What Are The Six Archetypes?
- The Innocent
The main character of every ‘great’ story in the Western Canon is invited to undertake a symbolic, spiritual journey, and along the way he, or she, has to achieve these mileposts.
Have you ever found yourself admiring the way someone does something? Often we see people who are truly masterful in the work that they do. And yet, in another aspect of their lives, they may be struggling with serious challenges. Perhaps their marriage is strained, or their health or finances. How can this be? Or we might meet someone whose home life is harmonious but whose work life is uncertain. In fact most of us move through different stages in our work and personal lives at different times. Engaging in all aspects of life is a way we grow ourselves and create the lives we want. Whenever we begin a new job or a new relationship we enter again the cycle of stages evident in all the myth and great literature of the last 3,000 years in the Western canon. Like Odysseus in The Odyssey or Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, we’ll move from Innocent to Orphan to Pilgrim to Warrior-Lover and perhaps even to Monarch and Magician. The question is, wherever we find ourselves in this moment in whatever aspect of our lives, how do we bring awareness to where we are and navigate the road ahead?
Knowledge of The Six Archetypes can be a useful tool in creating the lives we want and in overcoming obstacles to growth. We can ask ourselves—Where am I in my life journey in all its aspects? And how can I navigate successfully to where I need to go?
The Six Archetypes are metaphors for the mileposts we can attain as we go through all aspects of our lives. As I began to study the idea of stages of personal development in literature it surprised me to discover that characters always passed through the same six stages, always in the same order and always faced the same tests. The more I looked into it, the more ubiquitous this understanding seemed to be until we reach the literature of the present age. Here the main characters in fiction are lucky if they get halfway through before the authors pull out and end their stories. This may say something about where we are as a culture and why so many people feel lost at times.
Stories We Need To Know examines the archetypal stages in depth with examples from literature. It also suggests ways we might forward our own life journeys in terms of these stages. The Six Archetypes of Love looks at our love relationships in terms of the different stages of our lives as a whole and the relationships themselves. You can also read more about the stages on the next page. And you can visit my blog for more discussion of how the archetypes show up in our lives and culture. May your own life journey unfold in ever more wondrous ways!
Here is a brief slideshow that explains the archetypes. There are other videos on my Youtube Pages also.