The magician is a universal archetype that has existed in the human psyche in all cultures, throughout history. As an initiate of secret knowledge, the magician goes within to access inner truths and doesnt seek to find answers from someone else. He or she doesnt waste energy on fear-based thinking since he knows that we have a co-creative nature and thoughts shape reality. The magician chooses to live beyond the ordinary and realizes that the opportunity to enter the realm of the miraculous lies in every choice we make. She knows how to transmute muck into gold and negative into positive.
Unlike the warrior, who struggles to overcome great challenges, or the martyr who believes that they cannot have what they most desire and who has a sense of victimization, the magician believes in infinite potential and possibility. She flows with the current and doesnt struggle against it. Throughout history, people in all kinds of professions, including art, science, and medicine have connected to the archetypal pattern of the magician.
Archetypes are like blueprints
Carl Jung wrote that archetypes are deep and abiding patterns in the human psyche that exist in the collective unconscious and are coded in the human brain. He notes that the word archetype is far from being a modern term, since it was already in use before the time of St. Augustine, and was synonymous with "idea" in Platonic usage.
Jung originally believed that archetypes were inborn psychological predispositions, similar to instincts, and thus had their representations in our brain. After further study, he came to believe that archetypes had a consciousness that was separate from that of the individual. They were beings that an individual did not produce, but which produced themselves and therefore have their own life. Stanislav Grof, M.D. applied the term transindividual to archetypes, since they are shared by all of humanity but are not created by one persons individual experience.
The sacred geometry of archetypal patterns
Numerous books have been written that classify the different archetypes. Carol S. Pearson listed six main archetypes in The Hero Within. These include an extraordinary analysis of the innocent, orphan, martyr, wanderer, warrior and magician. She expanded her study to 12 major archetypes in her later works. Robert Morse and Douglas Gillette discuss four archetypes in King Warrior Magician Lover and Jean Shinoda Bolen, in Gods in Everywoman, and Gods in Everyman, describes the main archetypes of men and women by relating them to the gods and goddesses of the Greeks. Although the form of an archetype remains constant, an archetype has an infinite variety of aspects.
In C. G. Jungs Four Archetypes (1959), he describes the crystalline-like structure of an archetype. This brings to mind the "circles and squares" of human consciousness that Thoth revealed to Drunvalo Melchizedek, when he said that even thoughts and emotions are based on sacred geometry.
The archetypes that become dominant in our life are based on cultural influences as well as our own unique history. Our culture has defined the hero in terms of the archetypal warrior who lives life battling a series of challenges. But now a shift is occurring and in addition to the warrior hero, the magician is emerging as an archetype that may play an important role in the third millennium and could replace the warrior as our cultures most celebrated archetype.
Theoretical biologist Rupert Sheldrake proposed a theory on how living beings assume new forms that can also be applied to the development and emergence of new archetypes. In A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation (1981), Sheldrake explains that behavior that is repeated often enough forms a "morphogenetic (or form-shaping) field." When enough people accept a new pattern of behavior, the scale eventually tilts so that this becomes the accepted way of doing things. It is the "hundredth monkey" hypothesis, popularized by Ken Keyes, Jr.
Beyond the heroic ideal
As traditional models of manhood and patriarchal ideals collapse, and as the violence behind the warriors heroic journey is revealed by feminists and environmentalists, and challenged by men who cant live up to the ideal of the hero, our culture has begun to move away from this paradigm. In The Hero Within, Carol S. Pearson writes that the warrior archetype is an elitist myth, which "embodies the notion that some people take their heroic journeys while others simply serve and sacrifice." She writes that having a "slaying-the-dragon" paradigm for problem solving will not bring us closer to world peace or eliminate world hunger.
The future of our planet depends on embracing new myths and archetypes
Myths that had once been the foundation for society are being questioned, challenged and revisioned. There are tragic results if we do not outgrow the heroic ideals celebrated in the myths of the archetypal warrior. In order to survive, we have to shed old myths that are no longer beneficial to the earth.
We have had to let go of the myth that the earth provides an infinite wealth of resources. We need to look at myths from older cultures, where all life is considered sacred. We cannot afford to continue to lose 120 species of life every 24 hours, nor can we afford to continue to lose 200,000 acres of rainforest everyday. We need to move beyond the myth described in Genesis, that man was given dominion over all things, since this myth has created a world that is out of balance and in disharmony. Humans are not the crown of creation, but exist as one of the jewels in the crown along with all other life forms.
We need to let go of the myth of original sin, that it was a woman who tempted a man to eat from the tree of knowledge, causing the wrath of the creator and the oppression of women. In the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam, men are controlling the lives of women because they consider women to be inferior and evil. Long-term warriors have a tendency to see women as a corrupting force and in Afghanistan, women have experienced extreme segregation and oppression. Fundamentalist groups in Pakistan and Kashmir have thrown acid in the faces of unveiled women.
When we understand the myths that are guiding our life and our culture, we can begin to change them. We can free ourselves from undesirable myths and create new ones to guide us through the new millennium.
The growing reluctance of Hollywoods warrior hero
The second millennium ended with award-winning films like Gladiator and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that featured reluctant warrior heroes. The warrior hero, Maximus, in Gladiator is tired of warfare and disinterested in power. He doesnt want to take on the role of Emperor of Rome. Although he wants to live a peaceful life in a small village with his wife and child, he is forced to continue fighting in the Coliseum of Rome, after he is enslaved.
Li Mu Bai, like the hero of Gladiator, is not able to live the peaceful life he dreams of, in the violent and action-packed movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He is both warrior and wizard and owns the Green Destiny, a magical and powerful sword. Much like the ring of power in Lord of the Rings, or "the force" in Star Wars, Green Destiny becomes a power that threatens to consume all those associated with it. When the sword is stolen, an intriguing detective story develops, and the film becomes an intricate ballet of martial-arts moves with plots and counterplots.
The reluctant heroes of the blockbuster movies, Gladiator and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, reflect the mood of a culture which wants to put aside warrior ways, but which doesnt know how to do this. Hollywoods latest releases are not focused on the physical prowess of the warrior, but celebrate the wonder of wizardry.
Hollywoods newest magicians
People from all walks of life are being drawn to stories about wizardry, whether it is the magic taught at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or the techno-wizardry in more sophisticated works of science fiction. The central characters of the Stars Wars Trilogy and Harry Potter do not rely on physical abilities to solve the challenges that confront them, but have an understanding of the deeper mysteries of life. Luke Skywalker cries out, "Let the force be with you," in George Lucas Star Wars and Obe Wan Kanobe, uses his secret knowledge of "The Force" and advanced technology to renew the workings of his galaxy.
Some people warn of the dangers that could erupt as a result of the wizardry that is celebrated in the Harry Potter series. They are disturbed that there is no God figure that defines morality in the Potter stories as there is in C. S. Lewiss Narnia series and J. R. R. Tolkiens Ring Trilogy. They fear that Rowlings "coming of age" story will encourage adolescents to dabble in the occult, before they develop a solid foundation of moral values. In some states, religious communities are even burning Harry Potter books in a "holy bonfire."
As we begin to embrace the power that is inherent within all of us, the question is whether we will use that power for good or for evil. J. K. Rowling's books have an appeal to children around the world who want to learn more about magic, but unlike the more sophisticated book and film, Lord of the Rings, its focus is not on the darkside of magic.
The audience of Lord of the Rings, learns that magical powers can destroy the world. In Tolkiens triology, the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, inherits the one ring of power. He realizes that the ring must be destroyed because it has the power to destroy the planet if it falls into the wrong hands. The story becomes a quest to get rid of the ring, thereby giving up ultimate power for the good of all. Various characters are tempted by the power of the ring and we realize that the true battle between good and evil is not so much out there, but within ourselves, as we learn how to choose good over evil.
The shadow side of the magician
Archetypes have both a positive side as well as a negative side. We see the shadow magician at work in the technology of the concentration camps in World War II and in the development of nuclear bombs and biological warfare. We see dark wizardry at work with Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who may have used nothing more than simple box cutters to take control of powerful and technologically sophisticated super jets and use them as bombs to destroy the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The shadow side of the wizard is at work whenever knowledge is used for egocentric purposes that harm others and have inhumane effects.
Discovering and reshaping the archetypes we live by
In order to redirect the course of our own lives and reshape the future of our planet, we need to deconstruct old myths and reconstruct new ones. When we become more aware of the myths we live by and the archetypes that dominate our psyche, we can change them by creating a new personal mythology and by pulling in the qualities of a new archetype. By taking an interior journey, we can learn something about these guiding myths.
In my forthcoming novel, Keepers of the Dream, the prominent archetype that dominates the early years of Eartha Maes life might be described as that of a martyr. She represses her own feelings, sacrifices her health, and focuses on helping others develop while neglecting her own needs. She transitions out of this stage of her life as the archetype of the wanderer becomes dominant in her psyche. During this period, she makes her own way in the world and learns independence. As Eartha Mae begins to discover the depth of her own personal power, she develops qualities of the magician and becomes a self-proclaimed Creatrix, during her voyage down the Mississippi River. As she journeys from martyr, to wanderer, to magician, she moves away from victimhood, into a place of embracing personal power.
By reflecting on how you think and respond to daily challenges that come your way, you can begin to encourage greater development of the magician archetype in your own life.
Using practical techniques of applied mythology to cultivate the magician archetype
There are many exercises that can be employed to develop the magician archetype. Carol S. Pearson, has written an insightful workbook that corresponds to The Hero Within, that helps people understand and reshape the archetypes that are dominant in their life. Some of her techniques include journaling, meditation, and rituals. The Mythic Path, by David Feinstein, Ph.D. and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., charts a 12-week program in revisioning the myths that guide our lives.
Dominator to Creator
I have used the terms warrior and magician in the broadest sense, to discuss signs of a shift in our cultural archetype, as we move from the warriors dominating behavior, to the magicians creative mindset.
Madame H. P. Blavatsky described magic as a profound knowledge of the occult forces in nature and of the laws governing the visible or the invisible worlds. There is white magic and black magic (or sorcery), and there are miracles. As Howard Murphet writes in Sai Baba: Man of Miracles, "The divine miracle-workers have no need of the sacrifices and spell-binding enchantments used by magicians of a lower order. One does not read of Jesus or Krishna or Shirdi Baba employing tantric rites or chanting mantras. They were beyond the need of such formulae."
As the magician archetype becomes more prominent in our culture, we will see creative energies used for both personal gain and for purposes that are for the highest good. There are all types of magic and miracles, but the highest level comes through a purified person. Two miracle-workers whose acts have been described in the worlds scriptures were those of Krishna and Christ. In Krishna and the Theory of Avatars, by Bhagavan Das, he classifies the miracles of Lord Krishna as follows: Those that give illuminating visions; seeing at a great distance; multiplying small amounts of food, or other material things, to create large quantities; projecting his subtle body or bodies to appear simultaneously in several places at once; healing the sick and deformed by touch; on rare occasions, bringing the "dead" to life; and laying dooms on particularly grievous sinners.
Most people already have some of the qualities of a magician, but a powerful magician has telepathic gifts, abilities to time-travel, and super-sensory perception. India has nurtured yogins who have amazing powers or siddhis. Sai Baba, a man of miracles, appears to have been born with phenomenal powers, which include extra-sensory perception and psycho-kinesis. Along with the power to create miracles, he is said to have Christ-like love, compassion and God-knowledge. I believe it is the depth of love and compassion that distinguishes the magician, (who creates magic), from the avatar, (who creates miracles).
In his book, Twelve Conditions of a Miracle, Dr. Michael Abrams retranslates the Biblical account of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes and discovers that the technique for creating miracles are revealed in precise detail, in the original ancient Greek. Dr. Abrams explains that in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ is able to create miracles because he fulfills the 12 conditions of a miracle. He explores in great detail these 12 conditions which he defines as: emptiness, alignment, asking, maximizing, giving, grounding, seeing, gratitude, acting as if, engaging the cycle, receiving, and recycling. Dr. Abrams believes that by developing all of these conditions, we can manifest miracles in our own life. (The January, 2002 issue of Spirit of Maat includes an interview I did with Dr. Abrams on December 25th, 2001 about creating miracles).
Synchronicities of archetypal images
Rupert Sheldrake writes that "At the moment of insight a potential pattern of organized behavior comes into being."
As we become more aware of the magician archetype and the possibilities it holds for us, we begin to come into greater contact with it in the people that we meet, in articles and books that we read, in television and films. This interplay between our own personal experiences and events in the external world is an example of our co-creative nature, which implies that psyche and matter interact with each other and are not separate and independent from each other.
Now, during this crucial time in earths history, when we are dealing with the very real threat of nuclear warfare and bio-terrorism, the magician knows the importance of focusing on the best outcome and doesnt allow personal energies to be diminished and dissipated by fear. As we cultivate the magician archetype, we change the direction of our own life and influence the course of our planets evolution.
An exercise in discovering your archetypal patterns
By asking yourself a number of simple questions, you can begin to understand which archetype(s) play the most significant role in your life. You can see how different the response would be between the warrior, martyr, orphan, or the magician. Ive limited it to these main archetypes, though the responses could be expanded to include any number of archetypes). Click here to explore this exercise.