We can often connect the people who appear in our dreams to a character archetype. Archetypes are common in psychology and literature and are a classification of character roles based on repeating patterns of personality traits and behaviors.
By identifying the archetype of the character, you will be able to quickly recognize the role of the character in your dream and define any possible symbolism as well as connect the dream to waking life situations.
Archetypes can be used for all dream character roles – whether the people play a role as an aspect of you, a symbol, or as a representation of themselves.
The 12 Most Common Dream Archetypes
In my own practice of dream interpretation, I work primarily with 12 main archetypes I have identified from my own experience in working with dreams. While there are numerous other archetypes based on different dream theories, these are the ones we see and use most often.
Here are the 12 Main Character Archetypes That Can Appear in Dreams:
- The Hero
- The Caregiver
- The Helper
- The Child
- The Scholar
- The Creator
- The Entertainer
- The Lover
- The Rebel
- The Spiritualist
- The Authority
- The Hunter
Each of these archetypes have specific characteristics that can shape the meaning of a dream and how it may relate to a situation in your everyday life.
Archetype Summaries and Characteristics
Each character archetype can have significance in a dream. Occasionally in a dream, you may find some people who can have overlapping traits and characteristics for the different roles.
In this section, we'll explain each archetype and go over their traits, strengths, fears, weaknesses, what type of role they may appear in a dream as, and what it means when they are present in a dream.
Motto: There is good in this world and it is worth fighting for.
Traits & Strengths: Courage, Strength, Honor, Sacrifice, Adventure, Exploration,
Fears & Weaknesses: Confrontation, Fighting a Losing Battle, Weakness & Vulnerability, Egotism & Conceit
Character Roles: Adventurer, Explorer, Rescuer, Knight, Firefighter, Warrior, Military
Dream Meaning: Represents the need to explore the self further and confront fears and challenges.
Associated Chakras: Root Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra, Heart Chakra
Traits & Strengths: Innocent, Playful, Dependent, Carefree, Dreamer, Trusting
Fears & Weaknesses: Being alone, Independence, Breaking trust, Bullying, Dependency in Relationships
Character Roles: Often as a child or a younger version of a person
Dream Meaning: Difficulty when trusting others, dependency in a relationship, or the need to nurture your inner child-like self and qualities.
Associated Chakras: Root Chakra, Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra
Motto: As I do for you, I do for me.
Traits & Strengths: Selfless, Compassionate, Caring, Empathetic, Drawn to those in need
Fears & Weaknesses: Overwhelmed by responsibilities, Balancing needs, Co-dependency
Character Roles: Doctor, Nurse, Nanny/Babysitter, Janitor/Custodian, Gardener, Parent or Guardian
Dream Meaning: Feeling responsibility for others, balancing needs, the need to take care of yourself or something important.
Associated Chakras: Heart Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra
Motto: If you have a problem, I can solve it.
Traits & Strengths: Giving, Loving, Non-judgmental, Hard working, Practical, Devoted
Fears & Weakness: Rejection, Being taken for granted or abused
Roles: Friends, Service Providers, Repair Technician, Emergency Workers, Healers
Dream Meaning: You may need assistance in a situation, or it can symbolize working towards a positive result.
Associated Chakras: Heart Chakra
Motto: Knowledge is Power
Traits & Strengths: Truth seeking, Knowledgeable, Intelligence, Wisdom
Fears & Weaknesses: Being misled by others, ignorance, being misunderstood, thinking over acting
Roles: Student, Teacher, Detective, Expert, Researcher, Scientist
Dream Meaning: You are seeking truth or insight into a situation, or you may feel misunderstood or that you are overthinking something.
Associated Chakras: Solar Plexus Chakra, Throat Chakra, Crown Chakra
Motto: We create our life.
Traits & Strengths: Creativity, Imagination, Individuality, Vision, Expressive, Skill and Ability
Fears and Weaknesses: Inner Critic, Authority, Being Controlled
Roles: Artist, Musician, Writer, Architect, Photographer, Chef
Meaning: Creators in our dreams symbolize our need for creative expression. They can also symbolize that we feel a calling to create something new in our lives.
Associated Chakras: Throat Chakra, Heart Chakra, Third Eye Chakra, Crown Chakra
Motto: It's you and me against the world.
Traits & Strengths: Seeks change, Rebellious, Nonconforming, Passionate for a Cause
Fears & Weaknesses: Apathy, Self Destruction, Retaliation, Depression, Exile, Consequences
Roles: Teenagers, Prisoners, Outlaws, Rights Activists, Enemies
Dream Meaning: You are facing change and challenges in life or the world around you. The negative traits of the transformer may also affect your life in some way.
Associated Chakras: Root Chakra, Heart Chakra, Throat Chakra
Motto: You complete me.
Traits & Strengths: Passionate, Loving, Commitment, Intimacy, Experience, Sensuality
Fears & Weaknesses: Failure in relationships, being alone, dissatisfaction, people pleaser
Roles: Partner/Spouse, Relatives
Dream Meaning: Sense of attraction to something or someone, Passion and Commitment towards others or a situation. It can also mean you seek commitment, passion, or sensual experiences in your life.
Associated Chakras: Sacral Chakra, Heart Charkra
Motto: It's Good to Be King
Traits & Strengths: Leader, Manager, Can-Do Attitude, Feeling in Control
Fears & Weakness: Losing Control, Feeling controlled, Demanding, High Expectations
Roles: King or Queen, Ruler, Police, Boss, Manager
Dream Meaning: The need to control, a lack of control in a situation, or feeling controlled by something.
Associated Chakras: Solar Plexus Chakra, Throat Chakra
Motto: All the World's a Stage
Traits & Strengths: Sense of Humor, Wit, Playfulness and Fun, Sense of Joy and Excitement
Fears & Weaknesses: Shyness, Serious Situations, Responsibilities, Insecurity, Addiction
Roles: Celebrities, Comedians, Party Hosts or Guests
Dream Meaning: You may be taking life or situations either too seriously or not seriously enough and this is affecting yourself & others.
Associated Chakras: Sacral Chakra, Throat Chakra
Motto: We are all connected
Traits & Strengths: Insightful, Spiritual, Intuitive, Compassionate
Fears and Weaknesses: Disconnect From Reality, Lack of Consciousness, Spiritual Bypassing
Roles: Priest, Nun, Monk, Jesus, Buddha, Angels, Spirits
Dream Meaning: You may feel disconnected spiritually or experiencing a spiritual awakening and developing the spiritual aspect of self.
Associated Chakras: Heart Chakra, Third Eye Chakra, Crown Chakra
Motto: Seek and ye shall find.
Traits & Strengths: Goal-Oriented, Provider, Loyal, Focused, Logical, Free Spirited
Fears & Weaknesses: Confronting Emotions, Being Trapped
Roles: Hunters, Athletes, Business Person
Dream Meaning: You may be looking for focus or working towards a goal. The hunter in a dream may also symbolize seeking to connect with unknown emotions.
Associated Chakras: Root Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra
Why Use Archetypes?
Understanding what each of these characters and their roles may mean in our dreams can be very helpful in quickly interpreting dreams for ourselves and others.
For example, if you have a dream about a firefighter, it is easy to identify the character as having the Hero archetype. Once you know that the hero archetype is an influence in the dream, you know that this dream may represent something having to do with having courage and strength in a situation.
Archetypes are not absolutely necessary to use, especially if you are only casually interested in dreams and their meanings. However, if you have a professional practice as a therapist or if you are a spiritual coach, then understanding these archetypes can be very helpful.
It can also be very interesting to think about these different character archetypes just on a personal interest level. It's very fascinating to think about what role we might have in life and what characters we identify with most. For many of us, we might fit the description of several!
For example, I identify most with Helper, Scholar, and Creator archetypes. However, there are many other times in our life we may find some of these different archetypes overlapping in our world. As a parent, I'm also frequently in the caretaker role in my everyday waking life!
I hope you find this list of character archetype descriptions and characteristics useful for understanding your dreams. Many people have found that identifying these roles people sometimes play to also be helpful for other applications - such as in literature, psychology, and even business.
Do you have a favorite character archetype you identify with? Do you feel these descriptions are accurate? Is there anything we should add? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!