I’ve just written a book about the importance of living our archetypal values so that we can gain their gifts. Voting is one essential way to do that. For the Idealist, it is the right thing to do. For the Realist, the way to affect reality. For the Caregiver, it is caring for oneself, others, and the greater good. For the Warrior, a way to fight for what is just and true. For the Seeker, a way to express who you are. For the Lover, how you can show your love for your country and your fellow Americans. For the Creator, how you can help shape the version of your country you want to see. For the Revolutionary, how you can reject what you do not want. For the Ruler, it is being an engaged citizen who thinks about policy issues and promotes order and justice for all. For the Magician, it is being a transformational and healing social force. For the Sage, a way to promote policies based on proven facts and solid theories. For the Jester, a way to promote life in this here USA that is enjoyable and where we can have fun together. So, whatever your archetype, vote!
I’m worried about my country, as I know many of you also must be. I know that we need to come together beyond the culture war wedge issues, though that will be difficult, given their power. I’m personally fearful that we are, in fact, facing a threat to our democracy that is difficult to exaggerate. As I write this, the president is threatening not to leave office if he loses and is getting his supporters at rallies to chant “12 more years.” Whether or not you share my fears, it is so important this year to vote—and, in my view, not for some third-party candidate, as the cost of throwing away a vote to make a statement is too great this time. And since I believe in democracy, I hope you vote even if you would make different choices than I would.
Many strategies are being used to suppress voter turnout, so just deciding to vote is not enough. David and I registered long ago for our mail-in ballots and, had it not been for the pandemic, we actually might have been traveling at this time, and David might have been working in some capacity on the Biden campaign. In fact, some states—though not Maryland—have opted to conduct the election entirely using mail-in ballots. We are planning to submit our ballots as soon as we receive them in an official drop box. Of course, it will still be possible to vote on the designated days in the designated places, but one of the strategies being used in some states to suppress the vote is to eliminate many polling places, especially in heavily minority areas, or to change people’s traditional polling place, so that they are turned away at the first and then have to find the next. In some states, efforts are afoot to try to scare minority voters away or to make the wait interminable—which is especially dangerous during the pandemic. If you plan to vote in person, be sure to have proof of your identity with you, ideally a driver’s license or other ID issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration, or another form of identification such as a utility bill. In any case, vote!
Honoring the Notorious RBG
I love it that the distinguished jurist Ruth Bader Ginsberg was also the #NotoriousRBG, providing a superwoman image for the younger generation of aspiring women lawyers, or just aspiring women. I greatly respect the way that she had a clear strategy about how to get laws changed to help women become a bit more equal under the law and also provide greater equality for everyone. Like so many women, I have benefitted enormously from her achievements. I also admire her ability to remain collegial in her relationships with those with whom she disagreed.
Ginsberg was not an ideologue, but rather a pragmatist. She modeled how it is possible to respect difference, even that which can leave us sorrowing as we see harm coming from it. What the Notorious RBG reminds me is that I believe in democracy, and that sometimes unfortunate outcomes result from the votes of others that can hurt me and people I love. What strengthens me is the example of how quietly Ruth Ginsberg just kept plugging away, even when ill, and when she could not carry the day on a decision, she remembered the power of a dissenting opinion, as these can be referenced in the future. She kept this up through illness and on an increasingly divided court, until her body would not let her do it one more day.
I suspect that most subscribers to this newsletter are like me, dedicated to some work that can make a difference, even in just being a dissenting voice or vote. RBG is famous, but much of what she did was just work really hard day after day, in sickness and in health, while also being a good and kind family member, friend, and colleague. She also retained a sense of fun and a twinkle in her eye. And, so can we in the service of whatever our callings might be. That is how I want to remember her and I hope that you find a way to honor her that fits for you.
Questions About the PMAI Revision
The publisher of the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI®) assessment is the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), an instrumentation publisher best known for doing all the major research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and also offering its certification courses. This is why it is such an honor to have the PMAI instrument published by CAPT, whose goals are a good match to mine: increasing self-understanding and the ability to appreciate others. However, to the chagrin of some, three archetypal names have been changed in the updated version of the instrument.
The power of the meaning of the old names—Innocent, Orphan, and Destroyer--is still very much there, only as the archetypes’ inner experience. They are not replaced but expressed in their more socially acceptable adult expressions as Idealist, Realist, and Revolutionary. The change occurred because many users feared being viewed or even discounted as orphan-, innocent-, or destroyer-like by others. Also, the wise innocent becomes an Idealist and the wise orphan often becomes a Realist.
The psychometric validity of this version of the PMAI assessment is even greater than before, providing even more solid results, and two different report forms are offered, the Core Report for beginners or those just wanting the basics, and the Expanded Report for those who want to go deeper. In addition to a focus on high and low scores that provide support for authenticity and protection against being blindsided, respectively, the midrange scores are emphasized as supporting growth and increased social intelligence.
What Stories Are You Living? Forthcoming Book
My forthcoming book—What Stories Are You Living?—is scheduled for release in February. It was written to provide the theoretical framework behind the PMAI instrument and practical applications and examples in our culture for each archetype. The book will be published by CAPT, which has hired a publicist to promote it. Over the next few months, I’ll be working with her and the CAPT team, especially John Amerson and Rob Rothschild, on the release strategy. I’ll send out a notice as soon as it is available. My husband, David Merkowitz, who also is the editor of this newsletter, worked with me, diligently editing the manuscript as I focused on getting the ideas updated and right. Kesstan Blandin was involved in this process in a daily way as the voice for CAPT in what this book should be. I’m grateful to both David and Kesstan for their contributions.
Since I wrote Awakening the Heroes Within, I’ve learned a good bit from working with the 12-archetype system on my own and with others. Writing this book has given me the chance to share my updated ideas and knowledge, at least as the theory is used with applications to the PMAI assessment. The project took a while, but I’m finally satisfied that it accomplished what I had set out to do.
12-Archetype Legacy Project
I believe that the long-term success of the PMAI instrument depends on the community of its users—at least, that is my vision of a desirable outcome. Over the next few months, I plan to have a chat Zoom or phone dialogues with others who are using the system and/or the instrument in their work in some way. My goal is to find out what people are doing with the instrument and what they have learned thus far. I can then add to the conversation what I have learned.
If you would like to have a chat, send me an email about how you currently are using the 12-archetype system and/or the PMAI assessment with others and what you have been learning. Because I get so many emails, as I suspect you do, it would be helpful if you would use as the subject line “12-Archetype and PMAI Legacy Project” or something similar. My email address is email@example.com.
On Thursday, October 29th, I will offer an online presentation on “Archetypal Narratives for Daily Life” for The Myth Salon. In my lecture, I will discuss the 12-archetype system and its application in the PMAI instrument. The session will begin at 8:00 pm Eastern time, 5:00 pm Pacific time. It is recommended, though not required, that participants in the discussion take the PMAI instrument beforehand.
Since my last newsletter in June, I’ve participated in several events for which tapes are available.
EQ-HR: It was a joy to offer a workshop for EQ-HR (as in emotional intelligence meets organizational development), an organization dedicated to guiding all people toward developing their highest potential, in July. On Zoom, I discussed narrative intelligence (NQ) and explored how understanding the archetypal resonance of our personal mythic characters can change our lives with Dr. Jackie Bahn-Henkelman. Attendees were split between longtime PMAI users and those schooled in emotional intelligence. Tapes are available for sale by contacting EQ-HR.
Assisi Institute: I enjoyed continuing my association with the Assisi Institute: International Center for the Study of Archetypal Patterns and discussing the research that grew out of writing Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within in August. This was part of the institute’s Fairytales, Folklore, and Myth webinar series. I particularly liked sharing my rather unorthodox view of the Demeter and Persephone story with those with considerable expertise on the subject. Tapes are available for sale through the Assisi Institute store.
Mepkin Abbey’s St. Francis Retreat Center: I originally was scheduled to present a lecture and workshop in person at the Retreat Center on “Who Am I Now? Elders and Archetypes” in the spring. When the pandemic did not abate, we rescheduled it for Zoom in August. The lecture focused on archetypal patterns and theories of narrative intelligence and moved to a description of how the 12 archetypes of the PMAI instrument can foster authenticity and wholeness as we engage our spiritual gifts. The workshop helped attendees, who were a truly delightful assortment of deep questors, apply the theory to their own lives. The entire event was taped, and videos may be available soon from the Retreat Center.
Mapping the Organizational Psyche—Now Free
Great news! You can now download Mapping the Organizational Psyche: A Jungian Theory of Organizational Dynamics and Change free of charge. John Corlett and I co-authored this book for leaders, organizational development consultants, executive coaches, and anyone trying to better understand their organization. It partners well with the revised PMAI® for those who want to use the book for team-building purposes, leadership development, or employee assistance. It makes reference to the Organizational and Team Culture Indicator®, which is no longer available to the public because it has been acquired by IBM for use with large and global companies. However, for smaller companies and nonprofits, this book gives you what you need to analyze your organization without requiring an organizational culture assessment to do so. These certainly are times when understanding archetypes in a depth way makes great sense, which is why John and I decided to give the book away so that it would be available to anyone who could benefit. You can download it here.
In the Blogosphere
Last month I posted a guest blog by Stephanie Zajchowski entitled “The Lover’s Call to Life” that has particular relevance in this historical moment. In her blog, Stephanie explores the continuing power of the myth of the Whore of Babylon, as depicted in the Book of Revelation. That myth has been invoked repeatedly to “evoke fear and distrust” of female leaders and portray them as “deceptive and dangerous,” she notes. The image of the Whore of Babylon has been applied explicitly to Michele Obama and Hillary Clinton, and with Kamala Harris now the Democratic nominee for vice president, we already are seeing the same kinds of attacks on her, at least implicitly so far.
Such thinking fuels conspiracy theories—for example, #PizzaGate, where an enraged man shot into a Washington, DC, pizza parlor because he had been told Hillary was running an international child sex trade operation in its (nonexistent) basement. Similar bizarre notions are floating back up again in the #QAnon network, particularly among supporters of President Trump and members of the extreme right wing.
Stephanie’s blog shows us how such dangerous views catch on and how they reveal the shadow form of the healthy, positive archetype that is needed now. She writes, “Understanding this archetypal energy, one can see how the myth of the Whore of Babylon is a demonization, a condemnation of Eros, the Lover archetype. The Whore is the shadow or negative side of the Lover archetype, driven by the urge to power and dominance, creating depravity and destruction.” Later she explains: “Human desire is not apocalyptic danger in the guise of a promiscuous woman. It is the movement of the soul engaged in the energy of life. As we observe the #pandemic rearranging the world we once knew, this life energy is also creating a world we have yet to imagine.”
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 website and, if so, what guidelines you should follow in preparing it.
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 website 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.
Carol S. Pearson
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What Stories Are YouLiving? guides you through the journey of discovering and understanding the archetypes active in your life.