The Primary Archetypes, 12 Zodiac Signs and Planets
I have long wanted to bring up a relationship that I make of Carl Jung’s primary/most important archetypes with the 12 signs and major planets of astrology. Jung talked a lot about the phenomenon of synchronicity and from this I can think of how archetypes are actually present in the collective unconscious as he said. They are universal symbols present in the minds of each one of us, regardless of culture, and translate meanings that we will see present repeatedly (but in different languages) in various places. in Astrology, I can notice the presence of the main archetypes of Carl Jung.
The order of the archetypes and corresponding signs:
- Animus — Aries/Mars
2. Anima — Taurus/Venus
3. The Child — Gemini/Mercury
4. The Mother — Cancer/Moon
5. The Father — Leo/Sun
6. The Maiden (the virgin) — Virgo/Mercury
7. The Persona — Libra/Asc-Venus
8. The Shadow — Scorpio/Pluto
9. The Hero (the hero) — Sagittarius/Jupiter
10. The Wise Old (Sage) — Capricorn/Saturn
11. The Trickster (the rebel) — Aquarius/Uranus
12. The Self — Pisces/Neptune
and what I find most interesting in this relationship is how the meanings of the signs fit in very well with those of the archetypes, and furthermore, how the order of the archetypes makes a lot of sense thinking in terms of the psyche and human existence. for example: the animus and anima are part of a “pair” of opposite characteristics that we need to know to possess within ourselves. it is said that men have more animus and women more anima, because the first, among many characteristics, is related to rationality, and the second, to sensitivity. well, it’s not quite like that. not necessarily a woman has as predominance anima and a man animus. it can happen exactly the opposite, because we shouldn’t relate animus with masculine and anima with feminine, this idea is no longer relevant considering the evolutions we made. so, animus and anima in the end is about an exchange that we need to have within ourselves and with outsiders so that we can balance these opposites. in relationships, in special love affairs, what do we do? we seek to balance, even if unaware of it, our characteristics with those of the person we relate to. for it is through exchange that we can evolve. and which signs and planets, better than any other, represent this exchange in astrology? Mars and Venus, respectively as Animus and Anima, and Aries and Taurus, as Animus and Anima.
finally, we can note that the signs are in the same order as the zodiac: from Aries to Pisces, and that this order perfectly matches the order of what we can possess in our psyche.
let’s go to the meanings of each archetype, sign and planet:
1. The Animus — Aries / Mars
The “Animus” archetype is related to an internal energy that moves us to live, it’s the impetus. It’s an inner force that animates us. One of the characteristics of this archetype is to build something with all the energy you have within you, applying efforts after you want to do so. It’s an archetype that makes a person capable of solving problems, with a lot of attitude, protagonism, physical and internal strength and a very strong personality. Again remembering: NO, this archetype doesn’t represent only men, as this is a somewhat outdated vision. I’m sure you already know or will meet women with a lot more Animus than many men out there — who act like this, not only claim to be such things.
All of us, regardless of gender, may have more or less of this Archetype in us. And when we have too little, it’s time to work to establish a balance, integrating more Animus — either through relationships, learning by projecting yourself into those who already have these characteristics, or through your self-knowledge, noting the need to integrate that part that so much is lacking in you — a drive for life, a lust to act and take sides with yourself.
Aries, in turn, exactly resembles the above characteristics. For those who already know the sign, you know what I’m talking about. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the one that opens everything, that brings out the need to establish a strong bond between you and your own personality, the one that shows us how there can be someone with the energy to give and sell. Aries is intensity, it’s looking at yourself, it’s building your identity and personality.
Mars rules Aries, and gives to this sign exactly these characteristics of having a lot of energy, of knowing how to fight for what it wants, a lot of lust for life and for achieving its goals and so on.
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2. The Anima — Taurus/Venus
The Anima archetype has characteristics that are opposed to the previous one, but at the same time complement it. Anima is related to sensitivity, with a contact between the external and the internal world. I would say it’s more from the outside in and not from the inside out (as it is with the Animus). While the former has within itself what it wants to externalize, the Anima archetype is much more about pulling what is outside to bring it inside.
In other words, there is an exchange between the external and the internal world, not a mere injection of energy into one of them. It’s said that Anima is great at nurturing and giving love as it’s more sensitive and less focused on her/himself, however, this ability to love is not restricted to others.
Anima is able to appreciate itself, to nourish itself. Precisely because you have emotional contact and this exchange between what’s outside and what’s inside, you have empathy. It has in itself the ability to relax and enjoy life, feel the energy it has in it and appreciate its meaning. Anima appreciates a balance between giving and receiving. And yes, it has persistence much like Animus, but it’s something more controlled in the sense that here there’s a weighting before putting in that energy. But when you insert it, it’s done with a lot of persistence. These are some of the many characteristics of the Anima archetype.
Taurus is the sign of appreciation of oneself and the other, it’s one with a lot of persistence and energy, but much more restrained than Aries, precisely because it’s much more cautious than impulsive. It’s the sign of sensitivity, love, give and take, nourishment and fidelity. Taurus loves to appreciate the good things life has to offer, from nature to earthly pleasures.
Venus is exactly the one who bestows these characteristics on the sign of Taurus, for ruling it.
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3. The Child — Gemini / Mercury
The child’s archetype is the beginning of everything — the discovery of the things in life, it’s the archetype of innocence, of curiosity. Impulsive, curious, creative, stubborn, extroverted… these are some of the characteristics of children and, yes, they represent very well the meaning of the child archetype (well integrated, without its “shadow” functions activated). Furthermore, the child archetype gives a person the ability to deal with life in a lighter, more playful and fun way, without having such a heavy and serious view of everything. It gives us an ability to nurture our innocent side and has a warm heart ready to make everyone around you feel good.
Gemini relates very well to this given how curious and young this sign is, that even gets the name “eternal youth”, for being so playful and simply wanting to live life without too much worry, wanting to live without having much to think about: just living in the present moment. It’s a sign of socialization, communication, and there is nothing that children (and Geminis) know how to do more than that: talk with others easily, speak openly and enthusiastically, even with those who don’t know, with strangers. Extroverts and eternal curious. Gemini / who has a lot of Gemini in the chart even has a sweet and “childish” voice, even if the person is an adult.
Mercury confers many of these characteristics on Gemini, and so it also relates perfectly to the child archetype.
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4 — The Mother — Cancer / Moon
The Mother Archetype. It’s one of the most interesting archetypes and at the same time the most widespread in our collective unconscious. Although it can have distortions and shadow sides, as every archetypes can have, this archetype is what most nourishes our idea of what it’s to be a mother. Some of the characteristics of this archetype: ability to emotionally nurture people, especially those you love, ability to care, the idea of fertility, life force, birth, recognizing where there is pain and wanting to heal by not accepting that the one you love must suffer. It’s generosity, compassion, it’s the one who takes care when no one else wants to. And it does so without wanting anything in return.
Cancer, in turn, recalls exactly these characteristics: the emotional nourishment of someone who loves as a mother does, and it’s obvious that this nourishment doesn’t only include children; it’s the connection with home, with home, it’s an ability to protect and to want to be close to the one you love. It’s giving comfort and having a lot of sensitivity inside.
The Moon rules Cancer, it’s the one that gives us all the sensitivity and emotional openness to feel the world and people. A lot of ability to protect and it’s not just sensitivity: this planet has the energy to act when it wants to too.
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5 — The Father — Leo / Sun
The father archetype doesn’t directly relate to what it means to be a father. In reality, this archetype combines creativity with energy, an ability to initiate things through your protagonism. This archetype means that “father” (again: don’t get caught up in the idea of genders, let’s go further) is a person who protects his ideals and those he cares about. The order and rules in the sense that this figure must know how to exercise a healthy influence over others. The understanding and inspiration, in the sense that this “father” figure should not just want to rule and shine, this person is there to represent what others want. And if he does, he will be someone who supports and cares to listen to others, with his energy and ability to trust himself and make others trust him, he will make dreams (yours and others) come true.
Leo remembers many of the characteristics of this archetype. This sign has creativity and drive like no one else, it has a lot of energy and ability to do the things. Leo has a lot of capacity to defend those he/she cares about and follow the goals he/she believes he/she must achieve.
the Sun is the hottest planet and the one that radiates the most light and energy to others. By ruling Leo, Sun gives to Leo plenty of energy to deal with the challenges of life.
It’s necessary to know how to use these characteristics not only for yourself, but also for others.
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6 — The Maiden — Virgo/Mercury
The archetype of the “Virgin”. This archetype has a lot more to do with other things than what you think of as a virgin. Possibly, you related in your head the word virgin to sexual virginity, but there is much more besides. It does have a relationship with purity, but it’s not that innocence that needs to discover something more so that it can live better and then be “more” adult and mature.
In reality, the Virgo archetype is related to an energy of independence, of a person who knows what she/he wants and doesn’t depend on external conditions and a specific person to flourish and be more experienced. In the end, this person has the ability to discover for her/himself what/which are the other stages of this solo experience. This archetype gives an ability to be full of autonomy, practical attitude to organize and plan what you want to do, not to mention how the virgin is extremely intelligent and open to other experiences
The sign Virgo has such similar characteristics. As if the name that is the same (the Virgo archetype) was not enough, the sign has in itself these peculiarities of being independent, intelligent, knowing how to organize what you want, it isn’t someone who is “waiting to be saved” or helped. Contrary to what many imagine, Virgo is also sensitive, and has a connection with small animals, with part of nature, with the value that natural things have. and while Virgo is more rational and sometimes seems cold, this sign represents people that are open to some experiences, as Virgo is a mutable sign.
All of the above characteristics relate to Mercury, and the planet Mercury has a lot of connection with the archetype of Virgin.
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7. The Persona — Libra / Ascendant — Venus
The Persona is one of the best known archetypes. I love dealing with Persona and I’ve done some posts about it (relating the Jungian concept to astrology). This archetype basically means the social mask we put on to meet other people. Anyone who acts or does theater understands personas very well: every time the person goes on stage or shoots a scene, she/he emerges in a role that she/he learned to be very well, even if that role has no connection with what this actor in fact is. It’s a mere role. That’s the Persona: the part of one’s personality.
In real life, it’s a mask that we use to show a certain group of people (or for everyone, in some cases) characteristics that we select from ourselves, and that are often present to meet the expectations that the environments (and people) own us. Persona is important, as there are places where we really need to “please” some expectations. But this can’t be our greatest pursuit, otherwise we live awash in Personas, in people who are more connected to showing what others expect of us — only our good sides, our achievements and happiness, smiles and no sadness, problems, defects and weaknesses.
Libra means many of the things described above if we stop to notice how Libras are extremely attached to seeing the good in everything, rather than accepting to see the bad and the rotten in people and situations, as Libras often hide from themselves — and logo of others — all of your darker, darker sides, from an inner voice that says negative things to desires that this person wants to hide, whether they are objectionable or not. Also, Libras are extremely attached to what they say about them, they are very influenced by what the outsider will think of what they are saying or saying. As I’ve said in this blog, doors and windows are always open to hear (too much) what they say outside, to the point of being influenced and not always having solidified beliefs. Looks and looks are also very important to them. That’s why I relate them to Persona. Normally, Libras have much more connection to Persona than to their complementary opposite — the Shadow. They can have difficult in achieve their (unconscious) problems, and touching their traumas easily. They can be more related to harmonic and good emotions, not accepting the opposite side of life with a certain easily.
Ascendant and Venus refer us to Persona matters — Ascendant doesn’t rule Libra, it’s a mere point in the sky, but I see that Libra is very much related to some of the meanings of the Ascendant. ASC is our self-image, but it can sometimes be somewhat dependent on what others say about us. It also has to do with the mask, the surface of our personality and how we show ourselves in the world. And Venus rules Libra and is related to appearance, with this openness to relate to others — to the outside, to the world — taking a lot into account (sometimes too much) of what they have to say about you.
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8. The Shadow — Scorpio/Pluto
The Shadow archetype. I’ve already talked about in other moments relating to astrology. It’s literally opposite to the Persona, it relates to everything that the person can’t admit in itself: behaviors that are repressed, parts of the personality that are not accepted by others, fears, insecurities, sadness, hidden desires, and so on. The Shadow doesn’t just have things that people are afraid to admit because it’s socially reprehensible. It goes far beyond that.
The Shadow is an archetype purely related to the unconscious, and there are all the things that one represses for not wanting to speak or see it anymore: traumas, insecurities, emotional repressions, personality traits. So, despite being hidden, nothing better than the Shadow to help us evolve. To make us embrace our pain. So that, through all that has been repressed by our fear of showing ourselves to the world the way we truly are — without taboos and no desires to just please — we can embrace our true selves. The Shadow must not continue to be repressed. It’s full of potential for a rebirth of our being, for an increase in our ability to survive to embrace who we really are.
Scorpio is nothing more than everything I said above. There is no sign that is as capable of embracing its instinctual side and understanding Shadow as Scorpio does. It’s a sign extremely linked to breaking taboos, to experiencing difficulties in life but from them and precisely from them letting some potential undiscovered arise. It’s the sign of intensity, of contact with the personal unconscious — the Shadow — to allow energies to flow in you to accept being who you were really born to be.
Pluto is the planet that people remember least of, but it’s exactly the one they need when it comes to resurrecting and being reborn in the face of a difficulty, a problem. Deep, full of potential, but silent and with a lot of “inner life”.
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9 — The Hero — Sagittarius/Jupiter
The hero archetype. Heroes are naturally determined. They have the ability to overcome obstacles in order to achieve some of their goals. They like to take risks, because that’s what life is for them. The hero believes in her/himself, but she/he also believes in other people and inspires them to believe in themselves. They are natural motivators.
Sagittarius is extremely optimistic, has an ability to believe that she/he and others will always be able to overcome difficulties, whatever they may be. Suffers, but never gives up, and thus inspires people. Very cheerful and positive, the hero looks a lot like a hero because heroes are (and need to be) exemplary, and nothing more exemplary than a being who can deal with life’s adversities with optimism and with an energy that flows easily over her/him. Furthermore, Sagittarius is very generous, a characteristic that we look for in heroes: that they know how to think of others.
Jupiter gives the ruling sign (Sagittarius) these characteristics of optimism and much benevolence. Jupiter wants to be in contact with everyone and bring out the best for them. It’s the planet of kindness, empathy and expansion. Sagittas believe in everything and everyone.
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10 — The Wise Old (Sage) — Saturn/Capricorn
The old sage archetype (or senex archetype). It’s an archetype related to a person with profound knowledge about life, who has a lot to teach others precisely because she/has has learned a lot from life. Good for giving advice and showing the value of time and the importance of knowing how to make the right choices.
Capricorn is the sign of duties, often linked to being more rigid and hard on yourself for recognizing the need to say no to some things, in order to achieve others in life. It’s the sign of what will be built and achieved in the course of life, and it usually relates to the lessons that life gives us, the need to learn from them. Capricorn has an aura of hardness, but at the same time it’s melancholy. It seems to bring knowledge and certainties [of the more complicated side of life] that come from years ago. That’s why they say Capricorns look old. In the soul they are indeed.
Saturn is very related to this archetype since it’s the planet of karma, of what we must learn over time (and that we sometimes learn from difficulties). From difficulties we can build many learning that will serve as a basis for future experiences.
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11 — The Trickster — Aquarius / Uranus
Rebel archetype. When searching, you find descriptions like: “A trickster is, in mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal that plays pranks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and norms of behavior”. And that’s right. The trickster energy that is within the rebel archetype is one that brings a certain pleasure to the person in disobeying the rules already imposed, in going against what is expected in certain patterns of behavior. It’s the archetype of the person who criticizes, but of the person who also makes use of humor and her/his ability to deceive and make fun of others, going against what is expected of her/him. Possessing, many times, a noble objective behind this rebellious attitude. This is the case with Robin Hood.
No one better than Aquarius to represent these characteristics. We know they are very rebellious, they don’t like to appear predictable to others. Some, because they like it, prefer to show themselves against others because they feel pleasure and sometimes because they really like it. Robin Hood definitely sounds very Aquarius: critical and aimed at social groups, especially the less fortunate.
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12 — The Self — Pisces/Neptune
And finally we come to the end of the list of the main archetypes. The Self archetype is undoubtedly one of the most important as it deals with the one that dissolves all existing barriers between the Ego and the Self, making both create an axis so that the person not only lives attached to what her/his Ego says she/he is, but let it be the whole integrality of what she/he was born to be: the Self. The Self or self in Jungian psychology means the unification of the conscious (Ego) and the unconscious, presenting the psyche as a whole. It’s what we must seek to know throughout our live, and for this to happen we must embrace all our sides — from the most fragile and vulnerable, to the most solidified and convinced. It’s the archetype of the end of everything, the sensitivity and dissolution of the “ideal” personality to find its original personality.
(This image represents the way that a person connected to his Persona, and therefore to his Ego, ends up living).
In terms of personality development and reaching your Self, it’s right to stay true to who you were born to be, rather than molding and getting lost in what is most predominant, what the crowd expects of you. And where are YOUR desires? And your fears, and your desires? Do you allow them to flow without repressing them for fear of what you will find through them? Would you rather be more you, or be what others expect of you?
What else does Pisces mean if not all these characteristics?! Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac, and no wonder. Pisces closes the whole cycle because it’s the one who has a little bit of everything inside, and it managed to develop enough empathy to transcend, enough ability to touch all of its sides and allow the vulnerability to also transcend and know who he really is. It’s the sign that feels everything, but at the same time can’t describe everything it feels — but knows how to play in these experiences like no one else. When Pisces decides to give in to deep self-knowledge, this sign has this ability to reach the Self like no one else.
Neptune, ahhh, Neptune… it’s the planet who gives these characteristics to Pisces, Neptune ruler of the seas, of sensibility, of the unification of being.
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