The Eight Feminine & Masculine Archetypes

In addition to the King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover archetypes of healthy masculinity defined by Robert Moore and Doug Gillette in 1990, the full array of Recivilized Archetypes includes their feminine counterparts of Queen, Guardian, Oracle, and Courtesan, developed by Stephanie Welch in 2019.

While most systems of feminine archetypes refer primarily to life stages (such as Maiden, Mother, and Crone), these new feminine archetypes, like the masculine ones, provide guidance for how we can actually develop our greatest character strengths in several different aspects of life. (Though the Archetypes are connected with gendered representations of “masculine” and “feminine,” individuals of any sex or gender may pursue development in any or all Archetypes.) 

In the absence of modern extended communities and rites of passage to help us orient our personal development through life, these archetypes (and their accountabilities of aligning with ancestral health principles) make especially good guides.

The Queen

Primary Qualities: Unconditional Love, Empathy, & Personal Responsibility

As the unifying ambassador of the feminine archetypes, the Queen is the embodiment of Being (as the masculine represents Doing).

Much like the King represents the Father, the Queen represents the Mother — not just the mother of her own biological children, but in a metaphorical sense, as the mother of all humanity. While the King’s blessings are bestowed as a reward for “legitimate talents and abilities,” the Queen’s love is unconditional as she considers all people her children.

Her sense of self-worth is unshakable, and her ownership of personal responsibility complete; she needs no one else to empower her, sees herself as designing her own destiny with no sense of victimhood, and endlessly champions the birthright of all women and men alike to feel the same way.

The Guardian

Primary Qualities: Nurturing, Stability, & Protection

The Guardian’s qualities of Nurturing, Stability, and Protection make her the most active of the feminine archetypes and, as a result, give her much in common with the action-oriented Warrior.

However, unlike the Warrior, who calculates his choices from a place of emotional detachment, the Guardian takes action because of her emotional attachments, acting to support and preserve the lives and needs of those she cares about.

She is courageous, brave, and resilient, because she invests great energy in developing herself and her community in this way.

The Oracle

Primary Qualities: Inspiration, Intuition, & Wisdom

The Oracle is the feminine archetype we are channeling when we tap into our inspiration, intuition, and wisdom. The Oracle represents knowing that connects the past, present, and future. It’s the kind of knowledge we can’t train in, but that comes to us through our very being, often sensed through the body even more than the mind, and is absorbed and accumulated over a lifetime.

Tapping into this feels more like awakening to things we have always known, rather than learning something new. Her wisdom can make her both patient (as she knows the answers are there to be found if one can listen long and carefully enough) and impulsive (as her flashes of inspiration sometimes demand immediate response).

Although the source of her intuition and divination may not always be clear to others, when she speaks, it is certain to be of importance.

The Courtesan

Primary Qualities: Pleasure, Joy, & Gratitude

As an archetype, the Courtesan represents qualities which transcend the carnal (although they don’t exclude it). Her focus is on cultivating Pleasure, Joy, and Gratitude; her uplifting spirit is something we could all use more of in troubling times.

She is the aspect of our femininity we are tapping into when the meeting of our own needs creates an experience of abundance that spills over to others in the form of generosity, reciprocity, and gratitude. She exudes playfulness and fun-seeking, confidence and self-sufficiency, radiance and vivacity. She takes care of herself, not from self-centeredness, but because she knows her ability to bestow her greatest gifts upon the world depends on her doing so.

In contrast to the Queen’s unconditional love, the love of the Courtesan is therefore conditional. But, unlike her historical counterparts, the archetypal Courtesan is not wrapped up in the mere exchange of sex for money; instead, she manifests her joy and radiance much more holistically, to the delight of those who deliver the necessary behaviors and conditions to fulfill her needs and the needs of those she holds dear. She embodies and brings to life ecstasy from this fulfillment that knows no limits.

It is wise to attend to the Courtesan, as, when she is happy, everyone is happy.

The King

Primary Qualities: Leadership, Order, & Structure

The Warrior

Primary Qualities: Action, Accountability, & Discipline

The Magician

Primary Qualities: Learning, Teaching, Problem-Solving, & Innovation

The Lover

Primary Qualities: Sensual & Sensuous Experiences

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