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Archetypal Constellations

Jump to the following topics:

  1. What are archetypal constellations?
  2. Constellations are similar to other psychological phenomena.
  3. A constellation can extend among two or more archetypal fields.
  4. The benefits of constellations.
  5. We select a constellation on the basis of its mass and charge.
  6. Constellations can be mistakenly identified as archetypes. 


What are archetypal constellations? In an archetypal field, the elements are not autonomous, random bits; instead, they associate themselves into what I call "constellations." For example, in the a-field of our Parent archetype, we might have distinct characters, e.g., the caring parent, the angry parent, etc. -- each with its own set of thoughts, images, energy tones, and physical habits.


Constellations are similar to other psychological phenomena.  

  1. Complexes. A complex is virtually identical to a constellation; for example, an "inferiority complex" is a "constellation" of particular thoughts, images, energy tones, and physical habits within an archetypal field. However, the word "complex" generally refers to a psychological disorder, whereas "constellation" is a neutral term which does not judge the quality of the elements.
  2. Subpersonalities. A "subpersonality" is a personification of a constellation; for example, the "inner child" is a subpersonality (or a constellation) which contains the thoughts, images, energy tones, and physical habits which we possessed during our childhood.
  3. Multiple personalities. This condition occurs when there is more than one highly charged constellation.


A constellation can extend among two or more archetypal fields. For example, an "impatient employer" has a constellation of "impatient" thoughts, images, energy tones and physical habits which are expressed at work; those elements are within what we might call the Employer archetype. However, if the person tends to be an "impatient person," expressing impatience in a variety of archetypal situations (both inside of and outside of the work environment), then this "impatience" constellation extends into those other archetypal fields, via the related elements which are in each a-field. The psyche contains multi-field constellations:

  1. The conscious mind. In one definition of the conscious mind, this is the constellation which includes all elements of which we are aware throughout all of our archetypal fields. (A related constellation is the unconscious mind, and the collective unconscious.)
  2. The ego. This is the constellation which includes all elements with which we identify ourselves throughout all of our archetypal fields. For example, we might identify ourselves as a husband and a computer programmer; thus, the ego includes elements from what we might call our Spouse archetype and our Servant archetype (which includes our occupation). (Similar constellations include self-esteem, self-confidence -- and, of course, the shadow, which includes all elements with which we do not identify ourselves.)
  3. The persona. This is the constellation which includes all elements which we present as our "public front." Because the persona includes our social roles (e.g., "parent" or "businessperson"), it includes elements from the fields of various archetypes (e.g., the Parent archetype or the Businessperson archetype).


The benefits of constellations. Constellations are necessary because an a-field contains contrary elements (e.g., elements from the occasions when we were generous, and elements from the occasions when we were not generous); thus, when the mind refers to the field to determine a course of action, it selects a constellation, so that its thoughts, energies, images, and actions are consistent and unified; e.g., we fully act out the role of either the generous person or the ungenerous person, without the confusion and dissonance which would occur if the mind randomly played out elements from both roles.


We select a constellation on the basis of its mass and charge. Generally, we automatically select the constellation which has the greatest mass and charge; however, sometimes we might use a different constellation (perhaps because of habit or because of unresolved energy in that other constellation), and thus we experience "regression" or "back-sliding" into previous behaviors. Whenever the mind calls up a constellation, and we play out its programming, we feed new elements back into that constellation, and so there is an increase in its critical mass (and, therefore, a greater likelihood that that constellation will be used again); for example, when we call up the "generous person" constellation, that "person" generates new thoughts and images and energies and habits of generosity which will remain in the field for reference in future occurrences of this archetypal situation. In archetypal field-work, our goal is to create new constellations which have more critical mass than the existing dysfunctional constellations, so that these new constellations will be the ones which we will automatically select when the archetypal situation recurs. To develop critical mass, we can use the following means:  

  1. "Brute force." For example, we would use thousands of repetitions of a self-talk statement (i.e., an "affirmation"). If we need a large number of repetitions in order to achieve critical mass, our statement is apparently not efficient in establishing a productive and loving relationship with this archetype; we need to design a different statement.  
  2. Intuitive accuracy. Sometimes one intuitive insight can be so powerful that it immediately establishes itself with critical mass, even though the insight expressed itself as a single thought, image, energy tone, or action. From that moment onward, we default to that new insight, and it becomes the core of a new constellation from which we generate supplementary elements which support the original insight, and which further increase the critical mass of the constellation.


Constellations can be mistakenly identified as archetypes. To determine whether something is an archetype or merely a constellation, we look for the simplest expression of the object or action; if we can further simplify the definition or action, we know that we are dealing with a constellation and not an archetype. For example:

  1. We might consider Employee to be an archetype; however, I consider Employee to be a constellation within the Servant archetype which is the archetype of "performing a service for a person or thing" (and thus it encompasses employees, volunteers, slaves, etc.); "employee" might be defined as "performing a service for a person, in a job which one has voluntarily agreed to do, in exchange for a salary." In the specific situations of our life, we are dealing with constellations (not archetypes); i.e., we are either an employee, a volunteer, a slave, etc. However, in this book, I use the phrase, "archetypal situations," because the situations (and the constellations which they express) are ultimately based upon archetypes.
  2. The Vehicle archetype can be defined as "that which transports something from one point to another." We can examine the process by which this archetypal field is partitioned into constellations:
    • Within the Vehicle archetypal field, we have various constellations regarding types of vehicles; for example, "automobile" is a collection of thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions regarding a particular type of vehicle.
    • Within the "automobile" constellation, there are "sub-constellations" (i.e., constellations within constellations); for example, the "sports car" is a collection of thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions regarding a particular type of automobile.
    • A model of sports car (e.g., Corvette) is a constellation (or, more precisely, a sub-constellation), because it based upon the manufacturer's specific group of thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions regarding that model.
    • These distinctions end when we consider an individual Corvette; i.e., your mass-produced Corvette and your neighbor's mass-produced Corvette are based upon the same constellation.

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