Narrative Elements

Published: 2.9.2023

The unitive narrative's elements can be viewed in a variety of configurations. Each element plays a specific role in making the narrative come alive and all of them are valued in creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is with great humility and reverence for the role of the narrative in guiding our cultures and ways of life that we can proceed to analyze the elements that contribute to their beauty, power, and purpose.

One of the configurations of elements of the unitive narrative is an archetypal design. Specifically, the "Rainbow Circle" whole systems design template diagram below is used to highlight the major elements of the unitive narrative and their relationship to each other. 

Archetypes are timeless expressions of the aspects of reality which support us in envisioning our universe and our own psyches (as well as their relationship to each other). 

As Richard Tarnas stated, "The word “archetype” comes from Platonism, and indeed the archetypal cosmos was first [widely] articulated by Plato. Here was the philosophical vision of the universe as pervasively ensouled, INFORMED by transcendent archetypal principles, and ordered in its complex celestial movements by a sovereign divine intelligence. There were yet earlier roots to this perspective: the ancient pantheon of Greek myth (gods as archetypes), the ritual illuminations of the mystery religions (cosmos as divine revelation), and the Pythagorean disclosure of a universe whose unitive order was at once mathematical and numinous. For the Platonic–Pythagorean tradition, to align with the archetypal order of the cosmos was to realize one’s essential being. To know the cosmos was to know oneself. To study the numinous order of the heavens was to be spiritually and philosophically elevated, to break free from the cave of ephemeral shadows, to know the Good and the Beautiful ...  We live in a meaning-laden and purposeful universe — a cosmos that is coherent with our deepest spiritual and moral aspirations. Recognition of these [archtypal cosmological] correlations can help us to become more consciously co-creative participants in a cosmic unfolding. All of this points to yet another level of archetypal understanding: what Plato would call the Idea of the Good informing the cosmos, what Hegel would call the World Spirit realizing itself through history, and what Jung might describe as the Self archetype operating within the collective evolution of humankind itself."

I also affirm Tarna's statement that "The differences between Platonic archetypes and Jungian archetypes as usually understood — are that Platonic archetypes are seen as the essential structures of reality while Jungian archetypes are seen as the essential structures of the human psyche."

Therefore, in a complex world that needs a certain degree of simplicity to illustrate its nature, both Platonic and Jungian archetypal patterns are excellent vehicles to further our understanding of our own story and the dynamics of our universe. Michael S. Schneider understood this deeply, when he stated, "Nature itself rests on an internal foundation of archetypal principles symbolized by numbers, shapes, and their arithmetic and geometric relationships.”

To underscore the dominance of icons/symbols in the human consciousness, we need only be reminded of Confucius' famous saying,  'Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws.' Yet this aspect of our perceptual framework can be seen to actually liberates us from inaccurate understandings of archetypes, as we do not have to be hung up on their exact appearance and can focus more on the meanings that they have for the perceiver. For example, the Hermetic Laws can be understood in a modern sense, stripped of any affiliation that would make them unpalatable to the modern scientific mind, and languaged in a way in which their truths are obvious to our perception. This does not denude them of their historical esoteric significance, but provides them with a new lens in which people can see their connections anew, unencumbered by cultural or intellectual biases. For example, in the Law of Correspondence, we see how a branch is a microcosm of the tree and how tree branches resemble a  river's offshoots and the human lungs. From these humble beginnings, the heights of our self-knowing can be scaled and lead us to profound insights of how the outer and inner world are not separated, and reflect each other in a grander unitive consciousness we are only now beginning to realize the depths of collectively.

The "Rainbow Circle" diagram below is based on an ontology categorizing words/concepts into twelve archetypal domains. In this design, the main attributes of the unitive narrative are shown as they appear/arise in the twelve domains. Furthermore, this diagram can be read like a clockface, where the first sector is from 12 pm - 1 pm, the second is from 1 pm - 2 pm, and so on. 

The first domain contains the archetype of the self, beginnings, action, etc. The second domain contains the archetypes of growth, simplicity, altruism, etc. The third domain is focused on communication and the mind while the fourth is focused on home and emotion. The fifth domain expresses love, creation, celebration, etc., and the sixth domain is concerned with science, health, and nature. The seventh domain emphasizes relationships, peace, and justice. The eighth domain expresses gender and inclusivity and the ninth domain concerns truth, travel, and wisdom. The tenth domain contains economy, government, purpose, and being. The eleventh domain emphasizes community and friendship, and the twelfth domain expresses spirituality and unitive consciousness. It should rightfully be acknowledged that this design is based on the houses of the zodiac, when viewed in the clockwise direction as seen from the southern hemisphere. This design decision was made to align the archetypal domains with the traditional clock with which people are more familiar. Moreover, it draws our attention to the flexibility of the designs from which we make meaning and the lightheartedness and imaginative approach we can take to mapping the journey of personal and collective transformation. 

With respect to both science and religion, there are certainly taboos around using the zodiac that can be understood through the historical context of their development. In the case of science,  the zodiac was linked to the type of faith and unjustified measures of validity that was antithetical to the scientific method. While for religion, the zodiac was too associated with paganism to be allowed to have any credence as a tool for self-exploration. Yet, all the world's religions have astrotheological roots that cannot be ignored. For example, the zodiac is referenced in the Bible as the "Mazzaroth (constellations)," and there is a rich tradition of how its "story told in the stars" mirrors the journey and transformation of the human psyche. While there is more to be said, the impulse here can be that we need to heal the traumas around these conflicting worldviews and reconcile them accordingly. From this stance, the zodiac can be viewed neutrally yet meaningfully from a common ground where we can draw from the well of its archetypal dynamics to inform how we proceed in the projects (and stories) we wish to bring forth together. Also, it is worth mentioning that no story is set in stone, and that utilizing this model (among many others) is not an acknowledgment of set fate. We all have the free will to determine our own stories and the narrative of the collective.

Now we can really dive into the narrative elements in the domains below in an incisive manner. The strength of seeing through the zodiacal lens is that it allows us to see how each domain is embedded in dynamic relationships of the whole. So if we begin with the beginning, we can see how "The Self as the story" relates to the aspects of the other domains. For example, it connects to the fourth domain because while the self and our own actions are integral to a shared narrative, there is also the recognition of our responsibility to be stewards of our Earth (Gaia). This connection could be expanded further in the eleventh domain wherein we can also see ourselves as citizens of a living universe (universoul) in which we must uphold responsibilities for the community of life in which we co-exist.

While the unitive narrative is written linearly in the sense that it begins with its expression in a sentence and concludes in a sentence, there is a clear understanding that it is continuous in nature. Therefore, the non-linear circle design illustrates how the unitive narrative's elements are all in conversation with each other. In effect, while the unitive narrative text conveys the main themes of its essence and purpose, its elements below can be connected in a variety of ways, showing that there are an infinite amount of stories within the unitive narrative structure. For example, if we begin in the sixth domain with the convergence of scientific breakthroughs with spiritual wisdom, we see how it could connect to the eleventh domain wherein the story of a new community that embodies this unitive ethos emerges.

The unitive narrative talking points circle below further describes the aspects of the unitive narrative in all of the domains, and how they could be shared with a general audience. By understanding the dynamics of the audience, one can see where in the circle is most appropriate to begin. For example, if I was introducing the unitive narrative to a scientist, I would begin with science in the sixth domain and elaborate of the cosmological data and quantum physics that describe the unified nature of reality that underpins the unitive narrative. As you can see, there are many great talking points to choose from such as "The only narrative worth envisioning is the one that is about the planet and all beings on it" and our evolution from a separation-based to a wholeness-based paradigm. Thank you for reading and we hope this article provides another lens from which to view a unitive narrative that can truly unite us all for the world of health, harmony, peace, and love that we desire to co-create together.