The wild woman archetype is a powerful and complex symbol present in mythology, literature, popular culture, and archetypal psychology.
She represents a woman who is free-spirited, independent, and in touch with her primal instincts. She is not afraid to embrace her wildness and authenticity! And is often strongly associated with the natural world.
The notion of archetypes is ancient, however, the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology devised a system of 12 archetypes. But these aren’t specific to women.
So within the field of myth and storytelling, other researchers using Jung’s theories, have identified 7 feminine archetypes. Between them (and in combination) these 7 archetypes exist in the collective unconscious, and describe the role of all possible female characters.
READ MORE: What are the 7 Female Archetypes?
The wild woman – also known as the huntress archetype – is one of these 7.
What is wild woman energy? (aka huntress energy)
The wild woman archetype embodies autonomy, courage, and focus.
She’s often referred to as the huntress archetype or the ‘warriorress’ and has a fierce fighting spirit. Women with dominant wild woman energy are usually characterized by their independence and self-reliance. They’re self-sufficient and tend not to rely heavily on anyone else.
Because of this, the wild woman rarely takes orders or responds well to authority. True freedom and sovereignty are her motivation, so this divine feminine archetype represents the powerful spirit of female autonomy, and the drive to pursue a life of her own.
Because this powerful archetype represents such freedom, women who embody her energy are rarely regulated by traditional ties like family structures. The norms of society can feel suffocating to her, and she does what she can to break free, preferring to live life by her own tules.
While many true wild women may seem intimidating, these human beings are also incredibly compassionate and nurturing. Yes, this may seem at odds with the typical traits you’d associate with a huntress or warrior! Yet she has a deep love for nature and all living beings, and also she seeks to protect and preserve the natural world.
The wild woman is a force to be reckoned with, but she also has a gentle, nurturing side that makes her a powerful healer and mentor. She often values solitude, spending long periods of time alone.
She is not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believes in, even if it means going against the status quo (unavoidable for many who are being truly honest with themselves, in our patriarchal societies)
The wild woman lives by rejecting the rules! She will not abide by the social conditioning that many succumb to, and isn’t afraid to take up space, while many other women are still playing small.
The wild woman is unapologetically herself, and she encourages others to do the same.
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Curious and adventurous, always seeking out new experiences and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. And because this archetype represents such strength and empowerment, the wild woman is often found fighting for a cause, particularly around social justice or feminist or other women’s movements.
Her “have no fear” attitude can sometimes put her in perilous situations. But this female archetype’s deep inner wisdom and intrinsic connection to the forces of nature tend to keep her safe.
She is deeply connected to her intuition. The huntress trusts her instincts and follows her heart, even when it leads her down an unconventional path. Her desires matter.
The wild woman is often embodied by women who are incredibly self-assured, competent, and ambitious. Like a force of nature, the wild woman cannot (and will not!) be held back. She’s courageous. So try to tame this powerful female archetype and you’ll be sorry!
Overall, there’s an innate strength and self-reliance that emanates from the huntress. She walks her own path, and both guides and protects those who need her.
Traits, qualities, and characteristics of the wild woman archetype
Embodying a particular stream of divine feminine energy, the wild woman archetype has an empowered strength and focus that is unique to her.
Here are some examples of the key characteristics, qualities, and traits of the wild woman/ huntress archetype:
Freedom-loving: The wild woman values her freedom above all else! She is fiercely independent, resisting any and all constraints placed upon her.
Intuitive: This woman trusts her intuition and follows her instincts, even if it means going against the norms of society, and rejecting expectations.
Courageous: The wild woman is brave and unafraid to take risks, whether this means exploring new places or trying new things. She’ll fight for a cause, where others fear to take a stand.
A sense of internal safety: An essential trait of the huntress, is having an internal sense of safety. This archetype belongs. Whether or not she has a tribe, a family, or a community of friends, the huntress has a deep sense of belonging, wherever she goes.
Connected to nature: This sacred feminine archetype has a strong connection to the natural world. She feels most alive and attuned when immersed in the wilds of nature.
Passionate: The wild woman is passionate about life and all that it has to offer. She approaches everything with enthusiasm and dynamic, positive energy.
Emotionally expressive: The wild woman is not afraid to express her emotions. She may be especially in touch with her anger, passion, grief, and sacred rage. She is unafraid to let the spectrum of her feelings be seen and heard.
Embodied: A woman for whom this feminine archetype is prominent, is often somatically strong, stable, and connected to her body. Like the lover archetype, she has a wide capacity for sensation and pleasure.
Rebellious: The wild woman is not bound by societal norms and rules. She walks her own path and writes her own stories, and is often seen as a rebel.
Focused: More than any other, this archetype has incredible focus. She tends to have big desires and life goals, and the laser-sharp focus and drive to achieve them!
Weaknesses and shadow side of the wild woman archetype
The weaknesses or limitations when it comes to the huntress archetype may be expressed consciously, as behaviors that manifest daily in a woman’s life. OR they may exist in the unconscious, emerging through the shadow side.
Here are some examples of the key weaknesses, negative qualities, and shadow aspects relating to her:
Impulsive: Her wild nature means this archetype can sometimes act impulsively, without thinking through the consequences of her actions.
Unpredictable: Human beings who embody a lot of this wild energy can be difficult to pin down. They may also struggle to follow through on commitments, making it hard for others to rely on them.
Excessive: The wild woman can sometimes take things to an extreme, whether it’s partying too hard or pursuing a risky adventure. This may also tip into self-destructive behavior such as experimenting with drugs, addictions, or obsessions.
Unpredictable moods: The wild woman may have overwhelming emotions, leading to unpredictable moods, making it difficult for others to know how to interact with her.
Isolation: Women who embody the wild woman can sometimes isolate themselves from others, preferring to be alone rather than engaging in social interactions.
Impatient: This female archetype can be one of the most impatient! Despite her intuitive strength and connection to the flow of nature, she can really struggle with waiting for things to unfold naturally.
Lack of focus: Ironically, the wild woman may struggle with maintaining focus, getting easily distracted by new ideas and opportunities.
Self-centered: She has to be. Tending to her own needs is how first, is her modus operandi. But this can be her downfall – the wild woman may be so focused on her own desires and needs that she neglects the needs of others.
Disorganized: The wild woman may struggle with organization and may have a chaotic living space or work environment.
Emotional unavailability: Her deep desire for freedom means that the wise woman resists opening up and being vulnerable with others, meaning she fails to cultivate meaningful and intimate relationships.
How to explore the wild woman archetype through shadow work
Many women have a strong connection to the wild woman/ huntress archetype… but they may not realize it, because her qualities exist in the shadow.
READ MORE ABOUT THE SHADOW: What is Shadow Work?
We all have a shadow side – a part of the unconscious psyche where we put all the parts of ourselves we have rejected. And society rejects a LOT of the most incredible traits of this powerful archetype, precisely because she is so powerful.
For many women, this collective rejection has become internalized – without realizing it, we can be repressing the wildest and most liberated aspects of ourselves!
A sure-fire way to know if this is something you’re doing is if women with dominant and expressed wild woman energy trigger you.
If you’re intrigued to dive into your own shadow you can start here: The Honeyed Shadow.
This is a guided 13-day journey into the sweetness of your personal shadow. The Honeyed Shadow is a great place to begin peeling back the layers of your unconscious, in a gentle and supportive way.
ALSO READ THIS: 20 reasons to do your shadow work
Examples of the wild woman archetype in mythology and literature
The wild woman is a common character appearing in mythology, folklore, film, TV, and literature. In some stories, she may appear as a wolf or other wild animal. Or be contained in the symbol of a lunar deity.
As she lives in the human psyche, fragments of this archetype will also likely show up in many of the people you meet in everyday life.
Most women have come across the 1992 book: “Women Who Run with the Wolves – Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She explores many of the wild woman archetypes in myth and story, and looks at how women are initiated into their wild nature, as life unfolds. This would be my number one go-to example, to discover more about this energy.
Here are 10 more wild woman archetype examples from mythology, film, and literature:
Artemis: In ancient Greek mythology, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt and wilderness. She is known for her fierce independence and connection to nature.
YOU MAY LIKE TO READ: Invoke the Moon Goddess Artemis
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games: A strong and extremely independent young girl who is skilled in hunting and survival.
The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill: Played by Uma Thurman, this character is a highly skilled assassin seeking revenge against those who wronged her, and has a deep connection to her own sense of justice.
Xena Warrior Princess: A skilled fighter who is unafraid to challenge authority and fight for justice.
Merida from Brave: The main character from the Pixar film, Merida is a skilled archer who defies traditional gender roles, fighting to control her own destiny.
Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road: The character played by Charlize Theron is a fierce warrior who leads a rebellion against a tyrannical ruler.
Moana from the Disney film Moana: A young woman who sets out on a dangerous journey to save her people and restore balance to the world.
Wonder Woman: The DC Comics superheroine is a skilled warrior who fights for justice and equality.
Éowyn from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: A skilled female fighter who disguises herself as a man to fight in battle.
Amy Winehouse: The famous British singer who re-wrote the rule book for pop stars, walking an unconventional (and ultimately destructive) path to fame.
Moon cycle wisdom: The wild woman represents your luteal phase
You may have heard of three – the triptych of maiden, mother, crone – the Goddess in her triple form. But take a more intimae journey around the lunar cycle, you’ll find there is another female archetype – this one, that we’re talking about here.
Together they are:
Numerous archetypes cycle through our beings at any one time, yet these are the four that most women settle into as La Luna cycles both overhead in the sky above, and through the sacred vessels of our wombs.
The wild woman is the energy type that wants to be embodied by women right after ovulation, during the luteal or pre-menstrual phases of their sacred blood cycles.
You may also feel this archetypal energy rise with the waning Moon phases, that is – waning gibbous, last quarter, waning crescent, and during the dark Moon phase, too.
Of course, many dread this part of their cycle – it can be physically painful, and emotional. And often brings out the dark side, the destructive side of our psyches, meaning ourselves further.
But in truth, the pain, upset, and dark and destructive behaviors that emerge during this phase are actually the result of us suppressing the power of our inner wild woman.
We’ve been conditioned, over centuries, to keep this untamed aspect of ourselves locked up, lest she makes a scene. She doesn’t hurt us. It’s our denial of her, that hurts us.
So how can you coax the wild woman archetype out?
The key to this (and to starting to embody all divine feminine archetypal energies, in their corresponding phases) is to adapt the way you go about things.
How to embrace the wild woman archetype in your life
Here’s a list of 10 ways to embrace the wild woman archetype in your life:
1. Spend time in the wilds of nature
It’s where she belongs!
Whether it’s hiking, camping, or simply taking a walk in the park, spend quality time communing with mother nature. Appreciate her, savor her, play with her, soak up her frequency, and take her medicine. Get truly inspired by nature and learn from its wisdom, whether it’s through observing the cycles of the seasons, or the behavior of animals.
Plus connecting your body to her body is incredibly healing.
2. Learn to trust your intuition
Every human being has an inner voice that knows exactly what to do. Learn to listen to this whisper, and trust what it says. Follow your instincts, even if they go against conventional wisdom, for this is where your true power lies.
3. Take a risk!
Step outside of your comfort zone and take a calculated risk every now and then! Whether it’s trying a new hobby, pursuing a new career path or simply approaching that woman who looks like she could be good friend material! Go out on a limb, and become your own hero.
4. Cultivate your independence
Embrace your independence and learn to rely on yourself, rather than others, for your happiness and fulfillment. Being resourced can take many forms – from taking a beginner’s mechanics course so you fix your own car, to turning off Netflix and figuring out what actually makes you smile!
5. Embrace your sexuality
Sex isn’t all about other people! The huntress is the mistress of her own body, and this means taking control of her own sexual pleasure too. Connected to the Lover archetype (read THIS ARTICLE for more tips) but still distinctly different, the wild woman isn’t afraid to embrace and explore her sexuality.
6. Fight for justice
The wild woman’s fighting spirit needs to be channeled.
So stand up for what you believe in and fight for justice and equality. Whether this is on a personal or societal level, see if you can do something, practically, to help those who are unable to help themselves.
7. Challenge authority
Don’t be afraid to question authority and challenge the status quo.
Most young girls are conditioned from the very beginning, to be the “good girl”. To sit quietly, and not make a fuss. But this needs to change – this program needs to be stripped away, if real, positive change is going to occur on our planet. Be brave.
8. Set clear and healthy boundaries
Learn to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships, both personal and professional.
If somebody needs your time or attention, schedule them for later on, or tomorrow – don’t simply jump to the demands of others. And if it’s a “no”, then it’s a “no”. No explanation needed.
9. Get strong
Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Work to strengthen yourself on all levels of your being.
For example –
- Are you eating the right foods, especially at different phases of your menstrual cycle?
- Are you in capacity to FEEL your full range of emotions, without either collapsing or raging?
- Are you able to stand up for what you believe in, and articulate yourself clearly to people when required?
- Are you on a spiritual path that feels nourishing to your soul? And do you give yourself enough time to pursue it properly?
10. Build community
YES, she may be the most independent of all the divine feminine archetypes! But she also needs community to feel truly seen and heard, and this can often be neglected.
So surround yourself with like-minded individuals who support and encourage your wild woman spirit. Work to build a community of strong, independent women. This may take time, years even. But set the intention, and follow the path – they will come.
Your inner huntress will emerge exactly how you need her to
Remember that this archetype is a freedom fighter!
Any expectation you have of her to behave a certain way is likely to be proved wrong!
So simply work on being the container for her energy and power to move through you.
Like Artemis running through the woods, give her freedom and she will take you where you need to go.
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