What Are the 12 Archetypes and Which One Dominates Your Personality

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12 archetypes personality

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

  7. The Lover

    The lover seeks harmony in everything they do. They find it hard to deal with conflict and may find it difficult to stand up for their own ideas and beliefs in the face of more assertive types.

    Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work, and environment they love
    Fear: feeling unwanted or unloved
    Weakness: desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
    Talent: passion, appreciation, and diplomacy

  8. The Creator

    The creator is born to bring something into being that does not yet exist. They hate to be passive consumers of anything, much preferring to make their own entertainment. Creators are often artists or musicians though they can be found in almost any area of work.

    Goal: to create things of enduring value
    Fear: failing to create anything great
    Weakness: perfectionism and creative blocks caused by fear of not being exceptional
    Talent: creativity and imagination

  9. The Jester

    The jester loves to liven up a party with humor and tricks, however, they have a deep soul. They want to make others happy and can often use humor to change people’s perceptions. Sometimes, however, the jester uses humor to cover his or her own pain.

    Goal: to lighten up the world and make others laugh
    Fear: being perceived as boring by others
    Weakness: frivolity, wasting time and hiding emotions beneath a humorous disguise
    Talent: seeing the funny side of everything and using humor for positive change

  10. The Sage

    The sage values ideas above all else. However, they can sometimes become frustrated at not being able to know everything about the world. Sages are good listeners and often have the ability to make complicated ideas easy for others to understand. They can often be found in teaching roles.

    Goal: to use wisdom and intelligence to understand the world and teach others
    Fear: being ignorant, or being perceived as stupid
    Weakness: can be unable to make a decision as never believe they have enough information
    Talent: wisdom, intelligence and curiosity

  11. The Magician

    The magician is often very charismatic. They have a true belief in their ideas and desire to share them with others. They are often able to see things in a completely different way to other personality types and can use these perceptions to bring transformative ideas and philosophies to the world.

    : to understand the fundamental laws of the universe
    Fear: unintended negative consequences
    Weakness: becoming manipulative or egotistical
    Talent: transforming people’s everyday experience of life by offering new ways of looking at things

  12. The Ruler

    The ruler loves to be in control. They often have a clear vision of what will work in a given situation. They believe they know what is best for a group or community and can get frustrated if others don’t share their vision. However, they usually have the interests of others at heart even if occasionally their actions are misguided.

    Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
    Fear: chaos, being undermined or overthrown
    Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
    Talent: responsibility, leadership

These 12 archetypes offer us guidance that can help us to understand our motivations and draw on our own strengths while working on our weaknesses. Understanding which of the 12 archetypes dominates our personality can help up to realize what is really important to us. This knowledge helps us to improve our focus and achieve our goals.

Understanding the archetypes of others can give us insights into why they behave in certain ways. These new perceptions can help us to understand them better and work with them in new ways to find win-win solutions.

Which of the 12 archetypes dominates your personality and how has it helped or hindered your life?


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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.

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  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.

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