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.


Sometimes You Need a Good Punch in the Face

Five years ago today, my best friend traveled to Dallas to ring in the New Year. With crimson lips, sparkles, lashes, and stilettos we celebrated at the wine bar down the street. Classically Taurus, I overindulged and by 1am we were safely home and curled up on the sofa, my gentleman friend softly snoozing beside us.

I don’t remember what we were arguing about, but I remember growing increasingly frustrated with the constant stream of berating and biting remarks. It was probably the bubbles, but I finally interrupted her tirade: “I live here. If you don’t like it, you can go.”

And then she punched me.

In the face.

And then threw a wine glass across the room, shattering it into a million pieces before flying down the stairs screaming, “DON’T FUCKING FOLLOW ME,” grabbing her suitcase, and taking off down the sidewalk.

Chris and I sat for a few moments in utter shock before following her outside, worried she might attempt to drive back to Austin in the middle of the night in her impaired state. She made it to the end of the block before returning and threw her arms around my neck, sobbing over and over again, “Why? Why do you have to be so difficult?” I just held her, stunned.

That moment was a turning point for me.

My immediate thought was: “What did I do to make her so angry that she would hit me?” I realized in that moment what a fucked up thought pattern that was, and that I needed help.

A day or two later, my cousin who had been working with some woman named Caroline Myss came over help cast my archetype wheel. At the time, I had zero idea what an archetype was. Once we finished, I knew that things would never be the same. With my cousin’s help, I got into some pretty intensive therapy and continued my archetypal studies with Myss’ book, Sacred Contracts.

My friendship with the girl never recovered, but she has played an integral part in what has become my most important project to date: Healing through Self-Inquiry.

My healing journey is ongoing. There are bumps, roadblocks, and tons of detours, but I’m beginning to realize that sharing these tools with others is part of my own healing process. I guess sometimes you need a good punch in the face to get you on the right path.

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! I hope you have some magical breakthroughs this year… without the punching.

Little Rock Residents: Interested in getting started? I’ll be hosting a Sankalpa workshop next Saturday, January 6 from 2-4:30pm at The Floating Lotus. More info here