October 2010: Personality Types: The Seven Roles
Personality Types: The Seven Roles
by Barry Martin
Your soul is your innermost being, your higher self, who you really are. Your personality will have one of seven distinct ‘vibrations’ or ‘tones.’
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:
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:
SERVER | ARTISAN | WARRIOR | SCHOLAR | SAGE | PRIEST | KING
The names reflect the natural purpose and proclivities of each personality type:
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 seven roles make up different proportions of the overall population. In percentage terms, they are approximately:
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.
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.
Six of the seven personality types actually belong in pairs. Those in a pair share a similar function or specialization in life:
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.
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 (–).
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:
Relationships and Roles
Interestingly, the different roles do relationships in subtly different ways.
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.
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.
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!
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): http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/atufj3C/Discover-Your-Soul-Type.
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!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.
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.
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Page updated: May 11, 2023
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