The Red Orchid

Symbolic Signs

As I sat in my hotel room admiring the stunning potted red orchid sitting on the desk I couldn't help but feel a certain semblance. The blossoms were uncannily blood like in colour and reminded me of the phrase “blood is thicker than water”. However this orchid stood alone, a solitary figure supported by it's own healthy root system and it bloomed spectacularly. Being red, this orchid also represented courage and strength.

As I contemplated this, my own family root system came to mind. It had been an unhealthy system truth be told and as a result of the beliefs developed from that, I went on to subconsciously seek out partners who offered the same unhealthy relationship traits. Just like the self supporting orchid, I eventually arrived at a point in life where I had to cut free from all of that and become self supporting. It took courage and strength to face this reality and so as I looked at this beautiful red orchid, all I saw was myself. This red orchid symbolically reminded me of the journey I took away from my own unsupportive roots.

In her book Sacred Contracts, medical intuitive Caroline Myss explains, “by developing symbolic sight and archetypal language we will grasp the whole of our lives with a spiritual clarity that can heal the emotional and spiritual wounds we have accumulated and fill us with awe that our lives are of great importance to everyone we encounter.”

Myss explains that archetypes are spiritual energies, the gatekeepers of our higher purpose and her work is said to have built on the works of Jung, Plato and contemporary thinkers. She explains that we all have a range of archetypes including four core common archetypes, “each archetype represents a fundamental learning experience or process that is meant to guide us through our lives”.

One common archetype that we all have is the Child. There are a range of different Child archetypes and after studying this topic I found that I closely identified with the traits and characteristics of the Orphan. Some of they key identifiers being that I felt as if from birth I was not part of the family psyche, I had to develop independence; and I developed attitudes, traditions and influences by way of personal experience and judgement. It was interesting to learn this archetype interacts with the root chakra which corresponds to family survival; and to the solar plexus chakra which corresponds to self esteem. I acknowledged that I had lived a large portion of my life in the shadow side of this archetype by abdicating personal power and excluding others to survive. I was amazed to see this detailed map of my life unfold in front of me.

Myss writes, “confronting your shadow requires you to strike out on your will have to make choices that exclude the collective needs of your family...and separate yourself from them.” This is indeed the road I travelled before knowing anything of Sacred Contracts. When I realised I was not being emotionally or spiritually supported by my family when my marriage ended, I realised there were many other major points in my life where I could not identify with having received support either. With this understanding, that the roots of my supposed “support system” were not supporting me, I knew I had to go it alone. If I was ever going to develop any self esteem, ensure a healthy family identity with my own children or honour myself then I had to cut free, and I did. It was no surprise when studying this topic that I discovered I had thankfully moved away from the shadow side of the Orphan archetype by executing my decision to bond with my higher self.

Awakening to our own blueprints and lessons teaches us that we do indeed have lessons to learn in this life. We each have our sacred contracts and archetypal gatekeepers which offer us both experiences of light and shade. With that in mind we should pause to reflect on the choices made by others which have affected us, for if we are to take comfort in the fact that our lives can be mapped so accurately to these archetypes, and are, then so too must we accept this applies to all others. For me this reinforced the conclusion I had drawn from my own experience, that despite being unsupported, it was what it was as we are all just doing the best we can with the tools we have at any point in our lives, including knowledge. Whether living in light or in the shadow side of our archetypes, either way, lessons can be gleaned and comfort can be found in accepting that no matter how strong the roots, no matter whether standing alone or as part of a family or tribe, we are, and can only ever be, all as one...and the lessons are still in play.