Archetypes

Artist as Leader

In North American Aboriginal culture, artistic ability was highly prized and considered a quality that showed potential for leadership.  The Western tradition, on the other hand, has arguably rewarded rationality and fluidity of logic over artistic abilty -- at least before the Dark Ages and after Enlightenment-- and there is a glaring

The Pentad

There was a question online from someone in one of my groups who was afraid of death- how do you deal with the fear?  When questions come up about death, I think of the pentad with its arms outstretched because the ancient Greeks associated the number Five with life, self-renewal and fecundity.  As an Enneagrammer, I see it also associated with generosity, giving and receiving, vulnerability and openness, qualities associated with a healthy Type Five individual.

The Enneagram and Tarot

Over the last two years, I've had the most interesting and frustrating journey with tarot cards.  I started learning them two years ago and early on, began to see the connection between its archetypes and those of the Enneagram, which drove me to understand tarot as much as I could.  Surely, somewhere in humanity's distant history, the two modalities were used side-by-side, or at least they cross-pollinated each other over time.

Six Things To Know About Depression

I feel ill-qualified to write a blogpost about depression this morning; there are hundreds of millions of articles on the internet about it, many of which are written by medical doctors who've been studying psychology for several years.  Having depression doesn't necessarily qualify a person to write about it for two reasons. 

Do Children of Type Nines look like them?

It's a long weekend and I don't feel like writing something serious this morning, so I'm posting something fun.  As my girlfriend has sent me pictures of her babies for the last year and a half, I can't help but notice they both look so much like her and not her husband, who is a Type 9.  I know this is totally subjective, but I wonder if that's a thing with Nines,

Your Astrological Sign versus Your Enneagram Type

 Shadow qualities of the Leo. I have this magnet on my fridge.

Shadow qualities of the Leo. I have this magnet on my fridge.

I find it fascinating to note how peoples' Enneagram type is contained or at conflict with their astrological birth chart. You can have synergy between the two, or you can have a real battle to get the shadow stuff integrated into a workable dynamic where you can get some flow in your life. 

Someone could be having a veritable war within themselves if they've got two very different, conflicting energies that don't get along, and it can result in a stop-and-go quality to your life's flow where nothing really gets off the ground.  On the other hand, they can have complementary energies and life unfolds without much inner searching.  For example, Donald Trump is a fun-loving Gemini with an ascendant in pushy Leo and a Sexual Enneagram Type 8- there are quite a few overlapping traits those three archetypes share.  Not much reason to sit and ponder his approach to life because there's little inner conflict prompting him to do so. 

There are many tools you can use in coaching.  Obviously I think everyone in the mental health profession should know the Enneagram, but astrology can step in and help sometimes.  You can describe to someone the essence qualities of their Enneagram type, and their levels of health, and they can develop an awareness of their red flag moments, they can develop an awareness of their bodies and be able to "catch themselves in the act", (they can even learn about the Greek/Egyptian shape and volume associations and claim them as their birthright), but just like the unfolding process is sped up and enriched by adding the Enneagram to a meditation practice because it gives you a visual -the map of the psychic structure that you're unfolding- so also astrology can also speed up and enrich the process by helping you understand the energy with which you're unfolding.  Libras unfold on their tiptoes, dancing to some kind of romantic operatic ballet, Leos unfold in a pimped out Jeep driven by frat boys with a bunch of girls in bikinis in the back seat, Scorpios unfold in a safe with multiple combination locks, and Virgos unfold in an Amish dress with a full-length slit up the side.  And you can be male or female, and any Enneagram type with any instinctual stack and still have this other energy to reckon with.

I have four planets in brash and loud Leo, but you wouldn't have been able to tell I had any Leo at all until maybe a few years ago because that big energy was so curtailed by the introverted, inward-directed movement of the Self-Preservation Enneagram Type 4.  I knew I was intense, but I didn't know how to give expression to it.  Type 4, especially the Self-Preservation subtype is underexpressive, melancholic and self-doubting; Leo is arrogant, the life of the party and the center of attention.  You have to figure out how to have these two huge archetypal energies work together in sync within you.  It's learning to dance with your shadow instead of this jerky movement back and forth between repressing/disowning your shadow, and wanting so badly to express it and having it coming out in awkward ways.

Your astrological sign is another level of archetypes you have within you.  You're complicated.  If anyone knows another good way to describe the interplay between the two systems, I'm curious and I'd like to hear about it.

Type 8s

There are nine personality types in the Enneagram.  This is my very quickly jotted, bullet-point form description of an 8.  They're my favorite type as they're exactly the opposite of my type.  I love their directness, big heartedness, charm, and confidence, although they're also one of the most feared types because they can use their big energy to intimidate people-- consciously and unconsciously.

Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others

Basic Desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny)
— Enneagram Institute
  • They're the most transparent in their motives, direct, and the simplest to understand (and they wouldn't be offended to hear me say that).  You don't have to read between the lines to know what they want.  They will tell you, as well as how you can help them (unless they're a Self-Pres 8, in which case they won't tell you- they'll just go and get it).
  • They like to do things BIG because they're unconsciously defending themselves against feeling small and vulnerable inside.
  • They will avoid any situation that will have them be dependent on someone- either romantically, financially, physically, or any other way.
  • Don't allow themselves to feel "weak" emotions like embarassment, sadness, or fear.  Their driving motivation is to toughen themselves up against any inner weakness they might perceive in themselves.  Their go-to emotion is anger, as it's the most accessible.
  • They love intensity.  Intensity makes them feel alive.  Depending on level of their EQ, they may use drugs, alcohol, strong coffee, caffeinated tea, sex, loud music, shock value or anything that will maintain a certain level of intensity.  Lack of intensity feels like death.
  • Physically: sometimes have a square jaw, belly is often the first to gain weight, often quite strong and/or stocky, or at least mesomorphic build.
  • "Natural leaders".  Often asked to take the lead, and they shoulder the responsibility quite seriously.  At work, they can quite often be in your face, hustling people for reports, confrontational, protective of their interests or employees, depending on what kind of 8 they are, not afraid to tell the truth, even if it offends (and for those with lower EQ, especially if it offends). 
  • In search of the truth and what feels "real".  Disdain for fluff, weakness, cowards, tears, new age shit, decorum, foreplay, tofu, and sometimes their own clothes, anything that's covering up or separating them from "Reality", or "The Truth". 
  • Need to be in control in order to be able to relax.
  • The least complicated defence mechanism: denial. 
  • Energy comes from the gut, the centre of action.  Often act now, think later (Less so Self-Preservation 8's who are very calculating about getting what they want.)
  • If you want them to stop doing something, you have to tell them, "stop doing this thing."  Sometimes it helps to put your hand out in front of you.  Anything that's direct and clear.  They love people who can match their energy and push back.  They don't like realizing after the fact that they've bowled someone over, especially a loved one.
  • Narrative of their life revolves around defending their territory, whether that be physically, financially, academically, relationship-wise, etc.  In that sense, they're the best kind of friend to have.  They think most fundamentally in terms of us vs. them, and you want to be on their side.  They derive their value from protecting those they love and being a pitbull toward anyone on the "outside"....
  • ...Therefore also often called a "big teddy bear"
  • Blame others when things go wrong. (again, the source of evil is outside them)
 The Beast is a Type 8.  If you want an Eight to do something for you, just ask!  They get their sense of self-worth by being protectors of those in their charge.  But don't ask them to be vulnerable until they're 100 PERCENT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN it will be safe to do so.

The Beast is a Type 8.  If you want an Eight to do something for you, just ask!  They get their sense of self-worth by being protectors of those in their charge.  But don't ask them to be vulnerable until they're 100 PERCENT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN it will be safe to do so.

 Donald Trump is a Type 8.  He wants to keep refugees out of America because in order for his inner Type 8 Protector narrative to work, there has to be a bad guy to protect against, and the refugees are the most obvious "enemies".  It doesn't matter if he's right to create this polarization or not, it's what's convenient to his getting into power (Low EQ).

Donald Trump is a Type 8.  He wants to keep refugees out of America because in order for his inner Type 8 Protector narrative to work, there has to be a bad guy to protect against, and the refugees are the most obvious "enemies".  It doesn't matter if he's right to create this polarization or not, it's what's convenient to his getting into power (Low EQ).

 Type 8's are always innocent- it's you with the problem.  The sound of a Type 8 appologizing is like the sound of a tree falling in a forest when there's no one there.

Type 8's are always innocent- it's you with the problem.  The sound of a Type 8 appologizing is like the sound of a tree falling in a forest when there's no one there.

 Here's what a Type 8 looks like when they focus their energy and accomplish something transcendental beyond his own personal goals.  Although I mean, apparently he was a womanizer and had his issues.   But still.  Good example here of a big-hearted, generous Type 8 who sacrificed himself for a greater cause.

Here's what a Type 8 looks like when they focus their energy and accomplish something transcendental beyond his own personal goals.  Although I mean, apparently he was a womanizer and had his issues.   But still.  Good example here of a big-hearted, generous Type 8 who sacrificed himself for a greater cause.

 Type 8's are not afraid to throw things if that will release their pent up anger.  (Russell Crowe famously threw a phone at a hotel employee).  After they've blown off steam, they come back to homeostasis fairly quickly, but then they wonder why everyone is seething at them.

Type 8's are not afraid to throw things if that will release their pent up anger.  (Russell Crowe famously threw a phone at a hotel employee).  After they've blown off steam, they come back to homeostasis fairly quickly, but then they wonder why everyone is seething at them.

 Type 8's don't want anything holding them back, not even their underwear.

Type 8's don't want anything holding them back, not even their underwear.

Why I use Tarot Cards

  Tarot cards are an intuitive way of getting a beat on the energy of a particuar situation.   Image from Fortune Magazine. 

Tarot cards are an intuitive way of getting a beat on the energy of a particuar situation.  Image from Fortune Magazine. 

This summer, my landlady needed a cleaning agent to kill some pests, and I knew I had exactly what she needed, although it was nowhere to be found in any of my likely storage places.  A few days after I'd promised her I could help her, I decided "what could it hurt if I asked my tarot cards?"  I did a three-card reading and the answer I got was that it was "behind [or after] addictive substances."  I don't have any addictive substances amongst my possessions- illegal anyways- but the closest I could think of was wine bottles, so I went to the storage room and checked at the back of a shelf behind some bottles, and voila- there it was.

Two days ago, I read an article on Fortune Magazine about how more and more executives are turning to psychics, astrologers, and tarot card readers to make important business decisions.  From the perspective of the service provider, this is a good business to be in if you know your shit.  Some of them charge up to 800$ an hour to give their clients insight into their competitions' business.  I have worked with three astrologers- one of them studied with Carl Jung's daughter, and she charges 400$ CDN for 80 minutes.  Most of her clients are executives, as she inadvertently revealed in a huff of impatience with me one session.  She can afford to be picky; she books a year in advance, and she expresses a certain displeasure with you if you don't take the opportunities that she tells you about.  Mr. M and I were referred to her by a former Pepsi exec and Fortune 500 VP that we met at a workshop.  He'd used her to get through a divorce and found her to be extremely helpful.

Through experience, I have learned to take my horoscopes with a healthy dose of salt and rely more on personalized readings from astrologers who are actually reading my chart.  I do really like one website, though, for their horoscopes: astrolis.com.  One day this past May, after having read their horoscopes for a good year, I decided to click on the "tarot" section, wondering what baloney they were going to try and feed me, and when I clicked on the three cards, three cartooney pictures were revealed.  I read the descriptions beside the pictures, and the sentiments in the card mirrored the general gist of what I was going through, so I asked another question and clicked on the cards again. 

That was the beginning of my adventure with tarot cards.  Since then, they've forwarned me about a break-up, warned me what it would be like if I went back to an old boyfriend, told me [correctly] that my next boyfriend would be younger than me, helped me understand why someone was being cold with me, pointed me in the right career direction, and helped me make good decisions while apartment hunting.  Right now I'm using them to find something else that got lost last summer.  They can be insanely tricky to read due to multiple meanings, or their meaning can be clear as day- the more you use them and sit and think about their meanings, the better reader you become. 

Yes, there's a lot of hokiness out there, and you do need to be careful.  My ex and I visited a palm reader for kicks last summer in an old, smoky, run-down house in Philadelphia, and she was way out to lunch.  On the other hand, I had a tarot card reading a month ago, and she was off on some things [and I knew it], and embarassingly accurate in others.  You can find quacks and frauds just as easily in a financial planning company or a law office as you can in a psychic's youtube channel.  You can also find people who are grounded and wise in both places.  Neither needs to be discounted wholesale, you need to follow your gut- ask a trusted friend for a referral.  And of course, you get what you pay for.  400$ or 800$ an hour is going to give you much better quality information from someone with much more experience than someone who charges 50$ an hour.

Open letter to the National Science Foundation

I was watching some Bill Nye videos online today, and there was a dismissive comment made about astrology being a pseudo-science.  I guess I'm really late to the astrology table and I haven't learnt to cower in fear before the scientific community, I suppose, so I was really surprised.  Everyone I've introduced astrology to has had their jaws drop to the floor with how accurate it is.  So I decided to google, "Astrology pseudo-science", and it turns out I'm on the wrong side of current thinking on astrology among scientists.  Well, I aim to change that. 

Tonight I wrote a letter to the National Science Foundation, who, every second year, survey Americans on, among other things their views and opinions on scientific matters.  One question asks respondents, "Do you think astrology is scientific?"  And to the horror of the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye, in 2014, 45% of Americans thought astrology was somewhat or very scientific. I admire these guys a lot, but I disagree with them on 1) the validity of the question's wording, and 2) their interpretation of the statistic.

What does it really mean to "believe in" astrology, and how can the NSF encourage a little more sanity and groundedness around Americans' spirituality?

Hi there, my name is Erin Mulligan and I'm the owner of Rhode and Company in Canada where we (I for the moment) advocate for better spiritual literacy.  We also advocate for scientific literacy, just so you know; we just believe one is no greater than the other. 

I have a suggestion for changes to the wording in your question on your Science and Engineering Indicators poll about opinions on astrology.
 

You ask if Americans think astrology is scientific, but my guess is you're actually trying to gauge if people think it's accurate, or useful, or if they make decisions based on what they learn from their chart.  Am I right?  Of course it's not scientific.  You'd have to change the definition of science in order for a wisdom tradition to squeeze into the Aristotilean delineation around logic and reasoning.  Asking if astrology is scientific is like asking if women are men.  Clearly they fall into very distinct categories; one is for knowing the outer world, and the other is for knowing the inner world and they use different skill sets entirely.  You certainly wouldn't use science to measure someone's emotional intelligence, so why is astrology- a beautiful, robust, and incredibly useful system being measured against its "male" counterpart? 

Carl Jung would have called these two categories I'm referring to as the masculine and feminine principle, or the animus and the anima; Asians would call it the yin and the yang.  My guess is it's probably a little out of science's grasp to try and measure a mystic tradition, so why go there?  As far as I know, astrology isn't trying to impress science, just like women aren't asking men, "Am I a legitimate human being?" and Italians aren't asking the French, "Are we French enough for you?"  Astrology is a language unto itself that takes many years to learn, and decades to master.

By selecting, "yes, I believe it's scientific" pollsters are opened up to guffaws by actual scientists like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, who know that you need to meet a certain set of standards to say something is scientifically valid- a legitimate pursuit, but not astrology's aim.  Asking people to judge if astrology is a science necessarily makes them look foolish because astrology is in an entirely different epistemology, just like the Buddhist practice of mindfulness is a third and equally powerful epistemology.

Self-knowledge correlates with higher emotional intelligence, which in turn correlates with better leadership skills and reported life happiness-- all skills neceessary for getting the world's population out of some of the toughest dillemmas it's ever faced.  And yet the inner world is a very vague and mysterious place sometimes.  Ask any wife if their husband can clearly articulate why they always [fill in the blank with something that annoys the hell out of them], or ask any man if their wife can do the same.  Just like women's medicine has always baffled male doctors, so we don't expect male scientists to automatically "get" a feminine spirituality*.  It takes a motivation to start with usually, like a divorce or a death in the family, or a serious illness, and then a journey begins.

Not only do we call on society to honor the male and female principle, but as Jung also said, we have both the feminine and masculine within each of us, meaning all of us have the impulse to explore and learn about our outer worlds, as much as to explore and learn about our interior world.  In men, the latter impulse is discouraged, as you are probably well aware, and as the numbers of STEM graduates reflect.  Making "believing in astrology" a lightning rod for scientists by getting pollsters to conflate it with science does nothing to encourage the self-knowledge journey (which, by the way, happens in men later in their careers, often as they're retiring and can't have the same impact as if their aha! moment happened in their 30's).

On the other hand!  We agree that making decisions based on horoscopes in the newspaper or online is quite a bad idea.  General horoscopes like that are written in very, very broad brushstrokes based on the 12 ancient archetypes.  Not always, but sometimes they can be quite accurate-- I got into astrology because I read a horoscope that said I was going to double-book myself that week, and that Wednesday, I actually triple-booked myself.  It made me do a double-take.  However, I have also then gone on to make the mistake of basing decisions on what I read on a horoscope from the internet, and now that I've learned my lesson, I just get readings done by a  professional astrologer which are more accurate because they have my specific birth data.  So I no more advocate for sloppy spiritual practices than you do for sloppy scientific ones.  My astrologer, by the way, studied with Carl Jung's daughter and is one of the most highly sought-after astrologers in the United States.  She was recommended to me by a male 50-something American angel investor, a former Fortune 50 executive who has his own spiritual practice now.


The mission of my company is to raise the profile of ancient self-knowledge traditions that grew out of Socrates' admonition to know yourself before pursuing any other kind of knowledge.  Science, math, and engineering are wonderful and meaningful pursuits, but in order for their practitioners to be fully "in touch" with reality, they need to be counterbalanced by the feminine principle of the dark, mysterious, inner, and the spiritual.  These characterisitics are notions that balance out the brazen, often unfounded over-the-top self-confidence and old-boys' club mentality that has gotten our environment into some pretty deep trouble.

In order to encourage thoughtfulness, groundedness, and sanity around spirituality, I ask you to please re-think how your astrology question is worded.  I believe you can make a difference in western mentality by changing it so people aren't forced to choose between astrology and science. 
 

All my best,

Erin Mulligan

Rhode and Company

 

*By calling astrology feminine, I don't mean to exclude men from the practice or benefits of astrology.  I just mean it calls for a kind of intuition that Jung associated with the anima.  Any man can develop it, just as any woman can develop characteristics associated with the animus.