Lifestyle,  Spirit

Archetypes: The Ultimate Guide (+ How to Work With Them)

Archetypes are omnipresent.

They are within you, they are within others, and they create the very foundation of human behavior.

Did you know that you can actually work with archetypes to create more love, happiness, confidence, spiritual wellbeing, and Wholeness?

If you are skeptical about spirit guides, or simply want a more psychospiritual approach to your inner work, archetypes provide an exciting wealth of knowledge and wisdom.

I work with at least one form of archetype every day. I have also seen countless others work with archetypes with tremendous success. And let me tell you, IT’S SO WORTH IT.

If this topic has your blood fizzing with excitement or curiosity, keep reading to learn where to start …

What is an Archetype?

Archetype Examples
Jungian Archetypes
Spiritual Archetypes
Enneagram Archetypes
Psychological Archetypes
Male and Female Archetypes
Myss Archetypes

How to Work With the Archetypes

Are Archetypes and Spirit Guides the Same?

1. Pick a Light and Shadow archetype
2. Look for hidden archetypes
3. Search for your ‘Matron’ and ‘Patron’ archetype
4. Have a conversation with your archetype
5. Pathworking
6. Try active imagination
7. Physically embody your archetype

What is an Archetype?

Archetypes are patterns of behavior that aid and influence our mental, emotional, and spiritual growth as human beings. You can think of an archetype as quite literally a type of energy.

Like everything in life, there are species, genres, breeds, and groups that tend to structure existence. An archetype is a quality or essence that forms the underlying framework of consensus reality. Like many pieces in the Cosmic puzzle, archetypes are separate and easily definable qualities that compose the Whole.

Archetype Examples

Just so you know, there’s a hell of a lot of archetypes out there.

In fact, there are so many archetypes that it will be impossible to include all of them here. Archetypes have an endless array of nuances and subtleties, so I’ll strive to give you the most prevalent ones currently operating within our collective psyches.

Below you will find a comprehensive list of over 100 archetype examples to explore and better acquaint yourself with.

While you’re going through this list, pay attention to any that jump out at you. The ones that intrigue, trigger, disgust, or enrapture you are the archetypes you need to work with the most closely. Write them down, and keep the list handy for the next section on how to work with archetypes.

Jungian Archetypes

What better place to start than with our old friend Carl Jung?

Jung was a Swiss psychoanalyst who first conceptualized the idea of archetypes. Thanks to Jung, we now have a map of the psyche which defines the main archetypes present in every human being.

These archetypes, which Jung wrote about in Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious are as follows:

The Anima
The Animus
The Child
The Father
The Hero
The Maiden
The Mother
The Persona
The Shadow
The Trickster
The Sage
The Self

While there are many other archetypes in existence, Jung wrote about the above archetypes the most in his work.

Spiritual Archetypes

We have been in the spiritual field for many years. The following twelve spiritual archetypes took us an excruciatingly long time to identify, think about, consider, and create.

They are as follows:

The Alchemist
The Ascetic
The Cenobite
The Devotee
The Disciple
The Hermit
The Mystic
The Prophet
The Rebel
The Sage
The Saint
The Shaman

Enneagram Archetypes

The Enneagram is an intricate model of the human psyche. While its origins are debated among many scholars, many people believe this system was developed from the teachings of Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, and mystic George Gurdjieff.

The enneagram archetypes are as follows:

The Perfectionist (type 1)
The Giver (type 2)
The Performer (type 3)
The Individualist (type 4)
The Observer (type 5)
The Loyalist (type 6)
The Idealist (type 7)
The Boss (type 8)
The Mediator (type 9)

Psychological Archetypes

The following archetypes are based on the world’s first scientifically validated archetype assessment tool: the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI). Like most archetypal theories and tests, the PMAI is inspired by the works of Carl Jung.

Here are the archetypes:

The Innocent
The Orphan
The Warrior
The Caregiver
The Seeker
The Lover
The Destroyer
The Creator
The Ruler
The Magician
The Sage
The Joker

Male and Female Archetypes

We see male and female archetypes scattered everywhere. They are found in the secular world as well as in the spiritual world (think of the ‘god’ and ‘goddess’ within paganism for instance).

Please note that it’s possible for females to share male archetypes, and males to share female archetypes.

Here are the dominant archetypes:

Females –


Males –

Myss Archetypes

These days, one of the best-known archetype researchers out there is Caroline Myss. In her Archetype Cards deck (which I own and recommend by the way), she lists eighty archetypes:

Child: Orphan
Child: Wounded
Child: Magical
Child: Nature
Child: Eternal Boy/Girl
Child: Divine
Don Juan
Femme Fatale
Wounded Healer

In summary, we have a massive list of archetypes for you to explore and work with:

Addict Advocate Alchemist
Angel Anima Animus
Ascetic Artist Athlete
Avenger Beggar Boss
Bully Caregiver Cenobite
Child: Orphan Child: Wounded Child: Magical
Child: Nature Child: Eternal Boy/Girl Child: Divine
Clown Companion Creator
Crone Crusader Damsel
Destroyer Detective Devotee
Dilettante Disciple Don Juan
Engineer Exorcist Father
Femme Fatale Gambler Giver
God Goddess Guide
Healer Hedonist Hero/Heroine
Hermit Individualist Joker
Judge King Knight
Liberator Lover Magician
Maiden Martyr Mediator
Mentor Messiah Midas/Miser
Monk Mother Mystic
Networker Nun Perfectionist
Performer Persona Pioneer
Poet Priest Prince
Prophet Prostitute Queen
Rebel Rescuer Ruler
Saboteur Saint Sage
Samaritan Scribe Seductress
Seeker Self Servant
Shadow Shape-shifter Shaman
Slave Spinster Storyteller
Student Teacher Thief
Trickster Vampire Victim
Virgin Visionary Warrior
Witch Wizard Wounded Healer

Again, this archetypes list is by no means exhaustive. But I hope it gives you a clear idea of the many examples of archetypes out there!

How to Work With the Archetypes

Here we come to the most exciting part of the article: digging into some practical action!

YES, you can work with the archetypes. You can work with any you wish.

But why would someone want to work with the archetypes?

Here are some of the biggest reasons for working with these universal energies:

You get to explore new, unknown parts of yourself
You experience positive growth in important areas of your life (like relationships, work, spirituality)
You discover long-forgotten gifts that were previously buried within your unconscious
You get to embody empowering (and previously disconnected) parts of yourself
You become a more whole, mature, and integrated person
You understand yourself at a deeper level
You understand others at a deeper level
You feel more connected to yourself, others, and life in general
You can heal old traumas and wounds
You feel free to finally be your authentic self

The above benefits are only the tip of the iceberg. But don’t take my word for it, try it out yourself!

Are Archetypes and Spirit Guides the Same?

Before you proceed to the rest of this article, you might be pondering this common question.

Are archetypes and spirit guides the same? Yes and no. On the one hand, archetypes can be approached as spirit guides. For example, you may approach the Sage archetype in the form of Norse god Odin (who may or may not be an objective spirit guide – that’s up to you to decide). But an archetype itself is a pure type of energy. It is impersonal. It does not respond to prayer, devotion or worship. An archetype is an objective force – think of it as a building block of existence like atoms and molecules are.

A spirit guide, on the other hand, is a personal metaphysical force. Spirit guides can either arise from one’s own psyche and deep mind or exist on other realms of consciousness.

I hope that clears things up a bit. Can you use archetypes as bridges to spirit guides? Absolutely. But pure archetypes (such as those listed above) are best for psychological (rather than spiritual) inner work.

With that being said, here are some of the best ways to work with archetypes (in no particular order):

1. Pick a Light and Shadow archetype

Choose an archetype that represents a quality you love and wish to possess, and an archetype that you fear. Picking a light and shadow archetype is simple – just review the list of archetypes above. Notice which ones call out or jump at you and write them down.

2. Look for the archetypes hidden within your behavior

What are your dominant archetypes? You can always review the archetypes examples above and take one of the recommended tests. By learning about your primary archetypes, you’ll discover your greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses.

3. Search for your ‘Matron’ and ‘Patron’ archetype

Research gods and goddesses of old – these beings are basically personified archetypes. Look through the different pantheons out there and see what gods and goddesses appeal to you. There are numerous pantheons of characters out there – Egyptian, Indian, Celtic, Nordic, American Indian, Chinese, African … the list goes on.

If you don’t know where to start, think of a quality you would love to embody. For example, perhaps you struggle with expressing your anger in a healthy way. Research on google “anger gods/goddesses” and see what you find. This approach may take a little bit of digging, but it’s worth it.

Also, pay attention to any gods or goddesses that keep popping up in your life. If you keep coming across the same god/goddess, this could be a case of synchronicity. This happened with Lilith, the ancient Babylonian goddess of power and personal sovereignty (who was the first wife of Adam but refused to be subservient to him). I kept hearing of her, seeing of her, and reading mentions of her names in the books I was studying at the time. It was a bizarre but amazing experience!

If you don’t like (or trust) Google, I recommend a great resource called the Encyclopedia Of Spirits, The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses by Judika Illes. There is a lot of great information in this hefty tome, and it will be something you’ll refer back to over and over again if you enjoy working with archetypes.

4. Have a conversation with your archetype

Journalling is a core spiritual practice I recommend for all forms of inner work – and that includes working with the archetypes.

For this activity, you’ll need to get into a meditative mindset. Put on some ethereal music (or any sounds that put you into a dreamy state of mind), and do a little bit of meditation for five or ten minutes.

Next, start a conversation with your archetype. Get your journal and think of some questions you’d like to ask (e.g. “what would you like to reveal about yourself/me?” “what can I learn from you?”) – then dialogue back and forth, just as you would with someone across email. You can also try automatic writing with this task if you’re in a mystical mood.

5. Pathworking

My definition of the modern, non-esoteric, version of pathworking is that it’s the act of mentally projecting yourself into a picture.

For this activity, you’ll need a picture of your archetype. For example, if you are working with Trickster energy, you may choose to look online for Trickster images. You might stumble across a picture of Pan, Loki, Anansi, Puck, or other symbolic representations of the Trickster. You can either stare at the picture on your phone (and disable the screensaver so that you can do your pathworking uninterrupted) or print out a picture.

To pathwork, find a quiet undisturbed place. Put your phone/picture at eye level about an arm’s length away. You want to be able to comfortably stare at your picture. Connect with your breath, ground yourself, then gaze gently at the image in front of you. After a few minutes, your vision will gain a warped or dreamlike quality. Allow it.

Once you feel yourself entering a light altered state of consciousness, imagine walking into the picture and interacting with the being. Alternatively, you could imagine the figure springing to life. You may then choose to ask the figure questions such as, “Who are you exactly?” “What part of me represents you?” “What important lessons can you teach me?” “How can I integrate you into my waking life?” and so forth.

The responses you receive may be symbolic, verbal or kinesthetic (bodily sensations). Once you are finished talking with the figure, thank them, then return to normal consciousness. Record your discoveries in your journal.

6. Try active imagination

Active imagination is similar to pathworking except it is done solely within your mind. Carl Jung (that marvelous fellow) first came up with the idea of ‘active imagination’ for psychological self-discovery and used it in his own work.

Active imagination basically involves going on an unstructured visual journey within your inner landscape. Unlike visualization, nothing is prescribed: it is all spontaneous.

For example, to work with a specific archetype, such as the Monk, you may choose to begin your active imagination within a monastery. Let your imagination go wild and see what happens. Does a monk come into the place? Perhaps a wise old owl flies in and then transforms into a mysterious hooded figure who then takes you on a journey? Maybe the floor opens up and you fall into a secret chamber. Virtually anything could happen.

Make sure you ask the archetype questions and thank it once you’re done. Record in your journal everything you’ve experienced for reflection. Sometimes new layers of insight come when unpacking your archetypal journeys.

7. Physically embody your archetype

Temporarily taking on the behaviors and attributes of your chosen archetype is a great way to integrate them into your personality structure.

For example, if you wish to connect with the Seductress or Don Juan side of your nature, why not pick a sensual perfume, a beautiful piece of jewelry or an elegant outfit to wear? You don’t necessarily need to go out in public (unless you’d enjoy seeing other’s reactions) – even just experimenting from the comfort of your own home is effective.

You’d be surprised by how profoundly simple changes in our physical appearance impact our moods and emotions. Research ‘enclothed cognition’ for more juicy insight.

Source: Loner Wolf