According to Carl Jung, the pioneer of analytical psychoanalysis, the human psyche has archetypical ideas that existed before we were born. These are what form the foundation of personalities and human behavior. They influence our behavior, trigger emotions, and give us a sense of personal meaning. In this article, we will discuss the 12 spiritual archetypes that determine our spiritual development.
The 12 Spiritual Archetypes
The spiritual archetype refers to behavioral patterns that determine our emotional, psychological, and spiritual development. There are 12 spiritual archetypes:
- The Alchemist
- The Ascetic
- The Cenobite
- The Devotee
- The Disciple
- The Hermit
- The Mystic
- The Prophet
- The Rebel
- The Sage
- The Saint
- The Shaman
Let’s take a closer look at each of these spiritual archetypes.
#1: The Alchemist
The alchemist is the wizard. This archetype loves change and transformation. In turn, they look forward to the possibilities and changes that the future holds. Alchemists seek spiritual Unity, blessings, atonement, and alignment through the practice of rituals, spells, and ceremonies. Often, these rituals, spells, and ceremonies include the invocation of non-physical beings such as spirits and elemental forces through the careful arrangement, manipulation, or construction of physical objects. To an Alchemist, service, sacred rites of passage, and everyday acts of faith aid in strengthening their connection to the Divine.
Hence, if you possess the alchemist archetype:
- your drive is in possibilities;
- intuition is your greatest asset;
- you are devotional and down-to-earth person who enjoys expressing his/her faith through sincere religious, cultural, or self-designed rituals;
- you create an aura of mystique around yourself, exuding a sense of confidence and self-assurance;
- you believe in magic and miracles;
- you’re interested in astrology, spirituality, and mythology;
- you feel that you’re capable of effecting great change in the world;
- you can effect change in a quicker way than others, and in doing so can cause a sensation;
- you often help others see the world or their problems from a different perspective;
- you may get unwarranted criticism from those around you.
#2: The Ascetic
Do you seek self-perfection, to the extent of forgoing material possessions? You could be the Ascetic archetype. The Ascetic is also known as the “Yogi” in Eastern spiritual tradition. This spiritual archetype is dedicated to experimenting with, mastering, and obtaining higher states of consciousness. Also, the Ascetic archetype pursues a spiritual journey characterized by the denial of bodily needs. The Ascetic’s spiritual practices almost always involve some degree of abstinence or rigorous training.
You are the Ascetic archetype if you:
- are introspective, disciplined, strong-willed, rigorous, determined, devotional, and passionate;
- hold yourself to incredibly high standards of self-perfection;
- do not own or use magical or ritual tools for your spiritual practices;
- wear simple, non-lavish clothing;
- are particularly drawn to practices that induce alternate states of consciousness or higher states of consciousness such as energetic breathing techniques, types of meditation, mantras, yogic postures, sleep alteration, special diets (fasting, veganism, etc.), etc;
- are self-disciplined;
- choose abstinence, sobriety, or chasteness as pathways to experiencing Unity;
- do not attempt to bypass your self-imposed restrictions.
#3: The Cenobite
The Cenobite archetype values the sense of belonging to a spiritual family. This personality derives their human connection when in the company of like-minded people. In turn, the cenobite creates meet-ups and social communities with other persons that share their thoughts, objectives, and dreams. Due to their selfless nature, cenobites have unconditional love for others. Still, in the absence of boundaries, this love may turn into unhealthy co-dependency. Moreover, cenobites may also have the tendency to give in to mindless “groupthink” by allowing others to make their decisions. Conformity and the sacrificing of one’s needs and dreams may also result in communal situations.
You are the Cenobite archetype if you:
- thrive the best when you’re leading, or part of, a soul tribe;
- tend to be a part of spiritual meet-ups and spiritual communities;
- love to be surrounded by like-minded spiritual people;
- value solidarity in the form of brotherhood, sisterhood or the spiritual family as a way of experiencing the Divine;
- deeply value human connection.
#4: The Devotee
Do you find yourself drawn to a spiritual journey characterized by devotion to a deity or spiritual figure? If so, your dominant personality is the Devotee spiritual archetype. See, the Devotee worships, commits to, and serves a God or Goddess, Buddha, Jesus, the Holy Mother, or any other divine power. More so, the Devotee prefers growing while under the guidance and support of an experienced spiritual teacher or mentor. Typical traits of a devotee include being receptive, passionate, trusting, open, determined, and humble.
You are the Devotee archetype if you:
- are drawn towards the spiritual practices of worship, service, commitment, and heartfelt celebration of the Divine;
- feel the most spiritually supported when you are guided by an experienced teacher, guide (whether physical or nonphysical), mentor or guru;
- are drawn towards the spiritual practices of worship, service, commitment, and heartfelt celebration of the Divine;
- are passionately devoted to the search of finding your True Nature through the process of self-emptying;
- are devoted to listening and honoring the voice within.
#5: The Disciple
Anyone with a dominant disciple spiritual archetype is a natural learner. Such persons thrive under the guidance of a spiritual leader by listening and learning from them. Usually, disciples are loyal and passionate supporters of a single teacher, ideal, creed, doctrine, or religious teaching. They find great support, confidence, security, and emotional closure in their chosen spiritual path.
You are the Disciple archetype if you:
- are loyal, passionate, enthusiastic, supportive, receptive, devotional, curious, and honest;
- feel the most fulfilled when you are learning, teaching, preaching, serving or worshiping your particular expression of Divinity;
- thrive when you are surrounded by people of similar faith and conviction;
- view the world through the eyes of your spiritual community;
- tend to relinquish your authority to your spiritual leaders;
- observes a religious lifestyle characterized by immersion in regular rituals;
#6: The Hermit
Are you a loner? The Hermit spiritual archetype prefers solitude. Anyone with this personality is introspective, pursuing a spiritual journey away from distractions. However, not all introverts have the hermit as their dominant archetype. Similarly, the hermit finds internal balance when meditating or studying spiritual aspects of life. But note that this solitude can turn into self-absorption and leading a secretive lifestyle.
The Hermit’s traits:
- you are insightful, introspective, passionate, meditative, loyal, intelligent, and receptive;
- you feel the most at home with Divinity when you are alone;
- in solitude, you learn how to be self and God-reliant, receptive, intensely focused, and intimate with the mysteries of life;
- solitude gives you the space to simplify your life, get rid of distractions, and draw closer to the Divine;
- you are an introspective person.
#7: The Mystic
Now, the mystic spiritual archetype is naturally intuitive and sensitive. Hence, this archetype relies on feelings to discern messages from the spiritual realm. For example, the mystic may view their current struggles as a necessary step to discover their True Nature and connect to a higher calling. In turn, they hardly find pleasure or satisfaction in riches, fame, or status in society. They also view themselves as one with the universe. Consequently, they devote their lives to finding divinity in all aspects of life. If you are the Mystic archetype, you will be drawn towards transcending the ego and melting the boundaries between “you” and Infinite Consciousness. To you, the ultimate achievement in life is the unio mystica, the spiritual marriage between the self and the Soul.
You are the Mystic archetype if you:
- are deeply sensitive, intuitive, and perceptive person;
- have always sensed that there is something “beyond” the ordinary;
- the pursuit of earthly pleasures such as fame, status, and riches has never appealed to you to the same extent as it does to others;
- are wise, receptive, open-minded, and loving;
- yearn for wisdom, love, and the ultimate freedom that comes from merging with your True Nature;
- are devoted to exploring the Mystery that is life and inviting the presence of the Divine into your everyday life.
#8: The Prophet
When the Prophet spiritual archetype is dominant in you, you become the channel through which the spiritual realm communicates to humanity. As a Prophet, you have the gift of channeling and enlightening humanity with sacred knowledge. Whether through metaphysical gifts such as “second sight,” mediumship, and clairsentience, or through practices such as deep meditation and self-hypnosis, you are able to gain insight from spirit guides, angels, nature spirits, ancestral souls, or Consciousness itself for the benefit of others. In this world, you serve as a vessel or open channel through which wise, profound, predictive, and crucial guidance can be accessed.
You are the Prophet archetype if you:
- are humble, receptive, open, expressive, intuitive, intelligent, and honest;
- have the gift of channelling;
- see yourself as a Divine Messenger who is skilled at receiving, understanding, and expressing the sacred mysteries to humankind;
- have some metaphysical gift, such as “second sight,” mediumship, clairvoyance, etc.
#9: The Rebel
The Rebel spiritual archetype is a truth seeker. Anyone with this personality trait uses their insight to sieve through ideologies, illusions, and myths. That way, they tell apart the truth from misconceptions. Also, the Rebel archetype leads a lifestyle detached from any misleading spiritual concepts. Your ability to see through, challenge, reject, uproot, and expose limiting beliefs, traditions, and ways of life make you a powerful force of change in the world. Spiritually, your ability to see the truth is what endows you with immense wisdom and sacred understanding so often lacked by others. Your desire to reveal the truth at all costs is what makes you so loved and, at the same time, so feared by others.
You are the Rebel archetype if you:
- are honest, perceptive, passionate, assertive, intelligent, insightful, open-minded, and rational;
- see yourself as a truth seeker;
- enjoy challenging the status quo, exploding dogmas, and exposing corruption;
- are the bringer of death to old paradigms just as you are the bringer of life to new ways of living;
- detach yourself from anything perceived to be untruthful, naive, or spiritually misleading.
#10: The Sage
The Sage spiritual archetype is a knowledge seeker, a philosopher at heart who seeks to understand and teach the mysteries of existence. Anyone with this archetype invests most of their lifetime to study sacred texts, quotes from spiritual teachers, or any other material that will deepen their connection with the Divine. More so, these individuals can articulate their wealth of knowledge to others, either in writing or by speaking. Eventually, as a wise philosopher, the sage takes up the role of a spiritual guide or teacher in spiritual communities.
You are the Sage archetype if you:
- are intelligent, witty, articulate, curious, wise, generous, lighthearted, and charismatic;
- love to collect knowledge that will help you to develop a deeper connection to the Divine;
- are profoundly attracted to the role of the Teacher or Guide who has embodied their wisdom into self-expression;
- hope (deep down) to someday share your knowledge with others;
- have the gift of articulating your insight through speaking or writing;
- enjoy analysis, abstract reasoning, ideas, theories, and philosophies;
- are a seeker of wisdom through the vehicle of the mind.
#11: The Saint
The Saint spiritual archetype has great compassion for humanity. This archetype views all lifeforms as sacred and needs to be preserved. As a result, they engage in benevolent causes like giving to charity, looking after endangered animals, or advocating for the rights of the needy and vulnerable in society. The Saint archetype values action as the highest form of love. Dogma and spiritual theories mean nothing to the Saint if they can’t be backed by loving action.
You are the Saint archetype if you:
- are a sensitive, charitable, and intensely warm hearted person;
- can’t stand to see acts of injustice, abuse or neglect committed against life;
- are compassionate, benevolent, humanitarian, gentle, loving, proactive, practical, and loyal;
- see all of life as sacred, no matter how small, marginal, or forsaken;
- are the kind of person to take on the suffering of others and be the spokesperson for a movement or benevolent cause;
- are the defender of the downtrodden, the protector of the abused, and the nurturer of the disowned.
#12: The Shaman
Finally, the Shaman spiritual archetype is a healer and a gifted storyteller. The Shaman archetype is also known as a medicine man/woman or a healer. This spiritual archetype helps other people heal on a soul level. If you are the Shaman archetype, you feel the most spiritually fulfilled when you’re helping others find health and wholeness again. Deep within you, there is the urge to heal other people of their ailments, whether they be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.
You are the Shaman archetype if you:
- are highly sensitive, sensual, intuitive, perceptive, compassionate, grounded, insightful, empathic, and energy conscious;
- value manifestations from dreams, sacred history, and imagination;
- are an empath who can tune into the subtle energy present in other people, animals, places and nature forms;
- feel the most at home in nature;
- are an outsider who notices things other people don’t seem to notice or care about;
- love helping others find health and wholeness.
So, what is your spiritual archetype? Note that your dominant spiritual archetype can change over time. You may be a natural learner during your teen years and then transform to become a sage or shaman as an adult. These changes are due to our surroundings and interactions with different people and places over time.