What part of me is being expressed with this archetype? This is the part of me that likes to detach in order to gain perspective on situations. I’m in a fairly unemotional state when expressing this archetype. This is how I need to be to take a cold, rational and logical look at things. This is the part of me that can consider multiple options. Its not too interested in judging which option is best, but rather in seeing what the options are. When I take time to reflect on a situation, removed from the emotional intensity of the moment, I use my magician archetype.

When I think about my magician I think of the part of me that likes riddles, that likes to always see another point of view, possibly the part of me that plays the ‘devils advocate’. And thinking is what this archetype does best. In fact if I’m stuck in my head, endlessly considering options without ever actually choosing what to do- I’m expressing my magician. The posture I imagine is me stroking my chin as I consider things. There is an introspective quality in this energy.

Another aspect of this energy is the ability to look for, and spot danger. This is the part of me that is alert to potential hazards ahead. In Shadow work we associate each of the four archetypes in our model with the four fundamental emotions we feel. For the magician the gateway emotion is fear. We say ‘gateway’ because when I feel fear or anxiety I move into this magician place. If I am afraid or anxious, If I am feeling threatened in some way, a really useful thing to do is to detach. I might do that physically, emotionally or mentally. The detachment gets me away from the risk, from the threat and I can take a good look at my options from a safe perspective. This is magician work. So its not that I am frightened when expressing this archetype, rather that fear ushers in my magician skills.

We can think of people or professions that utilize this universal human ability. Scientists, some doctors, strategists. Therapists may utilize this energy in order to get an unemotional perspective on a persons problems. In earlier human societies the Shaman, or wise woman expressed this archetype. We don’t have to look too far in stories or myth to find examples either: from Merlin to Gandalf we find trusted advisers with the ability to see what others cannot.

When we remember that as humans we are just animals, we can consider what animal instincts these human archetypes correspond to. In our model we see parallels between the magician archetype and the predator instinct in animals. All living creatures, from the simplest single cell organisms have mechanisms to spot prey and kill if the situation demands it. Clearly some detachment helps for this, and this resonates with the magician archetype. Another aspect of this is that it is our predatorial instinct which allows us to see weaknesses, both in others and indeed in ourselves. In other words it allows us to see where the risks are. This magician/ predatory instinct therefore can keep us safe, and ultimately that’s what this archetypal energy in interested in: keeping us safe.

When we do Shadow work we have tools, or techniques that we use to help people access different archetypal energies. It is our believe that people have within them every ability and skill that they need to navigate their lives. And sometimes we get stuck because we can’t access those parts of ourselves that would be most useful in the moment. To help people access their magician energy we use a tool called a ‘split’.

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