The hero archetype and the 12 archetypes of Jung

The hero archetype and the 12 archetypes of Jung

The word Hero derives from the Greek “archè” (original) and “Tipos”, an exemplary model and its root, means to protect and serve. Hero is one who is ready to sacrifice himself for a common good. The hero has been able to overcome his personal and environmental limitations and has reached universally valid forms.

The hero archetype in the time of the coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic has awakened the hero archetype throughout humanity . What we have done more or less globally is to consider doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, as heroes.

Certainly they were, they went to fight something unknown, without having adequate weapons and specific knowledge, on how to intervene. Many sacrificed their lives to save as many people as possible.

I believe that the indelible images of the grooves left by the masks glued to the faces of those who in the first person found themselves fighting this invisible enemy will remain in the collective memory. The custodians of this witness were, in a certain sense, doubly invested by a very heavy responsibility; it was as if they were asked to step down from human clothes and embody those of a supernatural being. I admit, seeing the labors in the faces of certain doctors and nurses made me really think that this had happened.

I understand how difficult this great responsibility has been and many hid behind a simple “no, we are not heroes, we are simply people who have chosen this profession and try to carry it out to the best of their ability”.

Because the hero’s journey is a journey, which must be chosen individually, but in this emergency there was no time, everything happened unexpectedly and suddenly, and this journey began in an instant.

The hero’s journey

The journey of the hero is a journey, archetypal of the ego, to achieve self-realization and individuation, which the predestined person agrees to carry out independently. A journey through an unknown path, which will lead him to face the dragon, who is represented by his own Shadow, who is guarding the treasure, our true Self, which the hero must find.

He can be stopped in this search by his emotional wounds, vices and addictions. The hero generally has to overcome a difficulty that the old modus operandi cannot solve, one has to go in search of something new,  but archaic power always grudgingly gives way to the new. Here, the monster of the status quo Holdfast must be defeated.

This “resistance” must be switched into a source of energy, this internal demon must be incorporated as a weapon to be wielded. The hero must face and face death and accept the possibility of sacrifice.

During the journey, new feelings, rhythms and priorities can be revealed. Masks and uniforms must be worn before the fatal match. Travel companions are important, but everyone in front of the enemy is alone with his resources.

This virus, which had already been around for some time but few thought it could hit us, needed a messenger announcing the beginning of the journey into the unknown, towards the pandemic. The famous patient Uno di Codogno, Mattia, breathed the trumpets, announcing that the battle had begun.

The 12 archetypes of Jung

The figure of the hero is one of the twelve archetypal figures that reside unconsciously in each of us and are part of the collective unconscious, so called by Jung, to describe all that baggage inherited from previous generations , passed down to the genetic level in the form of images and symbols, which are always ready to pop up when necessary, to give shape to a feeling, which was never as collective and universal as it is now. The hero must go through the collective unconscious, with his archetypes, find the answers he sought and restore balance.

12 archetypes reside in the individual, 12 like the knights of the Round Table, 12 like the signs of the Zodiac, 12 Apostles, 12 like the labors of Hercules.

We find archetypes in myths, legends, fairy tales, dreams, visions of all the peoples of the earth.
Archetypes are potentially within us, but usually we are in relationship with 2 or 3 of them throughout our life.

The archetypes that have been dotted since early childhood are:

  • The innocent
  • The orphan
  • The warrior
  • The guardian angel
  • The lover
  • The seeker
  • The creative
  • The destroyer

Here they are briefly explained.

From the innocent to the destroyer

the Innocent is the first archetype that we encounter after birth, is designed to develop confidence in themselves and in the world .. Then around 7 years old up to 14 years, it outlines the archetype of ‘ ORPHAN , which helps develop autonomy and independence.

If problems occur with the main caring figures, the archetype  can manifest itself in a domineering way, producing a series of problems as well highlighted by the theory of attachment disorders. Subsequently, the WARRIOR will appear , who instills courage, tenacity and helps to reach information and competence.

From the ages of 21 and 28, the strong and overbearing influence of the archetype of the GUARDIAN ANGEL is felt , which finds its maximum expression in empathy and in welcoming another being.

We continue the course of life and the main archetypes, which can be more or less activated in a strong and clear way, depending on the predisposition, personal ability and environmental factors, are: the lover, the seeker, the creative, the destroyer.

THE LOVER , is the archetypal form, which gives us enthusiasm and empathy and teaches us to bring light and shadow within us.

SEARCHER is the part of us, who has the courage to break addictions and to leap into the unknown to seek the truth and meaning of life, no longer just for themselves.

CREATIVE , is the part of us connected, with the creative power of the universe, with the deep and secret mission within oneself, it helps the awakening of one’s essence.

DESTRUCTOR is the part of us that is related to change and metamorphosis. It is the strength to change, die and be reborn. Ability to let go of the past.


At the end of his journey, the hero builds his Kingdom, learns to manage it in a fair and benevolent way (Sovereign), grasping the subtle links between everything that exists (Magician), developing full awareness (Wise), without losing the child inside of Himself , knowing how to lighten, playing and playing down with life (Folle).

The integration between Sage and Crowd allows us to develop full freedom, the integration between Magician and Sovereign, the ability to transform reality, go beyond appearances, making full use of resources and opportunities.

Every accomplished and balanced man is a hero, who must confront his inner guardians, monsters and helpers, both internal and external. Friends, helpers, lovers are inside and outside of him. In the final phase in which the hero really risks dying or dies in order to be born again, this is the moment when the real rite of passage or initiation ritual takes place.

Everything happens on the top of the mountain, in the deepest area of ​​the cave, or in the most secret place of his soul.