Universal principles, original forms; the fundamental essences and primordial forces that animate the cosmos. Archai derives from the Greek word, arkhe, meaning beginning. In archetypal psychology, the root metaphors of psychological function.
GENEALOGY FACTS & FICTIONS
Most people are nothing special, except perhaps to those close to them. Descent is one of the Mysteries of everyday life. What 'matters' about our past is more than only the biology of our descent, though this is the premis of genealogy. We are not only related to each other in family and in social relationships, but are related to all nature.
Among genealogists the battle still rages, whether to cut off once and for all disputed, fictitious, and legendary lineage, or to allow its traditional use to remain, even though some may be misled in their own minds by mythological material. Their issue, on shared trees, is having to repeat the same corrections over and again, especially in the medieval era. Fake lines to royalty that arise in the 1800's are also common, so they get re-added as often as they are removed. The same mistakes are copied over and over.
Who's Genealogy Is It?
In the medieval and ancient lines the whole research landscape changes. Monks in early Christian eras invented genealogies taking the lines of kings back to Adam. If the kings were no longer descended from the indigenous gods, then they must be somehow descendants of figures from the Bible, from Troy, and from Rome.
Then, starting in the 1200s and reaching a peak in the 1600s, royal propagandists were competing to collect every old tradition and invent new ones if necessary to enhance the prestige of royal and noble families.
The French kings, for example, produced the Grandes Chroniques de France that claimed to show they were the heirs of a small band of Trojan refugees who established the Frankish people. Not to be outdone, Habsburgs followed a conscious policy for centuries of creating propaganda to show they were the heirs of the Trojan hero Aeneas through Julius Caesar. The idea that Julius Caesar was descended from Aeneas is just a much earlier, Roman example of the same kind of propaganda.
Still, radical amputation is a non-issue in Jungian work, which approaches mythic material with an "as if" on a regular basis. No one is confused there about the imaginal nature or depictions of mythic material and narrative. In many genealogy sites, such lines questioned by 'realists' are clearly marked as such. There will also, as well, always be fantasy-prone individuals who will believe what they wish to believe about such subjects.
Genealogy is a systems concept of emergence -- our emergence. It is a creative process within a formal system -- an ecology of ancestors we foster and conserve, not merely a causal chain of linear descent. We create most of what we think of as reality through the stories we tell, even in science. Lately, scandals in science and medicine suggest as much as half of the published studies are erroneous, and yet are disseminated and allowed to influence public opinion and behavior.
Even profiles that contain only names and dates are still story telling. They say, "I come from people who lived here and went there." They connect into history. And history can be scholarly history, which depends on evaluation of sources and the creation of logical arguments, or it can be family history, which depends on the stories being passed down through the generations, or it can be even older oral history, which existed before writing, and eventually made it into manuscripts and then into print.
Though the lines often blur, a generic distinction is the source of such stories. Biases in story telling needs arise in relation to genealogy and the World Tree:
we need to see how we might be connected to history, or we need to know that we are special somehow, or we need to be able to see a path that connects us to our gods. All such stories are "real," since they are valued and retold, giving people a picture of who they think or imagine they are.
But, none of them are "real," in that even with as much good evidence as we can muster, good solid scholarly sources have their own biases, and will have included some things and left others out. The self-narrative of individuals is notoriously unreliable, and second- or third-hand evaluations probably moreso, despite well-meaning research. In genealogy as in life we mostly relate to our illusions of family, rather than a fixed reality, at best based on skimpy information.
With any sort of balance or psychological perspective it is easy enough to recognize when we step from the ordinary world into that imaginal world, which is more than illusion or fiction, if less than or merely different from hard fact. Some of our heritage comes from specific places and people while the deeper parts come from the Far Country. By "traveling" in such foreign territory we learn other kinds of things about ourselves and our origins.
For example, in Masonry “Foreign Countries” do not mean the various geographical and political divisions of the Old World, nor a realm of external feats. “Foreign Countries” is used as a symbol. Like all symbols, it has more than one interpretation; but, unlike many, none of these is very difficult to trace or understand.
Through such travels we gain a new perspective on our origins, life, love, and ourselves. When we visit such 'foreign lands' we must use the laws of that land as well as customs and traditions - deciding what is right and what is wrong. In this regard a Jungian approach offers the most leeway without succumbing to literalisms or fantasy-based illusions.
Like genealogy, Freemasonry itself is a “foreign country” in which the initiate will travel; a world as different from the familiar workaday world as France is different from England, or Belgium from Greece. The standards are different. Surely such a land is a “foreign country” to the stranger within its borders; and the visitor must study it, learn its language and its customs, in order to enjoy and explore it.
Professional genealogists trying to revision traditional practice need not shepherd the public like over-protective parents. The fantasy of professional genealogy as some sort of factual reality is erroneous in itself. It remains an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experiment and trial-and-error methods.
Sure, we can rely on the data, but only to a certain limited extent. A quick review of more recent census data shows it is riddled with multiple incorrect spellings and data recording, just for starters. If you can get a line back to the early-1800s you have a good chance of connecting to extant research, especially American colonial lines.
Further back, most family lines disappear by 1500 or so, and there are no proven lines from before around 700. Statistically, our descent from Charlemagne is (virtually) certain, but the details of who, how, where, etc. could be laughably wrong or contain gaps.
All family trees go back as far as anyone else's whether you know it or not. You are real and so are your ancestors, even if they are hiding. Hidden ancestors are as real as you are in this process of "Hide and Seek." Our job is to effectively release the hidden information and forms, even where 'inaccurate' information proliferates as much as reliable data. Cliches, such as "Like father, like son" are necessarily abbreviated 'truths' that stand up to scrutiny in some instances and utterly fail in others.
Genealogists and Curators need to realize they are always and only dealing with a symbolic landscape, even though some factual hook is available. To imagine otherwise is psychological naivete. They need to realize that no matter how they approach it or annotate the lines, or discuss the medieval flaws in the system people come to genealogy for their own reasons -- no longer the legal issues of legitimacy, inheritance, or succession. We all risk inaccuracy together.
People are inclined to believe what they want to believe in terms of literalisms and metaphors for their own psychic needs. Whatever impressions we form, including those about our parents, remain mostly that. Psychological pay offs feed into self-narrative, the stories we tell ourselves, a social construct much like Jung's persona archetype.
Most of us understand the notion that history is written by 'the winners' and is riddled with propaganda and deliberate falsehood or retrofitted 'spin'. Historical accuracy outside the story is likely unattainable, much less something genealogy is capable of re/producing. Can we not logically discern, for example, that we all descend from archetypal evil, whether we find the Mark of Cain in our pedigree or not?
We approach the family tree in full comprehension this is an archetypal phenomenon. The only certainty in genealogy is the archetypal imagination. Pedigree is way to help us imagine our origins. Genealogy is a template; in the beginning a tabula rasa upon which we construct a family "history." Often even the timeline is weak or ignored.
Like a Big Dream genealogy requires heuristics, any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. Heuristics is a discovery process of gaining knowledge or some desired result by intelligent guesswork rather than by following some preestablished formula -- "trial-and-error" learning or using "a rule-of-thumb." In other words, we interpret all the data.
In certain situations it is not enough to simply cross that threshold; we must wait for the image to penetrate, work in the depths, gestate, and emerge from its own path. Such phenomena can be treated the same as all psychic phenomena.
People's capacity to tell the difference between fantasy and reality varies to the degree to which they use accurate 'reality testing' or are being sucked into the stories they are telling themselves about their family.
These include religious beliefs, 'royal' pay offs, romanticizing, feeling superior, self-delusion, and identity issues and needs. Rather than redacting the traditional lines, such issues are better dealt with individually in Transgenerational Integration.
After all, we really can think, even if not with an absolute independence from nature; but it is the duty of the psychologist to make the double statement, and while admitting man’s power of thought, to insist also on the fact that he is trapped in his own skin, and therefore always has his thinking influenced by nature in a way he cannot wholly control. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 83