Carl Jung’s work with archetypes was one of his groundbreaking contributions to psychology. He defined universal archetypes as psychic blueprints that lend form to how human beings perceive, interpret and respond to situations and relationships.
Archetypes are an energy resource that we can call upon to protect and inspire us on our path to individuation and wholeness. They reside in our “collective unconscious,” as Jung called it, from which they can be ‘downloaded’ to support personal development and lend powerful support for overcoming challenges.
We have all experienced how different we can feel just by changing our clothes. An archetype can be like a costume that we put on to embody the energy of a sage, trickster, maiden, eternal child – or even the gods, goddesses, demons and angels of mythology. By personalizing and taking on archetypal characters, it can be easier to resonate with divine powers that are mystical and essentially unknowable by the logical mind.
Praying to an all-powerful God is the most common form of invoking an archetype in Western society. The shortcoming of how we were taught to pray as children, however, is that it is usually a petition, often a begging for some sort of rescue. Now, it’s good to be humble, but prayers of petition can blur the line between humility and low self-esteem. An alternative form of invoking this archetypal energy would be to channel Creative Power, which is the archetype of the first hexagram of the I Ching.
The invoking of archetypes is a broader way of prayer that can engage various different powers on our behalf. From a practical point of view, it doesn’t matter how we conceive of the divine – as one God or many – but a channeling approach is psychologically very different than begging an all-powerful deity to do something for you. In this more empowering form that I call “invocative prayer,” we call upon archetypal energies to flow through us in order to help us grow into ourselves and follow our calling. We invoke the blessings of divine energy to help us rise to the occasion – through us not to us – inspiring and empowering us to make better decisions and do our best.
Invocative prayer is expressing an intention to the Universe and feeling grateful in advance as you welcome good results (there is a template for a Manifestation Treatment in the Resources section). Invoking archetypes can work for you no matter what your belief system.
When I was young, I was taught to say morning and evening prayers. Even now when I find myself going through changes, I return to a prayer ritual. Depending on what it is that I want to co-create, develop or preserve that day, I can call upon various archetypes in addition to Creative Power to help me stay more consciously connected to Infinite Intelligence throughout the day. In the evening, my prayer summons the healing power of dreams.
As much as I can, I try to live in connection to the Synchronicity Prayer: “May I notice synchronicities that arise during this day and pay attention to them. If I don’t understand their meaning, I trust it will be revealed in due course. In the meantime, I am grateful to notice the signal.”