The Saboteur archetype is one of the four survivor archetypes identified by Caroline Myss in her work on Sacred Contracts. Each of us embodies the four essential survivor archetypes from birth to death. The other survivors are the victim, prostitute and child. They are the foundation of what it means to be human. The survivors tend to matters of, you guessed it, our survival, but also our evolution. The lessons we gain from survivor archetype struggles are what bring us into our divine nature, our authentic selves.

To Deliberately Destroy

The definition of sabotage is to “deliberately destroy, damage or obstruct something, especially for political or military advantage.” A saboteur is someone who conducts sabotage. Now, how could that help our survival? In more ways than you can imagine!

Destruction is as equally potent and necessary a force in the universe as creation. Think how our world would be if things were always created but nothing was destroyed to make space for the new. Our planet would grow overcrowded and quickly. It is this way with our ideas. When we have too many ideas or opinions about one thing in our heads, we cease to function properly. Even old ideas must be cleared out to make room for innovation.

Inherent in the force of destruction is change, and this is the gift of the saboteur. Each archetype has a light and a shadow side, bringing gifts or trouble. When we become conscious of how the archetype operates and learn the potential inherent in the archetype, we have the option to tap into great power.

Agent of Change

The saboteur is an agent of change. When we resist an intentional change, the saboteur will cause upheaval covertly. Ever wonder why you have those days when you just can’t seem to walk without falling on your face? That is the saboteur. A grease stained shirt, broken dish, and missed appointment all carry the signature of the saboteur. We know what it looks like and we get frustrated by it.

However, we don’t realize that the positive changes we instigate are also the jurisdiction of the saboteur. When we choose to allow plenty of time to dress and prepare for an important meeting we are embracing the saboteur. When we decide we’ve had enough of the old, ineffective way of doing things and we’re ready for a big change, that is the saboteur.

Like anything, this all happens along a spectrum, just as a refusal to change can be the shadow of the saboteur, so too can be the over infatuation with change. We all know that someone who changes things just to change them destroys progress before it’s even begun. An important aspect of learning to work with the saboteur archetype is to be present with the change we are making. It is not about the change itself, but our active participation in choosing the course of change.

Guardian of Choice

When we gather a fierce determination to make better choices, we are acting in the light aspect of the saboteur. Here the saboteur is known as the “Guardian of Choice”. This is the part of ourselves that makes solid, far-reaching, and forward-thinking choices. The saboteur archetype is in close connection with the mystical law of cause and effect and understands deeply the impact of our choices. This can be a position of immense empowerment or incredible debilitation. Like the woman in the photo above, all the options and ramifications of our choices can really bring us down.

In calling on the wisdom of the saboteur, our Guardian of Choice, we can make our way through the mire and find a solution. The ability to make an informed decision that relies on our faculties of intuition and foresight is a gift of the saboteur.

Fear of Power

The saboteur is that part of us that knows deep down inside that we can attain greatness. And we are deathly afraid of this happening. We think we aren’t afraid, but we are. Simply imagining that we had all the money and all the time in the world sends us into a tailspin of questioning. We wonder… How would I make a difference? What would people think of me? How would I make sure I’m making the biggest impact? Should I stop world hunger or prevent the spread of disease? Would I do the right thing?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson

Dare to Dream

The saboteur archetype is motivated to achieve success. In the definition of sabotage we saw that the destruction is for a “military or political advantage”. Both military and politics are directly related to power. The Guardian of Choice is where a personal advantage, personal power, comes in. The saboteur empowers us to live the life of our dreams. Without the help of this archetype, we would never have the courage to make choices that lead to achieving our full potential.

We are fascinated by movies that feature the rise of an unrealized genius because we love to see how choices unlock greatness. Good Will Hunting, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Proof are all key examples of the triumph of the saboteur. The protagonist is ultimately faced with the realization of his or her success and must destroy the fear and resistance that blocks the way using the strength of the Guardian of Choice.


Want to know more about the Saboteur Archetype?

In this recording of a live online class, Certified Archetypal Consultant, Stacey Couch, covers how to identify the saboteur, what distinguishes it from other archetypes, and the gifts of the Guardian of Choice.

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