Archetypes are energetic imprints that exist in the psyches all of us, even though throughout history we have tended to externalize these archetypes as Gods, Goddesses, and planets. For instance, the 11 known celestial bodies of our solar system (Chiron included) are often misrepresented in astrology as forces out there, acting on us.
In truth, the planets represent archetypal forces within us--from Mercury our communicator/thinker to Neptune our inner mystic/dreamer to the Moon, our emotional nature. It is when we disown the energy of any particular planet within us, that we misconstrue the influence of that planet as a malefic trouble maker!
The 22 archetypes of the Major Arcana come to us from the shadowy realms of forgotten pre-history, in all likelihood part of a wisdom that once passed for general knowledge, yet was lost in the looting, pillaging and burning of Hellenic and Alexandrian libraries. That said, the tarot re-emerged in medieval times, was fortified in the late 19th century mystery schools a la Aleister Crowley, and with the mass distribution afforded by modern games companies, have seen a major resurgence.
Although Tarot cards have long been used as a parlor game and fortune telling device, Tarot archetypes are a key to 22 expressions of soul energy, and to the 21 steps we take on the journey of soul growth. The 22nd archetype is the Fool, who represents the vagabond traveler we all are through out the cycles of incarnations on the physical plane.
Twenty-two might seem like an awfully crowded room, a giving us a psyche of Sybil-plus proportions. However, there are really 10 core archetypes, with the remaining 12 representing a deeper level or another layer of one of these primary archetypes. One way to imagine our psyches is as a room full of 10 pregnant women, two carrying twins. The room IS crowded, it just doesn't seem unmanageable because the other 12 are nascent and dormant beings that have yet to be born. It is an evolutionary challenge as a species, then, to begin to express the 12 Higher Archetypes by giving birth to and nurturing them in our lifetimes.
So who are the all star cast? In order of appearance: Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot, Strength, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment, World, and Fool.
Your Primary Soul Archetype
This is your assignment in life, your mission impossible, your destiny Young Skywalker. It is the archetype that challenges us to the greatest growth in this incarnation. In that respect, it can be seen as our most undeveloped archetype, the supporting actor of other lifetimes that has risen to top billing in this one. You can run, but you can't hide from your soul archetype. It's lessons are the mandatory course requirements for graduation in this lifetime.
Your Higher Soul Archetype
While everybody comes into this world with a primary archetype assignment, some of us wild and crazy souls arrive with a double course load. These are arguably the old souls who've been around and around the karmic block, multitaskers who have taken on the challenge of two archetypes. On the other hand, these just as well could be souls who failed the last grade and are doing make up courses! Who knows, but my experience of what I call Dual-Soul people is that they invariably live two separate lives--part one expressing the primary archetype and part two the Higher archetype. Most often this shift occurs once the individual has mastered the primary archetype, and is free to tackle the more complex vibration of the Higher archetype. Possibly the role of these individuals is to raise the collective to a higher level of spiritual awareness. Or to just bug the hell out of us!
Calculating Your Primary and Higher Soul Archetypes
OK, this is deceptively simple, and I've heard it before. It needs to be some algorithmic equation of Pythagorean complexity in order to be meaningful. Surprise! The most profound truths in life are always the simplest!
First, take your date of Birth and do the math below. We'll use "Dan" as our first example. Dan is born Sept. 22, 1945.
- 1976 : 1 + 9 + 7 + 6 = 23
- Because 23 is Higher than 22 (the last archetype of the arcana) we must reduce the number (think of making gravy from watery stock!). How do we do this? 2 + 3 = 5
- Dan's Primary Soul Archetype then, is 5. You will see in the next article that 5, is the Hierophant. Dan then, is a Hierophant Soul. (Think Pope!).
However, there are those with dual souls. Lets take "Sindy" as an example. She is born Oct. 17, 1956.
- 1+ 9 + 8 + 3 = 21
- Because Sindy's number is less than 22, we retain 21. When we check the interpretation we find she is a World soul. This is a Higher Soul Archetype, as are all archetypes from 11 (Justice) to 22 (the Fool).
- Now, we take the 21, and reduce that: 2 + 1 = 3. We see that Sindy's Primary Archetype is 3, the Empress.
Calculating Your Year Cycles
First, never forget that the year cycles are birthday to birthday, not calendar year.
Another simple formula. Elementary dear Watson.
- Add together your month and day.
Dan: Sept 22 , which is 09, and the day, 22, which adds to 31.
- Take your 31 and DO NOT REDUCE IT FURTHER. Take this number and add it to the year you wish to know about. For instance, 1997 plus 31, which gives us 2028.
- Now, take 2028 and add the digits together. 2 + 0 + 2 + 8
- From this we get 12. Dan is in a 12 year, the Hanged Man. We do not reduce this further to 3, though it is understood that 3, the Empress, is a part of his year cycle energy simply because it is a lower octave of Hanged Man. (12 reduces to 1 plus 2 = 3.)
In Part 2 we'll look at individual tarot archetypes.