Archetypes through a Shadow Work lens

by | Jan 16, 2023

Archetype comes from the Greek verb archein (“to begin” or “to rule”) and the noun typos (“type”). According to Merriam Webster, archetypes are “the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies.” When Jung discusses archetypes, he believes that there are universal ideas, patterns, or images that we inherit and live in our unconscious minds. When we do Shadow Work, we look at 4 major archetypes, and how they show up in our individual experiences. Those archetypes are the Magician (awareness) , the Lover (openness), the Warrior (power), and the Sovereign (positivity).

Magician – The magician archetype helps us to gain perspective and see things in a new way, as well as help us to feel safe and to see a variety of choices. When we want to reframe how we experience something, or change how we tell our story, we access the magician’s energy. Accessing our inner magician helps us to have the courage to see things differently. The magician also helps us with insight, intuition, wisdom and objectivity. As a child, our magician can be wounded by receiving the message “I’m bad” and go into shadow. When wounded a magician can become detached and seem emotionless, or struggle with seeing too many options and get frozen.

Lover – The lover archetype is all about getting into our bodies and feeling what is actually happening. Our lover helps us connect deeply with others, and to know and express our emotions. Our inner lover goes into shadow when we, as a child, get the wounding message that “I don’t love right” or “I am not lovable.” A wounded lover archetype may disconnect from people or your emotions because it can be frightening to feel raw and vulnerable, they can be constant victims or codependent.

Warrior – The warrior archetype helps us set clear boundaries and take action. Our warrior energy helps to know we matter, and loves to get things done in the world. Our Warrior goes into shadow when, as a child, we get the wounding message of “I don’t matter” or “I am not important.” A wounded warrior can be dogmatic or self-centered, or unable to get effective results.

Sovereign – The sovereign energy helps us see the possibilities and stay positive. This energy is like the sun; bright, optimistic and shiny. The sovereign is about giving blessing and nurturing. It helps us access our purpose with clear vision, and gives us the strength to be who we need to be to succeed. The sovereign energy also helps us see the needs of others and loves to bring others along. The Sovereign goes into shadow when we get the wounding message “I am not good enough” as a child. A wounded sovereign may be overbearing with their love, or have to constantly over-sell themselves or their ideas.

In Shadow Work, we create containers for the archetypes to succeed in so that they can be brought into balance. The lover can express their full range of emotions, the Warrior can set boundaries and change outcomes, the Magician can get the perspective, present options and keep it safe, and the sovereign can inspire joy and vision, and provide care.


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