Feminine Archetypes – The Queen Archetype

The Queen Archetype   In the circle of the Sacred Feminine, I visualize the Mother in the North, the Amazon in the East, the Lover in the South, and the Medial in the West, and the Queen in the center. The Queen archetype is the symbol of wholeness and a woman’s full potential as a […]

The Queen Archetype


In the circle of the Sacred Feminine, I visualize the Mother in the North, the Amazon in the East, the Lover in the South, and the Medial in the West, and the Queen in the center. The Queen archetype is the symbol of wholeness and a woman’s full potential as a deeply initiated woman. Her essential nature is pure awareness, alive and awake in an inhabited, ensouled, woman’s body. Every woman carries this archetype of wholeness within her, and it is our entelechy, our natural instinct, to unfold toward the fulfillment of what we truly are meant to be.


The Queenly woman stands in the center ‘at the still point of the turning world’ (Eliot, 1943). She is both the dance and the stillness, the embodiment of opposites within that embrace everything. I cannot recall who said this originally but, I see her as the circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The Queenly woman is living embodied paradox. She and her shadow—she does have one as all humans do—embody all of the other feminine archetypes bright and shadow, even while she is awake and aware of the fact that she is awareness itself, becoming increasingly conscious of who and what she is.


Not bound up in dualistic thinking, she has learned to hold the conflict of opposites within her own container, her heart, and endure the tension until her awareness pops into the non-dual spaciousness beyond the tension, the spaciousness that holds everything. She is willing to feel all of her feelings, be uncomfortable, knowing that’s just how it is at times. She is increasingly less attached to life being this way or that way, or the need to do anything until it is obvious. She practices surrender to what is, and is increasingly free of the impulse to control, make meaning, analyze, understand, or know anything. She knows that she is not in control and never has been. Fear of the unknown is no longer an issue since she has recognized that all of her fear was of some idea of the unknown, not the unknown itself. In fact, she has fallen in love and in trust with the unknown.


She knows that she doesn’t know and appreciates the freedom this gives her. Having to know what is next, what to do, and to figure things out in her mind used to be stressful and full of struggle. Her direct experience over time has shown her that she can rest in the trust that all is taken care of and what is needed appears when it is needed. She has realized that there is no place to go, nothing to do, and nothing to get. Everything we need is right here, complete in every moment, and we can realize that if we simply drop into the moment, rest as awareness, without thought—even for a moment.


The Queen has relaxed into who and what she is, and recognizes that however she is, is just right. Imagine that for a moment. Who and what you are at this moment is just right, just as you are. Without engagement with, or attachment to, the mind’s judgments and critiques, shoulds and should nots, her life is very peaceful. These things still arise, but she has no interest in engaging them or believing them. If she does get caught or triggered by a thought, she sits in silence and it dissolves. She has learned numerous practices for working with her human conditioning and uses them when guided. She is consciously committed to her inner work and the practices that serve her consciousness.


She is spacious, still, compassionate, and loving, and completely embraces herself when she is none of these things, and much more their opposite. She knows that she is the all of everything, and anything can appear at any moment, including her shadow. She is very real, very human, and is not trying to be some idealized version of herself. The Queenly woman has a wide range of emotions that come and go. She is, earthy, quirky, eccentric, and fun. Her sense of humor has also developed over the years, so she can easily laugh at herself without being self-deprecating. The Queen knows that we are not the roles we have or have had, nor are we the jobs we have held or the vocation to which we have devoted ourselves. We are not anything that we have ever thought we were or think we are now.


Queenly women are women who wholeheartedly embrace their humanness and in so doing, they serve as priestesses of the Sacred Feminine. They serve to remind or teach us that we are both body and soul, human and divine, form and formless, in a woman’s body. We are born, we love, we hate, we live, we bleed, we make love, we birth, we nurture, we rage, we work, we struggle, we give to family and to the world. We grieve, we celebrate, we get sick, we get divorced, we get old, and we die. We also laugh, we weep, we pray, we sing, we paint, we howl for the loss of those we love and the so-called mistakes we made because we are so imperfect, as well as innocent. A woman’s life is a glorious mess at times, and a beauty beyond description, sometimes all at once. A Queen loves it all and can serve to support other women in loving it all. She has learned to welcome everything and be curious.


She has also learned to cherish and trust her longing, to sit in its fire and not burn. She has been initiated into the koan ‘carry the fire and not get burned’ and while she can guide you toward it, she cannot tell you what it means. You must find that out for yourself. She sometimes sits with the following koans: What am I? What am I doing here? Where did I come from? What am I for?


I recently heard the poet, David Whyte, ask the most wonderful question: “What is the conversation you were made for? “ Koans are questions that are unanswerable by the thinking mind and intended to take us beyond the mind, beyond thinking, to directly experience the answer. Anything the mind comes up with is only a thought, a manifestation of pure awareness but, in itself, it has no real substance or truth. A thought is not truth, and it’s not not truth. It’s just thought, a kite flying in the mind, and it will probably change the next time you ask the question.


The Queen knows that there is only this moment, now. She lives as fully and as authentically as possible. She also lives simply so that she can have the time she needs to be with her Self, to be creative or silent, or do nothing at all. She is utterly real, knowing that there is no time to waste. She is aware of how exquisitely wabi sabi she is in her imperfections, incompleteness, and impermanence, as well as in the utter perfection of all of it, as it is.


A woman who is Queen acts according to her own nature, and is deeply connected to nature. She abides by no rules, she lives from her heart and trusts her instincts. She is not bound by conventionality in any way. She is and does as she is moved to. She trusts what arises in her as what is, in any given moment, and trusts that what is happening (or has happened) is exactly what is supposed to be – otherwise it would be different. She is in harmony with Life as it is, even when it is chaotic or entropic. Cycles are embedded in her body and connect her to the earth. She cultivates simplicity in her life, her work, her relationships with others and herself.


She no longer allows her precious energy to go to non-essential things or relationships that do not bring her joy. Her time and energy are precious, as she knows it is limited in this form.


The Queen within us directly experiences herself and each one of us as a unique and holy creation. As she ages, she may consider herself, or be considered a hag, which is not what we typically think it is. The word is from the root word hagia, meaning holy, and is associated with the principle of feminine wisdom, Hagia Sophia. She is a woman who has gained wisdom by living a conscious life. Each unique archetypal initiation, has led her here, now, to this awareness, one breath at a time.


Her identity no longer comes from her roles or status in a family or the world. Her sense of self no longer comes from other people as it did when she was burdened by her own conditioning. The rules and definitions of family, lineage, church, school, peers, etc. do not matter to her or have the effect that they once did. She is her own woman, a deeply initiated virgin in the most profound sense of the word, “one in herself’ belonging to no other, as Esther Harding wrote in Woman ‘s Mysteries Ancient and Modern (1971). True to her own nature and instinct, the Queen has no need to please anyone anymore, and few, if any, expectations, though she may have aspirations. If expectation arises, she sees it for what it is and is increasingly less willing to engage it.


Initiations have brought her en face with all that is not authentically her. The radiance of her true nature shines through. She lives with grace and ease. Having walked through dark passages many times in her life, having lost or given up much of what she has loved or used to be attached to, she clings to nothing. Nothing has to be any particular way, as she knows that things are what they are. Struggling against that brings suffering and she is done with the suffering of the victim. She is more than willing to bear what is hers to bear, and does so gracefully and authentically. She also mentors and supports others as they make their initiatory passages.


The Queen has re-membered herself. She has walked the spiral of initiation for a long time and has retrieved so much of her once-lost soul, that she has a flowing access to all of the other archetypal energies. She is no stranger to shadow, she has met and embraced this worthy opponent many times and in many ways. Each time, behind the mask of fierceness or passivity, she found a beautiful child. She adores the child within her, and is always ready to welcome the next emergence of shadow. The Queen realizes that no matter how awake she is, life is going to keep being life and, particularly, as she ages, life will bring more challenges, losses, and surrender. She has made friends with grief and can allow it to co-exist in her heart with joy.


In fairy tales, and even in our own lives, shadow Queens are mean, wicked, and evil.


These are ‘faux’ queens, not worthy of the name Queen. A truly Queenly woman continues to work with her shadow, and it seems to come through the other four archetypes, as the Queen in this cosmology is the integration of all of the other four. So we can look there for the shadow that a woman who is Queen must address. She is not beyond shadow, but she is vigilant and consciously addressing her shadow in the other archetypal domains.


In her Queenship, a woman is magnificently, creative, fruitful, generous, loving, and compassionate. She cares about others, makes her choices with seven generations in mind. She is full of potential, fertile and juicy, even though she may no longer bleed. Receptive devotion is the tone of her life, honoring all of her own imperfect humanness. The Queen is not some model of perfection but rather of wholeness, awake to what is. She is a real woman, in some ways more vulnerable and fragile than ever. She has found her face and she loves it with all of her being. She can teach us to look inward, not outward, to discover our own Queen. She is here now—go look in the mirror.


(Source: Archetypes of the Sacred Feminine – Sheila Foster)




















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