Introduction to the Archetypes

October 20, 2019

What is an archetype?

An archetype can be thought of as a symbolic summation of certain characteristics of the self. Said more plainly, an archetype represents a large part of who we are. The psyche, defined as “the human mind, soul, or spirit”, is a vast and mysterious thing (or action?). Others define an archetype as a primordial energy that exists in us all personally and collectively.

The Pantheon of Archetypes

The human psyche remains mysterious with its endless horizons and unfathomable depths. Ultimately we will have to be reductionistic in order to list the archetypes. I have seen the psyche distilled down to 300 archetypes, then to 12, and then to just 4.

The Four Major Archetypes

A simple system and useful system is that of the Sovereign, Warrior, Lover, and Magician. Each contains all the other archetypes within it. Let’s explore what each of these four symbolize in us.

The Sovereign (Being)

The Sovereign (or Queen/King) is the most difficult to grasp because it symbolizes the transcendent. It is being itself. The Sovereign is the one that blesses and orders life.

The Shadow Sovereign

When it is disconnected from The Warrior, it is a weakling. When it is disconnected from The Lover, it is tyrannical. When it is disconnected from The Magician, it is uninformed.

The Warrior (Doing)

A much more familiar concept is that of the warrior. The warrior is simply the one that acts. It establishes our boundaries and can also take the offensive in our lives. This can show up in career growth, personal relationships, and physical defense.

The Shadow Warrior

When it is disconnected from The Lover, it is cruel. When it is disconnected from The Magician, it is stupid. When it is disconnected from The Sovereign, it is self-serving.

The Lover (Feeling)

The Lover is our felt connection with life. Joy and sorrow put us face to face with the reality of reality. Among its many gifts, it brings play and beauty to the weight and tyranny of of our lives.

The Shadow Lover

When it is disconnected from The Warrior, it is impotent. When it is disconnected from The Magician, it is naive. When it is disconnected from The Sovereign, it is self-indulgent.

The Magician (Thinking)

The Magician is an easy grasp. It is what informs us and makes decisions. It’s ingenuity, creativity, problem solving, and sense-making.

The Shadow Magician

If it disconnected from The Warrior, it is unproductive. When it is disconnected from The Sovereign, it is immoral or even amoral. When it is disconnected from The Lover, it is without soul.

Taking an Inventory of Your Archetypes

  • Where do you notice these archetypes showing up in you?
  • Which archetypes are strong in you and which are not?
  • Where could you use improvement?

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