What archetype are you today?


This sounds like a bad personal growth blog title but stay with me on this.

I went back to NYC this weekend, I had some apartment and financial things to take care of on Friday, and it seemed I had to do this in person, in NYC.

So I drove back to NYC for the first time since March 13, when I landed from Atlanta. Miraculously enough only two plants died, there were no roaches or rodents, and I saw my neighbors (through masks and social distancing).

I packed up the car with things I wanted to use for the rest of the summer: clothing, books, guitar pedals, and going up and down in the elevator stressed me out. Once this was done, I went to brooklyn to social distance with friends and then return to NYC for my 3pm meeting, or so I thought.

The day was super intense. It involved intense personal interaction, discussion of privilege (I am staying with my kids and partner at my parents for which I am very grateful), a discussion of motherhood, giving birth, love, relationships, every day things that should be easy but are now hard because of covid and nothing gets done (like floods because there is no street cleaning and the drains are clogged with leaves). It was beautiful to walk around. It was not busy because in the morning was an intense thunderstorm, and the day was overcast. People had transformed their stores to have outdoor areas to buy flowers and produce. I am not sure what will happen in the winter, but life goes on – transformed.

There was laughter, and tears. It was an intense day for me personally. It felt that I had undergone some alchemical transformation, that my body had been wrung out by my spine. My financial stuff that I had come to take care of almost did not happen, and happened on Saturday, but when I drove back Saturday midday to my parents I had this sense that an internal transformation had taken place what was it. I am not sure. It was something about relating, about love, about home, about who I am. It seems strange to say that what appears to be such a banal day could have such a transformative impact and I struggle to understand exactly what happened.

I wrote down the day. I wrote it down with images of those places from other days, or memories. Memories of beautiful and powerful moments I have: first holding my son Cass in my arms, of seeing my son Eero hiccup on the sonogram, innocent childhood games like throwing notes to the boys playing basketball at the lot next to my childhood apartment, those beginnings of a relationship when you make out with your lover in all sorts of inappropriately public places. I imagine movies that take place in a day. I always wanted to make a film like that. My favorites are The hours, The swimmer, touch of evil, American Graffiti, those before sunrise movies, pulp fiction (I think) there are so many. Here is a list from Mubi and from some clickbate listicle site.

I have this intense desire to capture the personal effects of this day but in a universal way. Whenever I retell this story it still feels personal. I am moving to transform it beyond myself.

This also coincides with a meditation I am doing this week. I am prompted to pick an archetype and embody the archetype, to live beyond my imagination. What are some archetypes? We can look at myths, at Hercules, Orpheus, Theseus, The Monkey King (sun wu kong), and so forth. As a woman, I always felt that my archetypes were somewhat limited. Who is the female Orpheus for example?

The archetype I am drawn to is the Troubadour. I have been interested in the Troubadour ever since I learned that Joseph Campbell had intensely studied the Troubadour (a youtube clip -there are a ton!). There are all kinds of love. The Troubadour is the alchemy perhaps of transforming lust (perhaps limerence) into agape (love for all human kind). The idea is that troubadours discovered, or invented, interpersonal romantic love – the seeing your soul in another person kind a of love. There is the transformative element of poetry and music in the archetype of the troubadour – of the ineffable.

Related to the the troubadour is the bard. The musician/ storyteller which I equate with the celtic traditions and in particular Robert Graves’ The White Goddess. This is the bard as the holder of some wisdom tradition or communal knowledge. Maybe could make a probably similar statement about different bardic traditions through out the world (e.g., Homer), I don’t know. This is different from the love thing that the troubadours do, but it is also appealing to me. Maybe next week will be the week of the bard.

Anyway this week is the week of the troubadour for me. I am trying to think of famous female mythological troubadours or even bards. I keep thinking of those sirens and banchee – the patriarchy loves to silence women or pathologize the female voice. So I am pursuing the troubadour this week – if anyone knows of female bardic mythological heroes let me know.