The Soul is comprised of 22 Sacred Dancers, or archetypes in Western terminology. The depiction of these 22 aspects of the Soul are evidenced in the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot, the 22 letters of the Hebraic alphabet, the Mayan calendar's 22 cycles (of 52 years each), and in our own DNA which has 23 pairs of chromosomes, one pair determining whether we are male or female, the other 22 pairs determining our characteristics.
Each of the Sacred Dancers carries, implicit within it's structure, a capacity of development and empowerment that is engendered by our emotive responses to life's situations and experiences, our programmed conditionings, beliefs and feelings, and epiphanies or traumas Dependent upon the quality of emotional response, whether life-positive or life-negative, the Sacred Dancer's qualitative nature is created thereby. If one should experience a reverent, heart-felt and honoring feeling in the presence of a person who exhibits a positive role-modeling, the appropriate Sacred Dancer within the Soul is enhanced in its nature with an infusion of life-force that carries with it a life-positive charge. Conversely, if an individual has experiences of revulsion and disgust, learning to mistrust and fear others who express a particular archetypal stance, the Sacred Dancer within is endowed with a dissonant quality of life-force associated with that particular archetype.
Examples of these differing models abound. One such example, in a life positive manner, is the archetype of Father. When a child is treated with respect, shown guidance and spiritual direction, where love is openly expressed, concern shown and given through encouragement and discipline by the child's Father, or other Father figures, the child empowers the Sacred Dancer of Father in a life-enhancing state. When, on the other hand, the child's experience of the Father is debilitating, demeaning, lacking appropriate guidance and support, the quality of life-force fed into the structure of the Sacred Dancer is disruptive and degenerative. Every culture has, woven in its mythologies, stories of the Sacred Dancers. The archetype of Father is embodied within Odin, Zeus, Yahweh, Sun Father and the Tarot's Emperor. Mother is exemplified as Demeter, Mary, Earth Mother, Frigg of Norse mythology and the Empress of the Tarot. Likewise, the aspect of Trickster is to be found as Loki, Coyote, the Tarot card of Fool, and Hermes. Persephone, Isis, Astarte, Magdalene and the High Priestess of the Tarot all are archetypal expressions of the intuitive function, the Inner Feminine.
The culture figure I will utilize for understanding here is the Hero. In Greece we find Hercules and in Norse mythology it is Thor, while in Native America, Monster-Slayer appears as Hero under many a name and guise. Every Sacred Dancer has specific attributes by which it can be recognized, regardless of the culture of origin.
The characteristics of the Hero are: the Hero is born in a place or manner that is different from the general populace, has a garb or regalia which denotes that difference, and, due to the Hero's supernatural manner or place of birth, has special powers, abilities and gifts. The classic Hero utilizes these special powers and gifts to rescue those in need.
In the United States of America, 20th century, there is a culture figure who portrays all of these characteristics: Superman! In addition to the inherent attributes that make him recognizable as a culture Hero, Superman has qualities of consciousness that make him distinctive. Superman has a conscience, seeks justice for all, and has a guiding principle of moral rightness, which, at times, is shown as an excruciating inner conflict as to the correct course of action. Superman exemplifies the life-positive expression of the Hero.
Another semi-popular culture Hero of the latter 20th century is a character from the TV show 'A-Team': Mr. T. He is born in a place 'other' than the general viewing audience: the Philadelphia ghetto. He displays a garb and regalia that shows his uniqueness, his gold teeth, hefty gold chains and Mohawk haircut. His special powers, abilities and gifts are not just his brawn, but also his intelligence that enables him to manufacture weapons of great destruction from household items. These he uses to rescue those in need, but in so doing he may lay waste to an entire city block. Mr. T is vile, cruel, demeaning, arrogant and violent. He is the epitome of the life-negative expression of the Hero. And yet -- he is a Hero. Just as an archetypal figure may be seen to have either the qualitative nature of good or ill, so do we, as individuals, have the capacity for life enabling or disabling expressions of any given Sacred Dancer. Extending the example of the Hero, let us suppose that any Sacred Dancer within our Soul has the capacity of holding a hundred units of life-force. We will, due to societal influences, modeling our behaviors through admiration or refusal, emotional traumas or inspirational events, empower the Hero (or any Sacred Dancer) in the proportion of those imports. Let us say that we have empowered the Hero with 60 units of life force that is patterned from Superman, an uncle who risked his life to save another, or a Mahatmas Gandhi. The remaining 40 units are then endowed after the manner of Mr. T: the local 'Made Men' of the neighborhood gangsters and an admiration of self-serving abusers of power, etc.
A Sacred Dancer may be called forth into conscious embodied expression in two manners. The first is through conscious willful evocation. The second is as a spontaneous response to a triggering situation. Assuming good-will on the part of every person, none of us wish to express ourselves in a life-denying manner. Unconsciously we then set the life-positive element of the Hero-within to nullify the life-negative element of the inner Hero. When we have, as in this example, a 60/40 composition, it takes a full 40 units of Superman to nullify the existent 40 units of Mr. T. This leaves us only 20% effective in our capability to express the Hero in the situation that demands a heroic response.
In summation, we find that we are ineffectual in our ability to meet the needs of the situation. This further defeats our self-esteem, feeding the life-negative emotional state of our Hero-within. Consider now that we have empowered our Hero with 80 units of Mr. T and only 20 units of Superman. Setting Superman against Mr. T before acting heroically fully dries up our life-positive capability while leaving the life-negative expression functioning at 60%. This is pretty effective, overall.
We, however, then express the Hero in a life-demeaning manner, seeking self-aggrandizement and glory, rather than selfless service. In such a dynamic we may then refer to the life-negatively endowed expression of the archetype, which is triumphant, as the Adversary. When an Adversary is the expression of the Sacred Dancer that comes into conscious embodiment, we find ourselves acting out in manners and with behaviors that we consciously have no desire to express. These may show themselves as phobias, neurotic fixations, self-sabotage, poor habits and out-of-control behaviors. In the situation where an Adversary has come into presence we find that the Will is not sufficient to counteract the influence the Adversary exerts.
For the purpose of examining the further dynamics of the Sacred Dancers, imagine that the 22 are arrayed in position on a wheel.
This 'Wheel -of-the-Sacred Dancers' normally spins with ease, allowing for spontaneous expression of any given archetype respondent to the needs of any given situation in life. We also have a 'Window-of-Identity'. Its sole expression is to say "I Am". Whichever Sacred Dancer is residing in the Window-of-Identity is what we, in that moment, proclaim ourselves to be. If we are called upon to be fatherly, the Father archetype emerges into the window and we say, "I am Father". Should we find ourselves romantically engaged by our mate, Lover rises into the window, replacing whichever archetype had previously been residing there. When we are about to enter a ceremony or session where we are to assist another in their healing the Sacred Dancer of the Healer comes into focus, and so on. The Window-of-Identity is, for all practical purposes, known as the Ego.
Should an Adversary rise into the Window-of-Identity and refuse to be replaced when another archetype's need of expression arises, we then say that the Adversary has become a Usurper. A Usurper's appropriation of autonomous and authentic self-expression brings about a behavioral condition that is generally recognized as an ego-fixation.
For example: "Hello. I am Dr. John Smith, D.D.S. This is my wife, Mrs. Dr, John Smith, D.D.S. And this is my son, John Jr. He is going to be an orthodontist when he grows up." Here is a man whose entire identity is fixated upon, or usurped by, the Healer archetype. Unable to perceive himself in any manner but that of a dentist, his every perception of himself and even his family is shaded by the Usurper. We all may know individuals who are similarly affected. It may be a woman whose only experience of relating to her family, and herself, is as Mother.
Or, a young man who is a Don Juan, the Lover archetype having taken over his ability to interact with women in any manner other than sexually, the drug addict who can only envision their self and world view as an extension of getting high. A person who has a Usurper in their Window-of-Identity is addicted to their self-perception as being that particular archetypal embodiment. The typical references of a person usurped by an Adversary are that they are indulgent in emotional crutches, addictions, self-perceptions of importance, lack of confidence, low self-worth, over-identification with a skill, trait or characteristic (racial, religious, political etc), reliance on irrational beliefs to bolster a cherished world view and an inability to be flexible in response to new situations; they are the epitome of people with weak egos. Yes, weak egos. A strong ego is a silent ego, it only says, "I am". Ego is weak when the Adversary is constantly proclaiming itself as being necessary and important.
The Shamanic ceremonial utilized to alter the usurpation of our Will requires that the affected individual be guided into the realm of their own Underworld, or Dream, Soul. There the person is aided in calling forth the Adversary where, through the intercession of a Helper Spirit, the Adversary is transformed from its life negative state into a life enhancing state of being. Once this transformation has occurred the life force charge carried by the Sacred Dancer, once malignant, is now, in its fullest charge of empowerment, accessible to the individual in the form of an Advocate. An Advocate is a Sacred Dancer that is endowed with life positive qualities. These self-empowering qualities are then available, to the person who has undergone this ceremony, as a Soul Principle that intercedes in any situation appropriate to it's calling, bringing forth the full value of it's nature as an Advocate on behalf of the individual.
The resultant consequences of undergoing this Shamanic Journey are a newfound freedom of expression where once there had been debilitating behaviors and conditions, addictions and indulgences. In the course of the two hour ceremonial one is enabled to fully engage their own most deep-seated obstacles and impediments and bring into existence a freer and fuller functioning experience of life. In addition one also has in their spiritual arsenal an Advocate-Helper who has been born of the triumphant engagement of one's own Adversary.
(This article is intended to be informative and is in no way to be considered sufficient as an instructional teaching. All information contained in this article is in the intellectual and spiritual caretakership of Jade Wah'oo Grigori and may not be reprinted or utilized in any form, written or otherwise, without his express written permission.Permission to reprint, in its entirety, including this notice and the contact information provided herein, is granted for non-commercial distribution upon notification to Jade Wah'oo Grigori.)
This article was reprinted with Jade's kind permission.
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