20 Archetype Books You Should Read RIGHT Now

Want to learn more about personality archetypes?

If you do, here are some great archetype books to give you an overview of some of the most popular archetype theories.

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20 Archetype Books

From the The Hero with a Thousand Faces to Jungs’ theories, these books on the different archetypes will explain the biggest theories about who we are.

Check out our list of the best archetype books you can read to get a better understanding:

1. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Combining the archetypes of world mythology with the insights of modern psychoanalysis, this work brings together stories and archetypal characters from all human cultures to demonstrate how humanity shares the same monomyth throughout our common history even through modern society in our film, television, and literature.

2. Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen

This work of female psychology explores female behavior and personality by identifying seven archetypal goddesses, or personality types, with whom women around the world can compare themselves. Women are encouraged to identify their own inner goddesses and use those archetypes to tackle the influence of cultural stereotyping on how they act, think, and feel.

3. The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By Carol. S. Pearson

Identifying six heroic archetypes within humanity, using literature, anthropology, and psychology to provide an understanding of their traits, this work demonstrates to the reader how to use these archetypes to develop their own individual strengths and potential, helping them to navigate life in modern society and achieve balance between work, family and the individual.

4. Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This work identifies the archetypal ‘wild woman’, a wise and ageless presence the author argues exists in the female psyche and is responsible for women’s energy, power, and creativity. Believing that this ‘wild woman’ has been repressed for centuries in male-dominated societies built around male values, the author aims to restore women’s psychological health through an exploration of the female unconscious, allowing them to reconnect with their own Wild Woman using myths, fairy tales, and stories.

5. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Based on interviews with author Joseph Campbell in an acclaimed TV series of the same name, this work explores the evolution of myths and their place in modern society, revealing how themes and symbols of ancient stories continue to bring meaning to the modern world and how they shed light on the universality of human experience and emotion across history and cultures.

6. Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World by Carol S. Pearson

A companion work to ‘The Hero Within’, this work outlines twelve archetypal patterns can individuals look to in their search for inner development, wholeness, and in becoming successful members of society through discovering their own unique qualities and power. The author identifies how an individual’s journey will differ by factors such as age, gender, and culture, and includes a unique diagnostic test, the Heroic Myth Index.

7. Archetypes: Who Are You? by Caroline Myss

An exploration of the world of archetypes through ten primary archetypes found in modern society, with each chapter examining the evolution of one individual archetype and its unique characteristics, allowing the reader to understand which archetype they belong to and how to engage with its power to influence their life.

8. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert L. Moore, Douglas Gillette

Written with the aim of helping men get in touch with their nurturing qualities and maturity, this work identifies four masculine archetypes from myth and literature and uses tools such as meditation, dream analysis, and active imagination to help redefine age-old concepts of masculinity.

9. Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung

Aiming at a non-specialist audience, renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung examines the world of the unconscious and the symbols he believes it constantly reveals to us in our dreams, theorizing that dreams offer practical advice to the individual from their unconscious to their conscious self and that understanding this advice will bring self-understanding and fuller life.

10. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious by C.G. Jung

Taken from Jung’s Collected Works, this book consists of three essays establishing Jung’s theoretical basis for his concept of the collective unconscious and personality archetypes, followed by further essays on specific archetypes and a section on the process of individuation.

11. Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss

This work aids the reader in discovering their archetypal journey through an examination of the lives of Abraham, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, whose archetypal journeys illustrate the four stages of a Sacred Contract. The author explains how the reader can identify their archetype and use it to explore their own Sacred Contract to discover their own life’s meaning and purpose.

12. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

A popular textbook for screenwriters, this work identifies eight character archetypes and twelve stages of narrative structure which most successful stories can be aligned with, providing examples and guidance to writers on how to employ these archetypes and structures in order to capture the storytelling power they offer.

13. Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche by Marie-Louise von Franz

In this collection of essays, the author examines the universal symbol of the Anthropos (or Cosmic Man) – an archetype embodying humanity’s personal and collective identities – through an exploration of mythology, fairy tales, dreams, and visions, arguing that the meaning of life and realization of humanity’s potential will only be discovered through a greater differentiation of consciousness through archetypes.

14. The Feminine in Fairy Tales by Marie-Louise von Franz

This work explores how the Feminine shows itself in German, Russian, Scandinavian, and Eskimo fairy tales, noting how such tales provide insight into the psychology of women while others reflect the problems and characteristics of the inner femininity of men. In discussing the archetypes and symbolic themes appearing in fairy tales, dreams, and fantasies the reader is offered practical advice drawn from them and shown how this has been applied in the author’s own casework.

15. Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.G. Jung, Aniela Jaffé

This part-autobiographical work offers an insight into Carl Jung’s childhood and personal life (including two letters from Jung to his wife in the appendices which offer a rare glimpse of his character), how he came to his profession and developed his ideas, as well as an exploration of his views on the human psyche and the importance of dreams.

16. Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen

Exploring in depth the Artemis archetype identified in her earlier work ‘Godesses in Everywomen’ the author outlines the qualities of the activist in girls and women who refuse to be victims, bringing the Artemis archetype to life through an exploration of the myth of Atalanta and modern characters such as Princess Merida in animated film Brave and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.

17. Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore

This lifestyle handbook helps readers bring spirituality, depth, meaning and imagination to their modern life through care and nurturing of the soul. The author re-examines myths such Narcissus and analyses such mythology can be applied to modern lives, proposing a therapeutic lifestyle exploring the emotional problems of the individual based around the ancient model of “care of the soul”. Drawing on the authors own therapeutic practice, music and art, and informed by the study of world’s religions, this work provides a guide to the connections between spirituality and the real-world, modern problems of society and the individuals who live within it.

18. The Dangerous Old Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Through the author’s own original stories, poetry, and blessings the reader is introduced to, and inspired by, the archetypal ‘Dangerous Old Woman as identified in world history and culture through stories of such as Snow White, The Ruby Red Fox, The Vashinger and the Return of the Vampires, and more.

19. Mother Night: Myths, Stories, And Teachings For Learning To See In The Dark by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Using concepts of humanity’s memory of who we are, who sent us to earth, what is our work here is and why humans are often so unusual, different or typical of one group or another, the author explores the archetypal “Mother Night”, the woman able to navigate two different worlds yet reveal solid and creative ways of life in both. The work invites the reader to make contact with the power of the goodness and creativity within themselves which lies hidden in the unconscious of all, using 12 stories and myths.

20. Warming the Stone Child: Myths and Stories about Abandonment and the Unmothered Child by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This work explores what the abandoned child archetype in world myths and cultures has to offer real abandoned children exploring their own experiences in the hope of preventing it from casting a shadow over their whole adult life, and how the process of healing the unmothered child is within all humans. The author illustrates the psychology of childhood abandonment and its impact through stories, myths, fables and fairy tales aimed at the adult listener whilst elaborating on the symptoms of and four types of abandonment, giving the knowledge within a practical use.

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