Knowing who we are in groups is just as important as knowing about ourselves. And understanding how we show up in groups gives us insight into how we might try something new, outside the box and into the freedom of authentic relationship. There are universal energies, or archetypes that predominate group roles and help us see what part we are playing. When we claim our own archetype we gain the freedom to truly express ourselves. Polarities, archetypes, scapegoating, and victimhood all give us tools and insights into how to facilitate paradigm shifts in our lives, our work, and our world.
The way I use archetypes is pointing to a universal energy of how we show up in groups. For example, I’m a mother, but when I invoke the divine mother I move from the personal to the subtle universal larger energy. When I change perspectives to the divine mother, it’s not so personal, its more universal. This is a fluid approach to understanding larger forces of energy. All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes of self, shadow, animas, and persona. What we’re trying to do is link the person and their sense of empowerment to this larger energy to find it in themselves as a beautiful integration of personal and universal. The exercise: “Tell me something unique about you” is based on that.
We first work with polarities to establish a field of opposites. When you work with polarities and choosing, you open a field that has archetypes in it. The exercise we do is set up to help people discover (important that its a self discovery process) what is their anchor into goodness and truth, those things that hold us in the place we want to be. What is the symbol I can hold when I am pulled into opposing forces. It is also the armor and protection that keeps us from being pulled into the scapegoat archetype. This relates back to the concept of living systems in that all parts are essential to the whole of the system, and being able to connect to the whole gives us a greater appreciation for all of the parts, even if there are differences. We want to be able to operate in the field of the personal, but also in the transpersonal and universal, and this is the attempt to pull them together.
Usually the exercise in the class is one after we’ve explored the integration of love and power and the many aspects of confused chaos. We offer this exercise as a way for people to claim their power while staying in relationship. It is done in small groups with feedback from the people in the groups.
This can be done in small groups of twos and threes. With a guide, experiencer, and supporter. The guide asks questions:
Name a power you have, something you feel confident in, a potency you have (example: I have the power of being interested in consciousness because it gives me energy).
Name a quality or characteristic of your person (example: I am a person who loves to be a rascal, bringing forth the first step into the second step.
Name one or more roles you play that are important to you (example: to be a good friend, to teach in a way that people learn to become leaders).
Consider – have you ever been stereotyped or stereotyped yourself for any of the first 3 steps? (example: I’ve been told I’m a troublemaker, I’ve asked myself why I can’t just keep quiet, to open door for negative archetypes to become more conscious and integrated and accepted).
Inquire which Archetype that runs through the steps.
If there’s a unifying energy that runs through all of these things that represents the deepest truth about you right now in this moment. The guide and supporters can help refine this. (Example: The energy that’s a deep truth about me is I’m a creator. I like to create. And I can own this truth to ground me.) Holding onto that deeper truth, answer questions: how does your archetype relate to your calling in the world (Ex: I want to create a new and innovative way of working with groups). There’s something about the claiming that allows us to self-recognize the energy trying to manifest instead of taking on other’s projections of me. It’s very empowering. Do you feel empowered? Group sharing of archetypes to welcome these powerful energies into the group with love.
This exercise supports self-recognition, supports empowerment, and gives a counter-balance to the scapegoat. The archetype becomes a guardian to protect against the scapegoat. There’s something that happens when we support others through this process with another and then when we go through chaos in the future it helps us see their light.
This is a preview excerpt from Mukara’s upcoming book, MatrixWorks: A Life Affirming Guide to Facilitation Mastery.