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Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Archetypes by Caroline Myss

Who Are You?
Caroline Myss
Hay House, Inc.
  • ISBN9781401941086
  • Price24.95
  • CurrencyUSD

Archetypes is intended as a self-help to guide people toward their life goals.  While its target audience is female, it does address males as well.  The book breaks down people into ten, convenient categories:  advocate, artist, athlete, caregiver, fashionista, intellectual, queen, rebel, spiritual, and visionary.  In each category, the section discusses the type's life journey, unique challenge, universal lesson, defining grace, inner shadow, male counterpart, myths, recognition of type, and lifestyle.  In other words, it describes characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and things to work on.  It aims not only to help people to fit into their potential roles, but also to set them on their path.

The author bio states that Myss is an eld in energy medicine, which may turn off a number of readers.  Her perspective colors the presentation:
"One way archetypes communicate to us is by energizing or animating our myths and fantasies.... The cosmic forces that organize coincidences and synchronistic happenings intrigued Jung, as it was obvious that some moments in our lives contain such events while others do not....  [F]ew of us ignore ignore such happenings, preferring to view them as expressions of archetypal energies spontaneously organizing events in our lives." 

Although the book does dip into mystical jargon, readers put off by such could skip such sections.  Whatever your persuasion, the seeker can find plenty of insight into human nature.

I grabbed it to review as a possible aid in creating characters.  Certainly, it has its own POV voice, coloring how it presents the material.  How would a mystic relate such matters?  Also, I found myself--normally put off by a certain type--sympathizing more with their struggles.  Perhaps seeing other types as human will encourage writers to pen more realistic portrayals.

Potential weaknesses of this book may be that not all types of people are covered and that some readers, like myself, might find themselves slipping into multiple roles, possibly confusing one's identity.  Myss does address the latter to some extent, but not in detail.  This is worth checking out if you're struggling with an identity crisis, or worth exploring if you're a writer and one or more of the above types annoy you.

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