What Are the 12 Archetypes and Which One Dominates Your Personality

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There are 12 archetypes which have been appearing in stories and myths all over the world since the beginning of time.

Carl Jung defined 12 archetypes that symbolize basic human motivations, as well as drive our desires and goals. These archetypes resonate with us so much that we continue to tell stories about them.

Moreover, they are featured in just about every blockbuster movie or best-selling novel. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. Individuals may be a mix of archetypes, however, one archetype tends to dominate.

It can be helpful to understand our archetypes in order to gain insight into our behaviors and motivations.

Here is an outline of the 12 archetypes and their most common traits:

1. The Innocent

Those who identify with the innocent archetype are sometimes criticized for being naïve dreamers. However, their positive outlook and happy-go-lucky personalities can uplift others. The innocent always tries to see the good in the world and looks for the silver lining in every situation.

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

2. The Orphan

The orphan archetype represents those who are dependable, down to earth realists. Some people might describe them as a little negative at times.

The orphan is always searching for belonging in the world and may join many groups and communities to find a place where they fit in.

: to belong
Fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Weakness: can be a little too cynical
Talent: honest and open, pragmatic and realistic

3. The Hero

The hero thrives on being strong and standing up for others. They may feel they have a destiny that they must accomplish. Heroes are courageous in their quest for justice and equality and will stand up to even the most powerful forces if they think they are wrong.

Goal: to help others and protect the weak
Fear: being perceived as weak or frightened
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage

4. The Caregiver

Those who identify with the caregiver archetypes are full of empathy and compassion. Unfortunately, others can exploit their good nature for their own ends. Caregivers must pay attention to looking after themselves and learning to say no to others’ demands sometimes.

Goal: to help others
Fear: being considered selfish
Weakness: being exploited by others and feeling put upon
Talent: compassion and generosity

5. The Explorer

The explorer is never happy unless experiencing new things. They may enjoy visiting different countries or they may be happy learning about new ideas and philosophies. However, they find it hard to settle down at one job or relationship for too long, unless the job or relationship lets them retain their freedom to explore.

Goal: to experience as much of life as possible in one lifetime
Fear: getting trapped or being forced to conform
Weakness: aimless wandering and inability to stick at things
Talent: being true to their own desires and a sense of wonder

6. The Rebel

When the rebel sees something in the world that isn’t working, they look to change it. Rebels like to do things differently.

However, sometimes rebels can abandon perfectly good traditions just because they have a desire for reform. Rebels can be charismatic and easily encourage others to follow them in their pursuit of rebellion.

Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Fear: to be powerless
Weakness: taking their rebellion too far and becoming obsessed by it
Talent: having big, outrageous ideas and inspiring others to join them

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About the Author:

Kirstie works as a writer, blogger and storyteller and lives in London with her family of people, dogs and cats. She is a lover of reading, writing, being in nature, fairy lights, candles, firesides and afternoon tea. Kirstie has trouble sitting still which is why she created www.notmeditating.com to share techniques and practices for tuning out the busy mind. She is also the author of Not Meditating: Finding Peace, Love and Happiness Without Sitting Still.


  1. Thea Dunlap December 7, 2016 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Great article. Really helps to build the personality to your characters if your creating a story 🙂

  2. Jaime Da Silva December 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Jung has been discredited by many modern studies. Simply reading his work, such as this one, show that it is nonsense. Most people exhibit a mixture of characteristics and which ones dominate change at different times and different situations.

  3. Chris B August 13, 2018 at 8:46 am - Reply

    I actually enjoyed the article and was able to identify my archetypes before taking a test. It doesn’t matter if Jung was discredited by modern psychology or not. Most people who read this have an understanding that their personality is a mixture of archetypes that have been molded through life experience, culture, upbringing, etc. However, that is not to say that there aren’t dominant archetypes that we conform to because of the aforementioned factors and it is not to say that Jung’s beliefs are nonsense because you choose to align with the status quo. I take comfort in knowing more about my inner self and the persona that I project because I can better myself. If you disagree that the purpose of this is self-discovery, then I’m afraid you are missing the point.

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