An archetype is a "character" who represents a specific set of universal, recognisable behaviours.
Is your inner child having a tantrum or needing a hug?
Is your saboteur stopping you from achieving your dream?
I chose the image of Russian Dolls for my archetype blog because it's a lovely example of the mother archetype, represented as the largest out of the Russian dolls and her children are the smaller dolls that fit inside. Each stage of life is honoured by each doll, from the delicate simplicity of the tiniest doll, to the rich detail lavished on the largest. Each doll symbolises the slow and complex growth of human development, across the lifespan.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung founded analytical psychology and he's renowned for developing the theory of the collective unconscious, a realm of latent, suppressed information. He theorised that mankind is connected by a massive collection of primitive images that are inherited from our ancestors (archetypes) and represent our collective unconscious, not accessible to our conscious minds. These universal archetypal "characters" are created from our shared memory of an experience, for example all cultures see the mother archetype as the person who gave birth to us as well as nature itself.
He defined 12 archetypes that appear in dreams, mythology, fairy tales and myths all over the world since the beginning of time:
- Rescuer – they rescue those in need.
- Victim- they feel that life is unfair. The victim holds on to past pain and deals with life destructively.
- Saboteur - can cause you to sabotage opportunities, resist healthy and enriching relationships, close your heart, and lose money.
- King/Queen - rulers of their individual kingdoms.
- Hero/Heroine - helps to improve the world.
- Mother/Father - are the first archetypes of human experience.
- Child - essential to our survival as it holds within it our earliest feelings of security and safety and we carry that sense with us throughout our lives.
- Magician – makes dreams come true, creates something special.
- Judge - is keen to reward and punish.
- Warrior - heightened intuitive abilities, strength, and invincibility.
- Servant - engages aspects of our psyche that call us to make ourselves available to others for the benefit and enhancement of their lives.
- Sage - always seeking the truth.
We can observe archetypes in the characters of the stories we read, the films we watch and in advertising.
Each type will have its own set of values as well as a shadow and functional side.
Why the healing of our archetypes is so important
Archetypes are the secret forces behind human behaviour as they reside in the unconscious, influencing our every move, without us realising. It's part of our psychospiritual evolution to work through deeply held psychological patterns. By healing with archetypes, we unearth these patterns by understanding how a particular archetype can be causing problems or blocks in our personal growth.
It doesn’t matter whether we are Christian, Hindu or Buddhist or not … the archetypes from all religions and cultures are programmed into our subconscious minds. If we do not reprogram these unconscious programs, they continue to run our lives outside of our conscious awareness.
More often than not, only one archetype tends to influence our personality. However most, if not all, people can have several archetypes at play in their personality too. Some archetypes may be outgrown and need letting go of, others to be nurtured or recognised.
It is not only beneficial to know which archetypes are at play in oneself, but also which archetypes are dominating in others. Particularly in order to gain insight into the behaviours and motivations of loved ones, friends or colleagues in difficult or stressful relationships.
How I use archetypes in my work with clients
By tuning into these archetypal energies, I can help identify them bringing new insights into your healing journey.
Archetypes are the secret forces behind human behaviour ~ because they reside in the unconscious, the part of our minds we aren’t aware of, they influence us without us knowing it; everything you do, think, and feel... and everyone around you in a similar way.
I will help you understand how your archetypes are expressing themselves through you and others. You can learn the patterns that influence most of human behaviour.
When you can observe an archetype operating within you, you have differentiated yourself from the archetype.
This differentiation is important because when you can separate yourself from an archetype, it’s less likely to influence your behaviour in a detrimental way.
I will help you understand your dominant archetypes, discover which ones are role-playing through you, and see how gaining this insight gives you a profound perspective on the lenses through which you are playing out your Life Purpose and life lessons. Once you understand the "language of archetypes" you have a powerful set of eyes with which to discern situations and interactions and empower yourself to make more conscious decisions.
The value of recognising your personal archetypes and how they show up in your life derives from how they help you understand your own behaviour and that of others.
- You have plans to meet up with a friend and then had to cancel because you’re working late. When your friend gets angry over the last-minute cancellation, instead of getting angry back, you can say to yourself, “Oh, that’s just the Wounded Child speaking out.”
- Similarly, how often do you notice that you identify a goal, take action toward it, and then do something that makes success impossible? Instead of accepting defeat, you might coach yourself by saying, “This has the fingerprints of my Saboteur all over it!”
With that insight, you can tap into the advantage of this archetype by figuring out what makes you fearful about the wanted success, plus how to eliminate the fear so you can move forward with confidence!
“Working with Archetypes” will give you a deep understanding of yourself and the archetypes you operate from and the insight to balance these archetypes. You will be able to check in with yourself to establish what needs to change or keep doing.