Updated: Jul 18
What are archetypes? What role do they play in alchemy and tarot?
Archetypes are things we individually or collectively agree on. There are archetypes of the body, spirit and soul.
Archetypes of the body include Goddesses and Gods, saints and masters, teachers and healers. Venus, Gilgamesh, Brigid, Odysseus, Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Jesus, Muhammed and the Buddha are all examples of archetypes of the body, and the spirits of all are recognizable in alchemy and tarot.
Archetypes of the spirit include philosophy, cosmology and religion. The Philosophy Foundation offers this short definition of philosophy and its practice: "Philosophy is a way of thinking about certain subjects such as ethics, thought, existence, time, meaning and value. That 'way of thinking' involves 4 Rs: responsiveness, reflection, reason and re-evaluation. The aim is to deepen understanding. The hope is that by doing philosophy we learn to think better, to act more wisely, and thereby help to improve the quality of all our lives." Every culture develops systems of thought that lead to better understanding oneself and the world. Cosmology is a system of beliefs that seeks to describe or explain the origin and structure of the universe. We find this practice throughout alchemy and tarot. Religion is most often defined a set of organized beliefs, practices, and systems relating to belief and worship of a controlling force such as a personal god or another supernatural power.
Archetypes of the soul include prayer, practices of meditation, and All-Seeing experiences. These archetypes are in many ways more deeply personal, yet all of these archetypes bind
humans to each other in the pursuit of greater knowledge and self-awareness.
Alchemy and tarot navigate inquiry that brings us ever closer to revelation and the truth.
Lao-Tu said, ''The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.''
In Joseph Campbell’s teaching of the hero’s journey the author identified three main phases in the monolith: departure, initiation and return. All humans who seek knowledge, answers and truth participate in this cyclical adventure of body, spirit and soul.
It's why alchemy and tarot still resonate after thousands of years. They help us better understand archetypes and he very real ways they play defining roles in our individual stories.
Every ancient Celtic community included an appointed person—female or male—to listen deeply to others and offer comfort, understanding, guidance, wisdom and empathy. This work, known as reading a friend’s heart, is practiced every day in every culture and religion on earth.
No one is more qualified to read a friend’s heart than Isha Lerner, an internationally acclaimed astrologer and flower essence expert whose sessions unlock the secrets of archetypes and human consciousness.