Weeks ago we talked about how we can be the heroes of our stories. Just like the stories we see in movies, or read in books, our life’s story has many of the same elements. There are characters that support, accompany or challenge us. There is a setting, a place where our story happens, that influences how we live. There are also events that unfold into a plot, depending on what chapter we are in our lives, be it our childhood, adolescence or adulthood. But there are also themes…patterns around us that influence how we behave. If we are aware of them, and embrace them for what they are, they can be tremendous to our growth.
These themes…patterns in our lives are archetypes. They represent behaviors that influence us to act in a specific way. One such archetype is knowledge…usually represented by an apple but acquiring it comes at a cost. Another is an obstacle, such as a mountain and exists as a challenge for us to overcome. This week we will explore a few archetypes and their power to influence us.
And today we will start with the most basic of archetypes…natural elements.
Wind is freedom, it is liberation, and it is constantly changing. In my novel, “The Storyteller’s Rose,” I wrote… “The wind has no restrictions. No leash commands its course. No whip harnesses its power. It is carefree and unobstructed, intangible and uncontrollable.” Heroes are often associated with the wind, as it is the symbol of the journey. It also shows us control is an illusion. We may rage against it, but the wind will always rage harder. If we accept this we can flow, and not be thrown, by it.
Water is creation, it is reflection and it is cleansing. It can nourish and it can heal. It offers a sense of ease and relaxation. It is often the symbol of a supporting character in a hero’s journey. But water can also come at us like a torrential rain, a tidal wave that represents inner struggles. When we face a flood it can be an opportunity to wash away the filth that clutters our lives or it can drown us. When a hero submerges in water, and reemerges, she is reborn.
Fire is intensity, it is power, and it is passion. It can burn and destroy but it can also fuel and catapult forth. It is your warmth and guiding light when all has gone cold and dark. It is often the symbol of the warrior. It is also a symbol for beauty and seduction, a smoldering energy within you that drives your earthly desires. But you must be careful for it can consume you. It can be an intoxicating and fickle force that turns you to ash. But if you are careful, and respect its beauty, you may learn it cannot be tamed…but can be harnessed. And although it can rage, if not nourished, a calm zephyr can extinguish it.
Earth is fortitude, it is strength and it is growth. It can be trusted since it is a constant presence in all our lives. It is often the symbol of the mentor in the hero’s journey. It represents stability, temperament, and a balance between life and death. It is the cradle in which all life blossoms, representing fertility, longevity and endurance. But Mother Earth’s equilibrium is like a swaying pendulum. It can veer to calm, peace and tranquility, but also swing to quakes, eruptions and hurricanes.
So…who and what are the wind, water, fire and earth archetypes in your life? How do they influence your behavior? Who are your heroes, supporters, warriors and mentors? No one archetype is a strength or weakness, as they all have roles to play in your story. Remember, these archetypes, in their own way, can guide you toward kindness. May you embrace it and grow.