By this point, we have covered quite a bit of ground here in this blog, explaining the different archetypes and forces you would find in a temenos or organization. It’s our earnest hope that the writings on these significant aspects  would help you become a better change agent in your own organization.

However, there still remains one important question that needs to be addressed.  Now that you have seen the kind of archetypes or personalities you may encounter in a temenos, and also the different forces- group behavioral aspects etc.- in the same, how do you bring all these things together and apply the knowledge on a practical level? Sure, understanding the archetypes in itself would help you better prepare to tackle any issues that may arise around such personalities. After all, forewarned is forearmed. Also, management strategies and real life examples are discussed in the relevant posts for your deeper understanding.

But, how to synthesise the lessons you garnered so far,  like the five fingers closing to make a fist, enabling a punch that makes a dent in the real world? Is there a change methodology for that? An epilogue which helps you make even better use of the information that came before?

The answer is: yes. The methodology involves a few components. And the first component is an archetype.

The archetype of Tiresias.

The flow of transformation runs smoothly with Tiresias leading

Before we get into a deeper discussion of the staff-wielding, intense-looking bearded old man (as Tiresias is depicted in the banner image of this post), you should ask yourself a question: Which archetype should I be so that I could become an efficient change agent? (Note that in previous posts, we talked about archetypes encounter in a container. Here, our discussion is about you- or rather the archetype you should become to bring about a desired change in a container. )

And the answer to that question is Tiresias.

A character out of Greek mythology, Tiresias was many things- literally. He is someone who was a man and a woman, who could understand the animal world- birdspeech to be precise, who could even foresee the future, if legends are to be believed. Translated into a single word, he was a “hybrid.”

And it’s the hybrid archetype you should become to be a successful leader.

Among the many wonderful attributes of Tiresias is the fact that he could understand both the feminine and masculine perspectives. And that’s a crucial strength for a change agent- especially in the contemporary world, when it’s been proven beyond  doubt that workplaces that give all the sexes equal footing are the way forward. Then, there is the animalistic part of Tiresias. You may not be able to commune with, or understand the language of birds as Tiresias. But that attribute of the archetype is symbolic of how much attuned to the natural world he was. While leading a transformation, you should also be in sync with the natural ‘pulse’ of your team members- careful when pushing them beyond their natural stress-bearing limits, for instance.

Another interesting attribute of the mythical Tiresias is the power of foresight.

It’s never a direct insight into the future that Tiresias has. Instead, he could foretell the future by interpreting the things that happen before him- like the way a flame dances in a fire, or how the tendrils of smoke curl and twist on their way upwards from the flame. Now, we are not recommending here fire divination. Rather, the takeaway is that Tiresias could predict the future based solely on things that happened in front of him. A change agent, likewise should be able to foretell where a transformation is leading by interpreting what’s happening presently.

Maybe there are tell tale signs- signs of frustrations and anger which hint at an impending mutiny. Or perhaps, there is an unexpected positive development which points to the transformation moving in an even better direction than was previously predicted. Whatever the case, it’s the change agent’s prerogative to intervene as and when required, and either solve an issue before it mutates into something worse, or leverage a newfound advantage to take the container to even more glorious heights.

The journey of transformation deserves the Tiresias archetype

While the part-man, part-woman, part-animal philosophy of Tiresias is of relevance in the hybrid archetype, there is another element you need to add to that mix to become the change agent you should be- the element of the machine. To streamline business actions, to multi-process as and when required, to absorb information and then to process it and more,  you should have something of the digital-mechanical functionality common in gadgets and machines of today. And that’s not just something you require to become a better change agent, but an absolute imperative in the age of zeroes and ones.

With all these things, you become ever more the Tiresias archetype. And it’s well worth recalling that in Greek legends, Tiresias plays an important role in the transformative journey of the great hero, Odysseus. The latter was struggling to make his way back to his kingdom of Ithaca after the Trojan war. It took Odysseus ten years to finish that epic journey. In a crucial juncture in his odyssey, it was to Tiresias that he turned for advice. And without Tiresias’ help, the transformative journey may well not have happened.

As a  modern day Tiresias, you could also bring about equivalent transformations in an organization. Here, then, is to that great journey!

Meaningful allusions to the hybrid archetype

Now that you have learned about Tiresias, there are some interesting parallelisms and meaningful correlations to the hybrid which would deepen your insight on the archetype. These are mentioned below.

The Indian hybrid

Mahabharat- manuscript illustration

An interesting parallel to Tiresias could be found in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. In fact, you could say that the character named Bhangashvana is an Indian hybrid equivalent.

In the epic, after the great war of Kurukshetra, before he gives up his life, the royal preceptor Bhishma is asked a set of questions by the King Yudhistira, regarding life. One of his queries is who gains the most pleasure during sexual intecourse- man or woman, and which word is sweeter to the ear when it’s called of you- father or mother? In reply, Bhishma cited him the story of King Bhangashvana.

Cursed by Lord Indra- the god of rain, Bhangashvana was turned into a woman- so he became the only person on earth who has ever known what it is to be like both the sexes. Also he had children as both man and woman. Once, Lord Indra offered Bhangashvana the chance to have the curse revoked, so he could regain his muscular form. But Bhangashvana turned it down, saying she would like to continue as a woman since women enjoy sexual pleasure more than men. It’s also said that Bhangashvana liked being a woman because women have the capacity to love their kids more than men.

You could draw an easy analogy between the above-said episode and one from Greek mythology.

In the latter, Tiresias, one day, seeing two snakes copulating, hit one of the creepers. Hera- who is the Queen of the gods-got angry at this, and cursed him to be a woman for seven years. After that period, Tiresias came across another pair of copulating snakes. This time, she didn’t hurt either of the snakes, and she was turned back into a man.

Later, at another time and another place, Zeus and Hera were having an argument as to whether men or women derived more pleasure from the act of sexual congress. Tiresias was consulted for obvious reasons. His response was that of ten parts, men just enjoyed one. Displeased by this answer, Hera cursed him and turned him blind. Zeus, taking pity on him granted him the gift of foresight.

The hybrid and the singularity

Ray Kurzweil

Connected to the hybrid archetype is the concept of singularity.

Singularity is the phenomenon by which humans would increase their intelligence by a billion times or more by merging with Artificial Intelligence. It’s a state of man-machine hybrid. Ray Kurzweil- the Director of Engineering at Google believes that the singularity is not far away. In fact, at the South by Southwest(SXSW) conference held in Texas in 2017, Kurzweil said that the singularity will happen in 2049. Of course, for the singularity to become real, there is a prerequisite: Artificial Intelligence must gain human-like intelligence first. Typically, to measure whether a machine has achieved human-level intelligence or not, the Turing test is used, developed by the legendary English computer scientist, Alan Turing. According to Ray Kurzweil, AI would clear the Turing test by 2029.

There is one very good reason for taking Kurzweil’s prediction seriously. As a futurist(someone who predicts the future of technology based on logical projection), Kurzweil has made 147 predictions starting in the 1990s. He has had an astounding success rate of 86 percent in his predictions.

He sees a future in which computers with human intelligence could be implanted in our brains which could then be hooked to the cloud- something that would heighten our intelligence manyfold. In fact, it’s easy to envision such a scenario as one in which a collective of humans and machines could think in unison- an extraordinary state of affairs if ever there was one.

It’s also easy to see how such a scenario could be imperative for people in the future. For instance, it’s already imperative to have access to computer and smartphones today for many- for professional and personal reasons. In other words, the hybrid is almost as much a part of your future as the air you are going to breathe.

The hybrid born in the psyche

Craig San Roque is an Australian psychologist who has made significant contributions to Jungian studies. He has also explored to a great extent the idea of archetypes and the connection of the human psyche with the external world.

Pertaining to the Tiresias archetype, there is something written by Roque which is worth looking into. It’s the idea of ontopoiesis -about which Roque has written eloquently. The term is a combination of two Greek words- ontos(meaning “being”) and poiesis(meaning “bringing forth”).

Roque uses the term to describe what he calls the “poetic infrastructure of creation.” From the beauty and astounding symmetry which we may see in nature there proceeds a response from the human being, for Roque contends that humans are also part of the design. The kind of response meant here could be considered as the birthing of an archetype.  Deriving from the designs of the natural world, we create a being- perhaps one with horns like a stag and the body of a bird with a butterfly’s colors. This is the process of ontopoiesis that Roque speaks about- the bringing forth of an archetype.

Related to Tiresias, you could say that the the ‘infrastructure’ to which you respond is the the container along with its inherent forces and the archetypes you encounter in it. And the ontopieosis results in the hybrid, Tiresias- a hybrid that has the facets of multiple archetypes. One which could help you lead the rest of the archetypes.

To explore more on the topic of psyche, you could check out the book Placing Psyche- Exploring cultural complexities in Australia for which Roque is an editor.

Tiresias and the firmness of will

Oedipus at Colonus

Returning to Greek mythology, yet another instance of Tiresias in the canon has to do with the seer acting as an advisor to the King Oedipus.

Oedipus- the son of Lauis and Jocasta is a proud king, but one who is accosted by misfortunes. By the hand of fate, Oedipus ends up killing Lauis, becoming the king of Thebes himself. Only, unaware that he is the murderer of his own father, Oedipus seeks for the killer, hoping to put an end to the miseries that plague his kingdom.

He asks Tiresias- the prophet and seer with divine knowledge- for information on the killer. Tiresias, though he knows the killer’s identity refuses to reveal it, neither does he prophesy the future to Oedipus. He claims that even if the king came to know of the future, he would be unable to prevent any calamities. What is to be must come to pass, he says.

Incidentally, Jocasta- Oedipus’ mother, also backs Tiresias’ stand to let the mysteries sleep, not wishing further misery the knowledge of his father’s murderer would bring to her son.

Intricate as the drama is, and dramatic as the situations are, Tiresias’ action in this context illustrates his resolution to take a stance- in this case, not to reveal divine knowledge- and stick with it. This force of character is something a modern day change agent would also do well to emulate. In the course of transformation, a visionary leader should be able to chart his or her path with firmness of decision, inspiring and guiding the team in the process.

A poem on Tiresias

And finally, to round up, I leave you with a poem on the archetypes and Tiresias, written by Temenos founder, Siraj Sirajuddin. Called ‘Watermark Soulmate’ the poem is yours to enjoy below:


inside my soul

is a

certain intricate


A guide left


by the touch of



A truth that



by the passage

of time


I discover my:
















Story Tellers








is here

as a true


All of them,

burnt with


certain intricate


- * "a certain intricate watermark" , inspired by Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory ... and his impact on my life's work with Influence Maps and Mandalas (my homage to life's foolscap).- Siraj Sirajuddin.

"Neither in environment nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned me, the anonymous roller that passed upon my life a certain intricate watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of art is made to shine through life's foolscap."- Vladmir Nabokov

You can download “The Soulmate- The Poetry Book Of Temenos”  for free here

For more insights on the dual nature of Tiresias, please watch this charmingly intelligent  TED Talk by Paula Stone Williams: once CEO of a non-profit who has lived as both a man and a woman.

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For change agents and leaders, not to benefit from meaningful events and gatherings is a missed opportunity! We invite you to indulge in some of the most transformational events from Temenos; designed with hard-earned understanding, organized just for you.

Temenos Vision Lab- Online ( June 29, 2018)

We invite you to this special gathering, which brings together a group of wonderful people who fill workplaces with joy and energy. By connecting with each other, you embark on a journey that leads to better clarity about the changes you seek, gain collaboration opportunities and leave with a concrete action plan.

Temenos Vision Lab- Amsterdam, Netherlands( Nov 2, 2018)

Another venue to take an exquisite inner journey, to find your true Vision.

Temenos Effect Gathering 2018- Bengaluru, India(Dec 8 to Dec 9, 2018)

An event dedicated to the idea of personal mastery, for nurturing your beautiful self, for change agents and leaders to become their true selves.

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