Archetypes…I’ve Heard of That

Archetypes are character manifestations that represent certain human qualities. In theory, a well-written novel holds a sufficient complexity of archetypes, that it represents the complete personage of the author. Can that be true?

The Fool is my favorite archetype. The fool casts off all care of social judgement and acts out of their own instinct, impulses and center. I think of Willie Nelson as a fool. Willie Nelson is Willie Nelson and I very much believe that Willie does not have any concern about trying to be anything other than Willie Nelson. He is a master…Fool.

The archetype of the Sage is of interest to me as well. This is the wisdom anchor of one’s community. This is the shaman–that individual with a tether to those mysteries which cannot be perceived by the senses; the world of the dead, for example. I refer to this archetype as living in the “mythic realm”, from which spring our dreams, our cultural manifestations and myths. Ultimately the Sage is a servant, serving a myriad of community needs.

The Warrior archetype is one that I know well and have donned often. The warrior is action driven. The warrior seeks to overcome and to

The Wizard is an archetype that I have been practicing for some years. Wizards transform things and circumstances. Wizards have a way of changing obstacles into opportunities or changing sh^t into diamonds. This is a highly valuable skill.

The Orphan. There are so many orphans depicted in fairy tales. As I tell my daughter stories at night or read various books, I often note the volume of orphans. Poor little Hansel and Gretel were orphaned for a time. Many of us, myself included, have come to express the archetype of the Orphan. Life is rough and having an external source for cause and blame can help us cope. However, being saved from without is not sustainably possible.

The Caregiver endlessly sacrifices their own needs for another’s or others. They are heroic and emotionally driven.

The Shapeshifter is commonly depicted in stories and especially those of Love. No doubt those of us with some accumulation of life experiences have each come to know former lovers as shape-shifters. They appear to be something and then change before our very eyes.

There are other archetypes that do not resinate as strongly for me, but which you may find of interest. Jung is the source, but Christopher Vogler has done a great job of explaining complex ideas in an accessible way. The master volume, I suppose, would be Campbell’s landmark book, “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”, a principle inspiration source for “Star Wars”.


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