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Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D. & Hugh K. Marr, Ph.D.

About the Book

A Workbook and Guide to Interpreting Results from the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator

by Carol Pearson, Ph.D., and Hugh Marr, Ph.D.
Published by CAPT, Inc.
(ISBN 0-935652-78-7, 166 pages, oversize workbook, paperback, $24.95)
Available through this site or directly from the publisher: http://www.capt.org

Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Robert Bly, Jean Bolen, and others have made archetypes -- the stories, myths, themes, and symbols that unconsciously influence our lives -- a familiar concept. WHAT STORY ARE YOU LIVING? goes a step further, providing a measurement tool to uncover and harness the transformational power of archetypes. Using the scientifically validated Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator ® (two self-scorable copies included) WHAT STORY ARE YOU LIVING? will help you:

  • discover the archetypal patterns and themes unconsciously influencing your life,
  • replace unproductive life patterns by awakening unrealized potential,
  • discover hidden strengths, motivational triggers, and new career directions, and
  • improve personal and workplace relationships.


"WHAT STORY ARE YOU LIVING? shares the 'wisdom of the ages.' Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr's approach to archetypes has been invaluable in both my personal and professional life and will provide a well-structured way for others to use archetypes in their journeys to balance and wholeness."
-- Katherine D. Myers, Trustee, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust

"A beautifully conceived and important book that can help anyone navigate the dark seas of our less-than-fully-conscious waking lives. Archetypal patterns are revealed with delicate and brilliant clarity, along with wise counsel about how to live these dramas forward."
-- Jeremy Taylor, Founder and past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), Executive Director of the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work (MIPD)

"Important and creative. An easy method that makes archetypes accessible and meaningful to our daily lives, enabling us to understand the 'myths' we live by...and the stories that guide our lives."
-- Aryeh Maidenbaum, Director, New York Center for Jungian Studies

"Eminently usable. This important work provides access to the subtle archetypal influences that guide our future development and offers ways for understanding, integrating, and shifting one's archetypal alignments."
-- Michael Conforti, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, author, and Founder and President of the Assisi Institute for the Study of Archetypal Pattern Analysis



A Workbook and Guide to Interpreting Results from
the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator

by Carol Pearson, Ph.D., and Hugh Marr, Ph.D.


Authors Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr are co-creators of the "Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator ®" or PMAI ™ -- a scientifically validated self-assessment tool that has been refined over two decades. The tool, available both online and in print, helps individuals discover the influence of 12 archetypes (unconscious patterns of behavior) in their lives.

The roots of the PMAI trace back to Pearson's best-selling book, The Hero Within (HarperSanFrancisco, 1986). Her detailed conception of a "heroic journey" extended the archetypal theories of psychologist C.G. Jung and authors such as Joseph Campbell. Pearson and Marr's new book, WHAT STORY ARE YOU LIVING?, personalizes that journey.

Using the PMAI self-assessment included in the book, each reader first learns his or her unique archetypal profile. That knowledge then helps readers mine the most personally meaningful strategies for self-development and relationship improvement from the book's rich content. The PMAI is published by CAPT, a leading provider of qualification training for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® personality assessment tool that is completed by millions of people all over the world every year.

The excerpt below discusses the stages of the archetypal journey: Preparation, Transformation, and Return.

The Three Stages of the Hero's Journey

by Carol Pearson, Ph.D., and Hugh Marr, Ph.D.

Understanding the stories you and others are living is a way of enhancing your cognitive complexity and emotional intelligence so that you can thrive even in today's complex times. Communications coach Arthur Cross teaches people to move from a clear articulation of "my story" and "your story" to find "our story," and thus an outcome that works for both. In a family or workplace setting, you may notice what story people are collectively living and recognize if it works for everyone, exploring the possibility of finding a new "our story" that brings a greater sense of aliveness and vitality to all involved. Because many people are trapped in stories that no longer fit, the ultimate purpose of the PMAI is to encourage you to live the stories that will help you realize your real potential as a human being.


We prepare for the journey by awakening the four archetypes that provide us with an inner family (Innocent, Orphan, Warrior, Caregiver), thus freeing us from issues determined by our family of origin. The stories associated with the preparation are related to this inner family: the Innocent and the Orphan are two sides of the inner child (spontaneous and wounded); and the Caregiver and the Warrior are two sides of the inner parent (nurturing and protecting).

Living these stories helps us with good ego development. The open, receptive nature of the Innocent helps us learn and socialize. The hard knocks experienced by the Orphan help us to be appropriately cautious, realistic, and aware of our own vulnerabilities and those of others. Together these stories teach us to be discerning and resilient. Similarly, the compassionate Caregiver helps us to share with others and be nurturing and gentle with them, while the Warrior helps us to be disciplined and tough enough to set and achieve goals and create and protect boundaries. Together these archetypes help us balance getting what we want with showing kindness and consideration to others.

If your highest score (on the Heroic Journey worksheet) are in the preparation stage, it means you are working on issues related to dealing with the vulnerabilities of being human and also learning to grapple with those difficulties in a way that is socially acceptable in the society in which you live.

You can see the pattern of development of these four archetypes in fairy tales, albeit communicated in metaphorical terms. In the beginning the hero has the virtues of the Innocent because he has the optimism to begin the journey. Along the way, he has to distinguish between tempters and guides, thus requiring him to balance the Innocent with the skepticism of the Orphan. At some point, he meets a dragon or other monster that he must slay (Warrior) proving he has strength and courage, and someone in need he must help (Caregiver). In many stories, the hero meets an old man or woman who has nothing. The hero also has little, but he shares gladly what he has, demonstrating that he is not just out for himself. He cares about other human beings, showing he has a wise and noble enough heart to take the journey.

When we experience these four archetypes in trance forms (discussed in chapter 2), we may demonstrate the qualities that are often identified with the negative aspects of the ego. From a psychological perspective, the ego's positive function is to keep us safe, differentiate us from others, and give us a sense of individual worth. So, when we overdo this, as happens in the trance state, we may become fearful and lonely, and, in order to protect our sense of worth (ego), we may make excuses or blame others when we make mistakes.

Then all of life becomes a way to keep the vulnerable inner child safe as the world is imagined as a treacherous place. The Innocent desperately seeks to please, the Orphan uses the victim role to manipulate others, the Warrior preemptively attacks, and the Caregiver obsessively rescues others.

The antidotes to this dilemma, which can happen naturally as we experience more and more of life, are to learn how the world works (so you know when you are safe and when not); to gain the emotional intelligence to recognize when you should trust and when you should not; and to develop your Warrior strength and your Caregiver ability to care for yourself and others, so that you develop inner parents to protect, nurture, and coach your inner child. In addition, you are much less likely to experience the ego archetypes in their trance forms if you have taken your soul journey, so that you find an identity deeper than the ego.


Following the preparation, we begin to experience the journey. The four archetypes that help with the journey (Seeker, Lover, Destroyer, Creator) preside over a transformation process. The journey can begin with the Seeker's curiosity about the self and the world or a pervasive sense of boredom, emptiness, and dissatisfaction. It can also begin with the experience of loss, when people and things are taken from us or when our ego-defenses are undermined or when we are brought face to face with ways in which we have failed to live up to our ideals (Destroyer). Either way, we step out to explore, and in the process let go of what is no longer relevant in our lives. In the first instance, we are motivated by hopes for the future and discover we cannot have a new life without sacrificing some of the old; whereas, in the second, we are moved to seek because much has been taken from us. Either way the initiation of the journey usually entails some suffering or loss.

Although we are ultimately questing for self knowledge, the conscious motivation of the journey is often to find ourselves and feel at home (or to reclaim that feeling if we have been forced out of what seemed to be a safe haven or personal Eden). In this process, we find who we are through the various expressions of the archetypes active in this stage. We do this in part by what we let go of and in part by what we find that we love (Lover) -- people, places, activities -- and by what we create in our lives and work (Creator). When we create from the level of the soul -- which we do when we are living our purpose -- instead of just from the ego, our lives begin to fit and satisfy us.

In mythic stories of the hero's journey, the hero embarks on a great adventure (Seeker), experiences difficulty and suffering (Destroyer) as well as love of life, of individuals, of causes, or places (Lover), which can mitigate the aspects of the Destroyer. Ultimately the hero demonstrates resourcefulness and imagination in finding the way and solutions to obstacles (Creator), and eventually a treasure emerges (one's own gifts and nature).

In the trance version of this story, people will wander aimlessly, never finding themselves, develop self destructive habits or do things that harm others, create endless dramas in their lives that divert them from real creativity, and give in to self-indulgent pleasures, rather than committing to real love. The antidote, in all these situations, is to confront one's own soul and live out one's own destiny, however difficult doing so might be.


The challenge of the return is to share your talents and gifts with the world, once you have found them. Classically, at the close of the hero's journey, the hero comes back to the kingdom and becomes the king or queen. Thus the archetypal stories associated with this challenge are those associated with the royal court and the archetypes of the Ruler, the Magician, the Sage, and the Jester. We find stories about the return generally in legends or histories about extraordinary leaders, who, like King Arthur, took the risk to serve out of a commitment to the greater good. In our own lives, we can feel royal when we are both true to ourselves and committed to sharing our gifts with the world.

When you know who you are at a deeper, soul level, your Ruler instills the responsibility to live out your purpose for the greater good of the world; your Magician helps you shift consciousness to transform or heal; your Sage is curious to know the real truth, to share wisdom respectfully with receptive and open minds; and your Jester celebrates the joy of existence in a way that is contagious and helps others enjoy themselves.

If your highest score is in the return category, it is likely that you are concerned with issues of how to share your genuine gifts with the world. If you run into problems it may be just that this stage is new to you, or that you did not first complete the work of the transformational journey. If you jump to the return without having taken the journey, these archetypes are inevitably expressed in limited or negative forms. The Ruler can be self-serving and controlling, the Magician manipulative, the Sage opinionated, and the Jester irresponsible.

Also, if you enter this stage focused only on your own good, you may become stuck in the trance version of the story. Here, the Ruler motivates a compulsive drive for power. The Magician puts a spin on truth to distort public perception. The Sage tries to be smarter than everyone else in order to be more successful than they are. And the Jester escapes all this by pursuing mindless pleasures or conspicuous consumption.

Understanding the archetypal nature of the hero's journey, therefore, is especially critical for various types of leaders -- parents, advocates, community leaders, teachers, politicians, public servants, CEOs, or any other group that influences that shape of events and people's lives.

The antidote for a stuck return story is connecting with a genuine desire to be of service to the world. Each of the four self archetypes brings a gift back to the kingdom: the Ruler brings direction and organization, the Magician brings the importance of perspective, the Sage brings wisdom, and the Jester brings the ability to maintain equilibrium. These are the gifts which the Self passes on to the next generation of heroes.

Copyright © 2007 by Carol S. Pearson and Hugh K. Marr. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this file as long as the contents are not changed and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.

About the Authors

Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D., best-selling author of Awakening the Heroes Within, is the Director of the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership and a Professor of Leadership Studies in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland College Park.

Hugh K. Marr, Ph.D., a Jungian expert, is a psychologist, therapist, consultant, and educator who specializes in archetypes, mental health, and substance abuse programs.

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