explorer archetype

The Explorer & Pioneer Archetype

The Explorer Archetype

The explorer archetype is an adventurer who is excited to be in new places and see new things. The person with this archetype is the one who climbs the mountain simply because it is there. He wants to go see it, check it out, and experience it. He’s up for whatever. The explorer is willing to try new things and take risks. There is always a new horizon. The person in the full expression of the explorer archetype has a bubbling enthusiasm for life.

Curiosity is a keynote of this archetype. It’s not the kind of intellectual inquisitiveness that leaves him sitting at a desk pondering. This is the kind of curiosity that drives the explorer out of his comfort zone to see what’s on the other side of the neighborhood, city, state, country and world.

The explorer is constantly wanting to know what else is out there. If there’s a fork in the trail to take, he always wants to go down both branches. He has a habit of wanting to go just beyond where everyone else decides to stop.

Roaming and Limits

Oftentimes, the explorer is out roaming new landscapes. He is at home in wide open spaces and in nature. This is the kind of person you can’t fence in. Regardless of if nature is or isn’t his thing, he’ll also explore cities, civilizations, cultures, lost cities, temples, museums, etc.

Ultimately, the explorer is exploring limits. He likes to push the limits of what people have done before and/or his own limits. In the extreme, this is the person that pours over record books and finds the forgotten summit or treacherous and untouched ascent of the mountain. He lusts after the thing that everyone says can’t be done.

In ordinary terms, this is the person that takes the side streets in new cities and pours over maps of new places. He likes to see what is in his environment and doesn’t worry about getting lost or sticking to a schedule.

Fear and the Explorer

This archetype generally doesn’t have to work to overcome fear. Fear doesn’t occur to him. In fact, encounters with fear are rare life changing events the explorer doesn’t expect. He is more comfortable with the unknown than the average person. It takes a brush with death to shake him to his core.

In the shadow, the explorer archetype indulges in escapism, running out whenever everyday life gets hard. He fears routine and becoming homebound. He grows bitter about the commitments that chain him to normalcy.

The shadow explorer archetype grows reckless in an attempt to burst through his numbness. He craves adrenaline to make him feel alive. He can fancy himself invincible. Without death breathing down his neck, the shadow explorer stops sensing the world around him. Conversely, when abruptly confronted with his own mortality, the explorer can freeze up and have a hard time shaking foreign nerves.

The Pioneer Archetype

The pioneer archetype is fascinated with novelty. He too likes to do new things, but it is less about the thrill of peril and more about an obsession with what is new.

Any archetype can be hard working, dedicated and tough, but these are a qualities that pioneers are known for. To have a pioneering spirit is to have “a willingness to endure hardship in order to explore new places or try out new things” (Collins Dictionary).

The pioneer archetype is not fond of patterns and routine. The disruption of the pioneer pushes us out on a ledge and out of our comfort zone.

The shadow of the pioneer is an irritable dissatisfaction in not being able to find a new idea. The shadow pioneer does something new for the sake of doing something new regardless of if it is needed. He also abandons what he has to find something new. In the extreme shadow, the pioneer the conquerer, He does not honor the people that have come before him. Instead he pillages and takes what he wants without asking, claiming he was the first to arrive.

The Frontiersman

There are two expressions of the pioneer, the frontiersman and the innovator. The frontiersmen fit the traditional template of the pioneer known for venturing into new territory. The easiest examples are the early European settlers of North America. The recent surge of TV shows such as The Last Alaskans and Alaska the Last Frontier, feature modern day pioneers. Astronauts are frontiersmen of space.

The frontiersman travels into remote territory and settles. Then everything he does there is new. Even though he has a home base he still has novelty. This is the first house built here, the first tree cut down, the first cattle raised, the first winter of human habitation, and so forth. He is the first person or a member of the first family to settle this land. The struggle to survive is a critical aspect of the frontiersman.

The Inventor

The inventor archetype, also known as the innovator, is a pioneer of new ideas. The inventor is fascinated by the power of imagination. The mystical law that thought becomes form is the law by which this pioneer lives. He prefers to start from nothing and create a marvel from thin air.

Like all pioneers, the inventor archetype ventures into a new field and settles there. Each inventor specializes in an area, bringing novelty to the field. His speciality is his home base. Think of Steve Jobs. His speciality was computer technology. He didn’t venture off into agriculture, medicine or some other field. He stayed put where he excelled and brought new idea after new idea into the territory he staked out.

Telling them Apart

There is a distinct difference between explorers like Lewis and Clark and the pioneers who settled the North American plains. Pioneers put down roots and innovate within that established territory or speciality. Explorers never grow roots in the first place. The pioneer and explorer archetype are very similar, and choosing one over the other may be a matter of choosing which speaks to you more deeply.

Exploring or Seeking?

The explorer archetype and seeker archetype are also closely related. The explorer is in pursuit of a thrill, a rush of adrenaline, that comes from taking risks in unknown environments. The seeker is in pursuit of answers to life’s unanswerable questions. The seeker quests for truth on a cosmic scale. The explorer endeavors to discover a clarity of experience that heightens his awareness of the here and now.


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Stacey Couch

About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch

Stacey Couch is a Spiritual Advisor who supports creative seekers learning as they go on the spiritual path. She serves beginner and life-long students of the soul. Her compassionate and collaborative approach honors the humanity and value of each person. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. Through meeting with Stacey, lost souls find refuge. Connection to the Divine is realized. Belonging comes. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. Learn More about working with Stacey
4 replies
  1. Almaz
    Almaz says:

    Hello Stacey,

    I love your explanations because they give great insights into archetypes in general. You flesh them out beautifully.
    Thank you very much!


  2. Sishitha
    Sishitha says:

    Dear Stacey,
    I have something important to say.On November 18,2017,Saturday here in India,I have been visiting my grandmother’s home in my own city.Two days before,I was trying to move objects(Trying Telekinesis),All of a sudden I was able to understand a energy between my hands ,I was overjoyed by this feeling and searched the internet ,which gave me the answer that it is called a “chi” energy.From then on,I played with that energy,moving it from my hand,,on to the wall and so on.On nov18,2017 I was browsing the internet,I wanted to know my spirit animal and watched a video “How to find a spirit animal(Wicca)” in a YouTube channel,where the Wiccan practioner told,”If we see the animal 4 times continuously,it is a confirmation that it is the spirit animal”.So I was waiting for something to show up.Inside my heart,my intuition was saying it might be an owl,and I have a huge fascination about them.Being a city,I have seen a owl only once.I m a ufo researcher(Beginner to intermediate level),having a interest in various things like Egypt,alien,astronomy,nature,universe,archealogy,energies,Tesla,ufo engineering..
    So by the evening I forgot about the spirit animal,at 6.30,my father came home from work and he called me to his room and said”Dear,I got a video which says some kind of alien species are roaming in the city”,I was excited to the peak and asked him to show the video.The video consisted of 3 barn grass owl like species,but instantly it gave me a feeling that they were a like a hybrid between grey aliens and owls.(I m attaching the screen shot from the video).Firstly,I did a image search,and google only showed references to barn owl.Then,on nov19,2017,I still continued my search and at 7.30 in the morning,I found an art work very similar to what I saw in the video.And as I searched further,owls and aliens have a interesting relation.In Sumerian times,the figurine of the owl represents the contellation Orion.This gave me a very big surprise,as two years back,I was so obsessed with this particular constellation.It gives me a joyful feel whenever I see this contellation. There have been many coincidences like these for me.But this stands out.And the first owl that I saw in my life was a white one.Thank you .I am eagerly waiting for you to say what these coincidences might mean.Sometimes,I am coming across fluctuations in lights in the street,or particularly when I go to the washroom.And there were many coincidences where I saw bats hanging from the electric current line above the poles.Many more.Please help me what these things mean.And sometimes,I get this strange dream,where I need to touch the energy around the pyramid and a diamond kind of object has to be kept.The whole pyramid gets energized and the energy around it turns blue.

    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Sishitha, I wonder if you meant to post this comment on my article about barn owl spirit animal? If so, no worries. It definitely sounds like you’re doing a lot of exploring the mystical realms these days. This time of things rushing in so fast can be as some people say, “like trying to drink out of a fire hose”. I would say your coincidences are actually synchronicities, which is different. Synchronicities imply that these events are not random, but connected by meaning but not cause and effect. Either way, the best thing you can do during times like these is make sure to take care of yourself and get rest. You can run yourself ragged with too much analysis and tracking. You likely won’t be able to sort the meaning everything out right now. Go ahead and just write it all down. Keep a detailed journal. Then over the next number of years you can get to the task of uncovering the underlying design/message as this flood will not last forever. Like all cycles in nature and in ourselves, the only constant is change. Enjoy and soak in the fruitfulness of this time and don’t stress too much about making sense of it all right away. These experiences are too deep to decipher at first glance. Many Blessings, Stacey


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