Transitional Healing

Facilitating Life’s Transitions

The Archetype of the Hedonist

Posted by Angela on January 13, 2007

The Hedonist archetype has always fascinated me.  A dear friend once used the phrase getting off the hedonic treadmill .  I just love that analogy for the trap that so many have fallen into – often referred to as keeping up with the Jones’s .  When we get caught in that trap we invoke a negative aspect of the Hedonist – getting all the stuff that we think will make us ‘happy’, only to have that so-called ‘happiness’ where off as soon as the stuff isn’t new anymore.  It’s a viscious cycle.  The Hedonist also brings creativity and the potential to truly embrace joy.

The light or conscious side of the Hedonist is delicious – it is an ability to embrace the good, wonderful, and pleasurable things in life.  It is a celebration of the wonderousness of our world and delving into the beauty of self and enjoyment.  This embracing of life often leads to creative energy and contagious joy.  I believe that many of the wonderful things that we have in this world are the result of some creative Hedonists.

If a person follows the Hedonist archetype from a less conscious point it is possible to find oneself chasing pleasure at the cost of self, health and relationships.  When a person operates on the ‘auto-pilot’ of the Hedonist the potential pitfall is indulgence at the expence of others and self. 

Of course we all have the capability of tapping into the energy of the Hedonist archetype.  We may choose a day at the spa, or a lovely dinner out with friends, or other special time of pure enjoyment.  It’s a wonderful and enticing energy to embrace from a conscious point of view – in fact I may do so myself a little later today!

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5 Responses to “The Archetype of the Hedonist”

  1. Melanie said

    I have been a Hedonist for so long that I didn’t identify this archetype for some time. It’s so integrated that I couldn’t see it. I thought that my pursuit of pleasure was Addict behavior, but that was just an easy explanation of a more complex pattern. Both the light and the dark sides have been and continue to inform my life. Recognizing this at last seems to give me better authority over the choices I make when I’m acting through this energy.

    It’s definitely my Hedonist that is overweight, for example. I don’t hate to exercise, I just like leisure more. Food as pleasure rather than nutrition and buying pretty things because they’re pretty rather than necessary are some of my Hedonist’s shadow behaviors.

    On the light side, I am someone who expects to enjoy. Everything – a casual conversation with a stranger in line somewhere, a last minute dinner out, an evening with my grandchildren. I seldom find that I “dread” anything. Every experience seems to be an opportunity to create something delightful. And if you spend time with me, then it’s essential to my pleasure that you share it. So, I think that I am fun to be with – at least I intend to be. And intention, in all aspects of our existence, is such a determinate in outcomes. I’m embracing my Hedonist while learning that the “embrace” sometimes needs to turn into “restraint”.

  2. Angela said

    Melanie brings up an excellent point about the nature of archetypes and the waves of delving deeper and deeper into the complexities of the energy.

    This is an excellent example of the process of first identifying the ‘easy’ explanations of the energy. Then by working through the process of interviewing the archetypes; journaling with the archetypes; observing your own processes and exploring the nuances deeper and deeper. For me it is amazing the levels of lightbulb moments and pieces of clarity that arise through this process.

    Melanie – You definitely are FUN to be with and I love it when our transcontinental paths cross. It is always so delightful!

  3. lydia2007 said

    Angela, I was led to your blog by typing in archetypes – devouring mother. This led me to your post of March 21st which I found invaluable. After checking out your website, I came back to start at the beginning of your posts to learn as much as I can. Melanie’s comments to this post hit me right in the pit of the stomach so I know they are right on for me as well. I love what you are doing here. I am going to work my way through all your posts as time permits and right now most of my time is being devoted to my inner journey so this should not take me too long to catch up to your more recent posts.

  4. eric mcdonald said

    hello and thank you
    for your insightful comments
    regarding what we call hedoninst
    pursuits or orientation vs
    and the creative/destructive
    consquences of both.
    As i age- i have a tendency towards
    indentifying underlying emotions
    and the lights and shadows of
    my being and everyones.
    so i am somewhere between
    heaven and earth and hoping to
    enjoy but not overindulge-\
    balance peace and love
    god be with you all
    eric

  5. […] archetypes to teach lessons because they are memorable.  The archetype in my first house is the hedonist.  When that hedonist is good she is very very good, and when she is bad she is horrid.  Such is […]

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