Male and Female Archetypes

Male and Female Archetypes

C. G Jung believed that we all share a deeply buried set of instinctual patterns and energy configurations, probably inherited genetically throughout the generations of our species. He called this the “collective unconscious”. In their book “King, Warrior, Magician and Lover”, Robert Moore and Doug Gillette, describe how these human blueprints, or archetypes, are present in men today and pattern men’s thoughts, feelings and relationships.

The Art of Manliness provides some descriptions of healthy, mature male archetypes, summarised as follows:

The Lover is the archetype of emotion, feeling, idealism, and sensuality. The Lover is alive with vim and vigour and connected to the world and those around him.

The Warrior embodies effort, energy, initiative and purpose. A Warrior is mindful, adaptable, decisive, skilful, loyal, disciplined, emotionally detached. He is the creative destroyer, making room for something new, fresh and more alive.

The Magician is the knower. His power comes from thoughtful reflection and meditation. He looks for ways to turn disappointing situations and setbacks into opportunities to learn, grow, and become a better man. He has the ability to explain complicated spiritual ideas in ways others can easily grasp and drives to obtain hidden knowledge.

The King is able to harness the power of the remaining three archetypes for the good of the world. The King is centred, remaining cool, calm, and collected. He makes decisions wisely, based on values and experience, demonstrates integrity, keeps his word, acts with honesty, and takes responsibility for his actions. He protects his family and employees, doing what’s right, not what’s popular. He provides order, through establishing rules, guidelines, and principles for others to follow.

Connecting with their healthy mature male archetypes allows men to experience both a connection with other men in the world today, but ancestors through the history of mankind. The archetypes represent what a ‘good man’ should be and describe a set of attributes for all men to aspire fully own.

Women also have a similar set of archetypes. One classification of these is described by Fallenagel at stottilien.com as follows:

The Lover manifests energy, fertility and spirituality. The Lover is a life-affirming archetype which dislikes rigid order and sterile knowledge.

The Mother is a life giver who maintains humanity. The Mother brings reproductive energy to women and has the power to inspire and to create. The Mother is a symbol of all that is fair, all that is beautiful, all that transcends material existence.

The Wise Woman sees the unseen. She is the prophetess, mediator and communicator of secret knowledge, the healer, counsellor, teacher, and spiritual.

The Queen is the semi-divine leader responsible for safety and well being and capable of harnessing the power of the other archetypes. Be it an empire, a nation, a clan, or her own family, the Queen will bring mature order to rein.

In a similar fashion to men, these mature archetypes represent a healthy model of female behaviour. However the male and female archetypes do no sit in isolation. A sub set of the female archetypes, labelled the Anima, lies buried within the male psyche, while a subset of the male archetypes, the Animus, lies within the female psyche. The male and female archetypes provide balance. Just as the extrovert is balanced by the introvert;  the feminine within the male, the Anima (Yin within the Yang), is balanced by the masculine within the female, the Animus (Yang within the Yin).

Male and female archetypes

Male and female archetypes

The mature adult, then, is one who has a healthy relationship with both the male and female in both inner archetypal form and externally in day to day living.

One of the key functions of conducting adolescent Rites of Passage is to help teenagers access their archetypes and develop healthy mature behaviour as adults.