As I listened to these kind souls describe the pattern of their lives, I was seeing through their conversation to its symbolic level. As good mothers and marriage partners, they had acted in behalf of others for most of their lives, but having accomplished this early mission, they were now striking out on their own, as the Servant of myth and legend must. When the biblical Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, for instance, he bided his time and did the work requested of him through many years of service. But then he used his singular gifts as a dream interpreter to earn his freedom and become a great leader in the land—going from Servant to Master.
All of a sudden the vivid but mystifying images that I had been getting in my recent readings made sense. The Pirate, the Artist, the Actor, and the Servant were not part of the individual, physical chronology that I had been used to reading. Rather, these images were a part of each person’s spiritual chronology, a personal mythology that had begun even before they entered their physical lives. These images were archetypes, energy guides that could direct people toward their spiritual purpose, their Contracts.