An Image of the Warrior Archetype
The Warrior in his fullness, the mature Warrior, creates order, sets boundaries, and goes out into the world and gets things done on the orders of the King. The mature Warrior often has these qualities:
He knows his job is to take action in the world in service to the King. He needs the orders of a good and just King to bring him to his full expression.
He sets boundaries. He does this with clear understanding of the concept of difference: of an innate knowing about “This is where I stop and you begin”. He knows how to set a boundary and the difference between “yes” and “no”. He knows what he would die for, and he’s clear about what he would defend to the death.
He tends to see things in black or white. His may be a binary world. Clarity is everything. That way he knows with certainty what needs to be done.
He may act without feeling to get things done. Examples of this include the way fire fighters go into a burning building to save people. This is true Warrior energy: take action first, feel the feelings later – if necessary.
His principles as a Warrior are action, service, loyalty and justice.
He knows that a mature and principled Warrior will not follow an unjust or tyrannical King, no matter what the immediate rewards might be.
He needs a cause to believe in and fight for. His cause might be something he believes in on a personal level, or it might be the King’s mission of service in the world. He is motivated to take action.
He believes in the motto “Protect and Serve.”
When boundaries are crossed, he reacts with anger and goes on the offensive (or defensive). Another expression of his energy is the male energy he takes into the world to get things done. Yet another is assertiveness. He knows how to channel the very energy of life, of vitality, for the benefit of those he serves and for himself.
He takes care of himself, so he can take care of his tribe, the people who live with him in the Kingdom, and the possessions and lands of the Kingdom.
Additional descriptions others may use for the Warrior in his fullness, the mature Warrior, include: brave, committed, willful, and not swayed by fear. And that is true: he may be afraid but he can still be confrontational and confident.
The Emotional Wound In The Warrior
Of course, the development of clean and clear warrior energy in any adult depends on the child’s Warrior being welcomed into the world. That means the parents’ acceptance of his or her anger, assertiveness, and experimentation with boundary setting. (For example, not getting upset when a child says “NO”! and throws a temper tantrum – the classic sign of a Warrior in the making – at least in a child…)
This behavior, in children, is all about boundary setting, about learning to be assertive, about forming an individual identity by pushing back against boundaries, and by coming to understand that “Yes, actually, I do have power to impact the world around me and get what I want.” This is fundamental to developing a clear sense of oneself as an individual. To put it more bluntly, this is about identity, about knowing who I am, and knowing what I can do in the world.
No surprise, therefore, that the emotional wound in this archetype is centered on the belief that “I don’t exist”, or some variation of that. This could be, for example, a child having a sense of his or her existence being somehow conditional: “I don’t exist unless I am approved of by…. (e.g.) mother / father / everyone” or “I don’t have a right to exist as I am.” This takes many forms, including “I don’t have a right to stand up for myself.” “I can’t be angry because it’s dangerous.” “I can only exist by reference to you.” “I can only be who I am if I fulfill your needs.” And so on.
This archetype is all about one’s own identity. It’s about having an independent spiritual and physical existence in the world, a separate-from-others sense of presence in the world, and the ability to make an impact on the world and on others. Without this experience, the emotional wound here is an identity wound which can develop from around the age of 2 years onwards. This is, ultimately, all about boundaries.
How The Warrior Wound Develops
A child starts to separate from his parents (in other words, starts to see himself as a separate being with an independent existence) between the age of 12 months and 2 years. At this time, he needs to develop a sense of himself as an independent being in the world with innate value and a real ability to impact the world and the people in it. His parents’ responses to him will either aid or inhibit this process. (Read about boundaries and identity here.)
He also needs affirmation in his right to exist, his very right to occupy the space he is in.
And so, if his expression of self is not accepted by the parents, or made conditional, his developing Warrior energy may be crushed, and his sense of having a right to exist on his own terms may be inhibited. Being repeatedly told things like “We don’t like you when you’re angry” or “You’re only here because we let you…. ” will give him a conditional sense of existence.
The same is true if his anger, sadness or some other aspect of him is not accepted. Acceptance alone is not enough, though – his parents also need to model good boundaries so he can learn how a Warrior contains his anger.
Sometimes a child who lives with a model of violent rage during childhood, especially from his father, will put his anger into shadow and become a “very nice” person to be around. You can somehow sense the absence of anger and assertiveness, which has gone into shadow. This is the way the natural energy of the Warrior becomes the energy of the Shadow Warrior. And, as we know, when archetypal energy goes into shadow, it can either inflate or deflate. Here’s what this means in reality….
The Inflated Shadow Warrior
A nickname for the inflated Shadow Warrior is the Mercenary Warrior. He’s either on a mission of his own, or he’s for hire to the highest bidder, or the one who seems most likely to make him feel powerful. He may go rogue. He may create chaos by running the Kingdom for his own ends in the absence of strong King who issues clear orders.
The Shadow Warrior desires power. He may be unfeeling and cruel. He can be, he often is, a bully.
The emotional world of the inflated Shadow Warrior is centred around rage.
The Shadow Warrior runs over people, places or things to get it done now and in his way.
The Shadow Warrior may seek to win twice: he keeps his agenda hidden while he tricks you into teaming up with him, and then, after you’ve served his purpose he may kill, disown, vilify or discard you, or perhaps damage your reputation in the eyes of others. His allegiance is to the one who can best serve him in the moment.
The Shadow Warrior believes you are not tough enough, because no-one is tough enough. Pain and suffering are fine. Cruelty is justified.
The Shadow Warrior misuses boundaries for his own control needs, not for the group.
A Shadow warrior maybe violent against people in his rage. He may use verbal abuse as a form of attack.
The Deflated Shadow Warrior
A Shadow Warrior may beat himself up, and be very conciliatory to you because he is full of fear.
He may be violent against objects (not so much people) in his rage.
He may engage in passive-aggressive behavior.
He may be a coward.
The Shadow Warrior archetype may create chaos.
Additional descriptions for the Shadow Warrior include: controlling, forceful, intimidating, loyal only to himself, raging, using language like “you make me angry” and “it’s your fault”, argumentative, sabotaging, and destructive.
The Mature Warrior & The Shadow Warrior
You know your mature Warrior is supporting you when you’re feeling powerful, focused and on mission. When you adeptly plan your actions, knowing the importance of time and timing, you know your Warrior is working for you. So he is when you’re serving and protecting yourself, your tribe and your Kingdom.
You feel your Shadow Warrior at work when you self-sabotage, or when you feel irritable, aggravated and controlling. You will know your shadow is active when you need everything done immediately and done your way, or when you feel an urge to object to everything that others suggest or want.