About The Architecture
The Architecture is a year-long excursion into the 22 Archetypes and the 12 Relationships between them.
The Project Itself
The Architecture has two components. The first is a series of 12 Archetype write-ups, or essays (perhaps not the best term, but it’s the one I used). I post one new essay roughly every month until the project is complete. Each essay offers an extended individual analysis of two of the 22 Archetypes, followed by an exploration of the Relationship between these two Archetypes. I support the claims I make in these essays with common experiences from my life and from our collective culture—experiences that every reader should be able to identify with in some way. I think of this pool of common experiences that you and I share as a vast data set from which I can pull to support my claims. I close the essays with a set of reflections on specific details of our collective experience upon which the Archetypes in question have a strong impact.
The second component of The Architecture is a series of introductory chapters which outline the context, structure, and larger patterns concerning the 22 Archetypes. I do not know how many of these chapters I will need to write. So far, the number is three. If you are wondering where to begin, I recommend Chapter 1, “A Modern Myth.”
In case you are wondering, I do not have all of these essays and chapters already written. I am not teasing you with trickled material to keep you coming back for more. The Architecture is as much an opportunity for me to share a complete theory with whoever is interested as it is an opportunity to meditate carefully upon each element of this theory before I write and release it. Anyone who has heard me talk about the Archetypes knows that my grasp of them is constantly evolving. I am only now reaching the point where I feel I have a stable and accurate approach that may be safely shared.
Finally, the name, “The Architecture,” suggests a cohesive whole. It also suggests an Architect. I am aware that these concepts may be problematic for some readers. We will have to set ontology to the side for the moment (perhaps I will devote a Chapter 4 or 5 to the ontology of the Architecture), and simply bookmark the topic by saying that these concepts are embedded in the moving parts of the machinery of the human experience. To abandon them is to betray that experience itself. As we move forward, this will become evident.
Sources of Inspiration
There are only 22 Archetypes, and they are represented by the images on the 22 Tarot trump cards. I take this claim as axiomatic. Call it a hunch, but as time goes on I only grow more certain. You may complain at this point that there is no guarantee that my axiom is accurate. And you would be correct. Although experiment is never far from my mind, I am essentially a theorist, so instead of studies I rely upon intuition and the experience that each of my readers and interlocutors bring to the table. Only felicitous exploration of a theoretical assumption will determine its accuracy or inaccuracy.
The Jungian archetypes are no less real than the 22 that we will be exploring in The Architecture, but they are constituted from these 22 in the same way that proteins are constituted from amino acids. In some cases (like the Shadow) the Jungian archetypes correspond exactly to one of the 22, in other cases (like the Ego) the Jungian archetypes are a simple union of two Archetypes, and in still other cases (like the Anima and Animus) the Jungian archetypes are a complex synthesis of several Archetypes.
And as for the Tarot, it won’t take you long to discover that my account of the Archetypes bears little similarity to the standard arcane treatments of these strange pictures. I am, of course, indebted to such treatments because they helped me when I had nowhere else to turn, but Tarot literature is usually so vague that the relevance of these images beyond fortune telling ever so rarely peeks its head above the mystical cloud. Yes, the roots of my study stretch as deeply into esoterica as they do western psychology and philosophy. I can no longer afford to be ashamed of this fact, and yet my own studies suggest to me that I could just as easily be ashamed of western philosophy, or of Christianity, the mythos into which I was born. Shame won’t gain us any ground here.
While Jung himself apparently believed that there was an archetype in the collective unconscious for each of the 22 Tarot Trump cards (or so I have heard but have not read), I have personally relied upon a particular work of esoterica to unearth the correspondence between these images and the Archetypes that they depict. My felicity to the structure of 22 Archetypes rests upon this highly coherent work as a philosophical foundation. The name of this work is The Law of One. If you are interested, you can read it here. In many ways, The Architecture is merely a fully formed adult incubated from the embryo I discovered in The Law of One.
You will notice that I capitalize “Archetype” and “Relationship.” Throughout this project, all terms that have archetypal content, whether they name complete Archetypes or concepts within the Archetypes, will be capitalized. The purpose of this capitalization is two-fold: (1) to alert the reader to the significance of the term and (2) to name something that is unique. (1) is obvious and needs no elucidation, but (2) is less obvious. Because there are only 22 Archetypes, the very word “Archetype” refers to a very small group, each with a unique personality. Our world suffers from a lack of respect for each other, so it can only help to honor these personalities and their 12 unique Relationships with proper names. This same extends to the word Architecture. Insofar as we call ourselves human beings who share a human experience, there can only be one Architecture.
I sometimes use Jungian terms because there are some really good ones out there. Just for clarity:
- Subconscious and unconscious mean the same thing.
- A person who instantiates an Archetype is acting out the role of that Archetype.
- When you constellate an Archetype upon someone else, you are projecting the role of that Archetype upon that person.