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Making the impossible real; understanding the Magician archetype

As we get to know this world with more and more access to information, instances, where we can return to childlike wonder, are rare. The Magician archetype can fill this void, and help people find wonder against the everyday drear. 

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, wrote extensively about archetypes, including the Magician. These archetypes are found in myths, dreams, literature, and art across different cultures and periods to evidence their universal nature. There are twelve archetypes in total; they trigger near-unanimous emotions and ideas in people. We use them for storytelling. We created a more detailed guide to understand archetypes; it’s recommended as a supporting read to understand why Jungian archetypes provide a great framework to typify business personas.

Among these, the Magician archetype embodies transformation, power, and the ability to manifest change. Universally, the Magician archetype is a potent symbol of deep knowledge, intuition, and skills that enable influencing their surroundings in surprising ways. They are associated with unusual insight and making the impossible happen.

In this short guide on the Magician archetype, we cover;

Stories for Magician brands


How businesses embody the Magician archetype

Businesses that adopt the Magician archetype can use it to emphasize the brand's ability to make surprising outcomes, transform, and bring about change in its industry or for consumers. With the Magician being a symbol for unconventional thinking in the collective mindset, it also helps to channel a business’ unique approach to solving problems or meeting customer needs. We mentioned how the Magician is a symbol of deep knowledge; this is particularly useful for businesses that want to highlight their expertise, wisdom, and unusual or lesser-known insights that set them apart from competitors. The Magician, as a symbol, also bears a subconscious link to wielding power. In our experience, this can be used effectively by businesses that create products, services, or content that empower consumers and help tap into their own potential.

Any business that has natural parallels, like explained above, can project the Magician archetype. However, some industries and lines of business are highly conducive to the Magician archetype by the nature of their work alone. We’ve observed many companies in the tech sector, especially those pushing the boundaries of what's possible through cutting-edge solutions and AI, embrace the Magician. Coaching, or personal development services, as they empower individuals to transform and improve, are also common projectors of the Magician. Other commonly observed Magician archetypes are; brands focused on holistic well-being and alternative medicine; cosmetics and beauty brands that emphasize personal transformation and self-confidence; environmental sustainability organizations promoting possibilities for a sustainable future, highlighting the transformative power of eco-conscious choices; psychology professionals who help individuals tap into their inner potential and overcome obstacles; and marketing or event management agencies that specialize in creating compelling and transformative works.

Among our clients, we’ve also observed consultancies and studios in design where deep knowledge and transformation play key roles; educational institutions that catalyze learning or offer unconventional teaching methods and companies in entertainment that aim to create awe-inspiring and transformative works, like films or virtual reality experiences.

When we work with Magician brands, we help them communicate how their work acts like a catalyst in transforming customer lives by explaining the inner workings, processes, tools, or knowledge of the business. We find this type of demystification is particularly important for Magician brands to balance their aura of mystery with real, pragmatic information that builds credibility and trust. See this example of how we maintained the trustworthy, credible nature of a client through a story that highlights her in-depth knowledge on the subject; it balanced the sense of wonder evoked by the Magician archetype in her business persona.


Stories for Magician brands

When the magician archetype is applied to a brand, we begin with its values and characteristics to build on story ideas. In a business context, Magician archetype stories often emphasize pushing the boundaries of what's possible. These stories usually revolve around breakthroughs in process, cutting-edge technology, products or services, and a commitment to constant improvement and evolution. We also direct stories to help magician brands demonstrate their deep knowledge and unconventional thinking that leads to surprising or win-win solutions. When Magician archetype brands want to form solid connections with their audience, we recommend stories that allow them to empower customers to tap into their own potential; providing tools, resources, and guides for personal and professional transformation.

Emotions are one of the most reliable ways to build significant connections. This is why we always consider the emotions that the stories would trigger in the brand’s audiences. 


Image: Lionel Wendt, 1937

The Magician archetype is naturally conducive to one of the most popular emotions according to data from our subscribership; this is wonder. Even beyond our subscribership, we find there is a growing appetite to feel wonder. Perhaps, as we get to know this world with more and more access to information, instances where we can return to childlike wonder are rare. Magician brands have the ability to fill this void, and help their consumers find wonder against the everyday drear. 

When we create stories for Magician brands, we help them communicate their transformative abilities, and how they harness networks, opportunities, tools, materials, knowledge, or technology to change things for the better. For a Magician brand client that was a networks and connections consultancy based in Canada, we created a strapline and brand statement that communicated this ability to wield possibilities and transform customer lives; for a vegan café that embraced the Magician persona, we created this logo and colour combinations for its visual storytelling. As you can see, the Magician archetype can be expressed in many different ways, especially when combined with the other archetypes a business has in its persona. If you think your business has a persona with a Magician archetype that channels catalytic powers, an unusual display of instinct and win-win solutions, get in touch with us to have it expressed through your stories.


What makes the Magician

In his book "Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious," Jung wrote: "The figure of the magician expresses the desire to know and control the mysterious forces that lie hidden in the recesses of the unconscious. The magician is a symbol of transformation and mastery over the hidden aspects of oneself and the world.”

The magician archetype is associated with a set of key personality traits and characteristics. It's important to note that these traits can manifest differently in each entity—whether an individual or a brand—as archetypes are universal patterns that can be expressed uniquely. 

"The magician archetype shares many characteristics with Hermes, the messenger of the gods and the guide between the realms. Both embody the principle of mediation and the ability to traverse boundaries. The magician archetype signifies the potential for transformation and the integration of opposites." The Spirit Mercurius, C. Jung.

Magician archetypes are typically characterized by a thirst for understanding the mysteries of the world and possessing insights into hidden truths and esoteric knowledge. Magicians rely on their deep intuition and inner guidance. This archetype has a knack for perceiving hidden connections, patterns, and possibilities that others may overlook. Their insights can be instrumental in problem-solving and decision-making. Magicians are skilled at traversing boundaries and navigating different realms. They may bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious, the material and spiritual, or the visible and invisible worlds. Because the Magician archetype has a strong association with change, both within themselves and in the world around them, it is particularly useful in representing transformative entities. This is why they lend well to brands in the businesses of consultancy, strategy, forecasting, technology, health and wellness, personal coaching, design, creativity and even education. While these are some of the most common characteristics, the Magician archetype may have certain subtleties depending on cultural and personal contexts.

Like all archetypes, the Magician archetype also has a shadow side, representing the negative aspects that can come about when the archetype's strengths are misused. The shadow side of the Magician archetype is associated with a lack of integrity, manipulation and deception; obsession with control and dominance, destructive or negative transformation and intellectual arrogance are the most common shadow Magician archetype traits. We don’t normally bring in shadow traits in commissioned stories for brands. But, when making fictional stories for our subscribers, we take creative liberties to delve into the shadow side of archetypes; like this story of a woman tapping into her shadow Magician.

 "The alchemist and the magician represent the archetype of transformation and the ability to tap into hidden powers. They seek to transmute base matter into gold, both literally and metaphorically. This process mirrors the psychological journey of the individuation process, where the individual seeks to integrate and transform their unconscious elements." Psychology and Alchemy, C. Jung


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