Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Which Masculine Archetypes Are Strongest In You? November 17, 2015

Fascinated by the inner forces that influence human attitudes and behavior, I’ve spent years trying to understand archetypes. Nobody can describe them with any certainty because they are deeply unconscious. However, there are many theories based on research and careful observation of human nature.

My perspective is based on Jungian psychology.  Like Jung, I think of the archetype of the Self—our core, circumference and God-image—as an alchemical blend of so-called “masculine” Spirit (animus) and “feminine” Soul (anima). Obviously, Spirit and Soul have nothing to do with gender; everyone contains both. However, using “masculine” and “feminine” to describe these foundational forces of every psyche can be helpful.  As metaphors, they help us understand differing and often conflicting forces in ourselves and others. But when, in our ignorance, we assign them to the genders and reject the qualities of our opposite, we repress our fullest potential and obstruct our growth.

I’ve found it helpful to think of four main feminine archetypes as Queen, Mother, Wisewoman and Beloved. These serve our drive for  species-preservation and relationship/wholeness. The masculine King, Warrior, Magician/Scholar and Lover serve our drive for self-preservation and individuation. Since the masculine archetypes are more familiar to most of us, I’ll begin with them and discuss the feminine next time.

It is by no means necessary that we all agree with any one way of imagining our instinctual energies. Indeed, the fact that I’ve found it useful to organize them into mental categories simply reflects my masculine penchant for clear, logical distinctions. I could just have easily focused on experiencing them in my body, nature, relationships, needs and emotions. But I was educated with the left-brained academic bias which has dominated Western culture for thousands of years. This does not in any way violate or diminish the power of feminine energy. It simply blinds us to it.  Which is why I believe that clarifying the differences that divide us is a necessary step to integrating them.

I also want to note that while everyone is furnished with the same basic patterns of psychic energy, how we and our culture see, activate and manifest them differs.  Moreover, each archetype changes as our egos mature through three phases of self-awareness and self-knowledge.

In the first phase we see our King as a cultural Father figure, protector, and preserver of law and virtue who leads us with clear thinking and hierarchical order. The Old King is authoritarian and tradition-bound; questioning his law is taboo. But if we keep growing, he becomes a restless, searching, ego-driven Son/Prince who challenges outdated standards and risks breaking old rules. In turn, the Prince can become a mature and wise masculine sovereign of the psyche who, like England’s Queen Elizabeth I or the legendary King Arthur, actively promotes tolerance, healing change, order, virtue and justice in himself and society.

Our unreflective Warrior is focused on perfecting the body and the world. He proves himself and acquires power and success by influencing others with aggressive, impressive behavior while having little real concern for their feelings. In the Son phase he begins to question his motives, methods and values and struggles to channel his dynamic manifesting activity into work that provides a satisfying outlet for his true talents and ideals. In his final phase he is like Merida, the warrior princess in Disney’s animated film Brave, a Samurai Warrior, or a Star Wars Jedi master who channels his expertise, self-discipline, courage, and moral maturity into activities that heal the broken, protect the vulnerable, defend human rights, and preserve every form of life.

The unreflective Magician/Scholar seeks release from delusion by processing information with focused consciousness and logical thinking. He prefers the objective to the subjective and the known to the unknown and keeps the two sharply separated. In his Son phase he questions tribal wisdom and pursues unorthodox and occasionally original ideas and ways of thinking. The mature Magician/Scholar is a creative, reflective Wise Old Man like Hermes, Avatar’s Dr. Grace Augustine, or Professor Dumbledore whose “magical” knowledge, acceptance, and integration of the visible and invisible forces of life makes him an effective thought leader who can transcend boundaries between people and worlds.

Finally, the Lover is the idealistic and passionate dynamic principle in relationships. In his unreflective phase he seeks emotional release and physical love and pleasure with little compassion or moral responsibility. As Son he treats his Beloved with less selfishness and moodiness and more responsiveness to her differing feelings and needs. The mature Lover is a playful, romantic, aesthetically aware and psychologically balanced lover of life. Like Dionysus, poets Sappho and Lord Byron, or William Blake he appreciates the beauty, worth and inspiration of femininity and honors it in himself and his partners.

The negative poles of the masculine archetypes can be as contemptible as the positive are commendable. The shadow side of the masculine drive for self-preservation abuses and destroys otherness. Whether in a male or female, an unconscious King is a morally rigid, biased, rule-oriented and uncaring tyrant; a Warrior is an abusive invader and wanton destroyer; the Magician/Scholar is a cleverly manipulative, duplicitous, and critical know-it-all; and the Lover, a perverted, hedonistic addict.  But when all four are fully developed and partnered with equally mature feminine archetypes, the result is a profoundly powerful, uniquely creative, psychologically whole and spiritually enlightened being.

Next time I’ll address the basic feminine archetypes.  Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for a little inner work you might reflect on which of your masculine archetypes are more fully developed and which could use some growing.

Jean Raffa’s “The Bridge to Wholeness” and “Dream Theatres of the Soul” are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. “Healing the Sacred Divide” can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.

 

Which Masculine Archetypes Are Strongest In You? April 20, 2012

Nobody can describe the archetypes with any certainty because they are deeply unconscious. However, there are many theories based on research and careful observation of human nature.  Mine is largely based on Jungian psychology.  I see four main masculine archetypes—King, Warrior, Magician/Scholar and Lover—which serve our “masculine” drive for self-preservation and individuation. While the basic patterns of energy they represent are the same in every soul, their details differ across cultures. The way we see and manifest them matures as our egos grow through three phases of self-awareness and self-knowledge.

In the first phase we see our King as a cultural Father figure, protector, and preserver of law and virtue who leads us with clear thinking and hierarchical order. He is authoritarian and tradition-bound and questioning his law is taboo. If we keep growing, he becomes a restless, searching, ego-driven Son/Prince who challenges outdated standards and risks breaking old rules. In turn, the Prince can become a mature and wise masculine sovereign of the psyche who, like the legendary King Arthur, actively promotes healing change, order, virtue and justice in himself and society.

Our unreflective Warrior proves himself and acquires power and success by influencing others without concern for their feelings or questioning his motives, methods, employers or personal values. In the Son phase he struggles to channel his dynamic manifesting activity into work that uses his real talents and ideals. And in his final phase he is like a Hercules, Samurai Warrior, or Star Wars Jedi master who uses his expertise, self-discipline, courage, caring, and moral maturity to heal the broken, protect the vulnerable, defend human rights, and preserve every form of life.

The unreflective Magician/Scholar seeks release from delusion by processing information with focused consciousness and logical thinking. He prefers the objective to the subjective and the known to the unknown and keeps the two sharply separated. In his Son phase he questions tribal wisdom and pursues unorthodox ideas and ways of thinking. The mature Magician/Scholar is a reflective Wise Man like Hermes or Professor Dumbledore whose “magical” understanding of the visible and invisible forces of life enables him to be an effective thought leader who can transcend boundaries between people and worlds.

Finally, the Lover is the idealistic and passionate dynamic principle in relationships. In his unreflective phase he seeks emotional release and physical love and pleasure with little compassion or moral responsibility. As Son he treats his Beloved with less selfishness and moodiness and more responsiveness to her needs. The mature Lover is a playful, romantic, aesthetically aware and psychologically balanced lover of life. Like Dionysus, Lord Byron or William Blake he appreciates the beauty, worth and inspiration of femininity and honors it in himself and his partner.

The negative poles of the masculine archetypes can be as contemptible as the positive are commendable. The shadow side of the masculine drive for self-preservation abuses and destroys otherness. Whether in a male or female, a negative King is a morally rigid, biased, rule-oriented and uncaring tyrant; a Warrior is an abusive invader and wanton destroyer; the Magician/Scholar is a manipulative, duplicitous, and critical know-it-all; and the Lover, a perverted, hedonistic addict.  But when all four are fully developed and partnered with equally mature feminine archetypes, the result is a profoundly powerful, uniquely creative, psychologically whole and spiritually enlightened being.

Next time I’ll address the basic feminine archetypes.  Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for a little inner work you might reflect on which of the masculine archetypes are more fully developed in you and which ones could use some growing.

 

Making Connections October 7, 2011

My philosophically-oriented mind is very attracted to ideas and I delight in making connections between fascinating theories and my everyday inner and outer life. But my readers are teaching me that others don’t automatically make the same connections I take for granted and sometimes I need to clarify their practical applications. So I’d like to share a recent interaction with a reader who is helping me see how to do this. In response to “Who Was Eve: Wanton or Warrior?” Donna wrote, “You lost me on this one.” Here’s an improved version of my response.

Sorry, Donna. My point was that this story is about how primitive humanity, symbolized by Adam and Eve, was at the mercy of the rules made up by the leaders of their tribes. If a powerful group leader said, “I talked to God last night and God says you can’t shoot marbles with the kids from across the tracks,” or wear the color red, or eat a certain food, or whatever, they didn’t dare challenge his/her authority lest they be banished from the tribe, their only source of protection, and die all alone in the wilderness.

As humanity acquired greater self-awareness and better survival skills, some of our early rules became outdated, yet we were so conditioned by traditional standards that we continued to believe in them even when they had lost their relevance. As long as we didn’t stop to think about what a rule was for and why we shouldn’t break it, we were living in a paradise of ignorance and childish innocence in which whatever our tribe told us was good was good, and whatever it said was bad was bad, and all we had to do was obey and we’d be good too.

Thus, if the custom was to stone a child for disobeying its parents, jail a starving man for stealing a piece of bread, or ostracize a woman for exposing her ankles, we did it without compunction because we sincerely believed it was the right thing to do. It’s the same with parents and kids. Some rules are important when we’re young and vulnerable, but some are products of our parent’s particular neuroses. Eventually we have to decide for ourselves what’s really right and what’s really wrong because as long as our moral reasoning is based on following rules willy nilly, we’re capable of committing evil without even knowing it!

Eve represents the awakening soul which says, “This rule does more harm than good and I’m not going to keep it any longer.” So while her action was very bad from the viewpoint of her “tribe’s” limited God-image, from a higher perspective it was actually a courageous moral act. Eating from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil means seeing for yourself what’s right and wrong and challenging rules you know to be unjust or immoral whether others do or not.  Examples of people who ate from the same tree, (became more conscious of what was wrong with their societies), include Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. They knew it’s evil to hurt, restrict, persecute, enslave or kill others who are different from “us.”  This knowledge emboldened them to leave the narrow thinking of their groups and inspire others to do the same. This is why Eve is the mother of all Spirit Warriors who help humanity evolve into greater moral awareness and responsibility.

Thank you, Donna. I hope this clears up my meaning. And my sincere gratitude to all who comment here for helping me make better connections with others through my writing.

 

America’s Dream of Our Emerging Queen January 25, 2011

A new American conscience has been emerging for some time now. For my generation it began in the 60’s with President Kennedy who worked with Sargent Shriver to develop the Peace Corps because he dreamed of eliminating poverty and creating world peace. It hasn’t happened yet, but many lives have been changed for the better.

Dr. King had a dream about universal justice and tried to establish it through tolerance and non-violence. Many were inspired by his dream, and after the chaotic time during which his life was taken we began to realize it, especially in our schools and places of work. Sure, tolerance and justice and still don’t always prevail, but hey, when have they ever? Personally, I see promising signs. Look at the legal shows on television. Many of them treat complex issues about justice in very responsible, intelligent ways. As I see it, our collective vision of a more just society is getting clearer and we’re working harder to make it a reality.

The tragedy of Sept.11 brought out the soft sides of New Yorkers. A year later my husband and I were stuck in a New York traffic jam. Amazingly, no horns were blaring. Most amazing of all, our taxi driver apologized for the traffic. I couldn’t believe it. “You’re apologizing for the traffic?” I said. “You realize you’ve just trashed a national stereotype don’t you?” He said with utmost sincerity, “It’s because of 9/11. Mayor Bloomberg told us taxi drivers we’re ambassadors for America and we can change the world’s opinion of us by being more respectful to our fares and each other.” This guy and his crusty peers were dreaming about being nice!

Enter the tragedy in Tucson and the ensuing outpouring of compassion. We all have it in us, you know. It’s because of the Queen archetype which motivates us to bring about lawful order and moral virtue through caring. And our most conscious leaders, like Pres. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver and Dr. King and Pres. Obama and even that taxi driver who saw himself as an ambassador of kindness, have responded to our crises over the last 50 years by birthing her into our collective awareness.

Many of you are cynical about how long this will last, but the truth is, when humanity dreams of a better way we dig in our heels and go for it. It’s a law of nature, the way we’re made. Look at the worldwide changes since King John signed the Magna Charta. Sure, that was 800 years ago and a lot of truly nasty stuff has happened since, but once the seeds of democracy were sown they sprouted and flowered and spread around the globe like kudzu. They’re still spreading.

Humans are not irredeemably bad. We each have the capacity for good and evil, and sure, we can go either way. But beneath the messes our egos keep making, the Self, archetype of wholeness, prods us to keep growing, to become more conscious and morally mature. This urge bubbles up when crises lower our resistance to psychological realities. It’s why we create religions. Nobody makes us do that; we do it because we must. Nobody made Pres. Kennedy create the Peace Corps, or Dr. King advocate non-violence, or that taxi driver be nice. The Self gave these people dreams and they activated their Queens to manifest them.

And therein lies our hope: We can kill our leaders, but we can’t kill our Queen. Long may she reign.

You can find Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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