This post gives an introduction to the Sovereign archetype. The Sovereign is an aspect of ourselves that we all have inside us. However, as shadows form in our early life, many of us lose touch with the full and loving presence of this essential part of ourselves.
Recently I have begun to re-name this archetype the Heart Centred Leader. It speaks to me in a slightly different way to the word Sovereign. I like each, but in this article I have chosen to use the term Heart Centred Leader. You are welcome to replace this with the word Sovereign if that works better for you.
I find that an essential part of working with the archetypes is to start to make them your own and to feel into your own personal version of each of the archetypes. With this in mind I always encourage people to come up with their own names if they wish. So if, when you read this, you find a word that works better for you as a name for this part of yourself, then please feel free to use it!
The Heart Centred Leader
Below is an overview description of the Heart Centred Leader archetype
Warmth, love and passion
Our Heart Centred Leader is the part of us that loves and cares for us unconditionally and wants us to lead a fulfilling, rich and love-filled life. This side of us is warm and emotionally connected – it is the heart that cares. Our Heart Centred Leader is full of passion for life and joyfully leads us through our life, holding the vision for how we want to live and the impact we want to have on the world. This side of us cares deeply about ourselves and others, and makes moral judgements about how we choose to live our life.
The Heart Centred Leader lovingly guides us towards a life of deep joy. Sometimes it is helpful to imagine this part of us as an inner loving parent who cares for us and guides us in our lives. We could also see this part as an inner queen or king who rules over our internal realm with tenderness and compassion. Our Heart Centred Leader believes we are in charge of our own lives and able to create our own future within the limitations of the hand we have been dealt. Each day she creates the most beautiful day she can.
Blessing and support
The Heart Centred Leader inspires and encourages us. She also supports us when we are struggling or vulnerable. The Heart Centred Leader blesses and supports us no matter what. She sees our essential value, outside of any achievements or failure. In the eyes of our Heart Centred Leader we are always worthy of love, respect and care. She is there to support us and to help us find the support we need in the world. She is realistic about our abilities and understands that we all need support, that no-one manages well in this world alone. It is our birthright to be connected and supported. She will seek out these connections and support networks and recognise us as worthy of this support. Equally the Heart Centred Leader is the side of us that can support, bless and encourage others in our life – joyfully and with an open heart.
Leading and following
There are times in our life when we need to ‘follow’ rather than ‘lead’. The Heart Centred Leader understands we need to be equally comfortable leading or following – giving or receiving – as is appropriate for the situation and where we are in our life.
Our Heart Centred Leader is the part of us that can feel gratitude in our hearts for all that is good in our life. We know we are in our Heart Centred Leader when we feel warmth in our heart and gratitude flowing outwards.
Within each of the archetypes lies an innate animal instinct that we ignore at our peril. With the Heart Centred Leader this is the instinct of ‘ranking’, in other words having an Alpha Female, or an Alpha Male – a member of the group who leads, has special privileges and who others look up to. Equally it is also in our instinctive nature to be one of the ‘followers’: one of the lower level members of the group who looks up to the leader.
If we deny these instincts then we put a part of ourselves into shadow. We prefer to acknowledge that these two instincts are part of us and that human groups may function most effectively when people take on such roles. However, we also recognise that, unlike animals, we have conscious choice. Once we acknowledge these instincts in us we can choose whether or not to act them out. If we do act them out then we do so consciously and constructively in a way that can best serve us and others.
Listening and speaking
The special role of the Heart Centred Leader is to listen and to speak. The Heart Centred Leader listens carefully to the thoughts and opinions and feelings of others. This may be internally, where she listens to all the different parts of her that may have conflicting or opposing views on a particular issue, or it may be externally where she listens carefully to the views of all the people she is in charge of. She then speaks her decision, or offers her way forward, after taking everything into account.
Key emotion – Joy
The key emotion for each archetype is the emotion we need to be in touch with, and capable of feeling, in order to unlock the door to this side of ourselves. Being in touch with our joy of life is essential if we are to be able to access the qualities of our Heart Centred Leader and embody her. This doesn’t mean we’re joyful all the time when we’re inhabiting our Heart Centred Leader – there may be much sacrifice, difficulty and hard work in leading ourselves and others through life. However it means we need to cultivate a bedrock of joy and contentment that we can come back to regularly and rest in. The source of this joy is a sense of our own worth, beauty and essential goodness. This is self-love, in which we can sit confidently and lovingly as we radiate joy and love out to the world.
Along with this internal joy and self love comes a sense that other people, too, are basically worthy and essentially good.
The element of fire
We find that fire is a good symbol for the Heart Centred Leader. It represents the warmth and the passion of this place. We say we have ‘fire in our belly’, or we are ‘on fire’ when we are full of passion and vision. We say we are ‘burnt out’ when we have been leading too much, without receiving the support, guidance, rest and nurture required.
I helpful to light a candle when working with The Heart Centred Leader.
There is one message which particularly harms our ability to embody our Heart Centred Leader. This is the message that we are not good enough.
If we have picked up this message in life, from our parents, family, community or teachers, it will eat away at the foundations of our joyful loving of ourselves. It plants the belief that we have to strive and prove ourselves if we want to be loved. It sends the message that we are not lovable and worthy just as we are, but that we will be judged and compared with others. If we are found lacking in some way love or approval will be withdrawn.
This is sometimes known as conditional love.
If we have been wounded with the idea that we are not good enough our Heart Centred Leader will be wounded and will show up in unconscious shadowy ways that we don’t really understand.
It may be that we ‘puff up’ to really try to prove how good we are. We chase success after success, showing off and being proud of our certificates, medals or accolades. Yet deep down we still fear that, without these badges of honour, we have no worth. So we continue trying to achieve – more and more – and it becomes an endless cycle, which never gets us the love and acceptance we are looking for. The more successful we become, the more we fear we would be nothing without our success.
Alternatively we may try to prove our worth by caring for and serving others relentlessly. However, rather than receiving love for this, we are more likely to be taken for granted by others and tossed aside when they no longer need us. Even if this isn’t the case, we will always fear that if we weren’t so caring or supportive we might lose the love and high regard of others. We believe we need to be performing in some way to get love.
We may find we judge people who don’t achieve and who get loved and supported simply for being themselves. We see such people as weak and useless. This is because deep down we are jealous of people who are loved just for being themselves. We have put our longing for unconditional love into shadow. So we judge harshly when we see others receiving this.
Another reaction to the belief that we’re not good enough could be that we totally deflate. We collapse and give up. There is no fire in our heart. We think everything’s too hard, we feel tired and don’t believe we will ever achieve anything. We feel depressed and unmotivated. We can become jealous and vindictive when we see powerful leaders, or when we see people living the life of their dreams. We have cut off this side of ourselves and put it into shadow – so we judge it harshly in others and can think they are self-centred or arrogant or ‘too big for their boots’.
Many people who are wounded in this archetype alternate between these two inflated and deflated responses.
Speech patterns of the Heart Centred Leader
The Heart Centred Leader will ask clearly and openly for what she wants. She knows that she will not necessarily get her wishes fulfilled, but believes that she is free to ask, and that her wants will be treated respectfully.
A wounded Heart Centred Leader will believe that saying what she wants is selfish or demanding. She will therefore try to express her wants in unclean ways by saying things like ‘I really need you to….’ or by hoping the other person will guess what she wants, and then berating them afterwards if they don’t get it right.
She might feel more comfortable saying what she doesn’t want, rather than what she does want. Or she may feel more comfortable saying what she wants for another person rather than saying what she wants for herself.
It is not ‘selfish’ to want things, nor is it ‘demanding’. It is simply a statement of our truth. We all want things. We are all allowed to ask – knowing we may not get what we ask for. When working with wounded Heart Centred Leaders we encourage them to state their wants clearly to others.
For further information about Healing The Shadow work, including details of group workshops, 1-2-1 sessions, couples work and the practitioner training please visit healingtheshadow.co.uk
Sign up here to receive a monthly newsletter with upcoming workshop information and other Healing The Shadow news.