Archetypes are patterns of behavior and perception. They are not simply external models, but live deeply inside of you affecting your beliefs and attitudes. Understanding archetypes and how you identify with them, will help greatly in your journey to a more conscious life.
The term “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek.
The root words are archein, which means “original or old”; and typos, which means “pattern, model or type”. The combined meaning is an “original pattern” of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated.
The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche.
He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.
Although there are many different archetypes, Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. Also, the twelve types are divided into three sets of four, namely Ego, Soul and Self. The types in each set share a common driving source, for example types within the Ego set are driven to fulfill ego-defined agendas.
Most, if not all, people have several archetypes at play in their personality construct; however, one archetype tends to dominate the personality in general. It can be helpful to know which archetypes are at play in oneself and others, especially loved ones, friends and co-workers, in order to gain personal insight into behaviors and motivations.
The Four Cardinal Orientations define four groups, with each group containing three types (as the wheel of archetypes shown above illustrates).
Each group is motivated by its respective orienting focus: ego-fulfillment, freedom, socialness and order. This is a variation on the three groups of Types previously mentioned; however, whereas all the types within the Ego, Soul & Self sets all share the same driving source, the types comprising the four orienting groups have different source drives but the same motivating orientation. For example, the Caregiver is driven by the need to fulfill ego agendas through meeting the needs of others, which is a social orientation; whereas, the Hero, which is also driven by the need to fulfill ego agendas, does so through courageous action that proves self-worth. Understanding the groupings will aid in understanding the motivational and self-perceptual dynamics of each type.