I’ve studied archetypes in nature as part of a wonderful course I’ve taken from the Natural Wellness Academy. I am a certified Nature Therapy Guide and I’m thrilled to offer creative experiences in nature to adults and children.
In an attempt to help myself understand what archetypes are, I like to imagine that we pal up with brilliant, universally-shared character shadows. They follow us around and show up as the essence of who we are while life comes at us. They’re the recurring themes and characters in the books we read and the movies we’ve enjoyed. As symbols they’ve gifted us a connectedness across cultures and lifetimes that can never be denied .
WHAT A blast to meet archetypal symbols offered by nature!
We can enjoy relationships with animals, plants, mountains, oceans — just about anything. There’s an innate knowing that we’re all in this together…as the story goes.
For me, a precious archetypal observance in nature occurred when I wandered off a hiking trail at Bear Lake near Cuchara, Colorado. My goal in veering off was to walk closer to the stream below me, having circled through the forest in order to head in the direction of the lake where my husband and some friends were fishing.
Knowing the stream would lead to where they were, after about half an hour of walking along the water’s edge, the thick plant growth and marshy ground became difficult to navigate. Although I was loving the adventurer adrenaline, I soon became disappointed in my reckless decision and quite nervous about what I had gotten myself into. My biggest dilemma was my inability to gauge where the hiking trail was from the distance I’d walked. There was an unrealized drop in elevation as well.
Standing still while attempting to get my head straight, I was startled by subtle movement in the water and grasses a few feet in front of me.
“Hey!” I remember yelling toward the commotion and then wishing I had kept quiet.
Holding my breath, I waited as a nurturing Mother Archetype duck and her ducklings finally appeared, swimming undeterred toward me. Curtained by the tall grasses, they revealed themselves in a Disney-esque moment and I was relieved that my fear of an unknown predator had in fact run “afoul”. (pun credit goes to hubby)
Their appearance came with an overwhelming sense of calm. I asked the mama if she could please help me find my bearings and point me in the direction of the hiking trail.
She didn’t skip a beat with her pacing, allowing me to be the last duckling behind her. We sloshed a bit but finally found solid ground and a steep climb brought us right to the trail.
I stayed with my heroine and her sweet little family, treading respectfully behind her, feeling at any moment she’d become annoyed by her human caboose and ditch me. Finally, the lake came into view through the trees. I thanked my new best friend for helping me and we went our separate ways. Oh! Loving archetype, thank you!
When I reconnected with my husband and friends…
I told them about my poor judgement and the mother who saved me. They giggled and seemed to cater to my wild imagination more than believe the experience ever happened.
While they wrapped up their lakeside perch, I sat down on a log and breathed easy. I knew what had happened and that I was a very, very lucky duck.
photo by Vlad Tchompalov