Image - Rebel ArchetypeJust about anything we can name as an example of social progress begins as rebellion. What we call conscious evolution is revolution. All true (spiritual) leaders emerge as heretics. Intentional collective change (no matter how positive the end result) is renovation -- renovation begins with demolition. There seems to be little historical evidence to support an argument that we can simply and effectively kum-ba-yah our way forward.

The Rebel archetype is more than emotional reaction, without context -- it's not just angry, just pissed, just outraged -- the Rebel has a Vision.

What about the Ego?

Does it make you uncomfortable to engage your Rebel archetype? Here in the personal and spiritual development community, we talk a lot about the dangers of the interior voices that originate with the Ego. Indeed there are many circumstances where operating from fear is unhealthy -- we don't want the Ego directly running everything -- but the positive aspects of the Ego are self-preservation and protection. Sometimes the most healthy expression of the Ego is to rebel against the fear itself.

Unhealthy ego-driven voices are self-deprecating and abusive -- insulting and punishing you for your weaknesses, failures, and passivity -- they put you down. The "healthy" Ego Rebel stands up for you -- and forgives you for not changing sooner.

As a spiritually-motivated person, maybe you struggle with the idea that you should ever be anything other than "nice." Non-violent, passive resistance is ideal and incredibly powerful -- it still pisses people off. Great moments of (r)evolution are rarely "peaceful" and are often responded to with violence -- change is threatening. The greater its significance, the greater its populist support, the greater its importance...

Who are Your Heroes?

How many of them are (or at least began as) rebels, heretics, martyrs?

I constantly hear the term "leaders" loosely thrown around in the media as a basic label for individuals in positions of governmental and religious authority -- our "leaders in Washington," our "leaders within the Church" -- the vast majority of whom are actually "managers." Social organizations with centuries of consistent structure must be maintained -- very rarely do true leaders occupy these management positions.

Personal Rebellion

Rebellion doesn't always have to be political or social -- maybe the areas you most need to engage your rebel angels (the divine messengers of self-esteem, innovation/renovation, and will) are entirely personal.

If you work with archetypal energy patterns (such as those found in Jungian psychology and the Tarot) you will find them represented by Swords -- ideas combined with action.

The voices of your inner rebels are motivated by the need for positive, personal change. You are guided to resist the maintenance of your personal status quo:

  • "Wait just a minute..."
  • "Hold on, now..."
  • "I beg to differ..."
  • "Says who?"
  • "That ain't right!"
  • "So what?"
  • "WTF?"
  • "Who DOES that?"

Your Rebel is the Voice That's Had Enough

The Rebel is the watchdog, the whistle-blower, the reminder -- conscience and consciousness:

  • I am exhausted from carrying around this guilt, pain, and anger...
  • I'm not going to take this anymore.
  • I will not allow this abuse, neglect to continue any longer.
  • I deserve better than this.
  • I am capable of more than this.

The Rebel is a Creative Prophet

I borrow liberally from Erin Ganther's interpretation of the Prince of Swords in The Cosmic Tribe -- The Rebel voice as the harbinger of innovation and invention:

  • the fresh perspective you've been waiting for
  • a new outlook on life that moves above and beyond jaded weariness, apathy, and cynicism
  • an impulse to shake off the pretty comforts of self-delusion
  • the aspiration to translate the ideas of the mind/ the intellect into actions that you are convinced can make the world a better place
  • a call to chase higher truths, to find them and bring them back for everyone
  • the impulse to ascend above the clouds of confusion to a position of clarity where universal messages can be received and then transformed into active behavior

The Rebel is not ignorant and does not blindly oppose for the sake of controversy or destruction -- the Rebel is fluent in the language of tradition, knowledgeable enough to see where the holes are, where improvements can be made. The Rebel has the vantage point to spot a new direction, to plot a potentially more direct path to where we all want to be.

Honor and Engage Your Rebel

  • Define your ideals
  • Break with your "traditional," entrenched behavior patterns
  • Open yourself to the Messages of Possibility that the Collective Universal Intelligence has chosen you to receive
  • Give yourself Permission to find and speak your own truth while respecting and blessing the rights of everyone to do the same

Feed Your Rebel Rock n Roll

The most enjoyable way for me to most feel my Rebel, to let him out to dance, sing, preach, and perform, is by playing his favorite songs. You know how to plug into this -- it's the special bad ass brand of joy that surges through you when you listen to the harder edge of your music collection -- the songs that demand volume, that make you feel young, powerful, hopeful... a little bit dangerous. A force to be reckoned with.

Interview Your Rebel

This week, listen to your Rebel -- what is he telling you? In what area of your life is he demanding that you change? He may sound angry to you at first -- mad at where you've been, how things are currently -- ask him about the Vision of where you're going and who you will become. He's mad at your past because he's a bit impatient -- he sees your future.

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image credit David Paul Ohmer via Creative Commons on Flickr