Why 'Archetype, Imagination and Vocation'?

Archetypes may be described most simply as universal patterns of the psyche.  The term comes from the Greek arkhétupon, meaning the original pattern or stamp from which copies are made.  

Yet in truth, archetype defies simple definition.  Jung spoke of the 'indefiniteness of the archetype, with its multiple meanings' and offered numerous thoughts about archetypes throughout his life.  Among these he described archetypes as 'active living dispositions, ideas in the Platonic sense, that perform and continually influence our thoughts and feelings and actions' (CW 8: 154).

Sometimes envisaged as gods and goddesses, or by names such as Hero, Sage, Trickster, Great Mother, and Wounded Healer, archetypes are also described as 'partial personalities' appearing in myth, art, cinema, literature, and religion the world over, as well as in dreams, family roles, personal emotions and pathologies. Archetypes appear in the artefacts of culture and in the motifs of nature.  Related to instincts, we encounter archetypes as well in the perspectives that rule our ideas and feelings about the world and about ourselves.

Most importantly, archetypes connect us with the power of imagination. According to archetypal psychologist James Hillman in Re-visioning Psychology, archetypes throw us into an imaginative style of discourse, leading us to envisage the nature of the soul and approach questions of psychology in an imaginative way. This creative imagination, which some have called 'the divine power in men', is not only the source of art and ingenuity, it is also a means of discovering deeper truths about our world.  

Hierophany    (2000) Alison Berry.

Hierophany (2000) Alison Berry.

Yet particularly when it comes to questions like 'what should I do with my life?' most people are at a loss about how to tap into this deeper wellspring of possibility. Leading Canadian career counselor Dr Norm Amundson observed that most clients who come to career counselling feeling stuck are really dealing with a crisis of imagination.   

This is where an archetypal approach, one which values the imagination and soul, can open the way to an authentic sense of one's vocation (from the Latin vocatus, meaning 'calling').  From an archetypal psychology perspective, vocation is both heard and expressed as the essential mystery at the heart of every life, its roots reaching beyond human intention or interpretation. 

Drawing upon the rich traditions of depth psychology, Life Artistry's seminars and courses support people to celebrate their unique essence and educe their innate gifts, fostering an abiding sense of personal fulfillment, meaningful work and careers, and a more equitable and sustainable planet.

Please contact us or telephone (03) 9444 0570 for further information.