The Queen archetype is the feminine authority of the psyche whose natural instinct is to create lawful order and moral virtue by nurturing caring relationships. Most of us would like to empower our Queens but how do we go about it? Essentially, it is a four-step process of listening to our conscience and obeying its advice, questioning outworn morality, acquiring self-knowledge, and developing an authentic personal ethic rooted in humility and love.
Step 1: Listening. Consideration and respect for others tend to develop naturally in children who are well-loved by responsible parents. Of course, social learning backfires when a child’s models are unkind and anti-social. But most of us can learn to listen to our conscience which, like a good mother, tells us when we’ve done something wrong. Have you ever felt guilty for lying or saying something hurtful? Or betrayed a value you cherished and then felt ashamed for being a hypocrite? If so, your ego has listened to your Queen. But the Queen is not just the voice of society’s conscience. She is also a leader who urges us to “put our money where our mouth is.” At some point we need to choose our battles and act on her advice. Have you ever confronted a bully at the risk of being publically ridiculed? Or withdrawn your loyalty from a politician, media personality or religious leader who acts out of their own self-interest and lust for power? If so, you have followed the Queen’s guidance. You’re still not finished, though!
Step 2: Questioning. Life is about change; so is the feminine principle. When we start noticing that we and others are suffering, it gets harder to tell the difference between right and wrong. This leads to a time of questioning and challenging the old Queen’s ethic to make way for improvements. The inner force that urges us to change is, in fact, our evolving Queen.
Step 3: Searching. The thing that makes us evolve is self-knowledge. Journaling, dreamwork, therapy, study and meditation all help. Why is this step important? Because until your ego grows roots deep into the unconscious where it meets its savage twin, your virtue will be shallow and your choices will be influenced by every passing breeze. An ego that has not met its shadow feels self-righteous and morally superior. Sociopaths feel the same way. Sometimes the only way to learn the truth about ourselves is to face an intolerable moral dilemma that pits us against the Self. Either way we choose will feel wrong and right at the same time. This time of suffering and searching in the dark is our initiation into authenticity.
Step 4: Being. If we can tolerate the tension until we see our capacity for evil and if we are truly contrite, we will bow to the Self’s authority and our dilemma will be resolved without any help from our ego. Then we will acknowledge the Queen’s sovereignty as the feminine half of the Self, the lioness of the psyche. Then she will bless us with humility and compassion. Then the old need to appear virtuous will be replaced by simple, natural caring, which is all we need to be virtuous.
When one ego breaks through the shell of unconsciousness, everyone benefits. Here are some questions you can ask about your Queen. Where in my life is my queen strong? How is she changing? Where could I use more work? What form of inner work am I most drawn to? Why? What have I learned from it?
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.