The Warrior Archetype – Interview

With Marianne Hill – Healing The Shadow Practitioner

This is the transcript of an interview by Carolyn Clitheroe, a psychotherapy student who has developed an interest in shadow work and the archetypes. In relation to her studies she interviewed Marianne about the Warrior archetype. This is the second in a series of interviews, the first was the Sovereign archetype interview. Before the Sovereign interview transcript there is a simple overview of all four archetypes. If you’re not familiar with the four archetypes you may wish to take a look at this summary to help put this Warrior interview in to context.

This interview took place in The Green Room in Frome in January 2018 and focuses on our inner Warrior. The discussions are wide-ranging and a variety of topics relating to the Warrior are discussed – power and boundaries, willpower and self discipline, self worth and accountability, war and abuse, anger and more… Inevitably the other three archetypes – the Lover, the Magician and the Sovereign – are also discussed, since all four archetypes are interwoven and interdependent.

Marianne Hill interviewed by Carolyn Clitheroe (Sampritti)

January 2018 in The Green Room, Frome


C:  So last time we were doing Sovereign and this time we’ve decided, well we both independently decided, and then mutually, that Warrior should be next.

M:  We did!

C:  And so I just thought I’d ask you what’s in the Warrior corner here, and what the different objects symbolise.

M:  Ok. Interestingly the first thing that I’m drawn to is the rope. Because Warrior to me, if I had to choose one word, then it would be boundaries. And the rope is there, for me, to represent a person’s boundaries. So that they can use that in the session and start to feel in to:

‘Where do I stand on this?’ 

‘What’s my boundary?’ 

‘What’s ok for me?’ 

‘What’s not ok for me?’  

So I’ve got a couple of pieces of rope on there for using to represent people’s boundaries so that they can start to get a strong sense of that for themselves. 

The next is the sign that says ‘What part of “NO” do you not understand’! Which really speaks to me, because I’m naturally quite a Warrior person – so I have that reaction to people quite a lot of the time!  – Like ‘What part of what we agreed was not clear?’ ‘What part of tomorrow morning at 11.30 was confusing to you in some way?’ (laughing)

So it’s quite a healthy Warrior statement for people who find it hard to feel in to their Warrior. It’s like ‘I’ve made a statement – respect it.’ 

C:  Or ‘We’ve made an agreement and I’m not going to pretend you haven’t broken it – I’m not going to collude with that.’

M:  Absolutely yes. Not colluding. 

Then we’ve also got a photograph of a lioness protecting her cubs. This is a very helpful image because Warrior is so difficult for so many of us in our society. It’s really demonised, we can really be shamed for using our Warrior energy. But one of the places where it’s more acceptable and more respected is when we’re protecting others. So this image of a Lioness, a mother, protecting her cubs, is a way in for a lot of people to understand how important Warrior energy is, because most people are ok with using force and aggression and anger when necessary to protect those that are vulnerable. And it’s a really beautiful picture because the cubs are behind her, and they’re not at all scared of her, and she’s roaring at somebody or something that seems to be threatening them. She’s simply protecting them that’s all her role is. She’s not attacking, unless it would be needed, she’s simply warning and protecting and defending her cubs. 

C:  And what are the stones (in the Warrior corner) representing?

M:  The stones are representing the groundedness of the Warrior. The Warrior is a part of us that we can really trust and rely on. It’s about reality and truth, solidness, integrity and follow through. And these have the qualities of the earth – something solid that you can stand on, that you can rest in. Something that’s real. So the stones are to represent that. Sometimes I also have a bowl of earth too because it can be quite nice to get your hands in the earth, to get dirty. The Warrior is about getting down and dirty as well, and doing what needs to be done, and feeling the richness of that. But for most of the time I like those big stones.

C:  Yes. I remember when I did a group with you ages ago you had a mirror as well on the Warrior.

M:  That’s on the Magician.

C:  Ah – that’s on the Magician – OK. I think it’s because the phrase ‘Facing up to things’ just came to my mind when you were talking about the stones and the Warrior and getting down and dirty.

M:  Yeah – absolutely. I guess the mirror is on Magician because it’s about ‘not reality’ you know, a reflection in the mirror isn’t real.  So it’s about seeing and perception and the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined and what’s a reflection…

C:  …smoke and mirrors …

M:  But certainly the Warrior is about facing up, speaking the truth. Facing people with the truth, like you said, about the commitment. ‘You made a commitment with me.’ Rather than colluding in them somehow not having to face the fact that they made a commitment and now they’ve changed their minds.

C:  So I guess there’s something about accountability in that. Holding yourself accountable where it’s appropriate.  When you said integrity that made me think of accountability as well. But also holding other people accountable.

M:  And as with everything we need to learn to do that with ourselves first before we can with other people.

C:  Yes, actually I was wanting to ask you about how Warrior relates to our relationship to ourself, as well as to other people. Because I think generally when people think of something about war or warriors it’s an attack and a defence, but what of the inner discipline and the almost martial arts kind of feeling – self mastery?

M:  Warrior is very much about keeping our commitments to ourselves. If we want to move forward with anything in our life we need a strong Warrior so that we can stand by ourselves and stand by our commitments to ourselves and our decisions. So the Sovereign will make a decision for us, say we want to move house for example, the Warrior will then carry out all the actions that are necessary for that to take place. And so that’s a purely internal dynamic that’s going on, where we say to ourselves ‘Ok, tomorrow I need to phone the Estate Agents.’, and we put it in our diary, and we actually phone them, and if they’re engaged we phone back, or if we leave a message and they don’t get back to us then we get back to them. So internally our own Warrior is standing up for us and saying ‘This is important to you, and I’m going to take the action necessary, and I’m going to stick to the commitment that you’ve made to yourself around this.’

C:  So in that sense can you build up more capacity to have this Warrior energy over time by sticking to your commitments to yourself or that kind of thing? Or is it just it’s available to everyone, it’s a question of tapping in to it?

M:  I think there can be deep wounds that we might carry that cause us not to be able to follow through in that kind of way with commitments to ourselves. And one of them is around our sense of how important we are – of how much we matter.  

C:  And does that sense come from the Warrior or does that come from the Sovereign?

M:  That one comes from the Sovereign really. A sense of self worth and self respect comes from the Sovereign. What comes from the Warrior is a sense that we exist. Now obviously they’re linked, but what the Warrior does is it takes action that proves our self worth. It proves that we matter to ourselves, or that we matter to someone else.

C:  And gives us ground to stand on.

M:  And gives us ground to stand on and gives us actions in the world where we can see ‘Look, I did this, I phoned the estate agent and now the house is on the market. I took an action and something happened as a result of that.’ In a very simple way. So without the Warrior in theory we can believe that we matter and that we’re important, but if that isn’t backed up with some action it doesn’t have much meaning. And we don’t see it, we don’t see it mattering. It’s the same if we don’t set our boundaries with someone. Well they’re just not going to respect them. That’s kind of human nature, that if people don’t know your boundaries then they’re going to do what’s right for them regardless of you, because you haven’t spoken clearly about what matters to you. So if you speak up about your boundaries and set them clearly and somebody respects that then you get the message back that you matter and that you are important, so it strengthens that message up.

C:  When I look at the Warrior corner and I see there are boxing gloves there and the rope and also there’s a sword, a toy sword there, if I think of all of those symbols as something defending the vulnerable or attaining something in the kind of spiritual Warrior domain or something I feel comfortable with that. But I can glance at it another way and see violence there too. And I’m guessing that that’s where the bad rap Warrior comes from, fear of abusing power in that way.

M:  There’s a side of the Warrior that people aren’t so comfortable with but that we all have, which is about growth. So as I said with the picture of the lioness, if we’re using our Warrior to defend and protect ourselves, well that, although a lot of us still struggle with it, is kind of a little bit more acceptable. But if we’re using our Warrior to actually grow, and we can think in terms of territory here – we all have from our animal nature a territorial instinct, where we want our own space, and where we want to protect what’s within that space – whether we’re talking about practically, physically or psychologically. But also we want to grow. We want to grow our territory and we want to grow our sense of self and who we are in the world – and that means we can come up against obstacles. We can come up against people or things that are in our way. And we need our Warrior energy to work through that. To push through that. To be able to grow. And the two overlap quite a lot because wanting to grow can be seen as selfish, as self centred, or even as cruel if it affects other people – if our growth, or success for example, means someone else isn’t successful. But if you picture a child who’s being trapped and restricted in what they can do, then you can see there’s going to be a natural impulse there for that child to grow, to want to to do more things. And it’s actually cruel to keep them in a restricted situation. For example let’s imagine keeping a child in a single room for the whole of their childhood. Their Warrior energy will naturally want to break out of that room and to grow and to expand their experience of life, and people tend to be a little bit less comfortable with the idea that we might have a right to grow, and to grow in a way that may not serve others.

C:  Mmmm…

M:  The Warrior is the part of us that can really put ourselves first.

C:  Right.

M:  And that’s not necessarily acceptable in our culture.

C:  Yeah. there’s a lot of talk about compromise in our culture. It’s held as quite high value in my experience. But I think there are advantages of the authenticity represented by the Warrior because then people know where you are and you know where they are, and then you’ve got something real to work with. Would you agree?

M:  I absolutely agree – that kind of authenticity is a huge breath of fresh air, and a relief to everybody – when things are spoken as they actually are, when things are admitted and named, then everybody knows what they’re dealing with. And one of those things I guess that needs to be admitted and named is that drive that we all have, I think, to grow – whatever that means to us. And that we will hit up against other people in that process. There will be a conflict there. It’s bound to happen at some point, because you’ve got a lot of people all wanting to grow. The important thing to remember is that Warrior is one out of the 4 archetypes, so it’s a quarter of the skills and abilities that we need to live life, so we’re not going to completely live our life from this place of ‘Right, I want to grow, I want to do this. I’m putting myself first.’ But we need to have that firmly in place as a part of who we are so that we can express it clearly and so that we can navigate it along with other parts of ourselves so that we can grow.

C:  Yeah. conflict doesn’t necessarily have to be destructive does it?

M:  Not at all. And what’s coming to my mind is the Marianne Williamson quote about this, something like ‘Who are you not to be powerful?’ We’re not doing anybody any service if we keep ourselves small and don’t allow ourselves to grow. Because in growing we’ll give our gifts to the world. So in being able to expand and grow in the way that we want and need to we will be giving and contributing to the world in a very positive way. And to get there we may need to use – we will need to use – some Warrior energy. So there’s a real paradox here for me around the Warrior, it is completely about us, and those in our immediate care, usually our children, or if we’re in charge of an organisation or other group then everybody within that group. But if we look at it personally our Warrior energy is about us and what’s right for us and that’s the platform that it’s coming from. And that obviously is, and can be judged as, being selfish. And yet if we can’t do that we actually don’t have anything to give to others. If we can’t put ourselves first we can’t be in a healthy relationship, because if we’re just sacrificing ourselves for someone else then we’re on very weak foundations, and we’re going to build up resentment, and the other person is going to be able to tell that the authenticity that you talked about isn’t there. And we don’t have two separate people relating to form a relationship – we just have a kind of merger – which doesn’t serve either person. So if we want deep intimacy we actually have to have a strong Warrior part that can put us first.

C:  And in your work do you notice differences of how different genders relate to the Warrior archetype?

M:  No I don’t. It’s really interesting in the work I do. I don’t really notice very much difference between the different sexes when I’m working deeply with people. I think there are just as many men whose Warrior is wounded in some way as there are women. And there are as many different ways of that looking as there are human beings! So I can’t honestly say that I do see any generalisations there. Maybe at a surface level you might see them, but when I’m doing deep work with people I don’t see any patterns.

C:  When we talked about the Sovereign archetype you talked about a triangle that involve the Sovereign and the Warrior and the Lover I think? I can’t remember what it was… you talked about different circuits…

M:  Yes, there are circuits between the Warrior and other archetypes. There is a circuit between the Warrior and the Sovereign which we’ve kind of referred to already, where the Sovereign has a vision or mission and the Warrior takes the action that is necessary to bring that vision about. And then you’ve got a circuit between the Warrior and the Lover which is represented by the photograph that we have there of the lioness, where the Warrior protects the vulnerable Lover. So that’s the Warrior protecting vulnerable parts of ourselves – which is what would be happening in a relationship particularly, but in lots of other situations. And it’s also the Warrior protecting other vulnerable people – our children – or if we look at it in terms of society we may have the police protecting vulnerable members of society, or other organisations that are set up to protect and defend the more vulnerable.

C:  And what’s the relationship between the Warrior and the Magician?

M:  The Warrior sort of reinforces the self image of the Magician. The Magician has ideas and thoughts and beliefs about what kind of a person we are – about what’s real and what’s not real – and generates those kind of ideas and then the Warrior makes those real. The Warrior kind of checks out the fantasies of the Magician, and brings them in to reality, or reality checks them – because they might not be true. So that’s a very important process in relationship, where our Magician may…. you know the Magician tries to keep us safe in a different way to the Warrior by having sort of fears or fantasies around situations so that we’re pre-warned. So imagine in a relationship our Magician might be saying ‘Ooh, I can’t trust my partner, he was out late last night. I think he was seeing somebody else.’ And at the moment that’s a fantasy in our head. We need our Warrior to be brave enough to check that out, and reality check that, and bring that out, and have the conversations that are necessary, or take the action that is necessary, to bring that out of that realm of fantasy and in to something real. When it’s something real we can deal with it and take the action necessary from there.

C:  What’s the key emotion for Warrior?

M: Well, the key emotion for Warrior is anger. And it’s really important to see that as something that we need, as a key which opens a door, which really means that it’s an emotion that we have to feel comfortable with and open to if we’re going to have access to the Warrior part of ourselves – if we’re going to be able to be authentic and accountable and solid and trustworthy and if we’re going to be able to protect and defend ourselves. It’s not that we’re in anger all the time. We can have a very healthy Warrior going on without being overwhelmed by anger. But we need to listen to our anger. So if for any reason we don’t have access to our anger – either it’s so much in shadow that we’re not aware of it, or we feel it and then we squash it down because it’s scary for us – in those situations our Warrior gets wounded. We just can’t step up in to those places. But if we can notice our anger and recognise that it’s telling us that something’s not right for us – that a boundary’s been crossed or that something isn’t right in some other way, isn’t ok with us – then we can listen to it and we can operate on that wisdom. ‘This isn’t ok for me.’ ‘How do I communicate that?’ ‘What steps do I need to take?’ 

So we’re not necessarily coming from a place of powerful anger when we’re using our Warrior, but we do need to know that place. We do need to know that we have that power within us, and that’s a very good thing to experiment with in a therapeutic session, when you’ve got that ‘time out of time’ place, and you can go in to that anger and allow it out in whatever way it looks like, so that you can get to feel that power in your body.  It’s really, you know, full anger is an embodied experience as well as an emotion, something that we feel and we know, and then we know we really mean it – we feel our power. And then once we know that’s there we don’t necessarily need to use it as we go about in everyday life.

C:  Yes, I was going to ask you, what’s happening, in your understanding, with somebody who is using Warrior energy to abuse or dominate other people? What’s the imbalance? What’s happened there? Is that because their self image, through Magician, is distorted in some way?

M:  There are lots of different ways that the Warrior can get wounded, but at the bottom of it is usually having received some kind of message that we don’t exist. Or that we’re not sort of separate from other people. because healthy Warrior is about having a healthy ego and knowing where our boundaries are – knowing where we end and other people start. Knowing what’s us and what’s not us. And if that’s been wounded in some way we don’t know that we exist, one thing we can do is really try and prove that we exist. And one way that we can do that is to be constantly battling with other people, because then we’re meeting some kind of boundary. we’re looking for some kind of boundary. What we might find is that we just squash and flatten those people, and then it’s quite abusive, but what we’re looking for is a boundary and to be met. So that we can know that we exist.

C:  And what about the converse of that where there are people who, from the outside at least, look as though they feel that they exist but they’re not sure that other people exist – so kind of narcissistic type characters.

M:  That’s probably more of a Magician kind of wound, because narcissism as far as I understand it is quite playing around with somebody else’s reality and confusing and manipulating in that way. The Warrior is very straightforward. So out of control Warrior might abuse, yes. But it will be with a straightforward thump. A straightforward flattening somebody, a straightforward steamrollering over somebody that’s very clear about its intention and what it’s doing. That doesn’t mean it’s not cruel and not abusive. But mind games lie more in the Magician territory.

C:  There’s a kind of story in our culture about how confrontation perpetuates violence, and perpetuates more confrontation… and we were just having a conversation before we started this recording about, you were saying that your experience in the reality of setting boundaries and confronting people with a clear ‘No’ has often been a really positive experience, and that people really respect that. But there seems to be some sort of belief – I think maybe it’s a particularly British thing, I don’t know – where if you confront somebody with something you’re only going to make matters worse and you’re only going to arouse their aggressive side and things will escalate. A kind of, you know, ‘don’t make a fuss’ kind of mentality.

M:  What we have to remember about the Warrior is that it’s there for a reason. It’s got a job to do. So if we just have confrontation and we don’t go anywhere from there then of course that’s a very unpleasant place to be. Nobody likes confrontation, you know, it’s uncomfortable, and we’re doing it to achieve something. We’re doing it to set a boundary, or to hold someone to account for having broken a boundary. We’re doing it because we want something to be different and we want something to change and we want to see a result. If our confrontation doesn’t get us any of those things then it’s not ‘done’, we won’t feel that it’s ‘done’. We’ve just had confrontation, if you like, for no reason. For no point. And so then it can come up again, and the confrontation will come up again, because that Warrior impulse and that anger energy haven’t achieved what they’re there to achieve. So we have to remember when we’re using our Warrior that we’re trying to achieve something. What are we trying to achieve? … and see if we’ve achieved it or not. If we haven’t achieved it we might want to learn from that. So if we’ve gone in to a confrontational situation with somebody and we’ve been as clear as we can be and we don’t get the result that we want then it’s worth learning, well, that person or that situation, you know, our Warrior isn’t being effective. So we need to try something different next time. We might want to move away from that situation or person. We might want to deal with it differently when we have more resources, or more support. But the mistake that we make often is going back in to situation where we haven’t had a positive result from the confrontation and then we just go back again and again.

Another difficulty from what you talked about, with the Magician, and the kind of cruelty of the Magician, is that if we’ve got resentments that have built up over time then our Magician part, which wants to play with somebody in some way, or be cruel with them or manipulate them, might be there in the equation. So we’re not actually using pure Warrior. We’re not actually wanting to get something done – get a job done, get a result. We’re wanting to punish the other person, or we’re wanting to be cruel to them in some way, or there’s a kind of web of feelings and motivations going on that we’re not clear about. And in that case our confrontation won’t have the result that we want because we’re not really clear about why we’re doing it and we’ve got some Magician there in the mix. 

C:  So really Warrior works well when there’s Sovereign involved and when there’s Lover involved, but it doesn’t come off very well when unconscious shadowy Magician is involved. I mean obviously if there was shadow Sovereign or Shadow Lover mixed in with the Warrior that wouldn’t have massive integrity I should imagine. And when we’re talking about the Magician we’re automatically talking about the shadow of Magician, but is there a positive coupling between Magician and Warrior?

M:  Absolutely. I mean the Magician has no more or less shadow than any of the other archetypes, but it has the potential to be very dark as well as very light – hence the white and black cloths represented there. But what the Magician does is it generates options. The Magician is our ability to see. So the Magician can really serve us in confrontations because we can see all the different possible ways forward, which we can suggest to the other person. We can see all the options available. So once we’ve got past that moment of holding the other person to account or saying what we need to say, or even as a part of that, our Magician can inform us with the options that are available there.

C:  Have you seen people healing wounded Warrior?

M:  Yes, absolutely, and it’s not,.. it’s an incredibly positive force. And people feel very liberated when they start healing it … and sometimes other people don’t like it. And as I said before you then have decisions to make. Just because you’re being clear and authentic that doesn’t mean that people around you are going to respond to that well. Especially if they’re used to you being a particular way, and maybe not setting your boundaries clearly, or not making too much ‘fuss’ about things. So there are consequences, there are reasons why people don’t step up in to their Warrior. And they are real reasons, because there can be real consequences to doing that. And we have to face the fact that maybe some people in our life don’t care about us in a way where they’re willing to respect our boundaries, or in a way where they’re willing to keep commitments. That can no longer be brushed under the carpet any more. Some people in our life might not be able to face themselves in the way that we’re requiring them to by stepping in to our Warrior. So they may even use their Warrior to protect themselves and to cut themselves off from us, because what we’re asking them to do or face is too painful. So it’s quite a journey to start exploring having a clear Warrior. 

C:  Yeah. I mean going from that very personal perspective to a wider social perspective what’s the relationship between Warrior and war – actual war?

M:  Well, very simply war is either protecting our boundaries or expanding our boundaries. So it’s the very essence of Warrior in that way. The thing that’s interesting there is who’s making that decision to protect boundaries, or..

C:  …yes. Is it the Magician or is it the Sovereign?

M:  Yes, and what kind of a Sovereign do we have in our society that’s making that decision.

C:  Yes, a shadowy one or a conscious one.

M:  Yes, because the Warrior is only doing the bidding of the Sovereign, so if we’re talking about on a international level then the Sovereign is represented by the head of state. And so the Warrior is only doing their bidding in protecting boundaries or expanding boundaries. And so what we’re looking for there is a lot of what we talked about last time really, about the motivations of the Sovereign and the healthiness of the Sovereign and the way that that person gets put in to power. 

C:  Yes. If you could put things in an order of, let me think how I can say this… because it sounds like the Sovereign needs to be in a good place to activate the healthy part of the Warrior. Is there an order like that where one affects the other in a sort of ‘cascade’ – or is it a very organic, non -linear kind of model?

M:  Well, it’s interesting, I guess that’s why I like to talk about circuits. Because how does the Sovereign get a healthy sense of self? Well, from having a strong Warrior probably, who will help her to believe in herself by standing up for her and doing her bidding. Equally the Warrior needs to be given good advice or the Warrior is going around, you know, protecting and defending when it’s not necessary. Or expanding boundaries when it’s not appropriate.

C:  Would you think of something like a police state as Warrior kind of gone crazy?

M:  Yes, I mean that’s a mixture of Warrior and Magician. Because there’s also a lot of mind control I believe goes on in such states that helps to keep the whole thing together. It’s hard to control just through Warrior because you’d need a huge amount of force. There are psychological  games that go on. … and yes, the Sovereign and Lover is really missing there. 

I’d also like to talk a little bit about the role of Warrior in trauma, because that’s something that I’m looking in to a lot at the moment. With the understanding of trauma that I’m developing, trauma occurs when we’re not able to use our Warrior. So trauma occurs when we would want to use the fight or flight response, but for some reason neither of those are possible, so we end up going in to the freeze response, which if you like is a bit more Magician. It’s like ‘Right, I’m just going to stay still and do absolutely nothing in the hope that everything turns out ok.’ …and there’s a little bit of magical thinking in there as well, almost like ‘I can’t be seen, I’m invisible.’

C:  … ‘I’m going to play dead.’

M:  Yeah – playing dead. And if that freeze stops the Warrior energy when it’s really wanting to be used and traps it in the body, and if that energy isn’t released, if that trauma energy isn’t released, then we carry on operating in life, in certain circumstances anyway, as though we don’t have a healthy Warrior. Because in the moment that we really needed our Warrior we weren’t able to use it. It didn’t help us.

C:  And so does that mean then that that leaves us more open to our boundaries being stepped over because we’re not able to assert them?

M:  Yes, what it means is that in a situation where a healthy person who hasn’t been traumatised might just stand up for themselves, and say ‘No that’s not ok with me,’ we might not say that, even though there’s no obvious reason why we couldn’t say it. We’re free to say it. But we’ve frozen inside, because we’ve had a previous experience of it not being safe or ok or possible for us to set our boundaries. So we don’t in that situation. So we recreate the situation by freezing and not believing, deep down, that our Warrior is going to be able to serve us. Or even that it might be dangerous for us to use our Warrior.

C:  And presumably because somebody else’s Warrior had come on line at that point.

M:  Yes.

C:  Which kind of leads me to want to get more in to this question of… How do we know the difference – and it is a perspective thing – but how do we know the difference between healthy Warrior and not healthy Warrior? Because as we’ve talked about it so far we’ve almost said well, it can be healthy for the person expressing the Warrior archetype, but it might not be great for the person on the receiving end of it. But because whenever we’ve talked about all of these systems before there’s been some kind of amazing intelligence to it where it can work. You know I’m thinking of NVC (Non violent communication) where Marshall Rosenberg says there’s never actually conflict, or maybe he says there’s very rarely conflict on the level of need. There’s this kind of, there’s an innate intelligence in a way that things can work out well for everyone, when things are done with integrity, or when things are done with the right intentions and with true consciousness. Can that be so for Warrior? I think that’s the question that I’m grappling with here.

M:  OK. I think that that’s a Magician perspective of stepping back and saying, more of a spiritual perspective, that things will work out ok for everybody. Which has a truth in it. In the moment, if we look at a Warrior situation…  let’s look at one person ending a relationship. You know, the other person doesn’t want the relationship to end. So in that moment their needs are in conflict. And the person who’s ending the relationship is putting their needs first. They’re saying “This isn’t right for me.’ … and the other person may be very upset. They may have needs that they want to be met from that relationship that they’re not going to get met any more… and there’s no way, in that moment, in that interaction, of making it ‘ok’ for the the other person. They’re not getting what they want. But if we take a step back and look at it – would it serve them to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be with them? Well most people, when they can step back, would say ‘No, I don’t want to spend my life in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be with me’. So in that way they are being served by the decision. … and if we step even further back then we may find that they go on and find their needs met in a more fulsome way in a different relationship, or by being on their own for time, or they continue on their own journey in a way that is rich and fulfilling for them. 

C:  Yes, because in the NVC model it would be… the need wouldn’t be that very relationship. It would be to have intimacy and security with ‘a person’, and the person is their strategy, in the strictest sense. The felt experience of it is that you want that person. You know, they are the parent of your child, they are the partner you’ve had for the last however many years, so it’s kind of… there’s not such a clear line there.

M:  No. And the Warrior is the part that will actually not worry about any of that. And this is the strength of the Warrior. Because the Warrior can make the right decision by just putting you first. ‘This is not ok for me.’ That’s my solid ground, that’s what I know to be true. This is where the earth comes in: ‘This isn’t right for me. I’m going to end this relationship’. And at that point they’re not thinking ‘Oh, in the long term this is going to be best for the other person.’ They’re thinking about themselves and what’s right for them. And there’s actually real value in that, because that will, as you say, work out, as the Magician can see, in a longer term perspective. To be better for both parties. Or it may not…

C:  Yes if you describe that kind of scenario I can understand it, but in a much more brutal scenario where, for example, somebody wants to, you know, rob a bank: So they’ve stolen all sorts of money and jewels that belong to all sorts of different people and…. so they are going for their growth. (Laughter) …their economic growth! (Laughter) …but I can’t see that that’s ever going to have a long term or medium term benefit for anybody else, apart from that, perhaps, the bank may change it’s security protocols or something! 

I suppose what I’m really getting to is values. How much do values inform the way that we express the Warrior? How much of a sense of, say, entitlement that we may have, (as white middle class people, or people of colour, in the constellation of our families, what we’re entitled to as citizens in our country – or not citizens in our country – in the country we find ourselves in) informs the permission then to set that Warrior boundary there? And can that therefore mean that the Warrior is being ultimately a positive contribution to everybody, or simply abusive and destructive?

M:  Mmmm. Let’s take the first one first about robbing a bank. I come back to the fact that the Warrior is a quarter of our whole being in this way of thinking. So obviously the Sovereign part of us will have made this decision to rob the bank, and the Warrior is carrying that out. For the person who’s robbing the bank that may be the best thing for them to do in that moment. Or it may be that their Sovereign is not giving good guidance. It may be that their Magician isn’t able to see any other options for them… and if they had a stronger Magician they’d be able to see other ways forward or possibilities for them. Or it may be that this really is the only way forward for them in whatever situation they’re in themselves. And that that’s absolutely the only way that they can get that money, and that’s the most important thing to them at the time. We can’t know that. But this is the quality of the Warrior, it is doing what is best for the person. It isn’t thinking or believing in that moment that what they’re doing might be better for the bank manager, or for the people who’s money they have stolen. (Laughter) That’s the quality of it. … and in itself that’s neither good or bad, but that’s the quality of the Warrior. And the Warrior needs to be informed by all of the other archetypes and their considerations, and then it’s willing to act.

[see final interview for more discussion about the relationship between values, boundaries and entitlement].

I mean the ultimate thing is killing someone, you know. If someone’s attacking me, am I going to let them kill me, or am I going to kill them? if it comes to that decision the Warrior is the part that will say ‘I am more important. If it’s me or them I will kill them.’ If we step back, again maybe we have to step back further perhaps to see a Magician perspective about, say, about multiple lives, and what that person may have learnt from trying to murder someone and getting killed, there are different perspectives we can step back to. But we can’t see, and we don’t have time to work out, from the Warrior place, any of that. The Warrior is just informing us of what’s right for us. It can take, it has this capacity to take these instantaneous decisions. So ideally we would have time to check in with our Sovereign, our Magician, our Lover and make, maybe wiser and more rounded decisions. Sometimes we don’t have that opportunity, and the Warrior is the part that will do something in that moment because it has to be done.

C:  I’m thinking about, say, Hitler and the second world war, the occupation of territories and expanding in to Poland, that kind of thing. Where was the wound there? Would that have been a wound at the level of Sovereign? In terms of a sense of entitlement to the land, property, lives of other countries? 

M:  I think the wound is in the ideology, and in the belief that there is an entitlement there. 

C:  And is that ideology a combination of Magician and Sovereign then?

M:  I think so. Yeah. So going back to what you were talking about about this sense of entitlement and how does it depend on what our class or our background or culture or…

C:  Yeah, yeah.

M:  I think the important thing about Warrior is it informs us. It’s a bodily sort of response. Anger again I believe, I experience, and I see in other people – is a full body response to something – that tells us it’s not OK for us. And I don’t think that makes any difference what our status or background or situation is, to know that. To be able to listen to that, and have that internal piece of information, or form of reference that this isn’t ok with me.

C:  Yes. And what I think I’m coming to in this conversation is how much can we trust that anger. Because there are men who are angry with a woman for not having the dinner on the table on time for example. And in some cultures feel justified in then giving that woman a beating – angrily. … and feeling justified in having that anger about that issue. There isn’t a cultural agreement here (in the UK) really, I hope, that that would be acceptable, but in some countries there still is that, and that certainly was the case here until really quite recently as well, that it was acceptable to take out ones anger on a vulnerable person in the family. And those feelings of anger may have been very genuine, but they were being ordained from a cultural conversation, or a cultural agreement somewhere. So I think for me, I don’t know how much to trust the feeling of that anger to inform me as to whether or not my rights, or my right to my own boundaries, have actually been stepped over, or whether it’s my sense of entitlement that’s been stepped in to. And whether somebody else is responding from a place that I can trust with their Warrior. I think that’s the kind of deeper question that I have about the relationship between anger and Warrior.

M:  Yes. I think, first of all I think one of the reasons that we struggle so much with anger in this society is because a lot of us have witnessed it being used in very dangerous, very inappropriate ways, and very frightening ways such as you describe with domestic abuse. And it’s very hard then to see our way, to come out of that fog, if you like, and see anything healthy or good about anger. It’s clearly not OK to hit someone because your dinner hasn’t been on the table at the right time. If we come back to the point of anger – to achieve something, to make a difference – that man is angry because his dinner isn’t on the table and he’s got home. So for him it’s not OK that dinner wasn’t on the table when he got home. That’s a piece of information that he knows because he’s feeling it in his body as an angry response. Now his job is to explore that. 

C:  OK..

M:  If he’s really hungry and he absolutely needs to eat at that time and it’s really important to him to have dinner on the table when he gets in every day, then he needs to take action to have that happen if possible. Beating his wife, apart from being abusive, is probably not going to help that. So that’s not clean healthy anger. One, it’s invading somebody else’s boundaries, and two it’s not action that’s going to get his need met. So in both of those ways we can see that this is not healthy acting on the anger. But the anger he feels is still real and needs to be explored. So if it really is about him being hungry and needing his supper then he needs to take whatever action that is. That may be that he pays somebody to come in and cook, or that he goes to a cafe on the way home, you know, there are ways forward to get that need met once he’s realised that he’s angry and it’s not ok. He needs to take action. Warrior is about taking action. Not abusing somebody else. That’s the big distinction here. Of course he could be feeling anger because there’s anger in his body from previous hurts that he hasn’t dealt with that’s been stimulated by this. It may be because he’s perceiving that his wife hasn’t been kind or thoughtful towards him, and in the past he’s been treated in ways that aren’t kind and thoughtful and that’s made him very angry. So he would need to explore that.. that projection if you like, on to why his wife didn’t have dinner ready for him, and explore why he’s having this extreme response if it’s not about him being physically hungry. So there’s really important stuff for him to explore there. But if we deny the right for his anger then that’s not going anywhere – because he really is angry. That’s something truthful. That’s some solid ground. Something isn’t right for him.

C:  Yes, when you separate it like that I can see the health in that.

M:  And it may lead him on a journey to understand. It may be that his wife is deliberately not, you know, deliberately provoking him because she’s upset about something, and, so that’s a conversation then that needs to be had. It could be simply that he’s got stored anger from his childhood that he needs to work through therapeutically, so that it doesn’t come up and get in the way of his relationship. 

C:  Or it could be that he has a world view that women should be servile – could it?

M:  Yes, I guess that would need unpicking a little bit as to what that means to him. Because I think underneath that is usually an emotional reaction. A belief doesn’t cause anger, it’s  um..

C:  No, but I think that a belief gives the green light for how anger is acted on.

M:  Yes.  But the anger itself is what we need to look at, and then…

C:  …yes, I see what you mean.

M:  You know, so he would be believing then that she wasn’t respecting him, that she wasn’t treating him in the way that she should do, and then that’s something that he needs to explore. But there is, again, there would be something emotional hitting him there for him to be that angry. There would be something that was triggering from the past about not having been treated respectfully. Or, we can’t ignore the fact that his wife may be deliberately trying to provoke him, for reasons of her own, in which case there’s some relationship stuff to work on there. But with any of those situations, hitting his wife is not an action that’s going to get him what he wants. So it’s not a healthy response. it’s not a Warrior situation where we would need to use our anger in that way.

C:  Although there are people, I would argue, who use their warrior energy to dominate other people and they do get what they want.

M:  True, I was just thinking about that as I was saying that. 

C:  I mean Hitler did manage to kill millions of people, he did manage to pretty much eradicate the jewish community, the communist community, the gay community, the gypsy community and the disabled community in Germany.

M:  Yes, of course. It can be… anger can be used abusively, of course. And having said that I don’t think that that kind of regime is coming from a place of Warrior.

C:  Yeah. Ok. That’s making sense now.

M:  It’s coming from a place of the ideology, which is about Magician. It’s not coming from a place of ‘Something’s made me angry, a boundary has been crossed.’

C:  Yes. that’s becoming clearer and clearer the more that we bounce this around.

I was just thinking that we’ve gone quite far in to the shadow side of Warrior and I was wondering about exploring more of the healthy side of Warrior.

M:  OK

C:  The word that popped in to my mind was will. Are there different forms of will that you would associate with the different archetypes? Or would you say that the world of will lives more with the Warrior than with any of the others.

M:  Mmmmm. I think, strictly speaking that will lies with the Sovereign. 

C:  Yes, that’s the deep sense of direction isn’t it?

M:  And the Sovereign tells the Warrior what to do, or what she would like the Warrior to do, and the Warrior then has the courage to actually do that. I think it’s really courage that the Warrior needs. Because we can know that something’s not ok with us and yet we can really slide off having to have that conversation, you know, for all the reasons that we’ve discussed so far and what that might lead to… you know, what standing up for ourselves might lead to. So there’s courage there and there’s also integrity. There’s a not letting things go. … and being willing to stick to rules and agreements which is… I guess you could see that as a kind of will, but that’s probably not the word that I would use…

C:  Yeah. Would that be more willpower in a way? You know kind of sticking to your plans – not eat meat for six months or not drink alcohol for a year or whatever. Those are warrior actions aren’t they?

M:  Yes. yes. I think willpower is a good word. It’s ‘This is my path, this is what I’ve chosen to do.’ I mean for me being a single parent is a good example of this, being a parent full stop, but in my experience personally being a single parent, and the Warrior energy that you need to follow through on that desire and wish to bring up your child – which involves getting up ridiculously early in the morning, it involves shopping, it involves cleaning, it involves cooking, it involves difficult conversations with teachers and an endless amount of things that you have to follow through on from this one decision or desire to raise you child well. … and you need a huge amount of Warrior energy to keep coming back and following through on that commitment and the decisions that you’ve made about how you want to raise your child.

C:  In terms of creative projects, and you could say that raising a child is a creative project as well, but in terms of more of a traditional sense of a creative project, for example a community initiative or something like that, being the initiator or leader of something like that, would that involve Warrior energy?

M:  Absolutely. For example money is very Warrior.  Because money is real, in that it represents our commitments and our agreements. It has value. And a lot of people who are very creative aren’t very comfortable with dealing with the money side of things. So whether that’s selling their services, or whether that’s collecting or managing money for a project, it needs a lot of Warrior. You know, this is the real world that we operate in, everything in this society is based on needing money and the exchange of money. So to be able to talk about that openly and clearly…. to be able to charge for your services or products, which means valuing yourself… those things need to be done and spoken about clearly, and that takes Warrior energy. And a lot of people will shy away from that in this society.

C:  Is that because a lot of creative things are associated more with Magician and Lover in our society then?

M:  Yes, I think it’s because we’ve separated out these different parts of ourselves. So that we have to put ourselves into certain boxes.

C:  Yeah – so either we’re creative, or we’re business like, or we’re caring.

M.  Yes. I’ve had this from having a science background and then being a therapist, and people don’t understand that I can be both. They’re really surprised that I can have those two sides to myself. Whereas to me there isn’t a difficulty there, and I have lots of other sides to myself too! If you’re talking about community projects then I’m putting myself in the box of being a caring, supportive nurturing person, and so where does that leave me when I need to make someone pay a bill that they haven’t paid? Then I need to use my Warrior energy to stand up around that. But that’s not going with the image of being caring, loving, forgiving, supportive.

C:  Yes, and there’s something vulnerable about putting yourself out there as a Warrior isn’t there – initiating or being the first one to take a turn in a group or the first one to speak in a circle or something like that. There’s a vulnerability isn’t there in showing up?

M:  Yeah. You’re really putting your head above the parapet. Yeah definitely. And of course there’s the.. this is why we need to know this Warrior energy in our body and really trust it, because we may be making a small statement, but our Warrior has to be willing to follow through on that, on what comes from that. So if we’re the first person to speak in a group and we say something that someone else doesn’t like we need to know that behind us we’ve got the strength and the power to deal with what might come from that, and the ensuing confrontation or difficulty or challenge. So what stops us is that what might seem like a small act, of saying ‘No’ or ‘That’s not ok’ or ‘I see it differently,’ is hard because if we’re really going to say that we have to know that we’ve got that power behind us, inside ourselves.

C:  That back up.

M:  We’ve got to have that Warrior energy to follow through on what saying that might mean.

C:  If you feel like you just haven’t got access to that Warrior type energy in those sorts of situations how would you advise someone to cultivate that or to get in touch with that? What kind of things can you do? Is it literally about practicing setting boundaries or practicing following through?

M:  I think it’s two things… and the first, and maybe less obvious one, is support. We need to feel we have a lot of support, which again is the Sovereign, in order to step up in to our Warrior. The second one is absolutely role playing, practicing this situation. Practicing ways of saying it. Practicing physically how you stand, what you look like when you say these things. 

And it’s necessary to practice in a therapeutic setting, to really get into that anger and physicality, and your power and your willingness and ability to stand up for yourself. All of those are really useful. Learning to use your voice in a strong and confident way, learning to stand and embody yourself and your boundary and your Warrior, in a strong and empowered way. But a lot of people find that to do that they need to be… they need to have a sense of support. So often, when you’re practicing that, it’s good to have somebody there who’s supporting you. Who’s just simply saying, ‘Go on. I’m behind you. Yes, you’re right. I’m on your side.’

C:  And is that Sovereign?

M.  Yes, that’s Sovereign. It’s great to have an internal sense of that, but equally it’s wonderful to have an external sense of it, and that’s the way we start to believe it. There’s been lot of work done, psychological research, that shows the power of just having one other person who is on your side or believes what you believe, and what a huge difference that makes. So even if it’s only role play, it’s great to have that experience of someone saying ‘I’m behind you, I’m right here. I’m on your side. I believe in you. I believe in what you’re saying.’ … whatever words will work for you. So there’s not a quick fix. But all of those things will help. And for some people who really have never had a sense of this, then practicing it in a fully embodied way can make a huge difference. It’s like going through some kind of doorway so that you really know that part of yourself, and also you don’t fear that it’s going to be abusive. Because that’s another thing that stops us stepping in to our power, if we think, ‘Help, I know there’s a lot of anger in me and what on earth would that do if I let it out?’ Then, because of our fear of letting it out we’re likely to go the other way and never show it.

C:  Yes, and collapse it down.

M:  Yes, and just let ourselves be walked over. So in a therapeutic space to let that anger out…

C:  …to know its anatomy, to know how it ebbs and flows, how it peaks…

M:  Yes, and so that you can take control of it. You know what it looks like, it’s done its thing. And most people find that when they see it and feel it they realise that it doesn’t have an abusive intent. It’s a power and an energy that they can use and be in control of. But if it comes out when they haven’t planned it or worked with it in that way, then it can come out in a way that’s out of their control that can certainly be abusive. And lots of people who use their anger abusively deeply regret it afterwards. It’s not something that they did consciously or deliberately. So we need to gain control of that side of ourselves so that we don’t use it by mistake, by accident.

C:  So it feels to me from what we’ve said that Magician offers up the different options that the Warrior can take, the Sovereign gives that real direction to the Warrior… I’m still not clear on the relationship so much between the Lover and the Warrior.

M:  Well I guess we’re back to the idea that ideally the four archetypes are working together. So the Lover is keeping us in touch with our desire for connection. The Lover will mitigate against, if you like, the Warrior being abusive in some of the ways that you’ve described. Because the Lover is wanting connection with others, so will only want us to use the Warrior when it really serves, and not in a way that’s going to ultimately break connection. So in a relationship, for example, I tend to be very strong in the Warrior, and I need my Lover in my relationship to say ‘Hang on, remember, this is someone that you love that you’re dealing with.’ and to speak to me in that way so then I can decide how I’m going to express my boundaries in a way that isn’t going to compromise that connection.

C:  I also feel the connection in myself (when I’ve accessed my Warrior) to grief, and how it’s easy to slip in to grief when feeling angry, and I don’t know if that’s a cultural thing, a gender thing, erm.. a human thing! But there’s something connected between those two energies for me.

M:  If you think about what Warrior does, it protects. 

C:  Yes..

M:  If we need to protect ourselves there’s some vulnerability there that we’re needing to protect. So the two are actually very closely linked – our Warrior and our vulnerability. When we’re in touch with that need to protect and defend, or to grow – you know there’s a need to grow out of the confined space that we’re in – we’re at the same time then in touch with that vulnerability … What if we can’t defend ourselves? What if we can’t ever grow? And then there’s going to be some grief and sadness there I think in connection with those really vulnerable parts of ourselves.

C:  And I guess the other way around, we’ll never let ourselves be vulnerable and connected to people if we don’t trust our Warrior. If we don’t trust that we also have boundaries and we also have our own territory.

M:  That’s it. They’re intimately connected.


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