I often see archetype decks like Caroline Myss‘ Archetypes Cards and Nick Bantock‘s The Archeo: Personal Archetype Cards being used as oracle decks. I personally don’t use them this way as they were designed for intentional self-work rather than predictive or oracular purposes.
What Are Archetypes?
There are many ways to define archetypes, but essentially: they’re universal, recurring patterns that are part of our collective unconscious. When mention the Mother archetype, most of us imagine a nurturing maternal female figure. The Trickster archetype immediately makes us think of mischievous characters like Loki or the Japanese kitsune. Regardless of our cultural backgrounds, archetypes are familiar and easily understood.
Why Do Archetypes Matter?
In Jungian psychology, archetypes are the foundations by which we perceive the world and build our own unique experiences of life. For both Myss and Bantock, they’re not just passive structures within your psyche. Through their decks, you can discover your own personal archetypes born from YOUR unique experiences. And if you use these cards regularly, you’ll discover that your personal archetypes constantly transform and evolve as you go through life.
How I Use Archetype Cards
These decks define a person’s archetypes as a support system (Myss), or your merry band of companions as you make your way through life’s adventures and challenges (Bantock). Both decks come with specific instructions and suggested uses. For a walkthrough of how to use Nick Bantock’s The Archeo deck, you can check out this deck review by Benbell Wen.
Going by the book with these two decks gave me so much insight on my own personality and behavior. Through both of them, I gained a deeper understanding of myself and learned to embrace myself as a whole — including the parts that are unpleasant or downright devious.
So if you’re interested in using archetype decks in your practice, I suggest reading the books that come with them. This way you can fully understand the creators’ intention in crafting their decks the way they did. Use this as your starting point and see if you can further refine the process based on your own needs and preferences.
Have you used archetypes or archetype decks in your self-work? Feel free to share your own methods and experience below!
This post was adapted from content I posted on my Instagram account.