Today the power of story is replacing the soundbite as a communication tool. This may lead to enhanced ability for us all to concentrate and think more deeply. It may also lead to news coverage that actually focuses on the larger story of what is happening and its meaning, not just the horserace of who’s winning, who’s losing. I look forward to the day when good and bad news about what is happening with climate change focuses not on how it hurts, or helps, our president’s poll numbers, but rather on what it means for you, me, our species, and the earth, our home.
However, even narratives have their own dangers. For example, the power of a good story leads many today to believe things totally disconnected from truth. This is particularly so in politics, where sometimes narratives are used as scare tactics for raising money or, worse, by tricksters who enjoy spinning conspiracies that they claim make people special so they then can look down on others.
On the positive side, the January 6th Committee investigation findings as televised seem to be disciplined enough to hold a storyline in place based on actual testimonies, provided under oath. They are telling a good, fact-based mystery story, thus demonstrating that many of us in America have active enough Sage archetype to seek the truth.
To break out of our culture war, we need to tell the truth without demonizing others. The January 6th Committee narrative is about a failed coup led by a Republican former president, where most of the heroes in that story who are testifying are themselves Republicans who had the courage to do the right thing. It models being against the coup but not against a party.
Much sane and grounded social change occurs when individuals tell their own authentic stories and when media sources share them more widely, so that more and more people develop empathy for others unlike them. Yes, the recent far right Supreme Court decisions are troubling for what they say, but also because of the disconnect between the decisions and the realities on the ground and in people’s lives. Moreover, they heighten the enmity between and among our citizens. While some are rejoicing, the rest of us can continue to share stories about who and what will be hurt, but even more importantly, what can be done to alleviate the damage and vote and more widely act as much as we can on our convictions.
And in the context of the “great resignation,” it is time for all of us to act on deeper stories about what each of us truly desires beyond wedge issues. I’m inspired by Frederick Buechner’s well-known challenge to any and all of us “to find the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” so that we can make the difference we are called to do. I’m in a transition period, myself, and am asking myself where that place is for me. If you are, too, I wish you every success.
Living Fully in Your 3rd 30+ Years!
September 10/17/24, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Jung focused on the important transition that occurs in the second half of life, but we are living longer now, leading many of us, who are in our 3 30 years, to reflect on what this third life stage is about. In the class, we will begin by exploring our life blessings and challenges. We will then utilize archetypal insights and language to conduct a life review, with a focus on what strengths we gained when, what abilities are helping us now, or could, and what interests us that might help us respond to a new calling. In this process, we will also explore ways that the archetypes in question may be expressed in different decades within these 30 years, and how experiencing a sense of Oneness with the Divine in the All elevates their expression at any time of life. $75
Holmes, Jesus, and the Power of Stories We Believe and Live
December 1/8/15, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Explore the life of Jesus viewed through the lenses of archetypes and of findings by contemporary theologians and historians that reinforce Creation Spirituality and New Thought teachings, with special attention to the influence of Jesus’s teachings in the work of Ernest Holmes, founder of Science of Mind and Centers for Spiritual Living. The class will also identify some beliefs that began to be added when Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire and on to the present day that Jesus never advocated. This class offers a great opportunity to learn about what Jesus taught that fits with a contemporary consciousness and with spiritual teachings based on love. $75
Science of Mind Magazine Group
The second Monday of every month, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
I facilitate an ongoing drop-in CSL group, utilizing text from the Science of Mind Magazine and applied to everyday living. We are on break for the summer, so a good time to try it out would be September. However, you can join anytime. Email info@ColumbiaCSL.com to register. No charge.
StoryWell.Com Articles, by Kesstan Blandin, Ph.D.
The StoryWell concept and image brings together the archetypes of Story and Well. It is meant to invoke the experience of a mysterious deep well where universal stories and dramas of human lives dwell. The source that feeds this well is like an underground stream. Jung called this source the collective unconscious, from which archetypal (that is, universal) stories arise.
On StoryWell.com this spring we targeted self-growth through our archetypes. In a conversation with Hugh Marr, we discussed the Pandora myth and how symbolically it represents the Idealist archetype. Hugh pointed out that in the myth, not all the contents of the jar are released when Pandora opens it. Left behind is Hope. We talked about how the power of hope is represented by the Idealist and how the ills of humankind that were released are represented by the Idealist’s complementary archetype: the Realist. Why would hope have been left behind while the suffering was released? Being overwhelmed by our pain and suffering can eclipse our ability to hope; in fact, it can make the possibility of hope itself painful: What if what we hope for does not come? This question, and fear, points to an essential aspect of the Realist’s toughness and pessimism. Our conversation led to an article on StoryWell.com about Pandora and the lessons of hope as told through understanding the Idealist and Realist.
In May, a new article series began, Growing With Your Archetypes, which over three months goes through each category of archetypes as detailed in Carol Pearson’s book What Stories Are You Living? Discover Your Archetypes – Transform Your Life! and in the PMAI® reports. The categories are Allies (high scoring archetypes), Treasure Chest (mid-range), and Blind Spots (low archetypes). The archetypes showing up in each category have different roles and impacts in your life. Allies are your superpowers and biggest fans. The Treasure Chest offers new potentials and opportunities for growth just off your radar or comfort zone. And your Blind Spots highlight attitudes, skills, or narratives that you do not typically notice that may hang you up. How to understand each category of archetypes, in both light and dark expressions, and work with them for personal self-growth is discussed. In future articles in this series, we want to detail case studies of self-growth from PMAI® customers; if that describes your experience, please reach out to us and tell us your story (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr. Priscilla Hobbs, who previously blogged for my site about Disney’s Tangled and about Captain Marvel, has a new book titled Harry Potter and the Myth of Millennials: Identity, Reception, and Politics. I’ve been intrigued by Dr. Hobbs’s research; I love the Harry Potter books and the film series, and even have a trip scheduled soon to take two granddaughters to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando. I appreciate how Dr. Hobbs has dived deep into how the millennial generation found meaning in this popular series that linked their Idealist/Magician belief in the American dream with patterns in Campbell’s hero’s journey, modified by their pressing need to find community with their peers. I also appreciate the way she applies her knowledge of psychology and mythology to identify the significance of key elements of the setting and plotline. Her book is an example of psychological literary criticism at its best.
Harry’s calling is to become a Magician by studying at Hogwarts, yet he also needs to be a Warrior to save himself and others from the dark side, especially from the villain Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents and plans to kill him. As an orphan Magician in a Muggle world, Harry mirrors the alienation many, especially the young, feel in a culture that seems locked in a dull past when a bright future is possible. So many young people feel orphaned in our society, and the call they often need is to the Magician, not so much as a heroic, individual agent of cultural renewal but one called to be part of a transformational community, as Dr. Hobbs makes clear.
In essence, she reveals how millennials, who were raised to believe in magic and love, are now finding it even more necessary to adopt qualities of the Revolutionary/Idealist/Warrior, which Harry also models. At core, however, their pull into action remains motivated by the energies of the Lover and Magician.
The book is well worth a read, but don’t just take my word for it – check out this review from my colleague Dori, a Disney Studies scholar, as Dr. Hobbs is, and a Potter fan, whose language reveals her own deep dive into the material.
Alohomora! This is the analysis of Harry Potter we currently need. Dr. Hobbs-Penn utilizes her interdisciplinary sorting hat to call out complications of our time, from the role of mythology in culture to intersectionality, social activism, and psycho-spiritual significance. Her focus on fan community offers, as she calls it, a “prismatic” view of interpreting the Potter fandom. Hovering above the series like a quidditch player, she draws connections and provokes questions that lead the reader deeper into the mysteries of Hogwarts, probing the meta-text that is the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This is a must read for any Potterphile and popular culture enthusiast.
—Dori Koehler, Ph.D., Author, The Mouse and the Myth: Sacred Art and Secular Ritual of Disneyland
In the Blogosphere
Living in times of personal transition can be difficult, as is organizational change. And even more so when everything is changing around us. Guest blogs that appeared on my blogsite in recent months include a fine one on archetypes in transition for us individually and another on their importance in organizational change as well as any and all social systems.
In transition? We are so fortunate to be able to provide you with transitions coach Leia Francisco’s blog, In Life Transitions, Your Archetypes Await You. The blog outlines a variety of transitions many of us go through and places them in the context of social change and the sped-up life pace required of us. Along the way, Francisco highlights archetypes that are our friends when we are pulled into the unknown or choosing it when all around us is chaotic and unpredictable.
Changing organizations? We are also thrilled to provide a perfect match with Francisco’s blog about transition in individual life to explore ways that organizations or other social systems can evolve to reflect the emerging consciousness needed today. Wholeness in the Workplace: How Archetypes Can Guide the Way, by organizational change consultant Betsy Sheppard, integrates archetypal theory with Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory. Wilber argues that for organizations or other social systems to meet the challenges of our time, change agents need to see through four lenses: the psychological, cultural, behavioral, and system perspectives. Sheppard notes that current efforts applying Integral Theory emphasize behavior and systems to the detriment of the inner life of individuals involved and the organization’s culture. Archetypal approaches are the key to remedying this one-sidedness. Sheppard’s conclusion reinforces my commitment to applying archetypal theory to evolving the United States in terms of the consciousness of us as individuals, our culture, our behaviors, and our systems.
My next blogs on America's shadow are drafted but will not be posted yet, in part because so much that is relevant is still happening. However, here is a brief summary about the series so far and a teaser about where it is going.
Those on my blogsite already: The current culture war started when the Republicans went all-out Warrior, viewing the Caregiver as Communist, while the Democrats balanced their Warrior with Caregiver. However, I believe this dichotomy is making us forget who we really are. What to do? Utilizing branding theory, I surmised that the core archetype of the U.S. is the Seeker as explorer, immigrant, pioneer, and entrepreneur. Its strength is the courage to face the unknown, as is so needed today, but its weakness is all-about-me selfishness. Its complement is the Lover, related to how immigrants and settlers cooperated to build communities. The Lover’s desire to bond with those like oneself explains why tribalism has taken over in the U.S. However, together, if expressed in an evolved way, these archetypes could help us all face the urgent issues of the 21century, affirming liberty and justice (Seeker) for all (Lover).
Those coming soon: Two America’s shadow blogs will address the persistence of English colonial ideas into the present: racism and all the other isms, as well as a fear of government (Ruler). Our shadow is also partly caused by trauma from the Revolutionary War and later the Civil War (Warrior); inflated views of our country from military success (Warrior); and from moral exceptionalism undercut by inconvenient truths about American actions. The blogs also will consider the negative underbelly of our meritocracy in creating a driven society, characterized by the desire to be the winners and the fear of being losers that continues to feed the wealth/wage/status gap and make our citizens insecure, angry, and blameful of one another.All of these blogs, except those on the shadow, can be found on my website: https://www.carolspearson.com/blog-2/blog.
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 war.
In addition to my blogsite, you can find many of my blogs on those of 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 and Twitter @carolspearson. Posts and tweets will inform you of the topic and how to access it. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram at carolspearsonphd. Just click on one of the buttons on the right to connect, 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.
Blessings,Carol S. Pearson
What is your brand? And how do you manage that meaning?
September/October 2022 Newsletter
The shadow of a culture is more complicated because it is similarly created by what its country says it is and what it dreams of being.