Who You Really Are:

Activating the Wisdom, Courage, Magic & Creativity Within​
James McLeary & Gareth Higgins

The oldest stories tell of mythical characters ruling kingdoms with wisdom, conquering dragons, working magic, and plumbing the heights and depths of emotion. These fantasies carry deep truths about who we really are.


The archetypal figures of the Sovereign-Decider, the Warrior-Protector, the Magician-Artist, and the Lover-Heart are present in us all. And each of these archetypes has a shadow side - the Sovereign can be a Tyrant rather than a servant, the Warrior can manifest violence rather than protecting the vulnerable, the Magician can selfishly manipulate rather than help make the world more wonderful, the Lover can seduce rather than reflect the beauty of us all.


Unless we learn to integrate these archetypes, most of us may never consciously discover the fullness of our own selves. We neither shine, nor serve, nor receive support for our deepest needs.


This course is an invitation to discover how to journey “through hell and back”, and to taste heaven amidst the challenges and delights of every day life. It’s not for the faint-hearted - but we must all begin where you are, and we’re confident that if you take the course, your heart will grow stronger. 

Course Syllabus

Introduction to the Archetypes
In this first class we’ll introduce the idea of archetypes: “characters” that undergird all of human storytelling, and self-understanding. And we’ll begin by reflecting on the necessity of initiation. Without mentors, community, and a confrontation with the need to be initiated into the archetypes, they may remain untapped resources, like ingredients in a recipe that we never take out of the grocery bag. Or worse, they can manifest in shadow, bringing harm to the people and world around us, or merely keeping us smaller than we were meant to be.

*Participants are invited to watch one movie, or read an article, or listen to a talk each week, and we will make other recommendations for folk who want to watch, read, or listen more.

Film for Session One*: The Work (Jairus McLeary, 2017)


The Sovereign: Learning to Decide with Wisdom​
We may resist the idea of royalty, for its connotations of tyranny and superficiality; but there is a kind of sovereignty that transcends pomposity, and exchanges oppression for wise service. The first sovereignty is sovereignty over our own minds, our discernment about how to live, and how we can nurture the common good for the people we encounter. Most of us are paddling in the shallow end of existence - accessing the sovereign archetype can enable us to be more deeply connected to the earth, and even to life itself.

Film for Session Two: The Fisher King


The Magician: Making Alchemy from the Raw Material of Life

Contrary to popular belief, magicians are not illusionists - instead, they face the illusions that surround us and transform our capacity to live beyond them. They create "parties of the soul", where people discover hitherto untapped personal resources; they organize movements that not only protest injustice but embody the new world we're hoping for; they write songs and novels and plays, invent recipes and blueprints  for making dreams come true. They see connections between things that had never previously met, but when brought together become so much more than the sum of their parts.  Magician energy manifests when we look at a problem yet see an opportunity. And shadow magician energy manifests when magic is used only for personal gain, especially when it is at the expense of others. 


The Warrior-Protector
Session description to be announced.


The Lover
Session description to be announced.


Meet the Course Guides

Dr. James McLeary is a deeply experienced wisdom holder & expert facilitator whose leadership has been a critical force driving the success of Inside Circle. Executive producer of the document The Work, detailing the transformative program in Folsom Prison, James brings deep expertise in group process. work & its application in varied settings. James is deeply committed to service and we at The Porch are deeply grateful for his teaching, support, and presence.


Dr. Gareth Higgins is a visionary storyteller who seeks to to serve the common good through creative gatherings. He co-creates festivals, retreats, and intimate circles - all focused on sharing a better story enabling us to live more meaningfully in service to reducing violence, expanding imagination, and helping everyone both share their gifts and have their needs met. He is the author or co-author of seven books.