This month’s post is about a sign from the universe—or a remarkable coincidence, depending on your philosophy. Either way, it’s the story of how the title of my upcoming book came to be.
When I try to explain the organizing principle of my collection of blog posts, I expect to be received like someone speaking Mycenaean Greek. But people seem to “get” it, and almost immediately. First, I tell them I had to come up with a way to group my posts into chapters. Then I ask, “Have you ever heard of archetypes?”
Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, introduced archetypes to the modern world (though the idea dates to Plato). I think of archetypes as characters, which can be found in movies, plays, novels, religions, and myths. Examples include the Goddess, Hermit, King, Rebel, and Warrior. Present-day authority Caroline Myss (pronounced “Mace”) defines archetypes as “psychological patterns derived from historical roles in life.”
According to Myss, twelve archetypes make up who we are. We all share four universal archetypes (Child, Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur), but the other eight vary from person to person. I decided to figure out my dozen archetypes and use them to categorize my writings. I reasoned that if I truly embodied these “fundamental forces,” my blog posts, which are expressions of me, should reflect them. (With me so far?)
As I mentioned, everyone has the Child archetype. But in her written materials, Myss identifies variations:
- Wounded (suffers a traumatic upbringing)
- Orphan (is excluded from the family circle)
- Magical (sees beauty in all things)
- Nature (bonds with natural forces, befriends animals)
- Eternal (remains young forever)
- Divine (is united with spirit)
- Dependent (is needy, self-focused)
Unfortunately, I didn’t identify with any of them.
As I walked my dog one morning, however, I listened to Myss’s archived podcast (she used to have a radio show) about the Invisible Child. When the program ended, I felt I had found my Child archetype. Within seconds of making this observation, I encountered a newspaper at my feet. Just below the fold was a headline in big red letters: “DETERMINED TO BE VISIBLE.” I had never received a more obvious sign—or experienced a more stunning coincidence. (If you’re curious, the article was about Leonard Nimoy’s widow, Susan Bay Nimoy, whose short film was about to debut at Sundance against enormous odds.)
Myss states the following regarding the Invisible Child:
There’s nothing comfortable or pleasant about feeling that, as a child, you were invisible. . . . The positive end of the Invisible Child is that it can bring out in a person the opportunity to create an extraordinary journey toward visibility. Because developed in you is a yearning to become a visible person. And the option is that you can become a visible person through creativity, through clever, clever paths of using your imagination.
I could see that my book was a step in my journey toward visibility. Naturally, I appropriated the newspaper headline for its title.