Discover the Archetypes Shaping Your Life
three coworkers holding coffee cups and laughing

Archetypes Are Oriented Around a Core Quality

Jun 17, 2021
Kesstan Blandin
Kesstan Blandin, PhD is the Vice President of Research and Development at the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type in Gainesville, FL. Previous to this, Dr. Blandin was a research psychologist specializing in dementia at the Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging at Dartmouth College.
View full author bio | Close

Oh no, Creator is a low archetype for me, does this mean I’m not creative?  

Caregiver is at the bottom of my profile, am I cold and uncaring?  

I’m surprised Sage is not an active archetype for me because the people in my life consider me very intelligent. 

Over the years, I have heard comments like these from clients, workshop participants, and researchers. They speak to a common misunderstanding of the archetypal characters in the PMAI® system. People accurately and intuitively understand that the archetypes symbolically represent universal human qualities. A common misunderstanding though is if an archetype is not active in your Archetype Profile, then you are lacking the core quality it represents. Having an archetypal character rank low in your Profile does not mean you are lacking that quality but indicates you are not identified with it and likely not accessing it, at least not with ease. 

The 12 archetypal characters are oriented around a core quality found in all human beings; addressing the questions above, we all have the potential to be creative, caring, and intelligent. A key to understanding the archetypal characters is that each one symbolically orients its identity and life around that core attribute. That is, each character is shaped and marked by their identity with the attribute that defines them. 

The Creator puts creativity at the center of their identity and their life, but this does not mean that Creator is the only archetype with creative ability. Every archetype is creative in its own way, but creativity is not the core quality of each one. If Creator is low on your Archetype Profile, think about how you do express creativity, i.e., are you intellectually original like a Sage? Are you disruptive of tradition like a Revolutionary? Is creativity expressed as an appreciation for beauty in design or style choice, like a Lover?  

It is similar when we consider the Sage and intelligence; all archetypes have their specific intelligence but for a Sage intellectual prowess is at the core of their identity and drive. If Sage is not an active archetype for you, how do you express your intelligence? Do you have the practical wisdom of the Realist? Do you rely on the hidden intuitive knowledge of the Magician? Or perhaps you draw on the imaginative intelligence of the Idealist? 

Let’s address the Caregiver being at the bottom of the Archetype Profile, which often makes people feel as though they are somehow cold or uncaring. In another article on Storywell, I wrote about the Caregiver archetype reliably being one of my lowest archetypes every time I take the PMAI instrument. And yet for years I was the primary caregiver for my sister who was seriously injured and I found this role rewarding. But then, why is it at the bottom of my Profile? Because the core quality of the Caregiver character—nurturing others—is not what my life is oriented around. My caregiving for my sister was channeled through the Warrior archetype, which is higher in my Archetype Profile. I stand at the ready to support my sister in her fight to reclaim her life from an almost overwhelming injury. I am not identified with Caregiver; I identify as a Warrior who helps the people I care for to fight adversity and reclaim their strength and autonomy. 

Archetypes that fall into the bottom part of our Profile do not mean we do not have access to their gifts; often it means we do not identify with that archetype and do not orient our life around their attributes. The 12 PMAI archetypes represent essential qualities of all human beings: you and I have all of them within us to some degree. We may be expressing the drives of lower archetypes through favored, higher scoring archetypes. Thus, within us is the potential use of the core quality, or gift, of any lower scoring archetype. 

LINK COPIED TO CLIPBOARD




Related Content

Enacting the hero's journey as story When Is a Story Archetypal?
by Kesstan Blandin

We know the facts—that we are currently one of 7 billion people on the planet, that in the greater scheme of humanity and the cosmos we will live and die anonymously - but this is not how you and I live. You are striving, battling, and loving through an epic drama. Each time you triumph, each time you fail, you gain the wisdom of living for the first time, as every hero has done through time. Every one of us senses our mysterious potential, often ambiguous and vague, yet emotionally compelling in its lure towards who we can be. We sense as well that the hard facts of life do not provide access to this level of potential, but where to turn for guidance?

READ MORE >>


Jung & Archetypes
The Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI®) is rooted in thetheories of C. G. Jung. Jung's view of archetypes, a concept he didn't coin butwas the first to apply to the structure and experience of the psyche or mind,is based on his understanding of the various levels of the psyche or mind(conscious and unconscious).

READ MORE >>


Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman with arms crossed at the wrists Pearson's & Heroic Archetypal Characters
Carol Pearson,PhD has a unique presence in the field of Jungian archetypes. First, Pearson's work is about twelve heroic archetypes that she discovered appear across culture, time, and stories, such as myths, fairy tales, literature, and religion. The theory uses the metaphor of the heroic journey as a structure for ordering archetypes as they commonly occur in the course of Western adult development.

READ MORE >>


Living the Heroic Life Journey: Part 1
Mar 04, 2020 by Carol S. Pearson

Studying Jungian psychology helped me figure out that living builds inner psychological structure. Jung described how, in the first half of life, we need to form a healthy ego, while in the later half of life the task is to connect with the Self, an accomplishment which takes us to a deeper understanding of who we are and a capacity for feeling more connected to others and the world.

READ MORE >>


When it is the lowest archetype in your profile, embodying the archetypal Caregiver can transform a Blind Spot into a heroic journey. Hidden Gold in the Shadow
by Kesstan Blandin

My younger sister, Carmen, is quite close in age to me – just a year apart – but distant in personality. Growing up, my naturally sensitive, caring, generous sibling would often say to me that I just didn’t have that “caregiver gene.” She was right. Where Carmen was motivated to generate positive emotions in herself and others, I was fascinated by the dark nether regions of the mind and imagination. Where Carmen naturally trusted and nurtured others’ vulnerabilities, I probed the hidden secrets and conflicted natures of myself and others.

READ MORE >>


illustration of Icarus falling from the Sun When You Need a New Perspective
by Carol S. Pearson

Habitual attitudes often blind us to new possibilities and options. Life is most rewarding for me when I am growing and learning. I’ve found that the archetypes that are dominant for me and others are important for authenticity and for the primary lessons we are learning at any given time.

READ MORE >>


Living the Heroic Life Journey: Part 2
by Carol S. Pearson

The meaning of "soul" used in depth psychology does not necessarily imply the religious meaning of what is eternal about you; rather, it is about discovering the deeper, more essential "you" that exists now. While many people have trouble understanding what soul is, most of us know what it means to look in the mirror and think something like, "if I do this one more day, or if I agree to this, or if I allow this, I will lose my soul."

READ MORE >>


roman warrior fighting in a cloud of dust with a superimposed 'POW' Finding Our Voice, Managing Anger
by Patricia R. Adson

There is a difference between feeling angry and acting angry. Angry actions and loud words may scare other people, or allow you to express yourself and vent, but in interpersonal relationships, such actions seldom get the results we desire.

READ MORE >>


silhouette of George and the Dragon statue, Moscow, in front of a sunset sky Authentic Archetypal Branding
by Carol S. Pearson

After Awakening the Heroes Within (1991) was published, I began to recognize the archetypes I wrote about being used in advertisements. I was aware that too many individuals and organizations focus on promoting an image of themselves unrelated to what they genuinely care about and value. When there is a large gap between the real self and what we are trying to convince the world we are, the result is, at best, a shallow and empty life.

READ MORE >>


dark purple book cover with a phoenix rising titled What Stories Are You Living Reviews and Excerpts
Dr. Pearson’s book will introduce the rich archetypal journey of Jungian individuation to the novice and deepen the competency of the advanced reader to use Jungian archetypes for awareness and evolution towards one’s highest self.

READ MORE >>


office workers around a table with archetype symbols over their heads Working with Teams through the PMAI® Archetypes
May 07, 2021 by Kesstan Blandin

All organizations, teams, or any group with a common mission, will confront archetypal moments, those difficult decisions on how best to go forward when what you decide will have impact on the organization and customers.

READ MORE >>


woman with red backpack standing at a forked path in the woods Archetypes are Fluid and Dynamic
Jul 22, 2021 by Kesstan Blandin

If you happen to take the PMAI® assessment again, you will likely notice the same characters congregating near the top and bottom of your profile, but not always in the same positions. Our newest article discusses the fluid and dynamic nature of archetypes and how the PMAI instrument can be used to reveal your growth or the growth of your clients over time.

READ MORE >>


diverse millennials, and a senior woman executive. share a moment of understanding Types of Leaders, Types of Knowledge
Sep 15, 2021 by Merle Singer

Technology has become an increasingly significant source of knowledge for leaders in the twenty-first century, possibly creating a shift in the archetypal dynamics of leaders today. In this first article on "Leadership Narratives" a mixed methods research study, conducted between 2018-2020 by Merle Singer and Heather Round, explores how our volatile world is changing the leadership narratives for seasoned female professionals and early-career female and male millennials in corporate Australia and the United States.

READ MORE >>



Our goal is to develop deeper self-awareness, to make room for all our potential. Working With Archetypes as Characters and Narratives
by Kesstan Blandin

Our goal is to become aware of ourselves, which is what the PMAI® system is all about—developing deeper self-awareness that gives you more room to act, know, and decide; more room to be you in all your potential.

In this article Kesstan Blandin, PhD, describes how to use the PMAI archetypal characters and narratives to look beyond an identity that may be limiting your growth. The key is taking advantage and developing the qualities of the lesser used archetypes in your Profile, the Sidekicks and the awkward Blind Spot.

READ MORE >>


The hero archetype, Saint George, slays the outlaw dragon Archetypes, Brands, and the Quest for Meaning
by Margaret Mark

In Margaret Mark's career in advertising, she was often dumbfounded by the extent to which brands took on meaning for people - often across cultures and over decades. Apple, Coke, Disney, Nike. What made these entities so powerful, with the capacity to transcend time and place?

In this article Mark describes her quest for insight and how it eventually led her to archetypes and Carol Pearson's work.

READ MORE >>


Your Treasure Chest archetypes are your sidekicks or companions in your life story hero's journey Growing With Your Archetypes: Treasure Chest
Jun 06, 2022 by Kesstan Blandin

In this second article, on Growing With Your Archetypes, Kesstan Blandin presents the Treasure Chest consisting of the eight archetypes in the mid-range of your Archetype Profile. In the PMAI® system your Treasure Chest, in support of your Allies, points to the areas that have potential for further self-growth.

READ MORE >>


Blind Spots, in your PMAI Archetype Profile, can be found in the inner resources you are unable to access. Growing With Your Archetypes: Blind Spot
Jul 21, 2022 by Kesstan Blandin

Are there repetitive issues in your relationships or life areas that don’t get resolved? In this third, and final, article in the Growing With Your Archetypes series Kesstan Blandin discusses the low scoring Blind Spot in the PMAI Archetype Profile. The Blind Spot category is about what is playing a role in one’s life but is not noticed.

READ MORE >>


Students with low self-efficacy are more likely to give up when faced with difficult circumstances. The Impact of Low Scoring Archetypes on College Student Success
by Mona AlQadi

This month new author Mona AlQadi, PhD reports on her dissertation research using the PMAI® to gain a deeper understanding of the unconscious archetypal narratives at play in underperformance in college students. Her study yields several insights into the relationship between low-scoring archetypes and students’ attitudes, behaviors, and worries toward their academic goals.

READ MORE >>