How do we begin to recognise our other archetypes?

Over the past few months we have looked at some of the ways in which archetypes are the default language of the Unconscious, 95% of the mind. Now we have explored the four survival archetypes that everyone shares – Child, Victim, Saboteur and Prostitute, it is time to explore some of the other possibilities.

Carolyn Myss proposes that, along with the four shared archetypes, we all primarily work through another eight, making twelve in all. Unlike the four survival archetypes, however, these eight are different for each of us. This fascinating journey takes us into a deeper understanding of our behaviour, freeing us to choose how we behave, so that we can respond rather than react. If something pushes our buttons and makes us really angry, for instance, we don’t have to lash out and then regret it afterwards. We can choose to walk away if that is a more appropriate response.

Once we understand our own archetypes, we can also begin to recognise the archetypes that those around us are working through and this can really benefit the relationships we have with others. Some archetypes are easy to spot like the Environmentalist, the Artist or the Priest but bear in mind that some adults never move beyond Child, Victim, Saboteur and Prostitute, staying stuck in them all of their lives. It is also important to be aware that elderly people may revert back to the primary four in, as Shakespeare put it, the second childhood of life. As for children, growing up is partly about moving away from the four survival archetypes into the next eight. But whatever the age of our loved ones, friends and colleagues, the rule is the same. When someone, including ourselves, is in archetypal behaviour, never take that behaviour personally or accept a decision that is made in it because archetypal behaviour comes from the Unconscious, not the Conscious mind.

So how do we go about searching this vast soup of unconscious patterns to determine the specific archetypes that we work through? Over the next few months, we are going to look at some possibilities by grouping them into families: the Family, the Power Family, the Relationship Family, the Justice Family, the Creative Family, the Wisdom Family and the Spirituality Family. This will give us a clearer idea of our possible further eight archetypes and enable us to navigate our own behaviour with more choice and relate more authentically with others. Such knowledge will also help us to choose a profession that suits us. For example, a Lawyer needs to be working through the Judge archetype if they are to be successful, just as a novelist needs to work through the Storyteller and a lecturer the Teacher.

To prepare yourself for this exciting journey, continue observing your behaviour over the next month. By now you may have an idea of when you go into Child, Victim, Saboteur or Prostitute, even if you don’t catch yourself until afterwards, but now also watch for other patterns. For example: What can you not help doing? How do you spend your leisure time? What kind of people do you choose to be with? What kind of behaviour do you keep on repeating? How do you operate in the world?

If you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, then I run workshops on archetypes as well as private sessions in person or on Skype and would be delighted to help you discover what you were born to do and who you were born to be. Phone me on 07964 161527 or email me at

In the meantime, enjoy observing yourself and others, and have a happy September!

Love Laurelle