Jung's archetypes

Anthony Golden
Jung's archetypes

The human being has always tried to understand, deepen and explain the questions that revolve around the human personality. Whether defined as "soul", as it was understood in the past, as "psyche" or as "behavior pattern", the truth is that the keys that make us unique and different from each other have interested philosophers, thinkers and scientists throughout the history of mankind and especially psychologists. One of them was Carl Jung, who proposed his own way of understanding the motivations of the human personality through archetypes.


  • Who was Carl Jung?
  • What are Jungian archetypes?
  • The Collective Unconscious
  • Jung's 12 archetypal personality images
    • 1. The Innocent
    • 2. The friend
    • 3. The hero
    • 4. The caregiver
    • 5. The explorer
    • 6. The rebel
    • 7. The lover
    • 8. The creator
    • 9. The jester
    • 10. The wise man
    • 11. The magician
    • 12. The ruler
  • Main Jungian archetypes of the Self
    • 1. The Anima and the Anima
    • 2. The person
    • 3. The shadow
    • 4. The self
    • 5. The great mother
    • 6. The great father
  • Conclusions
    • Links of interest

Who was Carl Jung?

Carl Jung was a psychiatrist widely recognized for his influence on psychoanalysis and his subsequent study of human psychology through analytical psychology.

Jung, began his journey carrying out a great contribution in the early stages of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a psychological current that was very influential in the 20th century, originated through the theories and the figure of the popular psychologist Sigmund Freud and that theorizes about unconscious psychic processes, affirming that these are the basis of behavior and psychological problems that people can suffer.

After working with Freud in the beginning, Carl Jung, whose contribution to the analysis of dreams was very prominent, gradually begins to move away from Freudian psychoanalysis, considering that its explanations were reductionist. Thus, Jung configured his own psychological theory, analytical psychology, and expanded his ideas by focusing on a concept of the unconscious that went beyond the Freudian notion: an inherited, collective unconscious, which according to him, forms the basis of the human psyche and it is formed through innate patterns in all cultures: archetypes. Although these ideas are discussed today, their influence and popularity is and has been very notable..

What are Jungian archetypes?

The term "archetype" has its origins in ancient Greece. "Arjé" means "source" or "origin" and "types" means "models". In combination, its meaning is translated as "original model", that is, a unique pattern that is copied or derived from the rest of the models..

Jung made use of this "single model" concept by incorporating it into his psychological theories of the collective unconscious. For this psychologist and thinker, the archetypes were universal patterns that resided in the collective unconscious of all human beings, of any culture and time in time. Thus, Jungian archetypes are concepts that are part of our most basic motivation and through which we evolve..

The Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious is key to Jung's theories of mind, as it contains the various archetypes.

Rather than being born as tabula rasa (a "blank slate" in Latin) and being influenced purely by our environment, as the English philosopher John Locke believed, Jung proposed that we are all born with a collective unconscious. This unconscious contains a set of shared memories and ideas, with which we can all identify, regardless of the culture in which we were born or the period of time in which we live. We cannot communicate through the collective unconscious, but we do innately recognize some of the same ideas, including archetypes..

For example, many cultures have cultivated similar myths independently of one another, featuring similar characters and themes, such as the creation of the universe..

Jung's 12 archetypal personality images

Jung defines from here twelve primary archetypes with different meanings, values ​​and personalities that symbolize the most basic motivations of human beings. These twelve archetypes are:

1. The Innocent

Those who identify with the innocent archetype are sometimes criticized for being naive dreamers. However, your positive attitude and easy-going personality can lift others up like a breath of fresh air. The innocent always tries to see the good in the world and looks for the positive side in every situation.

  • Goal: be happy.
  • Fear: being punished for doing something wrong.
  • Weakness: trusting others too much.
  • Talent: faith and open-mindedness.

2. The friend

The friend archetype represents those who are trustworthy, realistic, and honest. Some people may describe them as a bit negative at times. The friend is always looking for belonging in the world and can join many groups and communities to find a place to fit in..

  • Objective: to belong.
  • Fear: being left out or standing out from the crowd.
  • Weakness: can be a bit too cynical.
  • Talent: honest and open, pragmatic and realistic.

3. The hero

The hero strives to be strong and defend others. They may feel that they have a destiny that they must fulfill. Heroes are brave in their quest for justice and equality and will face even the most powerful forces if they think they are wrong..

  • Objective: to help others and protect the weak.
  • Fear: being perceived as weak or scared.
  • Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight it
  • Talent: competence and courage.

4. The caregiver

Those who identify with the archetypes of the caregiver are full of empathy and compassion. Unfortunately, others can exploit your good nature for their own ends. Caregivers need to pay more attention to taking care of themselves and learn to say no to the demands of others.

  • Goal: help others.
  • Fear: being considered selfish.
  • Weakness: being exploited by others.
  • Talent: compassion and generosity.

5. The explorer

The explorer is never happy unless he experiences new emotions more or less constantly. You can enjoy visiting different countries or you can be happy to learn about new ideas and philosophies. However, you find it difficult to settle into a job or relationship for too long, unless the job or relationship allows you to retain your freedom to explore.

  • Objective: to experience as much life as possible in one lifetime.
  • Fear: getting trapped or being forced to conform.
  • Weakness: aimless wandering and inability to hold onto things.
  • Talent: being true to your own wishes and feeling awe.

6. The rebel

When the rebel sees something in the world that is not working, he tries to change it. Rebels like to do things differently. However, rebels can sometimes abandon some good traditions just out of a lust for reform. Rebels can be charismatic and easily encourage others to follow them in their quest for rebellion..

  • Goal: tear down what doesn't work.
  • Fear: being unable to make a change.
  • Weakness: taking your rebellion too far and obsessing over it.
  • Talent: coming up with big, outrageous ideas and inspiring others to join them.

7. The lover

The lover seeks harmony in everything he does. You find it difficult to deal with conflict and may find it difficult to defend your own ideas and beliefs in front of more assertive people.

  • Objective: to be in a harmonious relationship with people, work and the environment they love.
  • Fear: feeling unwanted or unloved.
  • Weakness: desire to please others at risk of losing their own identity.
  • Talent: passion, appreciation and diplomacy.

8. The creator

The creator archetype was born to create something that does not yet exist. He hates being a simple passive consumer, preferring to create his own entertainment. Creators are usually artists or musicians, although a stimulus can be found in almost any work area to bring out their innate talent.

  • Objective: create things of lasting value.
  • Fear: not creating anything important.
  • Weakness: perfectionism and creative blocks caused by fear of not being exceptional.
  • Talent: creativity and imagination.

9. The jester

The jester loves to liven up a party with humor and tricks, yet they have a deep soul. They want to make others happy and can often use humor to change people's perceptions. Sometimes, however, the jester uses humor to cover his own pain.

  • Objective: lighten the world and make others laugh.
  • Fear: being perceived as boring by others.
  • Weakness: frivolity, wasting time and hiding emotions under a humorous disguise.
  • Talent: seeing the funny side of everything and using humor for positive change.

10. The wise man

The wise value ideas above all else. However, they sometimes get frustrated that they can't know everything about the world. Sages are good listeners and often have the ability to make complicated ideas easy for others to understand. They can often be found in teaching roles.

  • Goal: use wisdom and intelligence to understand the world and teach others.
  • Fear: being ignorant or being perceived as stupid.
  • Weakness: you cannot make a decision because you think you never have enough information.
  • Talent: wisdom, intelligence and curiosity.

11. The magician

The magician is usually very charismatic. They have a true belief in their ideas and want to share them with others. They are often able to see things in a completely different way than other personality types and can use these insights to bring transformative ideas and philosophies to the world..

  • Objective: understand the fundamental laws of the universe.
  • Fear: unintended negative consequences.
  • Weakness: becoming a manipulator or selfish
  • Talent: transforming the everyday experience of people's lives by offering new ways of looking at things.

12. The ruler

The ruler loves to be in control. They often have a clear vision of what will work in a given situation. They believe they know what is best for a group or community and can become frustrated if others do not share their vision. However, they generally have the interests of others at heart, even if their actions are sometimes wrong..

  • Goal: create a prosperous and successful family or community
  • Fear: chaos, being undermined or overthrown
  • Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
  • Talent: responsibility, leadership

Discover your archetype with our JUNG ARCHETYPES TEST

According to Jung, each person has a different organized set of these archetypes, but it is usually one of them that dominates the total personality of the individual..

These 12 archetypes offer us a guide that can help us understand our motivations and leverage our own strengths while working on our weaknesses. Understanding which of the 12 archetypes dominates our personality can help us understand what is really important to us. This knowledge helps us improve our focus and achieve our goals..

Main Jungian archetypes of the Self

Some of the main archetypes that, according to Jung, make up our personality and are expressed in our language, our behaviors, reactions and dreams are:

1. The Anima and the Anima

It is the representation of the gender opposite to the one that the person has. According to Jung, the anima is, for the man, the feminine side that remains in his psyche, just as the spirit is for the woman, its masculine side. This archetype is expressed in a great emotionality and puts us in contact with aspects that we repress in our personality as well as it forms the link between the individual and the collective unconscious..

2. The person

The person is, for the author, that identity that we want to project, something like the mask of an actor, those traits that we adopt due to the influence of the environment or the roles that society imposes on us and that we adopt as a public image, despite the fact that our true personality may be different.

3. The shadow

"Taken in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of mysteries"

The shadow is the Jungian archetype that reflects those elements that we consider negative. They are the characteristics that we try not to show to others because this could cause us embarrassment or anxiety. It is derived from an animal past in which instincts are included.

Within the shadow, there are repressed thoughts or ideas that, according to Jung, must be resolved in order to achieve our total individualization. Although what is in the shadow can be considered negative, perhaps it is not always so and there may be positive qualities that we want to hide for some reason.

4. The self

It is the central archetype of the collective unconscious, the image of the whole person that gives meaning to life, as well as the center of the human psyche. Thus, it is the coherence and the organization that confers the balance of the personality..

5. The great mother

It is the archetype that encompasses the idealized maternal qualities: caring, compassion and love, as well as the guide to follow. It is symbolized by the original mother or mother earth, as well as it has been adapted to different religions in names such as Maria, Hera or Juno.

6. The great father

This archetype represents a guardian of order and sanity in a chaotic world.


The archetypes that we have just exposed in this article are just some of those that Jung believes populate our collective unconscious..

Many more archetypes can be recognized, possessing nonexclusive qualities and can be maintained by multiple archetypes to different degrees..

Currently theories are discussed to a lesser extent than Freud's psychodynamic approach, Carl Jung's ideas have an influence whose effects can still be felt today.

The idea that we project to other people does not always show our true personality, but is an aspirational and idealized version of who we would like to be.

Links of interest

  • Carl Jung https://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html
  • Carl Jung - What are the Archetypes? https://academyofideas.com/2017/02/carl-jung-what-are-archetypes/
  • Carl Jung: Archetypes and Analytical Psychology. https://www.psychologistworld.com/cognitive/carl-jung-analytical-psychology

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