The Spiritual Archetypes + The Spiritual Path

“Sir, shall I ever leave the spiritual path?” inquired a doubt-filled
disciple. Paramahansa Yogananda answered: “How could
you? Everyone in the world is on the spiritual path.”

-Paramahansa Yogananda

“Every person, in every moment, regardless of whether they are consciously aware of it or not, is on a spiritual path. Life and how we act or react on our spiritual path are part of our initiations. For those who understand their path, purpose, and initiations, and the aspects and fundamentals of what is happening or unfolding for them, life—and the spiritual journey—will be much more proactive, productive, and conducive to their highest and best good. Each event, hardship, blessing, situation, and experience are elements of our spiritual path. Although everyone has a spiritual path, each path will differ in appearance, experiences, background, interests, or lifestyle, yet they all have one common thread; they are all in an attempt to know and understand God.

The Spiritual Archetypes are the twenty-two most prominent spiritual paths people walk in their pursuit of God. The Spiritual Archetypes are personal identities with conscious and unconscious characteristics, behaviors, and beliefs, serving as doorways into our consciousness, which, when we walk through them, provide divine revelation. We gain the ability to understand ourselves better, our path, our patterns, our beliefs, and our reasoning. However, the Spiritual Archetypes are not just personal attributes; they also serve as aids in the quest for God and our spiritual path. Understanding our Spiritual Archetype gives us insight and clarity to bypass common hardships and recalibrate our quest when needed. Doing so can create the most rewarding path and spiritual experience.

The Spiritual Archetypes embody specific mindsets, beliefs, psychology, experiences, understandings, and characteristics. They also clarify the soul’s purpose and enable God to speak to us in a language that is sensible, grows our faith, and calls us back to our path. Knowing our Spiritual Archetype gives us insights into ourselves, our path, and our relationship with God, which develops and strengthens not only our knowledge and understanding spiritually and personally but, most importantly, helps us to cultivate and deepen our relationship with God. By approaching our spiritual path in this manner, we can have a relationship with God that is advantageous yet still speaks our language. God speaks to each of His children in ways that are relative, sensible, and necessary. Like a good parent, God speaks to His children based on their needs, skills, and understanding. That is not to say that God changes, for He does not change. He is the same God now and forever. We are all different; therefore, God sees and loves each of His children and will do everything in His power to address us in the ways we need. God gives and communicates with us according to each person’s faith and unbelief. God is infinitely creative in how He communicates with us, gets our attention, or provides revelation. Just as in the Bible, God chooses his prophets, leaders, kings, teachers, priests, messengers, healers, and disciples from varying backgrounds, educations, and lineages. He communicates with His people through dreams, prophetic visions, nature, the elements, and numbers. He also addresses His prophets differently. Some have dreams; others are visited by angels. Some are spoken to directly by him; others are spoken to through the elements. God utilizes His creation to speak to us, provide signs, and address us in ways relevant to us and our path. Whichever path we are on, God will exercise His resources to call to us and speak to us in a language we understand in an attempt to bring us toward our destination and soul’s purpose.

Unfortunately, God is not the only one who speaks to us in ways that resonate. The enemy (the devil, ego, evil) is fully versed in our thoughts, feelings, fears, and weaknesses and will use these vulnerabilities to lead us into temptation and away from our soul’s purpose. It is similar to the November 1960, episode of Twilight Zone entitled, “The Howling Man.” In the episode, a man named David Ellington stumbles upon an old monastery during a terrible storm in the night. Ellington goes to the building to seek sanctuary from the storm. He finds that it is run by the order of the Brothers; a group of men with long hair, long beards, and white robes. Ellington asks for shelter from the storm and is brought inside to meet with Brother Jerome, the highest-ranking Brother. While waiting to meet Brother Jerome, Ellington hears a loud wolf-like howl throughout the halls. Ellington cannot see where the noise is coming from but is greatly perturbed. His anxiety is interrupted when someone comes to take him to Brother Jerome. He is brought to Brother Jerome, who tells him that, unfortunately, they cannot help him and that Ellington must leave at once. Sick and tired from the storm, Ellington faints before leaving the room. The Brothers decide that Ellington can stay one night as he recovers and take him to a room. Upon waking in the monastery, Ellington hears the howling again and decides to investigate. Ellington secretly roams the halls following the sound when he finds an older disheveled man locked away in a jail-like cell. The man claims to be a prisoner of the Brothers and says that Brother Jerome is essentially an insane cult leader who keeps him locked up and beats him with his staff. Ellington is caught speaking with the man and is again taken to Brother Jerome. Ellington tells Brother Jerome that he talked to the man they are holding prisoner, but Brother Jerome insists, “That is no man.” Ellington threatens to tell the police everything unless he gets further explanation about who the man is and why he is locked away. Brother Jerome declares again, “That is no man!” and begrudgingly agrees to tell Ellington the truth. He explains to Ellington that the man in the cell is the devil himself. He explains that after World War I, the devil had come to the village and Brother Jerome saw him for what he truly was. He managed to capture him with his Staff of Truth and has kept him locked away since. Ellington now believes Brother Jerome is insane, just as the prisoner said, but pretends to believe Jerome. Brother Jerome catches on and sees that Ellington does not believe or understand the situation so he assigns him a guard to keep watch over him through the rest of the night, insisting Elling-ton leave in the morning. Ellington waits for his guard to fall asleep and sneaks back to the prisoner. Upon seeing Ellington, the man pleads for him to let him out. Ellington rushes to the cage and sees that the door is held shut by only a stick and no actual lock. He asks the man why he doesn’t just free himself, but the man urges Ellington repeatedly to let him out before it is too late. Ellington quickly removes the staff and is immediately thrown to the floor as the man is released from the cell. As the prisoner walks away, he transforms into his authentic appearance, which is the devil. Ellington then spends the rest of his life trying to recapture the evil that tricked him into letting it out.

The enemy (devil, ego, satan) is our howling man. It will take any appearance or form that will garner sympathy or pardon. To the naked eye, we generally do not see anything but surface appearances, just as Ellington saw a disheveled man being held hostage when the reality was that the man was the devil and Brother Jerome saw his authentic appearance. Part of the spiritual path is being able to see behind surface appearances and see the bigger picture. Things are never as they seem in our minds and may not even be what most people assume or believe in this physical and material world. There is always something greater at work and play. If we see things as they appear, we get caught up in worldly appearances and not the truth.

Jesus Himself was faced with temptation during His forty days in the desert. When He was hungry, parched, and tired, the enemy came to tempt Him, using tricks that were customized to Jesus’s vulnerabilities in hopes of thwarting His mission and purpose. The devil used the Word of God as a weapon against the Son of God to attempt to trick Him and lead Him off His spiritual path. Likewise, each Spiritual Archetype has common distractions that can lure us from our highest potential, tempt us, and keep us from our soul’s purpose. Just as we all have ways God calls us to our fullest potential, we also have ways the enemy attempts to divert us from our highest selves. Awareness of the common struggles and blocks we will face and then being wise to how the enemy uses them against us places the enemy’s battle plan in our hands. With this information, we can create a strategy, just as in any battle, and come out victorious. Thus, knowing and understanding our Spiritual Archetypes allows us to triumph both personally and spiritually.

Just as in the story of “The Howling Man,” the one thing that keeps “the devil” held prisoner is the truth. Not a key, not a specialized weapon, but the truth. Our greatest weapon against our enemy (ego, devil, satan) is spiritual truth. When we know the truth and understand our authority to exercise it, we gain unwavering power over our enemy and howling man. If we sit and listen to its stories, its thoughts, or its lies, we risk letting it out into our consciousness. If the enemy is released into our consciousness, it runs freely into our lives and on our spiritual path until we recapture it with the truth and lock it back into its place. However, keeping the enemy at bay is always easier than recapturing it after we have let it loose. The Spiritual Archetypes give us the ability to see some of the specific ways the enemy howls in our consciousness and the authoritative truth over it, thus allowing us to lock it away and walk our path more freely, powerfully, and aligned.”

Excerpt taken from The Spiritual Archetypes.

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