Extraverted Sensing vs. Bad Descriptions

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On CognitiveType.Com – the leading theorist, known as ‘Auburn,’ typed me as SeFi based on facial signals. I have studied Socionics, MBTI, and Jung – and after synthesizing the theories, I agree that at base, I fit SeFi (also known as SEE in Socionics, ESFP in MBTI, SeF in Jung).

The problem is, I struggle with many descriptions of this type – it is often depicted in a shallow, dehumanizing way. There may be reasons for this. Perhaps it is rare for Se leads to take interest in typology. Perhaps many are not inclined to sit at a computer studying abstract theory and delineating fine distinctions, and find the interactive life more compelling. To speak for myself, I never joined forums or learned theories until I was 32, and I only did because chronic illness destroyed my music career, along with any hope of sustaining a job. I refocused my attention on writing fiction, which lead to my interest in archetypes. So here I am, a student of typology who may be able to tackle the widespread misconceptions around Se. My current critique is focused on Auburn’s description – and the general sentiment around the CT forum – because I find their approach most valuable in the field of Jungian functions in its current state. Please keep in mind that although this critique is harsh, I support their community and project unequivocally, and I am a patron. However, since the Se description still hasn’t changed after many of my protests, I told them I would write my own so that people like me could see it’s out there, and process the typing more easily. I am doing this to work with them, not against them.

Myth #1: Se is Addicted to External Stimulation, Sensory Thrills and Pleasure, but Lacks any Internal World

Auburn’s descriptions link Pe to open-endedness, boredom, addiction and stimulation-seeking. As a result, people in his community have postulated that Se seeks stimulation and pleasure – but these quests are extraneous to any function. Everyone seeks stimulation, which is why ‘deprivation chamber’ is an age old torture device. As for pleasure – how you define ‘pleasure’ could be a topic of its own. “What is Pleasure?” “What do you find Pleasurable?” This requires exploration before shoving the idea of ‘pleasure’ into one function. Personally, I find my inner world much more enticing than anything external. I cannot imagine what it’s like to be ‘bored’ and, although I surround myself with beauty, I don’t seek sensory experience for its own sake.

As an Enneagram 4, my most ‘childish’ and ‘selfish’ need is to explore and express my inner world – and be admired for it. If you strip me down to nothing but base instinct, I’m still not an ‘escapist’ or ‘pleasure seeker’ but rather, someone that needs to transform my suffering into something beautiful that is uniquely mine, and thus be loved, seen and desired – despite my flaws, brokenness and shame. Therefore, I am not drawn to waste time indulging my senses with extraneous experiences that distract me from this process. The carnal world is an inspiration, a mirror, a stage – a means to explore and express my innermost essence (and, by extension, discover what essence is). I see feelings reflected in the weather, ideas reflected in colors, archetypes in the elements, humanity in animals… “as above, so below.” The most compelling indulgence, for me, is the quest to unveil my heart on such a deep level that its pulse reflects the rhythm of the world – and capture that experience in artistic form.

When presence is most intense, the timeless and eternal reveal themselves. This is why I describe my experience of the world as “So carnal, it’s spiritual.” But presence is not about ‘seeking stimulation and pleasure,’ nor does it have to be about experiencing something outside myself. In fact, seeking stimulation would impair ‘presence,’ because it implies a refusal to immerse myself in the ever-evolving now.

It also impedes ‘presence’ to actively run away from something inside. Some people are more invested in their internal world than others – and Fi certainly more invested in ‘personal identity’ than Ti – but running away from the internal would mean not being ‘present’ with the situation as it is. In order to attain focus, presence and flow – which Auburn linked to Se in his description – the mind, body and senses need to move with the current of the external and internal world.

Presence is about existing at full voltage. Being saturated with my project, the relationship, the conversation, the performance, the mood, the inner turmoil, the narrative unraveling from inside me, the music as it penetrates my being, the ideas someone else is communicating, the flavors of a story as I voraciously devour it, the onslaught of emotion, the throes of my will, the rhythm of accomplishment, the flame of creation, the dance of seduction, the thrust of combat, the anger, the passion, the desire, the catharsis, the ‘flow.’ I choose my destiny and pursue it willfully, then immerse myself in the process as it unfolds – and the cosmos reveals itself, just as it is.

Many Se leads would not share my priorities and interests – but all will experience flow, vitality and presence – since these principles underlie Se. You cannot be present while simultaneously obsessing about possible stimulation elsewhere. The reason Se seems more physical is not because Se leads are all hedonists – but because they are more tuned in to the singular trajectory of events at hand.

Ne is aware of alternate realities and possibilities, but there is no parallel for Se. The difference is not that Se leads seek ‘sensory stimulation’ but, rather, that they are engulfed in whatever dynamic experience they are currently focusing on – be it a conversation, a feeling, a sport, or a philosophical meandering. It is evident in Auburn’s chats that groups of Se-valuers tend to flow with one topic, moving from A to B to C to D, whereas Ne conversations are divergent, moving from A to F to Z and back to C. This is why Ne-Si picks up ‘synchronicities’ and ‘parallel realities,’ while Se-Ni is holistic and encapsulates ‘as above, so below.’

Myth #2: Se is an Open-Ended “Empty Vessel” who follows Addictions and Whims with no Direction or Willpower

Any type might have a grand sense of purpose, and any type might not – but each type has a specific way of getting their needs met. Pe leads are hunter-gatherers and willful pursuers who pick up patterns in the world and turn trends in their favor. Pe leads may or may not be motivated, visionary, or outgoing, but regardless, Pe takes in the world at lightning speed and interacts with it without hesitation.

I live in a near constant ‘flow’ state because I allow my emotions, ideas, and experiences to saturate me fully, and to flow through me in a dynamic current as things evolve. I direct this flow toward the things I want in the grand scheme – and due to my general awareness and presence, I know where to go in the real world in order to bring my dreams to life – in big and small ways. This is emphasized in Jung’s Se ‘realism’ and Socionics Se ‘volitional force’ – but Auburn leaves ‘realism’ out of the description and is hesitant to ascribe Se any willpower.

It appears to me that Auburn is attempting to draw a parallel between Se and Ne, where both are empty vessels seeking stimulation, wide open to new experiences – but neither is willful. Although he would agree that any type can be willful as a ‘whole person’ with a full set of functions, he ascribes willfulness to functions that are extraneous to Pe, and makes Ne and Se – as independent entities – both equal in their aimlessness. Yet the database shows that Se leads – no matter how fantastical their mind – are quite able to ‘get what they want’ in reality. In the case of intuitive leads, additional functions are necessary to help them conquer the ‘real-world’ – but for a Se lead to have realistic aspirations and impose their will upon concrete objects, all they need is Se.

It is difficult to justify Auburn’s ‘trickster’ archetype for Se, not to mention ‘seductive sensualist’ and ‘rebellious delinquent’ – without incorporating realism and will. Not all Se leads will have a grand sense of purpose – but all will know how to get what they want from the world in the moment. Note: Jung agrees.

The flow of achievement can be spiritual for me: I align myself with nature, feel its power in my hands – and channel that vital force to actualize my will. Auburn theorizes that I have developed Ji and Je – but this fails to explain the automatic interactive relationship with the environment, moment to moment, which fuels my cathartic creation process.

On a larger scale, I have always possessed a strong sense of purpose, and I believe this phenomenon is extraneous to type. This is consistent with his database: I’ve had a clear sense of purpose all my life while my husband, a TiSe, has not; Jordan Peterson, a brilliant Je lead, found his purpose later in life; Trent Reznor, SeTi with no J development, possessed vision and purpose from a young age; Kurt Cobain, SeTi, fought harrowing medical conditions to chase his vision; etc. Auburn may argue that these visionary people don’t comprise ‘the average Se lead’ – but a solid principle should not have outliers. Any reasonably functional Se lead in the database possesses vitality, focus, presence, volition, force, flow – which means it is a good baseline for Se – while the rest is incidental.

Myth #3: Some people are Open-Ended and Random, just like Children, and there’s Nothing Wrong with it

Auburn ascribes ‘willful purpose,’ ‘overcoming’ and ‘heroism’ to Je, ‘meaning’ and ‘values’ to Ji, and ‘shamanism’ and ‘narrative’ to Pi – while linking Pe to a childish need to explore random stimulus, a risk of ‘falling prey’ to addiction, and a default state of ‘boredom.’ His mythologies link Pe to ‘tricksters’ and ‘puers,’ full of naive wonder (Ne) and pan-like delinquency (Se). I love the archetypes, and agree with youthfulness (Pe) being placed in opposition to senex energy (Pi). The problem is, there’s no acknowledgement of purpose, preference, specificity or independent will.

Auburn emphasizes that Pe is random, open-ended and directionless – including the geniuses, sports stars, composers and scientists. When I asked about Einstein – a Ne lead with no other function development – Auburn suggested his discoveries relied on strong elements of ‘luck.’ I pointed out that when Se leads do amazing sport stunts, it requires practice – but Auburn insisted they can ‘just do that.’ The description proposes that Se leads are wired to figure out the components of physical motion just by watching, and then mimic it. Funny, I was so horrible at this that my mother had to explain to me in words how to tie my shoes, whereas my brother just figured it out – and I left every dance class crying because I could not copy the motions for the life of me. Parsing out impersonal components is Ti, not SeWhen I asked other SeFi’s about this, none of them were able to parse out the movements naturally either. There may be exceptions, but none that I’ve spoken to personally.

I was known as a child prodigy in music, but lo and behold, I started practicing for hours each day at age four. Who knew that Pe leads could willfully set their mind to something and achieve it through dedication? Who knew they might interact with the environment in a way that might be deliberate?

If we are to run with the archetype of ‘youthful explorer,’ let us not forget: the most adventurous of children are willful, know what they want and find a way to get it. This hunter-gather mentality is a staple of the adventurer’s mind, and there is tremendous will embedded in its fabric.

 

Myth #4: The Descriptions are Fair and Equal, Based on Data

Let’s face reality: associating Pe with empty-headedness is dehumanizing, and equating it to addiction and directionlessness is pathologizing. The CT community has offered many excuses, including: “These descriptions encapsulate the average person, and you’re not average.” Well gee, thanks – but if these descriptions are about average people, why is Fe focused on heroism, and why are Ni leads equated to shamans? The message is: “At your best, your type can excel at edginess and stunts – whereas the baseline of normalcy for Ni types is to be a shaman.” Lovely!

During a round of argument about the Se description, Auburn asked me: if a high percentage of Se leads are drug addicts, is it wrong to put that in the description? It’s not wrong – but make sure the description also has room for the Se leads who excel to great heights, like Trent Reznor, Kurt Cobain, Hemmingway and Foucault. And for cripe’s sake, give credit where it’s due and include a paragraph on realism and holeism.

Bad trends show up (drug addiction, oversexed behavior, delinquency) – good trends show up (brilliant music composers) – but CT is responsible for which ones they decide to include, and right now, it’s quite one-sided. Some descriptions are human and balanced, like the Fi description, which is a masterpiece. Others are dehumanizing either because they are glorifying (Ni, Fe) or infantilizing and pathologizing (Se and, to a lesser degree, Ne).

Considering the Ni description has room for shamans, the Se description should also demonstrate what Se lead geniuses look like – paying tribute to great athletes as well as the trend of Se leads who are groundbreaking composers. He could also mention that he has discovered a trend of computer programmers typing as Se, and attempt to illustrate why this trend shows up. At the very least, the description could provide an avenue to demonstrate how purpose manifests in a reasonably capable, intelligent adult.

It may be fair to say the average modern human is addicted to external stimulation and that the media culture has trained us to expect instant gratification – but it is not correct to link this sin to any function, when outliers appear among all types, and exceptions appear within the types to which he ascribes directionless gluttony. I cannot presume to know what Auburn thinks or feels but, as a reader, I sense he needed to use some type as a dumping ground and blame it for society’s downfall.

I know this is not the case, and that he has made every effort to be fair, open and precise. I know he has good reasons for leaving the description the way he did, and that over time, as he sees more evidence, he will readdress this. But I am being honest about my reaction to it, and I know I’m not the only Se lead who has responded this way. I’ve heard this often enough that I feel compelled to address my thoughts on Se publicly, and share what the descriptions are missing – especially since I am so vocal about my support of the CT community at large.

Bottom line: in Jung’s book, realism is the foundation of Se, and where there is realism, there is also volition and force. These attributes must be ascribed to Se in a very central way for it to have any meaning at all.

New ways to look at Libra

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I posted this in an astrology group:
 
I decided to share this here, due to my Scorpio Mercury need to dig to the depths of things, penetrate the lies and find the truth. I keep seeing comments, even in this group, which are aligned with typical descriptions on the internet, but not with what I have discovered to be true. So I wanted to share my take on things, and my research thus far.
 
As a Pluto dominant Libra, with an 8th house sun, I despise descriptions of Libra. It goes beyond “I don’t relate” and ventures into the fact that Libra is an inanimate type. Modern astrology associates Libra with the SCALES, an inanimate object, while every other sign has a personality — either an animal or a god, goddess…
 
It would be impossible for someone as opinionated, intense and fiery as me to relate to any description of a wifey peacemaker with no opinions of her own. Not only do I find this extremely degrading toward Venus itself, and the nature of women – but also the absolute opposite of who I am. I gave up astrology, but later on, once I found the intense truth in my Chiron and Pluto energy, I decided to give it a chance and did some research on Libra. Here’s an old post from last year:
 
Did some research today. About to do more.
Libra is not about “peace” nor is it about avoiding conflict or being a pushover, trying to get along. It’s not actually about romance or wifey stuff either. None of that makes sense at all archetypically, nor does it mean anything.
 
Originally, Libra was not one of the constellations or signs. The stars now associated with Libra were the claws of the Scorpion. Later they saw it as two constellations, where one was “Chelae” – claws. That one was Libra.
 
Later on, there was a mistranslation. “There was a confusion with the translation of the words, zubana and zibanitu (meaning- weighing scale’ and ‘scorpion, respectively). The two translations of the words zubana and zibanitu led to the constellation the scorpion’s claws or Chelae Scorpionis. Therefore, in Babylonian Mythology, Libra started out as the claws of the Scorpio. Later when the Greeks looked at the constellation, they thought it looked like a set of scales held by Astraea or (Star-maiden).”
 
So Libra, if you take its full history and mistranslation into account – is somewhere between the claws of the Scorpion that killed Orion and the Virgin Goddess’s scales of justice, but it is not actually an entity unto itself.
 
Consider all these quotes, from various references:
“The zodiac (a Greek word meaning “circle of animals”) were devised by the Neo-Babylonians.
““The fundamental factor in astrology is the identification of the heavenly bodies with the chief gods of the pantheon.”
“Libra is the only zodiac constellation that represents an object, not an animal or a character from mythology.”
 
Conclusion:
Libra is not an archetypal energy. It is an inanimate object wielded by forces of LIFE and nature belonging to the other signs. Its presence in astrology is the result of mistranslations and a need to force symmetry, but it is not inherently meaningful.
 
__
 
More recent post.
Things have changed – obviously since we discovered Pluto that has been linked to Scorpio, and Mars to Ares etc. But everyone knows that Mars used to be linked to Scorpio. This is common knowledge. No one talks about Hephaestus and Vulcan being linked to Libra. Why?? What is the point of declawing it? Hephaestus is much less glamorous than the others but at least has a personality, whereas modern internet astrologers outright admit that Libra is the only sign who is associated with an inanimate object instead of a God or Goddess or animal. Seriously what the hell is wrong with them??? This is what came up first for each on Google:
 
Hephaestus
Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes. Hephaestus’ Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was either the son of Zeus and Hera or he was Hera’s parthenogenous child.
 
Vulcan
Mythology
Vulcan is the god of fire including the fire of volcanoes, deserts, metalworking, and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. He is often depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer. The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery.
 
 
Vulcan was an exile, cast out of the heavens by his parents because he was ugly. He was adopted by an underwater dweller, and there he mastered skills in creating beautiful things, some of which he gifted to his adoptive mother. When his birth mother found out what beauty he was capable of producing, she wanted him back – but he built gorgeous enticing contraptions to trap her (a beautiful chair, in this story). To set her free, Vulcan’s father offered Aphrodite’s hand to Vulcan. So the ugliest God got to marry the most beautiful because of his vengeful and beautiful traps. (Justice!) He was the God of the forge, turning shit to gold, which gave him a path out of exile – though he remained essentially exiled due to his bitterness about it. He developed a separate identity from the family.
 
This is a somewhat similar story to the Phantom of the Opera. There is “creating beauty” and “marriage” in this story, but no peacemaking pushover present.
 
 
From today, in this group:
 
My stronger sense is that a lot of what’s said about Libra simply isn’t true. It was originally associated with the exiled God Hephaestus/Vulcan, who was too ugly to sit among the Gods but was invited back because of his beautiful art. His art was also vengeful, such as the gorgeous chair that strapped his mom in place after she discarded him and then sent for him so she could use him for his art. His father bargained that he could marry Aphrodite if he let his mom go, and he did. When she cheated with Ares, he set up some artful way to expose them before everyone. This is vengeful. Libra is JUSTICE, not pushover.
 

Modern astrology says (and I’ve seen this written) that Libra is the only sign that has no Gods or animals, just an inanimate object. Then, they characterize it as having no mind of its own and being a passive aggressive pushover. Meanwhile this is a cardinal air sign. Most Libras I know are keen on justice and create beauty, but not necessarily to manipulate people. Air is removed. Tactical. These people know what they want to prove and they do it, with artistic panache.

 
 
 

Sexual vs. Social – Enneagram Instincts

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Common Misconception: Sx = Intimacy. 

Here, I posted an exchange I had today on a forum, addressing this.

Question:
Interesting. I’m a bit confused, though, especially about the last paragraph. What’s the difference between So and Sx again? There was a site that said that So is “personal connection” and Sx is “intimacy.” Sounds like the same thing to me. When you say that he enjoys merging with the fascinating qualities about you, that sounds like ‘connecting’ to me. Connecting and merging sounds like the same thing to me. So, if you wouldn’t mind, what’s the difference between So and Sx?

Anyway, you make some interesting points, and maybe this could explain why so many people type themselves as Sx (because they’re perhaps under the impression that Sx is one-on-one relationship, depth, romance, etc. and that So is group interactions and communities and so on). I guess I tend to be under this impression myself as well.

Answer:
Thanks for the interest and the thoughtful question.

Social is, at root: bonding, warmth, interpersonal intimacy, relationships, love between two people, friendship, having each other’s back. It is also the human need that lies behind the sentiment of loneliness. (Any instinct type can feel lonely.)

If you think about it, not all your close relationships are sexual. You might have a one-on-one intense bond with your brother or sister, or one of your parents, or perhaps your teacher or boss who is elderly when you’re a child; but none of these bonds (under typical healthy conditions) would be sexual. You can bond deeply with your sister without there having to be ‘sexual charge.’ So what would you call your intense, trusting, loving relationship bond with your sister? That would be social. And this extends to your friends.

Sexual is, at root: heat, allure, transformation, sexual intimacy eros. There’s a sense that you want to penetrate and be penetrated by the other person entirely, as though being absorbed into their being; tearing down all walls. (This is often mistaken for intimacy, but it isn’t necessarily, unless the Social instinct is also at play.) It is also the human need that lies behind obsession, limerence. (Any instinct type can experience this.) There’s an addictive quality to it, whether or not you’re actually intimate with the person.. you want them to want you.

In French, orgasm is called “la petite morte” – the little death. This is because when making love, you’re naked, exposed, without walls. You spill your life seed into, or upon, another. Fluids are mixed. Boundaries are lost, and when boundaries are lost, it’s impossible not to transform; to be reborn.

The reason sex has been deemed ‘sinful’ and bad is because it’s too destructive to society – it brings unexpected changes. People who were otherwise loyal to their family, or their job, or “the state” – will suddenly throw it all away for the sake of passion. Or that is what they fear. Sx instinct has a transformative quality.. it is there to strip you down, expose you and entice you, leaving you wide open. In this sense, Sexual Instinct has a danger to it. It can be scary, overwhelming.

Sx dominants are tuned into enticement, allure; they can’t turn it off. There’s a sense they’re always penetrating into you, using some type of luring siren signal, like the way birds show off their bright feathers and sing to impress a mate. All of that is sexual signaling and humans do it very similarly – through dressing up, showing virtuosity to entice (music, art etc).

Now this does not mean that “Sx dominants are sluts.” Quite the contrary, in many cases. The Sx dominant is so deeply attuned to chemistry that they can tell whose chemistry mixes best with theirs. When this instinct is first, it can be very selective, holding out for the hottest person, some kind of Ideal Other who would attract them and allure and entice them for all eternity.

This can, of course, develop into a sense of intimacy very quickly- since there’s an addictive quality, wanting to get deep into every part of the lover’s psyche. But this is a very different type of intimacy than that which you experience with your sister. The type with your sister will outlast most of your sexual relationships. The intimacy with your lover is more penetrating and intense, but it is not in and of itself based on common interests, trust, deep bonding and so forth; until Social instinct comes into play.

And we must remember that people are whole – we are not “just one instinct.” So an Sx/Sp and Sp/Sx couple will become bonded on a social level. Just as an So/Sp and Sp/So couple will enjoy heat and intensity, and want to allure each other. The question is, where does your attention automatically lie? What is the primary call of your instinctual senses? Which instinct is on all the time, in all situations, constantly guiding you, alternately holding you back and propelling you forward?

The Limits of Typology Descriptions

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A type is a living breathing pattern that manifests through living breathing people. Once someone has years of experience with typology, the type starts to come to life. There’s more than words on a page; there’s a rhythm, a chemistry. This is what type really is. And once you understand that rhythmic essence of the types, then the descriptions become a ‘guide’ rather than scripture. Jung and Gurdjieff knew this – they were describing archetypes, not full people, and both were careful to explain that their systems (Cognitive Functions and Enneagram, respectively) were about a fundamental underlying gestalt which underlies the psyche of anyone that embodies that archetype.

If you can feel the types, and see them in motion in actual humans, it is clear that no description on its own is adequate. The various descriptions are maps and the people are the trees and the houses. The underlying gestalt of each archetype is clearly the same throughout each system, even if descriptions by different authors contradict each other – at least to my eye. Not everyone sees the world the way I do, but I certainly don’t gain much anymore from arguing about this description vs. that. It is a necessary stepping stone toward understanding what type is, but I don’t see how tit for tat cut-and-paste does anything to bring a type to life and make it breathe, so that a human may embody its essence. Once we get past that second-grade cut and paste, we graduate to the world of archetypes and rhythm of the world. Yacking about this definition vs that, is no longer relevant.

When you hear a piece of music, do you argue that someone else played the notes in a different syncopation? Fur Elise is Fur Elise, no matter who plays it. It can be to a rock beat, a jazz beat.. it’s still the same fundamental melody and chords. This is what makes it Fur Elise. You can argue that someone completely changed it, but if you heard that intro and you said “Fur Elise!” then your gut knew what song it was. This is the same for types.

Cognition: SeFi

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~ If it’s not Worth Doing in Excess, it’s not Worth Doing at All ~
 
Over the past decade, I have engaged an obsessive study of typology, with focus on Enneagram and Jungian functions.  Both systems have been reinterpreted ad nauseum, but I took a holistic approach.  Recently, I discovered a more scientific angle on cognitivetype.com, whose basis for typing, known as vultology, rests on the premise that cognition reveals itself in observable expressions.  There, I was typed as SeFi  based on vultology signals, which matched the psychology I portrayed in a video I submitted and the archetypes I highlighted in my art.  Since then I’ve been in communication with the leading writer of this website, and my SeFi psychology has been confirmed on multiple levels.  
 
The four functions in my type are Se, Fi, Te and Ni.  My creative work is heavily focused on Fi and Ni, yet my vultology showed that my Se and Te functions were fully conscious in my typing video.  Naturally, this distinction intrigued me, and I’ve been reflecting on it since I was typed.  After some thought, and interaction on the website, we concluded that I am Fi conscious as well. Here, I will unpack the development and expression of my functions, as they manifested in different forms over the years.  
 
 
~ Music is Divine Symmetry ~
 
Morality, inner compass and ability to form crystallizations are all part of the Ji function.  I suspect this was more developed in my youth.  At age 11, I parsed out music theory on my own, and could sight-read chord charts while transposing at the same time.  At 15, I took a theory test at Berklee College of Music, and my scores placed me in top classes alongside the eldest professionals.  I mastered each modicum of my 4.5 octave range and scored 100% in state competitions which required singing opera in foreign languages.  Additionally, I scored 99th percentile on standardized math tests, won awards for Latin and French, and embodied strong personal values.  Singing was my life path, and at 13, my career began.
 
Everything changed at age 16, when Lyme Disease nearly killed me.  After that, my math scores dropped to 30th percentile and I was unable to remember or learn foreign languages.  Brain scans showed damage to my cognition which improved with Lyme treatment, but never fully recovered.  This brought on disintegration of Ji: I lost my ability to ‘delicately parse things out.’  Worse, I was left speaking in a whisper, with no hope of recovering my voice.  This left me bereft of the music career I had been pursuing for my whole life, stripping me of my hard-earned talents and dreams. 
 
 
~ So Carnal, it’s Spiritual ~
 
As my life path slipped from my grasp, moral clarity evaded me.  I involved myself with men that fell short of my ideals, did drugs even though it was against my previous convictions, and made other compromises to my once rigid standards.  This is how I devolved into my most base form, Anäeia – short for ‘Annihilate.’  She was a conquerer, heartbreaker, hooked on drugs, sex and appetite; an animal.  Anäeia is pictured here with an LSD tablet on her tongue, hungry and ready to feed, with men in the background. Most photographs of her are nude, scarred and bruised, jarring to the senses, yet magnetic. The sheer wildness of her encapsulates the idea that you’re only free when you have nothing to lose. She embodies the myth of the dark trickster which encapsulates my primary cognitive function: Se.
 
Anäeia was a vampire, undead yet not alive; stripped of her humanity.  She was an animal and a symbol of something primal, but not human.  Her trajectory had been ripped from her ruthlessly, leaving her bereft of direction and dignity.  She hunted to fulfill the desires of the flesh, but what she yearned for most deeply was the soulfelt sense of purpose she once possessed, and the innocent wonder that spawned from it.  Without Ji (conviction and purity) and Pi (long term development of an internal map), she was unleashed, hungry, and empty.
 
I longed to recover my innocence and to embody my deeper calling once again.  In a desperate attempt to reorient myself, I studied Jung, pored over my psyche and learned to explore and control my dreams.  I would often take LSD and restrict myself to specific artistic mediums to see what was residing in my unconscious.  When I was sober, I would compare the results to old diaries, photographs and music I’d written, mourning the loss of hope and seeking a coherent narrative. 
 
Over the years, I rebuilt my values and redirected my trajectory toward a purpose.  My reawakening began when I rose from the ashes, singing through my whisper and leading a band to perform my music.  The albums were attached to stories and concepts which were expressed through three manifestations of myself: Erica Xenne (Fi), Prince Ruby Valentine (Ni), and Riki Jane Wild (Te).  I did not know cognitive functions at the time, but this happened organically, and the orientation of each alter-ego is clear.  
 
 
~ Art is the Blood of the Exile ~
 
The surname Xenne combines ‘foreigner’ or ‘stranger’ in the prefix Xen- with ‘not’ in the suffix -Ne. I was alone in an alien world, but no longer a stranger to myself.  I often wore white when I sang in my youth; likewise, Erica Xenne was depicted in white. She resurrected the ghost of my voice and, along with it, my innocence. 

White is essentially Ji: it reflects the colors of the world, but doesn’t absorb them. It mirrors them through music, art and empathy, while remaining separate and true to itself.  My original form was a singer whose music connected to the heart of life; in the Erosia Myth, Erica Xenne embodies this. The magical muse believes in her love for Prince Ruby and holds on to her principles at any cost.  She was born from two people playing music together, absent of any physical contact, and raised by animals in the outer islands of Erosia.  Thus, she was made of pure music and life-force, divorced from any particular species or culture; an entity unto herself.  Since the songs came from her, I wore white when I sang through my whisper.  She embodied the druidic myth of Fi, connecting to the heart of the world in a pure, primal manner, unhindered by social standards and earthly trauma, immune to the corruption in the world, retaining her integrity.  Yet ultimately, she left Erosia, sacrificing her magic power (singing) to follow Ruby into exile. Though she was warned that Dystopia would corrupt their souls and they could never return to Erosia, she was determined, at the very least, to keep Erosia alive in Ruby’s heart.

 

~ Without a Muse, Music is just Math ~

Prince Ruby Valentine was a mysterious man of royalty.  Unlike Erica, Ruby was tied to a wider context from the moment of conception, and he remained determined to untangle its implications throughout his life.  He was born to Queen Onyx Valentine, the best ruler Erosia ever knew, but she died in childbirth.  He rejected the duties and accolades he was afforded as a Prince, as they seemed inappropriate to him under these conditions, and instead took a vow of silence, determined to communicate only through music, poetry, prose and art, resisting the widespread effort to fill the air with meaningless words.  He retreated to a cabin in the woods and lured all manner of creatures with the call of his guitar.  The Erosia myth portrays the story of his exile from Erosia, resulting from his failure to believe in love, but his depth lies elsewhere.

From his earliest days, Prince Ruby contemplated the God of Erosia, known as Nokoma (“Animal” in his own language), who was credited for giving birth to Erosia.  Ruby wanted to unravel the story behind this and to understand Nokoma’s life as a mortal man, to unpack Erosia’s roots and cosmic significance.  It was the “Ruby” inside me who spawned the fantasy series about Nokoma’s evolution from man to God, which became my life’s work.  Together, Ruby and Erica elected to write the series from the perspective Nokoma’s soulmate; they both understood she was his “compass.”  Nokoma’s lover embodies “Ji” and is drawn to white and gold, but Nokoma himself mirrors me.  In contemplating Nokoma, Ruby is drawn to religions, symbols, typology, archetypes and more, to place both ‘self’ and ‘God’ in a wider context and tap into the rhythms of the world that connect all things, embodying Ni.  He views the world on a cosmic scale where everything is connected and remains detached from the present, as portrayed in the sardonic biography he posts on his profiles: “The line – between myth and religion, dream and reality, making love and fucking – is drawn wherever you start believing.  Believe what you will and have your way with me. Yours, Prince Ruby Valentine.”

 

~ Tell me the Odds; I’ll Beat them Senseless ~

The trinity is completed by Riki Jane Wild, the “manager,” of the band. She is excluded from the Erosia myth because she is from Earth, named after my father Richard and my mother, Jane.  She met Erica after she was exiled to Dystopia, heard her struggling to sing through her whisper, decided there was something fruitful and marketable in that fight, and designated herself Erica’s manager.  She was more reluctant to take Ruby under her wing, as he appeared lost and aimless, but she eventually came to appreciate his hidden genius and the way it inspired Erica.

Erica resisted the idea of organizing an album, as the songs were written for Ruby, who was against ‘trapping a song in a cage,’ but Riki convinced her that in spite of his ravings, he would appreciate her compiling memories of Erosia.  If not him, others might remember their own personal utopia and overcome setbacks to achieve their dreams.  Erica was moved by this idea, and agreed to buckle down in the studio.

Riki helped Erica to organize her project and battle her many symptoms, to sing despite tremendous odds. She managed Erica’s band, booked shows, auditioned musicians, promoted events, made fliers, took pictures, photoshopped, edited video, and reminded Erica to stop poring over each note so she could finish larger projects.  Erica was determined to capture a perfect reflection of Erosia in the album, to feed Ruby some life and remind him of his heart; but Riki enforced deadlines and made sure the album was released. She understood that ideals were meaningless without concrete results.  As stated in the myth of Te, she served to remind Erica, “your goals don’t care about your feelings.” Due to Riki’s iron hand, the musicians who played shows with the band ‘Erosian Exile’ lovingly referred to her as “Hitler.”

The mythology of Erica Xenne and Prince Ruby Valentine worked together in tandem, incomplete without the presence of the other, and neither one was capable of manifesting on Earth without Riki, who worked to capture their musings in concrete form.  Riki was dedicated to this pair, but also embarked on her own journey: she wrote about politics and other topics extraneous to the band, found jobs, fulfilled responsibilities, and engaged Earthly activities for their own sake. Indeed, the Te development was independent.  

 

~ A Vessel through which Passion Emerges ~

Anäeia was so hungry and expansive, she left no room for additional alter-egos.  To create the beast, she destroyed the human I had been before.  She is the shadow of my current incarnation, which is more holistic, as it combines destruction and creation, passion and purpose, love and war, now and eternity. 
 
I have come to sense that, at any given moment, I am animal, human and symbol at once.  Animal is my visceral survival instincts (desire, hunger, carnality); human is my conceptualization of my experience (ideas, endeavors, beliefs); and symbol is my legacy (image, archetype, energy).  I cannot control my symbolism, as it is determined by how others view me; however, if my animal and human are balanced, then my symbolism comes to match my sense of self.  
 
Recently, I was informed that my work was reminiscent of the Goddess Kali.  I researched her and discovered that her mythos reflected mine, from my aesthetic to my mission.  Like me, her ‘nudity’ – artistic, physical or psychological – strips others of their illusions, laying their truth bare. Cycles of resurgence encapsulate my life in the manner of a phoenix; likewise, Kali represents the dissemination of the boundary between life and death, illuminating the timeless and infinite.  Kali incorporates my deepest purpose, which is why I channeled her unbeknownst to myself, and she is often associated with the Se-Ni axis in the Gamma quadra.  Taking each function separately, as well as Gamma as a whole, it is clear that the manifestations of myself – which are well documented through photos, writing and music – match with these function delineations and their mythology.
 
 
Anaeia 
The wild pink/red beast, hungry, vampiric and bold (Se)
 
 
Erica Xenne
The pure moral compass wearing white, at one with nature, druid reflecting the heart of life in her song (Fi)

 
 
Riki Jane Wild
The Earthly “get-to-it” manager, sassy bitch and speaker of political truths (Te)
 
 
Prince Ruby Valentine 
The ‘allusion’ or ‘hint’ of something you cant quite see, the shadow, figure in the distance, magnetizing animals and women, raving unintelligibly, weaving a tapestry of archetypes, tapping into the rhythm of the world (Ni)
 
 
Nokoma – Animal – Volcana
The vessel through which passion emerges; the phoenix rising from the ashes.  Timeless symbol of resurrection and fight, holding a mirror to the world to show them the bold, naked truth until their illusions explode; deathless, naked and eternal (Gamma)

Slytherin

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Some people love to hate Slytherin and all it represents.  Yet Slytherin is an archetypal necessity that possesses tremendous merit.

Without competition the world would stagnate.  Knowledge (Ravenclaw) and kindness (Hufflepuff) are both wonderful, but very localized.  What can you do with knowledge if there isn’t an ambitious Slytherin broadcasting it?  It just dies with you.

How do you get great ideas out in to the public eye?  You think the world just lets that happen?  No. Galileo and Jesus’s head are always on the chopping block. 

Ravenclaws can yap about knowledge but, when push comes to shove, it’s a Slytherin who is going to take their ideas and actually change the world with them. Hufflepuffs can be sweet and nice but when push comes to shove its Gryffindors fighting the war up at the front line to defend them. Otherwise it’s all North Korea and the rich powerful run everything.

You may not assume the Slytherin would want to broadcast your kindness and knowledge, but understand, that’s what Slytherins do to get ahead.  They take something that people need so that they buy it and thus they get paid.

Slytherins are shit heads, but they are necessary for the world. They may be broadcasting an idea because they want to make money or be famous. But they’re still selling it. While Hufflepuffs are resisting competition because they don’t want to hurt anyone, Harry Potters, Hermiones and Snapes are up front and center defending and fighting for what they believe.  Rowling is a Hufflepuff herself, but her book centered on Slytherins and Gryffindors for a reason: because thats where the world moves.

Still, Hufflepuffs are equally necessary to the world, because kindness is a thing worth defending. If that doesn’t exist, Gryffindors will go back to sleep and Slytherins will take over.

I am a thousand percent Gryffindor. I’ve always been ambitious, but my big heart defending what I believe is first and foremost and I’ll die in the fire of my loyalty and integrity. If there’s one thing that stops me from “making it big” it’s my big stupid heart.  I work hard, but I won’t sell a lie. That is the death of me. And it can be stupid, but it’s the way I’m wired. Still, I’m smart enough to recognize that without Slytherins, people like me would have no purpose and nothing in society would move.

This is not to say that (archetypal) Hufflepuffs utterly and completely lack ambition, but rather, that they are under the delusion that they don’t have to step on any toes to actualize it.

Crown of the Enneagram

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People often mistype at 9, taking it literally. “My biggest fear is losing my loved ones, losing myself, losing my lifestyle.”  Sure.  That’s human.

9 is the crown of the enneagram because it deals with the central theme that enneagram exists in order to confront, which is that life is impermanent, and none of us know our true essence.  We have to build up defenses to survive in this world, as a necessity.  Those defenses form patterns, which can be understood as enneagram types.  Many claim enneagram is inborn and it is clearly observable in babies.  What this means is, the brain is programmed a certain way which lends itself to the emergence of a specific pattern.  The innate need for a survival pattern is essentially human, and that’s why everyone has an enneagram type.

So why do we have to “survive” through defenses?  Because people perceive themselves as separate entities, separated from one another.  People perceive “you against me” and “me vs. death.”  They see life as separate from death; thus, a fear of separation occurs.  You are separate from death, so how do you retain your life?  There’s a fear of impermanence and of the inevitability we all have to face: that one day, we will lose everything.

9s take this fear on at the deepest level: to combat this fear, they don’t hold tightly to anything, including their own ego.  This is the misty 9 vibe that people talk about – not quite “owning” their aggression, not owning their own self, going with the flow. This is their attempt to defend against impermanence and it can bring on a kind of ‘premature enlightenment.’  I’m not separate, combative. I am not even “just me” – I have a permeable ego, and nothing can hold me for long. The 9 is slippery.

This is the crown of the enneagram, as it is the purest manifestation of the defense against death, which reads to our mind as “impermanence and losing everything” since we see it as being separated from our life and our ego, rather than seeing ourselves as simply part of a grand cycle.  We need our ego in order to push ourselves to survive.  Without ego, why take care of our kid instead of every kid equally, regardless of the effects this has on our own offspring?  Life would fall apart without ego but, at the same time, it’s still a delusion. A necessary delusion. Since everyone believes it and lives by it, that, in a way, makes the ego very “real.”

So is it really a delusion? I don’t know. It’s more like a coping strategy that results from the reality of how the human mind works.

The other core types are additional defenses against losing yourself, impermanence, nothingness, dissolution.  Each type is a fixation on a different aspect of the human experience. We all have all these experiences and “sides” to us, which is why many of us can relate to many types, if not all, if we are honest with ourselves.  But each type gets fixated on a specific aspect of the experience of being human, thus forming a different core defense pattern.

Enneagram can’t be conceived of as a mere set of traits.  Motivations do not exist in a vacuum, and behavior should evidence the core motivation; but in order to spot a type, we need to understand what lies at its essence.  To truly grasp the meaning of enneagram, it has to be understood in terms of the egoic battle against impermanence.

“Why Can’t I find my Enneagram Type?”

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The ego resists seeing its own defenses.

We need our defense strategies (enneagram) and biases (functions) for a reason. These strategies give the mind a pattern that it can learn to protect itself from chaos.

The defenses work on automatic..so uncovering the truth about them weakens them and leaves the ego bare, exposed, raw.

Over time it helps to see ourselves, so that we may use our defenses but prevent them from using us …

But at first, exposing the truth about our automatic reactions and “inner settings” forces us to change. The ego resists changing because it is scared of exposure and chaos…rightfully so. Whether or not someone types correctly, it is only a strong ego that can digest the true meaning of its own type… and even then, the ego will continue defending itself by creating distortions around that idea, such as taking pride in your type, being ashamed, creating internal drama around it… all of which distracts from looking at the self objectively. Embracing the deep value of typology, on an egoic level, is a lifelong journey.