What is an archetype and how could it be influencing your life? Join us on today’s episode of Adventures with Spirit, where we will be discussing the four primary archetypes that everyone has, a few subcategories of archetypes that have shown up in our personal journeys, and different ways they can express themselves in our lives. Keep listening for guidance on how to work with your archetypes, even when they are working against you.
This episode, we discuss:
[0:10] The spiritual definition of an archetype
What is an archetype? Based on Jungian psychology, when used as a noun, it is an unconscious idea or pattern of thought that all humans share. For example, many cultures have similar ideas about what makes a hero or a queen. These ideas may be referred to as a stereotype. If you think about movies, books, television shows, or fairy tales and mythology, you will find archetypes represented in each of the characters.
Archetypal patterns are what make us who we are, and carry us forward on our life path. In this sense, an archetype can be used as a spiritual tool to help you understand yourself more fully.
[3:40] Why it’s helpful to identify our own archetypes first
When we identify our own archetypes first, we can get the clarity we need to understand that archetypes aren't the end all be all, giving us the insight to see where they resonate with us and where they don’t quite fit. Doing the work to identify our own archetypes can help us put this into perspective, identifying where we excel and even helping us to explore some of our shadow areas. We get to understand ourselves on a deeper level, revealing hidden influences so that we can work with them in a conscious way.
When we realize that not all archetypes present the same, or even apply, it can prevent us from stereotyping or judging other people.
[9:41] How to use archetypes to identify relationship patterns
Archetypes can be incredibly insightful when it comes to identifying relationship patterns. Keeping in mind that archetypes are going to show up differently for everyone, we suggest reflecting back on what your interests and passions were growing up. It’s typically a strong hint as to what your archetype is.
For example, Jessica’s husband has been obsessed with knights since he was a boy. As an adult, he loves to go to battle for a cause and is very service oriented. Jessica’s archetype is more of an explorer, meaning she is not a princess that needs a knight to save her. Using this information to understand the dynamics of their relationship, they are able to see more clearly where the other person may be coming from in a situation and even have playful banter when she reminds him, “I don’t need saving.”
If a knight were to marry a princess archetype, the power dynamic could be heavily influenced, to the point of creating a co-dependent relationship. So, if you ever feel like you're in a codependent relationship, or heading toward one, take a close look at how your archetypes are playing out.
When you take the time to understand each of the archetypes involved in your relationship, you can see any tendencies you have to fall into certain patterns or energies that may be doing damage to the partnership. When you use archetypes to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, they can help guide you to the highest potential of your soul contract with your partner.
[18:08] The four primary archetypes
While there are many subcategories of archetypes, there are four primary archetypes that everyone has, through one expression or another: The child, the victim, the prostitute, and the saboteur. With every archetype, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone expresses archetypes differently, and that there are light and dark sides to each archetype.
The child represents innocence. It helps develop our perceptions of life, safety, nurturing, family, and loyalty. A wounded version of the child archetype may also appear depending on our experiences around our coming of age, where we’re learning about dependency and responsibility. Ask yourself: What is a healthy dependency? And what do you see arise in yourself when you encounter certain family situations?
The victim focuses on self-esteem, acting as the guardian of your personal boundaries. It asks, “Is it worth giving up your own sense of empowerment to avoid taking responsibility for your independence?” The answer then affects how this archetype expresses itself in your life, whether as a symbol of weakness or a symbol of strength. As all archetypes, it is influenced by our environment, perceptions, and interactions with it.
Despite the controversial name, the prostitute archetype is your guardian of faith. It comes into play most clearly when our survival is threatened. The core issue of this archetype is, “How much are you willing to sell yourself for the sake of security?” It tests your faith. If you have faith in yourself and your ability to take care of yourself, then no one can buy you. However, if you do not have that faith, one day you will meet a price you can't turn down and it may cost you your integrity.
The saboteur is about choice. The saboteur’s core issue is the fear of inviting change into your life. Of the four primary archetypes, this is one that is the most connected to your ability to survive in the physical world. It deals with your fears of being without the basic needs in life, which is where the challenge really arises. It can show up in a more positive way, expressing itself as following your gut instinct, directing you to action without rational thoughts. You can choose to respond to inevitable life changes with choices that are influenced by your intuition, your spiritual understanding, or you can choose to respond on the shadow side of the archetype where you spiral into ‘this will never work out” type of thinking.
[33:41] How to use archetypes as a tool to better understand yourself
When you take the time to identify and delve into the details of the archetypes that express themselves in your life, you can start to see the patterns of how you move through the world. It’s a fascinating process in which you get to see the human and the spiritual side of it. As you do this work, it’s incredibly important that you look at how the light and the shadow sides of each archetype is influencing you, so that you can be more aware of why you feel or react a certain way in situations, and maybe reshape some of those reactions in the process.
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