(Wake Up World | Dr Sarah Walton) I’m an author. As novelist I aim to connect to readers to deeper layers within themselves and to the world around them. One way to do this is through universal shared beliefs, so archetypes are important to me.
What are archetypes
An archetype is the personification of universal human qualities. Archetypes have been around for as long as humans have been telling each other stories. Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, used the term archetype to refer to universal human patterns and beliefs. Instead of the word archetype it can be useful to think of the words spirit or energy. The power of archetypes in our lives rests on our capacity to open to the energy they offer us.
There are many female archetypes, but I’ll focus on four key ones: Maiden, Mother, Wild Woman and Crone. This article explains the power each offers us and ends with a guided meditation exercise you can do at home to connect to the Wild Woman archetype. The Wild Woman archetype can guide you when problems or challenges arise in life and you need to access your inner wisdom. The exercise will show you how to harness the energy of that archetype to support your journey to clarity and resolution. There’s also links to free guided meditations, archetype videos and a Wild Woman workshop.
Why work with archetypes?
Men and women can harness the energy of feminine archetypes. For women it is particularly helpful to reclaim the power of the feminine, as many of us will have grown up without realising we absorbed disempowering representations of female archetypes in books, film and cartoons.
Very often film and children’s books present the shadow side of female archetypes. Stories commonly depict females in restrictive roles, which may limit young girls’ aspirations and success. Studies of award-winning books for young children have found female characters are often portrayed as passive, silent and assigned archetypes with passivity and service to others (orphan, innocent, and caretaker). Few children’s books are assigned archetypes associated with innovation, wisdom and power.
Primary school teachers in some parts of the world are growing in their awareness of the negative gender messages children’s books send to girls and boys. However, for those of us who grew up with traditional educations, the literature and films we watched were full of passive innocents as maiden archetypes (such as Snow White) and evil witches depicting the crone archetype. This couldn’t be further from the truth. These are the shadow side, the dark side of these archetypes when they are not free to express their true nature. The light side of the Maiden represents independence and the Crone, wisdom and strength.
My own life journey has been guided by an archetype, which can be seen as both a representation of the Mother and the Wild Woman. Sophia (Wisdom in Greek), an ancient Gnostic Mother archetype, first came to me when I was recovering from a brain injury in 2004. A neuropsychologist informed me that I may never write fiction again – devastating news for a novelist!
A powerful determination arose inside me – the innovative spirit of the Maiden who dares to step into the unknown refused to believe this news. I turned to my mediation practice and began to play with meditation and writing by simply following my intuition. I also called in help. The guide that came was Sophia.
I recognised her calm wise energy instantly. I’d done a lot of research in the British Library on Sophia before the brain injury. I felt her energy fill me with creativity and inspiration and the deep wisdom that I could still write, albeit perhaps not what I wanted to write. Every time I tried to write, I invoked her spirit, or her archetypal energy. I pictured her in a red dress with long black hair, Middle Eastern features and kind eyes and connected to the energy of love and deep knowing that everything is possible. Sophia’s mother aspect filled me with hope, creativity, trust and my imagination bloomed into words on the page. I ended up writing her story, which I published in 2019: Sophia’s Tale.
When we call in the power of archetypes they can give us some of the qualities they represent. So which archetype do you need right now in your life? The four female archetypes below I believe can help with most situations life throws at us.
MAIDEN: independence. New moon and spring.
Step into Maiden energy when you start a new business, try a new sport, step outside of your comfort zone in any respect, celebrate life and have fun.
Her innocence is indicative of freshness and fearlessness when the Maiden is operating in her true power. The Maiden archetype is not a co-dependant, passive Snow White figure (the Maiden’s shadow), at the mercy of others and waiting around for some Prince to rescue her. The Maiden does not need saving. She independently steps into the world fearlessly and with the confidence of someone without experience, but with a deep trust in life. She can sometimes look foolish, but she is not afraid to fail and embraces failure as part of the road to realising her dreams. She is an independent thinker and is not influenced by the views of society, family or her culture. She is courageous. She is often depicted with long flowing hair and looking very feminine and adorning herself with jewellery. Again this is a very narrow view and points more to her shadow side and the superficial aspects of the shadow of the Maiden. When she’s in her power, the Maiden is not influenced by others, but has her own sense of style. A woman can be in her Maiden energy when she dresses in trousers and cuts her hair short – if that is a true expression of her style. The Maiden is about authenticity and independence.
MOTHER: creativity & cycle of life. Full moon and summer.
Harness the energy of the Mother Archetype when working on a creative project, or to bring a project to fruition. It’s the power to birth something new into the world and to bloom and enjoy life.
There are numerous divine representations of the Mother from around the world. Examples are varied and include Gaia, the Greek Goddess, which has become synonymous with Planet Earth; Yoruba, the Nigerian water goddess who presides over rivers and oceans and the protection of children, and Kali, the Hindu Mother Goddess with blue-black skin who kills all demons sent to attack her. It is Kali who embodies the wholeness of the mother energy best for me. For it is Kali who most fully embodies of the cycle of life: birth, blooming, destruction, death and rebirth. Kali is not the mother who, in her keenness to protect her children from the harsh reality of life, hides the truth from them.
The Mother Archetype invites us to accept the whole scope of life, with all its challenges and difficulties, but to still be generous of spirit and loving.
WILD WOMAN: wholeness & intuition. Waning moon and autumn.
Harness the energy of the Wild Woman Archetype when you need to reflect on something to find the answers within yourself and access your inner wisdom.
The Wild Woman is everything that is natural and can connect you to your own inner wisdom. She goes deep inside herself and trusts her own knowledge. She does not care about anybody’s view of her and she can sometimes appear wild in a crazy way, but that is not what defines her. She can make other feel uncomfortable as she can sometimes not adhere to the status quo and voices what needs to be brought into the open in order to heal. Other times she may choose to stay silent. She vibrates with the energy of truth and bravery. Unlike the Maiden who achieves goals in the outside world, the Wild Woman’s journey is an inner one. She faces the truth of her soul, and has the courage to embrace, rather than push away, all the shame, pain and sadness within her, so that she can find light and joy in the wholeness of her being. In stories she has been represented by Lilith, Mary Magdalene and represents the dark side of the feminine.
The Wild Woman gives us permission to be what and who we truly are without judgement.
CRONE: collective wisdom. Dark moon and winter.
Call in the energy of the Crone Archetype for teaching, leading others, connecting to the wisdom of the collective and inner your strength.
The ancient, wise Crone holds the power of age and time in one hand and the key to timeless transformation in the other. Ancient is not necessarily old, always beautiful, never pretty. The crone has been stereotyped in theatre and film as a bitter old hag. This is a long way from her energy and it’s important for women – especially those on a path of justice and activism – to reclaim her powerful energy and honour her status. If we can give permission for this ancient part of ourselves to drive our actions, she will deliver deep insight. Writing is one of those activities.
She often has white hair and wrinkled skin, but her eyes are filled with a deep inner beauty of the collective knowledge of all times and a life well lived. She can be summoned at any age. She carries the capacity to hold space for others whether in groups or individually. Her wisdom is not from within like the Wild Women, but from the collective. She often is said to have the long sight.
The Cailleach, is an example of a Celtic Crone. Circe, the Ancient Greek Goddess is another. Cailleach was a fearsome one-eyed, blue-faced Witch. Her teeth were red, hair white and she wore a grey shawl. Unlike the Maiden, the Crone does not call us to adorn ourselves. Her focus is her inward appearance. It is said that those who dared to stare into her single eye would feast their senses on a land of infinite beauty within, the memory of which they would carry in their souls forever. The Crone has the power to sustain us on dark nights of the soul.
Everyone (including men) can connect to the empowering energy of the female archetypes. If you would like to try connecting to your inner Wild Woman, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for 20 minutes and follow the 5 easy steps below.
We start by entering a state of stillness by meditating – you don’t need any experience of meditation, just focus on your breathing. This helps us to bypass our fears and logic and step into our intuition. For those who would like to be guided, there’s a free Wild Woman meditation on the Soul Bliss YouTube channel at the end of this article.
Five steps to embody the energy of the Wild Woman and some Archetype Questions you can try at home:
- Create a calm space in your home where you can sit quietly. Treat it with reverence and perhaps add a crystal or candle to make it sacred. Sit and breathe in this space. Bring your whole awareness to your breath and slow down your inhale and exhale. When you feel calm, move to step 2.
- Create a safe inner space. One way to bypass the logical mind and connect to your intuition is to imagine a safe place inside yourself. To do this, close your eyes and imagine a place where you feel very, very safe. Maybe it’s a real place you have been to on holiday, a place you went to as a child, or maybe you can conjure from your imagination a place of infinite safety. Breathe in this imaginary space and relax.
- Invite the Wild Woman into your safe inner space. It’s important to be present in your body for this part. Breathe in your inner safe space and invite in the Wild Woman. Picture her in your mind’s eye. What does she look like? What colour is her hair, or is she bald? What is she wearing? Let your imagination guide you. Look into her eyes and connect to her energy. Some people just have a sense of her energy. That’s good too. Trust whatever arises.
- Ask your Inner Wild Woman for Guidance. Below are some questions you might ask her. Or you can ask for guidance about something personal to you.
- Where is the path to my joy?
- What does my soul need right now?
- Where is my happy place?
- Please give me a gift so I can stay connected to your Wild Woman Wisdom. If you visualise a gift, or feel an emotion, note it to memory.
- Imagine your Wild Woman melting into you. Take a few breaths in your safe inner space and thank the Wild Woman for showing up. Now imagine the Wild Woman melting into you. Imagine how it feels to have her hair colour, to see the world through her eyes, to know her deep wisdom and confidence in herself. Feel how she accepts herself, how you accept you and how natural that feels. Smile as you and your inner Wild Woman merge. For your inner Wild Woman is an aspect of your psyche.
If you can step into this spirit of your archetypes, you might discover parts of yourself that surprise and empower you. If you want to try something new, or are starting up a new business, you can try this with your inner Maiden archetype too. You can use the archetype videos below for guidance and to learn more about how to use archetypes in your life.
About the author:
Dr Sarah Walton is an Author, Soul Doctor and Founder of Soul Writing Coaching. She founded Soul Writing to bring her method of intuitive writing to people everywhere. In 2016 she founded Soul Living to help you find your soul purpose and Soul Business for soulpreneurs. She sees her job to reconnect you to your intuition and facilitate your process to reconnect with your soul – whether to find your soul purpose, your soul voice, unblock your writing, or to create a business identity that aligns with the essence of who you are. Dr Sarah has a PhD in Creative Writing and 25 years experience coaching individuals and business people. Her methods include meditation techniques to unblock your life in a fun, safe and relaxed way.
Free Meditations on Sarah’s YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/0BWgUDd4-4Y
Free Video About the 4 Feminine Archetypes: https://youtu.be/bl3hEbR4B2w
Free Recorded Soul Workshop with Tania Ho and Sarah Walton about the Wild Woman (with guided meditation): https://youtu.be/xXtQJI0beRE
Source: Wake Up World
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