging elements to keep on the path along the archetypal trajectory of Separation – Initiation — Return.
The ongoing choices are positively influenced by the Nurturer in the form of the Magic Helper and its Magic Implement, who always determine the successful completion of the cycle. It is the Saboteur, however, that makes change and transformation, to say nothing of every adventure story, exciting and dramatic, but the Saboteur is both seductive and absolutely deadly. The Saboteur first appears through fear. Its first function is to protect the status quo, over which it has particular power.
In the course of the cycle, the Hero passes through three levels of resistance, or sabotage of the transformative trajectory.
The first level of resistance is fixedness, resistance to change. The Hero may choose to refuse the Call to Adventure and not go on the journey at all, thus rejecting the Separation. This leads to deadness, the first strategy of the Saboteur.
If the Hero chooses the journey, a fresh surge of nurturing energy comes forth in the figure of the Magic Helper, that gives the Hero a Magic Implement, whose power can ultimately neutralize and transform the force of the Saboteur.
The second level of sabotage is inhibition. The Hero arrives at the gate to the Threshold of Adventure where he must confront the Guardian who refuses passage. One had better not challenge the watcher of the established bounds. This is resistance to one’s essential power, a second form of negation. The chooser must call upon the Helper and its Magic Power to continue on the evolutionary trajectory.
The third level of resistance is the Saboteur itself. In the Land of Adventure, the hero confronts further tests and is assisted by nurturing helpers, but finally, in the Supreme Ordeal, he/she confronts the root form of the Saboteur, the Shadow who has garnered the essential power of the Hero in order to weaken and sabotage him. The supreme antagonistic element is the fear-based power source of all prior resistance in the cycle. Here, simple force has no effect, because basically it is the Hero’s self-will that empowers the Saboteur. In order to succeed, the Hero must call upon all the nurturing forces available to him.
The essential power wrested back from the Saboteur yields a boon. This incorporation of power belonging to the Hero is the Initiation.
The transformation is completed by integrating this empowering reward into a new status quo, the Return.
The end of the Journey is a new integration. The Hero’s Journey Mandala represents this new status quo, the transformed Home at the end of the Journey. The energy of the Saboteur has been neutralized, the Self-energy it seized, newly assimilated by virtue of the power of the Magic Implement. The Reward is a new whole; the Hero (chooser), now empowered with the energy formerly held by the Saboteur and greater connection to the Nurturer, now integrated by the power of the Magic Implement. A new self is effectively constituted, a new integration, a new milestone in the greater journey of individuation, one small step in the great unfolding of evolution.
Evolution is dangerous, scary. At any point, the Hero may choose to opt out of the trajectory of the process, which halts the transformation process, rendering the chooser paralyzed, unable to follow the nurturing trajectory of evolution and devolving increasingly with time. For this reason, evolution is intrinsically dramatic.
The Journey form expresses the psychological and subjective form of transformation, but the same Archetype expresses outer (social or cultural) transformation. Dreams, individual myths, tend to reflect the subjective transformation process. Adventure stories and myths tend to focus on the outer transformation of the status quo. In both cases the same form and mythologic applies.
Thus the Hero’s Journey Archetype expresses the nature of all psychological and cultural change, from attaining a new insight to enlightenment itself.
THE ROMANCE ARCHETYPE
The ORIGINS Inner Romance Workshop is a psychodrama process based on the Archetype of all Romance stories.
The Archetype has Four Character Elements and Five Acts, which follow the fundamental arc of change: Separation – Initiation – Return.
The Four Characters: Hero, Heroine, Saboteur, and Nurturer
The Five Acts:
1. The Primordial Union: The Hero and Heroine are established as belonging together.
2. The Separation: The Saboteur distracts the Hero and abducts the Heroine.
3. The Intervention: The Nurturer clarifies the situation and bestows a Magic Implement with a Magic Power to one or both of the Lovers.
4. The Battle: The Hero tries to overcome the Saboteur by force, but fails to prevail. Only by using the Magic Power are they able to overcome the Saboteur.
5. The Reunion: The Hero and Heroine are reunited under the spirit of the Nurturer.
Mythologic of the Romance Archetype
What is fundamentally different about the Romance Archetype is that the chooser is articulated into two capacities: active and receptive. The Hero is the agency, the actor, the active (Yang) capacity, and the Heroine is the communal, open, receptive (Yin) capacity. Their union is inborn and given within each of us, representing our capacity to choose optimally. But their ongoing development and balance is necessary for survival, fitness and adaptability. These two elemental capacities of choice are always, each in its own way, subject to the influence of the forces towards evolution and devolution.
The Romance Archetype Mandala shown below represents the constellation and interrelationship of the four character elements of the whole Self-system, unified by the power of the Magic Implement.
The trajectory of the Five Acts displays the mythologic by which these two capacities and their balance, with the exigencies of changed circumstances, are routinely and habitually compromised, but successfully pass through fulcra of change to reach a new union synthesized by the power of the Magic Implement.
What is dramatic about romance is that at any point the Lovers may be separated and their union dissolved. What would romantic stories be without their villains? They are the function of the force towards dissolution. The Lovers must overcome their separation by the Saboteur by uniting at a new, deeper level, or their union will dissolve. The trajectory through to a successful consummation is the fundamental pattern of transformation. Being lawful it is traced through the mythologic of the Five Acts of the Romance Archetype.
ACT I. The Primordial Union
The chooser has two inborn capacities, the active capacity to act appropriately as an entity in its own right in accordance with its identity, and the receptive or communal capacity to accord with its environment at all levels. Appropriate choice, adaptation, depends upon the balance of these two capacities responding to the force towards evolution at work in changing circumstances.
The fitness of survival is a function of the balance and union of these two capacities. The sensitivity of this balance is extremely susceptible, but when aligned with the force of evolution constitutes true well-being, the “fitness of the survivors.”
ACT 2. The Separation
The force towards dissolution in the image of the Saboteur profits from altering circumstances to promote the imbalance and disempowerment of the Lovers. In the Hero, it produces excess of action without receptivity, distractedness, which is unstable. In the Heroine, it produces excess of receptivity without appropriate action, which is passivity, equally unstable. What is thus destabilized cannot adapt appropriately.
To destroy the chooser, the Saboteur takes advantage of changing circumstances by exploiting any weaknesses in either or both of the two capacities to foster and strengthen itself. Fostering imbalance in favor of activity without receptivity leads to distracted action. Imbalance towards receptivity leads to passivity.
Therefore the first strategy of the Saboteur is to abduct, that is, to take possession of the receptive capacity rendering it passive. The second is to distract the agent into non-essential activity, or action that is inappropriate to the union and the general circumstances. The Saboteur essentially feeds off of the energies of these two capacities, growing ever stronger.
In this way the Saboteur takes control. Control equals double Yang, which is action arising from personal will without any receptivity to the exigencies of the whole and its environment.
When the whole is fixed in this Separation, the Saboteur is in a position of control that leads to the deadness, dissolution and death of the whole. This unwholesome situation is the essence of neurotic behavior. It is the function of the Saboteur to keep it this way until the whole is destroyed. In Romances, this circumstance is dramatically portrayed as the overwhelming spell or power of the Saboteur that makes things appear hopeless.
ACT 3. Intervention
As the Saboteur succeeds, the force of evolution kicks in and delivers up a Nurturer. The Nurturer brings clarity to the situation, identifying the true sabotage and offering a Magic Implement that has the power to undercut the hold of the Saboteur and neutralize its power, that is, restoring the power of the joined active and receptive capacities to choose appropriately.
ACT 4. Battle
Having correctly identified the Saboteur with the help of the Nurturer, the Hero actively sets about doing battle with the Saboteur. His first impulse is to resort to force, but this force only strengthens the power of the Saboteur.
At this point the relationship of the receptive Heroine to the Nurturer is critical. It is she who remembers the Magic Implement, giving the Hero to understand that this power alone can neutralize the force of the Saboteur.
The use of this power, often under the guidance and assistance of the Nurturer, alone makes it possible to overcome the Saboteur and its vast destructive powers.
The survival of the fittest is the united capacity of the lovers to follow the Nurturer out of this situation into a higher union.
ACT 5. Reunion
The power of the Saboteur, transformed through the Magic Implement, returns to the Hero and Heroine, restoring the strength of the capacity of both, their balance, and their union.
All of nature celebrates this new evolutionary stasis.
The Reunion, the survival of the fittest, is a newly integrated self.
The Mandala of the Romance Archetype shown above represents the reunited state of the Lovers, now no longer disempowered and separated by the Saboteur, but empowered by the energy freed up from the clutches of the Saboteur with the assistance of the Nurturer and integrated into a new whole unified by the power of the Magic Implement. The Lovers, rebalanced active and receptive capacities of the chooser, have proven themselves fit to survive. They are a new self, a new state of integration, a completed step in the Individuation process, an evolutionary moment.
The course of the adversaries in the two Archetypes displays the true course of evolution.
It is critical to understand how the antagonism between the two forces can be resolved by attending to the mythologic arc of the antagonists in both story forms. The Asian view is that the two forces of evolution and devolution belong to the whole picture and the whole self. It is this dynamic whole which is divine. We never eliminate the force of destruction; we only appease it by recognizing its power and incorporating it into the greater primordial force of evolution. In the Separation, the power of the Saboteur has been wrested from the chooser (Lovers) and belongs to the whole. Force, the reflex of the Hero distracted from the vital union with the receptive feminine, never really succeeds. The true transformative power has to do with the receptivity of the Heroine to the Nurturer, because this is the force of evolution itself. This produces the Magic Implement, which alone can neutralize the Saboteur and return its power to the essential capacities and balance of action and receptivity.
In this way, the Saboteur actually works forevolution, because it eliminates the unfit and sets up the conditions by which the fittest (Heroes and Heroines) must prove themselves in order to survive. Fitness means the skill of using the non-violent gifts of the Nurturer to undercut and transform the destructive, and often-violent track of the Saboteur. If we have the eyes to see it, this is what every Hero’s Journey and every Romance teaches us. But we have to look below the surface entertainment of a film or novel into the mythologic and the particular way in which the transformation is being portrayed. Those who create effective stories are prophets of this mythologic, who teach us how to transcend.
The laws of mythologic unify the infinite variations portrayed in all the stories we know and love. In times past, cultures would have one or two dominating myths, such as the Mahabharata (Hero’s Journey) and Ramayana (Romance) in the Hindu tradition. Due to our knowledge of the cultures of the world and our artistic and entertainment industry, the stories to which we are exposed have increased exponentially. This reflects, on the one hand the profit motive to distract with entertainment, but at a deeper level, it displays a fundamental need to see the mythologic set before us, suggesting an obsessive need to understand the subtle nature of survival. One can envision a culture that understands that stories are not just entertaining distractions, but instructive lessons in the laws that govern our entire human process towards evolution and well being.
The Nature of Psychological Development
Thus we see that both of the Archetypes, each in their own way, record the authentic process of the survival of the fittest towards evolution. In the Hero’s Journey, the chooser is one heroic figure, who negotiates the adventure of passing through levels of Sabotage to discover and assimilate ever-deeper levels of the essential whole. This represents continuing integration. In the Romance Archetype, the chooser is portrayed as a union of active and receptive capacities, which the Saboteur acts upon separately to disempower in order to gain control. The adherence and guidance of each Lover by the Nurturer leads to the restoration of their power into a new union. In this way, both of these Archetypes reveal the mythologic laws of transformation.
The Two Archetypes as Paradigms in History
It is no accident that the Hero’s Journey Archetype was the first to be discovered. There is reason to believe that the Hero’s Journey formula has dominated our understanding of change as a function of the rise of the masculine principle, traced by many scholars of cultural history. Thus we have had a culture that glorifies the power and strength of heroes. In this way the Hero’s Journey has been the ascendant view of change.
In fact, the entire process of this historical rise needs to be seen in the context of the Romance Archetype, because what has actually happened in this ascendancy is that the masculine principle has been co-opted by the Saboteur, who has “abducted and enslaved” the feminine principle. The few women leaders in the world have tended to imitate the domination of control traditionally exercised by men. Women leaders in this paradigm are no solution. Over a long period of history, we see that this Saboteur, double yang control, is leading to the demise of our civilization.
As we see from the Romance Archetype, it is at this point of domination by the Saboteur that the Nurturer kicks in and begins to reveal itself and offer its Magic Implements. As the situation becomes increasingly critical, more and more of us recognize and hail a new perspective arriving on the scene. It relates to the rise of the Nurturer, identification of Earth as Gaia, a force in its own right, and the release and rise of the feminine from the grasp of the double yang Saboteur and its control of the world. But this does not mean women dominating, it means the ascendance of feminine receptivity to the Nurturer Gaia in men and women equally as well as the institutions of world culture.
Therefore we may be in a process whereby the Hero’s Journey has dominated our prevailing way of being in the world. The male dominated world is well documented, but the very idea is misleading. In fact, it is the Saboteur, under the seductive guise of strengthening and glorifying the masculine that has established its world domination. By this ruse, it is working to destroy our civilization, as well as the human species. The paradigm of the heroic ‘conquest and domination’ is so dysfunctional that the Nurturer is now giving over to a new formula in which the active Hero must be restored to his receptive Heroine in order to neutralize the control of the Saboteur.
The Romance Archetype represents a new imperative for planetary civilization, one that must also take place in the heart of every individual. For this reason, Jean Houston has called the Romance Archetype “the seminal idea of the 21st Century.”
Holons: Key to Understanding the Universe and its Evolution
New confirmation of this ascendency of the Romance paradigm is found in the understanding of all advanced scientific theory. The view that the universe is composed of discreet entities and facts is giving way to the understanding that all is composed of entities that are equally part of greater wholes, so-called “holons.” Everything is such a whole/part. The behavior and evolution of holons, discovered and confirmed throughout the theoretical scientific community, has been generalized and assimilated into one theory of the evolution of holons in the vast philosophical work of Ken Wilber.
In brief, though Wilber appears unaware of the Archetype as such, his summary of the composition and emergence of all holons fits precisely the Romance Archetype. For instance, each and every holon has four aspects: its agency, its communality, the tendency towards self-destruction and the tendency towards sself-transcendence. These correspond to the Four Characters of the Archetype. Similarly, the evolutionary process of every holon follows the outline of the Five Acts. Anyone who may be unconvinced by this grand claim may confirm it in exquisite detail with endless examples from every scientific field by holding the Romance Archetype in mind as they read Wilber’s tome Sex, Ecology, and Evolution. Those less ambitious, but nevertheless unconvinced, will find these components and their pattern of development summarized in his Short History of Everything.
The broad picture is that the Romance Archetype is becoming the ascendant view of the nature of transformation and evolution. The implication is that the energy wrested by the Saboteur cannot be “defeated” as is the tendency fostered by the Hero’s Journey, but must be transformed into the capacity to make appropriate choices through receptivity to the Nurturer. The feminine, in her receptivity to the Nurturer alone can truly transform the Saboteur. This supplants the formula of conquer and control with the formula of neutralize and integrate.
The Benefits of Understanding the Mythologic of the Archetypes of Transformation
The Archetypes are valuable first because they are the key to story. They uncover the necessary elements and structure of story. But the benefits of knowing these Archetypes go much deeper. Mythologic clarifies the structure and nature of transformation, just as the laws of logic clarify the structure of logical discourse. That is to say, any normally intelligent person can have a conversation. This is because logic is inborn. Coherent discourse is entirely possible without knowledge of logic, but knowing logic greatly enhances the powers of discourse, because it clarifies the actual lawful structure behind coherent discourse, but also the nature of illogic. In the same way, anyone can relate a dream or a story, because mythologic, being inborn, will determine its structure. However, understanding the mythologic behind all story greatly enhances the understanding of the lawful structure of transformation as well as the nature and power of story. The value of this is incalculable.
The Archetypes are keys to many secret treasures. Here are some benefits:
To artists of every kind who are interested in expressing the nature of transformation: in particular, writers who want to construct an effective story. A story is only effective if it follows the form of the Archetype. Every element must be either present or implied. Further, however, understanding the mythologic gives the writer a tool for crafting better stories of multidimensional depth. For example, George Lucas’ connection to Joseph Campbell has been acknowledged as the primary inspiration and guide to the Star WarsEpic. Christopher Vogel’s book The Writer’s Journey uses the Hero’s Journey to clarify the structure of story and to some extent the mythologic of transformation. The Hero’s Journey, a Magic Implement in the hands of screenwriters, has greatly influenced Hollywood. In the same way, the clarification of the Romance Archetype will prove to be the key to another generation of Romance writers who will have not only the form, but access to the many levels of its meaning.
Therapists interested in facilitating the transformations of Individuation. Jung’s clarification of the transformation of the Shadow in the therapeutic process is key to the transformation of the whole. It is ultimately surrender to the whole, including the essential power behind the Shadow, that is transformative rather than using force against adversarial and sabotaging elements that are ultimately part of the Self. In this way, the therapist has the role of the Nurturer in the service of the force of evolution. Understanding the role of the Nurturer in the two Archetypes is a key to effective therapy.
To Agents of Change
Anyone interested in bringing about change at any level needs to understand that all of these elements are behind any real transformation. Taking, for example, one of the elements common to both Archetypes: the Saboteur can never really be overcome by force. In the matter of political change, the great advance of the 20th century was the discovery by Gandhi, that real political transformation is not accomplished through force, but through non-violence. This non-violence is essentially alignment with the Nurturer, which allows the force of evolution to work its own magic. Dictatorial leaders the world over are learning a harsh lesson. A true evolutionary force cannot be suppressed however you may coerce or dispatch its proponents. Non-violence, combined with adherence to a higher truth, allows the force of evolution itself to bring about the change.
This is further clarified by the Romance Archetype, which features a fundamental reinforcement of the principle of receptivity, whose heart is compassion, as a balance to activity. This, Gandhi, followed by Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama, teach us are the true means to transformation. These prophets are true Nurturers of the transformation by which humanity will prove itself fit to survive. Understanding the mythologic of the Archetypes of transformation are keys to great leadership in our time.
On a personal level, the value of the two Archetypes is incalculable. Effective stories are schools of transformation. We have an inborn understanding, an innate awareness of the mythologic of transformation. Even more we are constantly drawn to story, which draws out our inborn awareness and instructs our understanding of how transformation works. Just as the understanding of logic clarifies our intellectual processes, so an understanding of mythologic clarifies our life process and greatly increases our ability to live a whole and wholesome life. It is the key to the pursuit of happiness.
The Archetypes in the ORIGINS Process
The ORIGINS work of mythogenesis has four stages.
The first two (Chaos and Dream) combine the methods of archetypal psychodrama, incorporating bioenergetic, expressive, and Jungian psychotherapy. Each participant creates and expresses their root Dream, the unique mythic narrative of his or her life and existence. The analyses of these stories by myself and the group provide a succinct psychoanalysis.
The second two stages (Myth and Ritual) use the expressive methods of archetypal psychodrama to produce a group myth and a ritual drama production. Many Productions have been created in this way.
The Psychological Benefits of the ORIGINS Process
In working with the two Archetypes of Transformation, the ORIGINS Process yields many fundamental benefits. In Chaos and Dream, the archetypal psychodrama works with the roots of human character and being at the level of primal expression. Thus the process clarifies and validates experientially the origins of human being. Each participant is driven to these origins in order to create a fundamental life myth that clarifies the true nature of their process and being and the true enemy of their existence.
The revolutionary French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan claimed that existence is living out a story or narrative. The basis of psychotherapy is to replace a patient’s neurotic story of his history, one basically construed by the Saboteur, with another narrative that is at once more basic and wholesome, in short, one construed by the Nurturer. The therapist takes the place of the Nurturer in the client’s transformation process, providing clarity on the situation, evoking the necessary Magic Implements, and strengthening their Magic (that is, transformative) Power.
The ORIGINS Process guides the participant to supplant the narrative formed as a history of dramatic facts and events justifying the neurosis, with a seminal Dream, a story of the root archetypal drama or transformational cycle underlying the individual’s history. Thus returned to the origins, the roots of existence, the participant can proceed on another basis, one that exposes the true Saboteur and reinforces the authentic Nurturer as the life guide. This dramatically empowers the participant to continue authentically towards unique resolution of his or her own present circumstances, that is, transformation.
ORIGINS as Training in Performance
In the psychodrama of the first half of the ORIGINS Process the participant must learn how to open up to allow the dynamic archetypes to speak through him as he creates his own characters and story. This in itself is a lesson in balancing active and receptive capacities. In the psychodrama, there is no script. The archetypes are active, to which the participant must learn to be receptive. The participant is thereby learning the skill of “channeling” the archetypes.
In the second half of the total ORIGINS Process the same principle of allowing the archetype to speak through the actor is taken a step further to create and portray characters in the group myth, which reflects the collective character of the individuals in the group. Here performance art is brought back to its ritual origins, such as found in the pre-classical Dionysian performance rituals in Greece, as well as indigenous performing throughout the world. Traces of these archaic traditions are still to be found in ancient cultures such as India and particularly in the trance performing in Bali, where the Myth and Ritual segments of the ORIGINS Process were researched and developed.
The very factors that yield basic psychological benefits through dynamic expression of the roots of human existence also radically empower performance expression. Throughout the entire Process, performers are compelled to resort not to their learned skills, but to their primordial performance instinct in order to channel the root archetypes of all human character.
This is a great challenge to performers with highly honed professional performing skills, but if they are able to access these origins, their confidence and power as performers becomes radically original and thus greatly enhanced. In fact such performers discover that the skills they have learned may sabotage authenticity and prove to be the greatest challenge to overcome.
Each participant in an ORIGINS workshop comes to understand where they are in their process and clarifies how to move on in the cycle of transformation that is in process. This is a quintessential benefit of therapy, but even more, by experiencing each archetypal element and their part in the whole Archetype, participants come to understand from the inside at a very deep level, the mythologic of all change and how these Archetypes of transformation are at work in our lives moment to moment.