737 of 760 people found the following review helpful
Sacred Contracts engages you in an extensive, self-exploring expedition to unearth the core ingredients of your unique, spiritual identity. Because there are so many assignments to do in the book and it is so detailed, I suggest you get the hardcover version rather than one of the audio versions.
Of all the many books I have read about finding and following the dictates of your own true self, Sacred Contracts is by far the most unusual and detailed. The author calls upon major religious traditions, Eastern ideas about energy centers in the body, Jungian psychological archetypes, and astrology among other sources as context for seeing yourself as unique. Although few of these references are ones that I relate to very often, I was impressed by the way that they centered my focus by helping me see what life roles are not important in my life, as the contrast for seeing what is important. In my past experience with increasing self-understanding, the focus was on what was important. Cutting away the unimportant makes those important areas stand out much more clearly.
This is a book that can help you learn for the rest of your life. Unlike many books that are aimed at helping you find "the answer" and then getting you off working with "the answer," Sacred Contracts is designed to help with new challenges and issues in the future . . . as well as the ones you have today.
I found myself particularly enriched by reviewing the very long list of potential archetypes that are developed in the book. These are explained by stories of individuals, references to popular books and movies, and examples of how one archetype differs from other, similar ones. As a result, the archetypes and my own reactions to them came into much clearer focus in my mind. When I had read about these in Joseph Campbell's work, I often found them to be distant. Here, they are immediate.
Sacred Contracts focuses on "what is our mission in life?" This includes both "where am I going?" and "who will go with me?" The answer is unique for each person to each of these questions. A sacred contract is "your overall relationship to your personal . . . and spiritual power." The contract is "a plan to help you develop your divine potential." This is to fulfill "an agreement your soul makes before you are born." As I read these concepts, I found them to be most closely identified in my mind with the beliefs of Buddhism as they relate to the reincarnated soul. The author takes care to show that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam also contain these points of view.
The book contains a lot of material to help you absorb the context of these perspectives. In that sense, I felt a little like I was reading a condensed version of The Golden Bough.
After you understand the archetypes and their manifestations, you are directed how to engage in an extensive mental dialogue with and write about the positive and negative forms of each important archetype for you. These will include the four universal ones (child, victim, compromised person, and saboteur) as well as your selection from dozens of others for the ones that seem most important to you (such as addict, angel, bully, gambler, Midas, poet, and thief). For example, you will ask, "Why did I choose this archetype?" "In what way do I feel the archetype serves my Contracts with other people?"
The focus of all this remains on keeping "your attention on reaching your highest potential." To do this, you must "surrender to self."
Most people will find the list of what to think about and the exercises to do to be a bit intimidating. I certainly did. The work is based on a successful seminar that the author has been developing over many years. So it is intended to take quite a bit of time to do and implement. I suggest that you find blocks of time of at least two hours in length to work on these assignments when you will not be disturbed. If you are single, you might go someplace where you can be alone but see the splendor of nature. If you live with your family, early morning or late at night would probably be the best time . . . while others are at rest. Naturally, if you like what you read here, you could also consider doing a seminar with the author. I'm assuming that that is much more expensive than working with this book on your own. Some people might find it helpful to find someone to do this with, so that you share your results with one another. This could help provide the discipline to keep working on discovering your sacred contracts.
May you fulfill your highest purpose in ways that bring great joy and benefit to you and all whom you meet! God bless you.
118 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2002
Maybe it's just me, but I'm finding this book the most fun in the author's library of excellence. Sacred Contracts is an immense accomplishment, well written, with admirable scholarship and clarity. Myss addresses the roots of archetypal thinking, most especially in Plato and Carl Jung. She adds her own, unprecedented, contribution and details her history, as a medical intuitive and psychic, of working with the archetypes. She offers solid definitions, a fascinating list in the appendix, of archetypes, and provides workshop techniques for learning consciously with the guidance of archetypes.
I don't want to define archetype because she does it so well. Suffice me to say that these are, as in Jung's view, energy bundles of symbolic qualities that live in the collective unconscious and offer guidance to human beings through various life challenges. Jung defines archetypes such as the Shadow, Trickster, Child, and Mother. Myss adds a few hundred more and suggest that we all have four in common and eight electives, 12 archetypes for each lifetime, a zodiac of chosen lessons, challenges, and life adventures.
Myss suggests that these archetypes, universal and personal, can be discovered as a way to consciously work with the commitments we make (our sacred contracts) before entering each lifetime. That we've made promises to ourself and God, come to life, and then forget what we intended to do is not a new idea. It is well detailed in works of Sylvia Browne and in many ancient texts. Myss explains that when doing medical intuitive readings for people she began seeing the symbols for universal and personal archetypes in the energy field of people getting readings.
In this book, she shares this gift and tells us how to find out what our own Sacred Contracts are through discovering our archetypes, and, o yes, interviewing them ... by having a dialog with these energy bundles, we learn our divine intentions and can work with our challenges, setbacks, and opportunities to fulfil our divine purposes.
This book is good enough, rare enough, and a stunning achievement to own it in hardback. For those who cannot, and cannot wait, there is the library ...
I know this is a work of solemn importance but that doesn't keep it from being great fun ... getting acquainted with the archetypes is a little bit like a class reunion ... sounds impossible ... try it ! It's fun.
146 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2005
Well, straight out I will admit that I am only half-way through this book, but already, I feel really bogged down, and slightly confused.
Ms. Myss seems to take a rather overly authoritative tone in this book, as she mixes Jungian psychology, Eastern religions and divination, all in an attempt to convince her readers that through her guidance they can come to know the destinies chosen for them before their birth, their "Sacred Contracts".
I feel that the author tends to over simplify the concepts of destiny, and pre-destination, as well as the nature of evil, and does so through a rather verbose, and strangely vague text. I think that my eyes were really opened when I visited Ms. Myss' website and read the answers she had given to questions by her readers. Her arrogant attitude and insistance that her way is the only way, left a sour taste in my mouth, I must say. Many asked questions such as, "I can't narrow my personality down to only 8 archtypes, no matter how hard I try," and, "You insist that there are four archtypes that everyone has, no matter what. I don't feel that I have all of these." These questions were met with the insistance that there were only 8 archtypes, and that everyone has the four, no matter what. Ms. Myss makes her "theory" sound like it is academically proven fact, which it is absolutely not. I'm not sure that even Jung would agree to the way that his concepts of the archtype have been used in this book.
In summary, I am not sure that I will finish reading the book. I want to, just to see if there is something that I am missing closer to the end, but from many of the reviews that I have read here, I'm not so sure it's worth it. I suggest taking the book out from the library before you purchase it. Some may like the authoritative tone, and complex theories of the book. I did not.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2002
This book is a great book, but it is no light-read.
It is not just your average self-help book. After reading these reviews, I think it works best if you know about Caroline and understand her teachings. She knows about labeling, and understands the mysterious paradox between divine guidance and free-will...
If you are interested in pinpointing all the different "roles" you play in your life in order to discover more about yourself, this is the right book. It is a lot like the process of reading and understanding your astrological chart. It will not help you find a perfect job but it will help you discover why you are here. She explains the difference.
I bought the book and the book-on-tape/cd because I like to listen to her tapes. She explains some things a little better on a tape than in a book because she is such a great speaker. On the other hand, the list of many common, but by no means all of the archetypes are listed in the book along with stories about people, and visuals of the wheels including her own.
This book is great but it is actually some work (although it is fun work) so if you're not ready its likely to sit on your shelf.
I also recommend Caroline's tape Spirtual Madness, which is NOT a book as well.
60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
I'm a huge fan of archetypes and archetypal work, and this love affair began when I was introduced to the work of medical intuitive and teacher, Caroline Myss. After discussing archetypes on the Myss Discussion Boards for some time, I was really excited when her book Sacred Contracts finally came out in January 2002. I've read and highlighted that book many times! It was with equal excitement that I anticipated the release of her Archetype Cards deck in September 2003.
The brand-new release of Sacred Contracts: The Journey - An Interactive Experience for Guidance which expands the concept of sacred contracts and archetypes into three wheels was also met with high excitement. A huge dry-erase game board? Markers? A pad of Wheel templates? And, finally, some information on those 2 mysterious outer wheels?
I couldn't wait to open it.
Here's what you'll find when open your package:
*A huge box. The gameboard alone is 2 feet x 2 feet, and folds into quarters. It's very thick and sturdy. A magenta-colored circle in the center gives keywords for each of the 12 Houses of the Zodiac. For example, the 1st House is Ego/Personality, the 2nd House is Life Values, the 3rd House is Self-Expression, and so on. Outside of the inner circle containing House keywords lies the Chronos Wheel. "Chronos" is written within this circular area in very light lavender, with 12 blank 'pie' slices (just like an Astrological Natal Chart, but with Houses evenly spaced.) Outside the Chronos Wheel is a narrow, colorful band which has a unique tapestry for each of the Houses (for example, with Pisces, you see two fish), as well as the name of each Zodiac sign and it's traditional astrological symbol. Outside of that is yet another blank wheel divided into 12 for the Kairos Wheel. Again, "Kairos" is in light lavender. Finally, the outside of the Wheel has 12 blank areas for the Cosmic Wheel. Outside of the Triadic Wheel is the numbers 1-12, designating the Houses. The outer parts of the game board is much like the red and muted gold found on the box.
*A plastic package of 4 felt-tip, dry erase markers in red, blue, green and purple.
*A small, gray eraser (I assumed that's what it was...and I was right!)
*The entire 78-card Archetype Deck (including 6 blank cards). (Click here for my in-depth review of this deck.) I haven't done a card for card comparison, but I'm familiar enough with the deck to notice that The Clown has been replaced by The Fool--but interestingly, the card retains the description of The Clown. (In Sacred Contracts, these Archetypes were differentiated.)
*12 Cards numbered 1-12
*A pad of 50 blank 3-Wheel templates
*An 83 page booklet almost twice the size of the one in the original Archetype Deck. However, some descriptions of the Archetypes have been shortened compared to the smaller booklet that came with the original deck. Myss explains the Chart of Origin/Chronos, Kairos, and Cosmic Wheels. She uses a hypothetical example of an individual and his three Archetypes as seen through the lens of one, and how it this holographic model could be interpreted symbolically and practically.
Although the game board is sturdy, the packaging isn't. The golden matte cardboard holding the die and eraser practically folded in on itself when I tried to fish out the dice. The game cover isn't very sturdy for the size of the game, either.
Myss goes into describing the Chronos, Kairos, and Cosmic Wheel, which expands on her archetypal model of sacred contracts. The Chart of Origin/Chronos never changes, Kairos is present moment archetypes at play, and the Cosmic wheel is randomly picked by "heaven". (A toss of the die)
The Guidebook explains that it's not necessary to read Sacred Contracts to play this exploratory "game". I'd have to say that I'd be surprised if anyone could just pick up this game, pick their Chart of Origin, and then go on to the other 2 Wheels! There are some of us that have been working with the Myss model for years and still get confused just with the Chart of Origin, let alone throwing in Kairos and Cosmic! There's even an explanation of how 2-4 players can play this game for corporate guidance, although I'm pretty confused as to how that would work. The Guidebook explains that, after each person picks their 12 natal archetypes (that are the foundation of the rest of the other Wheels and supposedly never change), they can then contribute several of their cards each, put them on the gameboard, and then seek guidance by doing a 3 tiered corporate wheel.
Confused? So was I.
Myss goes on to explain yet another use for the board, called a Pleasure Quest. This is an explorative way to stir up the psychic and archetypal waters and just have some fun.
The good stuff
I think the huge game board can be very beneficial. You could use it as a template for Tarot readings, oracle readings, or with the Archetype cards, especially to see how archetypal energies play out in the Houses. You could use it for conscious archetypal work, as well as for divination purposes. The dry erase surface makes it easy to write in archetypes, and play around with the House system. If you find the game board too unwieldy, you can always use the paper templates. You could even use it for examining your astrological wheel, and writing in synastry chart information when examining relationships. And, you could also use it for the Pleasure Quests that Myss describes.
Those who are devoted to the Myss model or who love to examine archetypes will no doubt be intrigued and delighted with this interactive game. However, it must be said that it's possible you may end up more confused than enlightened after it's all said and done.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2002
"Sacred Contracts" is a textbook, a workbook, a seekers guide to the soul.
Rich with stories and anecdotes, it moves easily from information to example. Questions are anticipated, answers are provided. Concepts move from the cosmic level to the practical; theory to practice. Information for today; guidance for tomorrow. Exercises for self-discovery are thorough; instructions clear and precise.
On the subject of "Sacred Contracts," Dr. Myss' says "...my belief (is) that our life is laid out in steps and stages arranged in such a way that we always have the opportunity for spiritual transformation..." She goes on, "Your Sacred Contract allows you countless chances to grow and change, dependent only on your willingness to pick up subtle clues and cues that appear along the way." (p.39)
After exploring all the components of a Sacred Contract, Dr. Myss provides a set of tools to uncover the "clues and cues" that lead us in the direction of our own Sacred Contract. She gives examples of how others have used these tools to gain a deeper appreciation of the meaning of their life, their Contract. Dr. Myss' even uses herself as an example, explaining both her Contract and how it plays out through various experiences of her life.
"Sacred Contracts" is both the icing AND the cake. It is far more than I imagined.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2002
First off, I think that it is important for potential readers to understand that Caroline Myss does not pamper the ego. She works on spirit...and she obviously isn't for everyone. I was surprised at the reveiws that seriously critisized this book and emphatically stated not to buy it. I highly recommend it.
This is not Spirit101 stuff. It's for people that have already dived quite deeply into their Spirit. It isn't ego talk.
I don't believe everything she says for myself, but so what? The idea of understanding the sacred work that we are each here to do is so well explained and easily accessed here,that she has helped me incredibly. Yes, at times it is too heady for me, but I work with it slowly. Physics is heady too, but wonderful! It needs to be digested slowly. If you just want a quick "let me be enlightened" read, of course you'll be disappointed and find this overwhelming. People that complained that it was too much work for so little understanding are working from the ego side. 'cause quite honestly, if you just read it lightly, hoping to get some quotable spirit talk, you won't find what you are looking for. But IT IS SPIRIT WORK FOR THE SERIOUS SPIRIT STUDENT. If you like to go about your soul work in a kind of academic way, it will probably teach much TRUTH in a language you appreciate. If you like a more nonanalytic way to approach spirit, then you may get really sick of this stuff. And, of course, if you are still working on your ego and boosting up your ego(self-help/psychoanalysis talk), then this won't say anything to you.
As for me,on my path, I love this book and am thankful to be able to uncover parts of my spirit with its help.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2002
Sacred Contracts is a brilliant synthesis of spiritual insight and psychology. Presumably based on the author's well known workshops of the same name. Sacred Contracts takes Jung's concept of archetypes beyond anything Jung himself might have imagined and brings the notion squarely into the 21st century.
The author developed an enjoyable and ingenious process for deciphering your own Contract using a new theory of archetypes that builds on the works of Jung, Plato, and contemporary thinkers. This book is genuinely transformative in understanding the why and what of your inner self.
I bought the audio version after reading the written version. Really use both. When I work I use Neurosync behavior modification software to make other improvements. I enjoy self improvement and self enlightenment and I highly recommend both the book and audio versions.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The idea is that we made "contracts" before coming to this earth, and we play them out every day. When we feel a "zing" of recognition at meeting someone, or feel like we'd like to choke them, we are experiencing animation...a divine connection that says "Hey, I have a contract with you!"
In Sacred Contracts, Myss weaves together Christian, Buddhist, and other traditions, shwoing how the central religious figures (Jesus, Buddha, etc.) walked out *their* contracts on the earth.
The most interesting part, for me, was the discovery of personal Archetypes and the casting of the Wheel. I could see myself and others in the "Fab Four" Archetypes common to all (Victim, Saboteur, Child, and Prostitute), as well as the individual Archetypes that we draw on most in our life. Archetypes are energies and characteristics we us to fulfill our specific contracts in the world. We use archetypal language every day: "I'm tired of fighting this!" (Warrior), or "She acts like the Queen of England" (Queen) etc. It's not hocus pocus...it's the realization that we take on certain energies and dramas in our life that assist us in our individual Who and Why. Many Archetypes "dance" with each other...Knight with Damsel, Rescuer with Addict, Student with Teacher, Bully with Victim, etc.
Whether we live once or many times, it's a feasible theory to believe that we've made agreements with God, and perhaps others, to live out certain dramas in the journey of our soul's wisdom.
When casting the Wheel, Archetypes land in 1 of 12 Houses...each House corresponding with the Astrological Chart Houses and what each entails. It's amazing to see where Archetypes land, and in which House! For example, my Queen landed in the 1st House of Ego and Identity, and if you'd see the jewelry I wear, how "commanding" I am, and how I carry myself...you'd suspect Queen energy! Myss also teaches about the 7 chakras, including an 8th chakra that deals with "symbolic sight", or, seeing things from a God's eye view. She also correlates chakras with the Houses, and what issues fall in which chakras.
I definitely recommend this book for insight into life patterns, life purpose, the archetypal patterns of others, and how relationships "dance" with one another to the tune of specific soul lessons. While I'm not 100% sold on the idea that our Natal Wheel contains 12 fixed archetypes--and that they can be selected, with surety, simply by asking questions of archetypal patterns and then choosing their house placement by random--it's a fascinating system that will yield helpful clues as to why you do what you do...and why you are here this moment.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2002
If you are thinking about getting Sacred Contracts, make sure that you buy it in the book form. I just got half way through the CD, 3 hours into it, when out of Caroline's mouth pop the words: "I am now going to push you to buy the book because you need the book in order to read the list of archetypes to decide which ones fit you". Had I known that the CD didn't have everything I needed then I would have just purchased the book.....now I will have the CD AND the book. What a hassle, not to mention that I was just getting ready to chart my archetypes and now I have to put out more money and wait for days while the book is enroute. There was nothing eluding to the fact that I would need extra material other than the CD or else I would have ordered differently. By the way, so far I really like the "book", but I gave it a rating of only 3 because of the way the CD is sold. Buyer beware!