Using myth and archetype to develop your life story

LifeWorks is about stories and how we use them to make sense of our lives.


Why did your life turn out this way? Who are the most important people in your world? What would you do differently, if you had the chance?

Your life is a story. It is better than any book you have ever read. Your story defines who you are and what happens to you. Ever since you were a child, you have been writing your own life script. You use stories you have heard to weave your personal narrative. The parts in your script are played by the people around you.

Some of the oldest stories still seem relevant to us today. The characters in them are familiar: the princess, the hero, the good mother, the wise old man. These characters are based on universal figures called archetypes. LifeWorks introduces the twelve major archetypes, with examples from books and films. Each figure has a story, drawn from myths and legends around the world.

LifeWorks is a practical handbook which combines insights from psychology and anthropology. Questions and tasks help the reader to identify relationship patterns and life themes. It is also useful to authors and scriptwriters, for character development.

This work has been compared to both Julia Cameron and Joseph Campbell. She combines personal insight with natural storytelling ability. LifeWorks is predicted to become a new classic.


I really enjoyed this book mainly for the information on archetypes and myth. I found it a well written, intelligent and well researched book. On the psychological side, this book relates myths and legends and the characters in them to our own life stories and the people who influence our world. Jungian psychological theories are woven with philosophical teachings to help us transform our lives. Twelve major archetypes are highlighted in detail. The extensive insight into the archetypes are particularly helpful for character development in fiction and script writing and this is where LifeWorks interested me the most. It’s now on my shelf of reference books and I’m finding it especially useful for my fantasy writing, but actually it’s useful for all genres. ~ Harmonia Saille, Brigid's Fire Magazine

"Lifeworks" introduces the twelve major archetypes, with examples from books and films. Each figure has a story, drawn from myths and legends from around the world. "Lifeworks" is also a practical handbook which combines insights from psychology and anthropology. Questions and tasks help the reader to identify relationship patterns and life themes. ~ , The New Writer (July 2012)

You are the author of your story, and you play the principal part. Once you understand this, you can begin to recognize life themes, and the roles that myth and archetypal characterisation play in shaping our life themes. From that point you can identify those people who have played the most influential roles in your life and can recognise the input they have made - and this is a vital part of shaping the story of your life and understanding the themes and patterns that have been consistent throughout that life. This level of awareness is obviously important for anyone planning to write their life story, but it also helps in your consciousness of personal relationship patterns and therefore in the characterisation process you undertake every time you attempt to create fiction. The advice that you should 'write what you know' is fine, but first you need to recognise what you do know - and this book will help you on that voyage of discovery. ~ Writers' Bookshelf, Writing Magazine (April 2012)

I started reading this out of idle curiosity. Everyone probably has a vague knowledge and understanding of the archetypes and I expected to just flick through it but after a few pages I couldn't put it down. What a great book! I had no idea before reading this just how big a part the archetypes play in our day to day lives and how important it is to explore and work with your life story in order to develop your own creative potential. As a writer this book has really helped me to create real, three dimensional characters with depth and with their own distinct voice. In fact, the stories I have created since reading LifeWorks, both personally and as a writer have improved tremendously. A life changing experience I'd recommend to anyone. ~ Sara Geller, Amazon Books

This is an amazing book! It draws on anthropology, psychology and sociology to explore the power of myths in our lives. The book looks at 12 archetypal figures with myths and folktales from a range of cultures. The stories are followed by questions that encourage us to relate the myths to our own lives, a fascinating exercise. We can use insights gained from myths in a practical way to help us to reach our potential, an empowering and creative tool. 'LifeWorks' is well-written, informative and thought-provoking. It is also a pleasure to read. I thoroughly recommend it. ~ Ms Deborah G. Curle, Amazon Books

This has ‘bestseller’ written all over it. It ranks alongside Julia Camerons work in terms of accessibility and user-friendliness. I have been looking for a book like this for ages!

~ Frank McGrath, Writer and Journalist

I NEED THIS!!! I am a lecturer in film/scriptwriting/media and I need a clear, beautifully written text like this for my students. The best Ive got is Chris Voglers book The Writers Journey’. But this is even more succinct and the fact that you have taken these established archetypes and appropriated them to our lifestyles is just genius... Truly fascinating.

~ Carl Ashmore, Author (The Time Hunters) and Lecturer

I’ve always been fascinated by the myths and folk tales that underlie our culture and colour so much of our literature. In LifeWorks, Jane Bain not only clarifies the ways in which these narratives and archetypes influence our perception of the world and each other; she also suggests practical ways of using them to become more who we want to be.

If that’s your goal – to live more effectively – this excellent book can add a powerful device to your toolbox.

~ Wendy Bertsch, Author (Once More... From The Beginning) and founder of website Past Times Books

A book of enormous value, both for its practical approach and its deep-rooted understanding of the role myth and archetype play in all our lives. Whether you are an author in search of inspiration for building characters, a counsellor seeking a deeper approach or an individual looking for greater understanding as well as sources of happiness in your life, this book can be life changing. In LifeWorks, the groundbreaking answers which enable your life to move forward are waiting for you.

~ Dr Charlotte Suthrell, Writer and Anthropologist

Insightful and inspirational. In the tradition of Joseph Campbell, LifeWorks makes myth accessible to everyone. A life-enhancing book.

~ Lucy Bailey, Ph.D. Sociologist

A wonderfully refreshing analysis of the archetypes that exist within us all. Jane Bain invites the reader to experience just how these archetypal characters inform and influence our lives - and discover the gift each one of them brings us. A great guide for those interested in understanding our deeper psychological and spiritual nature.

~ John Kent, Voice Dialogue Facilitator and Trainer

Psychologist Stanley Krippner states that “myths are narratives or statements that address existential human concerns in ways that have behavioural consequences”. They serve as aids in problem-solving, interpretation and the guidance of behaviour in the resolution of human affairs, whether on a collective or personal level. LifeWorks presents myth as it applies to one’s personal life story. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming aware of and improving the quality of their life.

~ Allan Cooperstein, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist

If you are embarking on a journey of personal and spiritual development, what better path than the one that Jane Bain maps out in LifeWorks? Jane weaves together strands from both East and West, ancient and modern, mainstream and alternative – from the Sufi-like approach of teaching-tales, to the psychological theories of Carl Jung.

Stories, myths, legends and folk-tales appeal to us all on a very deep subconscious level. We identify with the characters and become immersed in the plot, wondering at the outcomes and only subconsciously aware of the multiple levels of meaning. People often become stuck in their own story, trapped in the role they have cast themself – victim, rebel, servant – without realising they can at any moment change the script of their life and turn a disaster movie into a success story.

Jane’s work has been compared to that of Joseph Campbell and Julia Cameron. LifeWorks also draws on modern psychology, mythology, archetype, spiritualism, narrative, metaphor and complementary approaches to create a wonderful and accessible way forward.


~ Bridget Finklaire, Consultant Therapist & Hypnotherapist, DHypPsych, ACAHC, Registered APHP (Acc), GHR (Reg)

There’s no substitute for the ‘characters’ that surround you and shape your everyday life. This is a wonderfully written book. The author’s educational experiences shine through in this inspirational work. What attracted me most to the piece is how easy it was to read. It flowed naturally, more like a story than a self-help book. Simple examples– like the game of ‘Consequences’ described in the Introduction– provide anchors for the reader to grasp the philosophical discussions that follow, providing valuable insight into how a reader might improve his or her own life. This is a masterful book. Congratulations.

~ Richard Bard, Author (Brainrush)

An important and potentially life changing book. Jane Bain combines Jungian psychology with our rich mythical heritage to help us understand ourselves and transform the way we live our lives. Thoughtful and inspiring.

~ Helen Batten, Psychotherapist, MA (Cantab), PGDip Counselling & Psychotherapy, MBACP

Jane Bailey Bain
Jane Bailey Bain Jane Bailey Bain is an author, speaker and creative coach. She studied Psychology at Oxford University and Anthropology at the London School...
7 Aha's of Highly Enlightened Souls by Mike George

7 Aha's of Highly Enlightened Souls

Mike George

Look within and make the change.

Don't Get MAD Get Wise by Mike George

Don't Get MAD Get Wise

Mike George

Spiritually empowering.

Soul Power by Nikki de Carteret

Soul Power

Nikki de Carteret

7 Myths about Love...Actually! The by Mike George

7 Myths about Love...Actually! The

Mike George

Smashes all the myths about LOVE.

Message of A Course In Miracles, The by Elizabeth A. Cronkhite

Message of A Course In Miracles, The

Elizabeth A. Cronkhite

First volume of a translation of the Text of A Course in Miracles into plain, everyday language for anyone seeking inner peace.

If You Fall by Karen Darke

If You Fall

Karen Darke

I always thought I'd rather be dead than paralysed: One slip, one moment and everything changes...

Colours of the Soul by June McLeod

Colours of the Soul

June McLeod

Use the power of colour to learn about yourself and achieve your life goals.

Four Faces of Woman, The by Caroline T. Ward

Four Faces of Woman, The

Caroline T. Ward

Who am I really? and what does it all mean? Find tools and profound insights that will enable you to be your truest, most loving and powerful self.

Who Rules In Your Life? by Miriam Subirana

Who Rules In Your Life?

Miriam Subirana

Essence of Reality, The by Thomas Daniel Nehrer

Essence of Reality, The

Thomas Daniel Nehrer

login here

  • BOOKS:

join our mailing list submit enquiry login here