New York Times bestselling author and medical intuitive Caroline Myss has found that when people don’t understand their purpose in life the result can be depression, anxiety, fatigue, and eventually physical illness—in short, a spiritual malaise of epidemic proportions. Myss’s experience of working with people led her to develop an insightful and ingenious process for deciphering your own Sacred Contract—or higher purpose—using a new theory of archetypes that builds on the works of Jung, Plato, and many other contemporary thinkers.
Myss examines the lives of the spiritual masters and prophets—Abraham, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad—whose archetypal journeys illustrate the four stages of a Sacred Contract and provide clues for discovering your own. Myss explains how you can identify your particular spiritual energies, or archetypes—the gatekeepers of your higher purpose—and use them to help you find out what you are here on earth to learn and whom you are meant to meet. Exploring your Sacred Contract will shine a light on the purpose and meaning of your life. You are meant to do certain tasks, you are meant to have certain relationships.
In coming to know your archetypal companions, you also begin to see how to live your life in ways that make the best use of your personal power and lead you to fulfill your greatest—in fact, your divine—potential.
Both visionary and practical, Sacred Contracts is a bold, powerful work of spiritual wisdom. Without a doubt, your most intriguing challenge in life is to recognize your spiritual commitments and live them to the fullest.
Caroline Myss was born on December 2, 1952 in Chicago, and grew up with her parents, and two brothers, one elder and one younger, in the Melrose Park, Illinois neighbourhood near Chicago. Caroline was raised a Catholic, and attended the Mother Guerin High School, River Grove, Illinois, run by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana in 1974, and started her career in journalism in Chicago.
In the course of her career, she interviewed Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., the author of the famous book, On Death and Dying, which inspired her to pursue a Master's degree in theology from Mundelein College, Chicago, which she completed in 1979. She also claims to hold a Ph.D in "intuition and energy medicine", but the degree was granted by Greenwich University, a now-defunct correspondence school that was never accredited to deliver higher education awards by any recognized government accreditation authority.
She started giving medical intuitive readings in 1982 and co-founded a small New Age publishing company, Stillpoint Publishing in Walpole, New Hampshire, where she also worked as an editor in 1983, next she began consulting with holistic doctors, which in 1984, led to her extensive collaboration with Dr. Norman Shealy, an M.D. schooled at Harvard, and the founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, with whom she later co-authored, "Aids: Passageway to Transformation," in 1987, followed by "The Creation of Health: The Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Responses that Promote Health and Healing," in 1988. Deriving from her practice as a medical intuitive, she started writing books, in the field of energy medicine, and healing, all of which became New York Times Best Sellers. Starting with Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing (1996), which overlapped seven Christian sacraments with seven Hindu chakras and the Kabbalah's Tree of Life to create a map of the human "energy anatomy"; this was followed by Why People Don't Heal and How They Can (1998), which explored the reasons people do not heal through her concept of "woundology." Her next book, Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential (2002) dealt with the issue of finding "Life Purpose," while describing Sacred Contracts as "a set of assignments that our soul had formed around before incarnation". She has since appeared on the The Oprah Winfrey Show numerous times.
By 2000, she discontinued doing private medical intuitive readings, and instead started teaching it, through her workshops, seminars, radio shows and guided tours. She tours internationally as a speaker on spirituality and mysticism, and lives in Oak Park, Illinois, near Chicago. In 2003, she started the Caroline Myss Educational Institute, with Wisdom University in San Francisco.
Her 2007 book, "Entering the Castle" draws upon the writings of Saint Teresa of Ávila, a 16th century Carmelite nun, who wrote her most important work, The Interior Castle, towards the end of her life.
If you want to make your life more meaningful and more fulfilled, this book gives you a powerful and specific means to do it.
I was introduced to the concept of archetypes by reading Jung back in the late 1970s and early 80s. I found the idea powerful and provocative, like all of Jung's ideas, and much more attractive than what I could understand of other psychological theories, which all seemed depressingly reductionistic. (One of the reasons I avoided studying psychology at the University of B.C. was that its psychology department appeared to be, at that time, focused on behaviorism.) Jung faced the spiritual dimension of life as an important, indeed the most important, psychological reality, not as a mere neurotic compensation for repressed sexual urges, or whatever.
In this book Caroline Myss, although she does not base her approach on Jung's ideas, does make use of the concept of archetypes, introducing a much larger menu of them as a way of recognizing aspects of ourselves. Sacred Contracts pushes further in the direction opened in Myss's earlier books, Anatomy of the Spirit and Why People Don't Heal and How They Can, moving from the issue of healing ourselves of chronic illness to the broader task of healing our lives by discovering and living the purpose for which we were born.
For this is the key idea behind Sacred Contracts: Each of us was born for a purpose, a specific purpose that is connected with our unique traits and circumstances, and if we wish to be fulfilled in life, then we need to be pursuing that purpose. This is our "sacred contract," and like any contract it implies commitments that we are not really free to neglect. In the words of Robert Service, "a promise made is a debt unpaid," and, according to this book, we've all made a promise to God to undertake certain things, and our feelings of malaise, anxiety, and unfulfillment arise because we're shirking this work, for which we have only a limited time.
But how do we find out what we're supposed to be doing? Sacred Contracts tells us exactly how. In broad terms, it involves understanding and accepting what a sacred contract is, then getting to know ourselves much more deeply by investigating our archetypal makeup. Myss makes the bold statement that there are four archetypes that form part of the makeup of each of us, which she calls, somewhat provocatively, the Child, the Victim, the Prostitute, and the Saboteur. Like all the archetypes, each of these is capable of positive or negative expression. When we work the energy of our archetypes in a positive way we experience life as energizing and fulfilling; when we work them negatively, our experience becomes draining, depressing, and eventually our very bodies become ill. Our task is to recognize the functioning of these archetypes in our own lives, and in so doing, to gain more mastery of ourselves and start to make choices that will genuinely benefit ourselves and others, and advance us in the fulfillment of our sacred contract.
But do we all really have, say, an inner Prostitute? Well, have you ever thought, while considering a possible venture or fulfilling activity: "But how will I make a living at it?" If so, your Prostitute has been present and on the job. How have we "sold out" in life? It happens in small ways and in large, at work, at home, and with our creative projects. The thinking is so seductive and so logical-sounding that we don't question it. "But I have to eat!" "I don't want to be broke when I'm old!" "I'm not a real artist anyway--there's no point in my suffering for art!" Et cetera.
The point, of course, is not that you're guaranteed success if you throw caution to the wind and pursue your dream. The point is that selling out has a cost, and it's not a light one: ask Judas Iscariot. We always face the consequences of our choices, and those consequences relate to our real motives, whether we're aware of those or not. When we sell out, we exchange our birthright for a mess of pottage, and it's fundamentally not a good deal--the very thing it was supposed to be in our minds when we made it.
The Prostitute sounds negative, but Myss gives each of these key archetypes an alternative name as well. The Prostitute, she says, is also the Guardian of Faith. Faith has to do with our relationship with the spirit, and our confidence in that. As she says, "If you have faith, no one can buy you." Someone who cannot be bought is very powerful; that person has unshakable spiritual power rather than tenuous worldly power. It's the Prostitute who knows that man does not live by bread alone, and it's the function of the Prostitute to continually test our conviction on that point. Again and again in life we're tempted to sell out; how do we respond? What values do we affirm through our choices?
This is a superficial look at only one archetype. Myss expands on this more, plus covers the other three major archetypes, and then introduces a list of about 70 others, things like Addict, Artist, Athlete, Judge, Mystic, Student, Warrior. Each has its own traits and behaviors, and positive and negative modes of expression. The program set out in the book has us examining these archetypes to discover which are most applicable to our life, finding the 12 that are strongest in us, and then arranging these on a wheel like a horoscope. This wheel tells us the actual areas of life in which we find each archetype most active, such as Ego & Personality, Life Values, Self-Expression & Siblings, and so on. It's a lot of work, and I'm not just saying that, because I've already put quite a few hours into the program and I'm still early on.
But I feel like I've already achieved a lot with it. I've already seen my life in new, deeper, more honest ways. Nonetheless, I find the work so hard that I leave off doing it for months at a time. It gets you looking at things you're afraid to look at. But those are things we should be looking at. What is our life worth to us, after all? Soon it will be over; how will we feel about it when we're done?
There's so much more I wanted to touch on in this review: the question of the reality of the archetypes, Myss's innovative use of the Indian chakra system to describe the energy relationship of spirit and body, and her unconventional use of astrology. I'll have to address those later. For now I'll just say that I think the most important aspect of this book and Myss's work as a whole is her conviction in the fundamentally spiritual nature of our existence, and her nonsectarian approach to dealing with that.
We have it on good authority that the truth shall set us free. In Sacred Contracts we have a path to the truth about ourselves and our lives, and therefore a path to enjoying the freedom with which we chose our sacred contract.
If you think this book will hand you answers, you will be disappointed. If you think this book will cover material or concepts that are “new” or groundbreaking, you will be disappointed. If you think this book will solve your problems, you’ll be disappointed. If you think Caroline Myss knows something you don’t already know even if you don’t realize it yet, you’ll be…well, maybe not disappointed, but not correct.
If you think the ideas in this book might get you to think about the different aspects that make up your personality – your “you” – and that thinking about that might give you some insight about why you do what you do, you won’t be disappointed.
Caroline Myss is no prophet, no mystic, no guru. I doubt she’s even much of a medical intuitive. What she does well, however, is take concepts that have been “mysticized” and explains them in simple terms that we stubborn, dense-headed, very un-mystic Westerners can grasp with our oh-so-linear mindset.
If you’ve ever wondered why things happen to you the way they do, you might like this book. It’s not the final authority on anything, but it will – if read intentionally rather than as a speed-reading contest – give you something to think about and some rousing inner debates.
This is one of my favourite books. I just love it so much. Also because it came to me at a time when my life was a real mess. Caroline is one of my favourite teachers, and in fact, I have even attended a seminar by her in London. In this book she primarily talks about Sacred Contracts that we make in our non physical form and how these are then fulfilled through people/situations/ events in our physical lives. Pretty relevant. Also as it talks about archetypes and that we all exhibit these in our lives (four primarily but a lot of shadow ones, too. For instance, we all have a child in us, or for that matter, we all have a victim archetype in us and it plays out in many many real life situations hampering our progress). However, the part that I always find most fascinating is about the Chakras or the seven energy centers in our bodies that connect us to the outer and inner world. There are in fact eight energy Chakras, Caroline says. I read this book a long, long time ago and as I read it now, I can work out new meaning for each sentence that I read. There couldn't have been a better time for me to start reading this book again. I would recommend it very strongly to all my GR friends. And I so hope my GR family likes this book.
Who comes up with this crap? Carolyn Myss does! That's who! Let's come up with the most obtuse, off-the-wall method of determining your destiny in life, which includes, oh, I don't know, chakras and the tarot and the zodiac! Yeah! That's it! And let's weave them all together and come up with a way to figure out who you are so we can make Carolyn Myss more money! Sort of a slumber party "who are you going to marry" game for gullible grownups. Myss does not, by the way, have a real PhD, but has one from an off shore online australian "university" that has no accreditation from the Australian government. She's one of the biggest quacks going. Don't waste your money.
Sacred Contracts – Awakening Your Divine Potential Author: Caroline Myss Cosmic Thoughts from Phyllis: Caroline Myss, a renowned Medical Intuitive, has provided an excellent tool for those who have been asking these questions about themselves: Who am I? Why am I here? What should I be doing with my life? Some timeless questions, and this book is a tool that can help you find the answers yourself. It is a fascinating read – but not altogether easy to create your ‘chart’ – you have to be determined to read, re-read and perhaps do some outside research for the concepts to ‘click’. Perhaps this is why Caroline has created a ‘school’ - CMED (Carolyn Myss Education Institute) to teach her sacred contracts preparing process to others (however it’s quite intensive and very $$). A list of trained Sacred Contract Counselors is available if you wish to consult them.
However, if you can keep it simple and not get mired in the details, you can create for yourself an extremely useful self-help tool to get you ‘back on track’ with your life’s purpose.
As a medical Intuitive, Caroline can ’read’ a person’s internal physiological condition intuitively (psychically) rather than by physical examination and diagnosis (traditional medicine). When someone asks her ‘Why am I sick, and how can I heal’ perhaps they are really asking ‘Why am I here and what is my real purpose’ (the lack of connection with these core life questions can cause illness in the self). It is not only your mind that wants to know your mission – it is a question asked by your body mind and spirit.
You came here with a personal collection of 12 ‘archetypes’. Archetypes are timeless patterns of behavior first brought into public awareness by Carl Jung. Caroline has expanded these archetypes and noted positive and negative aspects for each. Your job is to decide which 12 archetypes ‘feel’ right for you, and to become aware of their influences – whether positive or negative – in your life. By changing their negative aspects to positive (ie by changing your pattern of behavior), you can make changes in your life path – a life path correction, and yourself discover why it is that you came here. From the reviewer’s personal experience – these changes can also make the daily grind of ‘getting through life’ soooo much easier.
I "discovered" Caroline Myss last year via a metaphysics class, and she writes great books on how to understand yourself and motivations for doing things. It's deep, and not easy, as she gives you exercises to do. In Sacred Contracts, you are trying to figure out what your purpose is in this incarnation on Earth thru a series of 12 archetypes, 4 of which the author feels everyone has. It takes time to make up your "wheel" and understand it. So I'm about three quarters through, but have work to do to understand it better. I do recommend her.
I finished my "wheel" and if you want to learn more about how Sacred Contracts can help you understand your motivations and behaviors, please check out my report on http://jeansjournies.blogspot.com.
This book has way to much information built on one persons personal experiences. If the book was written in a different "spirit" , then maybe could get something out of it, but I just could not listen to the tone of voice. She seems to be attempting building monument of made up of her own "sensing" experiences, more like an elaborate sand castle.
Actually, I completed the first reading of this book months ago. But I have been 'working' on it since then. If you read it you know it requires work on your 'archetypes.' so I continue to write and write, working on my archetypes. I believe I will actively work with this book all my life.
I enjoyed the first half of the book. Learning about Jungian psychology and archetypes and identifying my own archetypes was interesting. But then when she moved on to "casting charts," superimposing them onto the astrological houses, and doing "readings" with them, I lost interest.
The idea of “sacred contracts” has “spiritual bypassing” written all over it, but the explanation of Jungian archetypes in the latter part of the book is interesting and might be an interesting way to begin getting ideas for writing fictional characters.
Have you ever wondered what your life purpose was? Caroline Myss's books "Sacred Contracts" is a powerful book for rediscovering your own unique talents and gifts. One of the first steps towards wisdom is self-knowledge. You can begin to understand more by reawakening to your own dreams and passions and then redirecting your valuable time and energy towards your highest potential. I highly recommend this book and the exercises. Completing a sacred contract 12 house wheel is tremendously helpful for inner guidance and life choices now and into the future. I created my own archetypal wheel in 2004 and I have it near my calendar as a regular reminder and map of where I am heading in my life.
This book sat on my shelf for 2 years. Then I started to read it, and was tempted to skip the journaling exercises. But then I decided to work my way through it exactly as the book instructs. It took me 4 months, but I'm so glad I did it that way. It was a fascinating process of discovery, and extremely valuable at this point in my life. I highly recommend this book, and I encourage other readers to take your time and do the journaling. It might feel overwhelming at times, but stick with it. It's worth it!
It was touch and go with me on this book. I teetered on 2.5 stars bc I really craved strong women examples, not just strong religious/spiritual men examples. A healthy balance would have been nice. With that said, her tools to approaching archetypes have been blessedly healing and enlightening. I'm continually learning more about myself as I look at my own wheel and how I can apply it as a mirror to see and be in this world. I'm even picking music that matches the archetype to its placement on the wheel - my own medicine music.
I first read this book in 2005. I just reread it. It is not light reading, but considering the situation we find ourselves in, I felt it was time to revisit the concept of sacred contracts. Fifteen years ago, I looked at selecting archetypes and placing them in Life's wheel as a parlor game. This time round, the book and process had so much more meaning for me. Not sure I would recommend it as many are literally dealing with survival issues. For those of you who are not, if you feel spiritually ready to dig down deep, dive in!
This book impacted my life and my own personal growth immensely. I took about six months to read it, drawing my mandala and personalizing it as the author recommended. Desiring to understand the chakras and how they impact me personally was a huge fire under my rear. Caroline Myss has been a strong influence upon my thinking and attitudes, my pursuit of healing, and making changes in my life. I see people and interactions differently now since having read this book. Very helpful!
I read this book while taking a class from Caroline Myss on Sacred Contracts. What a fun way to look at your psychology and how you show up in the world! Understanding your specific archetypes can be healing and enlightening. Since the workshop I have written about and used Archetypes in my work as a therapist and as a Psychic Medium Healer. I love all of Caroline Myss' work and highly suggest reading this book in a book group!
Parts of this are a little “out there” for me, but some of those were still useful in helping reframe, say, my frustration at traffic. The archetypes were much more enjoyable to read about, although I wish the divination aspect was outlined in a more explicitly organized way. Still, I think all that information is there.
I love the premise of Sacred Contracts, the idea that we come into this life with a plan. In this case, however, the plan is actually a myriad of specific agreements we have worked out with a myriad of people during the between-life. I might have enjoyed this book (actually a seminar based on the book) more if the author didn't seem so sure of herself. I felt as if she were saying that the way she describes the process is exactly how it happens. It seems that we have signed a contract with everyone we have a relationship with in this life, at least everyone who has touched us emotionally, and we them. And our challenge is to figure out what that contract was, and how we deal with it.
I do like the idea of archetypes, something Carl Jung wrote about often. Archetypes, very roughly speaking, are templates for common personnae that we assume, found extensively in mythology, but real templates nonetheless. She also says that we intentionally forget the details of our past lives and of our contracts, which is certainly a mercy, but now we have to rely on our instincts and experiences to discover what those contracts are.
Sometimes the contract may be to learn patience, to put up with a person who is a stumbling block to us, and rather than challenge that person, learn to work with them. But the contract may also be with the same kind of person, but to stick up for our principles and to indeed challenge that person. How do we know what the terms of the contract are? And are these meetings really predestined? Wouldn't we have met the same variety of people and challenges without having worked it out before this life?
At some times she says we are to use that intuition and experience to try and figure out how to live out the contract, but in one exercise, she has us match the twelve archetypes she has identified with twelve areas, or houses, of our lives, by writing the names of the archetypes on a set of index card squares, and the numbers 1-12 on another set of index card squares, shuffling both and drawing one of each. So do we figure it out on our own, or does the random order reveal the meaning?
Still, I like the way she wraps up the program. Imagine you return to the between-life, and you are reviewing this one. Wouldn't it seem silly if we were to realize that we missed a chance to grow because we turned down an opportunity simply because it was inconvenient, or we were too timid to stand up to a bully? I agree, but I am still stuck with the question, how do I know what my contracts are, what plan I came into this world with? If all the world's a stage, why have I never had the chance to call "line"?
So, there were many things I enjoyed about this book, but I don't feel that I am left with any answers, except to look at each relationship I have, and try and figure out how I can grow, and maybe help the other person grow, by making the relationship work for both of us.
Her BEST book (IMO) ---was "Anotomy of the Spirit"
The book which she wrote which was a mess (IMO)--for way too many reasons I don't even have the time to go into ---was: "Entering the Castle" (and I read every word of that book ---taking notes --underlined things she said).
If people were to read her book the way she wrote it ---(they would need a least a 'year' to devote to it). Our Center For Spiritual Living had picked it for 'book of the month'.... Almost 'nobody' could get through it.
Plus --the 'topic' was NOT what Myss is best at. I actually think she (the author) was working out too much of her own issues when writing that book ---and then then final result of her book --just came off too much as if she was really 'right'....(preach the truth) --and even wrote it a little harsh.
I wanted to love this book but it was so damn boring and hard to read I understand she is using her other clients experiences to explain the archetypes better and put a picture but I don’t care if freaking Mary has the victim archetype house 3 and how she was able to be a better mom learning about it- give me a couple of examples not a book with 87 percent of examples, it had some interesting parts but everything she talked about was so dense It took me 5 months to finish this book because I just didn’t wanted to pick it up I don’t even know my own sacrade contracts because I just rush to finish. I give it a 1.8 almost 2 because I do think the book had a lot of teachings but I could have watch a 12 minute video or a blog post much condense about everything that was written in here
Caroline Myss is the Queen of Archetypes. Her work is revolutionary and inspiring. Sacred Contracts speaks directly to your soul and reveals the power of your archetypes. Some you will recognize easily, and others love to hide until you search long and deep. Archetypes are always whispering their wisdom to us. In stories. At work. In every engagement in your life. Aren’t you curious what yours might be?
Impresionante que la versión original tenga más de 14K ratings y la versión en español sea Yam desconocida. Este ha sido un viaje muy completo, una montaña rusa de libro, de autodescubrimiento y de cambiar la forma de decidir, ahora sabiendo de donde viene esa energía y hacia dónde va.
VERY Biblical beginning! Not very secular or interfaith or what have you. You have to dig Christianity (or Judaism) to enjoy the start. If you want your Archetypes all sourced from the Torah, described in toe-curling detail, this is the book for you! But if you believe the Jews have another attribute stronger than their professed spirituality, you won’t like the beginning. But there’s token mention of sages from other traditions, for what it’s worth.
Following on from that, the chapters on chakras and astrological houses can be skipped by the spiritually accomplished, even though much of the rest of the book depends on doing exercises within those chapters — skip the rest of the book, too, if you are such a one. Go straight to the appendix and read the Archetype descriptions you know are you (lacking the egoic tendency to glamour) — that’s the best part of the book, if you already know yourself, having transcended individuality.
I’ve finished the course of life, and books for seekers are beneath me. I only bought this book because Myss is a 22/4 in Numerology (Sagittarian) like me (Libran); but, though well read about ascended Masters and a firm believer in God, she is still a seeker (but a good teacher to the masses).
She explains some of the ways that energy works and how it organizes itself around seven emotional centers or chakras and how you can learn to read your energy and hone your intuition to see where your spiritual and physical disruptions and diseases originate.
Choice is your greatest power. It is an even greater power than love because you must first choose to be a loving person.
"One clue I can offer in helping you determine whether someone belongs in your life is to become sensitive to what I call the animation factor. By my definition, animation refers to a kind of electricity that occurs between two people when the energy of life kicks in, as it does for lovers who absolutely do each other."
As opposed to living in it in an unconscious way, you go through a painful process of severance, similar to the heroes journey, because you are no longer part of the tribal mind. "For who's ever will save, his life shall lose it" she said.
You have broken away from the general mindset and the group is likely to perceive your individuation- like anything new or different from the status quo- as a fundamental threat to its own unity.
Four constant archetypes that work in our lives. Child, victim, prostitute, and saboteur