The blueprint for your soul's journey to empowerment and destiny.

The Four Survival Archetypes

As mentioned earlier, Myss teaches that we all have four survival archetypes: the Victim, Prostitute, Saboteur and Child. These four archetypes hold the alchemy of self-esteem. Nobody is born with self-esteem but these four embody the lessons and challenges that together move our consciousness by weaving together the threads of our lives as we move forward on our soul’s journey. When we are able to view our life symbolically and impersonally as the journey of our soul’s empowerment, not only do we establish our self-esteem, we enter into the center of our personal power. This lesson of the Self is universal to all human beings. Myss teaches that the Victim, Prostitute, Saboteur and Child archetypes represents particular lessons, with each archetype being one of the four legs to the table of self-esteem.

There are numerous referrals to the number four from Jung writings, such groupings of four are in universal religious symbols that have been used throughout history. He also describes the four functions of human consciousness as sensation (i.e. sense perception) that tells you that something exists; thinking tells you what it is; feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not; and intuition tells you whence it comes from and where it is going.

Jolande Jacobi, a Swiss psychologist who worked with Jung, tells us that the number four, a symbol of wholeness and completeness, represents an archetype that Jung discussed at length in his writings. Marie-Louise von Franz, another Swiss psychologist and Jungian scholar who had worked with Jung, writes, “Among the mythological representations of the Self, one finds much emphasis on the four corners of the world and in many pictures the Great Man is represented in the center of a circle divided by four.

Joseph L. Henderson, of San Francisco, one of the most prominent and trusted of American Jungians, describes the hero’s journey as having four distinct stages in the evolution of the hero’s journey that he took from the obscure North American tribe of the Winnebago Indians. Paul Radin, an American cultural anthropologist and folklorist of the early twentieth century, published stories about this in his book, Hero Cycles of the Winnebago. He also noted four distinct cycles in the development of the hero myth and named them the Trickster cycle, the Hare cycle, the Red Horn cycle and the Twin cycle. He said his perception of the psychology of this evolution “represents our efforts to deal with the problem of growing up, aided by the illusion of eternal fiction.”

The lessons represented by the challenges the four survival archetypes that Myss uses are repeated again and again, multiple times throughout our lives. We don’t just get these opportunities once, but as a rule, there usually is one huge initiatory encounter. After that, we somehow make it through ongoing lessons. This process results in us having more power on the inside of our being which limits the power the outside influences have over us. Each archetype represents a particular lesson, again, with each archetype being one of the four legs to the table of self-esteem.

Every one of us faces experiences within our lives that provide us with the opportunity to develop self-esteem. For most of us, the first level of self-esteem is about security in the physical world. It is about getting secure and establishing a sense of survival in the physical world. Whether or not we believe we can survive is essential to our self-esteem and empowerment. Whether we believe we can do this on our own instincts, talents, skills, or intellect, or the idea that you can go it alone or find a co-pilot, however it is that you define security and survival, that belief is essential to build our self-esteem and empowerment.

Read more about each type:
The Victim
The Prostitute
The Saboteur
The Child

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