Discover the Archetypes Shaping Your Life

Hugh Marr: Master Storyteller

Aug 17, 2023
Kesstan Blandin, PhD
Kesstan Blandin, PhD is the Vice President of Research and Development at Myers & Briggs Foundation 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

In his upcoming book, Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey, Hugh K. Marr, Ph.D., tells a great story about the people of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where he was raised and where his grandfather, Harold Overman, trained with country doctor Dr. William Poole.

In the early days of our country, Aaron Burr (of Hamilton fame) had a lovely daughter, Theodosia. Theodosia was married to the governor of South Carolina, Joseph Alston.  

In June of 1812, she determined to travel to New England to greet her father, who had recently returned from a long stay in Europe. But her plans were thwarted when the couple’s young son contracted malaria and died. It took Theodosia six months before she felt up to the voyage. Finally, in December, she set sail from Charleston on the refurbished ship The Patriot. Aaron Burr eagerly awaited his daughter. Ships along the coast were often delayed, but the days turned into weeks; and the weeks turned into months. Neither Theodosia nor the ship on which she had booked passage was ever heard from again. 

Many years later the physician Dr. William Poole was making his rounds among the poor villagers on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The residents mostly cobbled together a living from fishing and from what few vegetables could grow in the salt air. But in earlier days, the “Bankers,” as they were called, had a much more lucrative income. On stormy nights they would take an old horse and tie a lighted lantern to its halter. They would march the horse up and down the sand dunes by the ocean shore. Ships out at sea, seeing the rising and falling light, would mistake it for another ship and turn toward it thinking they were headed to safe waters. Instead, they would run aground on the dangerous shoals. It was then that the Bankers—now land pirates—would storm the ship. Ships’ crews would be exhausted from the storm and wreck, and frightened. They would give up, usually without a fight. The pirates would gather all the plunder, then force passengers and crew alike to jump overboard into the roiling sea.  

Dr. Poole doubtless knew of this history as he treated an ill Banker woman one night. The woman began a slow recovery. She could not pay Dr. Poole; in fact, Dr. Poole expected no payment. But she was appreciative, and insisted he take one of her heirloom treasures. It was a gilt framed oil painting of a lovely patrician lady. The subject of the portraiture was later identified as none other than Theodosia Burr.

Marr’s grandfather was a lover of the historical stories of a place and its people. The stories his grandfather told, about the “Bankers” and “High Tiders” on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, seeded his own deep love of story. Marr carries on the ancestral line as a psychotherapist as he mines the inner history of a person, their place in time and the world, and the stories they tell. 

Working with your life story eventually brings you face-to-face with the unconscious stories you have inherited, which in turn brings you face-to-face with fate. Your unconscious stories are the basic building blocks of fate; they are the symbolic blood and bones of our ancestors and the monsters they wrestled with. This level of story is imprinted in mannerisms, deep world views, and uncanny synchronicities, what C. G. Jung would call archetypal or primordial stories. In myth, the hero is the one tasked with discovering and transcending an inherited fate by confronting and overcoming the demons that plagued their people. Like a mythic hero, when we look deeply, we find the problems we struggle with are the same ones our parents, grandparents, and ancestors wrestled with, passing down their hard-earned wisdom. 

There are two worlds, according to Marr, the world of objects and the world of imagination. Both worlds are equally real and valuable in human lives, but neither one can be defined by the other. “Stories are the crosswalk between the two worlds,” Marr said. “Stories are the way humans bridge and weave the worlds together.” This weaving is foundational work because both worlds are necessary to human beings; the world of objects is necessary to master reality and survive. The world of imagination is necessary to know and live the meaning of our lives, which is necessary to have a reason to survive. 

To work with story is to work with the symbolic, metaphorical, and imaginative element of human identity. In this realm, your identity does not end at the precipice of your memory; it is not bounded by your time in history. In the realm of story, you live an enchanted life embedded in the mythic sway of human beings. The realm of story is embodied in the twelve Jungian archetypes of the Pearson-Marr system. In Finding Your Story (being released in October), Marr leads you down the spiraling path of time and psyche to your archetypal story, incorporating the Pearson-Marr archetypes and your specific Archetype profile from the PMAI® assessment.  

Considering again the two worlds—objects in reality and meaning in imagination—in Finding Your Story the PMAI archetypes appear as the storied bridge connecting them. The archetypes are objects in reality as you assign archetypal roles to the important people who shaped you and your life. These same archetypes show up in their imaginative dress when Marr guides you to consider the mythic and symbolic plots of the chapters of your life story, or when he asks you to reimagine the outcomes of your past into the potential of your future. This is the beauty of the Jungian archetypes and Marr’s journey to foundational story: archetypes are symbolic and evolving, dynamic and creative, and you are the master storyteller weaving it all together. 

Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey will be available for purchase in October! Sign up to receive emails from Storywell to be notified. 

1. Marr, H. K. (2023). Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey. Myers & Briggs Foundation. 

LINK COPIED TO CLIPBOARD




Related Content

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

We know the facts—that we are currently one of 8 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 >>


A business woman's caped cast shadow reflects her inner Hero's Journey of self-discovery Discovering Your Hero’s Journey
Mar 16, 2023 by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

What is it like to see your life as a Hero's Journey for the first time? Think of a story or a film where you recognized yourself in a character. When we are identified with a character, we feel their feelings, we are moved by their pain, and through the character's revelations of themselves,we receive insights into ourselves we didn't have before.

READ MORE >>


woman with red backpack standing at a forked path in the woods Archetypes are Fluid and Dynamic
Feb 13, 2023 by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

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 >>


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, PhD

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’s journey is the symbolic process of growing into one’s authentic self. The Roots of the Pearson-Marr Archetypes
by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

In this article, Kesstan Blandin provides basic definitions and distinctions between C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Carol Pearson’s work on archetypes as a way to deepen your understanding of the PMAI® archetypes.

READ MORE >>


The Ruler archetype exhibits qualities such as being decisive and working to establish order. How Archetypes Transform Personality
by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

Understanding our archetypes as only representative of personality can be limiting. In this article Kesstan Blandin describes how your PMAI® archetypes point to archetypal narratives currently active in your life, not only to highlight aspects of your personality, but to point to the hidden potential within you.

READ MORE >>


Hope is the link between current reality (Realist) and future possibilities (Idealist). Pandora’s Hope: An Archetypal Reading
Apr 11, 2022 by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

The two archetypes of Idealist and Realist are a complementary pair. We all have an ideal of what our life should be like and the belief that our future can be different from our past, but the challenges of reality get in the way. Yet hope prevails. Balancing the Idealist and Realist can help us be grounded in reality while allowing for possibilities of a positive future.

READ MORE >>


Your Allies show up in your work life and relationships Growing With Your Archetypes: Allies
May 16, 2022 by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

In the Pearson-Marr system your Allies are your high scoring archetypes, generally your top three. High scoring archetypes represent characteristics that you likely identify with and narratives that you use the most to understand and engage the world; because of this, your Allies are where you are most skilled and developed. In this article Kesstan Blandin discusses how to work with your Allies for self-growth and further development.

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, PhD

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, PhD

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 >>


Understanding the PMAI® archetypes can help improve family dynamics or settle conflicts, even while online gaming Archetypes and Family Dynamics
Sep 14, 2022 by Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD

In this month's article Yvonne Nelson-Reid highlights an area not often talked about; the impact of archetypes on family dynamics. In order to do this Yvonne uses the World of Warcraft gaming, as played between the three men in her family.

READ MORE >>


World of Warcraft players, like this elf lady in green, play out enchanted archetypal stories What Story Are You Playing?
May 18, 2023 by Logan Abbitt

When looking for a little enchantment in life what archetypal story do you like to play? In this second article, Logan Abbitt compares 6 more of the PMAI archetypes with some of the mythical characters played out in the high fantasy game World of Warcraft (WoW).

READ MORE >>


Girl playing World of Warcraft online, immersed in her epic, mythical archetypal story. What Story Are You Playing?
Apr 18, 2023 by Logan Abbitt

What archetypal story are you playing? Online high fantasy games, such as World of Warcraft (WoW), can be a way to play out your archetypal stories. In this month's article, Logan Abbitt, a longtime WoW player, gives us insight into how the PMAI® archetypes can crossover into the character roles in games like WoW.

READ MORE >>


Stories help us understand ourselves and to transform and develop Transform Your Stories; Transform Your Life
Sep 18, 2023 by Kesstan Blandin, PhD

Re-enchant your life and transform your life story! Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey, the exciting upcoming guidebook by psychologist Hugh K. Marr, PhD, will guide you through the stages of your own life stories to discover the mythic and symbolic realms hidden within you.

READ MORE >>


Broken trust can be altered with an understanding of archetypal imprints and intentional language to transform trust with others. PMAI Archetypes and Trust
Jan 18, 2024 by David J. Hulings

We begin the new year with an article by author and speaker David J. Hulings on how to understand and identify the trust styles of each archetype. Hulings, in his newest book TRUST!, introduces a unique trust language to build trust and transform our mindset towards trust. Understanding archetypal imprints can equip us with the ability to establish trust with others.

READ MORE >>


Finding Your Story can help you see some parts of your life very differently from before. Find Your Story
Feb 15, 2024 by Carol S. Pearson, PhD, DMin

Hugh K. Marr's new book, Finding Your Story: Using Archetypes to Guide Your Personal Journey (2023), is a workbook that can help you see some parts of your life very differently than before. Carol. S. Pearson, who, together with Hugh K. Marr, created the PMAI instrument, gives a review and writes about her personal experience revisiting her own life stories when calling forth a core archetype.

READ MORE >>