Similarity between Patterns, Archetypes, Tarot and IFS Fractals

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There were so many highlights from our trip. Sue and Tree have expressed a lot of the learnings beautifully, so for now I thought I would just share a snapshot from a great conversation. During our Friday "Deepening Facilitation" workshop it turned out that the two other folks I was sitting with were also Jungians. We got to talking about the relationship between Jung's description of the structural nature of archetypes and how it paralleled Crowley's description of the underlying nature of Tarot and my experience with Group Works. 

I won't give a full schpiel on the archetypes, but will say that Jung considered them to emerge from the collision of fundamental and inherited organizing principles in the mind on the one hand and experiences on the other: it's not that the "Mother" archetype would fully appear garbed in the rich imagery and symbolism in a vacuum, but rather than our minds have core organizational structures that will inevitably channel a host of our experiences in a way that takes on a familiar pattern as the Mother Archetype. (parallel to the way random points created based on probability distributions will form beautiful, complex and infinite patterns in IFS fractals (

Similarly, Crowley talked about the way that Tarot cards came alive the more you used them - the more your personal experiences were associated with the cards, the more the underlying structure represented by a given card would get fleshed out.

With Group Works, this is deeply true, which makes sense: The origin of each of the 91 patterns is story-based: folks came together and shared what in their experience made group events come alive, and we iteratively dug deeper, trying to grok the core elements and pare away the inessentials to discern what were separate and vital Patterns. Each pattern is like a tiny grain of sand made palpable through the layer upon layer of experience deposited around it. This has the benefit of making the patterns something recognized and remembered instead of learned - that sense of "oh yeah, THAT thing" when looking at any card in Group Works. It also means that our dexterity with each pattern is amplified by the degree to which we embed the language in ourselves, fundamentally altering the way we map & measure the world around and within ourselves, at times restructuring our experience of group events.

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