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Archetypes Gallery
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Liberator
We tend to think of Liberators as great military and political leaders who free an entire country or people from servitude, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Simon Bolivar of Venezuela, Nelson Mandela, and, depending on your politics, Lenin, Castro, and Che’ Guevara. But in everyday life, any number of people can play a similar role on a smaller scale, helping to liberate us from the tyranny of self-inflicted negative thought patterns and beliefs, spiritual sluggishness, poor nutrition, destructive relationships, or addictive behavior. This archetype can be an invaluable ally in helping to free us from old, entrenched beliefs and attitudes that have been inculcated from without, much like colonial occupying armies. Jesus, Muhammad, and the Buddha were Liberators in this sense, offering options to the violence, suffering, and spiritual stagnation of their respective times and places. You do not have to be a charismatic leader to have this archetype, however. Thousands of people have taken part in long campaigns to win freedom from various kinds of oppression, from the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights movement in this country to the Freedom Fighters of the Hungarian Revolution.

The shadow Liberator manifests in those who would liberate us from one tyrant only to impose their own tyranny over our lives--corporate, political, religious, and spiritual leaders who speak of freedom as a way to their individual aggrandizement.

In evaluating whether this archetype belongs in your circle of twelve, ask whether you have shown a life-long pattern of helping to free others from injustices, from adverse economic or social conditions, or simply from their misconceptions.


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