The Law of the Secret Door is something I guarantee you’re familiar with…you just might not realize it.

In stories, especially archetypally rich stories like fairy tales, if someone is told, “Hey, so there’s this Secret Door over there and you mustn’t, under any circumstances, for realsies, I mean it, ever ever ever open that door,” guess what?

They’re definitely going in there. 

In fact, they have to! Unless the character wants to stay stuck in whatever story loop they’re trapped in, walking through the Secret Door is mandatory. 

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Now, we don’t tell this story over and over and over again, under countless guises both modern and ancient, simply for entertainment’s sake. 

We can’t stop telling this story because it reveals something fundamentally important…

…both about the nature of our psyche and the nature of the universe. And even more usefully, it tells us something about how those two things–the psyche and the universe–interact

This interaction is magic, and it’s also the beating heart of manifestation

If the contents of my psyche–a spark of an idea, for instance–can’t interact with the universe, then that spark will never be translated into tangible experiences and physical matter. It will remain trapped as a seed of potential, never to germinate. 

Manifestation fails because we don’t know how to get our psyche and the universe to interact effectively, and archetypes like the Secret Door show us how to do this. 

So, what does the Law of the Secret Door reveal?

It demonstrates that there are places we must explore, perhaps literal places, perhaps metaphorical, and they are often the very places we are told we must never, ever, ever go. 

This doesn’t mean everything people tell us, we should immediately run off and do the opposite, but this story illustrates that there are places we will be drawn to, again and again, like a mysterious door that, no matter which way we turn, somehow every corridor leads us straight to it. 

These places beckon irresistibly, but they also frighten us. And why wouldn’t they? We’ve been told, in no uncertain terms, that they’re super duper dangerous–majorly off limits! 

And yet, enter them we must.

This archetypal story gives us a template for those times in our own life when perhaps our family or our culture or a mentor has said, “Never go there!” but for our own evolution toward wholeness, go there we must

Maybe “there” is being in touch with our anger even though this was strictly forbidden growing up

Maybe it’s letting go of gender norms even though the people around us think it’s wrong or weird or “just following a fad.”

My Secret Door might be different from yours, but if we’re to live life on our own terms, embodying the fullness of who we’re here to be, the Law of the Secret Door applies to us all. 

It’s time, now, to tie this more fully to manifestation, and to do that, we need to understand what an archetype is. 

Most of us are familiar with representations of archetypes, figures like the Hermit or the Wounded Healer. But what on earth do those figures have to do with manifestation? 

The Wildwood Tarot

Well, the confusion lies in the fact that the Hermit and other figures aren’t the archetypes themselves. 

An archetype is ultimately unknowable. It’s simply too vast, with roots far too deep, deep, deep in the collective unconscious to be graspable by our human perception. 

Why should we care? Well, archetypes give rise to everything you think, feel, know, and experience. And I mean everything. They are the Pattern to rule all patterns. They would eat the ring to rule all rings for breakfast. (Sorry, Frodo.) 

Rather than thinking of them as different characters, we might visualize archetypes as incredibly deep channels carved into the bedrock of the collective human psyche. These channels dictate where energy is permitted to flow. 

In fact, let’s picture this together:

Imagine a vast prairie, and snaking through its wide-open expanse are the deep rivers of the archetypes. 

Now, imagine a dark wood bordering the prairie, and far into the gloomy, moss-covered depths of this forest, there’s a crumbling castle. 

If none of the archetypal rivers penetrate the woods, archetypal energy won’t flow here, and thus, this castle can never exist to us, because the archetypes give rise to everything we think, feel, know, and experience. 

Without an archetype touching the castle, we can’t think, feel, know, or experience it. 

This is how profoundly the archetypes shape every aspect of our existence. 

It’s beyond the scope of this post to go too far into this, but it is possible to alter the direction of an archetypal river. When enough people add their energy to a river the water will rise, eventually bursting its banks and carving new channels in the landscape. 

Last week, I watched a docuseries on the history of electricity, and I found it fascinating that, for many years, nobody grasped the potential for electricity to be more than a science experiment or a parlor trick. 

This is astounding when you think of how utterly dependent we’ve become on electricity, but it also makes sense because there simply wasn’t a mental model yet in existence. But enough people start tinkering with it, and the energy built and built until a tipping point was reached, and electrical inventions exploded into consciousness, forging new archetypal rivulets.

Earlier I said that the archetypes are ultimately unknowable.

Their roots are too deep in the collective unconscious, and they’re so much bigger than our finite minds that we can’t possibly grock their existence. 

But I also said they give rise to everything we think, feel, know, and experience. That’s a bit of a pickle isn’t it? Something that affects absolutely everything about our lives, and we can’t know what it is. 

Thanks, universe!

Oh, wait. But we can know them, at least in part. That’s where the Hermit and other archetypal representations come in. These representations are direct messengers from the unknowable archetypes, messengers that have adopted forms our finite minds can grasp and interact with. 

I call them the Emissaries of the Unknown. 

Without them, the Pattern of existence would be completely hidden from us, which would be a huge bummer, no?

With them, though, we can learn the language of the archetypes. We might never know the deeper archetypal river that gives rise to the Hermit, but by studying and interacting with the Hermit, we can get a glimpse of the patterns the deeper, unknowable archetype governs. 

The ability to glimpse these patterns is key to manifestation. 

In fairy tales, for instance, if the heroine encounters friendly animals and she accepts their help, she is sure to succeed. If, however, she ignores or mistreats the animals, she will fail. You might be thinking, “Cool, but I can’t remember the last time I met a talking deer. How does this help me?

The animals represent our instinctual nature and the animal body we inhabit. If we ignore our instincts and mistreat our body…eventually, we will fail. When we instead learn how to partner with our instinctual, animal nature, we thrive. 

Archetypal stories illustrate the fundamental patterns that govern how our psyche operates, how the universe operates, and how the two interact. 

In other words, archetypes are like The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Manifestation Genius if you know how to speak their language. 

In a couple days, we’ll go deeper by exploring one archetypal pattern in particular–the Hero/ine’s Journey–and its connection to manifestation

See you then. 

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