What are Archetypes?

Archetypes are universal patterns that have existed for a very long time. They were first recognized by Plato, who called them Forms. He thought these Forms were models that we could see traces of in the things around us. Then, a psychologist named Carl Jung built on this idea. He suggested that archetypes are patterns in our collective consciousness that come from historical roles and events that have been common to all people throughout time.

These archetypes are not just passive ideas; they are more like helpful guardians and allies within us. They are a big part of who we are - our personality, desires, emotions, beliefs, motivations, and actions.

Imagine them as intimate friends who stay with us throughout our lives. They help us make sense of things and warn us when we might be heading towards negative or harmful behaviors. If we learn to understand and work with these archetypes, they can become our best companions who prevent us from getting in our own way and making bad decisions.

What is shadow?

Every archetype, whether it sounds good or not, has a darker side called the shadow. This shadow part is often ignored or not seen but it can cause problems if we don't recognize it.

For instance, let's take the Mother archetype. Its positive side is all about being nurturing, compassionate, and unconditional love and protective nature. But the shadow side can show up as being too controlling and overprotective, like a mom who smothers her children.

Another example is the Queen archetype. When it's positive, it helps us feel confident, benevolent and kind when in charge. But its shadow side might make us act bossy and demanding.

It's essential to understand the difference between the light and the shadow of these archetypes. That way, we can use their positive qualities and prevent the negative ones from causing trouble.

How to identify your archetypes?

To find your personal archetypes, look at the list of different archetypes I've provided. Some may immediately feel familiar to you and have been a part of your life for a long time. They might match your job or other important aspects of who you are. But don't just pick archetypes based on what you wish or what's fashionable right now. Dig deeper and consider the ones that have influenced you throughout your life, even if they require hard work and sacrifice, rather than just temporary roles or identities you assume.

Don't be afraid to explore archetypes that might seem negative or unpleasant at first, like the Addict, Fool, Geek, Martyr, Servant, Bully, or Coward. These archetypes aren't always negative; it depends on how you see them. They might actually help you avoid the negative sides associated with their names. For example, the Judge archetype may seem negative, but it can be crucial in making good decisions in life.

Once you've chosen at least eight archetypes, you can start asking them questions directly. You can do this in your mind or by writing them down. Ask questions like:

What events or personal characteristics led me to choose this archetype?

How long has this archetype been a part of my life?

What role has this archetype played for me?

Which important people in my life relate to this archetype?

Could this archetype help me heal past issues or unfinished business?

Also, think about any myths, fairy tales, or stories that resonate with you and relate to the chosen archetypes. Pay attention to whether these archetypes appear in your dreams too.

Consider if thinking about each archetype makes you feel empowered or not. Eliminate any archetypes that don't feel like they genuinely belong to you, and if needed, choose replacements from the list.

Keep doing this until you have a total of eight archetypes that you feel are significant in your life. Along with the four survival archetypes, you will end up with your complete set of 12 archetypes that make up your unique personality and inner support team.