What is an archetype?

Carrie JordanLife Design, Shamanism

what is an archetype?

Archetypes are ancient patterns of human consciousness that are ingrained in us rather than something that we developed. We can think of archetypes as psychological patterns that are ingrained in us as human beings.

What is an archetype?

When we understand the degree to which a certain archetype lives inside of us, it helps us to identify the patterns that in our work and our lives. This helps us understand ourselves better and it helps us to identify our patterns so that we can create new patterns.

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Archetypal work is important and becoming a healthy spiritual initiated adult who can take responsibility for herself, who can parent and who can also be in service to the community as an elder. 

Archetypes are ancient and they come from a very far back in our line as humans from mythological stories. There are four universal archetypes that we all share as humans. Each archetype has light and shadow parts and they have mischievous ways that they alert us to our patterns.

I think of the archetypes as companions that are always with me as I get to know myself and my psyche. For some people, the archetypes are unconscious patterns, but when we’re self-aware, we can start to understand their wisdom and the messages they are giving us. 

When we recognize that the archetype is taking over, then we can notice and be in conversation with these “parts” of ourselves. Then we can reroute and work in concert with the little girl or the saboteur so that we can have choice around what we’re doing instead of moving forward unconsciously.

The four main Jungian archetypes

The four archetypes that we all have in common as humans are the child, the saboteur, the victim, and the prostitute.

The child archetype

The child shows us where we’re dependent and where we are taking responsibility for our lives. As a healthy spiritual initiated adult, we don’t really want to be leading with our child. We’d rather be leading with the adult and the child is still by our side next to us telling us what’s going on for him or her.

For example, my little girl occurs as pulling on my dress, saying something like, “Last time that this happened, we got really hurt.” And as an adult I get to recognize that my “part,” the little girl, is present and has the potential to take over a situation.

In response, I welcome that part of myself and I pet her hair…I tell her, “Thank you. I hear you. Last time we did get hurt. And this time it’s different. I’m the adult and I will take care of you.”

The victim archetype

Like the child, the victim helps us identify where we are or are not taking responsibility; where we are empowered adults, and where we are blaming other people or circumstances for what’s going on in our lives.

Whereas as healthy spiritual adults, we can take action and take responsibility for where we are in our lives and we can change our destiny. 

The saboteur archetype

The saboteur helps us to learn how we are betraying ourselves. Where are you betraying yourself in your work, in your life? Where are you disempowering yourself?

The prostitute archetype

The archetype of the prostitute helps us to see where we are selling out, where we are out of integrity or selling out our spirit for the purpose of survival? Where are we not aligning with what we really truly believe in? When are we undermining or ignoring our moral compass or our integrity?

Working with the archetypes has been one of the best ways for me to get to know myself, and my unconscious patterns so that I can have choice around what I do, say, and how I be…instead of being run by a child, victim, saboteur, or prostitute. This work has been a big part of my work in self mastery and becoming an empowered and fully embodied woman who welcomes her experience, and welcomes ALL of herself. Are you welcoming all of your parts?

P.S. If you’re interested in this conversation about wholeness and welcoming your parts and your experience, you’ll like this article about emotional repression.