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Sample Archetype Descriptions

Following are two sample archetype descriptions from the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® instrument, which measures the archetypes active in an individual's personal life.

If the CREATOR is active in your life, you assume what can be imagined can be created.

At your best (now or when you fulfill your potential), you are highly imaginative and even inspired, and your skill level allows you to create with ease. You have moments when the ideas just flow and creativity seems effortless. You have a wonderfully developed aesthetic sense and surround yourself with things that reflect your taste. You have the potential, moreover, to create your own life as a work of art, so that you avoid the ordinary, the shallow, and the mundane, opting for more satisfying ways of life, even if this means that others do not always understand why you live the way you do.

When problems arise, you seek inspiration to develop a clear vision of how you want to remedy them, to decide what you want to create to put in their place, or to choose what other innovative steps you might take. Or, you divert yourself by undertaking some satisfying creative project, believing, often correctly, that the answer to how to handle the problem will come to you in the process.

You tend to notice the need for new inventions or interpretations. You also focus on the resources that help you innovate and on ways to enhance your skills. You know that if you open your eyes wide enough, you will find what you need to be successful. You also have a highly developed critic and generally notice every flaw in what you and others do, which could lead you to feel inadequate to the task and dissatisfied with life.

You may want to guard against the Creator's tendency to reduce life to raw material for art (as in a cartoon depicting a writer who keeps one hand on the keyboard while he makes love with his sweetie), robbing life of the joy of felt experience. The Creator also may become overwhelmed as a result of taking on so many projects. Like weeds that kill a garden, too many projects can sap the joy out of an otherwise great life. When the inner critic gets out of control, Creators may undermine their own confidence and that of others.

You like and live stories involving the many guises of inspiration and their unpredictable consequences such as Alice Walker's The Color Purple, in which a character changes her life, in part because she starts to write about it and hence understand it. In Fried Green Tomatoes, the creative act of telling a story becomes a life-changing force in the life of another character. You also may relate to stories of artists, inventors, or entrepreneurs who have the imagination to envision something admirable and then the skill to make that vision a reality. Unless you have wealth, you may empathize with the difficulties (often portrayed in literature) faced by artists who live in poverty because they will not compromise their standards or allow their creativity to be co-opted by others (as in the film Amadeus).

As a leader, you are (or could be) entrepreneurial, innovative, and unorthodox.

You want to be seen as grounded, practical, and having the ability to create something the world needs, so you may avoid doing things that make you seem like a stereotypically wild-eyed, crazy artist.

Others may appreciate and even envy your imagination and taste. However, they may have no idea how much dedication and hard work is involved in creating anything of real worth, minimizing what the outcome costs you. They may even see you as elitist or eccentric, perhaps even immoral (you know those artists!) and someone not to be trusted.

You may (or do) benefit from:

  • Taming your inner critic so that you become less critical of others and yourself
  • Remembering that anything worthwhile takes time
  • Moving from an ego-oriented focus on whether what you do is good enough to an attitude of service or being a channel for the muse or the vision to be expressed
  • Balancing artistry with being a responsible, thoughtful person (avoiding the trap of excusing self-indulgence)
  • Balancing the virtues of the Creator with those of the Destroyer

Excerpt from Introduction to Archetypes, by Carol S. Pearson and Hugh K. Marr

If the Ruler is active in your life, you assume that you should exercise control..

At your best (now or when you fulfill your potential), you step up to the plate to take control when things are in disarray. Like the good king, queen, president, boss, or parent, you reign for the good of those who follow you, so that your highly developed sense of responsibility and order benefit everyone. You know that healthy social systems do not just happen. Someone needs to shoulder the responsibility to create them. You are not only willing to be that person, you also recruit others and groom or coach them, knowing that the more you are willing to claim your own power, the better you are at empowering others.

When problems arise, your natural response is to put in place policies, procedures, and systems, not only to solve this problem and all similar ones, but also to avoid such difficulties in the future. You also monitor these systems and resist those “loose cannons” that get carried away by wild ideas that might throw a monkey wrench in your well-oiled machine.

You tend to notice the tools and trappings of power and where the source of authority lies. You also know how to use status, image, and prestige to intensify your power, and hence you are attentive to how you appear to others and to context appropriateness (for example, not overdressing while visiting a poverty program).

You may fail to notice the important input of people who have little or no status.

You may want to guard against the Ruler’s tendency to be dictatorial or allow a sense of entitlement let them use their roles to enhance their own status, prestige, or pocketbook at the expense of their responsibilities. Rulers also can misinterpret differences of opinion as threats to their power, and/or put so many rules in place that they create Catch-22 situations where nothing can get done.

You like and live stories that depict the process by which someone accepts or denies responsibility for the kingdom, irrespective of his or her power to control it (as in movies such as Elizabeth or The Lion King). You know that accepting stewardship for a family, organization, or group is a big responsibility, and therefore like to learn from real life and literary depictions of successful leaders. Of particular interest to you are stories that show how someone took on a “kingdom” in jeopardy (chaos, misrule, and/or a scarcity of resources and talent) and turned it around, fostering order, harmony, and prosperity.

As a leader, you are (or could be) good at putting structures, policies, and procedures in place that make life easier and more efficient. You also are good at networking and the political processes that help grease the wheels so that things get done. You excel at being responsible, doing your duty even if it is unpleasant, and attending to ceremonial events. You tend to take responsibility even for problems you did not create. You want to be seen as so thoroughly in charge that others naturally follow you, but you avoid doing anything too harsh so as not to seem weak and vulnerable.

You want to be seen as so thoroughly in charge that others naturally follow you, but you avoid doing anything too harsh so as not to seem weak and vulnerable.

Others may appreciate how you take charge and get things done. They also may envy and undermine your authority and, in response to it, become passive-aggressive, overtly oppositional, or competitive, or flatter you to get in your good graces.

You may (or do) benefit from:

  • Having a commitment to governing for the good of all
  • Sharing power and encouraging as much self-determinism as possible in others
  • Remembering that you cannot make people do anything, but you can inspire them by sharing a worthy vision of outcomes that take their interests into account
  • Modeling the behaviors you wish others to exhibit
  • Balancing the virtues of the Ruler with those of the Magician

Excerpt from Introduction to Archetypes, by Carol S. Pearson and Hugh K. Marr