The term archetypes was first introduced to me by the amazing spiritual teacher, Caroline Myss.
Archetypes are simply a framework or categorization created around our different behaviours and personality types, to help us understand our nature. And as an effect, make more conscious choices about how we want to be, going forward.
We have archetypes in everything. Whether it is the zodiac signs which are determined by birth date, time and location, or the gender we associate ourselves to as we mature, an archetypal structuring helps everyone to logically understand why they are the way they are, and know how to do differently.
For instance, you may generally consider a Taurus to be bullish at locking their horns in an argument. This however, may not be true for all Taurus-born people.
So the limitation of archetypes is that they are not absolutely, always true across the board. This is because we are all a unique mix of different behaviours and patterns which interweave with each other. But we can use this very limitation to our benefit.
Those tendencies which we relate to the most from an archetypal categorization can help us see where we need to expand our nature, and move out of the conformity of this personality type.
So as an example, if one of the drawbacks of being “feminine” in nature is to let life happen, it may serve us to develop our masculine energy to step into a more active role in our own lives.
Studying these patterns and behaviours for a while, we begin to see ourselves fitting into almost all categories. Then, we get a sense that we are more integrated and wholesome in our being, and it’s easier to believe in the infinitude of our existence. 🙂
This is actually the end goal – to not be limited to one or two patterns, but to be able to ascend and evolve into a full range of existence.
It can be really interesting to study archetypes, to know yourself in deeper ways. I’ve been gradually making my way through different programs and ideologies, and have experienced tremendous healing and AHA moments, simply by studying archetypal frameworks.
The biggest benefit I’ve found is that I am able to bring awareness to the unconscious patterns, and so many times, I catch myself halfway in the act. This allows me to slowly but surely move into better patterns that I would like to associate myself with.
There are of course many great studies and resources out there, but today, I would like to introduce you to my top 5 favourite archetype studies.
5 Different Archetypes that Will Help You Become More Self Aware
Here are the books and resources that have brought tons of great insights into the workings of my mind. And it has helped open up how I see the collective consciousness through this archetypal lens. Hope it helps you too!
#1 – Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss
Starting off with the very first book I read, called Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss.
She beautifully describes our soul contracts and was monumental in setting my foundation on the topic. Caroline then dedicates several sections of the book to learning more about your archetypal patterns in context to your soul contracts.
She starts by introducing us to the primary four archetypes that she considers are always at work in our life, namely:
These sound extremely strange at first, but she explains them in a brief but convincing way in this entry-level article.
These four archetypes of survival collectively represent how we show up in life and the major challenges we pursue. Then, she dives much deeper into the other patterns of our psyche and how learning about them can help you heal your relationships at a spiritual level.
Her book is extremely in-depth and sheds such powerful light on our patterns and unconscious conditioning. I think this makes a brilliant starting point for anyone that likes to explore their behaviour and tendencies with the blend of spirituality and psychology.
#2 – The Classic Jungian Archetypes
Carl Jung pioneered in the study of psychology and one of his groundbreaking contributions to society was the framework of these archetypes. His belief was that our minds aren’t just a clean slate which gets filled at birth, but that we inherit a lot of ancestral conditioning, which also influences our psyche.
He explains the four primary archetypes as:
- and the self.
For those that are interested in learning from the lens of psychology, the Jungian archetypes are explained with a lot of simplicity in this article. At some point, I might expand deeper on his study as well, so stay tuned. 🙂
#3 – The Nine Enneagram Archetypes
You might have heard of the nine personalities of the enneagram, and in passing taken some free quizzes online as well. But in my honest opinion, the enneagram can only be properly understood if you take the comprehensive RHETI test. Most free quizzes have not been accurate for me or any of my clients.
And after taking the test, use your results to study your personality type using the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram.
This is a dense book, and an even more dense subject, which talks about the core wounds and core strengths of each personality type. So, no shortcuts. But this will be such a refreshing and rewarding framework for you! Especially if you’re inclined more towards healing your shadow self.
#4 – Your Life Purpose Archetypes by Sahara Rose
Another important question I’m often asked is about the purpose of our life here, on Earth. I always suggest that people try out my Purpose Matrix Tool. This is the very tool that helped me gain more clarity on what to pursue if not my 9 to 5 job. I hope it serves you too!
And then, I typically try to guide them about the way the Universe guides us into our Higher Calling.
But if there’s another resource that I consider deeply insightful in this regard, it’s Sahara Rose’s new book, called Discover Your Dharma.
She simplifies the knowledge of Ayurveda and Vedanta to describe nine different ways to share your gifts here on Earth. There’s a lot of great information on the three doshas (body types) and what role they play in our purpose here.
I genuinely enjoyed the quizzes and revelations that she shares. So much so that I had my husband do them with me! They also help you understand what professions might drain you versus fueling your inner fire.
Her book was a huge affirmation for me as well, as I step deeper into the role of coaching people for their spiritual journey.
#5 – The Human Design Archetypes
This was my most recent introduction. I learned about my human design from a dear friend, April, who beautifully taught me about my tendencies as a “projector”. This was the one of five different types of human design.
The human design is also based on our birth chart, and introduces us to some interesting archetypal patterns. These include insights such as –
- what energy type we are (projector, generator, manifestor, reflector, manifesting generator),
- how we can be in most flow with our energy type and maximize our potential,
- what chakras or energy centres are more open to outside influence,
- whether we’re structured or creative in different settings, and so on.
April shared that the Human Design is different from other archetypal structures in that our type does not change over time. We simply become more optimized in our energy type.
This all starts by generating a Human Design Chart, called a BodyGraph. You can either decrypt the results on your own, or learn more about through a specialist in the field. Having worked with April personally for my own learning, I would recommend her work as a good option!
It’s important to not typecast anyone into an archetype, knowing that we’re not limited to its description. But instead to use these categorizations for our evolution. This study should free us from our limitations, and not give us the permission to continue being certain ways.
So for instance, don’t justify someone’s behaviour because they are “a Capricorn sign”, or they are “a martyr” archetype. Instead, help yourself and others around become aware of these tendencies. And learn the different ways you can step into healthier patterns.
I hope this resource gives you a vast variety of frameworks to take your journey deeper. Start with the one that sounds most interesting. And then sit down and really take your time with learning the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type.
I’d also love to know in the comments below, if you’ve read any of these resources. What benefits have you personally experienced from studying archetypal patterns? 🙂
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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