The Four Archetypes and Spiritual Principles

The Four Archetypes, Emotions and Spiritual Principles:

Understanding of the four archetypes (Moore and Gillette, 1990) which is rooted in the work of Carl Jung (1975 – 1961) is an important element of the coaching conversation. Helping a client identify their mature emotions and understand how that emotion is designed to serve them, can create a powerful, perceptual shift within them.

Checking in and identifying the mature emotion, especially when disguised by the immature emotions of guilt and shame, is a powerful tool to understanding the nature of emotions and their gift/purpose for the individual. Emotions are neither good nor bad in this respect, but simply emotions. Emotional maturity looks at how we respond to emotion in an adult way, rather than reacting to them.

For example, an over-expression of anger, i.e. rage, is a reaction to the emotion of anger, just as suppressing anger is not the absence of anger, but rather the inability to respond to anger. We are attempting to move towards integrated, emotional responses towards the middle of the model, rather than over-expressing or suppressing these feelings, because we have labelled them in an either-or manner.

The Four Archetypes each have a gateway emotion and an associated gift that arises from one of the mature adult emotions of joy (King), anger (Warrior), sadness (Lover) and fear (Magician). These mature emotions can be an indicator of which spiritual principles need to be practiced to find the power of the archetypes’ emotional gifts. 

When experiencing each of the emotions associated with the four archetypes, the individual needs to use the associated spiritual principles to access the gift of the archetype.

For example, and in relation to the diagram below, in a situation where the client is feeling anger, they need to practice the spiritual principles of honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. Through the practice of these principles, the gift of anger is the formation of boundaries. In other words, when we feel anger, the warrior inside us is telling us that is it necessary to put down clear healthy boundaries in order to protect ourselves.

When the client feels fear, the principles of forgiveness, humility and patience are often best applied to the situation in order to receive the Magician’s gift of intuition in the

This model is also related to the practical implementation of the 12 Step Programme, which is based on a spiritual ideology. Steps one through three require the individual to practise honesty, openness and willingness in order to effectively engage in the step work process, while quite possibly feeling anger towards themselves and others in early recovery. Until the final three steps they are actively practising the spiritual principles of responsibility, faith and unconditional love in the daily lives.

As the individual moves through steps four, five and six they are likely to experience sadness around their past behaviours in this part of the process, they need to also be mindful of practising trust, courage and acceptance.


Using the above diagram, discuss the emotions and spiritual principles in relation to the three other archetypes. How can this model be helpful in a coaching conversation?

Also, give some thought to the following questions to deepen your understanding. Remember you are welcome to discuss the work in any of your group sessions and support calls.

  1. How do you think an understanding of the archetypes can assist you in your coaching?
  2. Which of the archetypes do you resonate most strongly with?
  3. How can you use this insight to support your personal and professional development?