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Excerpted from Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss. Copyright 2002 by Caroline Myss. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"These images were archetypes, energy guides that could direct people toward their spiritual purpose, their Contracts."

  Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts, Part 4

All of a sudden the vivid but mystifying images that I had been getting in my recent readings made sense. The Pirate, the Artist, the Actor, and the Servant were not part of the individual, physical chronology that I had been used to reading. Rather, these images were a part of each person's spiritual chronology, a personal mythology that had begun even before they entered their physical lives. These images were archetypes, energy guides that could direct people toward their spiritual purpose, their Contracts.

The mythic lightbulb that got turned on that afternoon has stayed on ever since. From that point on, every reading I did opened with an evaluation of a person's spiritual chronology, the archetypal patterns that express themselves through his personality and life experiences. And just as trios of people with the same physical illnesses had contacted me for intuitive readings, people with the same archetypal patterns began contacting me in a relatively short period of time, though spread over months rather than days. Some of my first readings, for example, were for several people who had the Wounded Child archetype, a pattern of emotional scars from childhood. Then I met a few who had in common a dominant Victim archetype. Just as before, each of these people reflected slightly different aspects of these archetypes as a result of their individual personalities and life experiences.

As I began to work purposefully with the archetypes in my readings and to teach them in my workshops, I gained further insights about how they function within our psyche. When Jung proposed his theory of the collective unconscious, he defined it as mainly populated with countless psychological patterns derived from historical roles in life, such as the Mother, Trickster, King, and Servant. Along with our individual personal unconscious, which is unique to each of us, he said, "there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature that is identical in all individuals." This collective unconscious, he believed, was inherited rather than developed. I have observed that some archetypes step out from the backdrop of this great collective to play a much more prominent role in people's lives, and that each of us has our own personal alignment of key archetypes.

Through a process of research, reflection, trial, and error, I ultimately concluded that a unique combination of twelve archetypal patterns, corresponding to the twelve houses of the zodiac, works within each of us to support our personal development. These twelve patterns work together in all aspects of your life. They can be particularly vivid and perceptible in your problems or challenges, or in the places where you feel incomplete. And they can be particularly useful in healing painful memories, or redirecting your life, or finding a way to express your untapped creative potential.

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