January 2, 2019
In the previous articles about the shadow archetype series, we have learned basically what it is about and how it can affect our lives.
By going deep into its nature and processes, we have seen that it can come in a multitude of ways.
From individual choices to social influences, our shadows can arise from the most unexpected circumstances with the most unusual of traits.
Furthermore, the way our shadow archetype manifests can be quite strange to us. Without knowing it, we have already enacted a manifestation just by how we perceive ourselves and other people.
The problem is, as we have repeatedly stressed, being unable to identify that indeed there is a shadow. This causes a lot of issues for us because the driver’s seat of consciousness can be taken away without our knowledge.
Step one then in solving the problem is simply recognizing our shadows. All other techniques and strategies to deal with it can be applied afterward.
Thus, in this article, we will help you identify your shadows based on your archetype.
Given that these archetypes are universal structures of the self, our shadows can form part based on the frame that we currently have.
In this article, we will explore the possible basic tendencies of individuals based on their jungian archetype.
It is important to stress the word ‘dominant’ here given that each archetype is found in all of us, its just that one archetype can currently be in-control over others.
Recognizing this notion is crucial in the whole individuation process given that we don’t only see ourselves one way. Rather, we see the truth in who we really are.
By being able to resonate with our given archetype, we can easily identify our shadows which will allow us to further know more about ourselves.
Using this method, we may be able to prevent our shadows from taking over given that we know the tendencies of our archetypes.
As we proceed, we will see not only how and why such shadows are present for each archetype but also get an idea of how it affects the different aspects of our lives.
The first archetype that we will be exploring is the caregiver. Out of all the archetypes, the caregiver is the selfless one.
As we know it, the caregiver places others ahead of himself/herself, a heart that is filled with nothing but pure goodwill.
We can know a caregiver at first glance, for their tendency towards altruistic activities is something that they cannot hide.
Whether it be simple gestures of helping a random stranger on the street, or a grandiose one like spending one’s time, talent, and treasures for others, the caregiver is always ready to help.
This archetype may seem to represent an essentially good individual. We are, after all, social beings. What greater treasure can we have other than extending beyond ourselves to help others?
While seemingly good beyond all standards, this archetype is still as susceptible as the other archetypes to its own mistakes and weaknesses.
The main weakness of this archetype rests in its lack of self-love which can be essential in order to survive and preserve one’s individual value and dignity.
By always placing others before one’s self, the caregiver may become a stepping stone for other people to achieve their goals and dreams. While it is good to help them, over-helping them can lead to dependency and parasitism.
How does the shadow appear in this archetype?
For the caregiver, service is the best goal that he/she may achieve. Helping others, becoming a core part of their success, forming a team, sharing one’s knowledge, lending one’s resources are some of the few things that a caregiver does for other people.
In this archetype, the shadow usually appears as caregivers perceive the world based on this ultimate good of moral duty. Being unable to serve this moral duty of helping others can result in the caregiver’s dissatisfaction.
The shadow, then, appears as the caregiver sets this moral duty. Silently, the caregiver may have feelings of resentment or pity for other people who exhibit self-love as the utmost good.
The problem is that this feeling of resentment or pity is a manifestation of the shadow. What the caregiver fails to understand is that as one person lives, he is an individual who must learn to love his/her own self.
This is crucial for the survival of any individual, with no exemption to the caregiver. After all, we are human beings who need to be loved, nourished, and appreciated.
While other people can always provide this for the caregiver, we know that the main weakness remains – that the caregiver is susceptible to abuse and being taken advantage of.
Such persists, even when the caregiver is a person of pure goodwill. Sometimes, no matter what good you do to other people, they still fail to appreciate you.
When you do good to others, there’s no guarantee that you will be appreciated. This is why you need to learn how to appreciate yourself. Such a characteristic may be contrary to the nature of the caregiver.
However, this manifestation of the shadow allows the caregiver to balance out – by loving one’s self before loving others, the caregiver can give more to the world.
To consider the practical application of this notion, we can use the example of the classic airplane paradox.
In an event of an emergency due to unforeseen turbulence, the cockpit captain may require us to put on our oxygen masks.
But as we know, we have to put on our masks first before we can put on the mask of others. Yet in this situation, how do you think the caregiver will act? How much more if the caregiver, in this case, is a mother traveling with a four-year-old child?
Of course, we know how it goes – the caregiver mom places her child before herself, following an irrational protocol of placing one’s self before others.
While this can simply turn out fine, it speaks a lot about how caregivers operate. Their shadow of placing themselves first can actually help them.
When a friend who is addicted in gambling borrows money from you using a compelling reason like the health of a family member, the caregiver must not only think of the ultimate good as helping others outright.
Meaning, by helping him/herself, the caregiver can reject the gambler while helping them at the same time. If we don’t feed their negative activities, it might eventually die.
Consequentially, the caregiver also places his/herself before others, which means that self-love, valuation, and appreciation is given. By upholding one’s value, the caregiver is able to fill their own love tank.
As we say, we cannot give what we don’t have. In the same way, if the caregiver persists in this unsustainable pace, they will eventually have to drown in their own water.
The shadow then, in this case, manifests a positive trait. The only problem is that the caregiver perceives it from a negative stance given that their world view is trapped within their own premises.
By listening to the shadow and acknowledging it, it strikes a healthy balance. We are not saying that one must change the nature of being a caregiver.
In a world filled with rage and chaos, the caregiver is, nonetheless, our desert oasis. Their wide and welcoming arms can make us feel human.
But just like everyone else, they need their own share of sustenance and nutrition – one that only they can give for themselves.
Similar to the ruler, the creator archetype also has a strong vision of what he wants to happen in his/her life. But unlike the ruler, the creator archetype is more focused on building this vision rather than gaining and maintaining control.
Meaning, while the ruler archetype places control and authority as the top-most good of his vision, the creator can be more of a playmaker who doesn’t necessarily need the spotlight.
As such, he is more focused on the result of his creation rather than on the creator himself.
But if we talk about their nature, the ruler and the creator share a lot in common. This is because both of them seek to create a thing of enduring value. Even when the ruler values his power more, still he seeks something that solidifies his authority.
The difference lies in how they perceive their vision. The creator creates a vision for the vision itself to be enduring, regardless of power and prestige.
We can see this all the time with artists whose craft is always a battle against oneself. One particular artist that comes into mind is Vincent Van Gogh.
If we look at the life of Van Gogh, we will see that a few things that outline why he is a perfect example of the creator archetype and how shadows manifested during his lifetime.
First, Van Gogh sought nothing but perfection in his works. Although he wasn’t really regarded with honor and fame during his lifetime, it is clear how Van Gogh settled for nothing less than perfect.
Even when his contemporaries didn’t find his paintings as satisfactory during his lifetime, this did not stop him from perfecting his craft. All his life, he painted without regard for anything else.
Second, we can see that Van Gogh pursued his creations even when he only sold a single painting during his lifetime. He wanted to be a painter whose artworks were bought in order to gain a living.
However, he didn’t really achieve this success. Here we can see that his vision lies elsewhere – not in success and fame but in the perfection of his craft which will immortalize his work.
Third, Van Gogh was a constant learner, one who truly sought improvement by learning and varying his art techniques. He didn’t settle for his own vision of what a good painting is. Rather, he constantly learned and adjusted even when he was presumed to be facing multiple mental illnesses.
With these three simple points about Van Gogh, we can have a grasp about how the creator gives meaning to life.
For the creator, it is his creation that makes his life meaningful. Thus, he has the quest to constantly improve his creation, with the phrase “this is not good enough”.
How is the shadow present in the creator archetype?
While the creator pursues perfection, one thing that this archetype lacks is stability and comfort. As one embarks on this journey to pursue the impossible, one sacrifices the benefits of being stable and simply conforming with others.
We can see this idea of the shadow manifesting in Van Gogh’s life.
First, while Van Gogh basically left everything else in this pursuit to perfect his craft, he was still longing for comfort. We can see this as he lived with and loved a Dutch prostitute named Sien. He was with her presumably for 2 years.
Having a partner in life signifies a manifestation of the shadow seeking stability. This is because the partner can become a safe haven for a person who endlessly pursues perfection.
Second, even though Van Gogh relentlessly pursued painting, he was mostly dependent on his brother, Theo who provided for his needs.
Theo not only helped him financially but was also there for him to mend broken relationships with their family due to living with Sien.
This great respect and love for how Theo showcases that Van Gogh might have reconciled with the natural shadow formed by his affinity for perfection.
Even when both of them pursued different things in life (Theo being a painting dealer), Van Gogh saw the value of stability and family in Theo. This, perhaps, is why he eventually left Sien to reconcile with his family.
While most of Van Gogh’s life was a quest to perfecting his craft, we can see that there were glimpses of compromise. He wasn’t really well off and couldn’t afford a wide range of painting materials.
Van Gogh recognized this limitation and was sensitive to it that’s why he used balls of wool together in order to see whether the colors he used were a good match.
Furthermore, he was also fond of painting the life of ordinary folk, which showed the everyday struggles of labor.
Both of these actions can possibly be a manifestation of his affinity to the opposite – stability.
Thus, when we look at the creator archetype, their shadow usually manifests in their lack of stability.
This is because pursuing perfection is full of pitfalls, traps, mishaps, discomfort and everything else that contributes to growth.
On the other hand, stability, contentment, and comfort are traits of the static and the stagnant – a natural enemy of perfection.
However, as human beings, our limitations force us to seek a certain level of such comfort for it would be impossible for us to weather endlessly through the storm.
By having a pillar of their own, it will allow them to fight another day.
This is significant, most especially during the end times of Van Gogh’s career and life as he checked himself in a psychological asylum.
Van Gogh recognized that things were going out-of-hand that’s why he volunteered himself in. He was suffering from psychological illnesses which made it difficult for him to pursue his creation.
Even so, his time during the asylum yielded a lot of paintings, particularly one that is still recognized for its fame – The Starry Night.
While most of us, both experts and ordinary men alike, appreciate this painting, Van Gogh’s creator archetype manifests as he dismisses it as an imperfect one, a painting that he deems less than what he could have achieved.
The third archetype in this series is the explorer archetype. Similar to the sage, the explorer archetype is one that is gifted with a sense of discovery.
This archetype is characterized by the insatiable quest of discovering and understanding the world. Unlike the sage, the explorer is more concerned of experiencing and living the life, instead of an abstract understanding it.
Each of us has this archetype. This is the part of ourselves that drives us to search for new heights, to become unsatisfied with the status quo.
Much interknitted with the innocent and the orphan, the explorer archetype is the street-smart type who continues the quest to paradise with a healthy amount of skepticism.
The explorer is constantly called by the unknown and continues to seek it. At one point in our lives, we exhibit this explorer archetype as we move away from our hometowns and start a new career elsewhere.
Or perhaps even going on vacation towards somewhere that we aren’t really familiar with can be minor expressions of our explorer archetype. Even the mere act of going on a joyride can be an instance in which we try to search for something new.
One particular story that exhibits this archetype is the character of Icarus. In Greek mythology, there was a genius inventor named Daedalus. He was deemed responsible for creating tools and various inventions for Athens.
However, due to his jealousy and insecurity, Daedalus killed his cousin who was also an uprising inventor. This has caused him to be banished to Crete where he was accepted by King Minos.
All was going well until one day, he decided to do King Minos’ wife a favor – creating a machine that helps her seduce the bull. Because of this machine, the king’s wife became impregnated by a bull, which infuriated the king.
As a punishment, Daedalus and his son Icarus were jailed at the top of the highest tower where they will die all their life.
Being a genius inventor, Daedalus realized a way for their escape – by building wings from the bird’s feathers and the wax from their candles.
Daedalus knew that it was a dangerous task. He told his son Icarus he should never fly too near the ocean to avoid the wings getting wet, or too near the sun which would burn the candles.
But as we all know, Icarus was envisaged by the possibility of soaring higher.
This, in relation to the explorer/seeker archetype, perhaps is the most significant part of the story. The act of Icarus soaring higher was a symbolic quest of experiencing the divine.
Back then, Daedalus and Icarus were the first humans to fly. This sense of excitement coupled with the endless possibilities bound in it has caused Icarus to go the extra mile – to the one that was beyond his limitations.
How does the shadow manifest in the explorer archetype?
Compared to other archetypes, the explorer archetype is one that is most likely suppressed and is common in us. This is naturally the case because society forces us to conform and adhere to its rules and notions.
As we are part of a family, community, or society, such social organizations do have similar values and ideas to begin with. It is precisely because they share a commonality that makes them a group.
But the seeker goes otherwise. A part of us wants to go beyond our social and cultural connections in order to experience more about the world.
This may manifest negatively in us as we may pursue the wrong things in life. If we continually suppress the explorer archetype, it may manifest in ways that are negative and self-destructive.
For instance, as Pearson notes, “The urge to ascend spiritually can manifest itself in shadow forms as an urge to “get high” with chemicals, the adrenaline rush of crisis and excitement, or an obsessive and ruthless ambition.” (Carol Pearson, The Awakening of the Heroes within)
This is an example of a mismanaged and unguided shadow manifestation of the explorer archetype. As one rejects the constant call to spiritual elevation, he/she may manifest this in self-destructive ways.
We have seen this in the classic story of Icarus. The unbalanced manner in which the explorer archetype manifested in him resulted to his own death.
On the other hand, a positive manifestation of this shadow in the seeker’s life is learning to understand the transient nature of existence.
What this means is that while the seeker is relentlessly searching for meaning and experience, a good grasp of life having a transient nature will allow the seeker to focus on the things at hand.
In this quest to know and understand more, the seeker may fail to appreciate the small things that is right in front of him. The seeker may resent them, especially when the goal is set onto the destination.
Such makes the shadow manifest, seeing what is before him as irrelevant, just like the sage.
The key in dealing with this problem is by heeding to the classic phrase that the journey is part of the destination.
It doesn’t mean that we have goals in life, we simply use the journey as an irrelevant stepping stone. After all, we are not mere horses whose eyes are with side-blinds.
Paying attention to the value of what is before us will not necessarily deny us of the goal. Rather, it will help us see new perspectives, ideas, and insights about how to live our lives.
In this way, they become part of who we are, and we get to appreciate them as part of our journey in the whole individuation process.
The hero archetype, would be the most popular one. The reason behind its popularity is because this archetype always plays central roles in movies and even pop culture.
Often characterized by courage and fearlessness, the hero or the warrior archetype is famous being that central character in a story that slays enemies.
Universally, the story of the hero begins with a crisis – a life-changing even has struck the society from which the hero resides. This marks the first path – the calling.
We all know the story – he was “manipulated” which ended up with him killing his entire family. He then had to atone for this gruesome act. Seeking the help of the oracle of Delphi, the perfect example for the hero archetype sought to begin this journey.
Hercules, as we know him, began his journey of completing 10 tasks. (which eventually became 12)
Throughout this journey, Hercules has fought with a number of mystical beasts whose powers surpass that of an ordinary human person.
You can name it – the Nemean Lion with an impenetrable skin, the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra whose heads doubled for each one killed, to capturing the infamous pet of Hades which was the Cerebrus.
Not only did he have to face more of these gruesome monsters, Hercules also had to complete impossible tasks such as cleaning the dung of immortal cattles at the Augean stables and taking the belt from the Amazonian queen Hippolyte.
One of the notable tasks he had done was the eleventh task which involved tricking the titan Atlas. In order to take the golden apples of the Hesperides, he shouldered the earth. As soon as Atlas was back, Hercules did let go of it forcing Atlas to let go of the apples.
Eventually, with all his struggles, the demi-god Hercules was granted immortality and a position in Mount Olympus.
Hercules, nonetheless, is the perfect fit for the hero archetype. This is because of all characters, he easily displays the insurmountable amount of courage and pride which is natural in the hero.
As a hero archetype, the ultimate good is to become one. Being a hero then, is about displaying this courage and strength, becoming a physical and symbolic pillar for people.
Just as Hercules has shown that a demi-god can conquer such impossible tasks, he displayed two important qualities of the hero archetype – skill and courage.
Perhaps, the most crucial trait displayed by Hercules aside from both would be perseverance. In the hero or warrior archetype, we usually see a protagonist who is plagued with seemingly impossible challenges.
This is unique to the hero archetype given that other archetypes usually are longing for something on their own. But the hero archetype, on the other hand, must be able to defeat the challenges before him in order to live-out his/her soul’s purpose.
How does the shadow appear in the hero archetype?
As the story of Hercules goes, there are conflicting accounts on whether or not he killed his family due to Hera’s curse or out of his own madness.
Even so, before he even had this family and after he conquered his quests, Hercules was infamous for being wild and reckless.
This perhaps, is one way of the shadow manifesting in the hero archetype. As this archetype is filled with a burning desire to follow the warrior/villain/victim plot.
And we have seen this, of course, also on anti-heroes. Technically, some of them are still heroes within their definition of justice. By being too one-sided on what is right, a hero may fail to recognize that he is already doing what is wrong.
In this case, we see the hero facing the usual struggle – that the more power he has, the more difficult it is for him to make the right choices.
We can see this even in the case of King David. Before he was filled with glory and prestige, he was nothing but a shepherd who held a sling that killed the giant Goliath.
But as he rose into power, King David has committed adultery and plotted the death of the husband of a married wife.
In the same way, Hercules also had some affairs (just like his father, Zeus) involving multiple women.
Universally comparing the literature of heroes, we can see that the hero is often troubled by this problem of being unable to choose what is right (especially with temptation and lust).
Pearson notes that sometimes, the danger is that when the hero archetype is in power, he isn’t really a true hero. Rather, he may be an orphan who simply clings to power and control.
As it is the destiny of the hero archetype is to be in power, the shadow may take over negatively through the hero’s moral judgment.
If we look at the hero, the problem is not in being powerless. The problem is in failing to control this power. This is because when we are naturally in power, our sphere of influence inevitably expands.
This might insight the child in us, an act of the shadow manifesting in the hero archetype. As a hero, one must make moral choices, inevitably repressing the child in us that seeks fun and pleasure.
Being struck by the new power that the hero has, coupled with this manifestation of repressed qualities, the hero can easily fall to the shadow.
In the same way, the trick to deal with such is, of course, not to covet other’s wives. Rather, the hero should acknowledge this shadow so that he may be made aware of his weakness.
By doing so, he doesn’t necessarily have to address the shadow, but he can simply recognize it as a negative tendency. This will allow for the restoration of moral sensibility for the hero.
The innocent archetype is assumed to be the most naïve one, given that this archetype focuses more on a utopian perspective of the world.
The innocent archetype is one of the most unique archetypes because it is perceived as both the alpha and the omega. What this means is that the state of utopia comprised of pure happiness is usually experienced in both the beginning and end of our lives.
As we are born into this world, we are expected to be loving and trusting creatures. For instance, regardless of the intentions of our parents/caretakers, we follow them.
This is the naïve nature of the innocent, one that mimics a young child. The innocent is simply there to follow and obey for the innocent avoids being in the wrong and be scolded.
In this case, even when the parents are naturally wrong in the way that they have raised their children, it doesn’t mean that their children will revolt against them.
Even when they are learning the wrong things, children will still be utilizing the innocent archetype because it is the pathway for them to become social beings. By learning how to trust and follow authority, they learn how to communicate.
While the child is usually the best representation of the innocent archetype, it doesn’t mean that this archetype is limited to us during our childhood phase. Meaning, this archetype can be present even when we are already biologically adults.
Such is so by identifying the key trait in the innocent – hope. Yes, the innocent archetype is the one that hopes for a better tomorrow.
To a certain extent, this nature of hoping for a better tomorrow is one that makes life bearable. After all, failure to hope for something better to come can easily lead us down the drain.
If we are doing things in our lives without that hope that tomorrow will be a better day, our efforts are futile. Sometimes, it is even the case that the result doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether or not we believe.
This is the case for the innocent. They believe that indeed it will be better just as a child believes that his/her parents will always be there for them.
But as we know of the world, hope is sometimes the last thing that comes to mind.
Recalling the song that catapulted Black Eyed Peas to success, “Where is the Love?”, we can see the modern-day problems of the world rooted in the absence of love and understanding between people.
Even for some, they have become skeptics of whether or not such will still happen. The long list of real-world problems mentioned there makes us think twice about hoping for a better tomorrow.
How does the shadow manifest in the innocent archetype?
Following Carol S. Pearson, the famous author of “Awakening the heroes within”, she writes:
“The Innocent often wants to protect the innocent state of trust and optimism, and so refuses the fall. In doing so, however, it may cause the shadow Innocent to take hold.” (Carol S. Pearson, Awakening the Heroes Within)
What this means is that as an archetype, the innocent will follow their notion of the ultimate good which is to hope and trust others. But as we know it, this imperfect world cannot be fully trusted.
Bad things such as abuse may happen, but the innocent doesn’t necessarily deal with it through logic. Rather, they are likely to place their naïve viewpoint above everything else.
For instance, when we see a child who trusts his/her parents that they are doing what is best for her (even when these are wrong things), once the child sees and recognizes what is right, he/she may simply reject it.
This is not because they fail to see the value of doing what is right apart from what was taught and ingrained in them.
Instead, this irrational persistence results from the shadow taking over. As the innocent projects these unpursued values to others, he/she may regard other people as not doing enough.
For instance, someone with an innocent archetype may overshoot the way he/she believes things. As they write that grocery raffle ticket, they hope that they will win despite the very slim chance of doing so.
In contrast, the matured adult may say that one must not hope in winning that. The shadow of the innocent archetype will automatically regard this comment as undesirable.
However, since the shadow manifests in this way, the innocent archetype displays that longing to become realistic in their worldview.
By accepting that things won’t always go their way, the shadow present in this archetype seeks to strike a healthy balance between hoping and expecting.
As we usually say, we should hope for the best, but not expect of it. Thus, we don’t become too emotionally attached to slim chances and unlikely turn of events.
Furthermore, the manifestation of these problems by the innocent is a result of them blocking a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Just as when a child screws up by drawing his/her favorite superhero along the walls of the house and will never admit them, the innocent has the tendency to pass the blame to other people.
This response is a manifestation of the shadow, as the innocent archetype seeks to become more responsible about their own hopeful decisions.
By projecting their responsibility on other people, the shadow seeks to inform the archetype that the innocent must wake up from the reality of pursuing a utopic dream.
As the innocent type learns from others, if they see them taking the blame, it might influence them to flourish and move forward.
So far, the two ways that the shadow has manifested in this archetype seems to suggest that this archetype is nothing more than a hopeless romantic.
But as the one writing this, I’d point out that such unfair reception of this depiction should be noted. This is because the innocent archetype is, of all other archetypes, the one that contains the purity of a child.
As a child, we hope for the best – a necessary trait for us to live and move forward in a life where most of the things are not within our control.
The Jester archetype brings joy and smiles to our hearts.
Often paired with the King (ruler archetype), the Jester is a direct contrast to the controlling and subversive king.
This, according to Pearson, is because of the old archetypal relationship between the jester and the king.
Kings usually assert control and territory. When they say something, it should happen. It is their ultimate good. However, in the process, some people may be left off and secluded.
For instance, when a king decides to increase the taxes of the poor, this causes more problems for them. But the poor cannot stop working because they will lose their income as well.
In the same way, the king also cannot afford to lose his workforce. But by constantly upsetting them, the poor might start a revolution.
To avoid things going out of hand, the king employs the help of the jester.
With the jester, there is someone who alleviates this suffering by making jokes and having fun. Particularly, we can see this as the jester makes jokes about the king. This somehow makes them feel better.
With the jester, the workers who endlessly toil can pause and laugh for a moment and actually enjoy their existence.
But this is not to say that the jester is limited in such usage. As a matter of fact, in old English traditions, jesters were summoned as entertainers for the royalty and nobility alike.
They did not only make jokes, but they also did acrobatics and juggling. Their primary role was to keep guests and hosts entertained in an event or gathering of some sort.
The socio-cultural significance of the jester gives us a good idea about how it functions as an archetype.
The jester, as we know it, places pleasure and happiness as an ultimate good. On different accounts, it can also be called ‘the fool’ whose representation is closely intertwined with the tarot card of the same significance.
Being the fool, this archetype is sometimes perceived as even more primordial than the innocent. As Pearson writes:
“The inner Fool is never far away from us. Indeed, it is the archetype that precedes even the Innocent. The Fool is the aspect of the inner child that knows how to play, to be sensual and in the body. It is at the root of our basic sense of vitality and aliveness, which expresses itself as a primitive, childlike, spontaneous, playful creativity.” (Carol Pearson, Awakening the Heroes Within)
Pearson tells us that the jester archetype is the one that embodies the part of ourselves that constantly seeks for in-the-moment creative pleasure.
This archetype is crucial for it allows us to deal with the stress of the modern-day world, allowing us to take a break from our usual routine – revitalizing us by bringing out the child in us.
How does the shadow appear in the jester archetype?
The jester archetype in us can manifest in a negative way if we continue to repress it. By not coming into terms with our tendencies for enjoyment and playfulness, our ego will seek a compromise.
But the problem with this compromise is that it often comes in negative ways. Instead of having healthy and wholesome ways of enjoying and having fun, the ego may seek mischievous and self-defeating behaviors.
For instance, when we think of a young professional who is on his way to success, we only see the part where he is at his best. What we don’t see is the troubles behind him, ones that push him to the limit in doing things in the back scene.
As such, this uprising young professional is put on a pedestal that he can and will never fail. But this presumption can be very problematic given that he is, after all, just a human person.
Inevitably, the jester archetype will manifest negatively in this individual as he seeks temporary rest. This might come in forms that can become negative simply because he doesn’t recognize its value.
For instance, one can simply turn to drug-addiction in order to express the child within. This is the same with having an affair or being overly hooked up in alcohol.
Such negative instances are a result of a negative manifestation of the jester in us. A manifestation similar to such reflects acts of gluttony, irresponsibility, and sloth.
These are negative traits that can easily kick us off-balance, taking that young professional farther away from his goal.
The key to dealing with this shadow is through acceptance that the jester archetype (when it is not the dominant part of us) is present in us.
In doing so, we get to realize that from time-to-time, we also need to pause and enjoy the moment.
Taking that vacation, going on a spontaneous date, randomly watching a film and similar activities can give us a breath of fresh air from our cyclic and monotonous lives.
By seeing how we can possibly enjoy the moment, the fool archetype leads us to appreciate what’s right under our nose.
Such positive shadow manifestation can happen as we see others enjoying their lives and laughing about trivial and mundane matters.
While we may regard them as senseless, we cannot regard them as unhappy. At least for those few moments, they were filled with smiles and laughter.
Seeing this in other people ignites the jester in us. By positively responding to this challenge, we can greatly benefit from it as we act on it in a healthy way.
After all, should we not respond to it, we will still be trapped by it given that we cannot escape this shadow’s manifestation in our lives.
The seventh archetype is perhaps the most famous one given that almost all of us can resonate with it.
Often romanticized, the lover is best portrayed by the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Coming from rival families, the love story of Romeo and Juliet poses out the beauty and madness of falling in love.
As Romeo was initially broken-hearted, he went to attend a party hosted by Juliet’s family. Chasing the girl he initially wanted, Romeo agreed to go there.
But as he went there, Romeo met Juliet. They instantly fell in love with each other. Hollywood has portrayed this love affair as fiery as they can, casting a young Leonardo DiCaprio exchanging poem lines while kissing the young Juliet.
And as their rosy love story goes, they found out that they were heirs of the opposing families.
This was definitely a tragedy for them. The history between their families practically made their soon-to-be love affair complicated even before it began.
Romeo and Juliet persisted. They enlisted the help of Friar Lawrence so that they would get wed.
However, on the afternoon before the marriage, a conflict broke out between cousins of both sides. This caused the death of Mercutio which enraged Romeo, killing Juliet’s cousin Tybalt. As the prince sought to resolve the scene, he banished Romeo.
Juliet’s father, Capulet, then decided that Juliet will marry another man, Paris, within three days. Juliet didn’t want this to happen so she sought the help of the friar.
To resolve the inevitable, Friar Lawrence told Juliet that she can take a pseudo-poison which will make Juliet seemingly dead for 42 hours in order to avoid the marriage. Friar Lawrence promised to inform Romeo about this plan so that they can both escape together.
For some reason, the letter wasn’t sent. Romeo was devastated as he thought that Juliet died. Romeo found no more reason to live so he bought poison and killed himself near Juliet’s grave.
And as we all know, Juliet woke up in even more despair seeing Romeo dead beside her. She eventually decided to kill herself as well.
The ultimate good for the lover archetype is to love and be loved. This means that one must be able to experience happiness as being part of someone else’s life. Such good compares to no other.
Both Romeo and Juliet exhibited this quality. Being perfect examples of the lover archetype, Romeo and Juliet placed their contexts behind them.
Their love affair, despite its tragic ending, gives us an idea of how the lover archetype is part of our being human.
How does the shadow appear in the lover archetype?
While the lover archetype can appear to be a generally positive force, any excess will always lead to trouble.
In this case, one way that the shadow may appear is when someone loves the other too much. This becomes a problem primarily because one must love one’s self before anything else.
For instance, when a father gives everything for his children, he may look at other fathers with a sour-grape. Even when other fathers are successful, the shadow may take him to perceive otherwise.
The problem is when we fail to love ourselves, the kind of love that we can give will also be limited. Because one cannot give what he/she doesn’t have, the same principle applies to loving someone.
If we fail to value ourselves, we can only achieve so much in life. It is because by valuing ourselves, we grow.
This is why the shadow can positively manifest in the lover archetype by reminding the individual to love one’s self.
In doing so, the shadow hopes that the individual will be able to love others more.
The reason behind this is that while our value can be added by others as they appreciate us, it is still up to us to see this appreciation.
In valuing our own selves, our individual perspectives come to play. This is the reason behind the popular idea that happiness is a perspective.
If we associate happiness with acquiring things that we don’t have, it will be difficult for us simply because we will always have something to aspire for.
But the lover archetype solves this problem. By loving someone and placing someone at the center of one’s life, the lover archetype hopes to give meaning to his/her own existence.
While a significant other can greatly contribute to one’s notion and the idea of happiness, no one can fully complete the other.
This is because when we talk about the individual, we cannot do away from one’s consciousness. And as discussed in the previous articles, this consciousness allows us to look at ourselves from a distance.
This distancing method makes is all the more complicated for us to simply depend on others. Because even when we depend on them, it is up to us to appreciate their love.
We can observe this phenomenon when someone tries to appreciate us.
If we are a bit naïve, we would take the precaution for their complements. The question is – where does the problem lie? Is it with their comments or the way we perceive ourselves?
In the same way, this wakeup call caused by the shadow can also lead to narcissism. The lover archetype seeks to love and be loved.
Thus, Pearson notes that the strategy for the lover archetype is to be wanted. But in order to improve one’s self, one has to love one’s self.
In doing such, if one also goes over-bound, it might lead to narcissism. This can lead to problems that cause too much love for one’s self leading to self-destructive acts.
If left uncontrolled, the shadow in the lover archetype can lead a person to love one’s self too much or love others in excess. Either way, it won’t end up good as it will lead to tragedies just like in the story of Romeo and Juliet.
During ancient times, magician archetypes were highly regarded as the King’s inner consul. This was perhaps because of their ability to weave and manipulate something other than the physical kingdom itself.
Perhaps, one of the most famous figures of magicians is none other than Merlin the Wizard. Largely popular among the mass audience, Merlin is a beloved character who is often seen as wise and with immense magical prowess.
The character of Merlin, who is strongly intertwined with King Arthur, is often portrayed as a great wizard. According to Welsh literature, he is a man of mystery and magic, not only being a wizard but also a close adviser to King Arthur.
In the classic folklore, Merlin helped king Uther in seducing the wife of a married man. Although he voted against it, Merlin still used his powers to transform Uther into Gerlois (the husband), successfully tricking Igraine (the wife whom Uther sought dearly) and impregnating her.
The son, of course, would soon become King Arthur. Eventually, King Arthur did the iconic act of pulling the sword and claiming his rightful throne.
This quick summary of the story of Merlin and King Arthur gives us an insight into the magician archetype.
Being the most mystical of all the archetypes, the magician archetype, as represented by Merlin, is often accommodated by mystery and mysticism.
Mystery because most of the time, people who exhibit this as their dominant archetype are individuals who appear to know something beyond the layman’s knowledge.
Meaning, when there are established rules and ideas of thought, the magician archetype is associated with hermits who live outside those bounds.
Such is primarily because they are perceived to have an existence that is centered upon things beyond the usual social concerns – love, peace, society, struggles, war, and all other mundane things.
Rather, this archetype is focused on the second part – mysticism.
Being mystics themselves, the magician archetype is focused on spirituality. Unlike the sage whose main focus is knowledge, the magician draws the line by exploring what is beyond.
This is often outlined in human myths as individuals capable of tapping the unknown, having access to divinity.
In the story of King Arthur, Merlin is often portrayed as a character who shapes the course of fate by giving access to supernatural powers.
When the sword that which King Arthur pulled was broken, it was Merlin who urged him to obtain a new one from the lady in the lake. The newer sword was then revered to as the original Excalibur, containing divine might.
If we do analysis about this story, we will realize that Merlin serves as a bridge to the gap between man and divine.
From the conception of King Arthur to the access of his powers, Merlin the magician played a vital role in things happening.
In the same way, in our own lives, we have the magician archetypes who are often well-versed in spirituality and psychological healing.
While we cannot fully understand their methods, their ways seem to be magical as they bring out results.
How does the shadow appear in the magician archetype?
The magician archetype within us may appear when we long for spiritual freedom. Meaning to say, when we aspire for something more divine and metaphysical, our magician archetype seeks to dominate.
However, if we aren’t careful, this magician archetype can appear in the form of a shadow. In this case, by being a shadow, it may carry a negative method to it. As Carol Pearson writes:
“A shadow Magician tends to possess us: with all the best intentions to do good, we may find ourselves acting out in hostile and harmful ways. Instead of helpful naming, we engage in “unnaming,” which makes people feel like less than they are. When good energy comes our way, we take it in and transform it into negative energy.” (Carol Pearson, Awakening the Heroes within)
As magicians often play the role of prophets, they have this power of naming. For instance, when you visit a fortune teller who tells you about what will happen to your future, they may do it in a manner that is destructive.
Believing the spiritual guidance from your fortune teller, you can become easily swayed into making the wrong decisions.
Manifesting your magician archetype in a negative way can lead to the typical problems that it had even in myths and movies. As magicians have immense powers, it also requires immense control.
By failing to acknowledge this archetype in us, it may take control in ways that we did not originally presume it would.
As such, we might carelessly harness the magician’s powers without us even knowing it.
In the same way, a positive manifestation of this archetype using the shadow is when we begin to recognize our capabilities for spirituality.
Whether we like or not, some people will always be ahead of us in this whole spirituality level.
Some people are born with the intuition and maybe well-versed in maneuvering their spiritual energies.
As our shadows manifest, we must take control and recognize them. We do this by taking note of two signs.
First, that the magician archetype in us expresses a strong level of intuition. With it in control, the magician archetype will allow us a good level of understanding even in the absence of reason.
We will be able to know if good or bad things will happen just by our gut feel. This can be applied both to ourselves and to other people as we approach them.
Second, given this power, the magician archetype will be able to transform situations. Just as wizards are able to manipulate things around them, this metaphysical sense in the magician archetype will allow him/her to change the tide to his/her favor.
By being more sensitive on the spiritual level, the non-empirical aspect of life, the magician will be able to change the level of consciousness of individuals, granting the power of changing how people perceive things.
After all, everything appears to us based on how we perceive them. Just as we can doubt a good Samaritan offering us immediate and stranger-based care, we can also see the good in things that we come across even in the worst of conditions.
By tapping into this infinite resource, the magician archetype is able to re-shape reality in ways that go beyond human understanding.
The next archetype that we will be discussing in this series is the member archetype. In other sources, this archetype is also known as the everyday man or the orphan archetype.
Perhaps, of all the archetypes, this one might seem to be the simplest yet interesting. This is because the member archetype is very much relevant to all of us.
As an ultimate good, the member archetype seeks that it may belong to something bigger than himself/herself. The member seeks to contribute to the group, sharing a common vision with them.
Given such, the member is always cautious of standing-out. Being a stand-out, one must take the spotlight. A perfect representation of this would be Lebron James who constantly stands out whichever group he belongs.
In effect, the team’s tactics and strategy will revolve around him, constantly making him stand-out as a consequence. The Member resents this kind of attention for it is important for him to simply play his role without getting the spotlight.
In the same way, the member also seeks not to be left out. Being in a group, one of the worst things that could happen is to be left out. This is because when one is left-out, it signifies that they have no impact whatsoever to the group they belong with.
We can see this, for instance, in the team of San Antonio Spurs. This team has been known to implement a team-first strategy, where everyone contributes, and no one stands out or is left behind.
Even when one is a bench player, they are expected to score. This is because plays are based on strategies, not star-players who dominate the whole action.
Such an example gives us an idea of who the member archetype is. At the heart of being a member archetype, we see the yearning of an individual for safety.
This is, perhaps, caused by some childhood event or trauma that an individual experienced. But more than that, Pearson tells us that this is a natural transition from being an innocent archetype.
For instance, the innocent archetype is obsessed with utopia. But this can’t be present in the real world. Thus, the young child is inevitably disappointed feeling betrayed.
As such, it results in the orphan archetype, one that responds with powerlessness. This event can result them into becoming a member as they find comfort in belonging to something.
How does the shadow appear in the member archetype?
One problem with the member archetype is that it is closely intertwined with being an orphan. While we can perceive it as one of its stages, a lot of negativity can be seen in the orphan archetype given its dependent nature.
As such, one may manifest this negativity by showing signs of emotionally manipulating people around them. We’ve seen this in some people we know – that they love to play the victim.
If we are not careful, the shadow version of this archetype may manifest instead of a positive response. We can be hijacked by our shadows, representing this trait, without us being aware.
One sign to pay attention to would be a dependency. Once people start becoming dependent on others, they begin to conform.
While conformity is not necessarily wrong, it can still be problematic. As Soren Kierkegaard discussed, simply conforming to others can define us without us being careful about it.
The problem with this is that in letting society define us, we run away from the responsibility of defining your own fate. Looking at other archetypes, while they differentiate with each other, all of them yearn for something that they define for themselves.
Although we may define to conform, it doesn’t necessarily mean that such are values that we agree with.
The path in avoiding this shadow is by accepting that we need help.
As human beings, it is inevitable that we become helpless at times. In one way or another, we seek the help of another person, which is crucial for it marks our social nature.
By being social creatures, we cannot avoid the member archetype in us. The key is in moderation and authenticity.
Moderation is important because it will allow us to define our being a member with limits. Sometimes, people commit too much on something even when it is filled with negativity.
A fraternity, for instance, who continues to do undesirable acts is something that the member archetype can negatively contribute to. Actions within this sphere can be problematic just by the fact that no limits may be employed.
In the same way, authenticity is also a value that must be noted in being a member archetype.
This is because our authenticity will define whether or not we are truly interested in the things that we contribute to.
It raises the question of whether are we mere orphans or members?
Because if we simply join in order to belong, we are no different from orphans that only long for attention and safety.
However, true archetype members contribute and dedicate themselves to something simply because they believe in its vision.
The outlaw archetype in this section is commonly referred to as the rebel archetype.
Out of all the archetypes, this one is, perhaps, most in-touch with the commonly rejected aspect of life – death and destruction.
While all other archetypes long for something that creates or builds, whether it be about love, knowledge, learning, kingdom, etc., the outlaw seeks to rebel from them.
The main reason behind such actions is that the rebel understands the nature of the world – that progress is both creation and destruction.
When something is created, something must also be destroyed. In order to build new relationships, we must let go of the toxic ones.
In the same way, life proceeds in this manner. Looking back at the film inside-out, the crucial scene wherein Bing Bong vanished into nothingness outlines the kind of rebellion that the outlaw seeks.
We saw that in the film, the character of Bing Bong necessarily vanished because it was time to grow up and it is the natural order of things that we have to let go.
But by letting go, this allows space for new and better things in our lives. This vision of progress and development is the ultimate good for the outlaw.
One prominent character in human history that perfectly exhibits the outlaw archetype is none other than Robin of Loxley.
More commonly known as Robin Hood, the story of Robin of Loxley (as depicted in one of the accounts) is that he was a nobleman of good stature. However, his fate soon changed when he was sent to the crusade.
Surviving this tough battlefield, Robin gained warfare prowess, with him being a skilled archer portrayed in an iconic fashion.
The problem, however, in his lifetime was that when he went home, he found out that the sheriff seized all his properties. He went home to a land where the sheriff unjustly uses the money and skills of the poor to fund this crusade.
To address this, Robin eventually became a mysterious bowman who stole from the rich. He captured carriages and raided chambers where the money was.
He then proceeded with returning this money to the poor, thus creating the legend about Robin Hood.
Looking at Robin as a model for the outlaw archetype, he sought the destruction of the unjust status quo in order to restore balance and create progress in society.
As the story goes, the corrupt sheriff was leading the society down the drain. Instead of helping them, he used them as mere means to an end.
Robin, who exhibits the rebel archetype, embodies the essence of destruction and suffering. Being stripped by his noble status, he was coming from a context that had shown him how drastic change can be brought by struggle.
The same method, then, is applied in the way he asked for payback from the sheriff. By destroying what they built, Robin hood hopes for a better tomorrow.
How does the shadow appear in the rebel archetype?
The shadow can manifest in the outlaw archetype both positively and negatively.
In a negative sense, the shadow could be the outlaw archetype itself, given that it can manifest in ways that initially demand change but yearns for destruction.
Such a phenomenon is very common as people who are in despair try to yearn for a change in a negative way – one that directs to pointless conflict.
For instance, being an outlaw may manifest in a child who continually rebels against his/her parents. This usually happens during the teenage years wherein children can get too hard-headed and not listen.
They yearn for change, freedom, and authority, but if left unguided, it will only lead to wrong acts.
In the same way, we can see a similar trait in people rallying in the streets. Sometimes, most of them are simply individuals who keep on complaining about the same things.
But at the end of the day, they are unable to change themselves.
This is a kind of trap that we have to avoid with the outlaw archetype. Even if fire is an important element that helps us craft things, fire in itself can become a destructive force.
The shadow may manifest in a way that it controls the outlaw to simply break free.
But most of the time, breaking free is not the solution. Patience and understanding can be one of the matured ways to deal with a problem.
Simply burning bridges with others can leave you alone.
On the other hand, the positive thing about a shadow manifestation of the outlaw archetype is when we begin to realize that the nature of life is growth.
Sometimes, when we see people striving hard for something that they aren’t really into originally, we give our judgments.
A friend who tries a new sport that he didn’t initially like or perhaps someone who starts going to the gym on a January can be two simple examples from which we carelessly commit this blunder.
The outlaw in us may manifest in a way of judging change negatively.
Most of the time, this is because of a preconceived notion that change is bad simply because we are trying to be someone we’re not.
Although there is some truth to it, if you would look at an individual, you’ll realize that they are not static beings.
The most successful and happy people in life are those that continually adapts and changes.
In this case, if we continue to perceive change from a negative light, we would fail to see the positive impact of a shadow manifestation.
By realizing that we are dynamic beings, capable of change and improvement, the shadow successfully brings out the positive impact of the outlaw archetype.
Just as it longs for change through fire, we begin doing away with this notion that we are who we are right now.
As the famous French existentialist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre would put it,
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”
The next archetype that we will be talking about is the ruler. While they are not completely opposites, the ruler has a contrasting approach compared to the caregiver.
While the caregiver places others first, the ruler is much more concerned with maintaining authority and power.
This is not to say that the ruler archetype is simply an authoritarian leader who demands and commands everything.
Rather, the ruler archetype is the kind of person who prioritizes his/her vision before anything else – meaning that he be able to enact and actualize this vision in all means necessary.
They are usually people with vision and action – individuals who are able to persuade, conquer, or subdue others to their own ideas of what should be.
With this, their ultimate goal is to leave a mark in the world where they get to be immortalized through the things that they seek to achieve.
Genghis Khan, which literally translates as a universal leader, is a perfect example for the ruler archetype. While there are a lot both famous and infamous leaders in human history, Genghis Khan will easily place in the top five.
Being famous for having multiple descendants, with studies suggesting that his genes stretch up to 1/200 men, he was definitely a supreme leader with a vision fit for the ruler archetype.
Given a quick examination of his life, we will see that the started with a lowly tribe in the grasslands and eventually becoming an empire larger than Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Islands of the Caribbean combined.
Temujin, who was later known as Genghis Khan, a ruler archetype whose last words outlined how he has conquered a large empire and dreamt of conquering the world.
He serves as a great example in showing how impactful the ruler archetype can possibly be.
How does the shadow reflect in the ruler archetype?
Using Genghis Khan as an example, we will learn that the ruler archetype never takes no for an answer. When he/she has a vision, life’s goal has already been set.
This doesn’t mean that every ruler archetype will eventually become a modern-day warlord. Rather, what it means is that people with the ruler as their dominant archetype will stop at nothing to actualize the vision that they’ve set in.
We usually see this archetype in very successful people whether it be in sports, business, politics, and every other field. People with the power to craft and conquer their own destiny will fall nothing short of fame and prestige.
But this doesn’t mean that the ruler archetype is without weaknesses. The usual weakness of the ruler archetype is the failure to delegate that control or ruling power to others.
Such is because of their nature which is to rule. Their affinity for that control rivals no other archetype.
If such is the case, how then does their shadow manifest?
For the ruler archetype, we have to understand that they seek utmost power and authority. This is the ultimate good for them.
While this can be both good and bad (just as Genghis Khan is a Thanos-like character with genocidal tendencies but had individually perceived goods in their own vision), the ruler cannot escape their weakness.
In this case, the ruler archetype’s shadow manifests as it seeks delegation. Their pursuit for control leaves them to the inescapable condition of man’s existence – time and space.
Given this predicament, the ruler, if he wants to extend his vision, must inevitably learn how to trust others and delegate some controlling power.
In order to gain more, one has to give more. To conquer more lands and cities, one must assign generals and advisers. To expand one’s company, one must train and elect managers and supervisors.
By doing this, the shadow manifests in the ruler. While he tirelessly persists to actualize his/her vision, the ruler is nothing more than a human being who needs to pause and slow down.
Such doesn’t mean that the ruler wants to relinquish his role. Rather, the shadow is waking the ruler up to the fact that he cannot do everything alone.
While we can usually achieve success by doing everything alone, such success is not sustainable because we will eventually get tired.
Furthermore, this projection of the shadow also makes the ruler address one of his weaknesses – being too much of an authoritarian.
Known for their affinity towards control, the ruler archetype is always at risk of being too controlling.
However, if we look at people around him, they are individuals and not machines. Imposing a purely authoritarian stance will treat them as if they were simply gears in a cog.
While this can be done by fear, such may not necessarily sustainable – for individuals have their own rationalities and emotions.
The shadow realizes this, and that’s why it seeks to project itself in a manner where it tries to help the ruler become wiser in the choices he makes.
As the shadow projects this to other people, it seeks to wake up the ruler to this inescapable reality – that his legacy is not his alone.
By acknowledging the shadow, the ruler archetype will realize that although he plays a big part in making and achieving his goal, he is still simply a part of it – that he is not the goal itself.
Upon his death, Genghis Khan’s last words spoke of the same idea. He said “I have conquered for you a large empire, but my life was too short to take the whole world. That I leave to you.” (Genghis Khan, The Secret History of Mongols)
The final archetype that we will discuss is the wisest of them all – the sage.
The sage archetype is unique in its own way given that he/she embodies the true meaning of philosophy.
If we look up its etymology, the word philosophy comes from the Greek words philo and sophia – literally translating to love of wisdom.
This speaks volumes for the sage because this archetype ultimately pursues wisdom as its end goal.
Meaning, individuals with this as their dominant archetype relentlessly pursues wisdom. They take in the mantle of knowledge as a life-long journey.
For them, life is like a puzzle of endless outcomes, whose meaning is so vast that they know they cannot understand it in a lifetime. And yet, they continue to carry on so that they can pass the torch of knowledge.
The main goal of the sage archetype is this search for truth.
Perhaps, one of the most significant persons to have done this is Socrates. Recalling how he searched for the truth, we will see that he is a perfect embodiment of the sage archetype.
Socrates was a simple man who fought for the Peloponnesian war during his time. As he went back to his hometown, he has discovered that there was this prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi that there was no one wiser than Socrates.
So, in order to know the truth about this claim, Socrates decided to raise ask numerous questions to the pillars of wisdom in Greece. He didn’t believe that he was the wisest, which led him to seek for the wisest in his country.
In this quest to find the truth, he subjected nobles, artisans, politicians, leaders and all other individuals who are deemed to be wise, to his method of cross-examination.
Socrates eventually concluded that no one was indeed wise enough given that these great individuals could not accept that their arguments and notions were lacking.
Socrates concluded that indeed the prophecy of the oracle was correct not because he possessed omniscience. Rather, he realized that he was the only one wise enough to admit that he wasn’t wise (given that he actually pursued questions).
Inevitably, people were mad at Socrates and has subjected him to trial which convicted his death by poison. Even then, his last words were:
“I shall never give up philosophy or stop exhorting you and pointing out the truth to anyone of you whom I meet, saying in my most accustomed way: “Most excellent man, are you…not ashamed to care for the acquisition of wealth and for reputation and honor, when you neither care nor take thought for wisdom and truth and the perfection of your soul?” (Plato, Apology, 29 D-E)
The life of Socrates gives us a good grasp of how the sage archetype understands the ultimate good and how he seeks it. For them, the meaning of life lies in knowing and extending this knowledge.
How does the shadow appear in the sage archetype?
One of the strong points of the sage archetype is the trait of nonattachment. As he/she perceives the material and the social world, the sage has the ability to avoid forming bonds with them.
If we think back of the previous archetypes we’ve discussed, we can see that in one way or another, they are attached to a reality before them. The ruler is attached to the power of his kingdom in as much as the creator is attached to the perfection of his creation.
The sage, however, is quite different. He/she is attached to knowledge which has an abstract nature.
This has the tendency to become a negative thing given that the sage may even wholly detach with the normal world. We can think of great librarians whose constant quest for knowledge has trapped them in their vast collection of books.
As such, when the sage begins to communicate with the normal world of people who feel and think of themselves and of others, they may become too disconnected.
Constantly obsessed by this search for knowledge, the sage may carelessly dismiss other people’s thoughts and feelings. This is apparently true in the case of Socrates.
Whereas his quest was real and valid, his delivery and execution were very much impolite and insensitive. This has led him to gain many enemies.
In this case, most likely the shadow manifests by regarding others as unwise. However, this categorization may also lead to the enlightenment of a forgotten knowledge – the ability to empathize with others.
To become a true sage imbued with knowledge, this archetype must recognize the shadow that seeks to enlighten them of their necessary tasks to keep good relationships with others.
If they were to simply follow Socrates’ footsteps, this will lead them to a lonely path to knowledge, where one is alone.
This is the consequence of becoming a negative sage, where the shadow of non-attachment can lead to severe relationships with others.
Such an act seeks to elevate the trait of non-attachment to greater heights, one that does not simply dismiss but one that simply prefers.
Meaning, when we talk about non-attachment, it doesn’t necessarily have a negative stance about things.
For instance, it is inevitable that in loving someone, we get hurt and experience pain. Negative non-attachment traits of the sage archetype may have led us to conclude that we are better off not loving someone at all.
This will lead to a spiral of negative and skeptical perceptions of the world, one that the aspect of its shadow should be wary of.
Instead, the better path is to have a positive non-attachment. By looking at it differently, one may still prefer to love but is not defined by it.
Thus, one may exist even in the absence of the lover even when he/she prefers it.
By having a higher form of wisdom that acknowledges things without preferring them, the shadow is able to integrate to the sage archetype in this constant push-and-pull battle of understanding the world.
In this article, we have seen some notable figures for each archetype. By using these mythical figures, we realize that archetypes are indeed archaic by nature, given that their existence precedes our own.
Even before a hero has been defined, we already know of a Hercules whose legend spreads across the western world. In the same way, our archetypes are a product of what Jung calls the collective unconscious.
By being so, the path to follow is accepting our dominant archetypes and learning more about it.
As we learn more, we realize that the same archetypes suffer from the same problems and crises in life. This is their shadow – the repressed traits and ideas of themselves that they can never truly escape.
Given such, it would only be logical to conclude that in order to understand more about our individuation process, it is imperative that we learn more about the shadows of our archetype by performing shadow work. We can even go as far as to explore ego death – the process of obliterating the Self.
By looking at both history and myth, we get to have a healthy number of ideas about our own archetype, making it easier for us to become who we want to be.
The Individualogist Team is made up of archetype fanatics, individuation practitioners, and spirituality fans. Our humble group has banded together to deliver thought-provoking, life-changing, and growth-probing wisdom.