Feel Better

Nine Participants in The Game of Life

Hello, fellow Participants in the Game of Life!

How does it feel to be participating in Life from your perspective?

How does it feel to be YOU, at an archetypal level?

Have a look at each of these Life Players or Participants below and see if you can find your core/archetypal self or “role” in Life, as well as those of everyone else you know.

Each type also has a self-development follow-through (if you click on the title of the name of the Type) which will help you to understand how viewing your self at times through this archetypal lens will also help you with the nitty-gritty specifics of your suffering or frustration that you might be experiencing in your life at the moment.


patterns of instinctual behaviour

Archetypes resemble the beds of rivers: dried up because the water has deserted them, though it may return at any time. An archetype is something like an old watercourse along which the water of life flowed for a time, digging a deep channel for itself. The longer it flowed the deeper the channel, and the more likely it is that sooner or later the water will return.

I like Jung’s framing of this idea. He refers to archetypes, including personality archetypes, using three metaphors:

  1. as river beds or channels for our life-force/instincts to work through
  2. as mirrors or echoes of different trauma/cultural/developmental energies
  3. as (primarily unconscious) patterns or schema/parts of the psyche

He writes in a 1936 essay: “An archetype is something like an old watercourse along which the water of life has flowed for some time, digging a deep channel for itself.”

Of course the geography surrounding this watercourse (family, culture, life circumstances, personal trauma) will all affect the river and how it flows, but each watercourse (each personality/ego-structure) will have its own shape and space that it takes up in the world, and so it would seem do we.

Aersonality type might also be seen as a kind of human inheritance, each of us born with a predisposition to experiencing and flowing through life in a certain way. When we see this river of personality flowing through us, it can sometimes feel like looking in a mirror both on a “good hair” day, and a bad one:

“The mirror does not flatter, it faithfully shows whatever looks into it; namely, the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the persona, the mask of the actor.”

But maybe we are also led to hiding or feeling ashamed about our archetypal personalities due to the mask that society and other people often require us to wear? Connecting to our own archetype is thus always an attempt to discover what it is that flows within us that goes beyond our family/social roles and requirements. What is the essence of your personality, your personhood, your self: what are its elemental fears and anxieties, and how do these often drive us into action.

Another way to describe this is our “unconscious motivations” for doing stuff – not the reasons we tell ourselves in our minds, but the nervous-system-wired responses to Life as it presents itself to us with all of its triggers and challenging circumstances.