There are so many threads to pull and each one leads to a world of words. All I can do this morning is name some of them and bring the whole cloth later.There’s a volatile unconscious energy loose in the world. It’s been there for a while, growing. It’s not one thing and it’s not “out there” but is an expression of the collective unconscious. So in a very real sense, it’s not something that anyone can describe for you. You have to find your way with it yourself.How you see it will and does depend on your soul values, your highest and deepest sense of what’s true. It is easy to forget this. Powerful emotions and polarized positions want to draw you to their side. And they’ll be angry at you if you’re not on their side. You can be wounded easily if you are on their side because they’re not interested in your soul values, how you see it, what you care about most. They don’t know who you want to be and they don’t know what you have to do.You’ll have to bring that yourself in a difficult time and so that makes this a soul struggle. It’s yours personally and it’s mine personally. There’s no place outside of it in which to stand.From an archetypal perspective we’re looking for how we can contribute to protecting the realm.Yet even there we come into archetypal warrior territory again. We’re not in a safe protected place, a time of peace where we can only take care of local concerns in the old way. We’re in a place where the warrior and the healthy masculine is wanted from both men and women.But the healthy masculine is in almost total disarray socially. My judgment is that the disarray we see is itself the expression of the expulsion and abdication of the healthy masculine from society. Instead we see it in distorted or less healthy forms. The acting out around George Floyd’s terrible death is itself an expression of the unhealthy masculine. An African proverb says that “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” We’ve not embraced the boys and showed them a way to serve. The epidemic of fatherlessness for which men and women both have responsibility is certainly an important part of this dynamic. This loss of healthy masculine and the rise of an equal and opposite unhealthy feminine as root causes of the problem we collectively face. This does not mean that masculine or feminine are themselves unhealthy. On the contrary they’re necessary and good and their balance is representative of health in the home and the nation.We consciousness explorers, shared mindfulness folk and “we-space” men and women are part of this same one-sidedness. In style and substance we tend to favor a celebration of oneness and unity at the expense of holding, engaging, and being honest about, the friction that come from our individuality.In my own groups I will be attempting room for both sides. The movement toward more room for the masculine is a work in progress
The Warrior Archetype
Archetypes are psychic structures that live in team human.They’re part of human nature and we see them everywhere in old stories and just below the surface in new stories too. They’re as recognizably human inside as our arms and legs are recognizable outside.
While Carl Jung popularized the study of archetypal psychology earlier in the last century, a simple and practical classification for them was developed later on by American Jungian psychoanalyst Robert Moore with collaborator Douglas Gillette. Together they wrote the groundbreaking book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. It was an introduction to the mature masculine psyche. While there are important differences between women and men, these four, the Sovereign, Warrior, Magician and lover are common to us all.
Both women and men can work equally well with these archetypes and develop natural abilities there. The coaching system I’m schooled in, 4Gateways, has a learnable and practical way to do this. Working with all four is useful because, like an individual in a family or team, each individual gateway reflects and contributes to the others. Together they form a psychic whole.
Right now I’m most interested in the Warrior aspect but because they’re a whole, each of the others has to be considered as well. Here’s how that looks in a session:
The seeker puts two pieces of paper or objects to represent two opposing sides of the issue; for example, I want to do X . . . but if I do then Y will happen. Then the speaker steps back so “he” can have a relationship from the perspective of each of the four archetypes: Sovereign, Warrior, Magician and Lover. He does this by physically moving around to each quadrant of a four quadrant circle. In each he asks questions that the mature side of that archetype is interested in and needs to know. Because they’re his answers, the seeker is teaching himself from the inside, evoking his own soul wisdom. This can be done alone but it’s helpful to have a buddy or coach along because we often can’t see for ourselves what is obvious to others. It’s one of the paradoxes of spiritual work that we do the work ourselves and are helped by others.
Typically, somewhere in the process of asking the questions and looking at the situation from multiple perspectives, a light goes on. The seeker sees something he hasn’t noticed, often in a quadrant he tends to ignore.
The quadrant that interests me most these days is the one I think is most overlooked in the world: the Warrior. It’s much easier to take in ever more information (which the Magician loves), to explore with others in heartfelt ways (which the Lover and the Sovereign like), to meditate and practice Presence (which the Sovereign relaxes into) than it is to move into the Warrior, take concrete action and change the course of our lives and the world around us.The various forms of consumption are easy and tempting diversions from Warrior work; they don’t ask you to seriously consider whether action is needed and what and when.
I’ve often stopped shy of Warrior work in my own life. My book, Evolutionary YOU is the Magician‘s perspective on what’s needed from the Warrior. It’s a wonderful book on the hidden loyalties that keeps us blind from seeing where we need to go. But it doesn’t take you there.
Activating the Warrior is needed though and in so many different ways. The Warrior is important for both women and men in the low-level gender conflict going on in most of the western world. (More about this in a separate post.) The Warrior’s skill at holding clear and non-blaming boundaries has a vital role in the political sphere and question of borders (think immigration and refugees), in questions of privilege and “decolonization,” censorship and free-speech. The ability to hold our ground and risk speaking (or deciding not to) is also a Warrior discernment. Young men and women need healthy warrior energy to find what’s true for them as opposed to doing what ill-informed but well-meaning adults would have them do.
The world of consciousness exploration often skirts around the issue of warriorship too. Standing in our Warrior is part of how we serve in a time of change, but its often treated as too hot to handle.