If you read my blog last Friday, you probably got the idea just how much I LOVE Kim Hudson’s book, The Virgin’s Promise. Three of the major ideas she puts forward really struck a chord with me. 1) Difference between Myths and Fairytales. 2) Archetypes. 3) The Thirteen Steps of the Virgin’s Journey. Last week I looked at Myths and Fairytales and next Friday I’ll be looking at The Thirteen Steps. Today it’s the turn of Archetypes. Her description of twelve archetypes really helped me see characters in a new light. Please – PLEASE – pick up her book for yourself. All I can give you below is a taste.
Read different books on archetypes and they might list six, fourteen, twenty-four, or even thirty-nine possible archetypes.
What I love about Kim Hudson’s take on archetypes in her book The Virgin’s Promise, is that she boils it down to twelve (six male, six female) to represent the beginning, middle and end of human life. Each stage of life archetype has its shadow side.
The shadow side may be where the character begins his journey before he transforms. (eg Scrooge the Miser transforms into a Mentor. The Hero initially ‘Refuses the Call’.) The Shadow side is where the character will end up if he/she doesn’t transform. The shadow side can also be portrayed by another character in the story as a warning of what is at stake emotionally if the character fails to transform. Think Marty’s father in Back to the Future at the beginning and then end of the film. He transforms. Biff doesn’t.
|THE VIRGIN’S PROMISE / FAIRYTALE||THE HERO’S JOURNEY / MYTH|
|VIRGIN – WHORE
MOTHER /GODDESS – FEMME FATALE
CRONE – HAG
|HERO – COWARD
LOVER / KING – TYRANT
MENTOR – MISER
THE VIRGIN’S PROMISE/ FAIRYTALE
VIRGIN: (Not necessarily female. Think Rocky.)
Hers is a journey of self-fulfilment.
Knows what she wants.
Brings her dream to life while surrounded by the influences of her ‘kingdom’.
She is about ‘being’.
Her obstacle is her community.
The Virgin has Friends.
WHORE: (Shadow side)
She is caught in a life that services the needs, values, power and directions of others to her own detriment and neglect.
She sells her soul to conform to the expectations of others.
Enters into a relationship. (Man/woman/parent/child/community.) That union leads to her wholeness.
Knows her power and uses her talents to nurture and inspire.
FEMME FATALE: (Shadow side)
To maintain an imbalance of power, the Femme Fatale will use emotional manipulation. (Think Cersei in Game of Thrones.)
This leads to emasculation, dehumanization and mistrust.
The crone releases her power to leave a positive impact on another.
She often puts the protagonist in a difficult situation where they are challenged to grow and transform.
HAG: (Shadow side)
Diverts the Lover/King from his true destiny into a hopeless union with her. She robs the next generation of its future and spreads dooms.
She cripples people with fear and interferes with their lives. (Think Glenn Close in Dangerous Liasons.)
THE HERO’S JOURNEY/MYTH
HERO: (not necessarily male. Think Katniss in The Hunger Games.)
Faces mortal danger by leaving his ‘village’ and proving he can live in a larger world.
His is a journey of self-sacrifice.
He is about ‘doing’.
The obstacle for the hero is evil – usually an evil that threatens his ‘village’.
Hero has allies whose goal is of mutual interest. (Think of the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz.)
He is so fearful of death that his life occupies a small space.
He fails to explore the world beyond his own village.
He has no confidence he can survive on his own.
Avoids anything that could lead to death or hardship.
(Think a bully or Judas.)
Asserts his will over others (even against their will) to bring integrity, justice and security to the community.
He is challenged to surrender his heart to the feminine.
By allowing love to become central to life (not necessarily a woman – can be a child or friend) he gains a form of immortality. (Think Mr Tom in Goodnight Mr Tom.)
Seeks to use power for personal gain and is unfeeling towards the feminine. (Not necessarily female.)
He asserts his will physically.
Can be a philanthropist.
Transfers gifts of wisdom and knowledge to worthy recipients. (Think Obi Wan Kenobi)
MISER: (Shadow side)
Hoards his wealth – real or metaphorical – for himself.
Ignores the effect of his neglect on others. (Think Scrooge.)