C. Michael Smith, Ph.D.
Restoration of The Creative Sacred Center (Axis Mundi)
What is it that drives the human quest for “something more”? What fuels our longing to “reach beyond,” our drive for excellence, as well as our tendency to be vulnerable to a myriad of addictions? Jungian psychology leads us to ground the origin of these longings in the fiery energies of the creative and sacred Center, which Jung called the Self-Archetype, other calls the GodSelf or Entelechy Self at the Center of the human personality, and of the world. This center of being not only creates us, but calls to us, beckons to us, lures us, to develop and express our creativity and generatively in life.
Eliade’s comparative phenomenology of patterns in world religions and archaic societies has revealed the prestige of the creative sacred center in world mythologies, especially myths of creation (cosmogonies). The world comes to birth from the center and spreads out geographically, and in the individual psyche we are born from the center and develop in four quadrants, which we call the four archetypes of full selfhood development. This is not just any center, it is The Center from which creation emerges, and from which you are called to live your full expression of selfhood. We each yearn to be close to the Center, aligned by it, inspired and energized by it. Being in close regular relationship to the Center keeps us refreshed, alive, inspired, and powered up by creativity and life energy. Being distant from The Center makes the world and energies run down, ultimately fragmenting us in the chaos which lies being the central manifestation of the Sacred as our axis mundi (center of the world).
When we are too far away from this creative sacred Center, we lose the power of unfold, develop, and achieve full selfhood, what Jung called wholeness. All kinds of dragons and little devils threaten to take hold of us and dissolve whatever structure we may have achieved. This is when we need to let go of our run down and fragmenting world, return to or relocate the creative sacred Center, undergo a death/rebirth, or a renewal through some form of sacred ceremony, or technique of the sacred. This activity of finding or returning to The Center, accessing it appropriate and regulating it has been the special province of the shamans. And so the first foundational archetype we take up can be the Lover Within us which draws us to what we most deeply desire to become. Alternatively, we may begin with the Shaman Within us, which has the potentials and capacities to help us open the heart and navigate by it, to our sacred Center. Learning what it is and can do for you, and for others, is crucial, and properly activating and regulating it is just as important. It will bring you back to The Center, and from there all four foundational archetypes can spread out and develop from The Center, if you decide to engage the process. In this work we engage various techniques of the sacred, ranging from active imagination and shamanic journeys, to guided meditations, to dream work, prayer, sacred ceremonies, and so on, designed to help you properly activate and regulate these archetypal powers, as you develop in all four foundational archetypes. In fact developing any foundational Archetype towards its maturity of expression tends to bring in the other Foundational Archetypes. without the Lover, the Shaman would be detached and perhaps manipulative. Without the Warrior, the Shaman would lack the needed attention to safe boundaries, due ritual process, and energetic focus and high service. The Warrior without the Lover is silly too aggressive and in compassionate, and without the Shaman lacks imagination, and without the Elder lacks the larger mission towards which his or her focused aggression should be in disciplined service (the Mission). In walking your heart-path and bringing your gifts to the world, it gives you the courage, strength, focus, and protection needed. The Elder, like the good King and Queen of Folklore, reaps the harvest of the Warrior, Lover, and Shaman in developing mature forms of generatively and care, for the kingdom (inner and outer world).
The Compass Within (NGS)
The Heart compass is always attuned to the Source, axis mundi or deep center of the psyche, its ground plan for Your life Calling and individual unique patter that wants to be embodied along with the fullness of Self-development and maturation, (The Archetype of You). It draws on the Lover for attraction, passion, fire, and on the Shaman for exploring and expanding in imagination, and on the Warrior for manifesting it with focus, action, and protection until the mission is accomplished. The practice of using and following the heart’s navigational system (NGS) is a regulated use of the energy of the The Center, in modulated bliss following ways, rather than overwhelming or disorganizing upsurge of numinous energy. This inner Compass is largely somatic and feeling based, and can be located in the middle of the body. It aligns with the Center, and expressions the Archetype of You as you walk your heart-path. I teach this important navigational skill set in my consultations and workshops, along with the Four Acts of Power, by which you manifest your creative work and gifts.
The Four Acts of Power
The Issues of Invitations and Life-Vision is the Sacred King, the NGS is ever-attuned to the vision for embodying your essence in life (Archetype of You). It tracks invitations and signals like radar, as also draws on the knowing and imagination of the Shaman Within, and employees Warrior energy to manifest or enact the Invitation, and to protect the whole creative process of manifesting an invitation. (For more information on these four power acts, see my PDF article of the Four Acts of Power, published by Sounds True, Inc.
SUMMARY OF THE FOUR FOUNDATIONAL ARCHETYPES OF SELFHOOD
The Shaman Within
The Shaman Within is the archetype of cognition, awareness, inner work, initiation, and healing. We may each, with sufficient development, become a Technician of the Sacred, able to locate, properly access and regulate the creative sacred Center of oneself, or another person, or of the community. This archetype is central to all other foundational archetypes, each of which needs the participation and development of others into developing the fullness of selfhood. Without adequate access to this psychological resource a man or a woman will sleepwalk through life, never asking the questions which can liberate from unconsciousness and naivete. We each need this inner psychoanalyst,—the Shaman Within—to help us wake up, get a clear vision for our life, come to know our own central Archetype and align out lives and all the other foundational archetypes. For this reason, I am presenting it first, here. We need proper activation, regulation, and development of the Shaman Within to give us the keys to accessing the various inner spaces of the deep self, and to help us come to serve responsibly as ritual elders and guides for other people. Lack of proper access and regulation with the other foundational archetypes can lead to the shadow qualities of detached manipulation, tricksterish, and harmful brujoism. Facing these shadow qualities helps integrate them. We should not ask if, but when, the shadow aspect show up in our lives.
The Lover Within
The Lover is the archetype of affiliation and heart-open connection. Accessing and regulating Lover energy properly, a man feels enthusiastic and compassionate about his work and relationships. Celebrating the beauty of nature and the physical world, the mature
Lover becomes a guardian of the Earth. Elevated to full expression it becomes the Generatively of the King or Queen Within, the compassion and care of of the Shaman Within (i.e. Some Amazonian shamans say that Love the Real Medicine). The Lover Within also fuels and serves the higher purpose of the Warrior Within, especially the Warrior of the Heart, and it gives motivating reason for the defense and protection of vulnerability of oneself and others. while pursuing your life calling and drawing closer to the fullness of your selfhood, as your heart-based living draws you to the right order for your life by the creative sacred Center of being.
The Lover encourages an unbounded connectedness to life through powerful feelings, but if the Lover Within is poorly developed, you may find yourself alternately expressing its shadow aspects of promiscuousity and or feeling isolated, feeling emotionally vulnerable or being interpersonally exploitative, impulsive and addictive,. You may be afraid of your passion, and so unable to feel the fire of life. Accessing Lover energy properly, you may feels enthusiastic and compassionate about your work and relationships. Celebrating the beauty of nature and the physical world, the mature Lover becomes a guardian of the Earth. Elevated to full expression it becomes the Generatively of the King Within, the Medicine of the Shaman Within, fuels and serves the higher purpose of the Warrior Within.
The Warrior Within
The Warrior is the archetype of self-disciplined, courageous, strategic aggressive action and boundary protectin. The mature Warrior, however, is energetic, decisive and perservering in reaching his/her goals. You need your Warrior well on line whether you are walking your own heart-path, involved in a creative project,
or trying to express your voice and hold your group. If you are writing a book, forexample, it takes Warrior energy to focus on the book writing in a disciplined way, and you need strategy, and focused action to bring it to market and get it out there. Or if you are developing some new growth shoot, a new idea, or a new project, you may need to protect it from premature exposure, or from distraction, so you can focus on it until you have hit the target and the new creation stands on its own legs. You also need a good
warrior for protecting you vulnerable places and inner life, and to be able to set firm if flexible boundaries in your relationships. On the shadow side, if Warrior energy is not accessed properly, an individual may find himself or herself caught up in cruel or self-destructive behavior of the shadow Warrior. Yummy become obsessive or compulsive about things, develop too much unnecessary order, or act out your aggressive energy in frustrating or harmful ways. Facing these Little Devils of the Shadow helps us regulate and integrate them, and keep them from acting out harmfully. We should not ask if, but when and how, the shadow aspects show up in our lives.
The Elder Within
This is often imaged as the mythic King or Queen Within, the crowning archetype of full nurturing and generative selfhood, drawing on the highest regulation of expressions of the Shaman Within, Lover Within and Warrior Within energies. In fairy tales and Tarot, the King and Queen symbolic our powers of inner sovereignty and self rule, so that we can enter creative and generative leadership in out outer world. This Royal Archetype when properly accessed and regulated is able to steward the creative and sacred energies, bless, inspire, encourage, and nurture and protect others, and call forth the best in them, for a higher principle or mission. It depends on the progressive development of the other three foundational archetypes. When the King or Queen Within is developed in its fullness in another purpose, you feel a powerful presence, sense their wholeness, their creative and centering energy, rightly ordered, right priorities, and able to see you in your value. The mature King or Queen is able to empower, bless, and admire others as well as oneself. Dis-identification from this archetype, combined with proper development and regulation is important to avoid shadow manifestations,—Without proper access and regulation of this foundational archetype, a person can become immobilized by grandiosity, lost in depression, act like a narcissistic tyrant, and bereft of a sense of meaning, and without the Shaman Within and Warrior within on line, is unable to invoke, maintain, or protect a sense of a right order, and connection with the creative springs of life (and of the individual’s psyche).
Commentary: The Four Foundational Archetypes of Selfhood were inspired the work of Robert L. Moore and Douglas Gillette in their five volume series on masculine psychology, and an introductory volume “The King, Warrior, Magician, & Lover.” a groundbreaking work that also addresses the correlate foundational archetypes of the feminine. I was a student of Robert Moore’s and wrote the book “Jung and Shamanism in Dialogue” for his multivolume Paulist Press series on Jung and World Spirituality. I have adapted the Moore-Gillette schema of foundational archetypes to my own purposes, as foundational archetypes of selfhood applying beyond gender to human individuation. My focus on Shamanism and Jungian psychology mandates my shift in language from the Magician Within to the Shaman Within. This shift allows the interlock with my own work on the Archetypal Psychology of the Heart, in which walking a heart-path faithfully throughout the adult life cycle calls upon the unfolding of the foundational archetypes from the sacred Center, or inner Axis Mundi.