Sunday, December 06, 2009

Archetypes Of Feminine Leadership

י"ט בכסלו תש"ע
Shamash 21

Early this morning, I dreamt many dreams. One of the dreams was the waking vision of a faerie door. Simply, it opened before me in wordless recognition of my presence as we came together face to face. We came together as if the two of us were one - the faerie door and I - the faerie door is integrally part of me, it is my own. It opened before me. I briefly woke up.

According to Celtic Faerie traditional witchcraft, portals between worlds were built long ago by the Faerie Queen. I then, am the Faerie Queen. What then is She, this Faerie Queen? She is an archetype of transcendental Divine Feminine power.

Lieutenant Colonel Prisco R. Hernández (excerpts from Jung’s Archetypes as Sources for Female Leadership) writes:

Despite the presence of matriarchal systems, in most cultures, social and political power has been disproportionately exercised by males. Western culture, which evolved within a predominantly Christian context, has its religious sources in the Jewish-Semitic Middle East and the Greco-Roman political and philosophical traditions, both of which are distinctly patriarchal. This means that in the political, religious, and economic spheres the majority of leaders have been male. In those cases where women have been called upon to exercise leadership roles, they were expected to master “trans-gendered” roles and exercise male-like leadership. For example Queen Isabella of Castile was admiringly described by her contemporaries as a mujer de ánimo varonil (a woman of manly temper).

Nonetheless, Western civilization has not been entirely dismissive of the female psychic energies. The four female archetypes of the Faerie, the Wise One, the Lover, and the Queen are found in most cultures and provide insights into female patterns of leadership. As is the case with her male counterpart, the King, the Queen is the most complex and mature of the female archetypes. This is because the image of a Queen who serves as a center for the mature ordering of things includes and transcends the other archetypes of the Feminine. Indeed the most powerful embodiment of this archetype is the Great Goddess—The Great Mother. This cosmic image is the equal to that of an all powerful God, the source of complete cosmic power, but at the same time is more accessible, less menacing. Images that may point to such a Great Mother, a supernatural Queen, are among some of the earliest human depictions of a higher power.

On a human scale, a powerful woman who is entirely confident in herself and is capable of serving as role model would necessarily reflect on a more modest scale the attributes of the Queen. However, all the essential attributes of the archetype of the Queen are present in a real woman who plays that role, regardless of the scope her real responsibilities—be she queen of a nation, a clan, or her own family.

Since the archetype of the Queen is the richest, most mature form of the Feminine, it cannot arrive at the pinnacle of life-enhancing majesty without first participating in the attributes of other important feminine archetypes. Just as the King is not born as a King, but must start life as a Prince, the Queen begins life as a Princess. The Princess is called to evolve to the fullness of her potential and must earn her Queenship through a path that necessarily involves trials and suffering as the way to experience and maturity.

Interestingly, there is a triform (Maid-Mother-Crone) Goddess path to Queenship.

If the Prince must normally develop through the path of the Warrior, the Princess develops through that of the Faerie. This is the one archetype that is distinctly different for male and female development. Just as the Warrior is the most natural complement to the King and embodies a set of virtues that are necessary to Kingship, the Faerie is the most natural first step on the road to Queenship. The explosive centrifugal energy of the male Warrior archetype is balanced in the cosmic order of things by the attractive, centrifugal energy of the female Faerie archetype. The Faerie is not just a Princess, she is the symbol of all that is fair, all that is beautiful, all that transcends material existence. These concepts are not merely ornamental niceties but are at the very center of Being.

Just as the Warrior appears most fully when he gives himself over to death in an act of self-denial, the Faerie appears most fully when she denies herself all intercourse with men. This is the source of her power. She places herself outside any man’s power; thus, she has the power to inspire, to attract. Consider the real-life women who have embodied the Faerie—Joan of Arc, known as La Pucelle (The Maid), Elizabeth I “The Faerie Queen,” the Legendary St. Barbara— who is invoked as the Patroness of artillerymen in many armies throughout the world—St. Cecilia—the Christian embodiment of Musica; all eschewed conventional attachment to men.

Joan of Arc, who like a Valkyrie takes up the arms and armor of a Warrior, is also a Faerie—inspiring many warriors to heroic feats and an entire country to seek freedom. Her words demonstrate the power for active leadership generated by the Faerie archetype: “Go bravely; all will be well. Have no fear. We shall find none who can harm us; indeed, we shall meet with no resistance. I have no fear for lack of men. There will be many to follow me.”

Another path to Queenship leads through the archetype of the Wise One. If the Faerie inhabits ethereal regions where all appears as bright and luminous, the Wise One inhabits the shadows. She is at home near the earth, even inside the earth, inside the dark, moist, primordial womb, the source of all fertility. The Wise One is no longer young. She is mature, rooted. She is likely to be old and she is a Mother, or more likely, a Grand-Mother. In contrast to the Faerie, she has once been a companion to the male, she may have even loved a male, but she has now transcended all that and has reached a state of superior wisdom. In contrast also to her male counterpart—the Magician—her subtle mind seeks not to penetrate beneath the surface of things and probe the mysteries of nature, rather, she looks inward into the mysteries of Being.

It is natural for the Wise One to seek separation from her sisters who toil in the world. Her quest for special knowledge requires long hours of solitude for study and reflection. Most often, the Wise One becomes a seer, an advisor. But in some cases, the Wise One may [also] rise to be a Queen. She may then combine the attributes of the Queen and the Wise One, becoming the Wise-Queen. The Queen of Sheba, the counterpart to Solomon—the Magician King—illustrates this type of leadership. According to the Biblical narrative the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon as an equal, for she “…traveled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions.” In the Story of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba the Wise-Queen meets the Magician-King and she is satisfied. Notice how the Queen of Sheba—the Wise One—does not fall in love even with Solomon—the Magician-King. She is beyond easy infatuation; she is whole within herself, secure in her arcane wisdom.

The fourth archetype of the mature feminine is the Lover. Even more that in the case of its male twin, the female Lover archetype poses a problem when taken in the context of leadership. The Lover embodies the unrestrained embrace of the life-force. It is a life-affirming and creative archetype but one that eschews order, sacrifice, and rational knowledge. It is not easily reconciled with the orderly world of the Queen and its concept of noblesse oblige or inborn sense of duty, and is the polar opposite of the virginal Faerie. It is suspicious of the knowledge of the Wise One, because she has transcended this phase. And it also is dependent on the other—the Lover seeks to empty herself out and merge or become the Beloved. Could we then conclude that there is no place for the Lover in the spiritual makeup of the female leader? Given the importance of all archetypes to a mature and balanced human existence it would be wise to reconsider the paradoxical relationship of the Lover to the other archetypes. Can there be a Lover-Queen?

The powerful Ishtar/Astarte/Aphrodite/Venus mythological complex is a strong archetypical current that runs deep from the appropriately named Fertile Crescent through the foundations of Near Eastern and Western Civilizations. India has equally powerful images of female generative power in Shakti, and her three avatars or embodiments of Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Parvati. The Chinese Ying-Yang symbol represents in graphic form the classic Jungian mysterium conjuinctionem. Thus, the Lover intrudes powerfully into humanity’s collective consciousness. If a leader is enthusiastic, connects with her followers and is capable of inspiring them to accomplish the difficult deeds, she is partaking of the energy made available by the Lover archetype.

Thus, as is the case with the male Lover, the female Lover gains enormous powers of transcendence but she, and he, are subjected to “the other” and therefore lack the freedom of the other archetypes. This is the power and limitation of the hierosgamos—the cosmic marriage of opposites. It is equally apparent that the other virtues resident in the Faerie and the Wise One need to rein-in the Lover’s “oceanic” exuberance and desire to transcend all limits in order to allow her energy its life-giving role without creating chaos in the realm. But, in a different sense, if the Lover recognizes the One worthy of her love and subjects herself completely to Him, the results can be amazing. It appears that the Lover is as essential to good Queenship as it is to mature Kingship.

Of these [four archetypes of transcendental feminine leadership], the Queen is the leader par excellence. But the Queen must encompass other qualities as well. The road to Queenship takes an aspiring leader through the path of the Faerie and/or the Wise One. These two in turn remain puerile or sterile without the life-affirming attributes of the Lover. Thus, if we reflect on the archetypes of the mature feminine they offer aspiring women leaders models that may serve as sources of strength to help them protect, guide, and inspire their followers.

Where do I find evidence of all four of these archetypes in this weekend's writings and my own experience?

The Faerie - First, immediately apparent is the faerie door (legendarily made by the Faerie Queen long ago) of this morning's waking dream vision. Second, in my own current life, I am in a time of faerie. To explain, the time of faerie is a time of separation from physical connection to any man. Having remained celibate as I wait for the arrival of my true bashert, I have been in a time of faerie by consciously determined choice and vow for two decades. This time of faerie of Celtic tradition parallels the time of niddah of Jewish tradition. It is a time for female solitude, middot improvement and development of devekut with the Divine. Third, in my dream, The Comet - one man was inspired to follow this Faerie during her time of faerie into Kingship and all the way to mountaintop summit - and beheld the comet. The comet kabbalistically symbolizes the soul-root of messianic consciousness. Consequently, the time of faerie (in Celtic tradition), and the parallel time of niddah (in Jewish tradition), are times of pure feminine development removed from masculine connection. Importantly, the times of pure feminine development are critically necessary for linkage to the soul-root of messianic consciousness and for both powers of Queenship and Kingship to actualize.

The Queen - Again, the faerie door, built by the Faerie Queen in Celtic legend, of this morning's waking dream vision recognized me. I am its maker. In yesterday's dream The Comet, I stood "the powerful woman entirely confident in myself to reach the mountaintop summit to find the the comet-palace, despite that 'they' might try to kill me." I became a Queen and another became a King whom the collective of our people followed. Not only did I become a Queen, but I became a Queen entirely confident enough in her own power to enable another's attainment of power beyond my own. I the Queen remained on the mountaintop, while he the King journeyed to Palace of the Comet to prepare and bring it home. We both couldn't go, one of us had to remain behind as a link to the Earth. It could have easily been the other way around.

The Wise One - Like the Wise-Queen of Sheba didn't fall in love with Solomon, neither did I fall in love with the one following me up the mountain to its summit. I relentlessly moved on in solitude despite his fears that I was crazy, that I was a fool, that they would kill me (us). I continued on unperturbed by any concern for his concerns. My singleminded ambition was to make it. I did not stop to comfort him, to soothe him, to assure him, to take note of his struggle - nothing. I don't even know who he is, let alone love him.

The Lover - I obtained and harnassed the transcendent power of the Lover archetype through the power of self-limitation (tzimtzum - creating a womb for new reality). I limited and subjected myself to the Other by remaining on the mountaintop while the King flew to the comet-palace. Importantly, the King's ability to fly to the comet-palace came into being precisely on account of the Queen's act of self-limitation through the Lover archetype, becoming a Lover Queen - as I am also a Faerie Queen and a Wise Queen.

Taking all this together, in witchcraft and Goddess spirituality, the Faerie corresponds to the Maid/Virginal aspect, the Wise One to the Mother/Maga aspect, and the Lover to the Crone/Transcendent Feminine aspect. The Queen herself corresponds to Goddess (both Immanent and Transcendent) in Wholeness, and is the archetypal essence of the Divine Feminine.


Mia said...

This is fantastic. I found your writing while searching, 'feminine leadership'. I have found few mentors in this regard and your breakdown of the four aspects is stirring. Thank you. Mia

Myfanwy said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Dare to be true to yourself.