Archetypes can be seen as templates or patterns which shape the way we think, feel and behave. Because they are derived from shared concepts, images and representations of the world and the people in it, they are something we all intuitively recognize as a part of our humanity.
Here’s a brief introduction to the four main archetypes.
The Heart Centred Leader Archetype
The Heart Centred leader is the part of each of us which is responsible for leadership in our life, creating a vision for our life, and knowing our purpose. It’s the part which can love ourselves, and others, unconditionally.
Ideally, this part will make the important decisions for each of us about how to live our life, what career to follow, where to live, and how to manage our world, whether that is our family, our business, our circle of friends, our own life, or something more.
Your Heart Centred Leader is rightfully in charge of all of these things. When his or her energy is expressed fully, in balanced form, he makes you a mature, decisive, powerful and potent leader. This means you can – and do – run your life effectively. From that standpoint you can love and bless others, accept them just as they are, and offer compassionate wisdom and guidance to help them achieve their own maturity and fullness of expression.
This may be the most deficient archetypal energy in our world today, and it is probably the one which is least expressed in most people.
The Action Taker Archetype
The Action Taker is an archetype which is all about taking action in the world and setting boundaries.
To operate at his highest level the Action Taker needs a strong Leader to control him and send him out on missions which serve a purpose. This might be a mission to protect people in the Leader’s world, to defend the Leader’s boundaries, or simply to get things done.
In what we might call “Warrior Mode”, the Action Taker can fight for justice, protection and rightness from an offensive or defensive position, depending on what’s needed at the time.
Of course, the world we now live in could well do with less of the warlike quality of the Warrior. This is why it may be preferable to think of the Action Taker’s energy as a form of life energy, an energy which is all about being present and taking action in the world, about getting things done. Some authors call this archetypal energy “The Worker”. Regardless of the name, this archetypal energy is all about setting boundaries, accomplishing tasks, and achieving objectives.
The Transformer Archetype
The Transformer within us is our internal problem solver, our creative power. He is the one who finds answers to problems and works out how the needs and wishes of your leader may be fulfilled. He is the one who keeps us safe as children, and he may continue to work as a safeguarder and protector right into adulthood.
The Transformer’s main motivation is problem solving and coming up with solutions. This is an archetype concerned with thinking in all its forms – rational thinking, logical thinking, and creative thinking.
This is the archetype which serves the Leader as an adviser or counsellor. The Transformer finds solutions to problems and creates ways around difficulties; she likes an intellectual challenge. It’s an archetype that’s abundantly present in the world today, particularly in the world of hi-tech industry and technological development.
The Transformer is also the part of each of us which comes up with strategies to keep us safe when we were children. For children who are raised in less than perfect environments or in downright abusive environments, the part of the Transformer we call the Safety Officer or Risk Manager is vital: she creates strategies which keep the child as safe as possible even in circumstances that can’t really be controlled.
One of the challenges we all face in life, though, is that the Safety Officer may continue to play out those strategies for the rest of our lives, even when the need for them has long since passed. This can be unhelpful and limiting, as we’ll see when we look at this archetype in more detail later on in the course.
The Feeling Body Archetype
The Feeling Body desires nothing more than deep emotional connection to another human being. She cares not one whit for boundaries; for her, life is all about unity, connection, flow, and finding ways to express those qualities. She values sensuous experience over anything else.
Although sex and romantic love are an important aspect of this archetype, overall its motivation is much more about establishing some kind of connection: connection with the self, with other human beings, or with the world around us.
You can therefore understand that the Feeling Body is a primal archetype, probably the first one to appear after birth. A child’s first and most urgent need as a helpless baby is to bond with its mother. Her very survival depends on it.
And the Feeling Body archetype helps us to do this: it’s programmed to try and connect with other people from the moment a child appears in the world. In fact, the power of this drive is immense, yet it’s not consciously felt by most people. Even so, it controls much of what we do and how we are in the world as adults.
Such a powerful urge to bond can never be fully satisfied. Moreover, it’s well-nigh impossible for any child to have all of his or her needs met perfectly. So every one of us is inevitably hurt or wounded to some extent in our Feeling Body archetype.
Unfortunately many children are born into an environment where their needs are barely acknowledged, let alone adequately met. Their lives are subsequently blighted by the pain of connections never made, or made and broken. Addictions, dependency and neediness are some of the most common outcomes of emotional wounds in this archetype.