Learn all about the guardian archetype, including definition, characteristics, examples and how it relates to the Sage archetype.
What is the Guardian Archetype?
The archetypal guardian seeks fulfilment in life through helping and working with other people, specifically in order to assist those other people in achieving their own goals.
The guardian navigates their way through life through employing order and method, applying these two skills to any given task at hand in order to accomplish their ends.
Guardian Archetype Characteristics & Traits
- Archetypal guardians are patient and kind individuals with a strong sense of empathy.
- They enjoy social interaction and relationship building, but also equally enjoy being able to work in solitude in order to be able to apply their minds with focus on a task.
- Guardians are usually fiercely loyal to those whom they choose to dedicate their services or affections, sticking by them through thick and thin to ensure that they are ultimately successful in meeting their goals.
- The guardian also enjoys the opportunity to feel needed by someone.
- Guardians are not, however, destined for leadership and are unlikely to perform well in this role.
- They are most comfortable and effective as part of a support system, with defined tasks set out for them to complete.
- As natural people pleasers they also have a tendency to easily agree with things and take on too much, not knowing how to say no.
Guardian Archetype Examples
In another guise the guardian archetype can also represent the ‘threshold’ which an individual or character in a story has to overcome in order to move on with their life.
In this form the guardian is often known as the ‘Threshold Guardian’, an individual having to overcome an obstacle to cross the threshold into the next phase of their experience.
In storytelling Threshold Guardians are often depicted as smaller challenges which the Hero of the story has to face before meeting their ultimate challenge.
Examples of the guardian archetype in this form include:
- the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- the Doorknob from Alice in Wonderland
- The Wall Guard in Stardust.
In film, TV and literature the guardian can also be the character who is seen to train and test to ‘hero’ of the story in order to prepare them for the challenges they will face later in the story.
They are often also the confidant, or ‘sounding board’ for ideas, of the hero in such stories – the person to whom the hero will go for advice and guidance, although they do not always listen.
Examples of the guardian in this form include Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars movies or Rafiki in The Lion King.
Further reading on the guardian archetype includes: