What is a Gatekeeper you maybe asking?
My personal experience of the Gatekeeper is an archetypal guardian who stands at the threshold of your personal boundaries and vets everything and everyone that wants to enter your personal space.
They are your energetic intuitive personal PA, Manager or Chief of Staff. Their role is vital for your well-being and your safety on all levels.
Like the medieval Gatekeepers of old they call to whatever and whoever wants to enter your space to identify themselves and their intentions, "Who goes there and what do you want?" If the prospective enteree does not meet the criteria, they are sent packing, the drawbridge remains in place and the portcullis stays lowered.
For many years of my adult life I struggled with agoraphobia. To describe it briefly, it can manifest as a fear of the outdoors, public places, being in crowds. Sometimes it's so severe that it brings on panic attacks. Agoraphobia can shut you down at many levels. Mine ranged from mild to full blown panic attacks. It was so bad at one stage that I couldn't go out to my clothes line or the mailbox.
To others it seemed irrational, that I was being stupid or a drama queen. For me it was absolutely terrifying and very confusing. I didn't want to be this way, I wanted to be able to function normally. My children were young and I needed to be able to take them to school, go to sports days and on school outings. The supermarket was an ordeal.
Along with the agoraphobia I experienced medium to strong claustrophobia and when they arrived together, internal hell would break loose.
On the outside I appeared to be a confident, eloquent, full of life young woman. I was directing/producing theatrical shows and going about my life in what seemed to be a normal way. I hid it from my family and friends for fear they would think I was mad.
I knew that it had deep roots embedded in my past somewhere. When it first began, I was not on my spiritual path and had no idea about past lives or archetypes.
After my out of body experience in 1988, I started going to mediums and psychics and I met a wonderful lady who, like me, was agoraphobic.
She had employed the skills of a hypnotherapist who was helping her take small steps towards a normal life, so I signed up for sessions and they made a huge difference. They didn't cure me but they helped take the severity out of the situation and enabled me to have some power whenever I found myself in an agoraphobic situation.
It wasn't until I read Caroline Myss's book Sacred Contracts around 2009 and was charting my archetypal wheel, that I met up with the Gatekeeper part of my psyche. I had no idea that I even had one. There was no mention of the Gatekeeper in her book, but none the less I had one.
My Gatekeeper was almost running my life. To describe this to you I have to draw a mental picture of how this archetype showed itself to me.
Visualize if you will a large castle complete with moat, drawbridge, battlements, towers, courtyards, sentries, dining halls, ballrooms and lots and lots of guest rooms. Everything that any self respecting castle could have.
You would think I would be living the high life with the best bedroom in the house and access to the full grandeur of this place that was mine.
Far from it. Instead, I lived in the tiny room at the top of the small tower with just enough space for a bed, a tiny dresser, no wardrobe, no clothes, no gold or jewels and was cold and damp.
Everyone else, God knows who they all were, occupied my castle. They ate all my food, drank my wine, wore my clothes, took my horses etc. In short they ran riot in my castle and used up everything I had. When it was all gone, they moved on to the next sucker who had an unhealthy Gatekeeper issue.
I would do what I could to replenish everything with the little I had, until the next intake of uninvited guests would arrive and do the same again.
Why and how did this happen? It happened because my Gatekeeper was a 'hail fellow well met' which according to Wikipaedia is a somewhat archaic English idiom used when referring to a person whose behaviour is hearty, friendly, and congenial. I will add to the description from Cambridge Dictionaries Online - sometimes in a way that is not sincere. He would let anyone in to my castle. The sentries were less than useless. Instead of being on duty looking out for anyone approaching, they were all down in the guard house playing cards and drinking ale with women on their knees having a rollicking good time. The drawbridge was permanently down and the portcullis was up which gave access to anyone and everyone. The Gatekeeper was sitting in his room with his feet up waving to everyone who went past, inviting them to have a great time and to make use of anything they needed.
The other part of this story is that while others could wander freely into my castle and leave when they wanted, I on the other hand could not.
Whenever I tried to leave, the Gatekeeper and the Sentries, who would appear from their revelry on high alert and bar my way, telling me vehemently that if I went out there, they could not keep me safe. I would surely perish and something bad would most certainly take place.
So there I was, for many years, a prisoner to my beliefs, locked up inside myself, fearful of the outside and being sucked dry by my need to save everyone else from their darkness.
I couldn't say no to anyone and was a sucker for a lame dog and the homeless, helpless people whose needs were more important than mine. Somewhere along my souls path I had developed the belief that if my needs were met then someone else had to go without.
I was outraged at my gatekeeper when I discovered what had been going on. The first thing I did was fire him and his sentries, sending them on their way. It was such a relief. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could begin to take control of my life.
From that moment on I decided I would be in control of whomever came through my gate. I had no need of sentries. I kicked everyone out and began the journey of being my own best friend.
The agoraphobia that had plagued me no longer ruled my life at all. I realised that I had manifested it to draw my attention to investigate the larger issue of my powerlessness and its source.
Where did this stem from? Firstly from my tribe/family.
We learn from our tribe very early on about personal boundaries.
When we arrive our tribe takes care of everything for us. They decide where we will live, what we will eat, who we will like and dislike, how our hair will be cut, what we will wear... the list goes on and on. Our survival depends upon conforming to their ways and beliefs. This happens from inside the tribe although it is very different today from when I grew up, with so many children going to daycare centres when they are weeks old, looked after by nannies or having preschool education from an early age, but our tribe are predominantly the ones who teach us about personal boundaries.
Hopefully our family/tribe have good personal boundaries and we inherit their healthy ways of looking after ourselves. However, if they are not and at an early age in order to survive, we have had to allow our personal boundaries to be breached, we will then go on to allow this to continue into our adulthood and live our lives accordingly.
My Gatekeeper had been set up to ensure my survival. That was the only way I could make sure that I was looked out for and that some of my basic needs were met. I was unaware that I needed to reset the parameters of my survival boundaries to accommodate my grown-up self. Thankfully I have now. It is never too late to redraw your boundaries or to learn what is healthy and right for you.
How proactive is your Gatekeeper?
A healthy Gatekeeper archetype will protect your boundaries, alert you to possible unhealthy situations or people and give you the option for a situation to continue or be aborted before it has a chance to take place.
In a nutshell... you are in control, aware and conscious of your personal space, your life choices and why you are making them. You will say yes and no when you mean it.
An unhealthy Gatekeeper archetype can be determined by answering the following questions.
Do you give more than you have? Do you feel used up by everyone and everything? Having trouble saying yes or no when you really need to? Is other people's time more important than yours? Do people bend your ear for hours on end while you smile sweetly, nodding in what you hope are the right places because you zoned out ages ago, but don't want to be rude? Do you put everyone else's needs first and throw yourself under the bus to maintain peace and equilibrium? Do you give your resources away, even though you really need them yourself, so that people will like you?
If you answer yes to any of these questions then you need a Gatekeeper makeover.
Whatever job description your Gatekeeper is working under needs a lot of revision. If they are resistant to change then it's time to get your HR division to find you a new Gatekeeper and put the old one out to pasture.
Or maybe hire one for the first time. You may not have one in place.
Whatever is playing out at your castle I suggest you check in on your Gatekeepers job description and decide whether that part of your archetypal psyche has your best interests at heart.
I am my own Gatekeeper now and I most definitely ask "Who goes there and what do you want?" before I allow anyone to come across my drawbridge and into my inner sanctum and I can go out freely with joy and without fear. It makes for a healthier, happier life and better relationships with others and most importantly with myself.
It's time to love yourself and put yourself first - you deserve it.
The drawbridge is going up now and I am having an at home this evening, I hope you are too.
Catch you next time something comes 'write from my heart.'
Olwynne is a certified Holistic Life Coach, Teacher, Speaker and Writer. Olwynne loves sharing her discoveries into the soul's journey through life, love, loss and the human experience. She also specialises the fields of reincarnation, past lives, life between lives, life after death, human consciousness, intuition, spirituality, health and well-being. She has studied and practised for 32 years in these fields.
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