The Sage is the archetypal thinker, guru, and teacher. Above all else you value Truth (with a capital ‘T’), and are prepared to sacrifice anything in your search for knowledge. You want to answer big questions about how and why the universe works. This is not to control it or transform it like the Ruler or Alchemist archetypes – but just to simply understand it.
Your quest is to find the highest truth and to seek wisdom. You love to ponder life, the universe, and everything, and you do so with quiet detachment and curiosity. You don’t seek to persuade, but rather to listen to both sides so that the truth can be known. Sages make excellent teachers, as you are lifelong students of knowledge and inner wisdom.
Your Sage Gifts
Scepticism: You are a natural sceptic, which means you are constantly questioning accepted truths, and pushing the boundaries of knowledge. You don’t take anything at face value, but seek to know the deeper meaning of things before committing to them. This is a huge asset in a world often caught up in surface half-truths and illusions.
Wisdom: Your drive to know more, and then to apply that knowledge, makes you very wise. You seek the truth, wherever that may lead you, and don’t mind admitting you’re wrong when another better option presents itself. You don’t get bogged down in dogma or hearsay, and enjoy a higher perspective on life’s challenges. People seek you out for your wise and detached way of looking at the world.
Letting go of the Ego: You likely feel a pull between seeking truth on the one hand, and wanting to be proven right on the other. This is the constant tug of war between the true Self and the Ego. A highly developed Sage will seek the truth so strongly, that they are prepared to let go of the Ego’s need to be proven right. Once you have achieved this you will embody a high level of humility, that will allow you to experience Truth directly.
Letting go of our Ego’s pride can be difficult, and sometimes we must hit rock bottom to really look in the mirror. In doing this we realise that we are the only thing that can limit ourselves, and thus take responsibility for our choices.
Seeking Truth: You understand that to know the truth you must first know thyself. Yours is thus a quest for self knowledge. During your journey you come to understand your own biases and subjectivity, which propels you forward in the search for real objective Truth. You seek Truths that are independent of your own projections. This thirst for objective knowledge is a great gift, and will see you spiralling ever upwards in your search for meaning.
Humility: If your quest has taught you anything, it is the proof of how little we really know. This gives you the gift of true humility, and an understanding that no one could ever know the whole Truth.
Your Sage Shadow
The Ivory Tower: Your thirst for knowledge can set you apart, and you’re often shocked about how little other people value Truth. This can disconnect you from the practical affairs of the world, and render you almost escapist in your attitude towards daily life. You tend to think and muse more about life, rather than take an active part in it.
The Enlightenment Trap: This trap occurs when we find ‘a’ truth, but then treat it as ‘the’ truth, and demand that everyone else follow it. The Sage is so passionate about knowledge, that sometimes they can loose sight of the whole. Their need to be right can make them feel defensive or threatened if someone has an opinion different from their own. At the extreme end of the spectrum they will seek knowledge not for the Truth, but only in order to prove themselves right and others wrong. Unhealthy Sages believe their truth is the only truth, and regard differing views as threatening to their sense of self. All alternate beliefs must be removed or destroyed to maintain their delicate Ego.
Judgemental: Sages can be overcritical of others, feeling that they always know better (which of course you do right?!). They are often highly perfectionist themselves, and demand that others rise to their exceptionally high standards. Most people, situations, and things fall short of the mark, and the Sage can be ruthless in their judgement.
Non-Attachment: The Sage will often forget about all else in their search for the Truth. This includes other people, their surroundings, and even their own personal care. This makes you prone to isolation from yourself and others.
Obsessive Thinking: While your ability to think logically is a major asset of the Sage, this can easily topple over into obsessive rationality. You may find yourself pulling things apart into their tiniest details, and going over them again and again as a kind of addiction to mental exercise.
Control: You understand the radical subjectivity of human experience, and seek to control it through the acquisition of knowledge. In a healthy Sage this knowledge is taken lightly, assimilated and applied, thus becoming wisdom. The shadow Sage however, seeks to collect knowledge in an attempt to ‘have’ the truth, rather than experience it. This can lead to an excessive need for controlling the way that yourself and others experience reality.
Your Sage Journey
Isolation: At an early age you likely felt isolated from others. Your friends may not have shared your yearning for knowledge and Truth, and this cut you off from forming deep connections. People may have viewed you as aloof or detached. You were ‘an old head on young shoulders’, and nothing slipped by you.
Doubt and Confusion: When we begin to learn about the world it is often in a very black and white way, that doesn’t necessarily represent the reality of our experience. Your natural scepticism allows you to see right through the half-truths often employed in education, and you may have felt an early disillusionment with ‘the system’. You see through the ideas that are presented to you as fact, and may have lost faith in those who sought to teach you.
Search for the Truth: There is only so long that a Sage can live in a world of confusion and doubt, and eventually this propels you into your own personal search for the Truth. You seek the purest form of Truth; ultimate objectivity. But this is a tall order. During this stage you will rely on your perception of duality in the world, and seek to find the Truth by proving other theories wrong.
Scepticism: Eventually the Sage becomes sceptical of everything. You loose faith in an absolute universal Truth, and accept that all truth is relative. Instead you see the world as a competing system of subjective view points, each harping on their own truth when really none exists. Rather than feeling freeing, this realisation is only halfway there, and may even feel meaningless and trivial for a time.
Experience of the Ultimate Truth and Wisdom: The scepticism of the previous stage can be quite depressing for the Sage. A world without Truth lacks meaning and purpose. The real transformation takes place when the Sage realises that Truth is everywhere present, but experienced in different ways by different people. That while there is no ‘absolute Truth’ for all situations at all times, our personal Truth is absolute for us. You begin to see that truth changes on the context of the situation, and that everyone must choose their own path and experience their own truth for themselves.
When we know ourselves better, we are able to let go of our limiting perceptions, and better attune with the Truth of every moment. This is where true freedom resides; letting go of the need to collect and hunt for the truth, and instead embody it through the flow of the now.
Ways to Grow your Inner Sage
Let Go of the Need to be Right: For the sage, the search for Truth can sometimes cascade into the need to be right. This creates a very black and white world which ultimately limits your ability to see the spectrum of true experience. When you feel yourself being pulled into an argument or getting defensive when your ideas are challenged, try to step back and detach yourself from your Ego’s need to be right.
Resist the tendency to over identify with your ideas. Instead try to think of them more as ‘an’ idea, rather than ‘your’ idea. When we allow our beliefs to become who we are, we get too caught up in the Ego and may not see the many potential truths in other peoples ideas.
Let Go of the Need to Prove: Sages often find themselves going to the Nth degree to try and prove the Truth of their way of thinking. Because Truth is your ultimate value, sharing it with others is a vital part of who you are. Yet you do not have to prove everything just for the sake of it.
Giving proof to others for your ideas is time and energy consuming, so choose your ‘battles’ wisely. Your Sage sights will be much better spent on searching and grappling with higher truths, than constantly trying to prove yourself to others.
Seeing Beyond Duality: On your quest for Truth you will necessarily come across many falsities. For the growing Sage this can create an overly binary world of true and false, right and wrong. However, when you view the world in this black and white way, you deny the full spectrum of truths and experience that is available to you. Once you learn to see beyond the duality, you will be able to access the greater truths of the moment.
Accept that there are many Paths to Truth: It’s famously said that there are many paths to God, and so too are there many paths to Truth. The journey of the Sage is to understand that all paths are equal and valid. By letting go of the Ego’s need to be right or to prove yourself to others, you free yourself to follow your own path. Live and let live; seek and let seek.