Saturday, November 25, 2017


So how do we find our unique archetype in complex world with so may options? When I left school many years ago it was much simpler. Trade or Profession?? And then you could count each category on the fingers of both hands. 
It was easier still for indigenous peoples for whom there were basically four main archetypes. There still are these basic four but now each has numerous confusing possibilities. Just as there are four archetypes, there are four directions (actually six if you include up and down.) It is convenient to think of an archetype in each direction as below (Angeles Arrien.) According to some Native American traditions we go from the;

 South (the child - Healer archetype) 

to the West (the adolescent - Teacher,) 

to the North (the adult - Leader or Warrior,) 

and eventually
to the East (the elder - Visionary (guru, priest,) Shaman, Artist, Musician.) 

The wounded child of the South often became a healer, the adolescent of the West needs a wise teacher, the North, the place of ice and snow in its season Winter, required a strong leader-warrior to survive and eventually the elder of the East becomes the visionary or crone. This may be the equivalent of the yogi/ni who in the last third of life goes walk about in the forest to find enlightenment.
It is important to realize that the directions belong to everyone. A Peruvian curandero (medicine man) I knew saluted the four directions by spraying chicha (an alcoholic beverage) in each direction as a sign of respect and gratitude. 
Isaiah the biblical prophet had a vision of the six directions which in Kabbalah also fit into the sephirot of the Tree of Life. We need to find out what the directions mean to each one of us and glean any knowledge we can from the ancients with respect and humility. The directions in the Southern hemisphere will be different to those in the North and the power animals to call upon in each direction will also differ. Furthermore in addition to an archetype, each direction also may have; a color, a season, a power animal, a chakra, an element and anything else that is important to the quester. In Kabbalah there is also a wind, a river, an archangel, a sephira, a Hebrew letter and so on. Devise your own and make it meaningful to you. It helps to get ideas from indigenous and other cultures.

Native Americans traditionally went on some form of a vision quest to find out who they really were as did most indigenous peoples who initiated before reaching adulthood. Van Gennep described his phases of initiation as being unique to indigenous initiation. In Africa the Threshold phase often involved circumcision depending on the tribe. There are schools in North America and now elsewhere across the globe following Native American traditions and usually embarking on a solo fast in wilderness for four days (one for each direction) in order to help the seeker find her true purpose. 

David Cumes (Inner Passages Outer Journeys)

Nature is the best place to encounter the opposites and learn the lessons blocked by our limited left brain form of education and the often spiritually inhibiting temptations of Western sophistication. When we balance the polarities of up/down, hungry/satiated, thirsty/quenched, terrified/tranquil, hot /freezing, day/night, sun/moon, masculine/feminine, cognitive/intuitive, love/fear we can reach greater equilibrium and insight. When we focus on the "Soft Fascinations" of wild places such as sensations, sunsets, scenes, smells or aromas and the sounds or mantra of nature we can see more clearly. The "Hard Skills" which tempt us so often are usually a deterrent. Nature is a room with many windows and doors to spirit and countless metaphors to apply to our daily lives and find meaning in a world overwhelmed with technological gadgets many of which we don't need. Nature demands we attend to needs and not wants if approached with right inner intention.
In this manner as Westerners we can design our own solo vision quest that does not need to turn into a Near Death experience although if it does it may be all the more powerful. Often the harder the quest the more benefit but the opposite can also be true. However, fear is frequently a great facilitator of change.
Aldo Leopold a wilderness psychologist said; 
"It must be a poor life that obtains freedom from fear."

At the end of the day the Hero/ine's journey is about reconnecting with the planet and its four beings in a giving way that has meaning. It is not about separation but connection, not about duality or a Lone Ranger complex but unity.This will mean leaving behind old ways to accept the new. The journey is not an easy one.

To those interested in the story and rather prolonged hero's journey of dreaming, finding, building, manifesting and leaving an indigenous healing center in remote South Africa (THE SOURCE - TSHISIMANE) please go to my web site
Here is a song inspired by the experience 

Click on the link to highlight then play

1 comment:

  1. David, I can see why you are interested in the Inner Family four-fold scheme. I researched and thought about how to reconcile the four directions with the more body-based quadrants of the Inner Family I came to teh conclusion body-based systems are so superior to abstract quadrant systems and traditional not-body-based system for puposes of self-healing, it made more sense to stick with teh body based ones.

    For example, I have yet to meet anyone who can muscle-test or self-test the four directions on themself or on clients. Can you?