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 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


Dream Symbol: The King January 22, 2011

Did you ever dream about a king or other powerful leader and wonder why? Throughout history kings and queens in the outer world have represented the mysterious force that creates and sustains life. This force has two basic drives: self-preservation (masculine) and species preservation (feminine).

The drive for self-preservation compels us to promote our individuality, protect our physical lives, and guarantee the prosperity of the “tribe” on which we depend for survival.  The King archetype is a symbol of this drive. In terms of our inner growth, Jung saw the King as a symbol of individuation, or becoming differentiated from our social groups.  Together, the King and Queen represent the masculine and feminine authorities of the psyche.

We enhance our chances for survival when everyone agrees to certain guidelines and standards that encourage orderly, responsible behavior. To that end we look to leaders with strong King archetypes to devise, enact, and enforce rules. Healthy King energy uses clear and logical  thinking to create fair and just rules in systems of hierarchical authority. Unhealthy King energy is either too obsessive or passive to truly care about others and therefore wreaks havoc in families, schools, businesses, churches, and nations.

Examples of men upon whom we project the King archetype include leaders at the top of social hierarchies such as fathers, school principals, CEO’s, generals, presidents, ministers, priests, and popes; historical kings such as Caesar, Louis XIV, and Henry VIII; mythical god-images associated with kingly authority like Zeus, Thor, Hades, and King Neptune; and kings in stories and legends like King Midas, King Arthur, The Fisher King, The Lion King and his negative counterpart Scar.

Women with well-developed King energy include Maat, Egypt’s goddess of justice, truth, and law; Themis, the Greek goddess of equity, law, and peace; the Cherokee’s Grandmother Spider; Japan’s Sun Goddess Amaterasu; and human women like Cleopatra, Catherine de’ Medici, Catherine the Great, Mary Queen of Scots, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton, Judge Judy, and decisive, authoritarian, rule-oriented mothers.

Dream themes associated with our King address rules, crimes, morality, authority, order, leadership, and individuation. Two King dreams are especially auspicious.  An old King dying to make way for a new one says we’ve outgrown our childish dependence on outer authorities and are assuming our personal authority.  A wedding between a King and Queen suggests the conscious integration of our inner opposites.

Dream symbols that refer to our King include all the examples above plus other powerful authorities like dictators, governors, prison guards, police men and women, judges, lions (the king of beasts) and stallions. We learn more about the strength and health of our King energy by noticing the way these dream figures treat us and others, and by how our dream ego feels and behaves when we are in their presence or in positions of leadership ourselves.

In waking life, the problems we experience as leaders and the way we feel about and respond to those with authority over us can be traced directly to the maturity of our personal King and Queen. It is important to integrate both forms of energy into our awareness so we can choose the best possible leaders,and so we ourselves can live, speak and lead with wisdom and benevolence.

Has a King ever showed up in your dreams?  I’d love to hear about it.


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