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Hedonist (Bon Vivant, Chef, Gourmet, Gourmand)
This Archetype has an "appetite" for the pleasurable aspects of life, from good food and wine to sexuality and sensuality. As scientific research has shown, pleasure can improve our health and extend our lives and needs to be part of a balanced life. Indulging the self is central to the psyche of this archetype, whether treating oneself to a health spa or learning the nuances of lovemaking. That the Hedonist is generally thought of as someone who pursues extremes of self-indulgence is more a reflection of our Puritan heritage than of the archetype itself. In positive terms, it inspires creative energy in the psyche to embrace the "good" things in life. It also challenges in a positive way the collective archetypal fear of being seduced and losing control in the physical world. The shadow Hedonist may manifest as pursuing pleasure without regard for other people or one's own good health.

The search for physical ecstasy parallels the search for spiritual transformation, a truth that is apparent in the dual identity of the famous Greek icon of pleasure-seeking, Dionysus. Besides being a god of wine and fertility (later adopted by the Romans as Bacchus), Dionysus also represents the goal of mystery religions, like those practiced at Eleusis: ecstatic delivery from the mundane world through the physical or spiritual intoxication induced by secret rites. (See Mystic.) The sacrament of Soma (also a god of the Vedic pantheon) played a similar role in ancient Indian spirituality.


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