The news of my demise has been greatly exaggerated!
I just learned from Newsletter reader Jeffrey Nolan that successful screenwriter and writing coach Jeffrey Alan Schechter has been promoting four of the archetypes from the first edition of The Hero Within as keys to writing successful plotlines. I was delighted to hear about this. So,I checked out what Schechter said. His laudatory comments about the book made me very happy. However, in the video I saw he mentioned that he thought I likely was dead. So, I did what anyone would do. I conducted an online search and was reassured that, yes, I am still alive and so is my work.
Truly, I feel very grateful knowing that my 12-archetype system continues to be helpful for professionals—writers, brand managers and marketers, leaders, organizational development consultants, journalists, educators, Jungian analysts, psychologists, coaches—as well as individuals of all ages and backgrounds seeking to understand the archetypal stories they are living.
This work began years ago when the archetypes grabbed me by the neck and would not let me go. As I love to learn and tend to say yes when opportunity knocks, I have ended up learning about many fields where I and others have applied this work, utilizing their expanded understanding of their particular field to do so well. I think of myself as a sort of Johnny Appleseed, sowing seeds of archetypal systems into different soils, trusting those watering and weeding their use, as I turn to what calls next.
I taught at a major public policy school, so it makes sense now for me to complete my USA blog series and find those who will tend it in the fertile soil of public policy/political fields. Having completed an interfaith progressive Doctorate of Ministry, it should be no surprise that I now want to explore and write about archetypes in panentheistic, progressive faiths that are addressing the needs of our times.
I share this as an update on my work and as a call to any of you who are using that work in your own lives. You are its future, the gardeners tending the soil, watering and fertilizing these seeds with your own ideas. Some of you may also want to sprinkle archetypal seeds around where you live and work. If this calls to you, now is a good time to propose a blog or share a podcast on your work for consideration on my website, www.carolspearson.com, or on www.storywell.com. I support groups forming around similar applications. Perhaps you could form one or be a volunteer to support those who do.
This quarterly article is written by Kesstan Blandin, the Vice President of the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), the publisher of the PMAI® instrument. In that role, Kesstan is the editor of Storywell.com, the official website of the PMAI®. She also teaches at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
At the end of 2022, Storywell published an article on the hidden gold in the shadow. After discussing shadow in varied ways in previous articles—blind spot, negative behavior under stress, unconscious projections—we wanted to highlight the positive and transformative qualities of shadow, or hidden, aspects of psyche and personality.
In December, we promoted Carol Pearson’s book What Stories Are You Living? Discover Your Archetypes–Transform Your Life! Carol’s co-author of the PMAI® assessment, Hugh Marr, has a new book, Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey, which will be released this spring! Keep an eye here for the publication date, to be announced in February. Finally, we start the year in January by getting back to basics with an article on what distinguishes stories as “archetypal.”
Storywell has an active social media presence where we are spreading the word about the Pearson-Marr archetype system on LinkedIn (Storywell PMAI®), Instagram (@storywell_pmai), and Facebook (Storywell). Follow us!
Links to articles:
Storywell - Hidden Gold in the Shadow
Storywell - When Is a Story Archetypal?
Storywell - Discover Your Archetypes
Great news: Hugh Marr, my coauthor on developing the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI®)and its initial supporting publications, has now completed his promised workbook, Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey, to further assist PMAI® users, forthcoming in the spring. Hugh has a thriving practice as a psychologist and expertise in narrative therapy. You can learn about this in A Clinician's Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy: Co-Changing Narratives,Co-Changing Lives. He is also a great colleague and a fine human being.
We started our partnership when Hugh was a graduate student at the University of Maryland whose dissertation focused on transforming my 12-archetype survey into a tested, validated instrument. Of course, we needed to work closely together. This forged a strong partnership. The resulting Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI®) was published by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, which delighted us because of their reputation for research and quality instrumentation. CAPT also provided us with assistance in further development of the instrument as Hugh and I also coauthored initial supporting materials on the 12-archetype theory and its applications.
Then, as now, Kesstan, Hugh, and I worked together on instrumentation development. As the PMAI® developed,so did we, each of us gaining greater experience and expertise in our complementary fields. Finding Your Story builds on What Stories Are You Living? to provide additional support to PMAI® users. If you are interested in my work and your own PMAI® results, I recommend that you check out what Hugh has to say.
In the Blogosphere
In my last newsletter, I highlighted my love of author Fredrik Backman’s novels, as they provide story patterns so needed in our times. My fall blog, Living Storylines that Lead to Happier Outcomes: Heroism for Our Times, explores the way three of his early works portray contemporary heroic patterns. I stress how each novel helps us grapple with the world’s rapid change, which leaves so many of us feeling anachronistic. This, for many, results in loneliness, retreats into fantasy worlds, and frantic desires for visibility and status, which together lead to social breakdown.
Each of these three novels illustrates a different pattern of heroism, one that follows a classic pattern found in comedies that lead to happy endings. They begin with characters who are lost, lonely, and in very difficult situations but are helped by supportive characters who recognize their Lover suffering. These supportive unsung heroes model how Magician archetype abilities can transform individuals while also creating community.
In the first version of this blog, written for Psychology Today and my website, I began with a discussion of Shakespeare’s comic plays, which reveal archetypal patterns in Western literature. Psychology Today, however, asked me to forget Shakespeare and spend more time on Backman’s novels, which are current. That I did. This second blog provides much more detail about the archetypal pattern now and is available on Psychology Today’s website.
This month we debut a new blog series by Priscilla Hobbs, author of Harry Potter and the Myth of Millennials: Identity, Reception, and Politics. Why this series? I’m fascinated by what popular fiction tells me not only about the state of mass consciousness, but also about signs of hope in certain books. So, when Dr. Hobbs offered to write a blog series for my site about the role of the 12 archetypes I work with in the very popular Harry Potter novels, I jumped at the chance, especially because her book highlights the impact of the series on millennials.
Early in my work, I predicted (or maybe just hoped) that our culture would shift from being activated by the Warrior to the Magician. The Harry Potter books are, of course, all about the Magician, but with a Warrior overlay. Those who can do magic are divided into categories of the good ones versus the bad ones, thus also incorporating the Warrior plotline of heroes versus villains. Harry and Hogwarts capture what happens in transitions where both are present and linked—i.e., where we are today.
One important note on this series: it is NOT an apology or support of any kind for J.K. Rowling’s personal social positions. As Dr. Hobbs states clearly, “It is the stance of this author that Rowling’s discriminatory declarations toward those in the Trans community are declarations against the very fabric of the Potter fandom.”
Her initial blog, There’s Something Magical About Harry, sets up her series and presents Harry as a classic hero whose calling is that of the Magician archetype. Its focus is on his journey, the setting of Hogwarts as a school for heroes, and how all 12 of the archetypes in the system I work with show up there in a Magician/Warrior context.
Dr. Hobbs’s second blog, The Magician, emphasizes how Harry’s development across the series is a model for young people in our times, and for the youthful part of in all of us. He starts out as an orphan, then discovers that he is actually called to be a wizard, and then must face the challenges of a journey in a world where wizards must hide from muggles and balance good and evil in the wizarding world.
Both of these blogs can be found on www.carolspearson.com.
An American Jester blog: Our country was founded on a belief in the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and Americans often have been optimistic about finding happiness and become grumpy when they do not. Happiness belongs in the territory of the Jester archetype, whether in its primal, harmful trickster forms or in its more evolved capacities—ones that could help us pursue a better future together.
I welcome and encourage your comments on any of the blogs posted on my blogsite, several of which have inspired a rich exchange of ideas. Also, if you have an idea for a blog that you might like to submit, please send me an email with a brief summary and I will let you know whether it is suitable for my blogsite and, if so, what guidelines you should follow in preparing it. Because my current blogs highlight ideas about bringing Americans together, I would appreciate your passing them on to others who also want an end to the culture wars.
In addition to my blogsite, you can find many of my blogs on Psychology Today and the Depth Psychology Alliance, and you are invited to make comments on the former and on the latter if you are a member. The easiest way to learn when a new blog goes up on my blogsite or any of the others on which I post is to follow me on Facebook at Carol S.Pearson, PhD. Posts will inform you of the topic and how to access it. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram @carolspearsonphd, and let me know what is going on with you.
As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested.
Of course, I’m paraphrasing Mark Twain’s similar comment.
I’ve now passed the mantle over to another minister so I can focus on other priorities.
Love is a central theme in Harry Potter. It is a recognized difference, as a differentiation between "good" and "evil"...
January 2023 Newsletter