Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

The King and Queen at Work November 30, 2012

In this final post in my series about the King and Queen archetypes, I’d like to share an example of someone whose psychological awareness influenced her work life. Since I’ve known her, my friend Trish’s personality has been characterized by warmth, empathy, caring, listening, understanding, supporting, and cooperating behaviors that show respect for individual differences and seek the kind of unity and harmony one associates with a loving family. These qualities all point to a highly activated Queen.

In Jungian psychology it’s understood that beneath our conscious personalities there are opposite, undeveloped qualities of which we remain unconscious. Sometimes these unlived shadows sneak into our outer behavior and cause problems. Trish discovered this some years ago when she was hired as manager of marketing and public relations for a large company and found herself smack in the middle of a “family” organized almost entirely around the King’s priorities. There, her unconscious King began to butt heads with the corporation’s over-zealous King.

Early on she wrote a memo from her department to the entire organization. Had she been more aware of her King she would have thought twice before doing this, for in typical King fashion, there were guidelines for sending out memos, and there was a hierarchy of people who had to approve them before they were released. Since her Queen saw the other employees as brothers and sisters with whom she could communicate as directly and spontaneously as she wished, it had not occurred to her that there would be a chain of command. Later she learned that her letter had offended several co-workers.

When Trish arrived her department was demoralized.  As a tiny minority of creative thinkers in a profession of linear thinkers, her team felt invalidated, unappreciated, downtrodden, and powerless.  No one had listened to their complaints or cared what they thought and they’d never been complimented for their work. In true Queen fashion, Trish gave attention to each individual, acknowledging their work and encouraging them to do more of what they loved.

But while Trish’s willingness to listen, understand, and support did wonders for the team’s morale, it created a whole new set of challenges. As the work environment grew more relaxed and the team members interacted openly with each other on a more confident, informal basis, they began to experience some of the problems that every group of intimate equals invariably faces.

For example, when some of them violated the dress code and grew more casual about promptness and working the prescribed number of hours, Trish was called to task by her boss.  Someone had to enforce the standards. That’s when she knew she had to develop her healthy King. At first her awareness of the damage the one-sided King mentality had done to her staff made it difficult to know how.  As she told me, she often felt like she was walking a tightrope, and sometimes she felt incompetent because the King’s domain was such unfamiliar territory. But with time she found effective ways to express her King without betraying her Queen.

Empowering both leadership styles has made a difference in other aspects of her life too. When a close relationship threatened her financial security she stood firm in her authority, refusing to be taken advantage of. Her King energy was also very useful when she launched a successful marketing business. By bravely opening to her depths, Trish is strengthening an inner partnership that is establishing her sovereignty over her outer life.

How has partnering your King and Queen made a difference in your life?

My new book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at this Amazon link or


The Shadow King and Queen in Relationships November 27, 2012

If we haven’t developed the self-confidence, personal authority and sense of moral responsibility of the Sovereign it’s because we’re still unconsciously stuck in one-sidedness of some kind.  This not only impacts our leadership abilities but also contributes to problems with our partners and peers. Here’s an example of a couple that embodies negative extremes in their relationship.

Tina is stuck in the mind-set of an obsessive King.  Her husband Jay is stuck in his undeveloped Queen.  Tina and her sisters had a very authoritarian father and a timid, submissive mother. Consciously, the girls sided with their mother and rebelled against their father, but unconsciously, they grudgingly admired him for the power and respect he had in the community and felt sorry for their mother who seemed weak in comparison.

Too long under her father’s thumb, Tina overcompensates by being overly dominant in her own home, while Jay, who disliked his authoritarian step-father and identified with his gentle and sacrificial mother, is overly passive and accommodating.  If one of their children has a problem, they go to Jay because they know he will sympathize, whereas experience has taught them that Tina will be insensitive and quick to criticize.

Tina is so convinced of the rightness of her opinions and so defensive when Jay challenges her that he doesn’t speak up when he feels she’s being overbearing.  Instead, he goes to the children when she’s not around and offers them treats and sympathy.  Tina knows this and gets furious at his betrayal of her. Jay gets angry at her stubborn self-righteousness, but he hates conflict so he stuffs his feelings inside until they erupt in occasional uncontrollable outbursts.

Tina’s need for control combined with Jay’s subtle resentment and undermining of her has caused the children to side with him and rebel against her.  Although Tina and Jay have switched gender roles from those of their parents, they haven’t changed the dynamics they observed in their parental models.  One parent is an overly authoritarian Shadow King, the other, an overly sacrificial and submissive Shadow Queen.  Unless Tina and Jay recognize and heal their shadows, their children will inherit them.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

This scenario is extremely common because the one-sided paradigm of the dominant King still has a strong hold on our psyches even as we envision reciprocal partnerships between our masculine and feminine sides. Both intuition and experience tell us that this new paradigm will birth creative solutions in everyone’s best interest. Yet with comparatively few models of healthy Kings and Queens to emulate, we’re struggling mightily to subdue him and understand and respect her.

It won’t be easy for Tina and Jay to change habitual patterns of behavior. They may never even try. Both secretly yearn for more self-respect and better relationships with each other and their children, but so far they’ve resisted stirring up this hornet’s nest. Changing Woman and her companions, Conflict and Chaos, guard the threshold to our noble inheritance and inspire fear and apathy in every traveler. Yet they alone hold the keys to our noble birthright.

This is as true for society as it is for individuals.  Our world family is suffering through painful change.  The one-sided Kings of many countries are learning difficult lessons about softening their rigid positions and listening, compromising, and relating.  Repressed Queens everywhere are trying to find their voices and defend their truths without creating undue conflict or causing others pain. But one thing we can be assured of:  with every step we take toward healing our own Kings and Queens, we will empower the Sovereign that’s struggling to be born in us, our relationships, and the next generation.

My new book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at this Amazon link or


The Shadow King and Queen November 23, 2012

A government can only be as balanced and wise, just and caring as its people.  Lenin’s goal of replacing monarchy with socialism was a well-intended but misguided attempt to incorporate the Queen’s ethic of shared authority into social governance. Unfortunately, neither the Russian nor Chinese revolution effectuated this ideal.  They merely replaced kings with dictators, made a few changes in the hierarchical structures that supported them, and repressed the populace with the same zeal as their predecessors. 

Why did these attempts to balance feminine values with masculine ones fail?  Because no matter how fancy the words or noble the ideals of the new Son-rebels, the Shadow King and Queen still ruled the collective psyche. Neither the U.S.S.R. nor China had evolved to the point where enough people were prepared to face their personal shadows, accept limits on their ego needs, or empower their inner opposite masculine and feminine sides. They did not have a strong enough sense of their healthy King and Queen archetypes to withdraw their projections from Stalin and Mao and make wiser choices. Had the populace of these countries been more psychologically aware, perhaps the noble ideals could have become a workable reality.

A more successful outcome occurred in the relationship between Great Britain and India.  For hundreds of years, the citizens of Great Britain projected their inner Kings onto physical monarchs, male and female alike, in whom they endowed all their moral authority.  These parental figures had the power of life and death over their subjects, including the people of India whom, in the way of Shadow Kings everywhere, the British monarchy invaded, conquered, and subjugated.

But then an obscure Indian lawyer named Gandhi questioned the authority of this foreign government and its regal figureheads.  Assuming the authority of his Sovereign, which was a harmonious blend of the clear-thinking, justice-oriented King and the caring, sacrificial Queen, and basing his actions on his highly developed sense of universal justice, love, and moral responsibility, he refused to bow to the kingship of Great Britain.

With his guidance, the Indian people awakened to their healthy inner Kings and Queens, rejected the monarchy and, following Gandhi’s example of non-violent civil disobedience, extricated themselves from foreign rule to become sovereign over themselves and their own country.  Insofar as they were successful in setting up a just governmental hierarchy (thus constellating the King), and accomplishing this without violence to their British brothers and sisters (non-violence being an attribute of the compassionate Queen), they demonstrated what an authentic partnership between the King and Queen looks like in the physical world.

What is it about the negative Shadows of the King and Queen that thwarts our efforts to create lawful order and moral virtue in society? The Shadow King lives in his head. He is self-absorbed, aloof, legalistic, coldly logical, and so indifferent to otherness that he’s insensitive, uncaring, and emotionally out of touch. Obsessive about self-preservation, he is hostile and destructive to others. The Shadow Queen lives in her heart. She is too accepting and tolerant, overly sensitive, unhealthily giving and sacrificial, too open to otherness, and allows tender feelings to trump reason. Obsessive about species-preservation, she fails to set and protect healthy limits and is self-destructive.

Both extremes inhabit America’s collective psyche today. They sit on both sides of the aisle, and neither political party is sufficiently cognizant of its own potential for destruction. Our country’s future does not hinge on victory for either side, but on nurturing greater psychological awareness in ourselves. It’s time we stopped obsessing about others’ shadows and started owning our own.

You can purchase Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or


Giving Thanks for the Sovereign Archetype November 20, 2012

The ethical impeccability of the Sovereign archetype is not easily won or highly developed in everyone.  A passion for justice, caring, equality, honesty, and morally responsible behavior are functions of experience, education, psychological maturity, economic security, and a “religious” attitude of reverence for the miracle and mystery of life.  These qualities are rare in individuals who’ve endured persistent abuse and agonizing struggles for love, safety and survival.

The more fortunate among us undergo a natural progression from youthful immersion in the unconscious maternal matrix, to an adolescent preoccupation with self, to caring about others as much as ourselves. This development is paralleled in the story of the human race.

In the early history of our species, as in the youth of the individual, the Sovereign was often projected onto the divine Creatrix, the Great Mother of life, and reverence for her species-preserving nurturance, combined with fear of her destructive potential, was the norm in collective thinking. In many parts of the world, trust in the imminence and benevolence of her human Beloved, the god-king, reduced anxiety, fostered peaceful relations, and restrained destructive tendencies for centuries at a time.

In our adolescence, groups became more organized and attached to their unique identities, and in the manner of teen-aged gangs, some became threats to others. As the ego came to dominate the psyche, a dominator mentality co-opted entire civilizations, and fierce loyalty to a distant, partisan male God who waged war against the tribe’s enemies became the norm.  Since then, the King archetype has largely ruled alone on Psyche’s throne.  From there he still motivates our youthful struggles for independence and autonomy within and without.

Wherever the King’s will to power and resistance to change are obsessive, countless individuals suffer atrocities. But people who work to tame their instincts and minimize their ego’s obsession with him begin to remember and respect the Queen’s subtler virtues of love, forgiveness and relatedness.

In recent history, her passion for individual rights and shared authority has reemerged into collective consciousness in the form of various political experiments.  In England, for example, monarchs had unlimited power until 1215 when the barons forced King John to sign the Magna Charta granting people certain civil and political liberties.  Five hundred and fifty years later, this concept evolved into the American Constitution with its Bill of Rights.

The growth of democracy is a natural consequence of evolving consciousness. As the Queen and King archetypes mature in enough individuals, groups grow less tolerant of hatred and injustice and more intent on balancing one-sided, hierarchical systems with caring and shared authority. This is why monarchies and dictatorships are giving way to republics and democracies. We can resist inner and outer change, but the ego can no more control maturing archetypes than it can the forces of Nature. Indeed, archetypes are forces of Nature.

As Americans give thanks this holiday season for the freedoms and rights we enjoy, may we remember that we earned them by consciously integrating our inner Kings and Queens. Some may not be happy with the outcome of our recent election, but evolving archetypal forces in the collective psyche have made their priorities known and our country’s future depends on our ability to work together to heed their messages. Here is one of them:

“There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country.” –Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States

Wishing us all a more conscious Thanksgiving.

You can purchase Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or


Partnership Between the King and Queen: The Sovereign November 16, 2012

The King and Queen archetypes are the primary authorities of our psyches and societies. We know of their existence because projections of them have ruled civilizations throughout human history.  If they were not part of our psychological makeup, we would not need to create them in the world. These archetypes cause people everywhere to choose and obey moral authorities who (we hope) will protect us, govern us, nurture our development, and enable us and our progeny to thrive.

Our need to create order and virtue in our social groups is a reflection of our need to develop these qualities in ourselves.  Indeed, civilization is a mirror that continuously shows us images of the myriad archetypal energies and potentials within us.  What we see in the mirror depends on the status of our inner worlds.  How we feel about the people and events we attract, and to which we are attracted, depends on how we feel about ourselves.

Occasionally, an unusually courageous and virtuous individual attracts our admiration: someone who represents the good, who stands up for what s/he believes, who speaks out against social injustice, who leads and inspires others to nurture the weak and right the wrongs;  someone like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, or Mother Teresa.  We know these people are not perfect.  Being mere mortals, they can’t be. Yet their lives take on mythic proportions because they embody living manifestations of archetypal energies lying latent in us.

People like this personify the Sovereign archetype which matures in one who is learning to blend and balance the energies of the mature King and Queen. The Sovereign, a symbol of their partnership, is an autonomous, powerful, and independent leader and ruler who understands and accepts his or her authority and moral responsibility and, through example, inspires others to do the same.

The moral authority of the Sovereign is based on a personal commitment to the King’s goal of universal justice and the Queen’s, of universal love. From the font of their combined energies flows right action that is not rigid and unyielding, but fluid, like a river of fresh water that weaves through our daily routines. Here we work to effect universal justice, there we defend our rights and the rights of those around us.  Here we respectfully follow rules and traditions that create and maintain order, there we challenge those which disregard conscience and caring.

Examples of people with mature Sovereigns are the self-reflective mothers and fathers who nurture virtue and character in their progeny. They are the teachers, principals, community protectors and benefactors, CEO’s, attorneys, judges, county and state officials and representatives, prime ministers, presidents and ambassadors who preserve and transmit traditions of truth, justice and mercy to ensure the generativity, productivity, comfort, safety, and survival of the next generation.

The Sovereign likewise promotes the healthy empowerment of our souls and spirits so that we may be free to express our individual genius. Like an officer of the law, it works to create order and virtue in us. Like a judge, it weighs evidence and corrects unhealthy imbalances.  Like a loving parent, it accepts us as we are while encouraging us to develop our potential, knowing that our masculine and feminine sides, conscious and unconscious selves, and egos and shadows are all parts of the whole, free, healthy and unique individuals we are meant to become.

How well-developed is your Sovereign?  Who carries your image of the Sovereign in the outer world? How can you become more like him or her?

You can purchase Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or


The King and Queen: Archetypes of Ethical Social Behavior November 13, 2012

During this post-election time in America it is fitting that we honor the King and Queen archetypes, rulers of the social domain. I dedicate the next several posts to them.

Our ultimate goal in society is to nurture the flourishing of all by creating lawful order and moral virtue.  Whether we interact with two people or two million people, everything we say and do has something to do with our basic need to nurture or be nurtured.  Because others are always involved when our instinct for nurturance is engaged, our nurturing behavior has ethical import.

The commonly agreed upon standards and values that are passed on from generation to generation within a group represent the morality or ethos of that group.  Moral codes vary from group to group, region to region, and age to age.  The more isolated the group and the more closely its members identify with its rules, the more everyone in that group tends to believe that their particular moral code is sacred, universal, and inviolable.

The two poles of the social continuum represent opposite but equally valid dimensions of nurturing moral behavior. Our inner King represents the masculine logos approach in group relationships, our Queen represents the feminine Eros (or mythos) approach.  Each has different priorities and a preferred style that determines the way he or she governs and nurtures. Both styles are appropriate for some groups and settings and inappropriate for others.  The trick is to use both in balanced ways that do not overdo or neglect either one.

The word “morality” has taken on a negative connotation in recent years because of self-righteous individuals who have slipped into a masculine moral extreme in which they unconsciously equate morality with their personal religious beliefs. The reason this extreme is associated with masculinity is because it is based on abstract, perfectionist ideals like justice morality and not on compassion or a felt sense of relatedness to others.

These extremists unconsciously project their own fears and obsessions onto a similarly uptight, self-righteous masculine deity of strict rules and uncompromising sternness.  What they fail to see is that a God who lacks mercy is not an authentic, moral God;  it is simply a flawed God-image arising from a fearful, self-important ego.  A religion that lacks compassion is not an authentic, moral religion;  it is simply a collection of stern man-made doctrines.  Likewise, a person who cannot accept her or his own flaws or forgive the flaws of others is not an authentically moral person, but simply a stiff and fearful puppet.  Authentic morality is not exclusive, restrictive, inhibiting, or judgmental.  Authentic morality, like authentic religion, is always freeing, accepting, merciful, and compassionate.

The King’s regard for hierarchical legal systems that enforce justice and the Queen’s understanding, caring and mercy are all traditional values, but when either archetype is over-valued and obsessive, unethical behavior results. Failing to constellate the King and Queen is equally irresponsible. This extreme is seen in parents who neglect their children, narcissistic, self-serving couples who have no time for nurturing anyone or anything else but themselves, or apathetic citizens who sponge off society without making any positive contributions of their own.  By developing respect for both the King and the Queen, we bring balance to our personalities, behave responsibly, and respect the authority and individual rights of all with whom we come in contact.

Healthy partnership between the Kings and Queens who govern nations depends on the integration of our inner Kings and Queens: on our ability to be just and caring, to respect the need for both hierarchical and shared authority, and to be flexible, creative, and forgiving in the ways we nurture others.  When we succeed in creating lawful order and moral virtue within ourselves we will have a real chance of making a positive difference in the world.

You can purchase Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or


Why Can’t People Just Love Each Other? November 9, 2012

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why can’t people just love each other?” Until I studied Jungian psychology, I certainly did. I knew lots of good people who acted loving. Yet when I got to know them I invariably discovered that they were just as challenged in the love department as I was. So why do even the most well-meaning people find it so difficult to love?

What I discovered after several years of inner work was that the primary obstacle to love is a psychologically ignorant ego which fears otherness, both without and within.  From personal experience I also learned that this one-sided ego-centricism has nine basic characteristics:

1.  No matter how loving we try to be, the primary motivation beneath our good intentions is self-interest.

2.  Our belief that we are a loving person is not based on authentic feeling, but on the persona (our social personality) we constructed in childhood to gain society’s and/or God’s approval.

3.  We (our egos) believe that our loving persona/mask is who we really are.

4.  We do not know we have an unconscious self which contains everything our ego disowned while constructing our persona. For example, if we chose to be loving, we repressed any hateful thoughts and emotions we noticed. Thus, our unconscious, non-egoic self contains the rejected opposites of everything our egos identified with.

5.  We do not know that our rejected and unknown opposites comprise our shadow, or that we even have a shadow, or that the more we repress it the more it influences our behavior in unloving ways despite our best efforts.

6.  We do not know that we project our most disliked shadow qualities onto others, nor that we do this because pointing fingers at them takes the heat off us and relieves our fear that we are unworthy.

7.  We do not know that the real problem is not that we are unworthy, but that we are incomplete.

8.  We do not know that accepting the otherness of our shadows will help complete us,  embolden us to trust other people, and create more tolerance for their otherness.

9.  We do not know that willing ourselves to love can’t create the real thing. What can create love is suffering the awareness of our incompleteness, asking for help, accepting our shadows, forgiving ourselves for being human, and connecting with our true Self.

After last week’s post about the Healer archetype, Emerald commented: “I want to be a Healer. However, I’m also a very ambitious person with a needy tendency to want to be all things to all people. I’m not sure how much of my desire to heal is derived from my ego’s ambition, and how much is derived from actual love and a desire to transcend my ego for the greater good. So how can I tell when my desires come from a non-selfish place? Also, how can I cultivate Healer qualities in myself?”

I love this comment. That Emerald can accept some uncomfortable truths about herself indicates she’s surviving the painful crisis of meeting her shadow. That she’s reflecting on her insights says her ego is growing strong enough to travel the path to self-knowledge. As Jungian analyst Monika Wikman writes, “Crisis and pain often catalyze a genuine, heart-felt attempt to reach toward the mysteries.”

So, Emerald, here are my answers to your questions. First, if you continue on this path your inner guide will show you your true motives. Second, because your ego is giving your heart the nourishment it needs, the seed of love planted there at your conception will grow of its own accord. Congratulations! You’re already cultivating your Healer, my young friend.

You can purchase Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or


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