Archetypes, movement, and getting into the role

Posted on March 30, 2012
Filed Under Body, book review, Taylor Ellwood | Leave a Comment

I’ve been reading Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) and trying out some of the exercises. My main draw for picking up the book was because of my ongoing interest in integrating movement, dance, and space into my magical work and I thought the book might prove useful for that purpose.

It reminds me a bit of Antero’s Paratheatre techniques, and I find that with the archetypes I need to get into a state of mind and body that allows me to channel them. It’s not all that different from doing an invocation, but what stands out most is how mutable a given archetype is…or rather I find that it is much easier for me to draw on a variety of pop culture sources as well as more traditional sources. The various archetypal labels of Child, Devil, Trickster, etc. are useful, but in a way I wonder if we confine ourselves to much to those labels? Is the space pirate an archetype in its own right or just a variation of an existing one?

The process of orienting yourself into invoking a particular archetype requires two essential behaviors. The first behavior is an ability to let go of your ego or sense of self. You empty that awareness. The second behavior is the ability to embody the archetypal awareness and characteristics and traits. There’s different tools you can use. I’ve seen people use masks for example, which can be a lot of fun, but your body is the ultimate tool. The change in posture, facial patterns, voice, and even a change in clothing and accoutrements can be quite useful. It’s also a change in emotions, and energy. What are the emotions the archetype feels? How does that translate into space and movement? What are the functions it embodies and how does that change the space and movement of the body?

Getting into the role is getting out of the way and allowing the archetype, spirit, etc fill me. I allow my body to become a vessel for the divine force I am working with. I open myself to the experience and let the experience define the space.

Book review: Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) By Janet Rodgers and Frankie Armstrong.

This book was written for an audience of actors, but as someone who is not an actor, but nonetheless does work with archetypes I found it to be a valuable read, with useful exercises that can be applied to more than just acting. I like that the authors drew on perspectives of movement such as Laban’s work, but also that they made their work very accessible. This is a book I’d recommend to a counselor, actor, artist, or the magician who wants to take a different approach to his/her magical workings.

 

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