Jung’s Archetypes and Their Role in Your Personal Journey
Jung’s four primary archetypes encompass the main stages of making successful personal journeys.
Each of us has some kind of journey we have set out on. It may be a major one, like obtaining the long sought after college degree or a smaller one like becoming more social around others. Perhaps we’d like to alter difficult emotions like anger or fear or maybe we’ve decided to pursue that long dreamed of writing career. The theory of Carl Jung provides hints regarding how to reach our goals.
Jung’s Archetypes and How They Influence Our Journey
For many individuals visualization is a very powerful tool for taking the steps to achieve their goals. While many techniques exist, Carl Jung provided a conceptualization of commonalities we all share that allows for a method of visualizing each step toward reaching a goal. These commonalities are roles or characters found in what he termed the collective unconscious, a shared level of experience within the human race brought down through heredity.
The structure of the collective unconscious is made up of archetypes or “psychic, innate dispositions to experience and represent basic human behavior and situations,” (Carl Jung Resources, 2011). According to Jung, there are certain archetypes all humans share regardless of nationality, race or culture. The four primary archetypes Jung refers to are the King, the Magician, the Warrior and the Lover, (Jung, 1981), and each has a crucial role in achieving that to which we aspire.
The archetype of the King brings fertility and blesses us on our way. He is our source of inspiration and provides us with a sense of motivation leaving to productivity. Thus, imagery of the king enables us to create the ideas for our quest or journey and provides us with the confidence that it is a worthy pursuit to undertake. He energizes us with the motivation to begin and enables us to imagine the various scenarios our journey may involve. The King is the wellspring which brings forth from within us what may have been something we have desired to do or change for some time but never quite found the inspiration to begin, convincing us it is possible to make it happen in the external world. By setting the parameters of the journey the king thereby brings peace, calm and order to a quest which may otherwise become housed within fear and abandoned before it has even begun.
The Warrior possesses the vast reserves of energy necessary when undertaking a journey, a process that often seems to drain energy as new obstacles are confronted and overcome and new steps created as problem solving reveals better strategies replaces those that failed to move us forward along the path. Although his entire personality encompasses that of a warrior mentality, his aggression is channeled into only those fights necessary to serve and protect the king. This helps ensure that all the King works to create in terms of a goal or purpose is not destroyed by shadow forces seeking to annihilate the Kings ambitions.
The energy of the Warrior allows even passive individuals to bring forth and utilize the force necessary to break through any barriers constructed by internal or external enemies seeking to prevent them from achieving successful fulfillment in life. The Warrior is able to sublimate emotionality in times of crisis in order to fight and win the battle without being distracted by passions. Yet at the same time the Warrior strives to further the betterment of the individual through subverting his will to the King, and thus remains emotionally distant only as long as necessary to settle the conflict.
The Magician is an important figure for inclusion when setting up the steps to take towards a goal for several reasons. It is the Magician who conjures up the strategy that will be used while traveling down the path and provides the instruction on how to apply it when faced with the unanticipated. He is also the Magician who initiates the decision to make the journey, though this archetype is most often engaged in contemplation rather than action as it is the Magician who is responsible for gaining an understanding of and regulating the individuals internal energy, such that he can heal wounds that can occur during a journey and destroy motivation to continue.
As a seer or prophet, the Magician has an awareness of secret knowledge about the individual that can be brought into consciousness when necessary and provides the individual with strengths and skills they never knew they possessed. It is the Magician’s job to liberate and mentor the individual’s inner capabilities so they can become fully conscious of precisely how the King and Warrior function in pursuit of the goal the journey is designed to reach and use the skills of both to the best advantage in order to ensure confidence and success.
The Magician has many of the most difficult tasks of the four archetypes since it is he who must deal with self-doubt, defeatism, self-sabotage efforts, hopelessness, anxiety and other internal states that can destroy the entire effort. It is understandable then why a certain amount of magic is needed for him to fully accomplish his tasks. He must always be prepared to help the individual approach dilemmas in new ways and teach them how to “think outside the box”.
The Lover is the nurturer who provides compassionate counsel along the way. She complements the responsibilities of the Magician but takes his focus to a deeper level, now possible due to the skills the Magician has provided.
The Lover’s characteristics include passionate energy, empathy, connection to others, compassion, and spiritual energy. The Lover wants to connect with others, seeks oneness and unity, and strives to break down boundaries between people, especially any that exist between herself and others which may hinder her progress towards self — betterment.
These characteristics speak to the critical aspect of social support which provides resiliency and an increased ability to cope with any negative thought or experience encountered along the way. Thus, she pushes the individual to strengthen existing positive relationships and to develop new healthy relationships as the journey progresses. She is aware this will provide a strong source of power for the individual to rely upon, both in terms of positive emotions and through the knowledge that there are others that can be relied upon when there’s need for a safe haven and external sources of solace or advice.
The Lover is crucial in keeping the other archetypes energized through her positivity, intuition as to what each is feeling at any particular moment, vitality and ensuring they each maintain contact with each other so as to work as a unified team as well as remain committed to the journey they are on and the outcome they seek.
Summary and Final Thoughts
In conclusion, according to O’Shaughnessy (2008), “archetypes show us that there are many spheres of action we can be involved in at different times, many possible roles we can adopt in different situations.” When beginning to consider committing to an important journey in our lives it can be extremely helpful to reflect upon the importance of the roles played by Jung’s four main Archetypes, the King, the Warrior, the Magician and the Lover in regards to the journey being contemplated.
In order to increase your commitment to the journey under consideration, visualize each archetype, seeing them in your mind’s eye as real individuals, their appearance consistent with your perception of them. Then put them into action. Imagine how they will act when arriving at different places along the path they travel as they pursue the goal, your goal, how they will cope with roadblocks and the manner in which each will fulfill their intended functions and how each will work with the others to achieve success.
After you have engaged in this imagery based process for a while you will ultimately start to realize all the abilities and skills you have up to know attributed to these four powerful characters, in fact belong to you. It will become increasingly clear that what you have been imagining as characters are actually four facets making up who you are. Once you are able to take the final step, accepting this fact and fully incorporating these facets into your personality while determining how to fully assimilate these skills within your repertoire of capabilities, you will be ready to begin the journey you will find yourself now fully committed to taking.
- Carl Jung Resources, (2011). Concept of Collective Unconscious at Jung. Retrieved 12/9/2018.
- Jung, C. G., (1981). The archetypes and the collective unconscious, Volume 9Princeton University Press: Princeton, N.J.
- O’Shaughnessy, M., (2008). Jungian Psychoanalysis and Narrative. Online Resources for Media and Society, 4th ed., Oxford University Press: Australia.