Archetypes of the Soul Spread

I’m working on a couple of archetype decks right now. I’ve been interested in archetypes for a very long time. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that archetypes are models of people, behaviors and personalities and that they are part of the collective unconscious mind. This means that regardless of your culture or background, you have an innate understanding of archetypes because their themes are universal. A few of the archetypes Jung described:

  • The father: Authority figure; stern; powerful.
  • The mother: Nurturing; comforting.
  • The child: Longing for innocence; rebirth; salvation.
  • The wise old man: Guidance; knowledge; wisdom.
  • The hero: Champion; defender; rescuer.
  • The maiden: Innocence; desire; purity.
  • The trickster: Deceiver; liar; trouble-maker.

If you use a tarot deck you have already become accustomed to seeing archetypes, as they make up the Major Arcana. Read this article by Corinne Kenner: Tarot Archetypes of the Major Arcana.

The Archetypes of the Soul spread uses 3 cards. The goal of this spread is to see what archetypal role you are projecting, what role you suppress and how to bridge the two aspects for a more balanced perspective on life. Select each card from the deck one at a time in this order: (1) Primary, (2) Shadow, (3) Bridge.

Primary Archetype — this is your core energy; it reflects the real you and the energy you lead with and project to others.

Shadow Archetype — this is still the real you but reveals another side of you that you reject, repress or dislike. It doesn’t have to be a negative quality, just one that you don’t align yourself with.

Bridge Archetype — this is the energy that will bridge your primary and shadow archetypes. This card represents a role or action to balance these two energies for overall harmony and growth.

Try this spread with your tarot deck (all or just the Majors) or other oracle deck.


Archetypes of the Major Arcana – images courtesy of The Classic 1910 Tarot by The Fools Dog

READ: Jung's Archetypes (article) & My Archetypes of the Soul Reading

4 thoughts on “Archetypes of the Soul Spread

  1. I have always loved the discussion of archetypes. I find it fascinating and insightful. Archetypal figures bridge the gap of symbolism for a lot of people, and really allows Tarot to make sense. I have heard of therapist using Tarot in their sessions, I wonder if this is the approach they take.

    Have you ever heard of a wonderful book called, Tarot Shadow Work? I think it would be a great resource for you to use while you are creating this deck. Please keep us posted on your progress.

    In tea leaf reading we have 3 layers of symbolism (which really applies to all forms of divination). You begin with the personal layer, which is what things mean to you from your own experiences. You have the general layer, what culture and society tell us (ex. black cats are bad luck). And the universal layer… which consist of archetypal figures.

    Good luck, and Happy New Year 🙂


    • Thanks Shaheen…you always have such thoughtful and thought-provoking comments! I am familiar with the book, Tarot Shadow Work, and I read a little of it (but never owned it) many years ago. I keep looking for it at the local used book store. I have done a lot of shadow work for myself and I teach a soul coaching class that contains a lot of shadow exercises. I actually have another deck I made (Bad Behavior Cards) based on that class and a Martha Beck exercise. They are more for coaching work though.

      I have 2 more decks on the way…not sure how the artwork will turn out as these use old book illustrations…but I’m sure you’ll see a post featuring them pretty soon. In the meantime, you can see images I’m using for The Spiral Quest Deck: The Spiral Quest Free Readings

      Happy New Year!


      • Thank you for your kind words. I love how active you stay with writing, creating and ideating. What a gift it is to explore all the different facets of what interest us. Not many people are brave enough to do so.

        That book is a really wonderful read. I think my mom bought it for me about 10 years ago. And I was always interested because the author is/was a nurse in Cincinnati… according to the back of the book. I live in Cincinnati, yet I have never heard about her among the small circles of readers/writers/metaphysical people there. But I do know she use to have a website, and she shared a lot of information about metaphysical writing.

        Your class sounds wonderful! Do you have any links where I can read more about it? I am always interested in shadow work. …And those cards are really beautiful. A really nice interactive touch. The illustrator for many of those images is one that I have loved since childhood, though I can’t remember his name now!

        Many blessings to you in the New Year! All the best!


      • Thanks for YOUR kind words! I don’t know if “brave” is the right word….”compelled” is probably closer to the truth. I am a serial website and blog creator….quantity is easy for me…consistency not so much.

        Thanks for checking out The Spiral Quest “cards.” The artist is Arthur Rackham and I found all of his beautiful, spooky images online.

        You can find my shadow work exercises on my SoulStory Coaching website (still a work in progress….I can’t figure out if I want to do coaching or just make the coaching tools LOL):

        Wishing you a fabulous 2013!


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