Archetypes are based in the observation of differing but repeating patterns of thought and action that re-appear time and again across people, countries and around the world.

Jung’s main archetypes are not ‘types’ in the way that each person may be classified. Rather, we each have all basic archetypes within us. His four main forms of archetypes are: the shadow, the anima, the animus, and the self.

Jung said that there are many archetypes. These are often linked to the main archetypes. They also overlap and many can appear in the same person. Examples are:

Family archetypes

  • The father: Stern, powerful, controlling
  • The mother: Feeding, nurturing, soothing
  • The child: Birth, beginnings, salvation

Story archetypes

  • The hero: Rescuer, champion
  • The maiden: Purity, desire
  • The wise old man: Knowledge, guidance
  • The magician: Mysterious, powerful
  • The earth mother: Nature
  • The witch or sorceress: Dangerous
  • The trickster: Deceiving, hidden

Animal archetypes

  • The faithful dog: Unquestioning loyalty
  • The enduring horse: Never giving up
  • The devious cat: Self-serving

Tonight watching 33 different K- 5 acts at my daughter’s school talent show reminded of the beautiful differences in life. It also made clear what Jung apparently understood when he developed his theory of personality archetypes.