The 12 Common Archetypes
By Carl Golden
The term “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means “original or old”; and typos, which means “pattern, model or type”. The combined meaning is an “original pattern” of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated.
The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.
Although there are many different archetypes, Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. Also, the twelve types are divided into three sets of four, namely Ego, Soul and Self. The types in each set share a common driving source, for example types within the Ego set are driven to fulfill ego-defined agendas.
Most, if not all, people have several archetypes at play in their personality construct; however, one archetype tends to dominate the personality in general. It can be helpful to know which archetypes are at play in oneself and others, especially loved ones, friends and co-workers, in order to gain personal insight into behaviors and motivations.
The Ego Types
1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me.
Core desire: to get to paradise.
Goal: to be happy.
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong.
Strategy: to do things right.
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence.
Talent: faith and optimism.
The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.
2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
Motto: All men and women are created equal.
Core Desire: connecting with others.
Goal: to belong.
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd.
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch.
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships.
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense.
The Regular Person is also known as: The good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.
3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts.
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world.
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”.
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible.
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight.
Talent: competence and courage.
The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.
4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself.
Core desire: to protect and care for others.
Goal: to help others.
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude.
Strategy: doing things for others.
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited.
Talent: compassion, generosity.
The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.
The Soul Types
5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in.
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world.
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life.
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness.
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom.
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit.
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul.
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.
6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken.
Core desire: revenge or revolution.
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working.
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual.
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock.
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime.
Talent: [outrage], radical freedom.
The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.
7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one.
Core desire: intimacy and experience.
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love.
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved.
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive.
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity.
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment.
The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.
8. The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done.
Core desire: to create things of enduring value.
Goal: to realize a vision.
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution.
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill.
Task: to create culture, express own vision.
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions.
Talent: creativity and imagination.
The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.
The Self Types
9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once.
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment.
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world.
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others.
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny.
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time.
The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.
10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free. [Once you KNOW it.]
Core desire: to find the truth. [To KNOW it.]
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.
11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe.
Goal: to make dreams come true.
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences.
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it.
Weakness: becoming manipulative.
Talent: finding win-win solutions.
The Magician is also known as:The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.
12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control.
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community.
Strategy: exercise power.
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown.
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate. [Abuse of power.]
Talent: responsibility, leadership.
The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.
The Four Cardinal Orientations
The Four Cardinal Orientations define four groups, with each group containing three types. Each group is motivated by its respective orienting focus: ego-fulfillment, freedom, social and order.
This is a variation on the three groups of Types previously mentioned; however, whereas all the types within the Ego, Soul & Self sets all share the same driving source, the types comprising the four orienting groups have different source drives but the same motivating orientation. For example, the Caregiver is driven by the need to fulfill ego agendas through meeting the needs of others, which is a social orientation; whereas, the Hero, which is also driven by the need to fulfill ego agendas, does so through courageous action that proves self-worth.