What Are Archetypes?

What are archetypes?
Archetypes are innate universal psychic patterns. They represent distinct personality traits that are present in everyone, but our dominant traits are all different. Archetypes are all neutral – though, there are light and shadow attributes of each archetype.

While archetypal awareness dates back to Plato, who called them Forms, the brilliant psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, is known best for developing this concept.

Why do they matter?
Your personal archetypes are the foundation of who you are as an individual: Your personality, how you experience and react to the world around you, process information, your feelings, needs, beliefs, values, goals, dreams, what motivates and drives you.

Understanding your personality is the first step to growth, healing, and self-discovery. You’ll begin to identify unhealthy patterns when they arise, and understand and utilize your strengths so that you can reach your highest potential.

How do I discover my archetypes?
We have twelve primary archetypal patterns. The four archetypes of survival are dominant in everyone:

The Child: Guardian of Innocence
The Victim: Guardian of Self-Esteem
The Prostitute: Guardian of Faith
The Saboteur: The Guardian of Choice

That leaves eight unidentified archetypes for you to discover through some serious self-examination and reading through a list of archetypes or archetype cards to find the personality patterns you most closely identify with. I find the card method much easier/faster because you can make piles to narrow things down.

Since the archetypes are universal, you will relate to each one on some level. The goal is to narrow it down to the eight archetypes you most closely relate. Discovering your primary archetypes requires self-awareness and assessing yourself objectively. You might be drawn to certain archetypes because you like their connotations or appearance, but you’ve got to be honest.

Remember: Archetypes are neutral. For example: In shadow, the Mediator negotiates with ulterior motives/hidden agendas (personally or professionally), but in the light aspect shares the gift for negotiating fairness and strategy and respects both sides of the argument. I think of this is as realizing your superpowers and then learning how to use them for good vs. evil.

So what’s this wheel thing?
To help you explore the most driving aspects of your personality, Caroline Myss devised a system based on the twelve houses of the zodiac. Each house is associated with a different aspect of life: Ego, live values, spirituality, self-expression, etc. The Archetype Wheel allows you to examine the patterns of your life, and reveals how your experiences and relationships may correlate to opportunities for growth and self-evolution.

How do I cast my Archetype Wheel?
Caroline Myss gives detailed information, outlining the entire process of discovering and working with your archetypes in her book Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. She also has a plethora of free online resources.

Sound daunting?
I’m happy to help. While I’m by no means any expert, helping others interpret their Archetypal Wheel is growing increasingly important to me. I’ve got to start somewhere, so I’m taking on 5 clients free of charge to begin honing my intuitive skills.

Want to be a Guinea pig?
Sign up for my newsletter and fill out this short questionnaire. If you’re already on my mailing list, just fill out the questionnaire so I know you’re interested!

I’ll choose 5 people at random who will be announced Wednesday, January 3.


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