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spike bullet October 2010: Personality Types:  The Seven Roles

The Spectrum of Essence    
What are the "Roles"? 
The Proportions of Personality Types
The Nature of the Roles
Discover Your Personality Type
Book: 7 Personality Types
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side)
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color bulletPersonality Types:  The Seven Roles

by Barry Martin

Barry Martin is a psychologist in the UK.  He describes  his work this way: "I am exploring the hidden depths of human nature — what may be called our essence or soul.  While many psychologists, philosophers and other thinkers regard spirituality as meaningless or irrational, I cannot deny my own experiences nor can I dismiss the experiences of others so lightly." 

Your soul is your innermost being, your higher self, who you really are.  Your personality will have one of seven distinct ‘vibrations’ or ‘tones.’  

The Spectrum of Essence

When we cast light through a prism, it comes out in the form of a spectrum, which we perceive as the seven colors of the rainbow.    Similarly, when the Source of all being (God, the Tao, the Absolute, whatever you like to call it) casts its consciousness into the relative world, it comes out in the form of individuals of seven types:

What are the "Roles"?

The word "Role" refers to the fact that we each serve a particular type of function in the great scheme of things.  We are all parts of a greater whole — the evolving consciousness of all-that-is.

Think of how every cell in your body is designed to play a specific role or function.  And, although there are trillions of cells in the human body, there are only a few different types of cell.

Or think about all the stars in the cosmos.  Although their number is so high as to be virtually infinite, scientists classify them all into just seven types, from hottest (type O) to coolest (type M).

Similarly, there are only seven types of personality.  Which is to say, there are seven primary ‘roles in essence’ — seven ways in which the One becomes the many.

The names given to the seven personality types are deliberately archetypal — hence somewhat old-fashioned sounding and not necessarily politically correct.  The names are:


The names reflect the natural purpose and proclivities of each personality type:

  • Servers are naturally accommodating, caring, nurturing, hospitable, altruistic.
  • Artisans are naturally creative, inventive, imaginative, sensitive, dexterous.
  • Warriors are naturally forceful, loyal, protective, determined, steadfast.
  • Scholars are naturally curious, studious, academic, analytical, neutral.
  • Sages are naturally engaging, articulate, charming, entertaining, expressive.
  • Priests are naturally inspirational, uplifting, motivating, energizing, visionary.
  • Kings are naturally commanding, assured, powerful, authoritative, decisive.

You are one of these.  I am one of these [a Scholar, to be exact].  Everybody is one or another of these.  All the 6 billion people who are currently on the planet can be identified as one of these seven types.

Incidentally, you can often (but not always) tell someone’s personality type from their facial features.  [See Resource list for link to article] 

The Proportions of Personality Types

The seven roles make up different proportions of the overall population.  In percentage terms, they are approximately: 

  • Servers = 25%
  • Artisans = 21%
  • Warriors = 18%
  • Scholars = 14%
  • Sages = 11%
  • Priests = 7%
  • Kings = 4%

So, one quarter of the entire population is made up of Servers, while there are fewer Kings than any other type.

To illustrate this, think of a school class with 28 students.  According to these figures, those students would probably be made up of the following: — one King, two Priests, three Sages, four Scholars, five Warriors, six Artisans and seven Servers.

The Nature of the Roles

Roles are not assigned to us or imposed on us.  They are who we are.

There is no hierarchy.  All roles are equal in value and all souls are equally free.  A King is in no way "higher up" or "better off" than a Server.  The roles are simply seven different ways of being, seven ways of playing the game of life.

A person’s personality type has no bearing whatsoever on that person’s station in life.  A King personality will live just as many ordinary, hard-working lives as a Server.  A Server has just as much opportunity to become a leader as any King.  In fact, the present monarch in the UK is a Server, as is the heir to the throne.

The roles are certainly not be confused with the Hindu caste system.  Personality types have nothing to do with birth, ancestry or class heritage.

Despite the labels used, no gender is implied.  Personalities have no gender.  They simply choose between one or the other for each life to come.  There are preferences, however.   Priests, Sages, Artisans and especially Servers generally enjoy being female and often prefer it.  Kings, along with Scholars and Warriors, tend to favor being male.  (That said, the challenge of being female and the fight for equal rights can be very attractive to a Warrior.)

Our personality type is often evident in the first years of life but then becomes masked to some extent by false self or "false personality."  This consists of cultural programming, ego, persona and so on — the superficial identity we all develop that has nothing to do with who we really are.   Usually, it is not until mid-life (when much of this false identity is broken through) that our true essence comes to express itself more clearly. 

For example, a female Warrior in her late 30s who has been a stay-at-home housewife might suddenly find her true home working as a political activist.  A male Artisan who has followed in his father’s footsteps in the armed forces might have a mid-life crisis and decide to become a poet.

Whereas the core of a personality type is permanent, everything else can can be different: race, nationality, religion, gender, social standing, profession.  The essence of the type will be consistent.  For example, an Artisan personality might be a woodworker, a choirboy, a housewife, a wealthy wine merchant, a female shopkeeper or a business person.  Throughout all human lives, an Artisan will tend to be creative and inventive, seeking to bring fresh and original perceptions into being.

Our role in essence is our true nature, the part we each play in the cosmos.  NO MATTER WHAT THE ROLE OF ESSENCE, THE ESSENCE ITSELF IS COMPOSED WHOLLY OF LOVE.

Complementary opposites

Six of the seven personality types actually belong in pairs.  Those in a pair share a similar function or specialization in life:

  • Priests and Servers are both inspiration specialists, bringing good intentions to life, serving a good cause, seeking to improve the quality of life for all.
  • Sages and Artisans are both expression specialists, bringing good ideas to life, giving form or voice to thoughts and feelings, changing perceptions.
  • Kings and Warriors are both action specialists, bringing concrete objectives to life, making things happen, setting goals and moving towards them.

Scholars stand alone as the neutral role and they are the assimilation specialists, absorbing knowledge from life.

In each of the pairs (action, expression and inspiration), one is "cardinal" and the other is "ordinal."  Another way to put this is in terms of yin and yang.

The cardinal of the pair is yang: proactive, expansive, foreground, driven and with a big-picture focus.  The ordinal of the pair is yin, the equal-but-opposite complementary energy to yang: reactive, responsive, background, introspective and with a detail-level focus.

  • In the action-type roles, the King role is cardinal and the Warrior role is ordinal.  To use a simplistic analogy, Kings embark on wars while Warriors fight battles.
  • In the expression-type roles, the Sage role is cardinal and the Artisan role is ordinal.  If all the world’s a stage, Sages are the presenters of the show, while the show itself is created and crafted by Artisans.
  • In the inspiration-type roles, the Priest is the cardinal role and the Server is the ordinal role.  If inspiration is likened to shepherding, Priests move the whole flock on to better pastures while Servers tend to those in need.

The Scholar role is neither cardinal nor ordinal, but at the intersection of all the pairs.  The Scholar is the only neutral type, the role being assimilation — absorbing information from life to create knowledge.  At the risk of mixing too many metaphors at once, Scholars would be the ones who chronicle wars, record stage shows and study sheep! 

Positive and Negative

It is important to understand that we can manifest our potential in different ways.  In the extremes, each role has a positive pole (+) and a negative pole (–).

  • The positive pole represents the highest, most authentic and positive expression of the soul, the true self, which is a source of love, truth and freedom.
  • The negative pole represents the lowest, most distorted and negative expression of the ego, the false self, which is a source of fear, illusion and malice.

For example, my being a Scholar means that I am the sort of person whose role in life is to take information from the raw data of reality.  Scholar has as its positive pole "knowledge" and as its negative pole "theory."  When acting in my positive pole, I do indeed serve a positive purpose by collecting and offering valid, useful knowledge.  But when acting in my negative pole, I tend to get side-tracked in invalid or useless theories of no interest to anyone but me and then only because my ego gets off on knowing more and more things rather than interacting with real life.  You could say that the positive manifestation of a Scholar is being a knowledgeable expert and the negative manifestation is what some would call a nerd or dweeb — (sigh) — so true.

So, the positive pole of any role leads towards true fulfillment of self and true intimacy with others.  The negative pole leads to emptiness, frustration and alienation.  Here they are in full:





service (serving the common good)

servitude (loss of own power)


creation (bringing good ideas to life)

artifice (ideas used to deceive)


persuasion (influencing others’ will)

coercion (imposing own will)


knowledge (learning from life)

theory (lost in abstractions)


communication (delivering messages)

verbosity (stuck on transmission)


motivation (inspiring others to change up)

zealotry (overly fanatical)


mastery (absolute responsibility)

tyranny (absolute power)

Relationships and Roles

Interestingly, the different roles do relationships in subtly different ways.

  • For Warriors and Kings (action type), relationships are a matter of fealty or loyalty.
  • For Sages and Artisans (expression type), relationships are a matter of commitment.
  • For Priests and Servers (inspiration type), relationships are a matter of dedication.
  • For Scholars (assimilation type), relationships are a matter of involvement.

Channels of Input

We process our experiences through one or more channels of perceptual input.  The number of channels we possess varies, depending upon our role in essence.

  • Scholars, Kings and Warriors receive information through just one channel.  This allows them to focus on what’s what, concentrate on the matter at hand and think clearly amid chaos.
  • Priests and Servers receive information through two channels.  One is tuned to the immediate situation and the other is tuned to, in the case of Priests, their sense of the "higher good" and in the case of Servers, a sense of the "common good."  Hence, there is often a moral or ethical overtone to their conversations.
  • Sages process information through three channels, while Artisans have five channels.  With Sages, one channel is tuned to the immediate situation, one is managing their "act" or "performance," and one is monitoring their audience.  With Artisans, it is more a case of having multiple "back burners" making creative connections around the immediate situation.

While they are shifting their attention between their multiple channels, Sages and especially Artisans can appear to "tune out" the person they are communicating with.  This makes Artisans in particular seem somewhat scattered, at least to non-Artisans.  By the same token, those with multiple channels can find it difficult to accept the single-mindedness of Scholars, Kings and Warriors.

Read On

OK, you have the background.  Now perhaps you want to know more specifically about each of the seven roles in essence.  If you want a quick sense of what they all look like, based on photos of some famous examples in each case, see the article "The seven personality types: what do they look like?" [see Resource list for link]

If you want to read a more-in-depth description of each type (with more photos of famous examples), see the Resource list for links to articles.  Enjoy!

Discover Your Personality Type

Some people find it easy to intuit their own personality type or essence.  For others, it’s far from obvious.  This due to the almost infinite variety of ways that people can express their personality type.  To help you identify yours, I have put together a questionnaire (personality quiz):

Over 1,000 people have taken it already and the results look like this:

The ‘natural’ proportions, you may remember, range from 4% Kings to 25% Servers.  So this chart is showing a lot more Priests and Artisans than would be expected and not many Warriors.  This suggests either that the test is skewed to identify Priests and Artisans but not Warriors (which I totally accept is a possibility) or perhaps it is simply that Priests and Artisans are more likely to be doing this kind of thing on the Internet and Warriors aren’t.  Feedback is welcome!

Book: 7 Personality Types

For a great book about the types, I recommend 7 Personality Types by Elizabeth Puttick PhD (Hay House, 2009).  The book discusses the seven roles as seven archetypes.  It begins with a questionnaire to help the reader identify their own type.  Then follows a chapter on each of the types that includes lots of useful information on how they characteristically operate at home, at work and in relationships.  Examples are also given of how the archetype has been portrayed in myth, fiction and film and each chapter ends with a list of famous real-life examples.  

About the Author

Barry Martin, Copyright © 2010, all rights reserved.   Barry Martin is a psychologist in the UK.  He describes  his work this way: "I am exploring the hidden depths of human nature — what may be called our essence or soul.   While many psychologists, philosophers and other thinkers regard spirituality as meaningless or irrational, I cannot deny my own experiences nor can I dismiss the experiences of others so lightly."   Article used by permission of author. 

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter article:
    July 2009 - Life Roles in the Workplace
    November 2007 - True Community
    September 2002 - How Personality Roles affect the Workplace
    May 2002 - Stress: How It Affects the Roles We Play
    March 2002 - New Models of Education
    September 1999 - Personality Roles
    September 1996 - Motivating Employees

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

  • Role Jokes: 
    • Personality Game Jokes
    • Understanding Artisans: An Illustrated Primer
    • Personality Roles & Paper Recycling


About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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