The mature Child nurtures that part of us that desires to be light-hearted, playful, and innocent. The Child allows himself to maintain his sense of youth while balancing the priorities of an adult life. The positive energy of the developed Child brings out the best in others as well as in us.
When underdeveloped, this archetype can take on several different forms including the Wounded Child, the Orphan Child, the Bratty Child, the Needy Child, and the Eternal Child.
- The Wounded Child continuously relives the difficulties one may have experienced during childhood and often blames the parent for these difficulties; this child also fantasizes about the childhood that could have or should have been.
- The Orphan child is plagued with the fear of abandonment, always seeking reinforcement that others will not “leave,” which makes the establishment of mature relationships difficult.
- The Bratty Child is characterized by obnoxious behavior, temper tantrums, fits of jealousy, and a chronic need to always be the center of attention.
- The Needy Child carries a heavy feeling inside that their childhood was incomplete, and that nothing is ever enough. They may become depressed, as they place focus on their own personal needs and therefore are unable to see the needs of others.
- The Eternal Child embodies a Peter Pan complex, refusing to grow up, embrace the responsible life of an adult and determined to remain young in mind, body and spirit.
- The Healthy Child balances responsibility with relaxation and is comfortable with both work and play.
While the label “victim” has negative connotations, in its healthy state, this archetype provides a quality of perception and strength that protects against victimization from others. It alerts us to become more conscious in situations that are conducive to being taken advantage of. In its underdeveloped state, the victim feels that it is always taken advantage of, and never at fault. The purpose of the Victim is to teach us how to develop the courage and strength to stand up for oneself and to no longer invite victimization in. We are not meant to be victimized in life, but are meant to learn how to face our challenges and overcome them.
The Saboteur (The Guide, The Protector, The Facilitator)
This archetype often is the most difficult to comprehend as it is associated with the concept of betrayal. In truth, the purpose of this archetype is to help you learn the many ways in which you challenge, or sabotage, yourself. Our fears frequently cloud the quality of our decisions. There are numerous examples of cases in which the underdeveloped saboteur surfaces. We begin a new relationship and then destroy it because we are afraid of a painful outcome. We begin a working relationship and find ourselves in a power struggle when we fear the talents of the other person. The developed Saboteur guards self, home and everything else important. It guides us in and out of situations by allowing us to feel incredibly creative and vulnerable at the same time. The combination of these two energies activates our potential to rise out of self-destruction. Once maturity is accomplished, the Saboteur becomes an ally that alerts us when we are in a vulnerable state, and thereby allows us to consciously exercise empowered choice.
The term “Prostitute” also implies a negative meaning, but we learn from this archetype not to compromise or sacrifice our mind, body, or spirit.
Prostitution takes many forms that all include compromising one’s morals or ethics, sacrificing any aspect or expression of yourself. For example, have you ever “sold out” to people or organizations that you did believe in? Have you remained in a bad marriage for financial protection, put someone else in a compromising position in order to gain power, or bribed another for loyalty, support or silence? Have you ever judged as weak those who continually compromise themselves? These examples represent the negative energy of this archetype. Yet, in the case of the developed prostitute, one engages in lessons of integrity and dignity that allows one to refuse sacrificing any expression of the self.
The Actor/Storyteller brings pleasure to all by acting out events in life, and shares lifelong wisdom and insight through story, myth, and legend. The shadow, or the underdeveloped side of the Actor has a need to exaggerate the drama of his or her own life by telling untrue stories, including everything from gossip to attempts to defame another person in the public eye. When living the dark side of this archetype, we might find ourselves as the recipient of our own falsehoods, or living out the legend of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf,” so that no matter what we say, others no longer accept it as truth. Characteristics of this energy include exaggerating, dramatizing, attention seeking behavior, fabricating information, and lying.
The developed Addict helps you recognize when an outside substance, habit, relationship or other expression of life has more authority over your will than your spirit does. The liberated slave who has earned integrity, self-esteem and dignity represents its light side. The undeveloped Addict gives up their will for survival and struggles with the absence of self-control.
This archetype is associated with “turning lead into gold,” using a combination of chemistry, magic, and philosophy, thriving on the mysterious relationship between matter and the creation of life. Alchemy does not have to relate to money, it often can be a Pollyanna, or someone who takes something worthless and makes it powerful. By example, drug seekers and con artists do this through storytelling. The negative aspect of this archetype seduces people into believing that they can out run the natural speed of creation through a “get rich quick scheme”. The lesson of the Alchemist is to look for gold within the context of human challenges, allowing the divine to do the transmitting. The Alchemist is not a wizard, who is associated with the use of supernatural powers, or a magician, who tends to be seen more as an entertainer.
This archetype is associated with aesthetic creativity. It plays a dominant role in those skilled in the fine arts such as literature, poetry, music, painting and photography. The artist is often a social voice or visionary, representing the energy of the human conditions through his/her particular talent. The shadow side of this archetype believes that in order to achieve success great suffrage and psychological pain is required as a type of initiation; there is little hope to be recognized until after death. Examples include Van Gogh, Beethoven, and Mozart.
This archetype must transcend vengeance as well as the capacity to be “bought” for the task of harming another. It is often a part of those who are attracted to street gangs. The positive side teaches the futility of revenge. The lesson inherent in this archetype is to attain victory over the dark energy of vengeance and to reestablish a connection to spiritual morality. The developed mercenary teaches the futility of vengeance.
The celibate transmits sexual energy into alternative forms of expression, sometimes based in spiritually and other times for therapeutic reasons. To be celibate from an archetypal perspective does not mean that life is lived without sexuality. It does mean, however, that there are no physical relationships. You can be a celibate and a lover. Romance novels are popular with those in this situation. In its positive side, being alone is a way of regrouping creativity. The shadow side refrains from sexual expression for reasons of fear, either self-imposed or absorbed by others. In this instance the presences of others creates greater feelings of loneliness.
The coward faces circumstances that require courage until it is a part of his/her spirit. Once developed, it radiates strength and the inability to be threatened. Coward energy need not be dramatic, as in facing the enemy in a military confrontation. It more often takes the form of less obvious encounters such as difficulty in admitting to deeds at work or home. Symbolically, the Coward within must stand up to being bullied by his own inner fears.
This is the archetype of the romantic duo. The damsel waits to be rescued by her knight, the chivalrous man who comes with the promise of a life of romance and bliss “forever after.” The damsel represents a woman with little ability to handle the forces in the outside world (note the protective boundaries of the castle), and the Knight is the portrait of honor, strength, and chivalry who embodies the promise of everlasting safety and protection. From the damsel’s point of view, the Knight is automatically elevated, no matter what package he comes in. The shadow side of this duo is the illusion it contains of a perfect union capable of creating an endless non-threatening environment that is not only a fortress, but one in which neither the damsel nor knight will have to experience ordinary challenges such as aging or illness. The Damsel represents the classic “helpless” and contains all of the elements of the wounded child and the shadow Knight must depend on a weak female to be held in esteem. The positive side of the Damsel is an innocence that consciously asks to help, rather than for help.
At the symbolic level, this archetype journeys into the underworld, the deep psychological warehouse that contains answers to the mysteries as to why people do what they do. At the ordinary level of expression, this is the energy behind detectives such as Sherlock Holmes. The researcher, who may be skilled as an investigator, is not a sleuth as the underworld element is absent. The dark side of the detective is the spy who seeks out information for dishonorable use, such as the snoop or stalker. A therapist with a shadow sleuth projects personal problems onto others in their search for personal meaning.
The disciple is devoted to a teacher or cause. Often a covenant of support is involved. The shadow disciple emerges when individual will is forsaken, thereby losing the ability to discern fact from fiction. A type of hypnotic condition results, allowing seduction by the ruling group or authority figure, even if it leads to death.
The Gambler (The Risk taker)
This archetype thrives on the “high” that comes from beating the odds. Someone can gamble with money, emotions, or the truth, and the desire to take risk can result in serious addictions. The positive side has the ability to take risk in areas that would frighten others, such as gambling on an investment behind a new technology.
The Goddess represents the many faces of the feminine spirit. For example, Aphrodite, the goddess of eternal beauty, hopes to develop internal beauty as well. The shadow Aphrodite believes there is no power without beauty. In an attempt to hold onto beauty with age, anorexia can result. Aphrodite’s are untouchable and therefore don’t become a mothers.
Other goddesses include Athena (the guide), Diana (the hunt), Sophia (wisdom), and Venus (love). Each transmits qualities of feminine capacities from the height of sexual energy and eroticism to the depths of wisdom. They have the ability to protect the male in victorious battles on the physical plane of life.
The Femme Fatale
As the counterpart of Don Juan, seducing men with power and money, or manipulating them without investing emotion for the sake of personal control and survival is a classic part of this archetype. The twist of killing her conquests as an expression of her ability to dominate, thereby reversing the conventional sexual stereotypes, may be present as well. The positive aspect of this pattern is the opening of the heart, which often occurs when the male object rejects their manipulations and dependency, as Rhett Butler rejects Scarlett O’Hara at the end of Gone With The Wind.
The Fool/Court Jester
The Fool can disguise and transmit wisdom into the lives of others through giving a non-threatening appearance of the naked eye. The expression that “God takes care of fools and little children” captures the essence of this archetype. Historically, courts had fools and court jesters to amuse its members, but the fool always stood behind the king offering him “insights” about the deceitful behavior or actions of others. When evolved, this energy uses, or finds a soft way to tell the truth; however, if to lie, the fool will choke over the task or quit. The shadow Fool generates critical remarks, manipulates the truth and looks to dismiss the wisdom of others. The Fool is not a clown, which transfers sorrow into joy. The shadow clown mocks sorrow, or uses it to control you.
While the genuine healer is a rare find, the desire to heal is common. The Wounded Healer is frequently initiated into the profession, usually after having successfully endured a challenge stemming from life, death or health. The Intuitive Healer, by their very nature and personality, can inspire others to release their painful history or make changes in their lives that redirect the course of their future. The ability to heal others is not a self-appointed profession, it is ordained. The shadow Healer has endless forms, most of them stemming from the need to help others for personal fame or gain, by pushing a personal agenda on others, exaggerating ability, or inferring to others that he/she is the only means of achieving health.
The Hermit is frequently misunderstood, labeled eccentric, and chooses isolation as a lifestyle. In general those with this archetype look toward the arts, philosophical pursuits or something creative to fill the gap of empty space. Others choose this lifestyle because of fear of the outside world, and when that is the motive, isolation can lead to phobic behavior. Ultimately, this archetype leads to the journey into the soul. The extrovert may be a frightened Hermit.
The Hero is accurately represented in the legend of Hercules, one who confronted numerous battles alone, on behalf of others much weaker than he. Joan of Arc represents a female hero, who led an army to triumph centuries ago in France. The Hero’s journey is one fraught with challenges, and all those surrounding him lack the stamina to fully assist in succeeding victory over the tasks at hand. The Hero is usually drafted and does not choose the position. The shadow Hero chooses a self appointed target to prove his strength to others. Inevitably, these individuals fail.
The Judge has the capacity to use the combination of wisdom and compassion to rule with fairness. King Solomon is the icon of this archetype. This archetype is involved with attorneys and arbitrators and other decision makers. The shadow side smells of foul play and is seduced into unfair decisions.
This archetype seeks romantic forms of expression as a means of fulfillment. The Lover may need multiple sexual experiences or to explore sex for the experience in and of it self. The lover may also be a celibate, who takes a non-sexual orientation and fantasizes about “true love” instead. A business may possess this archetype as well, as in the case of Victoria’s Secret. Shadow expressions include the beast character in Beauty and the Beast, taking advantage of political power for sex, and its promiscuous or illicit use in bathhouses.
The Magician/Sorcerer (An Illusionist)
This archetype is associated with magic, both white and black. It thrives on the creation of illusion that can run the gamut of the illustrator to the magician entertainer. It is associated with the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary as in the Wizard of Oz. The shadow side casts black magic spells and controls others through the manipulation of dark energy.
These archetypal patterns represent the need to rule others in a courtly fashion, or dictate law without the need of a court at all. They seek lavishness and surroundings that bestows status both at home and at work. When manifested in the positive, the desire to protect those “under the rule of their court” manifests itself. Parents might hold this attitude toward their children, but that does not mean that they possess the archetype. When negatively manifest, the Queen and King rule harshly.
The Martyr must have a sacred cause that is for the benefit of an entire perceptual system. It is a cause -religious, social, or political- for which “to die for” has meaning. At this level, the Martyr remains an inspiration to so many (Martin Luther King). The archetype does not require death, but rather may include suffering years of “martyrdom” to protect others from the same fate (Nelson Mandela). From this perspective, the Martyr is a positive and powerful force. From its shadow side, suffrage occurs for no genuine cause other than one that is self-created, often used in hopes of obtaining pity from others or to establish a controlling relationship.
The Midas magnetically attracts money, has a passion to be around it and to make it. There is nothing wrong with this goal in and of it self. Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Estee Lauder are example personalities. The philanthropist is a highly developed Midas. The scrooge represents the shadow side of this archetype.
This archetype seeks to motivate others to make spirituality the major goal of their physical lives. Traditionally, life within a monastic setting is used to facilitate the passion for intimate union with the divine. In recent decades it may also be part of those attracted to spiritual communities that present a more social-spiritual-environmental goal. The archetype often requires the taking of vows, poverty, chastity, and obedience, representing an official separation from the physical world. It can manifest as a serious commitment to personal spiritual practice a well, however. Self-imposed conditions on the union with god, resulting in spiritual isolation rather than fulfillment, represent the shadow side.
The Mother is the ultimate nurturer both the bearer of the life and the creation of a safe and loving home for her family. The dark side is the devouring, abusive mother who neglects children and her role, leaving young with scar tissue and even causing their deaths. “Mother Earth”, providing sustenance for all living creatures and “Mother Russia”, a country long associated with endless abuse of her children (Stalin era), typify universal views of this archetype. The Father is the ultimate protector and provider for his family. His qualities include honor, integrity, loyalty, and physical stamina. The shadow Father is a negligent parent, abandons family, abuses them or fails to teach his children productivity and survival with honor in the physical world.
The mystic state of consciousness is not attained through personal choice but rather is evolved into. While not always the case, enlightenment is generally reached after a life of solitude within a monastic setting. The earmark of a mystical awakening is an experience that contains the power of instantaneous transformation from one level of conscious to another. This transformation is permanent and then becomes the guiding force behind life’s journey. Its shadow side creates the desire to reach this heightened state of consciousness through self-deception or other artificial means, such as drugs like cocaine or LSD. The consequence of this choice can lead to psychosis and complete paranoia.
The Net Worker
Networkers expand their sphere of influence by forging alliances and making connections among vastly different groups of people. The messenger, courier, journalist and communicator exemplify this archetype, however it has also been reborn through Internet technology. The positive side shapes knowledge for everyone’s gain. The shadow side changes knowledge/information for personal gain. Note: the storyteller changes stories or myths, not knowledge.
An individual who strives to perfect physical and mental stamina through a highly trained body embodies these archetypes. The Olympian is motivated primarily by an artistic relationship to physical form as opposed to financial gain; it must be a major part of their lives (Bruce Jenner). Some one who transcends the limitations of a handicap by developing their highest capacity can be an Olympian as well. The shadow side forgoes honor and misuses physical strength with the intention of harming others (Mike Tyson) or compels you to cheat to win.
This archetype represents a society’s philosophical voice, intended to inspire people to become the best they can be. Winston Churchill and Jimmy Carter are examples of the light side and Hitler of the shadow side. On a smaller scale, the shadow side of this archetype attempts to inspire others to follow goals for reasons of selfish political, social or financial gain.
The Philosopher pursues the meaning of life for the sake of obtaining a level of reason beyond human boundary. Questions are pursued for which there are no definitive solutions and answers are not the ultimate goal: the heightening of awareness about the nature of human life is. Example personalities include Socrates and Aristotle. The shadow side of the Philosopher’s pursuit may lead to despair, and the belief that life is nothing more than a meaningless journey.
This archetype compels a person to seek the unknown, to be a trailblazer, and to create a path that has never been carved before. At the physical level it can include everything from archeological explorations to scientific ones. The shadow side of this archetype may project a vision on to others rather than receiving it. They may believe that nothing new will ever come from their journeys, such as when a scientist fails to produce the discovery he has been seeking for years.
The light side of this archetype embodies the need to transmit the sacraments and the sacred. The shadow side misuses the divine to create a black mask of deception.
People with this archetype experience life in a state of “near the throne” but never officially take it. For them, the inheritance of power always remains one step out of reach. Vice-presidents and daughters of powerful men who have “authority” only so far as it is given to them exemplify this energy. In other words, these individuals are surrounded by a history of power, but have not yet matured into their own capacity to access it. The shadow side of this energy is Machiavellian; it compels the use of devious means to maneuver power from behind the throne.
The Prophet brings messages of what is to come in a social context. More often than not, their message is a warning that destruction is ahead lest change occur. Frequently the prophet is unwelcome as no one wants to face either the change or the possibility of destruction. Gorbachev portrays a contemporary prophet. Those who foresee difficult times ahead in business, social, or personal matters may carry this energy as well, and an inner voice that warns “If I take cocaine I’ll never get off of it” also embodies the Prophet. The shadow side is manifest in false alarms or threatening warnings that are based in personal fear rather than higher vision.
This archetype is both playful and a tease. While it may humiliate others, it is not, a trickster. The Puck can generate intense sexual rushes with little focus on the outcome of such play. The shadow side uses teasing and playfulness as a means of criticizing or harming others. Self-humiliation, or being hard on oneself are other undeveloped representations of this energy.
While the Rebel is unable to accept the status quo, he can become a leading voice that confronts societal negativity. The developed side of this archetype learns to exercise responsible choice when confronting someone or thing. The shadow side is motivated by personal anger or by the belief that change can only occur through violent behavior.
This archetype comes to the aid of people in genuine need, such as in threatening situations and natural disasters; he does his job and gets out (firefighter). When underdeveloped the Rescuer may come to the aid of another who is in the throws of illness or a bad relationship only to find that the rescued ultimately leaves as there is no further need to remain. The underdeveloped Rescuer must be willing to look internally. The challenge of this archetype is to evaluate the motivation behind why assistance is extended to another, or if personal gain should be involved. The shadow side sets up relationships that result in the need to be rescued personally.
The Sage/Crone/Wise Woman
This archetype is symbolic of “wise women” as in the Greek goddess of wisdom, Sophia or the Oracle of Delphi. Wisdom is earned and not given and therefore a woman must evolve into the Crone. The Crone cannot be obtained by seeking it by personal choice. Its status in life is associated with age and belongs to an elder female as opposed to a young woman. The shadow Sage is often portrayed as the “wicked witch,” a woman who would misuse her visionary authority to misdirect others, to put them under spells in order to establish personal control over their psyches. The shadow sage may be manifested as the need to give others unwanted advice.
This Scholar is in pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge and the love of learning. This archetype is as active in a person seeking to understand all there is to know about masonry as it is to someone in academia. The shadow side of this archetype surfaces when a personality becomes unbalanced in the external world because of “hiding” in the mental dimension.
The Scribe is a faithful recorder of events, with a reputation for accuracy and impartial position on the events being recorded. This archetype is behind the historian, accountants and other bookkeepers. There may be a family scribe who is either appointed or just known for keeping records of family marriages and deaths. In its shadow side the honor code of impartiality is violated or inaccurate facts are deliberately entered into the log.
Classically this archetype is assumed due to class status, serves only others, and never oneself. It is important to keep in mind that Servants are associated with having no choice about the tasks they perform. Evolving past the myth that there is no choice, and when present, its relationship to the martyr, is required to find the light side of this archetype. The developed servant can choose to serve others, self or both.
The Shaman is a person who ascends to a sacred, holy position through either a classic ordination process or initiations that are associated with the spirit power of animals and all of nature. This person is a vehicle for ritual that empowers others with strength, vision, healing or protection. The shadow shaman uses his skills as a threatening power over the minds of others.
This archetype has the ability to change appearances for a variety of reasons and can navigate through different levels of consciousness, including dream and waking states, and the astral plane. Somewhat related to the Trickster, it is more flexible and less tied to a specific goal. The shadow aspect emphasizes instability, fickleness, and lack of conviction as can be seen in any number of modern day politicians who reinvent themselves to appeal to the latest popular trends.
The slave is a person held in a circumstance or situation without opportunity for choice or dignity. The journey of the slave is to become the master of his/her own life and fate. An internal master such as memories, moods, drugs or alcohol can enslave someone as well. The shadow slave may hold negative beliefs that exert total control over the mind, essentially imprisoning them.
This archetype impartially provides instruction to others with the intention of furthering the development of their hearts and minds. While parents, or those that instruct others in a craft of trade may have its influence, the Teacher’s energy must resonate in a personal sense to have this archetype. There is a code of honor, or ethics that comes along with the task. The shadow side transfers negative interpretations of knowledge into fertile minds.
This archetype is imbued with the task of helping others recognize the absurdity of life and its many challenges. Its methods can vary from the wild energy of the “coyote” spirit to seducing others in a grand illusion, only to then watch them crumble right in front of you. The Trickster does not have the same code of ethics of the teacher, but rather desires to free others by making them confront the confines of fear housed within the psyche. Like a leprechaun, they set you up. The Trickster finds it easy to blame others when things go wrong, as the shadow side rationalizes that the plan was perfect and therefore the outcome must not be their fault.
The purpose of this archetype is not to commit crimes, but rather through lessons of justice and honor to rid oneself of the desire to engage in such behavior. While the street criminal is the form this energy most frequently takes, such behavior is not required. The Villain can also reside in one’s mind, manifesting fantasies of stealing power from others. Unfortunately, many people suffer while living its shadow side.
The Vampire is associated with both bloodsucking and eroticism. As the Vampire satisfies his thirst for blood, the host grows increasingly helpless and submissive, and eventually becomes drained of any capacity for self-protection. Relationships centered in power struggles, dominance, co-dependence, chronic complaining and holding onto someone either emotionally or psychically long after the relationship has ended are all indicators of the Vampire pattern.
The Aborigine on a “walkabout” and the twelve tribes of Israel provides prototypical stories for the individual or tribe that is compelled to never find a “homeland. The wanderer is often labeled as a sad and lonely individual who is seeking an internal place of tranquility through travel in the external world. It may also manifest as someone who never completes anything, or sees things through full cycle. The positive side of this energy is very rich, however, and can lead a person to explore other countries and traditions. In this instance the Wanderer learns that the journey itself empowers.
The Warrior, in its highest sense, is a protector of society. Marines, sailors, and police all qualify for this archetype. They use their strength to defend others, even to the point of facing death. Other presentations of this archetype emerge in people who will give all they have to protect a cause, such as the environment. Unlike the Knight who is noted for a romantic quality, this archetype has a code of defense that exudes so much power that it doesn’t need to fight. The shadow side argues for the sake of arguing, turns power into a force of cruelty, and intimidates. It kills others for personal fain or on behalf of a brutal cause as is seen with drug wars.
The many faces of this archetype foster an exploration into new insights and ideas about matter, and the desire to pursue how physical laws of the universe are involved within our lives. Its breadth is wide, from mathematics to machinery. In its positive form, this archetype can be among the most powerful forces in the advancement of society. The shadow side manifests in many ways, by construing “false facts” or stealing the research of others for personal gain. The Wizard must learn to recognize “the con” to become fully developed.
Adapted by Robert G. Schwartz, M.D. from “Sacred Contracts, Part II, Vision, Creativity an Intuition”, a 10-day training program with Caroline Myss, Ph.D. and C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., October 1998 and Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss, Harmony Books, N.Y., 2001.