The warrior is a masculine archetype, but this does not mean that women can’t express the characteristics of a warrior. From what I’ve seen women are just as likely as men to fall under the influence of this pattern. The word warrior contains the word “war”, which is what this archetype is about. Conflict is the name of the game.
The Warrior Archetype in Battle
To exist the warrior needs a battle to fight. The first question you must ask yourself is, “Who your battles with?” Are you an actual soldier on the battlefield? Or is your war on the mental/emotional plane? Have you considered the inner demons you are wrestling?
The gift of the warrior archetype is an outstanding amount of courage and composure. In the midst of the worst imaginable circumstances the warrior remains calm and rational. The masculine quality of action is embodied in the warrior. He has good instincts and is quick to respond.
When in your life have you tapped into a strength you didn’t know you had? This is the power of the warrior mentality. That sense of invincibility and resolve that nothing, nothing at all, can conquer you.
The Warrior’s Sixth Sense
Intuitive abilities are frequently seen as soft, feminine traits. The alternative healing field mostly attracts women who are looking to mend and caretake. Warrior energy is often shunned because it is seen as destructive and careless. When we release judgements, there is much we can learn from this powerful archetype.
First of all, we forget that intuition is spontaneous. On the battlefield, the warrior doesn’t have time to mull over a decision. The warrior that doubts himself dies. The faster he responds, the more likely he is to survive and prevail. Too often we give ourselves too much time to doubt our intuition. A worthwhile test of our intuitive abilities is to get in the middle of a fast paced situation and see how well we follow our instincts.
Stories and movies about the samurai warrior with the sixth sense (warrior archetype examples: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or the blind warrior ‘One Hundred Eyes’ in the Netflix series Marco Polo) show how the best warriors are those who trust their intuition. The empowered warrior can see the blow coming before anyone else. He can anticipate his opponent.
The best training for the warrior does not consist purely of endless rounds of mock combat. Hours of observation allow the warrior to learn how to open up beyond his body, listen with his whole being, and sense the world around him.
One of my favorite warrior archetype examples comes from the book Eldest by Christopher Paolini. The main character Eragon, a dragon rider and warrior in training, is instructed by his master to sit on a stump in the woods and do the following: “Open your mind and listen to the world around you, to the thoughts of every being in this glade, from the ants in the trees to the worms in the ground. Listen until you can hear them all and you can understand their purpose in nature. Listen, and when you hear no more, come tell me what you have learned.” Eragon is told later that he will master this training when he can, “watch one and know all.”
The Consumed Warrior
The warrior archetype lives for the battlefield. When not in the midst of all out warfare, this archetype is training to prepare for the next confrontation. The warrior mentality can be all consuming and obsessive in nature. An unbalanced warrior chooses conflict over diplomacy every time. In the shadow, the warrior archetype creates conflict where there is none.
We often think of the warrior archetype in extremes. And he does seem to swing from composure to rage quite easily. Part of the healing challenge of this archetype is learning to manage emotions and find a healthy outlet for them. Societal norms asking us to be courteous and kind suppress the inner warrior. Regardless of your gender, this bottling up of anger without any training on how to channel it causes the unexpected eruption of violence that is becoming all too common in our world.
The suppressed and undisciplined warrior becomes the heartless barbarian. The violence is directed both outward and inward. The aggression does not need to be physical. It is just as likely to be in words that perpetuate shame and criticism. The shadow warrior is numb to pain, his own and that of others. He slays and injures without remorse. The sanctity of life is lost on him.
The Enlightened Warrior
Take note as to whether you view the warrior as good or bad. Remember that each archetype has a light and a shadow side. In working with the warrior, this knowledge is one of your most powerful weapons.
The word courage comes from the Latin word “Cor” which means heart. To this day we still say that people have heart. That is to say they have inner strength. The intense fortitude of the warrior can help us through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The hero archetype and the warrior have courage in common. The hero has the hero’s journey of many different settings and trials including battles, hardships, and riddles. The warrior lives on the battlefield.
The sense of invincibility of the warrior can lead to an inflated ego, but the true gift and power of this archetype is the ability to release selfish ends and conquer malevolent forces. The enlightened warrior knows that the true enemy is the enemy within. The power to face and triumph over one’s inner demons is the gift of the warrior. So too is a deep appreciation for the sanctity of all life.
The spiritual warrior drinks in the gift of life and cultivates this appreciation in others. He reconciles with the warring nature of humans by cultivating compassion in peacetime. He defends the innocent and is a champion for good.
There are many manifestations of the warrior archetype including but not limited to: soldier, samurai, ninja, gunslinger, guardian, sell sword, militant, minuteman, mercenary, Amazon woman, musketeer, and barbarian.
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About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch is a Spiritual Director who teaches about archetypes and symbolism. Her speciality is working with soul pioneers - those of you who are making it up as you go along the spiritual path. She works with beginner and life-long spiritual seekers. Through working with Stacey, lost seekers find their way home and professional spiritual guides receive mentorship. Stacey empowers people with the ability to explore their purpose and calling. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.
Could you please provide a description of a Guardian Warrior ?
Yes Kris, I can do that. The Guardian has an element of possessiveness and must have something or someone to guard. It may be a place, country or territory. It may also be a person. There is an element of stickiness to this archetype in that he is tethered to that which he is guarding. The guardian warrior is also a companion that is more in the background and can go unnoticed. Think of all of the secret service members who dress in black and keep a straight face. Other guardians where helmets that cover their faces adding further to this idea of the faceless guardian. The guardian is less prone to the fame and egotism than other archetypes, but he can also become resentful of who he guards because of not getting enough recognition for how much sacrifice he makes. In the light aspect, the guardian is a selfless servant whose protection stabilizes the community, nation or individual. Many Blessings to You, Stacey
Can you please explain about Amazon women?
Hello Baihaqi, This is a very big question – likely big enough to fill a book! The main aspect of the archetype of the Amazon woman is the embodiment of the warrior in a female form. This is a woman taking on the more masculine qualities of outward action and fighting. On the outside the Amazon woman archetype appears strong and reassured, all man despite her physical features. Internally there may be a battle waging for power between the masculine and feminine sides of the person with the Amazon woman archetype. By principle with the Amazon archetype, the feminine side must win. Paradoxically the need to win is an inherently masculine trait. So, you can see how the battle rages on. The Greek mythology of the Amazon woman says that they shunned men and did not marry. Amazon women raised their daughters to be their heirs. Male children were either killed, outcast or made into slaves. I am reminded of bee spirit animal and how the female bees run the colonies and the male drones are the less esteemed members. Either way, a lot to think about here. I’d recommend reading up more on the Greek mythology of the Amazons as well as contemplating the nature of female dominated (keyword is “dominated”) societies. Thanks for the intriguing question! Many Blessings, Stacey
Is there an archetype that is a warrior Lizard?
Hello Bruce, Interesting question. I’m curious what sparked it! There is not an archetype of a warrior lizard, but there is of each a warrior and a lizard, so you can combine the qualities of the two to discover what this image you are sitting with might mean. If you haven’t read it yet, my article on lizard symbolism might be helpful: https://www.wildgratitude.com/lizard-meaning/. Many Blessings, Stacey
this is me..so that why i am the way i am…could you help me to understand myself..
Have you ever heard of the unconscious pattern…THE WARRIOR as being either “hurts oneself” or ” hurts others”. The hurts others came up for me and I would hate to think I subconsciously want to hurt others:( I was hoping you could offer a little insight. THANKS
Hello Crystal, Thanks so much for reading and for posting your question. I haven’t heard of this unconscious pattern of wanting to hurt oneself or others being particular to the warrior archetype. This could be a pattern that could show up in ANY archetype, but the means of harm are going to be specific to the archetype. For example, the addict archetype causes harm in the shadow by lying and by reckless behavior while intoxicated. The poet causes harm in the shadow by writing sarcastic poems that cut into another person’s reputation. The warrior in the shadow is likely to act out through unchecked rage, be it violent words or deeds. So I don’t think you need to worry about causing harm because you identify with this archetype, but knowing that this archetype is part of your make-up can help you become conscious of HOW you might cause harm and what to do about it. Hopefully that helps. I’m available to chat more if you’d like to email me at email@example.com. Blessings, Stacey