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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.
 

"Our spiritual challenge with any archetype -- or fear -- is to face it and recognize the opportunity it presents to learn its inherent lesson and develop an aspect of personal power."

  Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts, Part 5

In a sense each archetype represents a "face" and "function" of the Divine that manifests within each of us individually. Humanity has always given names to the many powers of heaven and tried to identify the qualities inherent within each. The multifaceted archetypal power of the feminine, for example, expresses itself within forms as diverse as the Virgin Mary and Mother Nature. The ancient Romans and Greeks saw universal feminine powers in the characteristics of Athena (the goddess of counsel), Venus (goddess of love), and Sophia (goddess of wisdom). The Hindu culture of India gave the Goddess names embodying different attributes of divine motherhood, such as Lakshmi (prosperity), Durga (fertility), Uma (unity), and Kali (destruction/rebirth). It was as if God had to separate into many different aspects in order for us to begin to approach that power. Yet once it was named, we could invoke it and assimilate it and express it.

Archetypal patterns awaken in us our own divine potential. They can liberate us from the limitations of our thoughts and feelings. They can help us shed light on the dark or little-known corners of our souls and amplify our own brilliance and strengths. Archetypes are a source of emotional, physical, and spiritual power and can help us free ourselves from fear, although sometimes, as we first get to know them, a few of them may initially unleash fears within us. Our spiritual challenge with any archetype -- or fear -- is to face it and recognize the opportunity it presents to learn its inherent lesson and develop an aspect of personal power. With an archetype that we perceive as difficult or even malevolent, our task is to acknowledge it, overcome whatever weakness it indicates, and work to make its divine potential our own.

The goddess Kali, for instance, is the energy of destruction. She has the power of the Saboteur archetype, which is present in all of us. But what is the other side of destruction but rebuilding and rebirth? In symbolic or Contract language, the Saboteur archetype can trip you up if you do not face its considerable power, but you can also use its energy consciously to dismantle areas of your life that you need to face or fix or heal. There are always two sides to every archetype, and both can be made to work to your advantage.

We tend to perceive ourselves and our universe as either good or bad, internal or external, me or you, right or wrong, symbolic or literal, joyful or sad. Our strengths and fears divide our spirit into polarities -- into a duality, in Buddhist terms -- which is why faith and doubt wage eternal battles in our psyches. By identifying and working with our archetypes, however, we can learn to consolidate the faces of our spirit and bring its power into our daily life to direct our thoughts and actions. These energy guides help us act mindfully and honorably; they help us manage our power and live up to our divine potential.

I myself have found that the archetypal work I have done with each reading has contributed to my own spiritual growth and development. The experiences and insights I've had together with people I've read have helped me refine my skill as a medical intuitive, furthered my awareness of my archetypes, and even helped me through my own difficult times. I have come to believe that my encounters with my students, my workshop attendees, my readers, and so many other people are anything but casual. Like the extraordinarily organized way in which I had learned energy anatomy and was later led to read archetypal patterns, divine order makes itself known in all areas of our lives.

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