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The Hero Archetype


Now first of all I should explain that I am not a qualified psychologist in any way, any insight I have gained has been accumulated on an interior journey I have made into the depths of my own soul during the last 31 years. I use Jungian analogy as during this interior journey I have come to lean on Jung's system of understanding the human condition.

As you will see from the map of my unconscious mind as a came out of my childhood I was an extreme example in many ways, I was an acute introvert, I always looked inwards, from an early age I took up music and spent long hours alone practicing. I had an extremely one-sided personality, one side of me, the unconscious image of the Father was completely innocent, my father had protected my innocence so the only conscious feelings I had were to love unconditionally, you can see from the above illustration the other characteristics that were contained in this perfectly positive emotional image of the father.

But on the other hand the entire soul image of the mother contained acutely painful emotions generated between my mother and me when I was a child, this entire image was repressed and was to cause untold damage through most of my life.

Within this repressed image of the mother were two mental functions that I did not have access to, Thinking & Sensation, thinking as most of us know is the rational function of the intellect. Sensation gives us a sense of the reality of outside objects, what our senses tell us, so I could not think, in my own estimation I was simple, I did terribly at school as most of the subjects were aimed at intellectuals, the only subject I showed any promise in was music, when you think of it the whole of the western world has been built on the power of the intellect, so I was mentally handicapped when I came out of my childhood, completely trusting of men, playful, always wanting to have fun, yet consumed by a terrible acute compulsion neurosis to steal and lie, plus I was sadistic towards animals as a child and had a very dark sexual fantasy life. I did not have the mental tools I needed to get by in life, not being able to think, and being in unconscious mental chaos, I had no organisational skills, none at all, I couldn't even keep a bank account properly, any form of paperwork, which involved thinking was out of the question. I was an extreme psychology.


By the time I was 33 I was in a state of inner desperation, I had started stealing when I was a child and continued to steal all through my life, driven by dark unconscious motives, I had no moral compass. Because I could not think, I always acted without thinking, none of my thefts were planned and I nearly always got caught, I kept stealing and finally appeared in crown court and was given two years probation, after a short time I accepted an offer from a shady character who asked me to carry a suitcase full of marijuana back from Kenya in Africa back to the UK, trusting this man completely, and without thinking I said yes, this led to me smuggling marijuana on my own for three years, wonderful memories, living with native people, eating zebra liver roasted over an open fire on a stick, the memories of children singing in the African night, but it all came crashing down when I was caught and given three years in prison, prison didn't teach me much, except anger, plus I made a lot of new drug contacts. As soon as possible after coming out of prison I teamed up with another shady character who said he could distribute any drugs we brought into the country, he would organise the couriers, I would look after the African side of things, he was an idiot, I had not thought about the person I was dealing with, I just wanted to get back to Africa, things went sour and I ended up being kidnapped by this person's family and somewhat beaten up, I escaped and in a state of inner desperation found myself a safe house in London.

I had previously been friends with someone I now know to be Zen mystic he guided me though I did not know it. In this inner state of crisis I was reading the poetry of William Blake when I experienced a spontaneous spiritual illumination in the hitherto unconscious image of the Father, in that moment what Jung called the hero archetype was revealed in my imagination, now this is using the language of the psychologist Jung, what was suddenly revealed in my imagination was the supreme masculine creation deity, what Christian theologians call God the Father and what Hindu mythology calls Brahma, the revelation of this mentally real phenomena was the most powerful mental/spiritual event, it was all about power, nothing of compassion or pity, just the raw creative power of God. One instant I am sitting in a garden I Hempstead London, the next instant I'm in space, in eternity and face to face with the invisible ever-changing face of God.

It answered every question I ever wanted to know.. at the time, and left me in a state of spiritual ecstasy, but I still had my inner demons they were still repressed and I knew nothing of them consciously at that time. In a way I had become conscious of the hitherto unconscious image of the Father within me, but it was the most profoundly religious experience.



I had started the descent into the depths of my own unconscious mind though I did not know it at the time.

As I said the revelation of the hero archetype, or God as far as I was concerned, answered every question my heart wanted to know, it left me satisfied and allowed me to concentrate. My future wife and I returned to college to study bookbinding as mature students, we did well, we were focused and mature people, determined to do well. We got to know a Benedictine monk who was learning bookbinding in an evening class and our times overlapped and we had time to talk to one another, we became friends and to our surprise shortly before we were due to finish our two year course we were invited by the Abbot of the community to set up a bindery in the abbey grounds, we were to be given a cottage and a derelict barn, which we could have on free rent provided we did the work of restoration, we were elated, we were to do work for the abbey library to pay for our rent, it was a dream come true.

For six years I worked, driven by an irresistible will to create, during this time I became more aware of my dark side, remember I could not think so was not capable of rationally examining my psychology, but I struggled to understand myself, all the time working like a madman, working ridiculous hours, often I worked through the night and saw the sunrise the next day, I cannot express sufficiently the power of the revealed God who drove me, I could not stop creating, we worked and laboured and renovated part of the barn and learned the real creative skills of the bookbinder.

We didn't think we would have children, we were geriatrics in that department at 42, we had four miscarriages, heartbreaking affairs but eventually my wife fell pregnant and we expected a child. Now by this stage I knew I had serious problems with the relationship I had with my mother, I may not have been able to work it out with my head, with my intellect, but my heart had a penetrating insight, I thought of the anger I had, I thought of my dark sexual fantasy life, I thought of my brother sexually abusing my sister and him going on to abuse his own daughter, I knew I was capable of that, I knew in my heart that I would inflict terrible mental damage on our unborn child as I was. As our daughters birth drew closer I grew inwardly more desperate, my heart told me I could not cause such damage to my daughter, I would not be such a terribly abusive father, I was desperate. The love in my imagination would not let me contemplate the very real horror I would inflict on my daughter.

With a breaking heart I made the decision to leave, just to leave, it would be better for our daughter not to have a father than to have the sexually abusive father I would have been, it meant I had to give up my workshop, which was my labour of love, it meant giving up our lovely cottage, it meant giving up my wife and future daughter, another crisis was looming. So, I made the decision to leave and very early one morning I went to the workshop and had a final look round, my heart felt like it was breaking, I sat on the stairs and with my head in my hands I thought of our baby daughter, I started crying hysterically, saying "my poor child, my poor child" over and over again, then I felt the acutest mental/spiritual pain I have ever experienced in my life, like a hot needle being pushed through my brain, I had spontaneously freed myself from an acute neurosis, I had defeated a great and powerful inner demon that had destroyed most of my life. Though I did not know it at the time I had also regained the ability to Think, it changed my whole unconscious mind, and gave me compassion in part. It also gave me some insight into my wife and her problems.

As William Blake said " What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.

I was an example of what Jung called "enantiodromia" the emergence of the unconscious opposite due to the subject leading and excessively one-sided life. It also marked the birth of the marriage between the psychic opposites. I knew something serious had happened, when I went outside the first thing I noticed was that colours seemed more vibrant, I knew that some great healing had taken place, I don't remember when it was, but one day I just said to myself "You are Thinking", it was just like that, I realised I could think. But I knew nothing of my other inner demon, although I had freed myself from an acute neurosis, I was still suffering from a more normal neurosis, I still had an unconscious dark side, what psychologists call the shadow, but I knew nothing of it and much happier inside myself with new depths of compassion, where there had been repressed acute negative emotion. I owed this miracle of healing to my daughter as far as I was concerned and I vowed to be a perfect father to her, and protect her spiritual innocence as my mortal father had done mine.



 In 1997 after we had been working constantly at developing our workshops for 9 years we were voted a National Living Treasure by Country Life magazine for our workshops contribution to the books arts, by then we had taken over the whole building; we had a book bindery, paper marbling studio, box making workshop, with all due modesty, for I was only a vehicle for this God I serve, we had created a masterpiece of living art, we had taken over a derelict building and over time had renovated it and re-discovered several real book related skills. The birth of our daughter and my new ability to think  rationally led me to think about future university bills, I am a visionary artist so I always look to the future. We developed a range of beautiful handmade leather covered stationery boxes.

A large company had given us verbal assurances over a long period of time that machinery was going to be installed at their factory which would cure the problem we were having with the leather they supplied and no one else could, based on their promises we continued to develop our range of stationery products and employed to staff to make them, suddenly we were told that the machinery was not going to be installed, this was a disaster for us, we had invested thousands of pounds in this strictly business enterprise. In the end, I had no choice but to sue, the next whole year was spent building what I considered to be a perfect case against the company, who put profit before their promises and behaved dishonorably and with negligence. We were poor, we had to get a free barrister appointed to us, he was a very hard-nosed strictly rational mind, I was not, bear in mind I had only recently regained the function of thinking from my unconscious mind, so although I could think I was not very good at it, plus my remaining inner demon, a normal neurosis, made it impossible for me to think really clearly, and I had to force myself to be rational; all the while my passion was threatening to burst forth, it was an extremely stressful year, acutely so.

I had been working hard as I wanted our daughter to have the best possible relationship with her mother, by this time I knew more of the damage my own mother had done and was determined that our daughter should have a positive soul image, so while she wandered around the grounds with our daughter, I worked for both of us. But it was the stress of fighting for our survival and the stress of building the case against the company that eventually led to my developing an acute emotional psychosis, a complete physical, mental nervous breakdown, I was committed to a secure mental illness unit for two months, the psychosis was dreadful, my remaining demon, my dark side flooded the contents of my conscious mind, I was seeing powerful visions which were meaningful, I was simply hallucinating, I was hearing voices and suffering from acutely confused thinking, but after just two days of rest I started painting and creating again, I ended up painting my entire room in the mental illness unit, the walls the ceiling, my wash basin, and dozens of meaningful paintings, I just could not stop behaving irrationally, for it is irrational to create, it requires love and love is also irrational.

The psychosis was so powerful it damaged my physical brain and while in the unit had my first manic episode, the psychosis triggered Bi Polar 1, more visions, more hallucinations. But during this crazy time I had discovered my shadow, I was conscious of the rage and anger that I felt all the time, it was a constant backdrop to my life, but I had also discovered the last mental function, in my case the function of Sensation, I had realised what Jung called The Self but I was in a state of mental confusion, but I had achieved Jungian wholeness I was fully conscious of my whole psyche, but I was still psychotic, though I did my utmost to suppress the negative emotions.




So I had achieved a kind of Jungian wholeness, I was a fully conscious personality, but now my inner demon was just below my level of consciousness, I never stopped working, creating all through this. I was constantly aware of my anger and realised it posed a threat to my daughter's spiritual innocence, I did my best to suppress these strongly negative emotions, but one day it dawned on me that far from protecting her innocence I had created her dark side, she had a shadow created by me, I remember months of my finding somewhere isolated and screaming my anger at God and myself, I became consumed by guilt and anger. I had some insight by this time and eventually my heart tracked down the cure for all my suppressed anger and guilt, but what it would entail to free myself terrified me, it meant confessing my guilty secret, I had a shameful secret that I would share with no one, it is proverbial that confession is good for the soul,I knew it would lead to the collapse of my ego into hysterical crying and free me, just a few tears. By synchronicity, I met my perfect confessor, a genuine mystic, a master of Yoga, but spiritual pride, fear & cowardice prevented me from going through with it, this increased my feelings of guilt tremendously. I lived with this barely suppressed anger and guilt for 19 years, 19 years of mental/spiritual torment, in a REAL purgatory where over time my pride would be burned away and I would learn humility.




For 19 years I knew the most miserable life, I contemplated suicide many times, but to do so was futile, how do you kill Love,I knew severe depression, destructive suppressed emotion was slowly killing me with alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Most normal people know times of sadness, but normally they are ok and reasonably happy, but all I knew was anger and guilt, guilt at being a less than perfect father, and guilt at being a spiritual coward. Then yet another crisis loomed, I had never experienced a serious depressive phase of Bi-Polar before, over a period of several weeks my mood sank very low, much lower than it had ever been before, I knew crushing guilt and remorse, it was dreadful. I knew in my heart, that last year having had one stress related heart attack I surely wasn't far away from another, my family needed me and I had great love for them. Love gave me the resolve to free myself once again from my inner demons.


I had a meeting coming up with my psychiatrist and I resolved to confess my "sin" to her, I had no pride left, she would do, I did so and as expected my ego collapsed in hysterical crying, and my psychiatrist whisked me into the mental illness unit, which in retrospect was probably the best place for me, it was a bad few days, tormented by strong feelings of guilt and remorse, crying uncontrollably. But then the sun came out and I realised where there was suppressed anger there was now deep compassion and pity, where there had been suppressed guilt there was none , and most of all I found an overwhelming sense of peace, my interior journey had brought me to a peaceful inner shore where my wounded soul can find rest and as the legend says gather faithful friends around me.


I claim to be inspired by what Jung called the hero archetype, but to simply call it by that name is just inadequate, I am inspired by a supreme masculine creation deity, who has freed me from the illusion of the physical world and given me spiritual immortality, I owe everything to this deity for it is he who has given me the strength to defeat my inner demons, good has triumphed over evil, and now I must concentrate on the rest of my journey, which is one of healing my soul.

This last healing brought me to the mental function of Sensation, you could say I finaly came to my senses and regained cognitive ability, I returned to earth, and I can now think clearly for the first time in my life, and the physical world is just that bit more real to me now that I can appreciate nature with a healed soul. But I still have echoes of my former problems, I am far from perfect though I am inspired by something which is, this perfect love in my heart and mind.df

In Jungian terms I have completed the task of Individuation, I am a fully conscious soul, but because of the way my psyche has unfolded I have the intellect of a child, you would not pose a complicated rational idea to a child and expect it to be able to process the data, neither should you with me, I am no longer simple as I had been as a child, I am now a mature mystic at the height of his spiritual/mental powers at 62, I shake with the creative mental/spiritual power at my disposal, I am supremely confident I can provide for my family by doing what I love most, so I am content. But in other ways I am little more than a spiritual baby, I am like a child in a strange new land, and at the time didn't know the rules of this new land.


My psychiatrist knows nothing of my interior life or the healing that she unwittingly witnessed, she is a clinical psychiatrist, head of the whole mental health network in our area, she has the power to forcibly administer drugs to people who have been committed to a secure mental illness unit, she is used to giving orders and having them obeyed, her only interest in me is as someone who is suffering from Bi-Polar 1 disorder, we talk about superficial things and she administers me drugs. She also has a dark side, her shadow, every normal person has one. In her case she has a shadow created when she was a child between her father and her, her father was less than perfect and a considerable amount of negative emotion lies repressed in her unconscious mind, she has a power complex, but she successfully integrates this negative trend into her professional life by "controlling" the entire mental health team, her shadow makes her somewhat impatient. On the one occasion I did bring up my personal psychology in terms of Freudian understanding by explaining that I had a suppressed soul, she threw up her hands and said "Oh God Freud!", she is not a sensitive insightful psychotherapist who knows me, I did not and do not feel she is the right person to talk to at this stage of my inner journey. I asked my supremely rational wife if I should tell her of this healing, she said NO, under no circumstances tell her, if she sees you happy and jabbering about inner changes she will think you are having a manic episode and have you put back in prison again.


My concerns were born out when soon after my healing I was visited by a nurse who gives me a monthly jab in the backside to treat my Bi-Polar, I was still  emotional, crying with gratitude and relief at finally being free from my inner darkness, the nurse noticed this and reported back to my psychiatrist, who when I saw her recently suggested that as I was still emotional perhaps I ought to go back into the mental illness unit, this is not the person I can talk to. This is a pity, for I am at the stage of my journey where talking with someone insightful would be of benefit, as it is I just pretend that everything is ok when it comes to my psychiatrist. I find it deeply ironic that I can't talk to my psychiatrist about my deepest feelings.


Fortunately I am very active on social media, I found a face book page devoted to modern day mysticism and put out a spiritual SOS, we are very isolated by geography, we live in the least populated area of central France, plus I do not speak the language, plus we have little money, so finding help locally was a non starter. The head of the face book group, a mystic herself and a master of Reiki contacted me and she has taken me under her wing for a while, and with her I do talk about my deepest feelings, and my nightime dreams and my daytime visions.


I am now engaged in making rational changes to my life, which involve stopping smoking and marijuana, stopping alcohol, no sugar, no red meats, letting go of dairy products completely, eating fish, fruit, veg, rice, cruciferous vegetables and pulses, lots of pure water and green tea, a dramatic change to mark the dramatic change that has occurred within me. Also now I meditate for the first time in my life, but now I have something tangible to meditate upon, my immortal soul.



Richard Norman 9th September 2016


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