Familial Iconography
By Victoria Marina-Tompkins

Part One

Michael has told us many times that the effect of the family icon, or the image that is given to us by our parents before birth, can have a powerful influence on our lives including the way we see ourselves and the manner through which we relate to the world. This icon is chosen by one or both of our parents before we are born and is based on their own ideas, dreams, hopes, and fears and can have very little to do with who we actually are! Of course this is very confusing and it is not until the completion of the fourth internal monad that we are able to finally break this icon and move more into our authentic personality or the positive poles of our Overleaves. Often the parents are not even aware of the icon they have chosen because it is an unconscious process, and occurs as an unspoken agreement made on the astral plane. This icon makes a very powerful impact on each of us as we are growing up and is crucial to determining how the personality is formulated during childhood.

Some examples of personal family icons are ‘the lost lamb’, ‘the independent and lonely one’, ‘the one who always succeeds’, ‘the whirlwind’, ‘second best’, ‘the one who is expected to excel’, ‘next in command’, and ‘the center of attention.’ Since each family member has an icon, imagine how confusing this could be with all the family members having their own picture of the family, and how these images might be in conflict or in harmony with who the person really is. Sometimes the icon can be fairly close in tenor to the fragments Overleaves, but it is still an image and with it there is an accompanying set of expectations that says the individual will behave in a certain manner regardless of whether this resonates to the personality and set of chosen Overleaves. It is also possible for siblings to give each other an icon, as is it common for friends and others with whom we share significant relationships to share icons also. Fortunately it is more the case that the icons we give our lifelong friends, such as “my best buddy’ or the ones we share with lovers, such as ‘the beloved’, are more accurate and less likely to be connected to the false personality and chief features than the ones we received in our family of origin. However, there is still a set of expectations projected onto the person we are in relationship with, and this can lead to disappointments and frustrations when our friend or partner chooses to not act in accord with the chosen icon.

The family itself also has an icon, which again is unconsciously chosen by the parents, this time when they marry or make a long term commitment to each other. This icon has a more sweeping or overall viewpoint, and includes the basic energy pattern of the family. Examples of this family icon might be ‘the ship at sea lost in a storm’, ‘the superlative and creative adventure’, ‘Grand Central Station’, and ‘the successful students’. Here again we find that the images projected upon the family members tend to strongly influence the manner through which they live life. A member of the Grand Central Station family might find herself inviting guests over to dinner three times a week, hosting events, and striving to keep busy every moment in the day even though her Scholar role in essence along with Overleaves of retardation and spiritualist would be more suited to spending alone time with plenty of true rest and an occasional visit from friends. Her chief feature of stubbornness only exacerbates the situation by insisting that this is the only way to do things because this is the way it has always been done, which keeps things known and safe, but certainly doesn't support the manifestation of the true personality. This combination of chief features and the icon are a difficult and challenging one and it takes focus and ‘photographing’ to discover how they might be working in your life. After you identify your personal family icon through a conversation with Michael or through meditation, it might be helpful to begin to write down situations where you find the false image especially prevalent, and then begin to plan actions that can counter the hold the icon has on you. For instance, if your icon is ‘the independent one’, then it could certainly be good work to allow yourself to receive support and assistance from others in your life, from the clerk at the store who offers to give you a hand, to going to dinner with a group of friends rather than sitting at home with your computer or ‘good book’. Once the family iconography has been identified, then we can begin to dismantle it and move more towards living in the moment without fear and expectations.

Copyright 1998 Victoria Marina-Tompkins

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