Where do archetypes come from?

The archetypes have developed through the centuries since the first societies.

In ancient Greek, the word archetype means initial type. Carl Jung was the first to articulate a coherent theory about the influence of the archetypes in human personality.

Common archetypes

We can identify 12 archetypes as common behavior patterns of all people.

Many years ago they were not so many professions is that out today. In ancient societies professions or better occupations were counted our fingers. Many years ago, there were not so many professions as there are today. In ancient societies, “professions” or better occupations were counted in the fingers of our hands.

Among the main ones were the following:

  • warriors who would fight enemies and protect their property and people
  • hunters who would look for food
  • explorers on reconnaissance missions discovering new territories
  • magicians who were also conducting the duties of doctors
  • caregivers who made sure everything functions well within the community

Of course, every society had its own leader who ruled it.

Those eras left a deep footprint in the collective unconscious of humanity. So today, despite the specialization in the thousands of professions, the basic rules remain relatively the same. The doctor can have a very narrow specialization but remains a doctor, at least he’s not in my magician. The director of an organization is a governor. Without his wife, the nurse, the personal trainer role caregivers. Sales people of any kind save something from an explorer in the hunter.

We all have a particular combination of archetypes within us. Some of them are dominant while some others just play a secondary role. As soon as we identify them we will have a very strong cognizant of self-knowledge. We will understand why we are very good at some things while another words don’t do so well. What excites us and what lives us indifferent. Our weaknesses and our big fears. Our talents and our strong points.

The 12 archetypes

For every archetype the following information is provided:

  1. Motto: the phrase which characterizes them
  2. Basic wish: what they desire most
  3. Goal: their higher purpose
  4. Greatest fear: what they fear most of find difficult to face
  5. Strategy: the strategy they develop to achieve their goal
  6. Weakness: their shortcomings, their Achilles heel
  7. Talent: what they are good at
  8. Also known as: other names, synonyms or characteristic adjectives

For each archetype below, read the description and think how much you associate with it. Give it a mark from 1 to 10.

1. Hero

The Hero sees life as a constant battle. Heroes are persevering and courageous. They will make great use of their willpower to overcome any obstacles they meet on their way. To this end, they cultivate systematically their strengths and skills. They will also try hard to identify and alleviate their weaknesses.

Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s away!

Basic wish: To prove their value through courageous acts

Goal: to excel and find a way to improve the world

Greatest fear: to feel powerless or weak

Strategy: to build skills and competence in order to become more capable

Weakness: arrogance, negativity, continuously looking for the next battle

Talent: courage and skill

Also known as: warrior, crusader, winner, superhero, soldier, rescuer

2. Magician

Magicians can exploit the power of the universe to influence people and achieve their goals. They combine with ease complementary information but also appropriate persons they know to create win-win conditions. They can easily transform themselves and those around them.

Motto: I make things happen!

Basic wish: To understand the fundamental rules of the universe

Goal: to transform dreams into reality

Greatest fear: side-effects and unforeseen negative consequences

Strategy: builds a vision and lives by that

Weakness: vulnerable to manipulation

Talent: finding win-win solutions

Also known as: visionary, catalyst, inventor, therapist, doctor

3. Sage

The Sage is in a continuous journey to discover the “truth”. Believes that only through truth we find true freedom. Never stop doubting their vulnerable beliefs. They seem to be in a constant existential crisis. High self awareness and excellent analytical skills.

Motto: Truth breaks you free!

Basic wish: understand and find the truth

Goal: to use their intellect in order to analyze and comprehend the world

Greatest fear: to be deceived or misinformed

Strategy: seeking knowledge, introspection and deep understanding of the mind and the thinking process

Weakness: can study the details for ever without taking any action, can become judgmental

Talent: curiosity, wisdom, intelligence, quality thinking

Also known as: expert, detective, consultant, philosopher, academic, investigator, teacher

 4. Governor

The Governor creates structures as family, communities and organizations and then strives to rule them. Appreciates power and possesses strong leadership skills. Can become aggressive and single-sided whenever their authority is questioned.

Motto: Power is not everything, it is the only thing!

Basic wish: To control

Goal: to create a thriving, successful family or community

Greatest fear: chaos, to be overthrown

Strategy: exercise power and authority

Weakness: authoritative, unable to delegate tasks to other people

Talent: responsibility, leadership

Also known as: boss, leader, chief, aristocrat, king or queen, politician, director, manager

 5. Innocent

The Innocent avoids struggle and any kind of difficulty. Innocents seek safety and ignore anything which is out of their control. Happy and spontaneous. They see the good side in everything. As a result, they face all small joys of life with childish enthusiasm.

Motto: I want to be myself!

Basic wish: To go to Paradise

Goal: to be happy

Greatest fear: to be punished for a mistake

Strategy: to do things right

Weakness: naiveness, innocence

Talent: faith and optimism

Also known as: utopian, traditional, naive, saint, romantic, dreamer

 6. Realist

The Realist has a strong need to belong and connect with others. Realists don’t like to differentiate. They are usually very friendly, compassionate and emotional. At the same time, they are distrustful and insecure. They do not have high expectations from life or people.

Motto: All people are equal!

Basic wish: connection and acceptance

Goal: to belong

Greatest fear: to stand out of the crowd, or left out

Strategy: develops simple but solid virtues

Weakness: can be cynical, or lose authenticity in order to comply with others

Talent: realism and empathy

Also known as: the person next-door, orphan, regular/everyday guy

7. Caregiver

The Caregiver loves to help, treat and support other people. Always places the needs of others above their own. Caregivers are kind and generous. They will never miss an opportunity to offer their help even if they are not asked to. They can also become quite manipulative. In some cases they might expect an emotional compensation and when it is not received, they get disappointed.

Motto: Love your neighbor as yourself!

Basic wish: To protect and care about others

Goal: to help other people

Greatest fear: egoism and ingratitude

Strategy: to do things for others

Weakness: to become a martyr or to get exploited

Talent: compassion, generosity

Also known as: altruist, parent, helper, supporter

 8. Lover

The Lover begs for intimate relationships with friends, family or romantic partners. Lovers will do anything possible to be physically and emotionally appealing to everyone around them. They are deeply devoted in building and maintaining relationships of every type.

Motto: I have eyes only for you!

Basic wish: intimacy and experience

Goal: to build a relationship with people

Greatest fear: to be left alone, unwanted, unloved

Strategy: to become physically and emotionally appealing

Weakness: tries too hard to please others and risks losing own identity

Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation and commitment

Also known as: partner, team-builder, friend, sensualist, intimate, enthusiast, spouse

 9. Jester

The Jester finds joy and happiness in every situation. Jesters have inexhaustible humor and they feel on top of the world when it is appreciated by others. They are extroverts and can share their jokes with ease even with those who are not very familiar with yet.

Motto: YOLO! You only live once!

Basic wish: to live in the moment with full satisfaction and enjoyment

Goal: have a good time and lighten up the world

Greatest fear: get bored or make others get bored

Strategy: making jokes and fun, playing games

Weakness: silliness, frivolity, waste of time

Talent: joy

Also known as: fool, comedian, trickster, joker, practical joker

 10. Rebel

The Rebel’s intention is to overthrow anything that does not work in the system. Rebels are very sensitive about the concept of fair and unfair. They are born angry and often can get furious. For them, the red rag is the status quo, the institutions, the government of the values of the society.

Motto: Rules are made to be broken!

Basic wish: revenge or revolution

Goal: to overthrow anything that does not work

Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffective

Strategy: to disrupt, destroy or shock

Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, offense, crime

Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom

Also known as: revolutionary, wild man, misfit, iconoclast

 11. Explorer

The Explorer is a lone wolf. Explorers are authentic and unconventional. They like travelling and meet new people and new places. They are getting excited when they take the less-travelled path. Continuously looking for another quest, not only to search for new places but also their own self. Usually they live a very fascinating life.

Motto: Do not fence me in!

Basic wish: To discover who exactly they are through the exploration of the world

Goal: to live a better, more authentic, fulfilled life

Greatest fear: to conform, get trapped or feel an inner void

Strategy: travelling, constant seeking of new experiences, avoiding boredom

Weakness: aimless wandering, difficulty to adapt, egocentricity

Talent: autonomy, vision, ambition, authenticity

Also known as: wanderer, individualist, pilgrim

 12. Creator

The Creator has a vivid and often wild imagination. Creators enjoy having new ideas and bring them into reality. They continuously look for the next good idea which will produce something useful or valuable. After they make something good, they cannot stop thinking how it could be improved.

Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done!

Basic wish: create things with great value

Goal: to create culture, to express their own vision

Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution of a plan

Strategy: develop artistic control and skills

Weakness: perfectionism and mediocre solutions

Talent: creativity and imagination

Also known as: artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer, dreamer

 Archetypes map

12 common archetypes personality

In the above diagram there is an effort to classify the 12 archetypes according to their motivation. Freedom is in the upper side of the vertical axis and Order in the lower. In the horizontal axis we have Society and Ego. So, depending on the orientation of each archetype we have 4 groups of 3 archetypes each.

For example, the Rebel, the Explorer and the Creator are motivated towards Freedom, satisfying at the same time their Ego. In the opposite fashion, the Governor, the Innocent and the Realist are oriented towards Order and Society.

Continue exploring your personality by discovering your Social Style


* This article is based on the works of Carl Jung related to the archetypes and the collective unconscious. Despite the many different versions and variations, we believe that this particular classification offers a very good RoI for the time we will devote.