Understanding Relationships through Archetypes

  two hearts It’s Valentine’s Day … what a great opportunity to optimize our relationship contracts through the empowerment of balanced archetypes!

Relationship struggles and patterns of disempowerment…Have you ever noticed how someone is acting like a bully, overpowering, aggressive and pushy? Or when you are mothering someone to death? What about the nosey co-worker who is always gossiping and criticizing others? Have you ever described someone as a fighter, a survivor, an artist, a drama queen, a princess, a fool? These are symbolic patterns, called archetypes, which guide, direct and influence our actions and our relationships.

 Each archetypal pattern has two sides: a light and a dark. The energetic information within the whole pattern has qualities, strengths and talents that, when in balance, offer the greatest potential for awakened, conscious and empowered living.

The health of a conscious relationship depends on our willingness to authentically express ourselves. Authentic self expression is the balance of both the light and the dark aspects … masculine and feminine, the yin and the yang, the conscious and the unconscious. It is this balancing and integrating process that brings the greatest gift of wholeness. (Listen to Your Valentine’s Day Sacred Contract Podcast)

balanceBringing to light (making conscious) our hidden strengths, talents and abilities, we learn to balance the receptive, nurturing and intuitive feminine side of our being while embracing the active, assertive, and rational masculine aspects as well. We embrace being both a provider and a nurturer, exhibit strength and flexibility, be powerful and humble. We learn to authentically express ourselves in a whole and balanced manner.

Oftentimes we underutilize the balanced expression of the archetypal energies; or we overuse the talent of the archetype without allowing others a chance to feel competent and empowered. A mother is a nurturer, but to the exclusion of one’s own self care or enabling through co-dependency, the mother archetype is acting out-of-balance. A knight in shining amour serves others well by helping out in times of need, but the helper/rescuer can often feel that others are incompetent and seeks to feel needed through on-going emergencies. The warrior is a powerful ally ready to battle for a worthy cause; hoping to feel worthy and deserving by slaying the artificial dragons of life, s/he often perceives drama, injustice and victimization where there are merely opportunities for mutual empowerment. In these instances, nurturing, helpfulness and power are attributes seeking to be expressed in balance.

When out-of-balance, the energy of the archetype is said to be acting through the unconscious, dark side of the expression: the shadow. Shadow attributes are over- or under-utilized abilities, strengths, qualities and/or talents. Whole and balanced expression of these energies bring us the gifts of conscious empowerment; however, when left unconscious and un-awakened, we continue to live in the shadows of disempowerment and fear. We usually blind ourselves to these gifts, strengths and talents (qualities) because of some inner conflict or judgment that we hold about them:

  1.  Perhaps we fear our own power and that its wrong to be powerful (The Victim Archetype).
  2. Perhaps we think that feelings are useless and make us look weak, so we shut them down (The Father Archetype).
  3. Maybe we think that we are the only person in the world that can do things right, so we never receive help and support from others (The Knight/Rescuer/Helper Archetype).
  4. Perhaps we feel that life is hard, unbearable and wish that it was always fun, so we never accept full authority over our life remaining childlike, irresponsible and day-dreaming (The Wounded Child).


A conscious relationship is asking for both partners to evolve into balanced wholeness by excavating the shadow and owning those hidden qualities for themselves.

 A conscious relationship empowerment strategy requires that any relationship no longer functions through power imbalances such as neediness, helplessness, co-dependency, bullying, aggression, defensiveness, criticism, manipulation, threats, retreating or avoidance. An empowered relationship asks that shadow behaviors are made conscious. It requires that we no longer expect or even ask of others in the world to provide the “other half of the relationship.” We learn that all parties can be strong, decisive, competent, important, worthy, creative, spontaneous, and free. Releasing both partners from any obligation to play a certain masculine or feminine role, both are expressing themselves authentically and in balanced form.

When we each own our ability to embody the hidden gifts, strength, talents and abilities of the shadow made conscious, we have reached a balanced, authentic and conscious space of being.

Bringing the shadow into the light of day is the most empowering aspect in our search for wholeness. When we embrace the unconscious, we take back full authority to create in a conscious and co-creative manner with Spirit. Embracing the hidden, repressed and denied qualities will bring other areas of our lives into a balanced and whole expression.

We are whole beings seeking full expression – there are no parts that need to be ignored, released, or rejected, only integrated back into conscious awareness.

The process of becoming conscious makes use of the many varied expressions that reside within each of us. We make use of the receptive, nurturing and intuitive side of our being while embracing the active, assertive, and rational aspects as well. It is this expression of balanced wholeness that brings us the greatest gift of empowered, conscious living.

Awareness Exercise

Excavate the gifts of the unconscious shadow. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of our own shadow, we can look for the imbalances reflected in our relationships. We can observe either in ourselves or our partner the imbalanced, shadow energies of the archetypes: the whims of the irresponsible child, the overbearing demands of the mother, the emotional emptiness of the father, the rage of the warrior, the aggression of the bully, the passivity of the victim, the avoidance of the saboteur, etc.

  1.  With detached compassionate observation, notice the ongoing power struggles within your relationships.
  2. Notice the behaviors or attitudes of your partner (or anyone in your world) that causes an emotional reaction, a trigger. Ex. things that make you feel angry, impatient, judgmental, disrespected, frightened, unheard, incompetent, unsafe, stupid, unworthy, etc.
  3. Notice where resentments compromise your relationships, where you wish things had been different, where you have regrets.

Consciousness Exercise

Bring to light the unconscious, shadow quality that is seeking full expression. Allow your Higher Consciousness (Higher Self) to inform you of the archetype at work to express itself in a balanced way:

  1. Center your awareness in your heart with your intention to receive guidance and healing.
  2. Ask for an image, sound, thought or feeling thatdamsel in distress will help you understand the out-of-balance archetype you are working with. ex. a feeling of a young, frightened child, an image of an overworked mother in her apron, a fatigued gladiator warrior, an unappreciated knight in shining amour, an isolated damsel in distress, etc.
  3. Make a clear assessment of what this archetypal pattern is expecting to receive from the stressed relationship; what do you truly need from this exchange with your partner?
  4. What quality of consciousness would feel most healing and empowering right now? Ask of your Higher Self,


What quality (ex. strength, support, nurturing, love, acceptance, respect, validation, worthiness) could I embrace that would help me feel balanced and whole?”

  1.  Then invite the Infinite Field of Potentialities to empower your archetypal image with that specific quality so that you can fully and completely embody it within yourself.hearts with values
  2. Using all of your senses, observe as the archetypal image is filled with the empowerment of your specific quality and fully transformed into empowered and balanced expression of greatest potential.

Conscious Choice

Shadow work allows for the conscious recognition through which change is initiated. It is with conscious awareness that we can make the choice to stop repeating unconscious, out-of-balance patterns.

  1. Make the conscious choice to bring forth the energy of that balanced expression into your life.
  2. With the energy of the balanced archetype, what would you like to be or do differently that would feel empowering and healthy?
Action Step

Place the new empowered archetype into action. Embrace the opportunities to use your newfound gifts, talents and abilities in your everyday choices. Continue to invite the archetype to inform your conscious mind when it is in need of restoring harmony and balance. Use the awareness exercise throughout your day to gain continual awareness and embrace authentic power.

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