Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and others have made archetypes – the stories, myths, themes, and symbols that unconsciously influence our lives – a familiar concept. In What Story Are Your Living? Peter de Kuster goes a step further, providing a story discover tool to uncover and harness the transformational power of the archetypal stories you tell yourself. Inspired by the stories in the Musée Rodin Peter will show you how to:
- discover the archetypal patterns and themes which unconsciously influence your life,
- replace unproductive life patterns by awakening unrealized potential,
- discover hidden strengths, motivational trigers, and new career directions, and
- improve personal and professional relationships.
What You can Expect
Part I. How and Why We Live Stories
- Example of a Mythic (Archtypal) Story
- Living the Stories in Everyday Life: Stages and Situations
- Exploring Archetypal Stories
- Archetypal Stages of the Journey
Part II. The Archetypal Stories and You
- Discovering the Gifts of Archetypes
- Understanding Archetypes in Ourselves and Others
- Recognizing the Shadow Side of Archetypes
- Guidelines for Working with Archetypes
Part III. The Questionnaire
- Steps for Validating and Understanding Your Results
Part IV. Living the Hero’s Journey with Consciousness
- The Three Stages of the Hero’s Journey
- A Spiral Journey
- Facing the Challenges of Modern Life
Part V. The Twelve Archetypes
- The Dreamer
- The Independent
- The Warrior
- The Caregiver
- The Explorer
- The Lover
- The Destroyer
- The Creator
- The Ruler
- The Magician
- The Sage
- The Jester
About Peter de Kuster
Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Hero’s Journey & Heroine’s Journey project, a storyteller who helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.
Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing, MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.
How and Why We Tell Stories
We are storytelling creatures. Listen to people talking in a restaurant, at the water cooler, or at a party, you will quickly find that the majority of what they say is in the form of stories. We connect by telling each other stories. We can better understand ourselves by recognizing and exploring our life narratives. Your life story is the tale that you repeatedly tell yourself about who you are, what you want, what you can and cannot do. Before the second year of life, we are sensitive to the tone of stories lived around us, and we have already began collecting thousands of images that resonate emotionally with us in some important way. At first the plots are inconsistent and illogical – such as our dreams continue to be.
By the age of 6 we follow particular rules about the beginning, middle and ending of stories, so they begin to make sense. By adolescence, we tell ourselves consistent stories about our lives that define who we are, how we came to be that way, and where we are headed. We see events that we can recount as vignettes of our central life narrative.
Although there are as many variations of life stories as there are individuals, people tend to create narratives according to a finite number of templates. I made a compelling case in “The Seven Stories of Your Life” based on world literature for seven types of stories you tell yourself to yourself (e.g. the quest, overcoming the monster, comedy, etc). Others have identified fifteen or even thirty-two narrative types. The point is that while we may argue whether some story types are really variants on other types, there are a very small number of general narrative forms in the world’s literature. The same is true of characters and the roles they play. How can this be?
In the first part of the twentieth century, the psychiatrist Carl Jung recognized the universality of characters and situations. Just as there are certain musical tones that sound resonant across cultures, there are similarly a universal set of roles, situations and themes that are recognizable by everyone. These universal templates are called archetype, which is derived from the Greek archetypos, meaning “molded first as a model”. Jung, and many after him, saw that these stories which recur in literature and art are the same narratives we as humans live. For example, we all recognize the love story whether we encounter it in a movie, an opera or a novel. And when we fall in love, we experience for ourselves what this story is about. When we are in a loving relationship, we not only learn major life lessons (in this case about intimacy, sensuality, pleasure and commitment) but we also do feel a sense of connection to all the other people who have ever loved deeply. While each love is different, there is a deep pattern that transcends these differences. When we understand the stories and recognize their universality, we can connect with each other at deeper and more conscious levels, using the archetypal stories as the foundation.
This may be especially true of the sacred myths of cultures, which are particularly archetypal, as they express in metaphor people’s actual experiences. These stories do not necessarily have to be taken literally. Rather the concrete outward actions symbolize inner experiences. We read the story of an outward journey and something resonates in our inward journey.
This is why people talk about “life journeys” evern if they have never outwardly left the town where they grow up. People connect immediately to a journey story from another culture finding resonance with the characters and the form and the phases of the journey, even if the particular details are not familiar. Such stories influence people for good and for ill. Archetypal stories can provide breakthroughs in insight and move people toward harmony and success, but such stories are equally able to tempt people toward less productive, even destructive behaviors. Either way, an understanding of the archetypal narrative can enhance insight or enable people to break free of destructive patterns.
The archetypal stories described in this hero’s journey questionnaire are those associated with Peter de Kuster’s interpretation of the Hero’s Journey, which is a model for the individuation process (the process of finding yourself and connecting to your depth and your full potential) and the model of finding flow (the process of experiencing full immersion in the activities you perform in the moment). They are named by the primary character in each story: Dreamer, Independent, Warrior, Caregiver, Explorer, Lover, Destroyer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Sage and Jester.