What’s the difference between a stereotype and an archetype?
Mostly it’s the understanding that something is big, juicy and multifaceted. An Archetype is not offensive because it takes into account all the interpersonal and individual life paths that lead to and from the archetype. It’s a sectional representation of you and should be used for self-reflection and awareness. Stereotypes are placed on another person and used to confine a whole; they are a shell and will crumble when held up to any form of inspection.
Think of a stereotype as a horizontal cross section of someone, flat and depressed. Where an archetype is the vertical slice of a full being.
Consider the Triple Goddess archetypes, the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. They live in all people regardless of having born or raised children, age, sexuality or background. They even reside in men as we all carry parts (or should in a healthy individual) of the masculine and feminine. Keep in mind, this is discussing energy, emotion, and reactions – not physical gender.
The Maiden represents the young and spontaneous spirit of women before motherhood. She is a representation of coming of age, first loves, and starting out on your own. She is the part of you that wants to dance and sing and feels all that pent up sexual energy. Knowing this helps determine when your Maiden is in control. Consider consulting your Mother and Crone pieces when making large decisions. This way you can be in your full authenticity. Consulting does not mean you ignore your maiden.
Ignoring any part of yourself is not being authentic.
If you don’t let her make choices sometimes she will rebel and you will be sadder in the long run. It can lead to moments of “who am I?” or “I used to be fun.” It can also lead to moments of resentment and make things you love feel like a cage.
The Mother represents, to me, everything that comes with loving someone else so much it hurts. This part is equally worrying, as it is nurturing. If you have ever watched someone you love make a decision that you knew would hurt him or her, then you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach. As a parent, it is often what starts the feeling of ownership and control with our children. It’s what makes us want to force an outcome and plan. The Mother side, when healthy, is a force to be reckoned with. She is the most nurturing parts of us and will fight to the death. She is all you could ever want or need in self-love.
However, when unhealthy, she is overbearing, angry, and anxiety-ridden. She needs to control versus live in the flow.
The unknown is too scary for her. In this scenario, you are both the mother and the child, and you can love or berate yourself. The worst thing I see is when women use her to confine instead of nurture.
The Crone is the seat of intuition and a wise woman. She is no longer run by the cycles of her hormones. She has a lifetime of knowledge and intuition and has figured out the flow of life. She is harsh when she forgets the Maiden and Mother are still in the cycles of the world. Her tendency is to communicate in parables or high-level ideas instead of being clear and concise. This is because she has learned the value of figuring out the puzzle on your own. She has the bad habit of finding humor in watching someone struggle with an idea. The Crone can treat your Maiden and Mother like cats while she throws a laser beam around watching them in chaos.
The Crone should not be ignored. She is smart and full of wisdom and intuition. She is funny, charming, and a bit off a rocker, the way your 80-year-old grandma is when she no longer gives a shit what others think.
Ignoring your Crone you will lead your Maiden and Mother to become wreck-loose crazy people who hate her. You will end up never being spontaneous and sexy or you will end up running from your Crone and missing all her wisdom.
We all fall into stereotypes whether we like it or not. We all assign others into them no matter how hard we try not to. I have often heard people say, “They are stereotypes for a reason.” That may be true, but I hate such flat things. I like my people like I like my cake, in vertical slices. More icing that way! Yum!
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy’s Future.