Discover the Archetypes Shaping Your Life

Living the Heroic Life Journey: Part 3

SELF: The Hero’s Journey as Individuation

Carol S. Pearson, PhD, DMin
Hugh Marr, PhD, LPC
Dr. Carol S. Pearson, coauthor of the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® instrument, is an internationally recognized scholar and well-known author of numerous books, among them the bestselling The Hero Within, as well as Awakening the Heroes Within, The Hero and the Outlaw, and Magic At Work. Awakening the Heroes Within provided the foundational theory set from which the PMAI® assessment initially was developed, augmented by analyses of data from fifteen years of PMAI results.
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Dr. Hugh Marr is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Alexandria, VA. Prior to that, he worked in all phases of community mental health, culminating in running a partial hospital program for clients with the co-occurring disorders of substance use and major mental illness. Dr. Marr co-authored the books What Story Are You Living and Introduction to Archetypes with Dr. Carol Pearson and developed the PMAI® (Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator®) assessment with her.
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The Self is the deeper capacity for connection with the world that can make you take responsibility for your part of it. The archetypes of the Self can help you express who you are in ways that make a difference to the world. The Ruler, Jester, Sage, and Magician were key figures in the ancient royal court.

Ruler and Jester

Under the influence of the Ruler, you aspire to be powerful, in control, and serious, and to assist others in building orderly processes and systems. In this context, you are willing to do your duty, and to officiate in ceremonial events, playing prescribed parts. At worse, this could make you boring, controlling, and arrogant. The natural complement is the Jester, who wants to be free and spontaneous and enjoys the chaotic, the humorous, and the ability to deflate arrogant, inflated posturing. In this context, the Jester makes leisure, happiness, and enjoyment a top priority. If not contained, this could make you irresponsible, lazy, and prone to excess. When balanced, these two can help you foster families, friendship groups, and organizations that are both well-run and enjoyable.

Sage and Magician

The world goes topsy-turvy when people base their actions on distortions, lies, and falsehoods. The Sage can help you seek truth, including verifiable facts and theories, whether it is as a student, scholar, teacher, detective, or other sort of investigator. Of course, it can also lead you to become pedantic, dogmatic, and opinionated.

The Magician seeks truths that are invisible and less easy to verify. For example, recognizing the patterns of people's thinking or in data or events that will inevitably reflect one's own subjectivity, or in truths that are spiritual, subject less to scientific proof than to the sensed experience of individuals.  Moreover, the Magician seeks such knowledge not just for its own sake, but rather in order to heal, transform, or unify. Unfortunately, this can also lead to seeing and promoting belief in patterns that do not exist, even to ones that detract from genuine truths, such as spinning the facts to manipulate others.

Remember that the hero's journey is an iterative process, which means we embark on numerous psychological journeys that together make up our grander journey; thus, we may encounter the same archetypes many times in our journey in somewhat different forms and intensities.