12 Archetype Wheels and Groupings

The 12 archetypes can be grouped in different ways for different purposes, but most often these groupings are in mandala or medicine wheel shapes, since their focus is on how we can be fully authentic and also have the kind of balance and flexibility needed to thrive in the modern world.

Archetypal Mandalas for Individuals

Awakening the Heroes Within traces a developmental spiral journey from establishing an inner family, to journeying to find your deeper, truer Self, to returning to make your unique contribution to the world. Four archetypes dominate in each triad, making this a somewhat different mandala than those with four quadrants.

The Inner Family consists of the Innocent and Orphan, which are two sides of the inner child, and the Warrior and Caregiver, which are two sides of the inner parent. The journey to find yourself includes the Seeker, who explores what in the outer world satisfies your inner world; the Lover, who follows what you love; the Destroyer, who lets go of what does not fit or takes things from you; and the Creator, who forms your life as an artistic expression of who you are at your core. The archetypes of the return are those of the archetypal royal court—the Ruler, Magician, Jester, and Sage—who help you claim your authority and make your best and most authentic contribution to the world. Thus, each of these three major elements of your archetypal journey comprises the four parts that typically make up a magic circle, with you at the center in different times or parts of your life.

The PMAI utilizes a pie chart to simulate a mandala shape, with each of the archetypes in order. Higher scoring archetypes are big slices, and lower scoring ones are increasingly smaller.

However, when I use 12 archetype analyses in organizations and workplaces to analyze cultures, I employ a medicine wheel four-quadrant configuration to show that the archetypes in us also are those that help us to relate to others outside of us. Often, the workplace names utilized—and grouped in four quadrants related to tasks of modern mastery—pertain to managing one’s life (Caregiver, Ruler, Creator), one’s style of learning (Innocent, Explorer, Sage), one’s mode of relating to others (Everyperson, Lover, Jester), and the ways in which we get things done (Revolutionary, Warrior, Magician).

The 12 Archetype Wheel in Organizations and Branding

The medicine wheel for an organization looks something like the image below. For organizations today to succeed, they need to have a shared sense of meaning, which at a deeper level than usual is determined by their core archetype. This is the image and the story that provides meaning to all stakeholders for their involvement with the enterprise. Other archetypal allies help to translate that meaning into action to fulfill the necessary functions of creating policies, processes, and structures (the Material subsystem), helping the people involved bond and collaborate (the Human Community subsystem) and then engage in ongoing learning and innovation (the Learning subsystem) so that they can accomplish their goals (the Production subsystem). Ideally, each of these essential activities is energized, with one archetype taking the lead. The wheel diagram highlights the archetypes most likely to provide that leadership. To find out what is true for your organization, you can create and administer surveys and conduct focus groups or contract to utilize the IBM KCIS®.

Transformative wholeness is achieved when the center and four quadrants are in balance, thus providing the energy needed to attend with ease to major organizational functions. If there is little or no energy for any archetype to support a quadrant, it can be an early warning sign that its concerns are being ignored. Such an analysis also can be used when an organization is underperforming to identify the underlying problem. For example, people (1) have stopped working well together; (2) are not keeping up with what they need to know; (3) are not getting the right things done in the best way; or (4) cannot succeed because structures and processes are getting in their way rather than facilitating successful efforts. In addition, (5) the very life can go out of an enterprise if there is no longer a shared sense about why their efforts matter (a lack of core meaning).

deep-fulfillmentAn enjoyable and useful exercise would be to evaluate your organization (or any other social system, even your family) in this context, considering how much energy goes to learning together, to bonding and collaborating, to getting things done, and to maintaining and stabilizing structures, respectively. Determine which of these activities get the most attention and whether any of them is being ignored, which eventually might cause breakdown through inattention. For example, the stability quadrant would include maintenance activities, so if these get little attention, things might break, the place could be a mess, bills might not get paid or legal matters be dealt with, etc. Then you can identify the archetypes that motivate people to attend to each kind of activity, recognizing that the three listed in each quadrant are the most likely, but not the only, possibilities. If an area is weak, find an archetype active in the system that can be reinforced to shore up this potential weakness.

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