Personal Happiness - Linked to Archetype Mastery and Integration
How happy do you feel, on an overall, consistent, across-the-year basis? (We'll ignore the times that the dog's thrown up on the new carpet.) How happy are you in specific areas of your life? This includes job, relationships, where and how you live, your friends, and other factors. And how much do you feel that you are in control of the evolving nature of your personal happiness?
That last one is crucial, isn't it? It suggests that each of us, alone, is in charge of our personal happiness - and that we can do something to adjust our "happiness factor" along the way.
This isn't a new question. In fact, I believe that the "happiness question" is what led certain people - sages and mystics, for the most part; certainly "seekers of truth - to receive the Kabbalah. I'm saying receive in a loose sort of way; I don't think that the Kabbalah was discovered; and I certainly don't think that it was invented. It seems to be the sort of thing that certain seers grew to understand - that they communed at some level with a higher wisdom. "Higher wisdom," in fact, is what the Kabbalah is all about; it is a roadmap to God-consciousness. And it's been around for a very long time; it was oral tradition long before Jewish scholars wrote about it in the Middle Ages. In fact, there is some research that suggests that the Tree of Life theme, central to the Kabbalah, predated even the formation of the Hebrew peoples.
Now we're not going to get into religion here, and we're not going to become Kabbalah students, either. (At least, not right now.) But we are going to note a very important point; one that I made in Unveiling, and one that many other scholars have made as well: The Kabbalah is the foundation on which the Major Arcana of the Tarot is based, and the Minor Arcana as well. We'll concentrate, in the majority of these blogposts (as in Unveiling itself) on the Major Arcana.
The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, or "Trumps." Not the "Donald" sort of Trump, but rather, the notion of a major, big, important idea - the kind of idea that we call an archetype.
Now get this: There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet (also in the Phoenician alphabet, and in the Pre-Phoenician as well - as in - in our very oldest Indo-European alphabetic system). There are 10 "Centers" in the Tree of Life, and while there are numerous possible "graph links" between them, there are only 22 connecting "pathways" defined in the Kabbalistic system. And there are, of course, those 22 Trumps or cards in the Major Arcana.
So for scholars in this area, the connection is clear - and has been clear for hundreds of years. The Trumps - the Major Arcana cards - correspond directly to the pathways, or to steps that we take enroute to knowing God.
So suppose that you were a seeker of knowledge, several hundreds of years ago. Perhaps even a few thousand years ago. And you had reached that point in your life - children grown, career stable - when you were asking yourself, "What next?" For all your success in the world (let's presume that you were moderately healthy and wealthy, and let's even throw in "wise" for a good measure), you felt there was something missing.
So you did what many men and women had done before you, and what many would do in the years thereafter. You went to your local Mystery School or Temple, and consulted with the best teacher that you could find; someone who was kind and gentle, and who seemed to emanate a sense of both loving-kindness and wisdom. In short, you set out in search of your own Obi-wan Kenobi or Yoda. And you asked your question.
And because you were not the first to do this (nor the last, to be sure), this kind, wise teacher spent some time talking with you, but then, ultimately asked you the question: Were you ready to take on the next level of life-study?
And your answer was, in all likelihood, yes.
Thus you found yourself, at the next time that their "academic year" started, in a class with people like yourself - and some not-so-like. There would have been other local business-people and professionals. There would be society matrons. There would be the occasional itinerant seeker-after-truth, whose whole purpose in life was to visit the various temples. But together, you would be undertaking the first steps in a course in God-realization, in personal mastery, and - ultimately - in happiness.
Now, here's where the archetypes come in.
The Major Arcana are designed to have a single starting card representing you, setting forth on your "search for wisdom." (And for personal happiness, for enlightenment, for the meaning of life, etc.) This card is called the Fool. (No real insult intended; this just means an open mind, a sense of lightheartedness, and - most importantly - that you're not carrying a whole lot of "baggage" with you as you set forth on your journey.)
The remaining 21 cards are grouped into three sets of seven, and - this is where our connection to "happiness" comes in - the seventh card is a sort of "completion" of a life-journey-stage. That is, you attain a certain kind of happiness - unique to each journey-stage - as you reach the seventh card (or completion) of each stage.
Interesting idea, isn't it? There are various kinds of happinesses. And they correlate to certain levels of life-mastery.
The very last card, called the World, shows a naked woman (sometimes a hermaphrodite - a being both man and woman, or combining the qualities of both genders), dancing in space, surrounded by a laurel wreath which contains the heads of four animals, each looking outward. These are the traditional four "powers" (lion, ox, eagle, and a human head as well). The central figure is lightly draped in a purple veil, she holds the two scrolls of knowledge in her hands, and she is simply - dancing. She represents complete joy and freedom; the successful completion of our life journey. And yes, she represents happiness.
But it is not as though we need to get through all 21 cards (or life-lessons) in order to experience peace, freedom, and happiness. At the end of each of seven-card sequence, we have a card that represents some level of integration, mastery and well-being, and - yes - happiness.
So the World card is the end of the whole journey. But prior to that, we have two other sequence-completion cards. They each represent completing a big portion of our life journey. It is somewhat like saying that reaching the World card is like getting your Ph.D.; before that, you get your Master's degree, and before that, you get your Baccalaureate.
Everything that I've been writing about for the past several months - all of these blogposts on "archetypes" - has paved the way for you getting your "Baccalaureate in personal happiness." This is what seekers-after-truth did hundreds and maybe even thousands of years ago. And it's what you're doing now, when you focus on archetype mastery and integration.
Now, here's where things come together - at least for a while. There are six core archetypes in the first set of seven Trumps, or cards. These are the six "core power archetypes" that I've been writing about for several months, and which I've described in some detail in Unveiling (Chapters 7 and 11).
These archetypes are the ones that you would - essentially - have "gone to school" to study and master. Of these six "core power archetypes," three are masculine, and three are feminine.
Masculine Core Power Archetypes:
Feminine Core Power Archetypes:
- High Priestess
- Hathor ("Love Goddess")
There are two other core archetypes as well; I call these the "reserve" archetypes, or the "rest and recharge" ones. They're not a part of the set of six that you need to master, because they come to each of us more naturally and easily. These are Hestia (Goddess of Hearth and Home; essentially - the one who "keeps the fires burning" - and keeps our personal lives in good order), and the Green Man (the one who returns to nature for balance).
Now, here's the summing-up point - where all these archetypes "come together." The seventh Trump in this series is the Chariot. Essentially, at this point, you have it all "under your control." You really, truly, literally do "have your life together."
It's a fantastic feeling. And also, for many of us, it's hard-earned. Just as no college curriculum is easy for everyone - each of us finds some courses hard and some easy - getting to the Chariot stage, our first waypoint in our big life journey - is a huge completion. But it is at this point that we really do experience a very real sense of happiness.
This happiness doesn't come from having developed any one particular archetype, but rather, from having them all - and having them in working order and in balance with each other.
Think about this. Many women reach their early forties with two archetypes that are almost over-developed; their Emperor (a big component of their inner Amazon, which they use not only on the job, but to organize their lives and their families), and their Empress (nurturing and caring).
But if that was all that we needed, why would so many of us feel - as our children leave home for college - that we're eager to get back to ourselves? We seek to find those aspects of who we are that were pushed aside during career-building and child-rearing. In short, we're ready to discover - and to integrate - those other core archetypes. And this is where we get our "happiness." It's not just in two or three, but rather in using all six (actually, all eight, since we call on our reserves from time-to-time). This is the basis for personal happiness. It is also a basis for personal freedom.
So here we are, at the beginning of a new year. (The Chinese and Druidic New Year, at least.) Why not make this a year of starting your archetypal discovery, mastery, and integration journey? Make this the kick-off point for entering your own "school of happiness" - and also well-being, awareness, and total life mastery? Join me, because I'm beginning aspects of my own journey along with you!