Know your Archetypal Character


So in understanding the complexities of your personalities it is useful to get a grasp of archetypes. Archetypes are a collection of traits that demonstrate features in our character. We only have to look closely at movies and we can see this parade in front of the big screen as we hiss and boo at the villains, woo at the charming Knights or Princess and fall in love with the Princesses or Damsels in Distress. If we also look deeper into children’s bedtime stories we can see these archetypal stories expressed to use in technicolour metaphors as their authors may have been making some glaring comments about personalities of their times in a period where voicing an opinion may have cost them their lives. This is what I find so exciting in understanding the archetypes and the substance of personalities. When we uncover the veil we can then see what lies within. Archetypal analysis and exploration can uncover for us the way that people tick and think and predict what their behaviour will be and why it is that way to start. It also provides us with the GIFTS under the characteristics that irritate us the most in a person, which can give rise to feelings of tolerance, forgiveness and stepping forward towards that person, not pushing them away or rejecting them. On the flipside, archetypal analysis skills can also give us exquisite awareness of what to expect in individuals when that LIGHT side turns to SHADOW and how to work with that. This is useful when navigating through relationships in a marriage, family members, friends and members in our workplaces.

I give credit to Caroline Myss for her outstanding life long journey and exploration into this topic at our current time and would happily give her the title of the mother of archetypal analysis of our current age. Her journey starts with her outstanding book-Sacred Contracts and then twists and winds into many written pieces, such as Energy Medicine and Anatomy of the Spirit . Yet, credit also should be given to where this started from the foundations of the Psychiatrist Carl Jung. However, even though we hold such regard for the work put forward in the fileds of Psychology, lets not forget the arts. Remember that fellow who fell in love with writing some plays in his time…William Shakespear, who really understood this topic beautifully and strutted his stuff with his depth and bredth of his characters which continue to hold a stable force in our current day in literature.

So how many archetypes are there?

The true of the is answer is … it is unlimited. However, among the definitions and descriptions there are categories and subcategories of archetypes as they differentiate themself apart from each other. What I mean is that there may be multiple archetypes that represent a female archetype that likes to be cared for, but underneath the specifics and details, we can see differentiation between the characteristics that really enlighten us to the purpose, intention and behaviour of that archetype in different settings. For instance, we may have the Princess verses the Damsel in Distress being difference from the abandoned child, the leach and also the nurtured child. Each archetype having different cebtral energy and also a different story to be told. This is why I believe that story telling is the best medium to full immerse ourselves in the power of the knowledge underneath the metaphoric existence of archetypes.

 What are the archetypes?

Understanding that there are hundreds of archetypes as we split and dice them into more specific and definite parts. However, there are well known archetypes that we are all familiar with within our circle of friends, our family and the community of which we live. There is some structure to this, but I like to visualise the set of archetypes that we possess in each of us making up the collection that is our personality like a group of individuals on a bus. Only one can drive the bus at a time, however, some of these characters with a ticket to ride are dominant and sometimes a ittle larger than life in how they are expressed in our personality, some only come out in certain settings such as at work,  around our closest friends or when we are most challenged. While some just sit dormant and even lazy in the back seat needing something in our life to come along and shock them into action. I didn’t know I had the advocate in full blown glory until I had something important to me be taken away and then she came out fighting. Now she and her close friend, the fireball of passion keep closely related when a good battle is required for the sake of injustice.

So to start off the journey there are four central archetypes that make up the trunk of the archetypal tree.

1. The Child

2. The Prostitute

3. The saboteur


ARchetypes can also be broken into characteristics that demonstrate primary femal characteristic energy patterns and male energy patterns.

Female archetypes

The Mother

The Queen

The Princess

The Damsel in Distress

The Temptress

Male archetypes

The Father

The King

The Prince

The Galant Knight

The Warrior

Peter Pan-Never Never Land

Now even among archetypes themselves can be shades of differentiation to further specify the difference of how those roles act, behave, communicate and what their intentions are. For instance, we can have the Mother archetype splitting further into…

The Nuturing Mother

The Abandoned Mother

The Working Mother

The Wicked Step Mother

The Absent Mother

Even within semantic groups there can be similar themes such as “money” but how that is expressed by the archetype is very different.

The Banker

The Miser

The Magician

The Alchemist

The Thief

The Vampire Bat

The Gossip

The Silent Assassin

The Destroyer-Fireball

The Incredible Hulk



The Mystic

The Scientist

The Teacher

Written by Katrine Elliott

Further insights can be found at Idea with Altitude.


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