Archetypal actions

Posted on December 26, 2011
Filed Under Experiments, Magic, Taylor Ellwood | Leave a Comment

I’ve been watching Nikita lately, which is the newest rendition of La Femme Nikita. In one of the episodes, the actress playing Nikita does the famous action of diving into the laundry chute to avoid being incinerated by the missile. You know the action I’m talking about. It’s the action that occurred in both movies and likely occurred in the other La Femme Nikita series as well. It’s what I call an archetypal action, an action that defines and embodies the archetype or character. It makes you think of all the iterations of that character. It brings that character to life for you.

If you’re an actor, or a magician doing that action can also make for an effective invocation, though I’d recommend against diving down chutes to avoid being incinerated. My point being however that if you look at pop culture and mythology in general you will likely find specific actions or activities that a given character, god, etc did and those actions are part of the archetypal consciousness of that being. You may even find that there are actions that repeat across different cultures, with the result being that the action taps into something deeper than the faces that happen to display the action. You tap into the essence of the archetype, something faceless, that nonetheless represents what it is you want access to. An archetype isn’t just the face, after all…it’s the actions that embody the concept.

Part of my work with identity has involved using space and movement to shift identity. Archetypal actions can be a part of that work, particularly when you want to invoke a spirit by embodying it. Actions allow the spirit to take over, to possess and become part of your experience even as you enter into its experience. I’ve done such actions in my work with Elephant and Dragon for example, but also with various characters I’ve worked with. By mimicking the movements and actions, a person invites a different body awareness, and can use that awareness to call to the entity of choice that s/he wants to work with.

 

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