INTRO: Back in 2014, my young adult daughter gave me a birthday card with a picture of a Queen on the front cover with the caption ‘You Totally Rule’. I was surprised that she chose that picture, as I did not see myself as a ‘Queen’ but she did, in a nice way! I had previously read about Archetypes and receiving this card prompted me to write this poem.
I want to take a moment to briefly explain Archetypes to help you understand the context of this poem. Archetypes are symbols used in literature, art and mythology and refer to the recurrence of characters or ideas sharing similar traits throughout history. For example, a Queen is a female ruler of a country or province, a queen is the most powerful chess piece in a game of chess, or a queen is a woman who possesses a status of importance or success e.g., ‘queen of the pops.’
Another example of an Archetype is a Thief. When we see a picture of a figure in black hooded clothes with a mask and a torch tiptoeing away, we identify that image as a Thief; or we may call someone a Thief in an emotional sense because he/she “stole my heart” (positive) or “stole my reputation or an opportunity” (negative). Some other Archetypes include a Clown, Don Juan, Father, King.
The general theory is that Archetypes have a character identity, which spans throughout history and crosses cultures, and they also have a behaviour characteristic that is commonly associated with them. For example, a teacher is found at a school or college; or we may say to someone “You’re not my teacher” if they are always lecturing us and telling us what to do! A Rescuer is a Surf Life Saver and someone who rescues people from physical danger; or someone who rescues people or their partner emotionally).
This poem shares my thoughts as I lightly pondered over some Archetypes that I have recognized throughout my life. Beverley Joy.
Primitive mental images
Represent throughout the ages
Themes and character
Patterns of human nature.
From the beginning of humanity
Unchanged throughout history
They are still recognizable
And present in all people.
Preconceived ideas and stereotypes
Of character traits that typify
A person or situation
An attitude or presumption.
Archetypes show two perspectives
The physical and symbolic
The physical we can touch and see
The symbolic, we think and feel.
Now let’s look at some Archetypes
The image our mind recalls
Characters long familiar to all
How they continue to play a role.
The Warrior in us awakens
To rise to certain occasions
Though timid, we will stand to protect
When danger, we detect.
The Damsel in Distress
Beautiful and vulnerable
Weak and helpless
Waiting for her Hero.
Afraid to go it alone
The Damsel is rescued by
Her Knight in Shining Armour
Who fights her battles for her.
Devoted to her Prince
Safe within the castle walls
The Princess lives in isolation
As her Prince goes to work to battle dragons.
The Engineer is hands-on
Devoted to making things work
Grounded, strategic, and orderly
Converting the creative to practicality.
The Lover show passion and devotion
A lover of the arts, nature, or religion
Deep affection for someone or something
Driven by emotions and understanding.
The Mother is a life-giver
Unselfish patient devotion
Giving birth to an idea, a book, a song
Nurturing until it has fully grown.
The Poet, the Author, or the Artist
Sharing expressions of people, life, and scenes
By method of words, paint, and melody
Telling stories through creative imagery.
The Servant hired by money or time
Serving the needs of another’s life
Often unnoticed and taken for granted
Can lose the value of one’s own existence.
The Storyteller shares life stories
Of love and hate, success, and mistakes
Sometimes fictitious and exaggerated
Mostly heart-warming entertainment.
The student is constantly learning
In the hope of advancing their earnings
They must stop long enough to apply to their life
What they’ve learnt so far, to master the art.
The Wounded Healer has suffered
An injury, illness, or loss
Of someone or something dear
With no conventional cure.
Healing must come first to feed
A desire to help others heal
Healing can shape a career path
Giving purpose to a troubled past.
There are hundreds of Archetypes for us to explore
To google and research, to find out more
Their impact throughout world history
Their presence in character, time, and themes.
Beverley Joy © 2019 of Simply Story Poetry All Rights Reserved.
You can listen to all my poems on several podcast platforms here
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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