Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist and protégé of Sigmund Freud, broke with Freud when he presented the idea that we all draw our awareness from a “collective unconscious.” In essence, according to Jung, while it seems we have separate minds, we are actually all part of one universal mind. Within this one mind he stipulated that we share archetypes.
Archetypes are universally shared ideas, patterns of thought or images. These energies are at play in our consciousness and up to us to harness and utilize in an effective way to bring about our destiny and self-actualization.
While we all have each of the twelve major archetypes within us as part of the collective unconscious, some archetypes play a major role in our personality while others remain in a relatively minor capacity. Which ones play a major role in your personality? The 12 major archetypes in Jungian psychology are:
The Innocent: The Innocent is naïve and childlike. Its motto is: be free to be you and I’ll be free to be me. Goal: be happy and enter paradise. Fear: being wrong and being punished. The Innocent tries to do everything right as a way of feeling safe. Weakness: it can be boring in its simplicity. Talents: faith and optimism. Examples: R2D2, The Doorman, The Car Washer, The Waiter, The Bartender. Innocents tend to play simple but important roles in society relieving the seriousness of life and bringing childlike wisdom to it. They rarely become famous due to their low-key nature. Being There was a 1979 Peter Sellers movie in which he plays an Innocent whose occupation is that of a gardener. The character turns out to be Christ-like figure advising the U.S. president.
The Orphan: Motto—All people are created equal. Goal: belonging. Fear: abandonment, being left out, standing alone in a crowd. Strategy: develop ordinary, solid virtues, be down to earth, and have a common touch. Weakness: blending in for the sake of superficial relationships. Strength: realism, empathy, and lack of pretense. Examples: Harry Potter, The Lion King, Luke Skywalker, and Oliver Twist….another famous orphan liked baseball: Babe Ruth.
The Warrior: Motto—Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Core desire: Prove worth through acts of courage. Goal: mastery in a way that improves the world. Fear: weakness, vulnerability, being viewed as afraid. Strategy: be as strong as possible. Examples: Lawyers, Hilary Clinton, Luke Skywalker, President Obama, Princess Leia, Steven Spielberg, Oprah, Harvey Milk, David Geffen, and Nelson Mandela.
The Caregiver: Motto—Love your neighbor as yourself. Core desire: to protect and care for others. Goal: help others. Great Fear: selfishness, ingratitude. Strategy: doing things for others. Weakness: martyrdom and being taken advantage of by others. Examples: C-3PO, Chewbacca, Mother Theresa, Nurses, Doctors, Social Workers, and Martin Luther King.
The Explorer: Motto—Don’t fence me in. Core desire: freedom to find out who I am through exploration. Goal: experience a better, more fulfilling life. Fear: being trapped, conforming, inner emptiness. Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom. Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit. Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to self. Examples: Han Solo, Astronauts, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacques Cousteau.
The Rebel: Motto—Rules are made to be broken. Core desire: revenge or revolution. Goal: to overturn what isn’t working. Greatest fear: to be ineffectual or powerless. Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock. Weakness: crossing over to the dark side. Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom. Examples: Luke Skywalker (and the “Rebel Alliance”), Darth Vader, Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, the Arab spring.
The Lover: Motto—you’re the only one. Desire: intimacy and experience. Goal: being in relationship with the people, work, and surroundings they love. Fear: being alone, unwanted, unloved. Weakness: pleasing others while at risk of losing own identity. Talent: passion, appreciation, gratitude, commitment. Examples: Florists, Bakers, Mothers, Princess Leia, Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, The Phantom from Phantom of The Opera, Glen Close in a shadow form of the Lover in the movie, Fatal Attraction.
The Creator: Motto—If you can imagine it, it can be done. Core desire: create things of enduring value. Goal: realize a vision. Greatest fear: mediocre vision of execution. Strategy: develop artistic control and skill. Task: create culture, express vision. Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions. Examples: Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Picasso, George Lucas, people developing new Apps, artists of all kinds.
The Fool: Motto—You only live once. Core desire: live in the moment and enjoy life. Goal: have a great time and lighten the world. Fear: being boring or bored. Strategy: play, make jokes, and be funny. Weakness: frivolity, wasting time. Talent: joy. Examples: Jar Jar Binks, Robin Williams, Pee Wee Herman, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, your friend whose always making fun of your seriousness.
The Sage: Motto—The truth will set you free. Core desire: to find the truth. Goal: use intelligence and analysis to understand the world. Biggest Fear: being duped, mislead, or being ignorant. Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge, self-reflection. Weakness: can study details forever and never act. Talent: wisdom. Examples: Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi, Einstein, Albus Dumbledore, Aristotle, any number of homeless philosophers mumbling in the streets.
The Magician: Motto—I make things happen. Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe. Goal: to make dreams come true. Fear: unintended negative consequences. Strategy: develop a vision and live by it. Weakness: becoming manipulative. Talent: finding win-win solutions. Examples: Emperor Palpatine (shadow), Carl Jung, therapists, shamans, doctors, Nikolas Tesla, the creators of the atomic bomb (shadow Magician).
The Ruler: Motto—Power is the only thing. Core desire: control. Goal: creates a prosperous family or community. Strategy: exercise power. Fear: chaos, being overthrown. Weakness: authoritarian, tyrannical. Talent: responsibility, leadership. Examples: Pres. Obama, Fidel Castro, Darth Vader, Corporate executives, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Saddam Hussein.
As you recognize your primary archetypes, what others remain undeveloped? Is your Ruler too tyrannical? Do you need to give the Lover more time in your life to balance the Ruler? Is your Caregiver too self-sacrificing? Do you need to develop more Warrior energy to assert yourself? Is life stagnated? Do you need to feed the Creator or Explorer in order to expand? Each of us shares all archetypes from the collective unconscious. Understanding which are strong, which are weak, and which are in shadow (destructive form) can help to understand how to better organize your approach to healing, achievement, and fulfillment.
George Lucas famously incorporated archetypes from Jungian psychology and the work of Joseph Campbell (a friend of Jung and author of The Power of Myth) into his Star Wars saga.
There was a recent app on Facebook that, if you entered in your character traits, would identify what character you would be from Star Wars. That is, it would tell you what your primary archetype is.
Below is a clip from Star Wars where Campbell reflects on the archetypes and what he coined, the “Hero’s Journey”— a psychological journey through the archetypes we all must either choose to take, or refuse to take—and go to the “dark side” (i.e. the shadow form of the archetypes). Will you be Luke Skywalker and take the journey, or refuse and end up holding hands with Darth Vader?
Check it out: