The archetypes listed here in boldface type are just a few of the many ancient patterns that exist in human consciousness. Many additional archetypes that are closely related are mentioned in parentheses, such as Hermit (found under Mystic), Therapist (under Healer), or Pirate (under Rebel). Please read through the entire list, looking at all the archetypes in parentheses, before assuming that the one you’re looking for isn’t here. Naturally, it’s impossible to list all the hundreds of archetypes that exist, but these are some of the most common, and include just about all that are mentioned in my book, CD, or tape of Sacred Contracts. If you feel that you have an archetype that isn’t found here, please do not hesitate to give it careful consideration, and feel free to include it in your support team.
Remember that all archetypes are essentially neutral and manifest in both light and shadow attributes. Accordingly, I have tried to include both sets of attributes for each listing, along with cues to help you determine whether a given archetype may be part of your lifelong support team of twelve. To help you further, I’ve listed some examples of each archetype as embodied in popular film, fiction, drama, and the world’s religions and mythologies. In evaluating whether an archetype is part of your intimate group, pay special attention to whether you can perceive a pattern of influence throughout your history, rather than only isolated or recent incidents. Never evaluate your connection to an archetype only by obvious markers. You have to stretch your imagination and burrow into yourself to discover your life patterns, lessons, and gifts. This inner knowledge does not surface easily.
Addict (Conspicuous Consumer, Glutton, Workaholic–see also Gambler)
Every one of us is touched by the Addict archetype. The only question is how much of our lives is consumed by it. Besides the usual suspects–drugs, alcohol, food, and sex–one can be addicted to work, sports, television, exercise, computer games, spiritual practice, negative attitudes, and the kinds of thrills that bring on adrenaline rushes. In its positive aspect, this archetype helps you recognize when an outside substance, habit, relationship, or any expression of life has more authority over your will power than does your inner spirit. Confronting addiction and breaking the hold that a pattern or substance has on you can impart great strength to your psyche. Discovering the empowerment that comes with perseverance has a life-long impact, becoming a reference point for what you are able to accomplish. In the words of one former alcoholic, “I know now that if I can quit drinking, I can do anything.”
From a symbolic perspective, the shadow aspect of the Addict represents a struggle with will power and the absence of self-control. People who are extremely intellectual or emotional frequently have a close link to this archetype, because they struggle to balance these powers. Without this internal balance, the will may give up its power to an external substance that exerts authority, providing shadow order to your life. The shadow Addict compromises your integrity and honesty. Many addicts, for example, steal as a means of supporting their habit.
In evaluating your connection to the Addict, review how many of your life’s challenges concern an external substance or a consistent, domineering pattern of trying to maintain order in your life. Although that challenge is a part of all of our lives, the degree to which an addiction controls you and your lifestyle determines whether the Addict is part of your intimate family of twelve. For instance, you can be inconsistent in your exercise program yet quite disciplined in your spiritual practice. Needing a substance or practice or person so intensely or regularly that you compromise relationships, finances, integrity, character, or emotional and psychological well-being, however, indicates that you should look very seriously at this archetype as a possible choice.
Films: Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in Days of Wine and Roses (alcohol); Ben Stiller in Permanent Midnight (heroin); Dom de Luise in Fatso (food); Claire Bloom in The Chapman Report (sex);
Drama: A Long Day’s Journey into Night (morphine) by Eugene O’Neill
Fiction: Basketball Diaries (heroin) by Jim Carroll; Under the Volcano (mescal) by Malcolm Lowry.
Religion/Myth: Soma (Vedic god of intoxication, as well as the intoxicating drink itself and the plant from which it is made); Tantalus (a son of Zeus and king of Sipylos in Greece, he was invited to share the food of the gods but abused the honor and was punished by being “tantalized” for all eternity by food and drink he could not reach).
Advocate (Attorney, Defender, Legislator, Lobbyist, Environmentalist)
Coming to the defense of others is one manifestation of what Ram Dass calls “Compassion in Action.” The Advocate embodies a sense of life-long devotion to championing the rights of others in the public arena. People who relate to this archetype have recognized early on a passion to transform social concerns, specifically in behalf of others. Symbolically, they are dedicated to inspiring the empowerment of groups or causes that are unable to be empowered on their own. By comparison, archetypes such as the Hermit are clearly more personal and lack the Advocate’s fire for furthering social change. The Advocate needs public expression, even if only through writing or artwork.
The shadow Advocate manifests in false or negative causes or in committing to causes for personal gain. In evaluting your connection with this archetype, you should ask yourself how much of your life is dedicated to social causes and a willingness to take action.
Films: Paul Newman in The Verdict; Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind; Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief and Erin Brockovich; Robert Duvall in the Godfather trilogy (shadow).
Television: Perry Mason; L.A. Law; The Practice.
Fiction: The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet
Fairy Tales: Puss in Boots.
Religion/Myth: David (in the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish champion who slew the much larger Goliath); Hakuim (a pre-Islamic deity of southern Arabia who administers justice and oversees arbitration).
Alchemist (Wizard, Magician, Scientist, Inventor–see also Visionary)
These archetypes share the common trait of converting some form of matter into an altered expression of itself. The Wizard and Magician produce results outside the ordinary rules of life, whether causing people to fall in love or objects to disappear. Whereas a Wizard is associated with supernatural powers, the Magician tends to be seen more as an entertainer. The Alchemist is associated with vain attempts to turn base metals into gold, but in its highest manifestation it seeks complete spiritual transformation. You may identify with this archetype if you are interested in a path of spiritual development that is aligned to the mystery schools or study of the laws of the universe. From this perspective, Nostradamus and Isaac Newton could both be classified as Alchemists.
The shadow sides of these archetypes are found in the misuse of the power and knowledge that comes through them. Seduction and trickery brought about through magic and wizardry play on the desires of many people to transform their lives.
For the Alchemist or Wizard to be one of your circle of twelve, it needs to be associated with your physical life in some significant way. Perhaps your work or living situation demands that you be especially inventive or interventionist on a regular basis. The shadow Wizard manifests either as the use of ingenuity for criminal or unethical purposes or as feelings of superiority based on high intellect.
Films: Spencer Tracy in Edison the Man; Greer Garson in Madame Curie; Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates and Noah Wylie as Steve Jobs in Pirates of Silicon Valley (HBO video); Fred MacMurray (or Robin Williams) in The Absentminded Professor; Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen; Jane Powell in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Jeff Goldblum in The Fly (shadow); Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan (shadow) in X-Men.
Fiction: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; The Mists of Avalon by Marion Z. Bradley; the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Drama: The Miracle Worker by William Gibson.
Religion/Myth: Merlin (wizard and prophet involved in every phase of King Arthur’s life, from conception to rulership, who also counseled him as King); Cessair (magician who became the first Queen of Ireland); Tezcatlipoca (Aztec god of night and material things, whose black magic mirror made of obsidian or hematite reflected the thoughts and actions of humanity and could kill enemies); Paracelsus (16th-century Swiss alchemist and physician who described humans as the microcosmic reflection of the macrocosm); Hermes Trismegistus (Greek mythic figure who served as messenger of the gods, but who in later esoteric thought became a master of reality manipulation able to travel freely between the various realms and dimensions); Simon (Samaritan magician in the Book of Acts, 8:9-24, condemned by the apostle Peter for offering to buy the power of the Holy Spirit from him); Suyolak (gypsy wizard said to know all medicinal cures).
Fairy Tales: Rumpelstiltskin (who spun straw into gold).
Angel (Fairy Godmother/Godfather)
Angels exist in a category unto themselves because they are thought to be living beings of Light and messengers of the Divine. Almost every cultural and religious tradition on earth features angels of some description, including belief in a personal Guardian Angel in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Angels are typically represented as winged beings who intervene in times of great need or for the purpose of delivering a message of guidance or instruction from God to humans. Even though you probably aren’t an actual Angel, you can acknowledge a strong connection to the angelic realm, as noted in people who have a dedication to representing the presence of angels. Artists who paint their images, for example, authors who write about their interaction with humans, and those whose lives in some way provide a channel through which their presence is physically manifested exhibit a rapport with the angelic realm. Some people are also referred to as “angels” because of the loving and nurturing qualities of character that they embody. One may also play the role of a Fairy Godmother or Godfather by helping someone in need either anonymously or with no expectation of any return.
The shadow side of this archetype manifests through people who make claims to be in touch with angelic guidance for the sake of control or ego enhancement, or who act innocent or angelic to mislead others about their true nature. From a biblical perspective, the shadow Angel is frequently associated with Satan or Lucifer, but the Devil or Demon should also be considered as a unique archetype.
Films: Herbert Marshall in The Enchanted Cottage; Charles Coburn in The More the Merrier; Aunt March to Amy in Little Women; the two angels in It’s A Wonderful Life; Marlon Brando in The Godfather trilogy (shadow); Danny Glover, Kevin Kline in Grand Canyon.
Television: Touched by an Angel
Fairy Tales: Glinda in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Religion/Myth: Angiris (Hindu angels who preside over sacrifices); Uriel (in rabbinic lore, the angel who wrestled with Jacob); Gabriel (archangel who appeared to Mary in the Gospels and recited the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad); Sijil (Islamic angels overseeing the heavenly scrolls); Tenshi (Japanese angels who are messengers of the gods and helpers of humanity); Lucifer and Iblis (in medieval Christian and Islamic belief, respectively, evil angels who work to destroy human souls); Fravashis (ancient Zoroastrian guardian angels who guide the souls of the dead to heaven); Ombwiri (tribal guardian angels and ancestor spirits in central Africa); Athena (goddess who frequently comes to the aid of Odysseus in The Odyssey)
Artist (Artisan, Craftsperson, Sculptor, Weaver)
The Artist archetype embodies the passion to express a dimension of life that is just beyond the five senses. The Artist psyche is animated with the energy to express it into physical forms. The nature or relative grandeur of any form of expression is irrelevant; a chef can be as much of an artist as a painter or landscaper. The signature of artists is not in what they do but in how intense their motivation is to manifest the extraordinary. Doing what you do in such a way that you create an emotional field that inspires others also indicates the Artist energy at work, as does the emotional and psychological need to express yourself so much that your well-being is wrapped up in this energy.
The shadow Artist comprises many cliches, including an eccentric nature and the madness that often accompanies genius. The Starving Artist represents the fear of financial ruin or the belief that fame and fortune come only after death, which often cause artists to suppress their talents. In evaluating your relationship to this archetype, recognize that the need to bring art to others, such as dedicating part of the energy of your life to supporting artists, is as much an expression of the Artist archetype as actually holding a brush in your hand.
Films: Ed Harris in Pollock; Alec Guinness in The Horse’s Mouth; Isabelle Adjani in Camille Claudel; Kirk Douglas in Lust for Life; Gene Kelly in An American in Paris.
Drama: Amadeus by Peter Schaffer
Fiction: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce; The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary.
Fairy Tales: Gepetto in Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi.
Religion/Myth: Galatea (sculptor of Greek myth who brought the statue of Pygmalion to life); Shen-nung (one of the Three Noble Ones of Chinese mythology who invented the plow and taught humanity the art of agriculture); Basa-Jaun (in Basque lore, a wood spirit who taught humanity the art of forging metal); Sarasvati (Hindu patron of the Arts); Ptah (Egyptian creator god and deity of craftsmen, said to have molded humanity on his potter’s wheel); Ambat (Melanesian hero-deity who taught the art of pottery); Ixzaluoh (Mayan water goddess who invented the art of weaving); Hiro (Polynesian hero who introduced humanity to the art of writing); Hephaestus (Greek god of the blacksmith’s fire and patron of all craftsmen).
This archetype represents the ultimate expression of the strength of the human spirit as represented in the power and magnificence of the human body. Because the Olympian is so connected to spiritual as well as physical strength, a code of ethics and morality is associated with the archetype, which is an excellent example of the universal power of the “psyche” of an archetype. A link to the Athlete should not be evaluated by whether your physical skill is on par with that of professionals or whether your body is perfect in form and function. A person dedicated to transcending the limits of a physical handicap qualifies as much for this archetype as the professional or artistic athlete, because the development of personal will power and strength of spirit is a requirement for the body to manifest its perfection.
The shadow aspect of athletics, however, may manifest as a misuse of one’s strength against any sort of person or opponent in the world, even outside the field of professional athletics, such as a professional boxer who starts a bar fight; a false sense of invulnerability, like Achilles’ and Samson’s; dirty play; or colluding with gamblers (See Bully). The shadow may also appear as a lack of honor that compels you to cheat to win.
Films: Esther Williams in Million Dollar Mermaid; Burt Lancaster in Jim Thorpe, All American; Tom Courtenay in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner; Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot; Hoop Dreams (documentary)
Fiction: The Natural by Bernard Malamud; Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge.
Folklore/Fairy Tales: The Tortoise and the Hare.
Religion/Myth: Atalanta (female athlete in Greek myth); Smertios (Celtic war-god portrayed as a bearded athlete); Nike (feminine personification of victory in Greek myth, who runs and flies at great speed). Samson (Nazarite strongman and biblical Judge); Achilles (Greek warrior known for his exceptional might, and the hero of the Iliad); Smertrios (Celtic-Gallic god of war depicted as a bearded athlete).
Avenger (Avenging Angel, Savior, Messiah)
This archetype and its related manifestations respond to a need to balance the scales of justice, sometimes by employing aggressive techniques. Attorneys who work for the impoverished or disadvantaged, or who volunteer part of their time for pr bono work are modern avengers. Bringing war criminals to trial or legally pursuing corporations that harm society are examples of the Avenger on a global scale, fueled by a sense of righteousness in behalf of society. One can also be motivated to avenge an injustice against oneself or one’s family. The Avenging Angel is an expression of this archetype of mythic proportions that suggests that one is on a mission from God, as in the case of Joan of Arc.
On the global level, the shadow manifests as avenging perceived immoral behavior by resorting to violence, from acts of ecoterroism to bombing abortion clinics. The “rightness” of one’s cause can never justify harming innocent third parties. (Gandhi countered the shadow of social vengeance by emphasizing passive resistance to illegitimate authority.) In evaluating your connection to this archetype, review your life for experiences in which your primary motivation was to defend or represent a cause in behalf of others. One instance is not enough. You need to relate to this archetype as a primary force through which many of the choices and actions of your life are directed. A burning desire to get even can be so forceful that you organize a lifetime around meeting that end.
Films: Ingrid Bergman in The Visit; Jane Fonda in Cat Ballou; John Wayne in The Searchers; Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich; Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin in Nine to Five; Vincent Price in Theatre of Blood (shadow–an actor who kills his critics); Al Pacino in The Godfather (shadow); Robert de Niro or Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear (shadow).
Television: The Avengers.
Drama: The Oresteia by Aeschylus; Hamlet and Macbeth by Shakespeare.
Fiction: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper S. Lee.
Religion/Myth: The Furies or Erinyes (avenging spirits of Roman and Greek myth, respectively); Bastet (Egyptian cat-headed goddess who is the instrument of Ra’s vengeance); Durga (vengeful warrior goddess of the Hindu pantheon); Kali (Hindu mother goddess and symbol of destruction who annihilates ignorance and maintains the world order).
Beggar (Homeless person/ Indigent)
Completely without material resources, the Beggar is associated with dependence on the kindness of others, living on the streets, starvation, and disease, whether in New York City or Calcutta. It is easy to believe that the archetype of the Beggar is solely a negative one, but that is an illusion. A person need hardly be starving for food to be considered a Beggar. People “beg” for attention, love, authority, and material objects. We “throw a dog a bone” to give a powerless being a “treat” of power. From a symbolic perspective, the Beggar archetype represents a test that compels a person to confront self-empowerment beginning at the base level of physical survival. Learning about the nature of generosity, compassion, and self-esteem are fundamental to this archetypal pattern.
Films: Patrick Swazye in City of Hope.
Fiction: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens; The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.
Non Fiction: Meeting the Madwoman by Linda Schierse Leonard, Ph.D.
Religion/Myth: Lazarus (the beggar in Luke 16:22-23, who is “carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” after his death, while the rich man outside whose gate he begged went to Hades); Yeta (Japanese beggar who may be a disguise for Inari, the god of food or goddess of rice); Odysseus (who disguised himself as a ragged beggar when he returned home from Troy); Lan Cai-he (in Taoist myth, one of the eight immortals, who dresses in rags and roams the streets as a drunken beggar).
The archetype of the Bully manifests the core truth that the spirit is always stronger than the body. Symbolically, our physical bodies can “bully” our spirits with any number of reasons why we should back down from our challenges, which appear to overwhelm us by their size and shape. Your relationship to this archetype should be evaluated within a framework far more expansive than evaluating whether you “bully” people. Consider whether on your life path you confront one experience and relationship after another that appears to have more power than you and ultimately leads you to ask, “Will I stand up to this challenge?” People are often called to take on bullies for the sake of others, as David did Goliath, and this is another criterion of your connection to this archetype.
Conventional wisdom holds that underneath a bully is a coward trying to keep others from discovering his true identity. Symbolically, the Coward within must stand up to being bullied by his own inner fears, which is the path to empowerment through these two archetypes.
Films: Matt Dillon in My Bodyguard; Jack Palance in Shane; Mel Gibson in Braveheart; James Cagney in The Fighting 69th; Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz.; Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets.
Fiction: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Vincent Benet.
Fairy Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk; Jack the Giant Killer
Child (Orphan, Wounded, Magical/Innocent, Nature, Divine, Puer/Puella Eternis, or Eternal Boy/Girl)
Everyone has expressions of each one of these aspects of the Child within his psyche, although one aspect is usually so dominant that it eclipses the energy of the others. The Wounded Child, for example, can be so needy that it is almost impossible for the Magical Child to manifest its qualities. At the same time, because every one of the Child aspects is present in various degrees of strength in every psyche, similar patterns often overlap, making it hard to distinguish which one you relate to most intensely. You may find that you relate equally to the Orphan and the Wounded Child, or to the Puer Eternis and the Nature Child. When this is the case, choose one and include the specific qualities that you relate to in the other archetype as you investigate the psyche of this archetype in your life.
The Orphan Child is the major character in most well known children’s stories, including Little Orphan Annie, the Matchstick Girl, Bambi, the Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, and many more. The pattern in these stories is reflected in the lives of people who feel from birth as if they are not a part of their family, including the family psyche or tribal spirit. Yet precisely because orphans are not allowed into the family circle, they have to develop independence early in life. The absence of family influences, attitudes, and traditions inspires or compels the Orphan Child to construct an inner reality based on personal judgment and experience. Orphans who succeed at finding a path of survival on their own are celebrated in fairy tales and folk stories as having won a battle with a dark force, which symbolically represents the fear of surviving alone in this world.
The shadow aspect manifests when orphans never recover from growing up outside the family circle. Feelings of abandonment and the scar tissue from family rejection stifle their maturation, often causing them to seek surrogate family structures in order to experience tribal union. Therapeutic support groups become shadow tribes or families for an Orphan Child who knows deep down that healing these wounds requires moving on to adulthood. Identifying with the Orphan begins by evaluating your childhood memories, paying particular attention to whether your painful history arises from the feeling that you were never accepted as a family member.
Films: Margaret O’Brien in The Secret Garden; Victoire Thivisol in Ponette ; Hayley Mills in Pollyanna.
Fiction: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
Drama: The Changeling by Thomas Middleton.
Fairy Tales: Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi, The Little Mermaid.
Religion/Myth: Romulus and Remus (twins of Roman myth who were cast into the Tiber, miraculously rescued by a she-wolf, and went on to found Rome); Moses; Havelock the Dane (in medieval romance, the orphan son of Birkabegn, King of Denmark, cast adrift by treacherous guardians but found and raised by a British fisherman, and eventually made King of Denmark and part of England).
The Wounded Child archetype holds the memories of the abuse, neglect, and other traumas that we have endured during childhood. This may be the pattern people relate to the most, particularly since it has become the focus of therapy and accepted as a major culprit in the analysis of adult suffering. Choosing the Wounded Child suggests that you credit the painful and abusive experiences of your childhood with having a substantial influence on your adult life. Many people blame their Wounded Child, for instance, for all their subsequent dysfunctional relationships.
The painful experiences of the Wounded Child archetype often awaken a deep sense of compassion and a desire to find a path of service aimed at helping other Wounded Children. From a spiritual perspective, a wounded childhood cracks open the learning path of forgiveness. The shadow aspect may manifest as an abiding sense of self-pity, a tendency to blame your parents for your current shortcomings and to resist moving on through forgiveness.
Films: Diana Scarwid in Mommie Dearest; Dean Stockwell in The Secret Garden; Linda Blair in The Exorcist; Natalie Wood in The Miracle on 34th Street; Leonardo di Caprio in This Boy’s Life; Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy.
Fiction: Native Son by Richard Wright; Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
Religion/Myth: The Amazons (warrior women of Greek myth who, as children, had their right breast removed to facilitate the use of bow and arrow, their chief weapon)
The Magical Child represents the part of us that is both enchanted and enchanting to others. It sees the potential for sacred beauty in all things, exemplified by Tiny Tim in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and by Anne Frank, who wrote in her diary that in spite of all the horror surrounding her family while hiding from Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam, she still believed that humanity was basically good. Her insights offered at a time when most people were collapsing under the weight of war and persecution continue to inspire people to seek out the wondrous side of life, even in a crisis.
One might assume from the name that this archetype refers to only the delightful qualities of children, but as demonstrated by Anne Frank and Tiny Tim, it also embodies qualities of wisdom and courage in the face of difficult circumstances.
Baudelaire wrote that “genius is childhood recaptured,” and in that sense the Magical Child is something of a genius too. The Magical Child is gifted with the power of imagination and the belief that everything is possible. The shadow energy of the Magical Child manifests as the absence of the possibility of miracles and of the transformation of evil to good. Attitudes of pessimism and depression, particularly when exploring dreams, often emerge from an injured Magical Child whose dreams were “once upon a time” thought foolish by cynical adults. The shadow may also manifest as a belief that energy and action are not required, allowing one to retreat into fantasy.
Films: Drew Barrymore in E.T.; Margaret O’Brien in Meet Me in St. Louis; George du Fresne in Ma Vie en Rose; Shirley Temple in Good Ship Lollipop.
Fiction: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll.
Religion/Myth: Merlin (in Arthurian legend, the “child without a father” who was about to be sacrificed when he saved himself by displaying magic greater than the King’s sorcerers).
This archetype inspires deep, intimate bonding with natural forces, and has a particular affinity for friendships with animals. Although the Nature Child has tender, emotional qualities, it can also have an inner toughness and ability to survive–the resilience of Nature herself. Nature Children can develop advanced skills of communicating with animals, and in stories reflecting this archetype an animal often comes to the rescue of its child companion. Many veterinarians and animal right activists resonate with this archetype because they have felt a conscious rapport with animals since childhood. Other adults describe being in communication with nature spirits and learning to work in harmony with them in maintaining the order of nature.
The shadow aspect of the Nature Child manifests in a tendency to abuse animals and people and the environment.
A love of animals is not sufficient to qualify for this archetype, however. A life pattern of relating to animals in an intimate and caring way, to the extent that your psyche and spirit need these bonds as a crucial part of your own well-being, is your best clue in this direction.
Films: Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet ; Anna Paquin in Fly Away Home; Claude Jarman in The Yearling; Kelly Reno in The Black Stallion; Tommy Kirk in Old Yeller; Jean-Pierre Cargol in The Wild Child.
Television: Rin Tin Tin; Flipper; My Friend Flicka; Lassie
Fiction: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Song: “Nature Boy.”
Religion/Myth: Persephone (in Greek myth, the daughter of Demeter, who was abducted to Hades and was associated with the agricultural cycles of growth and harvest); St. Francis of Assisi (Catholic friar said to have communicated with animals).
Child: Puer/Puella Eternis (Eternal Boy/Girl)
Positive aspects of the archetype manifest as a determination to remain eternally young in body, mind, and spirit. People who maintain that age will never stop them from enjoying life are relying on the positive energy of this archetype to supply that healthy attitude. The shadow Eternal Child often manifests as an inability to grow up and embrace the responsible life of an adult. Like Peter Pan, he resists ending a cycle of life in which he is free to live outside the boundaries of conventional adulthood. The shadow Puella Eternis can manifest in women as extreme dependency on those who take charge of their physical security. A consistent inability to be relied on and the inability to accept the aging process are also markers of this archetype. Although few people delight in the ending of their youth, the Eternal Child is sometimes left floundering and ungrounded between the stages of life, because he has not laid a foundation for a functioning adulthood.
Films: Tom Hanks in Big; Pee Wee Herman in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure; Carroll Baker in Baby Doll; Thomas Hulce in Dominic and Eugene, and as Mozart in Amadeus.
Fairy Tales: Peter Pan.
Religion/Myth: Cupid (boy god of Roman myth said to have been born from a silver egg); Harpa-Khruti (Horus the child); Harpocrates (Greek deity of god of silence and secrecy, represented as a naked boy sucking his finger);
The Divine Child is closely related to both the Innocent and Magical Child, but is distinguished from them both by its redemptive mission. The Divine Child also has a historical resonance all its own. At the beginning of the Piscean Age 2,000 years ago, the archetype of the Divine Family was introduced. That structure of the Father, Mother, and Divine Child (God the Father, Mary, and Jesus) was somewhat prefigured in ancient Egyptian mythology by Osiris, Isis, and their son Horus, but they do not share the warm-hearted union of love and divinity that the Christian motif developed. The Divine Child is associated with innocence, purity, and redemption, god-like qualities that suggest that the Child enjoys a special union with the Divine itself. Few people are inclined to choose the Divine Child as their dominant Child archetype, however, because they have difficulty acknowledging that they could live continually in divine innocence. And yet, divinity is also a reference point of your inner spirit that you can turn to when you are in a conscious process of choice.
You may also assume that anything divine cannot have a shadow aspect, but that’s not realistic. The shadow of this archetype manifests as an inability to defend itself against negative forces. Even the mythic gods and most spiritual masters — including Jesus, who is the template of the Divine Child for the Christian tradition — simultaneously expressed anger and divine strength when confronting those who claimed to represent heaven while manifesting injustice, arrogance, or other negative qualities (think of Jesus’ wrath at the money-changers in the Temple). Assess your involvement with this archetype by asking whether you see life through the eyes of a benevolent, trusting God/Goddess, or whether you tend to respond initially with fear of being hurt or with a desire to hurt others first.
Films: Terence Stamp in Billy Budd; character of the young Dalai Lama in Kundun; character of the young Pu Yi in The Last Emperor; Alex Wiesendanger in Little Buddha.
Religion/Myth: Horus (in Egyptian myth, divine son of Isis and Osiris); Siddartha Gautama (according to legend, the future Buddha was born proclaiming that his cycle of rebirths was about to end); Infant of Prague (statue of Jesus as a child dressed in royal robes and wearing a crown, originating in 17th-century Czechoslovakia); Demophon (in Greek myth, the son of Metanira, queen of Eleusis, who was raised as a divine being by Demeter); 18. Balakrisna (the child form of Krishna in Hindu myth); Suitengu (Japanese child god of the sea).
Clown (Court Jester, Fool, Dummling)
The Clown archetype is associated with three major characteristics: making people laugh, making them cry, and wearing a mask that covers one’s own real emotions. The Clown is generally male, with few women playing the role either in literature or the theater. This may well be explained by the social attitude that associates weakness and loss of control with a man who expresses emotions. Therefore, the man has to wear a mask, which often portrays a crying face. The Clown reflects the emotions of the crowd, making an audience laugh by satirizing something they can relate to collectively or by acting out social absurdities. In general, the messages communicated through a Clown’s humor are deeply serious and often critical of the hypocrisy in an individual or in some area of society. Because of the mask he wears, the Clown is allowed–indeed, expected–to cross the boundaries of social acceptance, representing what people would like to do or say themselves.
The Court Jester or Fool is the manifestation of the Clown in a royal setting. Since no one can possibly take a fool seriously at the physical level, he is allowed entry into the most powerful of circles. While entertaining the king with outrageous behavior, the Fool is actually communicating messages that the king trusts. Political satirists often have dominant Court Jester archetypes, revealing the motivations of the highest officials in the nation in a manner that is generally granted freedom from the legal retribution that might be leveled against an ordinary citizen making the same comments.
Related to the Fool is the Dummling, the fairy tale character who, although often simple-minded, acts with a good heart and is usually rewarded for it. Modern film characters such as Forrest Gump and Nurse Betty embody this aspect of the archetype, which does not so much impart wisdom as foster living with kindness and simplicity.
The shadow aspect of the Clown or Fool manifests as cruel personal mockery or betrayal, specifically the breaking of confidences gained through knowledge from the inner circle.
In reviewing your relationship to this archetype, consider your use of humor in association with power. Since everyone is prone to jesting, you are looking for a connection to a pattern of behavior that is fundamental to your personal protection and survival. In distinguishing Clown from Fool, note that the Fool is connected to arenas of power, while the Clown does his best work as an Everyman, like Ralph Kramden on “The Honeymooners.” Reflect on whether “clowning” around is an essential channel for expressing your emotions over and above simple play. Ask yourself if, like the Fool, you carry truth into closed circles or closed minds.
Films: Danny Kaye in The Court Jester; Buster Keaton in The Navigator, Sherlock Jr., The General; Charlie Chaplin in The Circus, The Gold Rush; Giulletta Masina in La Strada; Barbra Steisand in What’s Up, Doc?; Rene Zellweger in Nurse Betty; Woody Allen in Zelig.
Drama: He Who Gets Slapped by Maxim Gorky.
Opera: I Pagliacci, by Leoncavallo.
Literature: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes; Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer; Holy Fools and Mad Hatters by Edward Hays; The Autobiography of Henry VIII with notes by his Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George.
Religion/Myth: Mullah Nasruddin, a.k.a. Hoja Nasredin (Sufi figure in Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, half saint and half fool, who acts like a ninny to teach wisdom); Sir Dagonet (the fool of King Arthur who was knighted as a joke, but who also performed bravely in tournaments); Heyoka (in Lakota Sioux lore, someone who does things backwards to teach people not to take themselves too seriously); Coyote (in Native American lore.
Companion (Friend, Sidekick, Right Arm, Consort)
The Sidekick’s qualities of loyalty, tenacity, and unselfishness are the positive aspects of this archetype. A Sidekick/Companion provides a service, symbolically speaking, to a personality that often has a stronger nature or a role in life that carries more authority. Secretaries and personal assistants are examples of Right Arms, taking care of the day-to-day details of life. You might have an inner Companion that takes care of the details and allows another archetype to focus on work central to your mission. Companions are associated with providing emotional rather than sexual support. Platonic or friendship bonds are more in keeping with that particular archetype.
Betrayal is a common example of the shadow side of the Companion, which damages the soul.
Films: Eve Arden in Mildred Pierce, The Lady Takes a Sailor, The Kid from Brooklyn; Frank Sinatra and Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity; Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise.
Television: My Friend Flicka; Lassie;
Fiction: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Dr. Watson) by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Drama: Iago in Othello by Shakespeare (shadow).
Religion/Myth: Damon and Pythias (in Christian lore, two young men whose loyalty to each other won their freedom after Pythias was condemned to death); Enkidu (companion created by the gods for Gilgamesh, a natural man who proved a perfect match for the godlike hero king); Eris (Greek goddess of strife and constant companion of the war god, Ares); Apis (holy bull was worshipped in ancient Egypt as the companion of the creator god Ptah); Nike (Greek victory goddess and companion of Athena, goddess of wisdom and war).
The Damsel in Distress may be the oldest female archetype in all of popular literature and the movies. She is always beautiful, vulnerable, and in need of rescue, specifically by a Knight and, once rescued, she is taken care of in lavish style. When disappointed, a Damsel must go through a process of empowerment and learn to take care of herself in the world. The shadow side of this archetype mistakenly teaches old patricarchal views that women are weak and teaches them to be helpless and in need of protection. It leads a woman to expect to have someone else who will fight her battles for her while she remains devoted and physically attractive and concealed in the castle. Many women still expect to marry a man who will give them a castle and take of them. And some men are raised to expect to do this (see Prince and Knight).
The Damsel’s fear of going it alone is holds the Damsel/Knight relationship together. It also often shatters the relationship when the Prince or Knight grows older and expects to have a perennially young, attractive Princess at his beck and call. The Princess inevitably grows older even if she remains helpless. Or she becomes more interetsed in the outside world, develops skills and competiencies and is unable to maintain the same old dynamic of dependency. Either way, most Damsel/Prince relationships ultimately find that they change or fail. The Damsel/Princess must ultimately learn to fight her own battles and evolve into a Queen.
The Princess is more often associated with romance rather than distress. She awaits a Knight who is worthy of her beauty and rank and will take her not to his castle but to a palace. The castles that Damsels are taken to have prisons, cold stone walls, drawbridges, and moats. Palaces are fantastically beautiful and charmed and are associated with ballrooms and elegance. The common (archetypal) expression, “Daddy’s little Princess” implies an adoring father who brings up his daughter surrounded by beauty and abundance. There is no “Daddy’s little Damsel in Distress.” The Princess and the Damsel, however, both are taught to be helpless and do share a yearning for a Knight as a partner in life, the implication being that without a Knight, they are powerless in this world. The challenge inherent in these archetypal patterns, therefore, is to do for yourself what you expect the Knight to do for you–provide and protect yourself.
The Princess archetype is also influenced by our colloquial use of the term and especially its heavy freight of antifeminist connotations of a woman who is overly demanding, as in “Jewish-American Princess” or in the story of the Princess and the Pea. Even when used positively, the word can imply an unreal, bland, or cosseted character, like the teenage daughter nicknamed Princess on the TV series Father Knows Best. But a genuine Princess looks out not for her own comfort and whimsy but for the welfare of those around her. In Asian, tales abound of clever and resourceful Princesses, of conflicts between schools of martial arts for instance in which a Prince and Princess battle it out, as depicted in the Ang Lee film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. And Scheherezade bravely married the sultan who had decided to kill all his new wives at daybreak, and beguiled him with tales for a thousand and one nights until he rescinded his decree, thus saving all the women.
In reviewing your relationship to this archetype, return to your fantasies as a young girl and note what your expectations were in looking for a mate. Most significantly, were you (or are you) consciously or unconsciously awaiting the arrival of your Knight in Shining “Amour”? Did you think or behave like a Damsel? Were you hoping to be rescued? And if you are now coping with the consequences of a broken relationship, can you trace the reasons for the failed partnership back to being disappointed that your expectations as Damsel were not met?
Films: Pearl White in the Perils of Pauline silent films; Fay Wray in King Kong; Betty Hutton in The Perils of Pauline; Jean Simmons in Young Bess; Robin Wright in The Princess Bride; Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the Star Wars Trilogy; Ingrid Bergman in Anastasia; Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love; Kate Winslet in Titanic; Jeff Daniels in Something Wild.
Fiction: Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell; Emma by Jane Austin.
Fairy Tales: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella.
Religion/Myth: Ko-no-Hana (in Shinto belief, the Japanese Blossom Princess, who symbolizes the delicate aspects of earthly life); Io (in Greek myth, a princess and the daughter of a river god, who suffered continually as the object of Zeus’s lust); Princess Aigiarm (strong, valiant daughter of Mongolian King Kaidu who offered herself in marriage to any suitor who could wrestle her down but who, if he lost, had to give her a horse. She never married, and won 10,000 horses).
Destroyer (Attila, Mad Scientist, Serial Killer, Spoiler)
Destruction and Reconstruction is another way of describing the Death and Rebirth cycle of life. Systems and structures must be dismantled so that new life can be born. Myths and legends about gods and goddesses bringing destruction to the earth are common to all traditions. Yahweh destroyed the world through the great Flood and rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gommorah. In the Hindu tradition, the goddess Kali, generally pictured wearing a belt made of dismembered arms and a necklace of human skulls, represents the positive power of destruction, annihilating ignorance and maintaining the world order. The god Shiva, Kali’s male counterpart, destroys in order to create.
The impulse to destroy and rebuild is archetypal. We are bound to that cycle and therein lies the learning. Destruction also refers to releasing that which is destroying us, and, so, many therapists and other healers serve the role of the Destroyer by assisting others to release destructive emotions or behavior. The power of positive destruction is enormously healing and liberating.
In its shadow manifestation, destruction becomes an end in itself, and one becomes intoxicated with one’s own destructive power and addicted to it. The Destroyer generates death, madness, and abuse and targets individuals and groups. It can manifest as a nation that destroys other nations or people who destroy the environment. To count this shadow archetype as part of your support group, you will be able to recognize a pattern within your psyche that destroys relationships or promotes attitudes and opinions that destroy others’ dreams or potential.
Films: Jack Palance in The Sign of the Pagan; William Holden in The Wild Bunch; Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs; Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List; Richard Baseheart in Hitler.
Religion/Myth: Angra Mainyu or Ahriman (in Zoroastrianism, the eternal destroyer of good, personification of evil, conveyor of death and disease); Kalki (in Hindu belief, the final incarnation of Vishnu, who will descend from the sky on a white horse to destroy the wicked, renew the world, and restore righteousness); the Furies or Erynies (avenging deities of Greek myth who pursued and persecuted anyone who killed a parent, brother, or fellow clansman, by driving the murderer mad); the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (allegorical figures in the New Testament Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, who symbolize war, pestilence, famine, and death).
Detective (Spy, Double Agent, Sleuth, Snoop, Sherlock Holmes, Private Investigator, Profiler–see also Warrior/Crime Fighter)
Positive characteristics of the Detective include the ability to seek out knowledge and information that supports solving crimes and protecting the public. Detectives combine great powers of observation with highly evolved intuition to deduce the solutions to crimes. Whereas the Detective is public and often highly respected–especially its modern counterpart, the police Profiler–the empowered Spy is associated far more with the surreptitious and often illegal acquisition of secret information regarding politics, business, or national security. Our attitude toward spies often depends on whose side they’re on. Many Americans see Gary Powers as a heroic figure, while Double Agents such as Robert P. Hansson or British intelligence officer and Soviet spy Kim Philby are considered traitors.
The shadow side of these archetypes can manifest as voyeurism, falsifying information, or selling out to the highest bidder. Parents who “spy” on their children with good intentions, such as uncovering their involvement with sex or drugs, are nonetheless flirting with the shadow Detective.
Films: Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep; Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold; Kelly McGillis and Jeff Daniels in The House on Carroll Street; Kathleen Turner in V. I. Warshawski; Laurence Olivier in Sleuth; any James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or Charlie Chan film.
Fiction: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Dashiel Hammett, Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Tom Clancy, John LeCarré.
Television: I Spy; Magnum, P.I.
Religion/Myth: Sinon (in Greek lore, a spy who gained the trust of the Trojans by pretending to have deserted the Greeks, then convinced them to take in the wooden horse that led to their downfall).
From a Latin root meaning “to delight in,” the Dilettante is a lover of the fine arts who never rises above the level of an amateur, and to whom the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” applies. Although the word has the negative connotation of a dabbler who seeks only a cursory knowledge or experience, it never completely loses the sense of delighting in the arts. The Amateur, from the Latin root for “love,” has many of the same qualities of the Dilettante applied to the realm of sports or applied arts such as cooking and gardening. In many cases it’s better to be an inspired amateur than a grind-it-out professional. Like the survival archetypes, the Dilettante or Amateur can alert you when you are in danger of becoming merely superficial in your pursuits, or losing the love that drew you to your avocation in the first place.
The shadow Dilettante manifests as a pretension to much deeper knowledge than you actually possess.
Films: Catherine Frot in La Dilettante; Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie; Liza Minnelli in Cabaret; Spring Byington in You Can’t Take It with You; Hermione Gingold in The Music Man; John Savage in The Amateur; Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve (Amateur).
Fiction: Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis; “The Dilettante” by Edith Wharton.
Don Juan (Casanova, Gigolo, Seducer, Sex Addict)
Sexual energy provides great power when properly channeled. Like the Femme Fatale, the Don Juan archetype can make us aware of falling into sex role cliches, misusing the power of romantic attraction and pursuit. Although associated with sensuality and sophistication, this archetype represents a man preying on women for the sake of conquest alone. Sex addiction is not about sex but about the need to gain control of someone. Don Juan radiates an attitude that all women need him far more than he needs them, and that he is invulnerable to their charms.
The positive aspect of this archetype is its underlying vulnerability and its power to open wide a heart that is capable of deep love. As many stories portray, once the gigolo meets his match, he has also found his mate. But his match, in keeping with the profile of this pattern, must have emotional independence and the self-esteem to be immune to his manipulative skills.
Films: Warren Beatty in Shampoo; Richard Gere in American Gigolo; Donald Sutherland in Casanova; Michael Caine in Alfie; Johnny Depp in Don Juan di Marco; Jude Law in A.I.
Fiction: Quiet Days in Clichy by Henry Miller.
Religion/Myth: Satyr (in Greek myth, a creature with a goat’s tail, flanks, hooves, and horns, but otherwise human upper body, who drinks, dances, and chases nymphs. The Italian version is the faun, and in Slavonic culture, the Ljeschi); Priapus (Greek and Roman deity of gardens attributed with enormous genitals); Aka Manah (in Zoroastrianism, the personification of sensual desire).
Engineer (Architect, Builder, Schemer)
The Engineer is eminently practical, hands-on, and devoted to making things work. The characteristics of the Engineer reflect the grounded, orderly, strategic qualities of mind that convert creative energy into a practical expression. This archetype also manifests as a talent for engineering everyday situations or designing solutions to common dilemmas. The shadow Engineer manifests as a master manipulator, designing and engineering situations to one’s own advantage regardless of the needs or desires of others.
Films: Alec Guinness in The Bridge on the River Kwai; Gary Cooper in The Fountainhead; Jeff Bridges in Tucker.
Drama: The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen
Religion/Myth: Elen (in Welsh myth, the world’s first highway engineer, who protected her land by magically creating highways so that her soldiers could defend it); Amenhotep (ancient Egyptian architect who later was venerated as the god of building); Daedalus (renowned Cretan architect who constructed the Labyrinth of the Minotaur and fashioned artificial wings for himself and his son, Icarus).
The ability to confront evil in the form of possession by destructive or antisocial impulses in oneself and others is as valuable today as it was in the time of Jesus, the master Exorcist. Just as modern biblical scholars suggest that the demons that Jesus cast out may have been forms of psychological illness, so we can see our own inner demons as arising from forces that we feel are beyond our control. Shamans, for example, conduct rituals for the release of negative spirits from a person’s soul. To include this among your family of archetypes, however, you would have to find a life-long pattern or exorcising the negative spirits of others or of social groups or society.
The shadow Exorcist attacks the evil in others without having the courage to face his own demons.
Films: Jason Miller in The Exorcist; Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.
Religion/Myth: Shoki (Shinto god of the afterlife and exorcism); Zhong kui (Taoist god of the afterlife and exorcism).
Father (Patriarch, Progenitor)
This archetype combines a talent for creating or initiating with the ability to oversee others, whether a biological family or a group of creative people. Although the Father has taken on negative connotations associated historically with paternalism and male dominance, we shouldn’t lose sight of its primary characteristics of courage–think of Abraham leaving the home of his ancestors to father a new race in a strange land–and protectiveness. A true Father guides and shields those under his care, sacrificing his own desires when that’s appropriate. The shadow Father emerges when that caring guidance and protection turns into dictatorial control or abuse of authority.
Being a biological father and family man clearly isn’t enough to include this archetype in your intimate circle. You will need to uncover a life-long attachment to the role of family patriarch, however you conceive of that family.
Films: William Powell in Life with Father; Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride; Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer; Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird; Lamberto Maggiorani in The Bicycle Thief; Raymond Massey in East of Eden (shadow).
Television: Robert Young in Father Knows Best; Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons.
Fiction: All the Way Home by James Agee.
Religion/Myth: Most ancient cultures had at least one Father god, usually associated with the sky, who also functioned as creator and patriarch, including Uranus and Zeus (Greece); Jupiter (Rome); Indra and Brahma (India); the “Jade Emperor” (China); Izanagi (Japan); Re and Ptah (Egypt); Olorun and Obatala (Africa/Yoruba).
Femme Fatale (Black Widow, Flirt, Siren, Circe, Seductress, Enchantress)
The female counterpart of Don Juan sometimes adds the twist of killing her conquests as an expression of her ability to dominate, thereby reversing the conventional sexual stereotypes. As with Don Juan, the Femme Fatale represents highly refined skills at manipulating men without investing personal emotion. The Femme Fatale is a sexual and a financial archetype, and either comes from or is drawn to money and power. Seducing men with money and power and for the sake of personal control and survival is a classic part of this archetype, although the Femme Fatale is not looking for a home in the suburbs and the pleasures of family life.
As with the Don Juan archetype, the positive aspect of this pattern is the opening of the heart, which often occurs when the male object rejects the manipulations and dependency of the Femme Fatale, as Rhett Butler rejects Scarlett O’Hara at the end of Gone with the Wind.
Films: Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity; Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction; Theresa Russell in Black Widow; Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Kathleen Turner in Body Heat; Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.
Fiction: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain.
Religion/Myth: Circe (in Greek myth, a sorceress/seductress who could turn men into animals with her magic wand); Potiphar’s wife (in the Hebrew Bible, when her attempt to seduce Joseph failed, she had him thrown into captivity. Her name is Zeleikha in Islamic tradition); Tapairu (Polynesian nymphs who inhabit the waters that lead to the underworld. The goddess of death employs them to seduce men away from the earth); Lorelei (in Teutonic myth, a beautiful maiden who drowned herself after being spurned by her lover, and was then transformed into a siren whose hypnotic music lured sailors to their death).
The Gambler is a risk-taker who plays the odds. This archetype has far more aspects than are commonly considered, including not just card sharps and racetrack gamblers, but also drug addicts, entrepreneurs, and day traders. The Gambler is also active in the psyche of people who take risks in politics and other social activities that amount to gambling with one’s reputation. From an energetic perspective, gambling is an attempt to outrun the speed at which ordinary change happens. Acquiring great wealth in a casino in one throw of the dice or by winning the lottery is a spectacular experience not only because of the money but because of the experience of the compression of time. The drama of trying to outrun the odds is the psychic lock on the Gambler within a person’s psyche.
The positive aspect of this archetype manifests in following hunches, and in the belief in one’s intuition, even in the face of universal doubt. From real estate ventures to scientific research, hunches have often yielded successful fruitful outcomes. To assess whether you are a Gambler, review your ability to follow your intuition and what others might consider risky inner guidance. Ask yourself how many of your decisions are based on gut instinct rather than facts and figures.
You can evaluate your relationship to the shadow Gambler according to whether you have a compulsion. Some people who are obsessed with winning lotteries and striking it rich at casino tables–or in get-rich-quick and pyramid schemes–may spend relatively little money compared to professional gamblers, but their focus on finding ways to beat the odds is a central part of their life. A related form of gambling may affect the way you are focused on looking for lucky breaks in your relationships, rather than doing the hard psychic work needed to make them succeed.
Films: Steve McQueen in The Cincinnati Kid (shadow); Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, and George C. Scott (shadow) in The Hustler; Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in White Men Can’t Jump; Edith Evans in The Queen of Spades; Clive Owen in Croupier; Roger Duchesne in Bob le Flambeur (Bob the Gambler).
Fiction: The Gambler by Dostoevsky
Religion/Myth: Jason, Odysseus (heroic figures of Greek legend who fearlessly gambled against the odds, risking life and limb to achieve their goals); Cunawabi (American Indian–Paiute–figure known as a gambler who takes many risky adventures and who also brings night and illness)
God (Adonis, see also Hero)
Whether a great worldly power or a great physical specimen, the God archetype represents the ultimate in male dominance. On the positive side, a God can be benevolent and compassionate, willing to use his powers to help others out of love for humanity. The shadow God easily becomes a dictator or despot, oppressing others with those same powers, or using his physical attractiveness to get what he wants without ever returning the affection he elicits. To claim this archetype among your support circle of twelve, you need to have a life-long sense of great power, used either selfishly or selflessly.
You may feel a powerful connection to a particular deity, so here are a few from the Roman/Greek:
Jupiter/Zeus: father god, head of the pantheon
Bacchus/Dionysus: wine and revelry
Neptune/Poseidon: the sea
Pluto/Hades: death and the underworld
Religion/Myth: Like the archetype in human manifestation, mythic and religious Gods run the gamut from omniscient, benevolent deity to arbitrary destroyer. In addition to those listed above are Yahweh (Hebrew); Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Indra (Hindu); Allah (Muslim); Ra, Osiris, Ptah (Egyptian); Baal (Canaanite); Marduk, Ishtar (Babylonian); Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca (Aztec); Enlil, Dumuzi (Sumerian); Osun, Olokun (Yoruba); Wakan Tanka (Native American).
Goddess (see also Heroine)
The oldest religious tradition on earth may well be Goddess worship, which some archaeologists trace back further than 30,000 years. It was certainly natural to worship the archetype of woman as the Source of all life, especially in the age before male warriors replaced Her with their combative sky gods. The connection of fertility with exaggerated sexual attributes found in ancient statues of the Goddess survive in modern worship of screen goddesses such as Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. The Goddess can be inspiring to women, embodying wisdom, guidance, physical grace, athletic prowess, and sensuality. This aspect is awakened by our relation to the goddesses of various spiritual traditions, including Kali, Durga, and Uma in India, Tara in Tibet, Quanyin in China, and the many manifestations of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in Western belief, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.
The shadow side of the Goddess emerges from the exploration of the feminine power, including the exploitation or over-indulgence of movie stars and fashion models.
Identifying with a goddess figure as a major archetype in your chart requires that you review life-long associations with the image and personality associated with it. Athena is the able-bodied warrior woman as well as the classic “powerful woman behind the throne.” Today we see this power re-emerging in popular form in neo-mythic characters such as Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer–attractive women who are also strong and capable. The energy of Venus (Aphrodite) is prevalent in women who form their self-image strongly around their sexuality. Study the specific qualities of each goddess and evaluate how much of your sense of self is reflected in one of those patterns, beginning with a few of the most familiar names from the Roman/Greek pantheon:
Venus/Aphrodite: love and fertility
Diana/Artemis: nature and hunting
Minerva/Athena: strength, clear thinking
Juno/Hera: queenship and partnership
Proserpina/Persephone: mysticism and mediumship
Films: Kim Stanley in The Goddess; Ava Gardner in One Touch of Venus; Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch; Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite.
Fiction: She by H. Rider Haggard
Religion/Myth: Every culture in the world has mythological stories portraying the power of the Goddess. Besides those mentioned above, you can choose from Tara and Quanyin (Tibetan and Chinese bodhisattvas of compassion); Amaterasu Omigami (Shinto Sun goddess); Shakti (Hindu personification of energy as Divine Mother); Branwen (Celtic goddess of love and beauty); Oshun (East African Yoruba goddess of pleasure, love, and beauty); Pan Jin Lian (Chinese goddess of prostitution); Frigg (Norse goddess of marriage, motherhood, childbirth, and midwifery); Turan (Etruscan goddess of love, health, and fertility).
Gossip (see also Networker)Guide (Guru, Sage, Crone, Wise Woman, Spiritual Master, Evangelist, Preacher)
The Guide takes the role of Teacher to a spiritual level, teaching not only the beliefs and practices that make up established religions, but also the overarching principle of seeing the Divine in every aspect of life. Clearly you do not have to be a professional Preacher or Guru to have this archetype, as we can all learn to lead others spiritually through developing our own intuitive spiritual awareness and passing on whatever we have learned with genuine humility. To count this archetype as part of your support group, however, you will need to discern in your life a continuing pattern of devoting yourself to teaching others from your own spiritual insights. This presupposes that you have gained wisdom through some combination of self-disciplined practice and study and perhaps spontaneous spiritual experiences. Wisdom also comes with age, and so the Crone or Wise Woman represents the ripening of natural insight and the acceptance of what is, allowing one to pass that wisdom on to others.
The shadow aspect of the Guide is visible in many modern televangelists and gurus of various traditions who are more interested in financial gain and controlling their followers than in imparting genuine spiritual insight.
Films: Meetings with Remarkable Men; Robert Duval in The Apostle.
Religion/Myth: Marpa (Buddhist master and guru of Milarepa who guided him through arduous tasks to become the greatest yogi of Tibet);
Healer (Wounded Healer, Intuitive Healer, Caregiver, Nurse, Therapist, Analyst, Counselor)
The Healer archetype manifests as a passion to serve others in the form of repairing the body, mind, and spirit. It expresses itself through channels other than those classically associated with the healing of illnesses, and so you need to look beyond the obvious definition of what you “do.” You can be strongly guided by this archetype in any occupation or role in life. Some people, by their very nature and personality, are able to inspire others to release their painful histories or make changes in their lives that redirect the course of their future. Essential characteristics include an inherent strength and the ability to assist people in transforming their pain into a healing process, as well as having the “wiring” required to channel the energy needed to generate physical or emotional changes.
Religion/Myth: Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa (Jewish healer considered to have been in the same class as Jesus); Ninkarrak (Babylonian/Sumerian goddess who nursed sick humans); Bear Medicine Woman (American Indian healing spirit); Mukuru (creator god of the Herero bushmen of Namibia, who sends life-giving rain, heals the sick, and cares for the elderly).
The Wounded Healer is initiated into the art of healing through some form of personal hardship–anything from an actual physical injury or illness to the loss of all one’s earthly possessions. Regardless of the shape of the wound, the challenge inherent in this initiation process is that one is unable to turn to others for help beyond a certain degree of support. Only the initiate can ultimately heal the wound; if it is an illness or accident, it will frequently be one for which there is no conventional cure. The Wounded Healer archetype emerges in your psyche with the demand that you push yourself to a level of inner effort that becomes more a process of transformation than an attempt to heal an illness. If you have successfully completed the initiation, you inevitably experience an exceptional healing, and a path of service seems to be divinely provided shortly after the initiation is complete.
The shadow of both the Healer and Wounded Healer manifests through a desire to take advantage of those who need help, including claims that you can heal any and every illness a person has.
Films: Ellen Burstyn in Resurrection; Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (shadow); Rosalind Russell in Sister Kenny; Barbara Stanwyck in Miracle Woman (based on Aimee Semple McPherson).
Fiction: The Citadel by A. J. Cronin; Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis (shadow).
Religion/Myth: Asklepios (Greek hero who later become a plague god, then the god of medicine and healing); Aesculapius (Roman god of healing based on the Greek Asklepios); Garuda (great golden bird with an eagle’s beak and wings and human body, the Indian symbol of medicine); Meditrina (“Healer,” a Roman goddess of wine and health who was later syncretized into the cult of Aesculapius); Eeyeekalduk (Inuit god of healing); the Medicine Buddhas (most prominently, Bhaishajyaguru in Tibet and Yakushi-Nyorai in Japan, who symbolize the healing and transformative quality of buddhahood).
Hedonist (Bon Vivant, Chef, Gourmet, Gourmand, Sybarite–see also Mystic)
This Archetype has an “appetite” for the pleasurable aspects of life, from good food and wine to sexuality and sensuality. As scientific reserach has shown, pleasure can improve our health and extend our lives and needs to be part of a balanced life. Indulging the self is central to the psyche of this archetype, whether treating oneself to a health spa or learning the nuances of lovemaking. That the Hedonist is generally thought of as someone who pursues extremes of self-indulgence is more a reflection of our Puritan heritage than of the archetype itself. In positive terms, it inspires creative energy in the psyche to embrace the “good” things in life. It also challenges in a positive way the collective archetypal fear of being seduced and losing control in the physical world. The shadow Hedonist may manifest as pursuing pleasure without regard for other people or one’s own good health.
The search for physical ecstasy parallels the search for spiritual transformation, a truth that is apparent in the dual identity of the famous Greek icon of pleasure-seeking, Dionysus. Besides being a god of wine and fertility (later adoped by the Romans as Bacchus), Dionysus also represents the goal of mystery religions, like those practiced at Eleusis: ecstatic delivery from the mundane world through the physical or spiritual intoxication induced by secret rites. (See Mystic.) The sacrament of Soma (also a god of the Vedic pantheon) played a similar role in ancient Indian spirituality.
Films: Babbette’s Feast; Like Water for Chocolate; Big Night.
Fiction: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding; The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; Les Liaisons Dangereuses by P. Choderlos DeLaclos.
Religion/Myth: Oshun (Yoruba goddess of love and pleasure who is generous and benign); Bebhionn (Irish patron goddess of pleasure); Qadesh (Western Semitic fertility goddess and epitome of female sexuality and eroticism); Bes (Egyptian dwarf god originally associated with royalty and childbirth who became popular among the masses as a god of human pleasures of mirth, music, and dance).
Hero/Heroine (see also Knight, Warrior)
Many of the gods of the world’s ancient religions began their lives as heroes capable of great feats of strength or skill. The Hero is also a classic figure in ancient Greek and Roman literature, often portrayed as one who must confront an increasingly difficult path of obstacles in order to birth his manhood. Today this archetype holds a dominant position in the social mind as an icon of both male and female power, from the Superheroes of comic books, such as Superman and Wonder Woman, to television and countless movies and popular novels. In the classic Hero’s Journey, defined by Joseph Campbell and others, an individual goes on a journey of initiation to awaken an inner knowing or spiritual power. The Self emerges as the Hero faces physical and internal obstacles, confronting the survival fears that would compromise his journey of empowerment and conquering the forces arrayed against him. The Hero then returns to the tribe with something of great value to all.
From a shadow perspective, the Hero can become empowered through the disempowerment of others. The manner in which the Hero uses his physical power is a reflection of the spirit of the Hero, represented through authentic acts of heroism.
Films: Sigourney Weaver in Alien; Dustin Hoffman in Hero; Anthony Hopkins in Zorro; Jeff Bridges in The Last American Hero; Kevin Costner in Postman and Waterworld; Debbie Reynolds in The Unsinkable Molly Brown; Seema Biswas (as Phoolan Devi) in Bandit Queen.
Religion/Myth: Ulysses (hero of The Odyssey whose most renowned trait was his supreme resourcefulness, the ability to find a way out of the most dangerous situation); Arjuna (in the Bhagavad Gita, his questioning of his Hero/Warrior role leads the god Krishna to instruct him in divine wisdom); Hidesato (in Japanese legend, a killer of many monsters, including the feared Centipede); Saynday (a hero-trickster of the Native American Kiowa tribe); Paul Bunyan (legendary hero of the lumber camps of the American Northwest, whose feats included creating the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe behind him); Theseus (Athenian hero who slew the Marathonian Bull and the Minotaur); Bernardo del Caprio (semi-mythical ninth-century Spanish credited with defeating Roland at Roncesvalles).
Judge (Critic, Examiner, Mediator, Arbitrator)
The template for the Judge archetype in Jewish-Christian culture largely derives from King Solomon, who was notable for balancing justice and compassion. So thoroughly do we maintain this ancient template that Solomon’s characteristic balancing is now the standard by which we measure all judges. Those who manipulate or disgrace justice or violate this creed are held to be social and moral criminals, having damaged the honor of the courtroom and the nation, and the archetype itself. For that reason, this archetype should be understood as one that has the vision to manage the fair distribution of power in whatever form it takes, from violating military codes to breaking marriage vows.
One need not be an attorney, judge, or critic by profession to identify with this archetype. If you are a natural mediator or involved in interventions between people, you may carry this archetype in your psyche. Personal qualities that inspire in you a commitment to lead a life with high standards related to justice and wisdom as well as the manner in which you interact with other people are very reflective of a strong connection to this archetype. Prolonged suffering from having been misjudged–an experience that walks hand-in-hand with learning forgiveness–should also be considered an expression of this archetype in your life. But as with all other archetypal evaluations, you are not looking for one experience of having been misjudged or misjudging another, but rather a life-long learning process that is centered around the learning of justice and compassion.
The shadow Judge manifests as consistently destructive criticism, judging without compassion or with a hidden agenda. Legal manipulation, misuse of legal authority, and threatening others through an association with the law are other expressions of the shadow. Such manipulation includes the misuse of business authority as well as conventional legal and criminal authority.
Films: Spencer Tracy in Judgment at Nuremberg; Louis Calhern as Oliver Wendell Holmes in The Magnificent Yankee; John Forsythe in And Justice for All (shadow); Dominic Guard in The Go-Between
Fiction: Billy Budd, Foretopman (Capt. Starry Vere) by Herman Melville; The Ambassadors by Henry James.
Religion/Myth: Skan (creator god of the Dakota Sioux who judges both gods and the souls of humans); Yama (Hindu and Buddhist god of death, judge of the dead, and ruler of death’s kingdom or the hell realms); Pluto/Hades (Roman/Greek god of the underworld and judge of the dead); Thoth (primarily the Egyptian patron deity of scribes, also known as a mediator among the gods); San-guan (“Three Rulers,” collective name for three Taoist deities who keep a register of the good and evil deeds of people).
King (Emperor, Ruler, Leader, Chief)
The King is an archetype of major proportions, representing the height of temporal male power and authority. Both benevolence and cruelty in their extreme expressions are associated with this archetype. (Classic to the cruel King is the collective hope of his kingdom that he should fall from his throne.) The King is associated more with the royal blood and inheritance, whereas an Emperor can arise from common society, as did Napoleon. The bloodline connects the King to the Prince archetype and to attitudes of “entitlement,” one of the shadow characteristics of archetypes associated with rulership. A resistance to criticism, questioning, and challenges in decisions about controlling his kingdom. is also part of the King’s shadow.
Throughout history, the pendulum has swung from good Kings to evil, from benevolent, even saintly rulers to greedy, gluttonous criminals. King Louis IX of France–St. Louis–combined the qualities of a just ruler, fearless warrior, and holy man. The thirteenth-century sovereign lived for the welfare of his subjects and the glory of God. Charlemagne, King David, and Akhenaton of Egypt were among earth’s most enlightened, if occasionally all-too-human, rulers. And then there were Mad King George III of England, who led the Colonies to rebel; King Louis XVI of France was synonymous with decadence and excess; Emperor Hirohito of Japan led his country into a devastating war.
This archetype maintains the same characteristics on an individual level, whether one’s kingdom is a corporation, community, or family. The need to rule and exert control over a kingdom is key to this archetype.
Films: Charles Laughton in The Private Life of King Henry VIII; Yul Brynner in The King and I; Richard Gere in King David; Paul Scofield in King Lear (1971); Christopher Walken in The King of New York (shadow extraordinaire).
Drama: Richard III, Henry IV, Henry V, Hamlet, and Macbeth by Shakespeare.
Fiction: King of the Gypsies by Peter Maas; The Godfather by Mario Puzo (shadow); The Once and Future King by T.H.White.
Religion/Myth: Priam (king of Troy); Daibutsu/Daibosatsu (Japanese meditating buddha as world ruler); Sila or Silap inua (divine ruler of the Eskimo seen as the air you breathe and the energy that moves both the entire universe each of us individually); Amun (supreme Egyptian creator god, originally ruler of the air and the force behind wind and breezes); Chief Seattle (Native American leader); Haile Selassie (Emperor of Ethiopia, later deified by the Rastafarian religion).
Knight (see also Warrior, Rescuer)
The Knight archetype is primarily associated with chivalry, courtly romance, protection of the Princess, and going to battle only for honorable causes. The Knight serves his King or Lord and so this archetype has spiritual overtones as well of service and devotion. Loyalty and self-sacrifice are the Knight’s great virtues, along with a natural ability to get things done.
The Black Knight donning dark armor and riding a black horse represents the shadow characteristics of this archetype, especially the absence of honor and chivalry. Somewhat like the Warrior, the shadow Knight manifests as loyalty to a questionable ruler or principle. In its negative aspect, the Knight can also, like the Rescuer, fall into a pattern of saving others but ignoring his own needs. A true Knight, like the Mystic, walks the fine line between self-sacrifice and self-neglect.
Films: Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Tom Hanks in Apollo 13; Christopher Reeve in Superman; Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves, Tin Cup, and JFK.
Drama: Man of LaMancha by Dale Wasserman
Fairy Tales: Prince Valiant
Religion/Myth: Knights of the Round Table (in medieval English lore, a semi-mythic group of 150 knights including Lancelot, Gawain, Kay, Mordred, Galahad, and others who served under King Arthur); Sir Percival/Parzifal (Knight of the Round Table who got to see the Holy Grail); Fabian (a good knight turned into a forest spirit by his ex-lover, a sorceress, and now dwells in the hills near Prague); Damas (shadow Knight who trapped other knights so that his brother could fight them).
We tend to think of Liberators as great military and political leaders who free an entire country or people from servitude, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, SimCn Bol_var of Venezuela, Nelson Mandela, and, depending on your politics, Lenin, Castro, and Che Guevara. But in everyday life, any number of people can play a similar role on a smaller scale, helping to liberate us from the tyranny of self-inflicted negative thought patterns and beliefs, spiritual sluggishness, poor nutrition, destructive relationships, or addictive behavior. This archetype can be an invaluable ally in helping to free us from old, entrenched beliefs and attitudes that have been inculcated from without, much like colonial occupying armies. Jesus, Muhammad, and the Buddha were Liberators in this sense, offering options to the violence, suffering, and spiritual stagnation of their respective times and places. You do not have to be a charismatic leader to have this archetype, however. Thousands of people have taken part in long campaigns to win freedom from various kinds of oppression, from the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights movement in this country to the Freedom Fighters of the Hungarian Revolution.
The shadow Liberator manifests in those who would liberate us from one tyrant only to impose their own tyranny over our lives–corporate, political, religious, and spiritual leaders who speak of freedom as a way to their individual aggrandizement.
In evaluating whether this archetype belongs in your circle of twelve, ask whether you have shown a life-long pattern of helping to free others from injustices, from adverse economic or social conditions, or simply from their misconceptions.
Films: Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek; Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame; Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc; Tom Selleck in In and Out.
Fiction: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.
Fairy Tales: Belling the Cat
Religion/Myth: Dionysus and Eros (both bore other names meaning “the liberator”).
This archetype appears not only in those who are romantically inclined, but also in anyone who exhibits great passion and devotion. One can be a Lover of art, music, gardening, Persian carpets, nature, or needlepoint. The key is having a sense of unbridled and exaggerated affection and appreciation of someone or something that influences the organization of your life and environment. Although the Lover is present in everyone’s life to some degree, as a personal archetype it needs to play a significant role in the overall design of your life and your self-esteem, which is its strongest link to your psyche. The Lover is connected to issues of self-esteem because this archetype is so strongly represented by one’s physical appearance. Even if you have the Lover archetype prominently in your psyche, you may repress this pattern out of a lack of self-esteem, especially regarding your physical attractiveness.
The shadow lover manifests as an exaggerated of obsessive passion that has a destructive effect on one’s physical or mental health and self-esteem.
Films: Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck; Charles Denner in The Man Who Loved Women (Truffaut version); Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca; Jose Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac.
Drama: Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
Poetry: Troilus and Cressida by Chaucer
Fiction: Stealing Heaven by Marion Meade (Abelard and Heloise)
Fairy Tales: The Princess and the Frog; Beauty and the Beast.
Religion/Myth: Pyramus and Thisbe (star-crossed Babylonian lovers, described by Ovid, who commit double suicide); Endymion (in Greek myth a shepherd boy and mortal lover of the moon goddess Selene); Hasu-Ko (a Japanese girl who died of love for her betrothed, whom she had never seen); Freya (Norse goddess of love and fertility and symbol of sensuality, lover of music, spring, flowers, and elves); Guinevere and Lancelot (although Guinevere was married to King Arthur and Lancelot was one of his favorite knights, they pursued an affair that led to the eventual undoing of the Round Table).
The Martyr archetype is well known in two arenas: as a classic political or religious figure, and in the self-help world of contemporary psychology. Within the self-help field, the shadow Martyr is viewed as a person who has learned to utilize a combination of service and suffering for others as the primary means of controlling and manipulating her environment. Ironically, in the social and political world, the martyr is often highly respected for having the courage to represent a cause, even if it requires dying for that cause for the sake of others. Suffering so that others might be redeemed, whether that redemption take a spiritual or political form, is among the most sacred of human acts. While people recognize this archetype in others, particularly when they are directly influenced by the individual sporting this pattern, they often cannot see it in themselves.
Films: Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons; Meryl Streep in Silkwood; Denzel Washington in Malcolm X; Ben Kingsley in Gandhi.
Drama: Saint Joan by G.B. Shaw.
Fiction: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
Religion/Myth: Many Christian saints, including the Apostles; Mansur al-Hallaj (10th-century Sufi mystic martyred for his belief that God existed within him).
Mediator (Ambassador, Diplomat, Go-Between)
Smoothing relations between potentially antagonistic groups or individuals requires patience and skill, an ability to read people and situations with great acuity. If a good Advocate must empathize with those he is helping, a good mediator must be able to see and respect both sides of an argument or cause, thereby bringing warring parties together. One member of a family often assumes this role, so you do not have to be a career diplomat to qualify for this archetype. But you must have a life-long commitment to resolving disputes and bringing people together.
The shadow Mediator manifests as an ulterior motive or hidden agenda, working two sides of an issue for personal gain.
Films: Dominic Guard in The Go-Between;
Fiction: The Ambassadors by Henry James
Religion/Myth: Thoth (Egyptian god of wisdom and mediator among the gods, who always sought his counsel); Genetaska (Iroquois woman so respected for her fairness and impartiality that all disputes were brought to her to settle); Mitra/Mithra (Vedic/Persian god of friendships and contracts and guardian of the cosmic order, regarded as a mediator between the gods and humankind).
Mentor (Master, Counselor, Tutor)
A Mentor is a teacher in whom you can place your implicit trust. The word comes from the character in The Odyssey to whom Odysseus, on setting out for Troy, entrusted the care of his house and the education of his son, Telemachus. Today the role of Mentor is crucial in a surprising range of life situations, from many forms of art and artisanship to business and spiritual practice. Mentors do more than just teach; they pass on wisdom and refine their students’ character. In its shadow aspect, however, the Mentor can take on an overbearing attitude that is more about imposing control than imparting wisdom. A characteristic of the shadow Mentor is an inability to allow the student to move on into the role of Master, maintaining control over the student’s development of mind, body, and skills.
The distinction between this archetype and the Teacher is mainly one of degree. If you have shown a life-long pattern of taking individual “students” under your wing and guiding many aspects of their life, this may be an appropriate choice.
Films (Mentor): Alec Guinness to Mark Hammill in Star Wars; Takashi Shimura to Toshiro Mifune in The Seven Samurai; Yul Brynner to Horst Bucholz in The Magnificent Seven; Bette Davis to Anne Baxter in All About Eve; Paul Newman to Tom Cruise in The Color of Money.
Films (Teacher): Bette Davis in The Corn Is Green; Sidney Poitier in To Sir with Love; Michael Caine in Educating Rita; Glenn Ford in Blackboard Jungle.
Television: James Gandolfini to Robert Imperioli in The Sopranos.
Fiction: Fagin to Oliver in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (shadow)
Drama: The Miracle Worker by William Gibson.
Fiction: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (shadow); Hard Times by Charles Dickens (shadow).
Religion/Myth: Krishna (in Indian scripture, the spiritual mentor of Arjuna); Chiron (in Greek myth, a wise centaur who had extensive knowledge of the healing arts and tutored Asclepius, Theseus, and Achilles); Ninsun (in Sumerian legend, the mother of Gilgamesh who serves as his counselor).
Messiah (Redeemer, Savior)
This archetype is associated with the embodiment of divine power and being sent on a mission by heaven to save humanity. For all of its Judeo-Christian significance, the archetype of the Messiah has also become associated with psychological behavior. The Messianic complex, for example, applies to a person who is convinced of his divine mission and, in almost all cases, becomes obsessed with his mission to the point of psychosis, reaching an extreme in which a person begins to hear voices directing him to take lethal action. Criminals such as Jim Jones and Charles Manson are evidence of the shadow Messiah in its extreme.
Its subtle expression, however, is far more common and more difficult to identify as a personal pattern. People can become obsessed about their spiritual purpose, convinced that God needs them to do something.
Films: Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville; Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro in The Mission; Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich; Marcello Mastroianni in The Organizer.
Religion/Myth: Mashiach (“the anointed one” in Hebrew, the descendant of King David expected to restore the Jewish kingdom); Jesus Christ (“the anointed one” in Greek, believed by Christians to be the promised redeemer; Adam Kadmon (“Primordial Man,” in Jewish Kabbalah, described as the most perfect manifestation of God that humanity could contemplate, later identified with the Messiah); al-Mahdi (“the guided one” in Arabic, awaited descendant of Muhammad who will herald the end of history and restore Islamic purity); Maitreya (“the loving one” in Sanskrit, the fifth and final earthly Buddha who will help all those who have not yet realized enlightenment); Kalki (in Hindu belief, a future reincarnation of Vishnu who will arrive on a white horse to liberate the world from strife); Tang (Chinese messiah who saved mankind from a great drought by sacrificing his body in a mulberry bush, immediately inducing rainfall).
These two archetypes are so close that for practical purposes you can consider them together. Midas turned everything he touched into gold, including, tragically, his beloved daughter. The archetype is associated with entrepreneurial or creative ability. That Midas was a king symbolically implies that the Midas figure has the power to generate wealth for an entire kingdom, yet is interested only in his personal aggrandizement. Greed is his downfall. For that reason, lessons of generosity are a large part of the characteristics of this archetype. The shadow Midas or Miser creates wealth by hording money and emotions at the expense of others, and refusing to share them.
Although the desire to earn a living or become wealthy is not negative, this archetype also represents a need to control the forces around you for fear of losing your wealth. The challenges inherent in the Miser and Midas can go so far as to make a person confront what he is willing to do to create a mountain of wealth.
Films: Bette Davis in The Little Foxes; Michael Douglas in Wall Street; James Dean in Giant; Lionel Barrymore in It’s a Wonderful Life.
Fiction: Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Uriah Heep in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens; Silas Marner by George Eliot.
Drama: The Miser by Moliere
Religion/Myth: Midas (a king of Phrygia in Asia Minor who was given the dubious gift of the golden touch by Dionysus); Kukuth (in Albanian lore, the spirit of a deceased miser who cannot find rest).
The positive aspects of this archetype are fairly obvious: spiritual intensity, devotion, dedication, persistence, and perhaps wisdom. On the shadow side, the role of a religious recluse could be seen as removed from the real world, overly pious, even privileged in the sense of not having to be concerned about earning a living or raising a family. Yet, historically, monks have been extremely industrious and involved in real-world enterprises, whether draining swamps and planting vineyards in medieval Europe, working the rice fields in Asia, building monasteries, teaching, or copying and preserving texts. Today the Monk archetype may show up in the ability to be single-minded, assiduous, devoted to a spiritual path or to any great achievement that requires intense focus. In this sense, novelists and entrepreneurs can carry the Monk as readily as spiritual adepts.
The Celibate reserves his or her energy for work and/or spiritual practice. Yet one can be a Monk, even a religious one, without being celibate, as is the case with some Tibetan lamas, Yogis, and Islamic scholars. Then there were Abelard and Heloise, the twelfth-century Monk and Nun who forsook their vows of celibacy out of passion for each other. Both were superior in their fields–Abelard as lecturer, debater, and philosopher, Heloise as a radical prioress and founder of convents–and, although their passion caused them great suffering, it does not seem to have hurt their spiritual work.
Films: Claude Laydu in Diary of a Country Priest; Audrey Hepburn in The Nun’s Story; Yi Pan-yong in Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?; Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows Mr. Allison; Loretta Young in Come to the Stable; Lilia Skala in Lilies of the Field.
Television: Derek Jacobi in Brother Cadfael;
Fiction: The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
Religion/Myth: Friar Tuck (the mythical swordfighting monk of Robin Hood’s Merry Men); Nennius (Welsh monk commonly believed to have compiled the Historia Brittonum, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth and others to reconstruct the history of King Arthur); Bernadette Soubiros (19th-century French girl who at the age of fourteen claimed visions of the Virgin Mary.
Mother (Matriarch, Mother Nature)
The Mother is the life-giver, the source of nurturing and nourishment, unconditional fountain of love, patience, devotion, caring, and unselfish acts. This archetype is the keeper and protector of life, from children to the family to the greater Mother Nature archetype whose province is the Earth and all life. Mother Nature, also known as Gaia, is the Goddess of Life, the caretaker of the living environment of this planet. She is recognized as powerful, and when storms leave death and destruction in their wake, she may be referred to as wrathful. The power of compassion and the endless capacity to forgive her children and put them before herself are essential to the Good Mother. The Devouring, Abusive, Abandoning, and Working Mother each represent different aspects of this primal archetype within the entire human community.
Although Mothers have always worked, the contemporary archetype of the Career or Working Mother reflects the crises experienced by many women who seek also to be Devoted Mothers. Measured against the impossible mythic ideal of the Perfect Mother, the Career Mom is sometimes assumed unfairly to be a mother who puts her own needs before those of the children. This is an archetypal crisis for many women.
The Devouring Mother “consumes” her children psychologically and emotionally and often instills in them feelings of guilt at leaving her or becoming independent. The Abusive and Abandoning Mothers violate natural law by harming their own young.
Connections to the Mother archetype are not to be measured only by whether a woman is a biological mother. If you are intimately connected to nurturing and protecting the environment, including through gardening or farming, or supporting any life form, you should strongly consider whether your bond to Mother Nature is part of a life-long devotion that defines you. You may also recognize a strong bond to the Mother archetype in the form of one or all of her shadows. While it is difficult to admit, some women may have to face the fact that their children see them through the shadow aspects of the Mother, including the Abusive or Abandoning Mother.
Just as women can have a real connection to the Father archetype when they take on the paternal role in the household, so some men may relate to being “Mr. Mom,” yet another contemporary sculpting of the Mother archetype. The qualities that are associated with this archetype can be expressed in other than biological ways, such as giving birth to books or ideas, or nurturing others.
Films: Irene Dunne in I Remember Mama; Myrna Loy in Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes; Sophia Loren in Two Women; Sally Field in Places in the Heart; Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater; Rosalind Russell in Gypsy (Devouring); Katharine Hepburn in Suddenly Last Summer (shadow); Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest (shadow); Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate; Gladys Cooper in Now Voyager (shadow); Alberta Watson in Spanking the Monkey (Incestuous).
Drama: Mother Courage by Bertoldt Brecht; Medea by Euripedes; The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.
Religion/Myth: As with Gods, Goddesses, and Mystics, the Mother appears in all religious traditions and myths, usually as the Divine Mother. These are just a few examples: Lakshmi, Durga, Kali (Hinduism); Mary/Miryam (Christianity/Islam); Sarai, Naomi (Judaism); Cybele (fertility goddess of ancient Anatolia, also known as known as the Great Mother); Demeter (Greek myth); Isis (Egyptian myth); Tellus (Roman Mother Earth goddess); Cihuacoatl (Aztec Mother Earth goddess, also patron of birth and of women who die in childbirth).
Fairy Tales: Mother Goose, Mother Hubbard
Mystic (Renunciate, Anchorite, Hermit)
Perhaps no archetype is more coveted by my students, or more misunderstood than the Mystic. Many want to believe that they have mystical inclinations, yet underestimate how arduous the genuine mystical path is. When they find out, they’re usually happy to let someone else have this role. The lives of the world’s great mystics often included extraordinary states of consciousness such as prolonged ecstatic trance, and preternatural abilities of precognition or bilocation. Yet they also contained sometimes great physical as well as spiritual suffering, hard work, and mundane activities that made up much of their days. If you truly want to name this archetype as part of your sacred consortium, ask yourself if you are ready to pay the price in blood, sweat, and tears. If mystical consciousness is something you engage in once a day during meditation, or on a weekend retreat or a yoga workshop, you may be a spiritual seeker, but not a Mystic.
The shadow Mystic manifests as an egocentric concern for one’s own spiritual progress to the exclsuion of others, and an attendant sense of self-importance at having achieved “higher” states of consciousness. It may also emerge in behavior that takes advantage of admirers or students in base economic, emotional, or sexual ways. Since genuine enlightenment manifests as the desire to be of service, this is a pretty good indication that you haven’t arrived yet.
Films: Catherine Mouchet in Thér_se; Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves.
Drama: Agnes of God by John Pielmeyer.
Fiction: Lying Awake by Marc Salzman.
Religion/Myth: All the great traditions have produced mystics, of which the following are a small representative sample: Teresa of vila, Meister Eckhart, William Law, Hildegarde of Bingen (Christianity); Ba’al Shem Tov, Moses ben Nahman, Abraham Abulafia (Judaism); Rabi’a, Ibn al-‘Arabi, Mansur al-Hallaj (Islam); Sri Ramakrishna, Anandamayi Ma, Ramana Maharshi (Hinduism); Bodhidharma, Milarepa, Bankei, Pema Chödron (Buddhism); Chuang-tzu, Wang-pi (Taoism); Padrinho Sebastio, Credo Mutwa (shamanism).
Networker (Messenger, Herald, Courier, Journalist, Communicator)
Although networking seems like a very modern skill tied to career advancement in the media age, it is actually quite ancient. Networkers expand their sphere of influence by forging alliances and making connections among vastly different groups of people, and can be traced back to the intrigues of the Middle Ages, Greece, Rome, and ancient China. Networking would also have been an integral part of any military alliance as well as all social and clan confederations inprehistory. In its positive aspect, this archetype has a it helps us develop social flexibility and empathy that enables it to find commonality with others who might not at first seem to be potential friends, allies, or confederates. Like the related archetypes of Messenger and Communicator, the Networker has the skills to bring information–or power– and inspiration to disparate groups of people. The shadow Networker merely uses others for personal gain.
Films: John Boles in A Message to Garcia; Stewart Peterson in Pony Express Rider; Jeff Goldblum in Between the Lines.
Religion/Myth: Almost every culture on earth has or had a messenger of the gods who networks between the divine and human realms, including the angel Raphael (Judaism); Gabriel (Christianity); Jibril (Islam); Matarisvan (Vedic India); Eagle, Coyote (American Indian); Iris, Hermes (Greece); Mercury (Rome); Sraosa (Zoroastrianism); Nusku (Assyria); Nirah (Sumeria); Srosh (Persia); Paynal (Aztec); Savali (Samoa); Gou Mang (China); Narada (Java); Gna, Hermod (Norse).
Pioneer (Explorer, Settler, Pilgrim, Innovator)
The Pioneer is called to discover and explore new lands, whether that territory is external or internal. The passion to explore the South Pole is as much a pioneering endeavor as the passion to explore medicine or spiritual practice. Even initiating new fashions, art, music, or literature may qualify as expressions of this archetype. The core ingredient is innovation–doing and creating what has not been done before. To consider this archetype seriously as one of your twelve, your life must be characterized by a need to step on fresh and undiscovered territory in at least one realm.
The shadow Pioneer manifests as a compulsive need to abandon one’s past and move on, just as the Don Juan or Femme Fatale “pioneer” ever new conquests. Those who are forced out of their homeland and made into unwilling Pioneers–the Jews of the Diaspora, Africans bound into slavery, Tibetan Buddhists, or Native Americans–should not be included under the shadow, however.
Films: Debbie Reynolds in How the West Was Won; Jean Arthur and Van Heflin in Shane; Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls; Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story.
Television: Wagon Train, Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie.
Fiction: Lost Horizons by James Hilton; O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.
Religion/Myth: Nana-Ula (seafaring pioneer who led his people on a yoage of 2,500 miles from Tahiti to Hawaii over a thousand years ago); Bodhidharma (Buddhist patriarch who carried the teachings from India to China and established the tradition that came to be known as Zen); Hagar (handmaiden of Abraham who brought her son, Ishmael, to the Becca Valley of Arabia and established the Arab people).
Closely related to both the Author and the Artist, the Poet combines lyricism with sharp insight, finding the essence of beauty and truth not only in the great epic affairs of humanity, but also in everyday acts and objects. Great poetry extolls momentous events and great deeds, and also expresses wonder at the hidden joys and sorrows that most of us might overlook. And although you don’t have to be a published poet to have this as one of your twelve archetypes, you do need to be driven by the need and the ability to discover beauty in the people and things around you, and express it in a way that helps others, too, see that beauty.
The shadow Poet turns his gift for lyricism to negative or destructive effect, as in songs or poems written in support of military aggression or genocide.
Films: Glenda Jackson in Stevie; Philippe Noiret in Il Postino; Sean Connery in A Fine Madness.
Fiction: The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll (shadow);
Religion/Myth: King David (ruler of Israel credited with writing many of the Psalms); Orpheus (great musician and poet of Greek myth, capable of charming wild beasts); Bragi (in Norse myth, the god of eloquence and patron of poets); Finn Mac Cumhail (legendary Irish hero and leader who was also greatly skilled as a poet).
Priest (Priestess, Minister, Rabbi, Evangelist)
The ritual that establishes the unique role of the Priest is ordination, the official capacity to facilitate the making of spiritual vows–commitments made to divine authority. Ordination or similar rituals of initiation allow the Priest, Rabbi, Shaman or Medicine Man to serve as a vehicle or spiritual channel of energy for others. Many of those devoted to spiritual life, such as Monks and Nuns, do not facilitate the ritual exchange of vows and spiritual energy. Ordination also empowers the Priest to convey to the public the power of sacred teachings, rituals, wisdom, morality, and ethics of each spiritual tradition. Because of these profound spiritual responsibilities, the ordained are expected to represent the teachings through personal example. And, so, the shadow side of this archetype manifests through the inability to live according to those teachings, especially in lapses of personal morality. The breaking of vows while conducting vows for the community, or using ordained authority to control the population for personal gain, have always been the dominant expression of this archetype’s shadow. From the corrupt temple priests of the ancient Egyptians to the scheming, power-hungry prelates and Popes of medieval Christianity, shadow Priests have interfered in secular politics to gain church power, extorted money from people who need food and shelter just to build larger temples and cathedrals, held back women’s rights and gay rights, and misused the people’s trust to satisfy their own sexual needs.
Films: Montgomery Clift in I Confess; Karl Malden in On the Waterfront; Don Murray in The Hoodlum Priest; Richard Todd in A Man Called Peter; Richard Burton in Becket.
Fiction: Diary of A Country Priest by Georges Bernanos.
Drama: Mass Appeal by Bill C. Davis; Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot.
Religion/Myth: Eleazar (first high priest of Israel); Pythia (priestess of Apollo’s temple at Delphi who went into trance and made oracular pronouncements); Apotequil (high priest of the Incan moon god); Hungan (Haitian priest of vodun); Ishkhara (priestess of Ishtar and Babylonian goddess of love); Kokopelli (in Zuni lore, a priest who brings rain to the people); Utnapishtim/Ziusudra (in Babylonian/Sumerian myth, the priest-king of Shurrupak who is warned by the gods of a coming deluge and builds a large ark to preserve human and animal life).
The connotations of certain words is as significant as their literal meaning in determining the nature of an archetype. Our word “prince” comes from Latin roots meaning first or chief, and the word was originally applied to the ruler of a principality or the son of a sovereign. But we often use the term today for anyone preeminent in his field, or for any generous individual. The adult fairy tale The Little Prince by Antoine de St.-Exupérey further colored our image of the Prince as an innocent, awe-struck explorer. Yet the true Prince is a ruler-in-training who is in service to the people he will rule, whether that is a literal kingdom or a figurative or spiritual one, as with Prince Siddhartha prior to becoming the Buddha. The shadow Prince can manifest as a young man with great feelings of entitlement, an heir apparent who uses his position solely for self-aggrandizement, or one who stands to inherit an evil empire and so takes on all the negative characteristics of the “king,” like the character of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. Machiavelli’s The Prince was a guide to using a ruler’s shadow power purely to advance one’s career and self-interest without regard for the needs of others.
Films: Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl; Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve; Joseph Cotten in The Farmer’s Daughter; Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Robert Redford in The Way We Were; Anthony Perkins in Phaedra.
Drama: Biff in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Fiction: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Fairy Tales: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella
Religion/Myth: Rama (the prince of Ayodhya, seventh incarnation of Vishnu, and the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana); Shotoku (Japanese prince deified as the reincarnation of Siddhartha, the Buddha); Xochipilli (Aztec god of flowers, maize, love, beauty, and song whose name means “Flower Prince”); Beelzebub (originally the patron god of the Philistines and Canaanites whose name meant “Prince Baal,” demonized in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the Prince of Darkness).
Prostitute (see text for extended description)
The Prostitute archetype engages lessons in integrity and the sale or negotiation of one’s integrity or spirit due to fears of physical and financial survival or for financial gain. This archetype activates the aspects of the unconscious that are related to seduction and control, whereby you are as capable of buying a controlling interest in another person as you are in selling your own power. Prostitution should also be understood as the selling of your talents, ideas, and any other expression of the self–or the selling-out of them. This archetype is universal and its core learning relates to the need to birth and refine self-esteem and self-respect.
Films: Jack Lemmon in The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, Save the Tiger, The China Syndrome, Mass Appeal; Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday; Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity; Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront.
Drama: The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
Religion/Myth: Ochun (Yoruba Orisha of love, marriage, and motherhood, who was forced for a time to become a prostitute to feed her children); Temple prostitutes (in ancient Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, and India, women who engaged in public intercourse as a way of sympathertically activating the energy of fertility).
Besides having a rulership position in a court, the Queen represents power and authority in all women. Symbolically, her court can be anything from a corporation to her home. The image of the Dark or Evil Queen has been largely represented by male authors of fairy tales and folklore as a wicked, dark force. She may also be depicted as prone to hysteria and dark powers, influences, or plots, as in the story of Snow White. Gulliver’s Travels presents a benevolent Queen who rules the land of the Giants, but that is a rare exception.
The Queen archetype is also associated with arrogance and a defensive posture that is symbolic of a need to protect one’s personal and emotional power. Queens are rarely portrayed as having a trustworthy support system; instead, they are lonely figures surrounded by a court filled with potential traitors, rivals, and back-stabbers. Women who have identified themselves as Queens in my workshops tend to have these qualities in common, suggesting that were it not for their aggressive personality characteristics, they would be vulnerable to others’ control.
Challenges related to control, personal authority and leadership play a primary role in forming the lessons of personal development that are inherent to this archetype. The benevolent Queen uses her authority to protect those in her court, and sees her own empowerment enhanced by her relationships and experience. The shadow Queen can slip into aggressive and destructive patterns of behavior, particularly when she perceives that her authority or capacity to maintain control over the court is being challenged. The Ice Queen rules with a cold indifference to the genuine needs of others–whether material or emotional. The Queen Bee is a mixed image–the astonishing ability to power the entire hive without leaving her “chamber,” yet at the cost of enslaving the rest of her community.
Films: Joan Crawford in Queen Bee; Marlene Dietrich as Catherine the Great in The Scarlet Empress; Geraldine Chaplin in The Three Musketeers; Greta Garbo in Queen Christina; Judi Densch in Shakespeare in Love; Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.
Drama: Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare
Religion/Myth: Mary (Mother of Jesus later elevated in Catholic tradition to Queen of Heaven); Mab (Queen of the faeries and often a trickster who steals babies, possibly derived from the Welsh Mabb or Gaelic Maeve); Anatu (Mesopotamian queen of the sky); Antiope (in Greek myth, the queen of the Amazons); Marisha-Ten (Japanese queen of heaven); Guinevere (King Arthur’s queen).
Fairy Tales: Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs (shadow).
Rebel (Anarchist, Revolutionary, Political Protester, Nonconformist, Pirate)
Our images of the Rebel may be too closely aligned with cliches of youth culture to let us see the deeper significance of this valuable archetype. Whether politically inclined like Martin Luther King, Jr., Betty Friedan, or Lech Walensa, or an artistic innovator such as Van Gogh, Joyce, or Coltrane, the Rebel is a key component of all human growth and development. The Rebel in a support group can be a powerful aid in helping the group break out of old tribal patterns. It can also help you see past tired preconceptions in your field of professional or creative endeavor. The Rebel can also lead you to reject spiritual systems that do not serve your inner need for direct union with the Divine and to seek out more appropriate paths. The shadow Rebel, conversely, may compel you to rebel out of peer pressure or for the sake of fashion, and so become mired in another manifestation of conformity. The shadow Rebel may also reject legitimate authority simply because it is asking you to do something you find difficult or unpleasant. Be especially careful in evaluating your rebellious impulses; even if the Rebel is not part of your intimate circle of archetypes, you probably have it to some extent and should pay attention to its urgings.
Films: James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause; Marlon Brando in The Wild One; Kirk Douglas in Spartacus; Sally Field in Norma Rae; Meryl Streep in Silkwood.
Fiction: The Rebel by Albert Camus; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.
Religion/Myth: Iblis/Lucifer (in Muslim/Christian belief, a rebellious angel who refused to worship Adam or acknowledge the supremacy of God).
Folklore/Fairy Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk; Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
In its empowered profile, the Rescuer assists when needed and, once the rescue mission is accomplished, withdraws. A Rescuer provides an infusion of strength and support to help others to survive a difficult situation, crisis, or process that they lack the stamina or the inner knowledge to maneuver through themselves. Unlike the Knight, to which it is related, the Rescuer is more common among women, especially in its shadow aspect. The shadow Rescuer often surfaces through a romantic connection in which one party seeks to establish an intimate bond by lending emotional support, with a hidden agenda that assumes the rescued party will return the Rescuer’s romantic feelings. Such romances are destined to fail, because the shadow agenda has to keep the “rescuee” in need of being rescued, lest the Rescuer lose her significance.
Healing and empowering the Rescuer within is a common emotional challenge, because being needed is essential to our nature. Most people can relate in part to the characteristics of this archetype which somewhat parallel the Knight, Healer, Hero, and even Servant. If you feel drawn to this archetype, then, be careful to compare the characteristics of those others before deciding to add the Rescuer to your family.
Films: Sigourney Weaver in Alien III; Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan; Jason Gedrick in Iron Eagle.
Television: The Lone Ranger.
Religion/Myth: Bidadari (in Javanese myth, a lovely nymph who uses her knowledge of magic to rescue a hero from a dangerous situation and marry him); Lancelot (Knight of the Round Table who rescues Guinevere–with whom he is having an affair–when King Arthur threatens to execute her for adultery); Bran (in Welsh lore, a giant who rescued his sister Branwen from enslavement by her Irish husband).
Saboteur (see text for extended description)
The Saboteur archetype is made up of the fears and issues related to low self-esteem that cause you to make choices in life that block your own empowerment and success. As with the Victim and Prostitute, you need to face this powerful archetype that we all possess and make it an ally. When you do, you will find that it calls your attention to situations in which you are in danger of being sabotaged, or of sabotaging yourself. Once you are comfortable with the Saboteur, you learn to hear and heed these warnings, saving yourself untold grief from making the same mistakes over and over. Ignore it, and the shadow Saboteur will manifest in the form of self-destructive behavior or the desire to undermine others.
Films: Greta Garbo in Mata Hari; Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate; Woody Harrelson in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Judy Holliday in The Solid Gold Cadillac;
Drama: Amadeus (Salieri) by Peter Schaffer; The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux.
Religion/Myth: Loki (in Norse myth, a Shape-shifter and Trickster who is crafty and malicious, but also heroic); Eris/Discordia (Greek/Roman goddess of discord, said to have caused the Trojan War); Bamapana (Aboriginal hero-trickster who causes discord and misunderstanding); Serpent (in many cultures, a figure who deceives humans, often sabotaging their only chance at immortality).
The Samaritan is closely related to the Martyr archetype, with the essential difference that Samaritans make sacrifices for those they might be least inclined to serve, as in the Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan. The act itself can be as simple as stopping in the street to give a stranger directions when you are in a hurry to get somewhere. The shadow Samaritan helps one person or group to the detriment of another, one’s own family, or the greater good of society. A simple example is the driver who stops in traffic to let another driver make a turn against the flow, with the result of holding up many more drivers in the process. There seems to be implicit in such shadow Samaritan behavior a kind of self-importance that says others must adhere to one’s own choice of who is most deserving.
Films: Richard Dreyfuss in Down and Out in Beverly Hills; Gary Cooper in Good Sam; Jean Arthur in The More the Merrier; Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List.
Religion/Myth: Ninlil (Sumerian goddess of heaven, earth, air, and grain who shows compassion to the unfortunate); Parzifal (Arthurian knight who heals the wound of Anfortas, the Grail King, by compassionately asking about it);
Scribe (Copyist, Secretary, Accountant–see also Journalist)
The Scribe differs from Author or Artist in one significant way: scribes copy existing works rather than create new ones. The Hebrew scribes were originally secretaries who wrote down the preachings of the prophets, but evolved into a priestly class charged with writing and maintaining the laws and records, copying previous scrolls, and committing oral traditions to paper. Medieval Christian scribes copied manuscripts and helped preserve learning. In India, the sages who compiled the Vedas are known as vyasa, a Sanskrit word that means “collector” but could be translated as “scribe.” We can expand the definition to cover modern journalists, who also record the existing knowledge and information of their day and uncover secrets (investigative reporters). And we would also have to include that largely anonymous horde of copiers who are busy uploading everything imaginable onto the Internet in the hope of preserving it by distributing it to millions. What makes the Internet the modern equivalent of the medieval scriptorum is that so much information is transcribed onto it not for personal gain but for the sheer joy of preserving and sharing these artifacts with the rest of the world.
The shadow aspect of the Scribe can manifest in altering facts, plagiarizing, or selling information that belongs to others.
Films: Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in All the President’s Men; Sally Field in Absence of Malice (shadow); Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole (shadow); Nicole Kidman in To Die For (shadow); Holly Hunter in Broadcast News.
Fiction: Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
Religion/Myth: Ezra (Hebrew scribe and priest, best known for collecting and editing the books of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, in the fifth century B.C.); Imhotep (in Egyptian myth, an architect, physician, and scribe in the court of the Pharaoh Zoser); Thoth (Egyptian god of wisdom, inventor of writing, and patron of scribes, often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis, holding a scribal tablet and reed pen).
Seeker (Wanderer, Vagabond, Nomad)
This archetype refers to one who searches on a path that may begin with earthly curiosity but has at its core the search for God and/or enlightenment. Unlike the Mystic, which has the Divine as its sole focus, the Seeker is in search of wisdom and truth wherever it is to be found. The shadow side of the archetype is the “lost soul,” someone on an aimless journey without direction, ungrounded, disconnected from goals and others. The shadow emerges when seekers become infatuated with the trappings of a certain practice or guru–what Chögyam Trungpa so aptly called “spiritual materialism”–but never actually change their underlying egocentricity.
Films: Tyrone Power in The Razor’s Edge; Brad Pitt in Seven Years in Tibet; Peter Weller and Judy Davis in The New Age (shadow); Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath.
Drama: A Doll’s House (Nora) by Henik Ibsen
Fiction: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse; Lost Horizon by James Hilton.
Autobiography: Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie; My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi; Be Here Now by Ram Dass; Longing for Darkness by China Galland.
Religion/Myth: Arjuna (who questions his role in life in the Bhagavad-Gita); Siddhartha Gautama (before his enlightenment as the Buddha, Siddhartha undertook the classic path of the Seeker).
Servant (Indentured Servant)
We all serve someone or something. Because the spiritual path is essentially one of service to others, anyone can relate to this archetype. The Servant engages aspects of our psyche that call us to make ourselves available to others for the benefit and enhancement of their lives. This task can only be done in a healthy manner if the Servant is able to simultaneously be of service to the self. Without the strength to maintain your own well-being, the Servant becomes consumed by the needs of those around you and loses all focus of the value of your own life.
From a mundane perspective, the Servant is associated with money because servants are hired help. This aspect is witnessed within the psyche of the Indentured Servant, a person who sees himself bound by conditions of service that are not of his choosing or preference because of an inability to “buy his freedom,” or symbolically coming into your own power. Therefore, the core challenge with this particular archetype is making choices that serve your highest potential. If this describes a substantial personal issue for you, then consider this archetype as a possibility for your own chart.
Films: William Powell in My Man Godfrey; Anthony Hopkins in Remains of the Day; Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy; Dirk Bogarde in The Servant (shadow).
Fiction: The Turn of the Screw (Mrs. Grose ) by Henry James
Religion/Myth: The names of many spiritual masters and teachers often contain a reference to service. The Sanskrit word dasya, for example, means “servant,” and appears in the names of modern mystics such as Ram Dass, Bhagavan Das, and Lama Surya Das; Obadiah (Hebrew prophet whose name means “servant of God”); Ganymede (in Greek myth, the young, beautiful boy who was one of Zeus’ lovers and cupbearer to the gods); Thialfi (Norse servant of Thor and the messenger of the gods).
Fairy Tales: Cinderella
Shape-shifter (Spell-caster–see also Trickster)
This archetype has long been known to shamans of the American Indian and other native traditions for having the ability to change appearances for a variety of reasons. The Shape-shifter can navigate through different levels of consciousness, 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.
Films: Wolfen; Lon Chaney, Jr., in The Wolf Man; Aaron Eckhart in In the Company of Men.
Religion/Myth: Because most deities or mythological figures who have the ability to shape-shift are also Tricksters, many of them overlap with that archetype: Tezcatlipoca (Aztec god of night who changes shapes and uses his “smoking mirror” to kill his enemies); Estsanatlehi (“Woman who changes,” the most powerful Navajo deity, a fertility goddess and shape-shifter associated with transformation and immortality).
The Slave archetype represents a complete absence of the power of choice and self-authority. Yet it is precisely the absence of will power that gives the Slave its potential for personal transformation. The ultimate spiritual task is to surrender one’s will to the Divine–in effect, to become a Divine Slave. The goal in many monastic practices is to release one’s individual power of choice and become subject to the will of a spiritual mentor, trusting that individual to have your best interests at heart. This act of releasing your will to a higher authority is also witnessed within organizational hierarchies, such as in the military and corporations. One becomes a Slave to the system.
For tens of millions of African Americans, the Slave archetype carries a historical freight that is impossible to overlook. If Slavery is part of your genetic history, you need to take a close look at the possible presence of the Slave archetype in your intimate family. Others who may dismiss this archetype as having no role in their life may discover that it is more prevalent than most people imagine, because of its many different expressions. We don’t think of a soldier armed with weapons as a Slave, yet following orders unconditionally is an aspect of the Slave–especially when these orders personally violate your integrity. The Puppet, for instance, may be manipulated by others. Regardless of how this archetype manifests, however, its core learning is to understand the paradoxical truth that you are only truly free when you have surrendered all power of choice to the Divine.
Films: Djimon Honsou in Amistad; Ossie Davis in Slaves; Russell Crowe in Gladiator; Yvette Mimieux in The Time Machine; Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening in American Beauty; Victor Mature in The Robe; Charlton Heston (Moses) in The Ten Commandments.
Television: LeVar Burton in Roots.
Drama: The Emperor Jones by Eugene O’Neill; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson; Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet.
Religion/Myth: Euryclea (in the Odyssey, the slave of Laertes, wet nurse of Odysseus, and the first to recognize the hero when he returned home from the Trojan War); Black Peter (medieval Dutch name for the devil, who was chained and enslaved by Saint Nicholas, who on Dec. 4 made Black Peter drop candy and gifts down chimneys into the waiting shoes of the children); Sisyphus (in Greek myth, he chained the god of death, Thanatos, so the deceased could not enter the underworld, for which he was enslaved for all eternity to roll a boulder up a steep hill, only to have it tumble back down when he reached the top).
Fairy Tales: The Flying Monkeys in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Storyteller (Minstrel, Narrator)
The classic Storyteller/Minstrel archetype relays the wisdom or foolishness, mistakes and successes, facts and fiction, and tales of love and the impossible, on a plane that is often exaggerated beyond ordinary life. Love is greater, power is more daring, successes are more astonishing, foolishness is more obvious. We have an archetypal need to be spoken to through stories because they bring us into contact with our inner being. We are, in fact, storytellers by nature. Those who have this archetype find that the Storyteller’s voice and methods are essential to their way of communicating and perceiving the world. Some teachers are also connected with the Storyteller archetype, but not all Storytellers are teachers. Not all writers are Storytellers, but authors of fiction must be. A Storyteller communicates not just facts but also a metaphoric learning or experience. Storytellers abound in any walk of life, not just among professional writers.
The tradition of the Minstrel reveals how essential the Storyteller’s role was in medieval culture, because Minstrels were expected to tell stories and sing stories as a way of entertaining a group as well as passing on the news of the day.
The shadow Storyteller is, in the extreme, a liar, and, in moderation, an exaggerator. The temptation always exists to misuse the skill of storytelling to your own advantage when sharing information. The shadow aspect manifests when we can’t resist making up a story to conceal something we don’t want to be truthful about. But the universal appeal of storytelling throughout history suggests some deeper connection of this archetype with the human soul. The oldest written works we possess, from the Gilgamesh Epic to the Bible to the Odyssey, use storytelling to make their points. Maybe it’s simply a reflection of the sense that each of our lives is a story worth telling, or a desire to impose order on what sometimes seems like a chaotic and random universe.
Films: Rod Taylor as Sean O’Casey in Young Cassidy; Laurence Harvey and Karl Boehm in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm; Judy Davis as George Sand in Impromptu; Barbara Bel Geddes in I Remember Mama.
Fiction: Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad; Beloved by Toni Morrison; A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
Religion/Myth: Homer (combined history and mythology in the action adventures of the Odyssey and the Iliad); Blaise (Welsh storyteller who in Arthurian legend became Merlin’s scribe); Thamyris (Thracian minstrel who won so many contests that he challenged the Muses themselves, and in return for his presumption was struck blind).
Fairy Tales: Arabian Nights (Tales of Sheherezade)
Student (Disciple, Devotee, Follower, Apprentice)
The student archetype suggests a pattern of constant learning, an openness to absorbing new information as an essential part of one’s well-being. The Student archetype suggests an absence of mastery of any one subject but rather a continual pursuit of intellectual development. Within the spiritual aspect, the Student, Disciple, Devotee, and Follower imply that one has found a source of teaching, such as a Guru or Spiritual Master, who becomes the instructor and spiritual guide.
The shadow Student usually manifests in tandem with the shadow Teacher or Mentor, avidly learning all the tools of the wrong trade or misusing the knowledge learned. This was graphically depicted in Walt Disney’s animated imagining of Paul Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in Fantasia, in which Mickey Mouse portrays the Student Wizard who gets carried away with his own unperfected talent and causes havoc. The sahdow can also show up as the eternal Student who never embarks on the sea of life in earnest, but manages to find ever new reasons to continue being schooled without ever putting that knowledge to the test. People who continually use the excuse that they are not ready or have not yet learned enough to advance with their dreams should take special note of this archetype and whether they have a shadow bond with it.
Films: Julie Walters in Educating Rita; Jean Pierre Leaud in The 400 Blows; Matthew Broderick in The Freshman.
Drama: Pygmalion by G.B. Shaw.
Fiction: Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes.
Autobiography: The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams.
Religion/Myth: Dervish (Sufi term for the student of a sheikh); Hunsi (Haitian term for a devotee on any African deity, derived from the culture of Dahomey); Telemachus (student of Mentor, whom Odysseus assigned to teach and care for his son); Medea (devotee of Hecate, Greek goddess of the crossroads and a great sorceress); Ananda (renowned disciple of the Buddha); Peter (leading disciple of Jesus); Abu Bakr (one of the Prophet Muhammad’s disciples, called Companions).
Teacher (Instructor, see also Mentor)
Teaching is the art of communicating knowledge, experience, skill, and wisdom to another. Teaching, or offering instruction of any kind, can manifest through parental guidance, business apprenticeship, or by inspired instruction in ethics or kindness. To determine whether this archetype is part of your support team, ask yourself if others look to you as a teacher in any situation. Are you the one that others seek out for the richness of your experience, or to teach them the ropes?
The shadow Teacher manifests as a desire to manipulate or abuse those you are instructing; to be more concerned with recognition than with imparting knowledge; or, like the shadow Mentor, to teach negative traits and destructive skills, like burglary or how to cheat on the job.
Films: Bette Davis in The Corn Is Green; Sidney Poitier in To Sir with Love; Michael Caine in Educating Rita; Glenn Ford in Blackboard Jungle; Deborah Kerr in The King and I; Ian McKellen in Apt Pupil; Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (shadow).
Drama: The Miracle Worker by William Gibson.
Fiction: Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton.
Religion/Myth: Socrates (classical Greek philosopher who taught, and was accused of corrupting, the youth of Athens); the Fisher King (in Arthurian legend, teacher of Perceval); Nommo (African culture hero and teacher of the Dagon people of Mali, Sudan, and Upper Volta); Chiron (teacher of the mythic Greek heroes Jason and Achilles); Dhanvantari (Hindu deity credited as the teacher of medicine to humanity).
Thief (Swindler, Con Artist, Pickpocket, Burglar, Robin Hood)
The Thief is thought of as a nocturnal, hooded figure who slips silently into places and takes what he wants. In the hierarchy of thievery, the most respected is the Jewel Thief, associated with glamour, class, and sophistication. The Good Thief steals on behalf of others, as in the case of Robin Hood, and appears to be relieved of all wrongdoing because of his benevolent motive to be of service to others, but often that is just a rationalization. The Bank Thief maintains a degree of respect because the target is corporate and impersonal and the implication is that the thief has an intelligent and strategic mind. The Street Thief and Pickpocket, on the other hand, rank lowest because they rob ordinary individuals and their methods yield small gain.
Symbolically, theft can take many forms, including plagiarism, stealing ideas and even affection. Taking what is not yours because you lack the ability to provide for yourself implies the need to learn self-respect. This archetype prods you to learn to generate power from within. As with so many archetypes that initially strike you as completely unrelated to who you are, this archetype should be evaluated from its symbolic meaning. You may never have stolen one thing at the physical level, but you also need to take into consideration your emotional and intellectual arenas.
Films: James Caan in Thief; Vittorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroiani in Big Deal on Madonna Street; Jean-Paul Belmondo in The Thief of Paris; Sabu in The Thief of Baghdad (1940); Steven Bauer in Thief of Hearts (shadow); Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Angelica Huston in The Grifters (shadow).
Fiction: The Adventures of Robin Hood (various authors).
Religion/Myth: Raven (Among Northwestern Indians, a helpful thief who stole the moon and sun from the Sky Chief and placed them in the sky); Prometheus (in Greek myth, hero who stole the sacred fire from Zeus and the gods); Autolycus (grandfather of Odysseus renowned as a thief who stole the cattle of Eurytus); the Good Thief (in the New Testament, one of two men who were crucified with Jesus, repented, and asked for forgiveness).
Trickster (Puck, Provocateur)
Almost as far back as our earliest written records, the Trickster appears as a key figure in the human drama. According to the great historian of religion Mircea Eliade, a Trickster is a human or animal character that plays dubious jokes or tricks, makes fun or is made fun of, and may be camouflaged as one of the demigods of a religious tradition. The serpent who tempts Eve in the Bible was based on similar characters in Sumerian and Babylonian mythology from the third millennium B.C., in which a serpent tricks humanity out of the gift of immortality and assumes it for itself. (Observing snakes shedding their skin led some to believe that the reptile was capable of renewing its life indefinitely.) In many cultures, though, especially among Native Americans, the Trickster can also be the Creator’s helper or messenger.
Like the Prostitute and Servant archetypes, the Trickster seems at first to have only negative connotations, but it can be a great ally in presenting you with alternatives to the straight and narrow path, to people and institutions who seek to hem you in through peer pressure and conformism. The best modern illustration of this dual role show up in the film work of Jack Nicholson and Groucho Marx. Although the characters they portray are often unsavory or duplicitous on some level, their antics can also be liberating by transcending convention, stuffiness, and predictable behavior.
Films: Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve; Wilfred Bramble (Grandfather) in A Hard Day’s Night; Peter Cook in Bedazzled; Michael Caine, Steve Martin, and Glenne Headley in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Drama: The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder.
Fiction: The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike.
Religion/Myth: Kaulu (Polynesian trickster god); Blue-Jay (among Pacific Northwest Indians, a trickster who tries to the other animals); Spider Woman (trickster among the Dakota Indian tribes); Seth (ancient Egyptian god of chaos and adversity); Esu (West African god of passage and trickster who guards the home of the gods).
Fairy Tales: Little Red Riding Hood, The Fox and the Grapes, The Gingerbread Man.
The Vampire is a mythic creature associated with both blood-sucking and eroticism. Vampires require blood, which they get by biting the neck of their victims during a nocturnal visit. The female victim has been portrayed in the paradoxical circumstances of wanting to repel the Vampire while at the same time welcoming the erotic nature of the connection. The Vampire returns every evening to his source of life until there is no more to be had. The parallels between human lust and vampiric blood-lust are rich: as the Vampire satisfies his thirst for blood, his host grows increasingly helpless and submissive, eventually being drained of any capacity for self-protection. Symbolically, this relationship speaks of the power dynamics that frequently drive male-female relationships, in which the male drains the power of the female for his own psychic survival, and, once bitten, the female submits even though this will eventually take all of her power. (In some relationships, of course, the roles can easily become reversed.)
Beyond the sexual level, we sometimes form psychic attachments to others because we desire their energy, a desire that manifests through a need for approval, a need to have the “other” take care of our survival, and a fear of being abandoned. What has been defined as a co-dependent relationship could easily fall under the Vampire template. You may find it hard to identify yourself as a Vampire, yet it is essential to review this archetype personally. Patterns of behavior such as chronic complaining, over-dependency, holding on to a relationship emotionally or psychically long after it has ended, and chronic power struggles are all indicators of Vampire patterns. Holding onto someone on the psychic level is as real as holding on to them on the physical.
Interest in the Vampire archetype has re-emerged through the literary and entertainment fields. It may well be that the archetypal opening of humanity’s psyche during these past five decades has resurrected the Vampire, empowering it with a force on the psychic plane of consciousness that was not engaged prior to this time.
Films: Bela Lugosi in Dracula; Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire.
Fiction: Dracula by Bram Stoker; The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice; “The Vampyre: A Tale” by John Polidori.
Religion/Myth: Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad The Impaler (in fifteenth-century Walachia–in modern Romania–a bloodthirsty count who reportedly impaled and beheaded his enemies); Langsoir (Malayan vampire, a woman who died in childbirth and now assaults infants and children).
Victim (see text for extended discussion)
The negative traits of the Victim are self-evident. But when properly recognized, it can be a tremendous aid in letting us know when we are in danger of letting ourselves be victimized, often through passivity but also through rash or inappropriate actions. It can also help us to see our own tendency to victimize others for personal gain. In its shadow aspect, the Victim shows us that we may like to play the Victim at times because of the positive feedback we get in the form of sympathy or pity. Our goal is always to learn how to recognize these inappropriate attitudes in ourselves or others, and to act accordingly.
Films: Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry; Jodie Foster in The Accused; Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice; Glenn Close in Reversal of Fortune;
Fiction: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert L. Stevenson; Misery by Stephen ing.
Drama: Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein
Religion/Myth: Isaac (son of Abraham whom God orders Abraham to sacrifice); Heracles (seized by Busiris, mythical king of Egypt who sacrificed all strangers to the gods to avert famine, Heracles avoided being victimized by using his great strength to break his chains and slay Busiris).
Virgin (see also Celibate)
This archetype is associated with purity, applied primarily to young girls. The Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome lived in service to a goddess and were often severely punished if they lost their virginity. The Virgin Mother of Jesus represents the purity of motherhood, bringing forth the perfect form of male life, a god. Your identification with the Virgin needs to be explored symbolically as a pattern that represents as association with purity as well as the beginning point of creation. To bring forth virgin ideas is as much an aspect of this archetype as is its application to maintaining virginal aspects of Mother Nature, as in virgin forests.
The shadow side of the Virgin is the prudish disgust with or fear of genuine sensuality. Resisting sex not to save one’s energy for other endeavors, but because it seems inherently repellant, is not a virtue but a denial of an essential aspect of oneself. Celibate Monks or Nuns ideally learns to channel their sexual energy rather thanmerely repressing it.
Films: Sean Connery in The Medicine Man; Kirstin Dunst et al. in The Virgin Suicides; Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Religion/Myth: Parthenos (Greek for “Virgin,” an epithet of the goddess Athena, who was the virgin mother of Erichthnonius). Hestia/Vesta (the Greek/Roman virgin goddess of the hearth, and, by extension, domestic life.
Visionary (Dreamer, Prophet, Seer–see also Guide, Alchemist)
The Visionary archetype lets you imagine possibilities that are beyond the scope of your individual life and that benefit all of society. The Visionary brings into view what could be if certain choices are made, or what is inevitable given choices that have already been made. The Prophet proclaims a message associated with divine guidance, as in the Hebrew Prophets, some of whom also appear in the Quran. (Islam reveres both Jesus and John the Baptist as prophets). Both the Visionary and the Prophet engage their abilities in behalf of humanity rather than for personal use, but while many Prophets are rejected by the group they were sent to enlighten, Visionaries tend to be celebrated for their capacity to read what is just over the horizon.
The shadow Prophet or Visionary manifests as a willingness to sell one’s visionary abilities to the high bidder, or to alter their vision to make it more acceptable to society. In extreme cases, tainted visions may lead entire societies into murderous or destructive rampages; then the Destroyer archetype may supersede the Visionary, as in the case of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.
Films: Eriq Ebouaney in Lumumba; Peter Finch in Network (shadow).
Religion/Myth: Hebrew Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others who often chastised powerful leaders while calling the people’s attention to their own failings); Muhammad (the final Prophet of Islam, who directed God’s message to the Arab people through the Quran); Baha’u’llah (nineteenth-century Iranian prophet who founded the Bahai Faith, spreading his vision of “one universal Cause, one common Faith”); Cassandra (in Greek lore, daughter of the king and queen of Troy, who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo in an attempt to seduce her; because she refused his advances, he made all her prophecies fall on deaf ears); Zarathustra (prophet and founder of Zoroastrianism).
Warrior (Soldier, Crime Fighter, Amazon, Mercenary, Soldier of Fortune, Gunslinger, Samurai)
The Warrior archetype represents physical strength and the ability to protect, defend, and fight for one’s rights. Whereas the Knight is associated with protecting Damsels, the Warrior is linked to invincibility and loyalty. Both the Knight and Warrior appear on the battlefield, but the Knight’s romance, chivalry, and abundant castle are not associated with the Warrior. Warrior energy is erotic for the male, representing the height of virility and physical power as well as toughness of will and spirit. To be unbreakable and to fight to the death is a large part of the Warrior archetype, which is also associated with the passage from boyhood to manhood.
The Mercenary and Soldier of Fortune are variations on the hired killer who sells his power on the open market, often with complete disregard for the buyer’s cause. These archetypes are much like the Prostitute in that, although they appear negative, in their favorable aspect they warn us when we are in danger of aligning our might with an unjust or purely self-interested cause.
The Gunslinger and Samurai represent a double-edged sword (pun intended). They appeal to our fantasies of independence and the power to defend ourselves and right wrongs, yet they also carry the historic weight of savage, predatory evil. On the one side are all the heroic characters portrayed by John Wayne, Gary Cooper and others–standing up to injustice and holding off the forces of evil singlehandedly. The Lone Ranger and the figures of wandering samurai warriors in the films of Akira Kurosawa also epitomize this fiercely independent warrior that the American and Japanese past seem to share. And on the other side are all the selfish, evil thieves and killers who embody our worst nightmares of lawlessness and unchecked male dominance. Somewhere in between are the ambiguous Crime Fighters and lone wolf Gunfighters epitomized by Clint Eastwood, whose heroism is often tinged with anger, vengefulness, and more than a little sadism.
The shadow Warrior distorts or abandons ethical principles and decency in the name of victory at any cost. What can be a virtue–heroic indifference to risk and pain–becomes contemptible when the indifference is directed not at oneself but at others.
The Warrior archetype is just as connected to the female psyche as to the male. Women have long been defenders of their families, and the Amazon tribe of Warrior Women has become legendary because of their ability to engage in fierce battle–even sacrificing part of their female physique to facilitate warfare. Loyalty to the family and tribe is among the Amazon’s notable characteristics, along with nurturing their young and transmitting lessons of power and self-defense. In today’s society, the Warrior Woman has emerged in its glory once again through women who liberate and protect others, especially women and children who need vocal and financial representation.
The concept of the spiritual Warrior has been pioneered by Dan Millman (The Peaceful Warrior), the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa (Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior), Prof. Robert Thurman, and others. They direct us to use the classic Warrior virtues of heroism, stoicism, and self-sacrifice for conquering the ego and gaining control of our inner lives.
Films: Gary Cooper in High Noon; John Wayne in The Searchers; Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, Pale Rider, and Unforgiven; Mel Gibson in Road Warrior and Mad Max; Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were (political activist); Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (battling cancer); Denzel Washington in Glory (Civil War soldier); The Seven Samurai.
Television: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Xena the Warrior Princess.
Drama: A Soldier’s Story by Charles Fuller .
Fiction: In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (migrant workers)
Religion/Myth: Bhima (“the Terrible One”) warrior hero of the Mahabharata known for his great strength; the son of the wind god Vayu and a brother of Arjuna, he later became a Hindu warrior god); Oya (woman warrior of Yoruba myth, goddess of fire, wind, thunder, and the river Niger); Andarta (Celtic-Gallic warrior and fertility goddess); Popocatepetl (Aztec warrior who, with his consort, was transformed by the gods into a mountain after they both died of grief for each other); Brunhilde (female warrior, one of the Valkyries, in the German epic Niebelungenlied); Alyosha Popovitch (epic hero and mighty warrior of Russian folklore); Durga (warrior manifestation of the Hindu Mother goddess).