Every woman embodies a range of feminine energies within herself known as Archetypes. These Archetypes are universal, meaning all women of all cultures, times and ages carry them, regardless of whether they are aware of it or not. Each Archetype has a specific energy, expression and gift, as well as a specific wound and shadow. Whilst each Archetype is alive within us, we all have one that is dominant and it is within our dominant Archetype that we will find our greatest strengths and skills, as well as our greatest shadows and wounds. We are also more likely to explore certain Archetypes at certain ages and stages of our lives. When a woman initiates, activates and loves all aspects of all of her Archetypes, she can rise up as the empowered, radiant, strong and beautiful Queen she is!
Here we explore the Mother, Priestess, Lover and Warrior Archetypes.
The Mother archetype is nurturing, protecting, soft and caring. She is the one loving and living boldly and fiercely to pave roads for more love and compassion. When we start putting faith in this archetype and using her gifts, we can see that her strength is in her nurturing presence, not in control. When this archetype is able to emerge freely and strongly, we are inspired to spend time nurturing our own and others’ bodies, minds and spirits, not as a luxurious treat, but as a necessity. The Mother archetype has a deep knowing of its connectedness to Mother Earth, understanding that when we take time to honour ourselves and each other, we are ultimately honouring and healing Gaia. She provides a nurturing space for others to be vulnerable as well as a loving embrace to those in need of the purest expression of healing unconditional love. The Mother archetype is also the Creator and when we embody her we step up to the responsibility of being the co-creators we are, here to bring Heaven on Earth.
If you experience a lot of neediness in relationships, or you find it difficult to receive love, then chances are you do not have a lot of healthy mother energy within you. The mothering energy is the energy that inspires you to spend time nurturing your body and soul and seeing/loving your inner child. It is the energy that tells us to play and receive the goodness that nature, Mother Earth herself, has to offer. Do you know how to give this to yourself? As you begin to really love yourself you will discover that pain and suffering is sometimes simply a sign that you are not nurturing and protecting yourself with the unconditional love of the Mother.
Mother Wound: The wounding with our own mother may be profound. We may not know how to take care of our own needs, stay in our bodies, or nurture our inner child and outer child. The mother wound needs to be brought into awareness if we are to heal it. From my experience, no wound is more charged for both men and women than this one and there are so many unresolved feelings about our mothers. Abandonment, enmeshment, overwhelm, feeling responsible for the mother’s pain, guilt, fear….the list goes on. If you don’t acknowledge and make peace with these feelings, then she is forced to stay caught forever in your mind and heart as a negative mother image, preventing the possibility of an authentic relationship.
This wound is the core issue of Women’s Empowerment. Difficulty and challenges between mothers and daughters are insidious but not openly spoken about. Part of the collective mother wound is the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women in patriarchal cultures. It includes dysfunctional coping mechanisms, such as projection and competition, which are used to process that pain. If you did not receive sufficient care from your mother then as an adult you may feel an insatiable need to be loved and taken care of, an inability to feel joy, or a lack of self-worth despite your competency and confidence. The mother wound is that empty feeling in our hearts that ought to have been filled through healthy mothering. Healthy mothering is about Nurture, Protection, Encouragement and Initiation. Nurture includes a child’s basic needs for food, shelter, medicine, comfort, love and touch; a child who is not held enough develops into an adult with a range of physical and emotional difficulties, just as an inadequate diet manifests into health issues. Nurture also includes more subtle aspects such as making a child feel safe though mental and emotional stability and celebrating a child as a source of beauty and amazingness so that they grow up with a sense of worthiness, confidence and joy.
Protection is what a child needs from the mother to be protected from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as from the threat of all three. Ironically and sadly, a child may even need to be protected from their own mother and father and in this situation would not receive the protection they so desperately need. In the house if there is excessive fighting, emotional or physical abandonment, emotional instability, drug and alcohol issues or an overall feeling that the home environment is not safe, the child doesn’t feel protected. If you did not receive sufficient protection as a child then as an adult you may feel abandoned a lot. You may have a reoccurring memory of a traumatic event or environment and feel constantly plagued by a feeling that the world and people cannot be trusted. Encouragement is important for a child to feel empowered and is needed to be able to teach them independence and self-confidence. The mother who is encouraging will treat her child with fairness, patience, generosity and a commitment to preparing her child to become her equal or even to surpass her. This capacity comes from the mother’s own self-confidence and love and from embracing the view that it is her sacred duty to encourage her children to be the best they can be, while at the same time fully accepting them when they make mistakes. She will also encourage her child’s individual passions rather than wanting her child to be like her or to be a certain way and achieve certain things to fulfill her own egoic needs.
Finally, a girl achieves the inner experience of womanhood by way of initiation from the mother, who does this through how she treats her own womanhood as well as that of her daughter. Most initiations take place through rituals. For a mother to be effective in providing initiation, she must have somehow received or found her own. It is the most selfless of all the aspects, for she is encouraging a separation or a growing up of sorts. This initiating power is associated with the shaman, the priestess, and the medicine woman.
To heal the mother wound we need to cultivate our own healthy mother inside of ourselves! This will allow you to be in your body, feel safe in the moment and have the ability to nurture yourself and others with loving-kindness, empathetic joy and compassion. Finding teachers who nourish without creating the codependency of excessive mothering can also help, enabling you to receive a healthy transmission of this energy. Women have all experienced to some degree the ramifications that our mother’s pain has had on our relationships with others and with ourselves. We begin to heal this wound when we become aware of what it is and how it has played out in our lives. The next step is creating a new paradigm to pass down to the future generations which is committed to being our full selves, letting go of shame around our feeling body, no longer emotionally care-taking or trying to be the ideal woman and trusting and surrendering.
The Priestess sits at the gate before the great mystery, between the darkness and the light, as a conduit for Spirit. It is she who is the mediator of the passage into the depths of our being. She officiates sacred rites and ceremony that connects us to realms beyond 3D reality and trusts in the unseen worlds. She is tied to the moon, to wisdom, to magic and to inspiration. She relies on intuition and inner knowledge instead of intellect. Her message is powerful and unique, arising from the depths of her own being. She is true to herself even when that means she may be cast out or condemned.
Her job is not an easy one as she is known to move people out of their comfort zone. As a trans-connector, she facilitates connection between the material world and the spiritual, the conscious and unconscious, which really stirs people up! Those who are touched by her magic will either be all the richer for it, or totally resistant, accusing her of all sorts of evils. For hundreds of years, the Priestess has been exalted, desired, feared, revered, shamed and blamed. She has been desired for her secret knowledge and chastised for her power, often from those who are jealous or scared of her. She has guided and inspired kings, artists, craftsmen, warriors and noble men. She has been known as mystic, shaman, courtesan, healer, midwife, medicine woman, saint and weaver.
Women who awaken this archetype wake up to the deep call of bringing forth their Soul Work. You incarnate your unique beautiful energy into the world and step into who you are. A Priestess is a woman who owns her connection to the sacred and the mundane. She is a conduit between the two and not only tunes into things, but also tunes things in.A Priestess woman is challenged to be open and at the same time protect herself from what she doesn’t want or from what does not serve her. One of the major tasks of the Priestess is embodiment, grounding into her body and having self-respect otherwise her sensitivity will continually overwhelm her.
Priestess Shadow: This is a woman who has an incredible inner wisdom and sensitivity but does not own and trust it. If she became aware of this archetype she would serve as the receiver from other dimensions and become comfortable with not knowing anything. When she does not own it and trust it she will spend more time trying to figure things out rather than following her inner guidance. She will push, control and think her way out of things. The Shadow Priestess will also often align with martyrdom, sacrifice and self-denial. She may have been taught to be everything to everyone, except to herself. She may have allowed her waters and magical creative energy to overflow too much into others resulting in undefined boundaries and lack of self-love.
The Priestess gets wounded in a number of ways. As children we are so open and often aware of things others can’t see, like angels, fairies or spirits, but when we are told these are not real, we stop our ability connect. We also may have a knowing about things that adults are hiding (like alcoholism or abuse) but we are told it’s not true and may even get punished . This causes us to shut down ‘the knower’ in us, or at the very least, hide it. It may also cause us to go into hypersensitivity for self-protection and lack of trust in the world. Another shadow expression can be an egoic identification with spiritual energies and powers; using them in service to ego to manipulate, control, or invade others, rather than to serve the Sacred. Initiations into the Priestess realms call us to impeccability trust in our intuition, trust in the ‘divine plan’ and commit to our service to the Sacred. We must listen to our hearts and remember our ceremonial nature and ritual maker skills. This can be scary, as we carry the collective memory of accusation, witch hunts, stoning and burning at the stake.
The Lover archetype loves herself and others unconditionally. She desires to experience passionate connections and meaningful, intimate relationships. She is sensual and in touch with the little girl inside of her. She is open and joyful and invites you to touch her mind, body and soul. She is vulnerable, playful and free spirited. She loves connection with others and is happiest when engaging intimately with the earth or a significant other. She loves to frolic in the fields and forest as well as swim in the oceans and rivers.
While the lover often symbolises a time of new beginnings and youthful exuberance, the energy of the Lover archetype lives in all of us at all ages. We can call upon the Lover energy when we want to experience the fullness of passion and aliveness. The Lover appreciates beauty in all its forms, seeing and feeling beauty in herself, others and the world around her. She exudes sensuality in her mood, look, walk, creativity and interactions. She loves to engage with life though nature, sex, food, well-being and procreation. She is the archetype of play and healthy erotic embodiment without shame. She is in her body, animating it with vital energy through dance, movement and nature. She brings eros and sensuality and a joy of life to any room she walks into. She also sees life and people with curiosity, awe and innocence.
Lover Shadow: The shadow lover is often disembodied, may have a distorted image of her body, may carry excess weight, health problems or be anorexic or bulimic. She feels deep shame about her body and her being, and may abuse drugs, food, or her own body. The shadow of this archetype is emotional dependency and the desire to remain perpetually connected. Whenever connection isn’t happening with a significant other, the shadow lover takes it personally, contracts or becomes needy and then withdraws as a way of coping. Their emotional dependency is so great that when connection is not present, they feel very empty and don’t know what to do with themselves. Rather than being able to expand beyond contraction by giving love to oneself and others and asking for what they need (healthy lover), the shadow lover stays stuck in perpetual longing, moodiness and an unhealthy obsession with the external lover. They will play the same story over and over in their head about ways they are not being loved or ways they are being let down. Internally they want connection, but externally they are pulling away from it. The shadow lover will often judge, condemn and punish (either consciously or unconsciously) whenever they are not getting the love that they want. This is their way of getting power back because their emotional dependency renders them quite powerless. When the need to connect is sought after and not met, the rejection is too great for the shadow lover so they become depressed and their life becomes meaningless. The result is pure loneliness. “Where there’s love, there’s pain; where there’s pain, there’s love”. The healthy lover accepts this and knows that pain is our body and our heart urging us towards expansion, towards knowing ourselves deeper, towards feeling what we need or what we would prefer. The shadow lover remains contracted so that pain turns into suffering and the same challenges keep repeating. The healthy lover know what she needs and gives that to herself as well as asking for it from others.
Lover Wound: Her consciousness. Lover can appear as one who knows no boundaries and can overdo everything, override her own needs and her body’s needs. Addiction is also a Lover wound.
Lover Gift: She teaches us to rest in our hearts and be in our body, to love our body. She guides us into self-nurture, intimacy, sensory delight, creativity, nature, nourishment, movement, softness and vulnerability. She also guides us into our little girl’s heart and helps us to feel what we really need.
“We find that relationships are the source of our greatest joy and the source of our greatest pain. In relationships you are going to run into problems. You are going to run into aspects that are unwanted. You will feel the pain of it. By virtue of having those experiences, you are going to get very clear about what you would prefer instead. You are going to find out what you really want and need. Pain in life is the universe speaking through you. It is the universe saying that whatever you are focused on or doing or whatever is happening is a contraction. Contraction is the opposite of expansion. Once we know that the pain is signaling us to go towards expansion, towards what we would prefer instead, we are called to do that. If we do not, that pain turns into suffering. Suffering is a state of perpetual contraction. It is what happens when we have felt the pain telling us what we would prefer and still we continue to focus on and think things and say things and do things that feed the pain (and thus contraction) instead of the expansion” Teal Swan.
The Warrior Woman archetype is independent and self-contained and highly capable of making her way in the world. She is focused, ambitious, assertive, goal-oriented and self-sufficient. She relates to the men in her life as companions, co-workers and allies. A woman embodying the Warrior or Amazon archetype feels whole unto herself. Whilst tribe and community are important to her, she is also quite content to be on her own. She will always gravitate towards professions that enable her to be autonomous and not have to answer to anyone. She seeks her own counsel, often dedicating her life to a cause that she is very passionate about. She is grounded and connected to her own source of power. She claims her space in the world with confidence and with an air of sovereignty, trusting herself completely. Her no’s are honored with the same ease as her yes’s. She does not need to explain herself nor does she complain. She is not interested in being a people pleaser or a victim. She does not need a man, she is whole unto herself yet she welcomes those who serve an authentic purpose in her life. She can take care of herself, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Women who are strong in the Warrior archetype are very androgynous and develop a strong relationship with their own inner masculine rather than needing an outer relationship to feel fulfilled. At the same time, she lives and acts from her heart and knows how to show up for herself, for others, and for what she has committed herself to. She can help us to set and maintain boundaries and she will not stand for anyone putting her down, disrespecting her or her loved ones, humiliating her or trying to make her subservient. We can call on our Warrior to provide strength and protection to the child within and without. She is essential to creating the safety needed for our inner and outer children to come forth. Here challenges are to be faithful to the Truth as she knows it, especially when her ego doesn’t like it or want it, and to not abandon herself but to always stay present. The first step to overcoming these is having the courage to tell herself and others the Truth.
Warrior Dark Shadow: intimidating, critical, judgmental toward weakness in others, quick to anger, bossy. She can also keep others at an emotional distance with her powerful air of authority.
Warrior Wound: Her heart. Her strong masculine can conceal her vulnerability and make it difficult for her to be in her feminine. This of course makes her hypersensitive emotionally, although it does not always appear that way.
Warrior Gift: She challenges us to be scrupulous in our inner work, faithful and devoted to something beyond our own ego, and to the underlying, impersonal Truth. She calls and strengthens us to meet our fears, our traumas and wounds, and to face our shadow. The bright Warrior supports us in being clear, assertive, decisive, honest, responsible, and courageous. She also empowers women to contribute to the well being of this planet through their individual gifts.
Chantelle Raven. Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved
For women wanting to explore themselves deeply and be initiated into their Feminine energies, join us for the incredible 8 Week Womens Embodiment Journey, LIFE TANTRA this Feb and March.