Saturday, February 15, 2014

Inner Heroes and Archetypes Part 1

In the book, The Artist's Rule, the author, Christine Valters Paintner, writes:

"The monastic way and artist's path are both ways of being in the world and journeying through life. The monk and artist each represent an archetype. Archetypes are psychological structures that are reflected in the symbols, images, and themes common across cultures and time periods. Archetypes reflect different energies working within us. We each contain a multiplicity of selves. This becomes most obvious to us when we experience an inner conflict of desires. Perhaps our desire for a more creative life feels like it is in conflict with our desire for financial security. Or our desire for a more contemplative life conflicts with the part of ourselves that loves to get everything done. One of these desires is not necessarily better than the other; at its root each desire teaches us something about ourselves and our deeper longings."

I read right through this part two years ago when I first read the book. It did not stand out as it did during this second reading. I do have those exact internal conflicts. And more. Sometimes I struggle with them so much I can't decide what is most important to accomplish and become paralyzed, doing nothing at all.

My inner naturalist wants me to dedicate my time to drawing botanically correct floral specimens and scientifically correct insects, twigs, and pine cones. The inner child doesn't have patience for this and wants to work with messy paints and color with markers. The inner historian wants me to get all my family photos, letters and heirlooms organized. The inner hopeless romantic says there are too many things to experience today that I would miss if I spent too much time focusing on the past. The inner artist is torn, not knowing what to do, but longing for some sort of creativity, spends her time looking at other people's art rather than making her own.

Wanting more information on archetypes, I searched a bit online and found this wonderful, easy to understand guide here.

In an attempt to get to know myself better by learning more about my inner heroes or archetypes, the next step in this Identity Art Journal is to list the strengths and weaknesses of each. I will also add words, symbols (if I have any) and possible colors that I connect to them as well as any literary characters I am aware of who share these characteristics. (Archetypes are discussed at length in regards to literary works from what I've seen online.)

It will take some time to complete this, but I do plan to continue posting what I am doing and discovering daily here. This exploration will undoubtedly come to an end once spring arrives and it is warm enough to be outside again. Then my inner gardener, who has been patiently waiting, will take over!

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