Introduction to the Four Survival Archetypes of the ‘Sacred Contracts’

Since ancient times people have consulted holy men and women, astrology and other tools of divination in order to gain insight into life. A quest to know what is in store for us in the future, consulting about daily life situations and in areas including relationships, finance, health and spirituality were the reasons for seeking the higher wisdom, not accessible through our own mental and intellectual abilities. The archetypal wheel pioneered by Caroline Myss is used for the same purpose. It is a tool applied for the purpose of self-empowerment and personal transformation.

The wheel has twelve houses as in the astrological model. A unique set of twelve archetypes are determined, four of which are common to all. These twelve archetypes define the core of the individual. They are cast to pair with each house in the wheel. This is also known as the birth chart or the chart of origin. You can gain insights about yourself using this wheel either by yourself (see section, ‘Interpreting Your Contracts and Your Archetypal Wheel’ in the book, ‘Sacred Contracts’) or with the help of a certified Archetypal Consultant.

The four archetypes common to everyone are known as the ‘survival archetypes.’ They are the Child, Victim, Prostitute and Saboteur. Not unlike the archetypal gods – such as Mother Kali, who symbolizes destruction but in truth She is called to protect us from evil – “these archetypal energies are neutral, and I must reinforce that point here because of the connotations of their names. Although it can be difficult to see how the Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur can provide us with powerful and supportive imagery, they do and you will. You’ll come to see how even the most common variant of the Child archetype, the Wounded Child, can help you deal with your life today.” (pg.111, Myss)

The Child

The Child is called as the ‘Guardian of Innocence’ and unlike the other three survival archetypes has many variants such as:

the Wounded Child,

the Abandoned Child,

the Orphan Child,

the Dependent or Needy Child,

the Nature Child,

the Innocent Child, and

the Divine Child.

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Once I had a session myself with a well-known intuitive, Sonia Choquette. I keenly listened to the insights she gave about me, which later turned out to be very helpful and empowering, to say the least. “You have been dominated by family for many, many lifetimes and in turn, the agreement was that the family would take care of you… But in this lifetime you really, really want to break from the pattern,” she began her reading. From her insights and with further help I recognized I have the Eternal Child, which teaches that if I do not work and take care of myself in the physical world I would be depending on others.

We can work with the common archetype of the Child or delve into a specific one from those given above. “… the core issue of all the Child archetypes is dependency and responsibility: when to take responsibility, when to have a healthy dependency, when to stand up to the group, and when to embrace communal life” (Myss, pg. 112).

The Victim

Assertiveness, not aggression is a quality of the Victim archetype and is also known as the ‘Guardian of Self-esteem.’ This is an archetype commonly known like the Child archetype and could be used to warn ourselves when we are in the danger of giving in to self-pity or being walked over by others.

Dr.Myss teaches that personal boundary is important in the path of self-empowerment and developing an awareness of ourselves through the Victim can serve to establish healthy boundaries.

The Prostitute

In today’s world, we mostly work toward surviving in the world. While this is essential, we also miss the opportunity to nurture within the fundamental values that make up life. For example, we are not knowledgeable how the value of integrity can help us in the physical and spiritual world. We need to have faith in life and values. The Prostitute is the ‘Guardian of Faith.’

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“If you have faith, no one can buy you. You know that you can take care of yourself and also that the Divine is looking out for you. Without faith, however, you will eventually meet the price you cannot turn down” (Myss, pg. 118).

The Saboteur

Have you ever felt that there is more to your life than what you were experiencing in the present? I have. Feelings of dissatisfaction and loneliness are only messages for us to take charge of our life, which includes action. Calling upon the company of the Saboteur archetype will guide one to take the required action and there after helps to overcome the vices, like fear and procrastination.

“Fears of being without the basic needs in life – from food to home to a social and personal network – often provide this archetype with the power to haunt you” (Myss, pg.122). Because it is called the Guardian of Choice, exercising courage to act is the key to deal with the shadow Saboteur.

Conclusion

Because all of us have these four archetypes in our chart of origin, we can learn to use them in our every day life even without our archetypal wheel cast. We often hold ourselves back from living our life fully, for we tend to be unconscious of own thoughts and actions. Having the company of these four archetypes in our awareness can connect us to those deep parts within ourselves. Connecting with the four archetypes inside ourselves can give us protection leading us to act right in the world.

Archetypes best serve us when we approach them through an attitude of reverence.

Reference:

‘Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential’, book by Caroline Myss

Recommendation:

A step by step guidance to determine your 12 archetypes, casting the archetypal wheel and interpreting it is available online at http://www.myss.com/library/contracts/

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by Bhamini Gobiraj