The human brain is a complex organ. It is an amazing gift that most of us take for granted.

If you are interested in understanding your mind or the minds of others, it helps to understand the basic building blocks from which our brains are made.

Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. He was also one of the first men to apply Sigmund Freud’s theories in a different light.

Freud believed that all conscious thoughts originate in our unconscious mind. Carl Jung agreed with Freud on some levels, but he believed that our consciousness also comes from outside forces rather than just within.

Archetypes are like the building blocks of all stories.

There is a different archetype for every character and situation you could possibly encounter.


jungian archetypes

What Are the jungian archetypes?

Jungian archetypes are defined as universal, archaic symbols and images that derive from the collective unconscious, as proposed by Carl Jung.

They are the psychic counterpart of instinct. It is described as a kind of “deeper” psyche (variously called “subconscious,” “unconscious,” or “collective unconscious”) beyond our personal psyche.

Jungian archetypes are heavily used in modern literature, as well as various story-telling mediums (e.g., movies, TV shows, etc.).



What Are The Jungian Archetypes

Jung’s work influenced several other famous psychologists including Erich Fromm and Alfred Adler.

His theory of archetypes is used extensively today by people who study human behavior and mental processes.

In fact, most people who study psychology will at least be familiar with Carl Jung’s work, if not use his ideas in their own research.

Take a moment to think about what you do every day as you go about your own activities.

Whether or not you are aware of it, you are constantly thinking and feeling different emotions throughout the day as your body goes through its natural functions and routines.

What Do Each Of The Archetypes Seek?

What are the archetypes and what do they seek? This is a question I’ve been asked recently and it isn’t an easy one to answer in a word or two.


So, here is my best attempt at explaining what each archetype seeks.

Tribes are groups of people who share the same values, interests, and/or experiences. For example, there is a tribe of people who share the common experience of having lost a parent by the age of 18, who grew up in single parent households, and who understand what it’s like to be raised by a single parent.

These people would naturally be drawn to each other because they understand each other. Often, people who come from similar backgrounds or have the same interests will congregate together.

People tend to feel more comfortable with others like themselves and will often form bonds with those outside their own “tribe”.

A hero’s journey has a pattern that is universal across time and culture. It has been referred to as the “Hero’s Journey” because it can be seen in stories throughout history and across cultures: The Odyssey (Homer), The Book of Job (The Bible), Gilgamesh (Sumerian Mythology), The Iliad (The Greek Myths), Lao Tzu & The Tao.

The Origins Of Jung’s Archetypes

Archetypes are everywhere in our culture and, though they have existed since time immemorial, have found a new life in modern media. Everyone has some familiarity with these archetypes, whether they know it or not.

You can see them in fairy tales, the stories of our childhoods. They appear in movies and books and music. They’re a big part of religious texts and spiritual beliefs, as well.

But where did they come from?

The concept of archetypes was developed by Carl Jung, who was born on July 26th, 1875 in the small town of Kesswil, Switzerland.

At a young age, Jung displayed a great amount of curiosity about the world around him and was fascinated with how people’s minds worked. It wasn’t until he was 19 years old that he began to question religion and set out to better understand it for himself.

This would later lead to him renouncing his religious upbringing altogether in favor of atheism.

Jung found minimal satisfaction from his studies at the University of Basel so he left after three years to do military service as a medic in Germany where he would meet up with friend Pauli Popper who encouraged him to travel to Paris to study philosophy under Henri Bergson.


The 4 Major Jungian Archetypes

There are 8 Jungian archetypes.

These are:

  1. Ego
  2. Anima/Animus
  3. Shadow
  4. Parent
  5. Child
  6. Senex/Seneschal
  7. Trickster/Trickster 
  8. King/Queen.

The ego is the center of consciousness, consciousness of self in other words. The ego is the sense of identity that we have in the daily world.

This means that when you think “I” you are identifying with the ego archetype. Ego is also a term used to describe that which we call our persona or mask in the world, this is an expression of how we want others to see us or perceive us and it is often based on societal norms.

The Anima and Animus, these are both unconscious archetypes but they correspond to our inner masculine and feminine qualities respectively.

The shadow archetype refers to all that which we keep hidden from ourselves and others. It holds our darkest secrets and desires that we don’t want others to know about us because their discovery would cause great discomfort for us.

It also holds the memories of all our traumas and wounds from childhood onwards. Because of its very nature, projecting our shadow onto others can be a very dangerous mistake to make as it gives us an excuse.


What Are The Jungian Archetypes — Writer’s Guide To Archetypes

When it comes to creative writing, it can be very helpful to know about Jungian archetypes. The concept of the archetype was originally developed by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist of the early 20th century.

He theorized that there were certain universal themes or “patterns of behavior” found in the stories and myths of different cultures around the world, and that these universal patterns of behavior could be traced back to “archetypes”.

In his book Psychological Types, Jung defines an archetype as “an old image … inherited from our ancestors” (Jung 1961, p. 311). In other words, an archetype is a model or pattern for something else.

The archetype represents a shared human experience or concept that is embedded in the unconscious mind.

Archetypal characters are not necessarily unique to fiction writing. Characters with archetypal characteristics can be found in all types of literature, poetry, and even religious texts like the Bible.

The popularity of archetypal characters might have something to do with their ability to resonate with us on a very deep and instinctual level. Our brains are programmed to respond to images contained in stories that we see over and over again throughout our lives; thus archetypes can serve as “triggers” for powerful emotional responses.

Where Did Jungian Archetypes Come From?

Jungian archetypes are universal, recurring characters in all forms of storytelling. The most famous examples are the hero and the villain (protagonist and antagonist).

Jungian archetypes are based on universal patterns of human behavior and thought. Jung described the collective unconscious, which consists of the lowest common denominator of human experience.

These archetypes include symbols that appear in stories, myths, legends, and fairytales. They are an important part of how we understand ourselves, others and our humanity.

Totem animals are other forms of archetype.They represent different aspects of one’s personality.Each animal has its own personality traits, physical characteristics, behaviors, habitats and life cycles.

Archetypes and animals can be seen as symbols that represent deeper truths about us. Animals and their characteristics can symbolize our emotions, needs and impulses.

The symbolism is as follows:

Panther – To dream of a panther denotes that you will have a strong and deceitful friend who may cause you much trouble.

Crane – To dream of cranes represents your need to find meaning in your life or to seek spiritual enlightenment. It may also mean that you will suffer loss through dreams or spirituality.*

Snake – To dream bear witness to a terrifying snake fore.Jung took the word.

The Jungian Mask – The Persona

The persona is the mask we wear when we are in the world. It is a construct designed to help us navigate our social environment.

This is the face we show to others, and they show us theirs. It is how we present ourselves to the world; how we want to be perceived by others.

It is not to be confused with the shadow or the ego, although elements of it are derived from both. The persona is a unique construction for each individual, but there are commonalities in that nearly all of us play some version of a role in the world.

The persona is created through observation and imitation of those around us. We take elements of what we see and make them our own.

Elements can include behaviors, mannerisms, beliefs, values, speech patterns, likes and dislikes as well as physical characteristics.

Our persona contains aspects of ourselves that we wish to share with others, and those that we keep hidden from view.


Every individual has a persona that they put on each morning when they wake up and take off each evening when they go to sleep. In it are specific roles for each individual – parent, spouse, sibling, employee, friend and so on – and masks for each role – husband or wife.

The Jungian Darkside – The Shadow

In our culture we like to think that good and evil are black and white, but Jungian psychology states that they are on a continuum. This darkside is what we all possess, it’s just a matter of degree.

For instance, you might be very honest and faithful to your spouse, but in the workplace you take credit for other people’s ideas. Acknowledging your darkside is a way to understand yourself better and to understand the people around you.

To begin exploring the darkside, ask yourself:

What am I most proud of?

Never mind that I broke some traffic laws this afternoon (I was late for an appointment). I’m really proud of the work I do with my volunteer organization…

What am I ashamed of?

The time I took credit for my assistant’s idea without giving her proper recognition…

What do I feel guilty about?

Sitting at home watching TV when I could be out being a part of the community…

Who would I rather be?

An upstanding member of society (good), or a rock ‘n’ roll star (bad)?

Jung says that because there is no black and white, we are always living on a continuum between good and evil, with our shadow selves.


The Jungian Gender – Anima/Animus

The Anima/Animus archetype is one of Jung’s most misunderstood concepts. It has been associated with the New Age concept of soul-mates, and also with a more widespread belief in romantic love as the supreme value in life.

These are both serious misunderstandings of what Jung meant by Anima/Animus: he did not mean that everyone should go looking for The One, or that everyone should be in love. He meant something rather different, which we can understand better if we take a look at the history and origins of this idea.

The term “Anima” comes from Latin and means “soul”, while “Animus” is Greek and means “mind”. So the Anima/Animus archetype is actually an expression of what Jungians call the Self, which is a central concept in Jungian psychology. This is not to be confused with Freud’s Id, Ego or Superego – those are different systems altogether.

As the name suggests, the Self archetype refers to the psyche as a whole – it’s your mental makeup as a person. The Self is a kind of homing device that makes sure you remember who you really are; it acts as a kind of spiritual compass that points to what really matters in life.

The Jungian Unification – The Self

The self is a psychic unifying center, created through the integration of the conscious and unconscious mind. It is not a thing or a substance but an active process whereby the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind become joined in an ever-expanding whole.

The self is made up of tension between opposites, and therefore it cannot be pinned down to any single point in space or time. The self only exists as a process of continual expansion, being born at one moment and dying at another.

The ego is not identical with the self. Ego is that part of consciousness which is identified with a particular body and personality; it takes its shape from physical sense data, from biological instincts, and from external reality.

The ego is the center of consciousness and thus can be considered to be in charge, whereas the self provides the framework for this center by holding together all opposites within itself. The self acts like a magnet that can attract any number of contradictory qualities into its field of consciousness, because it does not position itself in relation to them but simply allows them to exist together.

The ego has very definite limits, whereas there are no limits to the self — it contains all possibilities within itself.

Character Archetype Examples

In fiction, characters are often broken down into archetypes. These are the standard character types that show up in all sorts of genres.

Taken together, the different archetypes make up a character’s personality. The better you can define your character’s personality, the more real they will feel to your readers.

Example Archetypes:

Protagonist – This is the main character in a story. It is usually the main focus of the story, and is often instrumental in driving the plot forward. The protagonist is also known as hero for their heroic deeds in the story.

Antagonist – This is usually a villain or enemy who opposes the protagonist and actively tries to destroy them.


Character Arc – Character arc refers to how a person changes from their beginning to end point throughout a story. Characteristics – These are traits that describe a person, which can be physical or mental characteristics, or traits of personality or behavior.

Characters often have several characteristics, including strengths and weaknesses.

Heroic Journey – The three phases of the journey are Departure, Initiation and Return. Each phase contains its own tasks for the protagonist to complete before moving on to the next phase.

Plot Line – Plot lines are events surrounding your main plot that move it forward but do not affect it directly.

Example of Jungian Archetypes In Writing

A heroic character might be thought of as the most Jungian archetype in writing a novel. Heroic characters are popular among many writers because they have character traits that are easily identifiable with the audience.

He or she is usually considered the Good Guy and has a goal or task to accomplish during the course of the book. This can be saving a life, getting revenge, or trying to stop a bad guy from doing something illegal or immoral.

The hero will sometimes have help from other characters on his journey, like friends and co-workers, who share similar goals and ideals.

Towards the end of the story, when all seems lost for the main character, he will overcome all obstacles and prevail over evil. Some examples of this include Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope; Frodo Baggins in Lord of The Rings; and Harry Potter in Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix.

The last few obstacles these heroes face are usually their most difficult ones yet. They have to give up everything they have been working towards if they are going to succeed in their goals.

For example, Frodo had to give up his lifelong dream of leaving Middle Earth at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of The King.

The same goes for Harry Potter.

Example of Jungian Archetypes In Screenwriting

I have found that there are really only four archetypes in screenwriting. These archetypes are: The Hero, The Mentor, The Trickster and The Shadow.

These archetypes can be used to create a character that is memorable to a reader or an audience. As long as you are consistent with each archetype you create, it will work well to add dimension to your story and characters.

This is the first post in a series of blog posts I’m going to write about writing screenplays using Jungian Archetypes.

Please read my previous article called “The Basics Of Screenwriting” before reading this one. This is not an article about the basics, but an article about adding depth to your character’s motivations and personalities.

The first archetype we will look at is the hero, which falls under the category of the persona archetype in Jungian theory.

The hero archetype is often thought of as being that of a superhero or other protagonist who saves the day from evil forces like aliens or monsters.

However, even though these types of heroes are great for action movies, they don’t exist in real life, so if you want to write a good story, then you need a hero that people can relate to and understand on some level.

Example of Jungian Archetypes In Film

Because it is a very complex and broad term, the word archetype often evokes different meanings to each individual. The word archetype refers to an original model of which other similar things are copies or from which they are derived.

Archetype is often applied to characters in stories, myths, images and ideas.

In Carl Jung’s work, archetypes were primordial images that have existed in the human psyche throughout history. According to Jung, the collective unconscious contains these primordial images that are “mana personalities,” which are the source of manifestation of our life experiences.

These mana personalities offer us a sense of meaning and purpose as well as a means to communicate with each other through the form of myths and symbols.

When we look at various films today, we can see that they contain many archetypes such as the hero, lover, helper, trickster etc. They utilize Jungian archetypes in order to connect with the audience on an emotional level.

It allows them to mold their characters into something familiar for their viewers.

Film Examples:

In Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope (1977), Luke Skywalker is a classic hero archetype who progresses through three different stages: separation from his family (Luke finds himself on Tatooine working with his uncle) initiation.