Lore, Ancient Texts, and Secrets!

The Life of a Druid

If you are following my discussions on the character archetypes in fantasy role playing games, then you understand my position that role-playing is essential for learning and growing. If this is your first read of my journey through character archetypes, then note that I consider play an essential component of humanity. Role-playing is a form of play. And I love to play. I am a builder of Lego sets and my own robotic and #stem creations. However, there is more to role-play than just play. Role-playing allows us to practice critical decision-making, experience deep-rooted emotions, and broaden our understanding of the world around us. In only a few short sentences I have said a great deal. As a point of reference, clinical psychologists, therapists, and educators have begun to integrate role-playing activities into the counseling session and the k12 classroom, respectively.

UNDERSTANDING ARCHETYPES

“According to Fritscher & Jung”

To use character archetypes successfully in role-play scenarios – especially in an educational setting – we need to better understand what those character archetypes are and where they come from. However, before I continue, I will give credit to the two greatest minds that have brought us the idea of the character archetype in the 20th century: Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Specifically, I focus on Jung’s position that the archetype is part of the collective unconscious.

According to Fritscher (2020):

The collective unconscious is a concept originally defined by psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Sometimes referred to as the “objective psyche,” it refers to the idea that a segment of the deepest unconscious mind is genetically inherited and is not shaped by personal experience.

Image by Valgerd Kossmann from Pixabay

According to Jung’s teachings, the collective unconscious is common to all human beings and is responsible for a number of deep-seated beliefs and instincts, such as spirituality, sexual behavior, and life and death instincts.

Jung believed that the collective unconscious is expressed through universal concepts called archetypes. Archetypes can be signs, symbols, or patterns of thinking and behaving that are inherited from our ancestors.

Disclaimer: I do not agree that Jung’s position about character archetypes is correct. That is, I am hard put to believe that there is a force of consciousness in which all human beings are connected at a subconscious level that causes us to use, admire, or agree that the personification of certain paradigms is how humans interpret their own existence.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

The Paradigm

“…the lore of the gods can be equated to the study of mythology”

What if the reverse was true? Meaning: That a force or power exists that pushes these paradigms and archetypes upon us forcing humankind to see humanity in a certain way. As an example, I use the Druid character class in fantasy role playing games as the archetype for this article. Until now, I have mapped a character class with its archetype and further identified either historical or fictional figures that fit the paradigm. The Druid archetype provides no such mapping. With the Barbarian, narrative fiction gave us the Hulk. With the Bard, I can identify a list of preachers, politicians, and musical artists that have mesmerized us with their words. With the Cleric, I alluded to the Knights Templar, the Catholic Church’s holy warriors. What about the Druid?

The Druids studied the lore of the gods. For the modern reader, the lore of the gods can be equated to the study of mythology. To better understand how mythology is part of our culture, and thus our collective thinking, all we need to do is look around.

Have you been shopping lately? Need something overnighted? Are you a prime member? You know the company to which I infer: Amazon, Inc. Based in Seattle, WA, Amazon is your e-commerce conglomerate, as well as the primary nemesis for Microsoft, Inc. Both companies want to be the leader in cloud-based technologies. But the Amazon race – the daughters of Ares and Harmonia – is really a community of warrior women.

Greek Gods

“Are we honoring the Greek gods by naming our cultural icons after them?”

How do you like your podcasting? Pandora, Inc. is a leading platform for music and podcasts. However, from Greek history, Pandora is best known for releasing all the evils upon humanity. Next time keep your hands off that box!!

Talk about irony – the Greek god Hermes lords over trade, wealth, luck, and thieves! Federated Hermes is an investment corporation out of Pittsburgh, PA.

I use Dove soap. But Dove is more than a brand of soap. The dove is the iconic symbol for romance and love. The bird was always seen sitting on Aphrodite’s hand. Dove, Inc. is also a non-profit coalition of organizations that address unmet societal needs and injustices. Coincidence? Maybe not.

Image by Mustafa Alpaslan from Pixabay

According to my reading on Wikipedia, Apollo is the Greek god of music, poetry, light, prophecy, and medicine. It is also the name of the theater (Apollo Theater) in New York City.

Are we honoring the Greek gods by naming our cultural icons after them?

More to the point. There are no first-hand records of the druid community written by Druids. My research of Druid lore is based on second-hand information. However, I searched the Internet far and wide and found some strange things about the druid community. Some of this reading took me down some dark alleys – if you consider witchcraft a dark alley. Earlier, I said that the druids studied the lore of the gods. Indeed, they were scholars in mythology, astronomy, and religion. They held positions of high authority in both social and political arenas. Mostly, however, they were noted for being nature’s caregivers. They aligned themselves with the protection of nature, keeping the balance of natural forces foremost in their thoughts and actions.

Image by Artie_Navarre from Pixabay

Bringing Archetypes Into the Classroom

“Who made the world?”

What can we learn from this discussion? What can we bring into the classroom?

The lore of the gods is all around us. This is not an accident. In lore, knowledge is power, and power is control. In the time of the druids, the Druid often held high ranking social and political positions. They were counselors, judges, astronomers, and seers of the future. For us to understand the lore of the gods, we need to take a closer look at Greek mythology, and mythology in general.

Cranford wrote about Robert Graves –

According to Graves, mythology serves to provide common answers to complex questions and to explain the personification of human behavior. How would you like to answer these questions:

Who made the world?
How was the world made?
What happens when we die?
Why do we kiss under the mistletoe during the Christmas holiday?
Why do we gather in building to worship and pray?

Ancient texts, religious or otherwise, provide answers to these questions. It is up to us – at a personal level – to determine how we will use this information to answer life’s more complicated questions. Or we need a societal consensus to create a culture that structures and sustains life according to certain behavioral norms. The choice is ours.

References

Cranford, A. (2020). According to Robert Graves, what are the two functions of myths? Retrieved from https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-two-functions-myths-paragraphs-2-3-how-does-150249

Fritscher, L. (2020). Understanding the collective unconscious. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-collective-unconscious-2671571

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