I'm a huge fan of archetypes and archetypal work, and this love affair began when I was introduced to the work of medical intuitive and teacher, Caroline Myss. After discussing archetypes on the Myss Discussion Boards for some time, I was really excited when her book Sacred Contracts finally came out in January 2002. I've read and highlighted that book many times! It was with equal excitement that I anticipated the release of her Archetype Cards deck in September 2003.
The brand-new release of Sacred Contracts: The Journey - An Interactive Experience for Guidance which expands the concept of sacred contracts and archetypes into three wheels was also met with high excitement. A huge dry-erase game board? Markers? A pad of Wheel templates? And, finally, some information on those 2 mysterious outer wheels?
I couldn't wait to open it.
Here's what you'll find when open your package:
*A huge box. The gameboard alone is 2 feet x 2 feet, and folds into quarters. It's very thick and sturdy. A magenta-colored circle in the center gives keywords for each of the 12 Houses of the Zodiac. For example, the 1st House is Ego/Personality, the 2nd House is Life Values, the 3rd House is Self-Expression, and so on. Outside of the inner circle containing House keywords lies the Chronos Wheel. "Chronos" is written within this circular area in very light lavender, with 12 blank 'pie' slices (just like an Astrological Natal Chart, but with Houses evenly spaced.) Outside the Chronos Wheel is a narrow, colorful band which has a unique tapestry for each of the Houses (for example, with Pisces, you see two fish), as well as the name of each Zodiac sign and it's traditional astrological symbol. Outside of that is yet another blank wheel divided into 12 for the Kairos Wheel. Again, "Kairos" is in light lavender. Finally, the outside of the Wheel has 12 blank areas for the Cosmic Wheel. Outside of the Triadic Wheel is the numbers 1-12, designating the Houses. The outer parts of the game board is much like the red and muted gold found on the box.
*A plastic package of 4 felt-tip, dry erase markers in red, blue, green and purple.
*A small, gray eraser (I assumed that's what it was...and I was right!)
*The entire 78-card Archetype Deck (including 6 blank cards). (Click here for my in-depth review of this deck.) I haven't done a card for card comparison, but I'm familiar enough with the deck to notice that The Clown has been replaced by The Fool--but interestingly, the card retains the description of The Clown. (In Sacred Contracts, these Archetypes were differentiated.)
*12 Cards numbered 1-12
*A pad of 50 blank 3-Wheel templates
*An 83 page booklet almost twice the size of the one in the original Archetype Deck. However, some descriptions of the Archetypes have been shortened compared to the smaller booklet that came with the original deck. Myss explains the Chart of Origin/Chronos, Kairos, and Cosmic Wheels. She uses a hypothetical example of an individual and his three Archetypes as seen through the lens of one, and how it this holographic model could be interpreted symbolically and practically.
Although the game board is sturdy, the packaging isn't. The golden matte cardboard holding the die and eraser practically folded in on itself when I tried to fish out the dice. The game cover isn't very sturdy for the size of the game, either.
Myss goes into describing the Chronos, Kairos, and Cosmic Wheel, which expands on her archetypal model of sacred contracts. The Chart of Origin/Chronos never changes, Kairos is present moment archetypes at play, and the Cosmic wheel is randomly picked by "heaven". (A toss of the die)
The Guidebook explains that it's not necessary to read Sacred Contracts to play this exploratory "game". I'd have to say that I'd be surprised if anyone could just pick up this game, pick their Chart of Origin, and then go on to the other 2 Wheels! There are some of us that have been working with the Myss model for years and still get confused just with the Chart of Origin, let alone throwing in Kairos and Cosmic! There's even an explanation of how 2-4 players can play this game for corporate guidance, although I'm pretty confused as to how that would work. The Guidebook explains that, after each person picks their 12 natal archetypes (that are the foundation of the rest of the other Wheels and supposedly never change), they can then contribute several of their cards each, put them on the gameboard, and then seek guidance by doing a 3 tiered corporate wheel.
Confused? So was I.
Myss goes on to explain yet another use for the board, called a Pleasure Quest. This is an explorative way to stir up the psychic and archetypal waters and just have some fun.
The good stuff
I think the huge game board can be very beneficial. You could use it as a template for Tarot readings, oracle readings, or with the Archetype cards, especially to see how archetypal energies play out in the Houses. You could use it for conscious archetypal work, as well as for divination purposes. The dry erase surface makes it easy to write in archetypes, and play around with the House system. If you find the game board too unwieldy, you can always use the paper templates. You could even use it for examining your astrological wheel, and writing in synastry chart information when examining relationships. And, you could also use it for the Pleasure Quests that Myss describes.
Those who are devoted to the Myss model or who love to examine archetypes will no doubt be intrigued and delighted with this interactive game. However, it must be said that it's possible you may end up more confused than enlightened after it's all said and done.