Will knowing your pet’s archetypes help your relationship? I believe it will. But first, what is an archetype?
It’s similar to a personality or characteristic, but it’s deeper; it’s what moves and defines us at our core. There are several theories about archetypes and how they play a role in our lives; in fact the first usage of archetypes dates all the way back to Plato, and most recently archetypes are important in the study of quantum physics.
The following articles about archetypes of pets will be somewhat of a blend between Plato, Jung, Myss, and Sheldrake. So for the purpose of your animals it’s okay to think in more general terms of personality, though I will still refer to it as their archetype.
Animals don’t completely fit perfectly into the human archetype structure because we have different societal constructs and social norms, but most are similar enough that we can identify or classify an animal’s archetype and then make decisions and lifestyle choices based on it.
We all have many archetypes at play in our lives, and we might easily shift from one to another depending on the situation. The same is true for animals. For example, your cat may display the Caregiver part of itself with you, but the Trickster side with its fellow felines. My cat Lily is easily both, and while she does occasionally care-give to other felines, and does involve me in her antics once in a while, her primary behavior with other cats is Trickster, and with people it’s Lover. True to the Trickster archetype, she sometimes comes off as a bully, i.e. misunderstood. More on this later.
Identifying your pet’s archetypes can help you in many ways – it can help
determine what job is right for them, what their boundaries should be, how to adapt house expectations to help them succeed, what other animals might be the best companions for them, or what specialized training they might like.
Below are the general descriptions of the Jungian archetypes (minus the four innate human archetypes). I’ll expand on each archetype in separate blog posts, but as you read through the list you may recognize the archetypes that rule your beloved animals. You can click the links to read more about the specific archetype.
|Best Characteristics||Shadow Characteristics|
|Hero (rescuer, savior)||Strength, courage, stamina||
Arrogance, looking for another battle
Teacher (sage, wise one)
|Wisdom, intelligence, clarity, rational||Passive, lack of action, disconnected|
|Mystic (saint, innocent)||Openness to experience, trust, honesty||Naiveté, denial|
|Lover (partner, friend)||Willing to sacrifice, belonging to a group||
Lack of own identity, obsessive, jealousy
|Caregiver (helper, parent)||Compassion, loyal, steadiness, empathy||Arrogance, martyrdom, being exploited|
|Citizen (regular guy, good neighbor)||Fair, steward, accountability||
Righteousness, recklessness, losing self
|Order, stability, control, tradition||Greed, irrelevance, entitlement|
|Magician (healer, maker)||Make things happen, perceptive, intuitive, clever||
Creative (artist, expressive)
|Nonconformity, imagination||Over-dramatic, perfectionism|
|Explorer (seeker, wanderer)||Independence, brave, tests limits||Aimlessness, alienation, self-indulgence|
|Comedian (joker, trickster)||Original, irreverent, playful||Cruelty, misunderstood, inefficiency|
|Rebel (misfit, outlaw)||Leadership, risky, individuality, brave||
Each week I’ll feature a new archetype, so stay tuned to future posts to find out how to make these work for you!