The Magical Kingdom of Archetypes
When Walter Disney developed Disneyland, I wonder if his real intent was not just to provide family entertainment, but to build a place where archetypes could be celebrated. Jung calls archetypes a primordial, structural elements of the human soul, which are embedded into the cultural unconscious psyche (also known as the collective unconscious), consisting of pre-existent forms, which are universal, and inherited.
Why are archetypes so important? Because we all have stories to tell, and myths, fairytales, and archetypes tell us about our Self, why we behave the way we do, and they reveal the part of our Self that is primitive and perhaps unacceptable to others and perhaps, even ourselves.
Many archetypes live in the magical kingdom: Peter Pan (eternal child), Cinderella (persecuted heroine), The Fairy Godmother (divine mother), and so many others. For me, there is nothing like the escapism of Disneyland, or maybe it’s just where I come to meet the myths that allow me to make meaning of the narratives in my life. Which is probably why Disney's Amusement Parks are so popular, even with adults.
Another place I experience escapism is in my dreams at night. One dream that I can recall vividly (which I dreamt over ten years ago) consists of being in the woods. It seems to be sometime during late autumn or winter. I enter a stately home, substantial in size but smaller than a mansion. Its furnishings are of earthly wood, luxurious fabrics, and accessories adorn the home. It’s a bit dim, but I’m not afraid. There is a sense of calmness and elegance to the home. It’s a beautiful place, but secluded, deep in the forest.
The woods or forest houses many trees. A tree is usually universally regarded as a symbol of the relationship between heaven and earth, and is associated with biological development, and therefore, symbolizes life. I was taught, even from an early age, that the universe would send us messages, whether in dreams, a book, through another person, or another medium. What was it my soul was really looking for? What were the images in my dream telling me?
Several years ago, I clicked on an internet link that popped up on my computer screen. I was surprised to see that Cinderella has a hidden suite at Disneyland, which is not available to the general public. Not even celebrities. Every so often, a lucky park visitor is chosen by Disney employees for an overnight stat in this very exclusive hideaway, which is the only way one is able to have accommodations in Cinderella’s private chamber. The images of the suite were similar to those of the house in my forest dream. The furnishings are earth tones with luxurious fabrics and jewels. The suite is also a beautiful place and secluded, like the place in my dream.
At that time, I was living oceanfront in a very busy beach town. It seemed like there was a riot waiting to happen every five minutes on the main street. People walked in front of my home all hours of the day, and almost every morning, even on the weekends, my alarm clock was the construction work that was occurring next door, above me, or near me. When people visualize the beach, they imagine tranquility. That was not my experience in this particular community. It really was a party town with endless amounts of people, day and night. And although I feel blessed that I was able to live oceanfront, I also wanted a place far away from the party atmosphere. I wanted a place that I didn't have to share with the world. I wanted peace. I wanted trees. I wanted some water. I didn't need a whole ocean as my back yard. Just, perhaps, a little stream in front of my home, and a handful of people who could relate to that.
About three years ago, I discovered a home for sale in the forest of the county where I live. I knew the first moment I got out of my car and laid eyes on the wooden structure that this was my home. Yet, I know that I did not choose the house. The house chose me. Amazingly enough, I now live in the forest, in this beautiful home, in front of a creek, secluded from the chaos of city and suburban life. Which is really what my soul needed and wanted and it had been telling me through dreams and archetypes.
Perhaps this is one of the lessons archetypes, myths, and fairytales can teach us. Like Cinderella in the beginning of the story, many of us (men and women), feel emotionally battered by the challenges of life. By imagining and then listening to what our soul needs and wants, we can manifest that in our waking reality; and no matter how pummeled we feel, we also have the capabilities of reaching our highest potential and realizing our dreams.
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