Art By Annelie Solis
“Through the third eye you can tap into what the great pioneer of psychology, carl jung, called the ‘collective unconscious’. The collective unconscious consists of elements that typify the experiences of all of us: so, in a sense, they define our humanity. By using the third eye to recognise the archetypes we’re working with, we can develop understanding of our motivations and behaviours.” – Natalie Southgate
Journeying into the psyche through Chakradance, you begin to explore the relationship between the chakras and archetypal energies. Archetypes are a wonderful way to play out aspects of your psyche through dance, movement and guided imagery.
Now you may believe that you have little knowledge of archetypes and even less use for them. However, you may also be surprised to learn that archetypes are being used all around you, every day.
A classic example is advertising. Watch any advertisement for nappies or breakfast cereal and right there is a woman we all instantly recognise as a “mother”.
Or the prosaic car ad, with a devastatingly sexy man or woman, “the lover”, and even a car so sleek it actually morphs into an animal archetype of speed and grace such as a jaguar.
The reason you know without being told who these characters are, is because they represent common archetypes which appear in our culture’s storytelling.
Carl Jung would also argue that the reason these characters appear in the storytelling, or myths, of many cultures around the world is because they are universal patterns in human consciousness.
Ever done a Myers Briggs personality test? Or one of those Facebook quizzes on which Game of Thrones character are you? Yep, all archetypes.
The Chakradance practice is influenced by the psychology of Carl Jung. Archetypes are a major component of Jungian psychology, and although I could spend a whole post on the subject, I will just explain enough to make sense of how archetypes work in regards to the Chakradance practice.
So movie characters and TV commercials are obvious manifestations of archetypal representations, but what of the archetypes Jung wrote about, what exactly ARE they?
Carl Jung suggested that every society ever created shared its knowledge through storytelling.
In fact, the art of storytelling is implicitly archetypal. Have you ever seen a Disney movie without a witch, warlock, magician or some variation of that theme?
Originally all societies were oral and pictorial storytellers, then many moved to written, and now electronic technologies, to tell their stories.
In these stories are characters, and throughout all cultures, though the details may vary, the essence of the characters in these stories is the same.
Whether it is a Hollywood movie or story passed down the generations in an indigenous tribe, the same characters show up.
According to Jung, this is how our minds store information about the human psyche and its relationship to the world.
These archetypes allow our mind to access and process emotions, people, relationships, and stories into personal meaning, guidance, and wisdom.
Jung described archetypes as universal, mythic patterns that reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over.
He believed that archetypes represent fundamental themes of our human experience and our evolution into self-conscious beings.
Carl Jung said that archetypes are, at the same time, both images and emotions.
By being charged with emotion, the image gains a dynamic psychic energy.
These archetypes are deeply held, operating unconsciously, and intricately entwined with our emotions. Which makes them very powerful in terms of human behaviour.
So why should you care about archetypes?
Well, not only are marketers using them to tap into your unconscious and create emotive reactions in you, learning about your dominant archetypes can be a profound insight into the way you operate in the world, your communication style, those areas where you get stuck, and an insight into your relationships with others.
And well, it’s fun and absolutely fascinating to boot!
Each archetype has a shadow and a functional side.
Yet, we must be careful not to fall into moral judgements of “good” and “bad” as ALL archetypes serve a necessary and valuable function.
And working through archetypal energies is part of your psychospiritual evolution.
Working with archetypal imagery can be a great way to move through deeply held psychological patterns, and who doesn’t have some of those?
A number of the archetypal pairs have been related directly to the chakras, and we use these in Chakradance.
The seven primary chakras can be used as a road map to anchor and embody the experiences of these archetypes.
Let’s look at these chakras and the archetypes associated with them.
Chakradance uses the seven chakra system – the Base, the Sacral, the Solar Plexus, the Heart, the Throat, the Third Eye and the Crown.
As an example, the base chakra represents the foundation of your being – your basic survival instincts – and is associated with the Mother archetype, that is, the one who nurtures these needs.
Paired with the Mother is the Victim archetype – the one who is not nurtured, whose needs are not met or who is threatened or hurt in some way.
Getting your most basic survival needs met gives you a sense of being nurtured, and in doing so, provides you with the ability to nurture yourself and others.
The expression of nurture and the activation of the Mother archetype in you, furthers the free flow of subtle energy through the base chakra, thus allowing your energy to flow upward, activating the chakras above.
Victim archetypal energy that is stuck at the base chakra may indicate that this energy has not been fully activated, and may be demonstrated by issues in the lower intestine, difficulties with elimination, and also sexual dysfunction.
In terms of psychology, this “stuckness” may be acted out as an inability to care for your own needs, or a tendency to find yourself repeatedly in the role of ‘the victim’ in life.
I won’t go into depth here with each chakra and archetype – although it is fascinating and a whole post could be devoted to each one, but here are the associations.
The sacral chakra relates to the Empress/Martyr pair which reflect your relationship to pleasure and wellbeing.
The solar plexus chakra relates to the Warrior/Servant pair which reflect your relationship to power and self-worth.
The heart chakra relates to the Lover/Actor pair which reflect your relationship to giving and receiving love.
The throat chakra relates to the Communicator/Silent Child pair which reflect your relationship to communication.
The Third Eye chakra relates to the Intuitive/Intellectual pair which reflect your relationship to intuition and rationality
The crown chakra relates to the Spiritual Self/Egotist pair which reflect your relationship to spiritual awareness.
During Chakradance you work with an archetypal energy in order to allow that energy to interact with your physical and subtle bodies and move through it.
By embodying archetypal energies in the meditative dance space, you can gain insight into how these energies are manifesting in your life.
Jung believed these archetypal forms are transformed once they enter consciousness and are given expression. In this way, you can see archetypes as an energetic spark, which you can call upon using your imagination.
When an aspect of your soul resonates with a particular archetype the energies and experiences of that archetype become available to you.
If you need to activate your solar plexus energy, you can call upon the warrior archetype and dance with vigorous movements of the arms and legs as you embody that energy.
Or you may want to activate your sense of security and being nurtured and supported by envisaging the energy of Mother Earth in the base chakra.
These archetypes are embedded in the Chakradance practice, and without even having to consciously think about them, they will emerge in the dance for you. It can be fascinating to see what images come up in the dance and to learn more about what these archetypes represent and how you can harness this energy in your life.
Find a class to explore your archetypal energies through Chakradance.
No classes near you? Why not start as I did with the Chakradance DVD or audio downloads or train as a Chakradance facilitator yourself.