Creating a Personal Icon
Familial Iconography - Part Three

By Victoria Marina-Tompkins

The icon that is given to us by our parents at birth is an image that they choose for us which may or may not have to do with who we really are. The first article in this series had to do with identifying the icon. Often this icon has a lot to do with the development of the personality and is well established by the time of the third internal monad which occurs between the ages of 12-20. Depending on the nature of the icon itself, it can have varying affects on the person. For example, icons such as ‘the independent one’ might prove to be isolating yet foster competence. 'The hazard’ speaks for itself, often creating situations that seem out of control to the detriment of the individual and those around him. There are many icons and the impact on the individual can range widely. The most important aspect is that the icon is an image that is chosen ‘for’ you, and it is therefore projected onto you by the parents and then by the world. Because it is projected, it is not you and an energy construct that is broken as part of the fourth internal monad.

Michael has given us tools to not only identify the icon, but also to subsequently dismantle it through the infamous crockery breaking exercise. But what happens once the original icon is broken? People have described the letting go experience as powerful and cathartic and there can be a very real sense of loss after it is released. It is not unusual to experience profound grief and sadness during the process and if this occurs, then it is good to allow for the energy to be expressed through tears, writing, singing, artwork, or other creative outlets. It is after the icon is dislodged that the new work begins and it is helpful to remember that being in the place between the death of the old and the birth of the new, or in what the Dagara tribe in Africa calls ‘walking the land of the grey clouds’, gives us the opportunity to create a new icon for ourselves that is based on the true personality rather than the false.

Since the personal icon directly influences not only the way we see ourselves, but also the way others see us, a good place to start might be by asking yourself how it is that you picture yourself. Do you see yourself in positive, supporting ways that foster your creativity and personal growth? Or do you tend to limit yourself with self defeating thoughts and old negative patterns? Here is a great chance to do a little ‘house’ cleaning! Make a list of 25 adjectives that describe yourself and then ask a friend to make a list for you. Compare the list and talk about it. If you can be open to feedback then this can be a great exercise in self awareness. Also, while this is a pragmatic and often illuminating exercise, it is important to remember that the new image needs to be about who we ‘really’ are, not the way others see us. The work with a friend is intended to help us find out more about that, because sometimes it is very hard to see some aspects of ourselves and non-judgmental information relayed in a loving way can be very helpful in the sorting out of who we are and who we are not.

Sometimes creating the new icon can bring us up against fears. What if we choose one and it doesn’t work? The miracle here is that you can change it. Yes, that’s right, you can consider the making of an icon a work in progress. This is very different than the one projected onto us by our parents, for in fact we are the creators of the new image.

The icon can also be a symbol, such as a tree in full bloom or a fountain of water. It can be a spiral of energy or a female figure sitting in meditation. The icon can also spring from this symbol. The symbol of the blooming tree could translate into ‘the one who is growing in a healthy and nurturing way’ or ‘the grounded one’. If you had an icon that was repressive, you can create a new image that is a full expression of the range of your true personality. The key here is to allow the essence of who you are to shine through, and not let the image stand between you and that expression. After all, icons are still images, and in this way holding on to an icon could be self limiting if taken to extremes as the ‘only’ means of being in the world.

Indigenous cultures often marked the entrance to their homes with a symbol that stated to the world what the unique ‘medicine’ was of the people who lived inside. It was often the case that someone in the family or the local shaman would have a dream before the birth of each child that told them about the true energy of the new family member and this dream was shared with the community. This may help to explain why teenagers do not often have such a difficult third monadal transition in many other cultures because they have been seen by their family and friends more accurately since they were quite young and have less of a need to fight against false images that are projected onto them. Hopefully as we move into the new Era and a more mature soul world, there will be more community involvement and this includes an extended family who can nurture the authenticity in children rather than what is not authentic. Here we can all work towards a very real goal which starts with expressing our own authenticity.

Copyright 1999 Victoria Marina-Tompkins
All rights reserved

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