There are four female archetypes that spiral through our lives…
Every woman on our planet is a melting pot of sacred female archetypes
You can think of both masculine and feminine, or female archetypes as the essential characters of all of the energy signatures that make up WHO we are.
And these are changing, all the time!
As you move through the days, weeks, months, and years of your life, different archetypal patterns will come to the fore, each with its gifts and challenges.
Archetypes (especially female archetypes) are SO much MORE than we are individually…
They’re energy blueprints that exist in the collective unconscious, the realm of Spirit.
And because they are everlasting (energy can’t be destroyed, remember? It only changes form) they are available for us to try on, try out, play around with, and make our own for the time we have here on Earth.
So if you ever feel like you’re a totally different person depending on the day of the month (or even the minute of the day!) it’s because you ARE!
The archetypal energy moving through you is perpetually changing… And this is totally normal.
Can you get “stuck” in one female archetype?
Whilst some women may seem to be “stuck” in a female archetype for years (like turning the looong slow wheel of motherhood, or the party girl who just won’t “grow up”) in fact, we all embody many archetypes daily. Some just show up more subtly than others. And some will “suit” you more than others – like those women who just belong in the boardroom. Or the seductress who has men just wrapped around her little finger!
Each archetype of the feminine has its own particular flavour…
As a woman in a female body, you likely experience this in an emotional, mental, creative, soulful, and embodied way every single month. This is because the female menstrual cycle has four distinct phases, and YES, each of these corresponds to a different female archetype.
As YOU cycle through these menstrual phases, they DO change who you are.
Biology plays a huge part in how a female archetype expresses through you during your cycle, but you have options!
It’s in your power to learn, explore, uplift, embody or suppress and try to hide an archetype too.
Whether your cycle lasts the average of 29 days, or longer or fewer days, OR if you’re in a perimenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal phase of womanhood, these four archetypes are still highly relevant. As cyclical beings, all women are mirrors for the Moon. You included.
It was the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung who is first documented to have studied archetypes in depth. He identified 12 female archetypes, 7 of which are most commonly talked about, 4 of which I’ll share here.
Some time ago I read something that felt really significant to me. But this was, I can’t remember (but WISH I could!)
When Jung was very close to dying, said that if he could change just one thing about his life’s work, it would be this: that he’d used the word ‘Spirit’ instead of ‘archetype’ to describe the essential character of an energy type.
Let that settle for a moment before we move on. And let that word weave its way through the rest of what you read here…
4 Feminine archetypes, 4 phases of the menstrual cycle, 4 phases of the Moon…
Just like the four lunar phases (waxing, full, waning, and dark), the four female archetypes are fluid, changeable and open to expansion and interpretation. They don’t stay the same. But their energy, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, and corresponding stories and myths will often strongly correlate with how you’re feeling, during a particular phase of your moon/menstrual cycle.
The feminine archetypes tie into your own energy levels, your creative capability, the depth of your feeling, and how you are responding to the world outside of yourself.
They inform the direction you feel the urge to move your life in, and where you’re more likely to want to contract.
So it pays to gain an understanding of these archetypes.
There are more female archetypes – many more – yet these 4 are core when it comes to forming a relationship with sacred female cycles and entering into a relationship with the Divine Feminine as she rises on our planet.
A note on YOUR cycle:
The two cycles – of menstruation and of the lunar phases – don’t always align with each other. Every woman is different and she has a myriad of personal energies acting inside and outside of her body.
Some women do see alignment as a kind of holy-menstrual-grail, but I don’t think it should be assumed that it’s “right” for the two cycles to correlate. Women are complicated (and so are our relationships to our bodies!)
An intimate, shifting, overlapping dance crafted by these two cycles (amongst so much else) is way more suited to feminine nature, than an unflinching, super-coordinated and consistent rhythm!
So whatever your body’s pattern – trust that it is right for you. Denying the truth of your body and trying to shoehorn yourself into some external template is nothing more than an internalised patriarchal program of self-denial and shame.
Your body is holy.
The four female archetypes (and how you can harness their gifts):
✶ Maiden/ virgin archetype: pre-ovulation or follicular phase ⎜waxing Moon ⎜ spring season
✶ Mother archetype: Ovulatory phase ⎜ full Moon ⎜summer season
✶ Enchantress/ wild woman archetype: luteal or pre-menstrual phase ⎜ waning Moon ⎜ autumn/ fall season
✶ Crone/ wise woman: Dark / new Moon ⎜ menstrual phase ⎜ winter season
The maiden / virgin archetype
The maiden (or virgin) female archetype is the female energy type that you’re most likely to embody during the pre-ovulation, or follicular phase of your personal moon cycles (when your bleeding has just completed).
You can also feel this feminine energy rise with the waxing lunar phase – during crescent, first quarter, and waxing gibbous phases of the lunar cycle.
The Maiden/Virgin embodies purity (though this has less to do with sexual status and much more to do with a state of mind in this context. To elaborate a little, the meaning of the word ‘virgin’ has been misappropriated and in modern times, its ancient, pre-patriarchal meaning refers to an independent, autonomous woman, a woman not required to answer to anybody).
The maiden archetype is youthful, dynamic, independent, and strong.
The maiden has a certain magnetism too – her positivity and openness often attract new opportunities and she is willing to take leaps of faith into the unknown. The weight of responsibility (and experience) has yet to temper her excitement and sense of “what if…!”
Befriend your own inner maiden by:
- Being assertive
- Celebrating the successes of others
- Making valuable connections
- Strengthening your solar plexus
The mother archetype
The Mother breathes into life after the Maiden, at the Full Moon. And she rises within, during the ovulatory phase of a woman’s menstruation cycle. This makes sense – as the ovaries release an egg, this same “ripeness” is expressed externally too.
The Mother Archetype is glowing.
This potent female archetype is sensual, abundant, and bursting with fertility. She’s creative, generous, and compassionate. The mother archetype is also the queen of nurture, care, and support. She gives the gift of presence, yet also knows the sacred art of tough love.
And in many mythologies, this potent divine feminine archetype is one with the Earth Goddess herself. Her essence is connected to the flora and fauna of our planet and she knows that we all share one body.
Dive into your inner earth mother archetype by:
- Creating ceremony
- Replenishing your own energy
- Making by hand
The enchantress / wild woman archetype
The Wild Woman emerges after the Full Moon, during the waning phases, and the last quarter Moon. This comes after ovulation and so coincides with the pre-menstrual part of the menstrual cycle.
Of course, many women dread this part of their cycle – synonymous with PMT/PMS it can be physically painful, emotional, and can bring out the darker, more destructive sides of our psyches. These are (on a bad day!) peppered with mood swings, irrational thoughts, anger, shame, and tears…
This phase is also, often, home of the feminine shadow.
Yet this phase (and female archetype) is usually, thoroughly misunderstood, along with her distorted sister: the witch.
The truth is, the wild woman archetype is the healer.
She’s the medicine woman, the untamed one, the awakening soul who will not rest. She is untamed, she’s powerful and she’s connected to an undercurrent of magic, something intangible that our modern societies have no place for.
The energy of this wild female archetype gives us our intuition, our inner knowing, and our power to heal. Yet her illogical ways make her frightening, unpredictable, and unknowable to the uninitiated.
No wonder most people want to keep her caged…
Let her loose by:
- Eating nourishing food
- Exploring your shadow
- Communing with nature
The crone/ wise woman archetype
At around the last waning crescent, dark Moon, and New Moon phases, and when you are bleeding, the last of the four feminine energy types reveals herself, asking for embodiment: meet the Crone, or Wise Inner Woman.
This female archetype is probably the least valued of all by people in our modern culture.
She has come to represent aging and the loss of fertility, external beauty, and activity. Yet she’s another archetype who’s been distorted. Over the centuries, patriarchy has only allowed her out into popular culture disguised as the spinster, the wicked witch, and the haggard old woman who lives on the edge of the village.
Because she is slower, less active and an observer, she has her own kind of power that’s at odds with the high-octane speed of our modern world.
Yet her life experience gives her wisdom.
And because she no longer needs to “produce” or “achieve” in the world, she is free. She has nothing to lose. And most likely, it’s this freedom that others fear.
You can help to coax your own inner crone out by:
- Honouring the Dark Moon
- Allowing ego deaths
- Befriending your elders
- Working with your moon blood
Want to track your cycle?
Being a cycle, this constant, rolling rhythm doesn’t officially ‘begin’ anywhere.
But traditionally, for tracking purposes, the first day of bleeding is recognised as day 1 of your cycle, which lies in the ‘crone/wise woman’ archetype.
But to me, I’ll be honest, this intuitively feels closer to the ‘end’ of the cycle, symbolizing the culmination and release of knowledge.
It doesn’t really matter – we are cyclical beings, so the path curves on…
Which of the feminine archetype do you resonate with more?
Leave me a comment and let me know!