Jump to the following topics:
- What is an archetypal field?
- Do archetypal fields actually exist?
- Archetypal fields retain a record of our interactions
- Archetypal fields might be related to other phenomena.
- Our human interactions are interactions between archetypes.
- Archetypal fields serve a purpose.
- The guidance which we receive from archetypal fields is imperfect.
- Techniques for discovering the contents of our archetypal fields.
What is an archetypal field? It is the "field" of activity and influence which surrounds an archetype; it is analogous to the magnetic field around a magnet, or the gravitational field around a planet. Within the substance of spirit, every archetype has its own field -- the "archetypal field," which can be abbreviated to "a-field." Whenever we encounter an archetype, we are enveloped in this archetypal field in both the psychological realm and also in our physical environment. Because spirit contains all archetypes, the field of all archetypes is enveloping us at all times, but one archetype is dominant at any moment; for example, when we are at our job, the Servant ("employee") archetype is dominant, so we are primarily under the influence of that archetype's field. When we understand archetypal fields, we understand the one basis for the dynamics in our life, in the material, psychological, and spiritual realm -- and we can use this understanding to create the life which we want. ... Note: When I devised the term, "archetypal fields," I thought that I was the only person who was using it. Recently, I discovered that other people had started to use the term before I started to use it. I have not yet had an opportunity to read their material, so I don't know whether their definition is similar to mine.
Do archetypal fields actually exist? This is a concept which I have developed to explain the dynamics of archetypes. I do not claim that archetypal fields per se exist; I cannot prove their literal existence with scientific instruments. But I do believe that my model is an accurate representation of the events which occur during our interactions with archetypes. The model is a metaphor -- a symbolic representation of those dynamics. The creation of metaphorical models is a common practice in sciences such as sub-atomic physics, in which we cannot see the objects which we are studying, but we can detect their actions and thus we can create concepts and illustrations to explain our ideas regarding the objects. In a metaphor, we explore the dynamics of something; this is a valid approach, because knowing what something does is more important than knowing what it is. So please grant this leeway in our exploration of "archetypal fields"; all of life is a metaphor -- perhaps not literally "real," but somehow true and workable.
Archetypal fields retain a record of our interactions. This is the key to understanding how archetypes interact with our personal life. The process occurs in this manner:
- Spirit is that which we experience as "life": it is the life of our material body; it is the force which is the basis of all material objects (including those which we do not recognize as "living"); and it also exists in its own non-material realm. Spirit is a tangible substance which possesses properties which can be studied, just as a physical substance (e.g., copper) can be studied by a chemist. Those properties are described throughout this book.
- Soul is an individual center within spirit. Soul is composed of spirit, just as a brick is composed of clay.
- When there is an interaction between two material objects (e.g., two people), these material objects can be considered to be "graphical user interfaces" between the two souls. In this interaction, all archetypes are present (because spirit contains all archetypes), but we focus primarily upon one archetype within the one soul, and the "reciprocal archetype" within the other soul; for example, this could be an interaction between the Teacher archetype and the Student archetype.
- During this interaction, we generate thoughts, images, energies, and physical actions. These substances leave a record which is retained in the field; thus, the "elements" of an a-field include:
- Thoughts. The individual thoughts which we think during our interaction with this archetype.
- Sensory data.
- External sensory data. Individual sensory impressions -- whatever we see, hear, touch, taste, or smell.
- Internal sensory data. The items in our imagination. This includes the fabricated objects of our visual imagery, and the objects and impressions which correspond to our other physical senses.
- Energies. The energies which we are exuding; generally, these energies are our emotions or feelings. Our energies have a particular "tone" or "texture," as in the energies of anger or fear or affection or repulsion or sexual excitement.
- Actions. Our physical actions and also the physical consequences of those actions (e.g., the goods which we produce, and the relationships which we create). Thus, archetypal fields are not merely psychological phenomena; they include our physical world, too.
Archetypal fields might be related to other phenomena. We can find other examples of "fields" which act as a repository of energy and information:
- Complexes. These psychological objects were the basis for my concept of archetypal fields (which, indeed, I originally called "complexes"); however, as I intuitively explored archetypal fields, I realized that they are different from complexes, and so they required new terminology. There are various differences:
- According to psychologists, complexes retain energy, images, and thoughts from traumatic incidents; archetypal fields retain those elements from all incidents which involve that particular archetype.
- Complexes are a psychological phenomena. In contrast, the theory of archetypal fields includes not just the psychological realm; it also extends into the spiritual realm (explaining archetypes as aspects of spirit) and into the physical realm (such that the a-field also contains the physical objects with which we interact during our encounter).
- Archetypes provide the points upon which we build our own lives.
- Our thoughts, images, energies, and actions are registered
in our individual archetypal fields. However, the archetypes
are in spirit (which is the substance of which all souls are
composed), so the a-field elements of each soul are
additionally a part of a collective a-field which is associated
with the archetype in general (as it exists in this common
spirit). When we explore that archetype, these existing
elements influence our perception of it. As an entire society
changes, it creates a feedback loop:
- The people generate new notions regarding an archetype (such as Government, Freedom, Virtue, etc.); those elements are registered in the collective unconscious.
- Then, the society intuitively reads back those archived elements from the collective unconscious, causing a corresponding alteration in that archetype's expression in the society.
Our human interactions are interactions between archetypes. Every situation, and every person, contains all archetypes; we can say this because archetypes are aspects of spirit, and spirit is the basis of everything in existence. And yet we do not perceive this wholeness; instead we perceive particular archetypes, e.g., the Home archetype. This fragmented view occurs because soul is using the mind as an instrument for studying its own substance (i.e., spirit); the purpose of the mind is to perceive archetypal aspects of spirit so that they can be examined individually. When we encounter another person, that person contains all archetypes in his or her spirit essence, but we primarily focus on (and respond to) only one archetype at a time (although all other archetypes are interacting in the background); for example, we might view this one individual archetypally as a man, or an employee, or a clerk, or a father, or a spouse. The reason we respond to one archetype and not another is because we have a charge in a complementary archetype. For example, if someone is enacting the Child archetype (regardless of whether that person is our biological offspring), we tend to respond with our Parent archetype, depending upon the needs of our three centers:
- The soul. Soul's decision to participate in the scenario. While we might debate whether human beings have "free will," some people believe that soul alone has free will. If the soul recognizes a worthwhile opportunity to explore its Parent archetype, it will decide to focus on that archetype, to interact with another soul's Child archetype.
- The ego. If the ego perceives an opportunity to enhance our personal human world, it will engage the other person's ego in this scenario of the two reciprocal archetypes.
- The archetypal fields. In previous enactments of the Adult archetype, our intuition recommended a course of action which would satisfy the needs of that moment. However, if we did not follow our intuition, then our thoughts, imagination, energy tone, and actions did not match those needs; thus we generated thoughts, images, energy, and actions which did not "connect" with the actual circumstances. Because of this lack of connection, those elements did not discharge their energy; instead, that energy remained with the elements when they were recorded in the archetypal field. It is this undischarged energy which requires us to re-create the Adult-Child interaction -- so that we can (1) learn more about intuition and the nature of the archetypes, and (2) discharge the lingering energy from the elements which we created during previous encounters between those archetypes. This undischarged energy is the force which powers the process which we call "karma."
Archetypal fields serve a purpose.
- Archetypal fields are one way in which the mind organizes information, by associating related elements around a common center (i.e., an archetype); those elements are our thoughts, images, energies, and physical habits. This method of organizing is similar to our practice of putting related documents into a file folder; in the mind, each "file" corresponds to an archetype.
- Archetypal fields simplify our psychological processing. The field is a reference to be used when we are in an archetypal situation (i.e., any situation, because all situations are based upon archetypes); as the mind attempts to formulate a response, it asks itself, "How have I responded previously in similar situations?" and it finds the answer in the field's record, in the residue which has been left by previous thoughts, images, energies, and actions. For example, if someone says an insulting remark to us, we do not have to wholly improvise our response; instead, the mind refers to the archetypal field which is associated with this situation, and then it has the option of re-using some of the thoughts, etc., which it finds in the field. We can view this process as an action of the mind, or as an impersonal energy-dynamic in which the charged elements in the field are activated automatically in the presence of their corresponding archetype.
- Archetypal fields provide stabilizing points for the accumulation and dispersal of energy. This energy is the residual charge which was explained previously.
The guidance which we receive from archetypal fields is imperfect. Ideally, our guidance comes from intuition, which is a communication mechanism whereby we detect the dynamics of spirit as expressed in material form. In any situation, soul is able to perceive all dynamic factors, including the needs of each person's soul, ego, and a-fields (which contain the charged residual elements from previous encounters). Because of this overview, intuition's guidance is tailored specifically (and perfectly) for this moment. However, when we are not aware of our intuition (or when we disregard it), the mind seeks other means of perception and guidance, including a reference to the corresponding a-fields which contain records from our previous encounters with this archetype, in an effort to decide how to respond to this particular situation. When this happens, we are likely to experience the following problems:
- The a-field's elements produce incorrect perceptions and interpretations. We are not perceiving the unique dynamics of this situation; instead, our perceptions include only some of the unique dynamics, and we are filling in the gaps by generalizing on the basis of thoughts, images, energies, and habits which we created during previous encounters with this archetype.
- The field's elements produce inappropriate responses. The inappropriateness is due to various factors:
- Our incorrect perception. We are hardly perceiving this unique situation at all; instead we are perceiving a stereotype which is based on the residual elements of the archetypal field -- including the thoughts, imagery, and behavioral habits which we generated during previous encounters. Obviously, if we are not perceiving the unique factors in this situation, we cannot respond to the situation as it is. We have created a closed system, in which we are feeding off of pre-programmed elements.
- The residual energy from previous encounters with this archetype. Because archetypal fields contain the energy which was not dispersed during previous situations, it is experienced now, regardless of its appropriateness; for example, if the archetypal field contains the emotional energy of anger which was not expressed during previous encounters with this archetype, the elements will discharge some of that energy during this encounter, causing us to "be angry" even though the current factors don't warrant the anger.
Techniques for discovering the contents of our archetypal fields.Each archetypal field contains traces from previous encounters with that archetype; we can find this residue in the form of thoughts, images, energy tones, physical habits, etc. As we go through our daily life, we can practice identifying archetypes and the residual elements which are within their fields. We can differentiate between the influence of residual elements and the influence of intuition: residual elements cause behavior which has the quality of being pre-programmed (and somewhat inappropriate, because the elements are associated with general archetypal situations rather than to this specific situation); in contrast, intuition's input can be discerned by its freshness, uniqueness, and creativity. The residual elements can be detected in the following forms:
- Our habitual activities. In any situation, we can be aware of our typical thoughts, energy tone (e.g., emotions and feelings), sensory data (e.g., visual memories, fantasies, etc.), and actions. For example, when we are cooking, we might have particular habits which include: thoughts of perfectionism (e.g., "everything must be just right"), our usual energy tone of love (because we are cooking the meal for our beloved family), repeated fantasies (of ourselves as a professional chef), etc. Those are the elements of our archetypal fields.
- Incorrect interpretations and incorrect responses. For example, we might realize that we are unduly angry at someone; anger might be justified (as a response to an immediate threat), but the intensity of our anger suggests that an additional charge is being added by the lingering charged elements of an archetypal field.
- Psychological disorders. Psychologists generally deal with our thoughts, emotions, feelings, imagery, and physical habits; as we examine those things, we are discerning the elements of our archetypal fields. Those elements might be partially responsible for obsessive thoughts, compulsive behavior, phobias, complexes, stubborn habits, and other dysfunctions. For example, an "inferiority complex" is based upon inappropriate elements in the a-fields which correspond to our valuation of ourselves; we might achieve a cure if we implant elements which affirm our value.
- Dreams. In a dream, the characters, settings, objects, and actions are usually symbolic expressions of our a-field elements; these elements are in the dream because we are trying to resolve the archetypal issues with which they are associated, and we are attempting to discharge the residual energy-charge which the elements carry.
- Shadow-work. As we explore our shadow, we discover the a-field elements which we have repressed, suppressed, or simply haven't recognized yet.
- Our "karma." Whatever we discern to be karma is actually the contents of our archetypal fields.
- Archetypal field-work. This is a group of techniques by which we willfully change the contents of a-fields. As we use field-work, we learn about the elements which are already there, and the new elements which we are implanting. When we use archetypal field-work to improve the quality of our archetypal fields, we improve our lives.