The Warrior Archetype

The Warrior archetype is a universal pattern of behavior that has been observed across cultures throughout history. It is associated with courage, strength, and the ability to protect and defend oneself and others.

In its positive aspect, the Warrior archetype represents the noble and heroic qualities of a person who is willing to stand up for what they believe in and fight for justice and righteousness. Therefore, this archetype is often associated with physical prowess, but it can also manifest in mental and emotional strength, discipline, and resilience.

Another way of seeing the Warrior is as the “Action Taker” in your world. That means, for example, he energises as the part of you that gets you out of bed in the morning, and finds tasks and activities and challenges (even “battles”) to engage in which ultimately serve the Kingdom. His energy ranges on a scale from action to assertiveness through anger to aggression and then on to the shadow energy of Rage.

As a child, the Warrior is the foundation of your ability to make an impact on the world around you, a reflection of the so-called “terrible twos” (referring to the behaviour of toddlers) and adolescent teenage rebellion, both of which are about establishing an individual’s sense of identity. If squashed, that Warrior energy can go into shadow, the effects of which on the individual concerned – whether that be a boy or a girl – can be serious and long lasting.

Video – the Action Taker / Warrior Archetype

The Shadow Side of The Warrior & The Hero Archetype

As with all the other archetypes, the Warrior archetype has a shadow side that can manifest as aggression, violence, and an unhealthy desire for power and control. It is important to balance the positive and negative aspects of the Warrior archetype in order to live a productive, orderly and “good” life. As we shall see, this usually means in the service of a benevolent King.

Unfortunately another aspect of shadow Warrior is passivity, weakness, and anger turned against the self. This can manifest as depression, a sense of powerlessness, and a lack of hope which may in some cases make life feel like it is not worth living. 

Part of the mythology of the Warrior is the figure of the Hero. The Hero archetype is a universal pattern of behavior that has been observed across cultures throughout history. It represents the idealized image of a younger person, even an adolescent male, who is capable of overcoming challenges, adversity, and danger in order to achieve a noble goal. That said, part of the driving force behind the Hero’s energy is a sense of grandiosity. This is, therefore, often perceived as an immature archetype.

Even so, the Hero archetype is associated with qualities such as bravery, self-sacrifice, perseverance, and a strong sense of purpose. It is often depicted as a figure who is willing to risk their own safety and well-being for the sake of others, and who embodies the highest ideals of their culture or society.

This archetype can manifest in a variety of contexts, including mythology, literature, and real-life historical figures. In many cultures, heroes are celebrated and revered for their achievements and their ability to inspire others.

However, the Hero archetype can also have a shadow side that can manifest as an unhealthy desire for  power and control. It is important to balance the positive and negative aspects of the Hero archetype in order to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

The Relationship Between the Warrior and King Archetypes

In many cultures, the Warrior and the King archetypes are closely related and often intertwined. Both archetypes represent power, strength, and leadership, but they approach it from different angles.

The Warrior is associated with bravery, courage, and the ability to fight and protect. Warriors are often depicted as fierce and aggressive, ready to take on any challenge or enemy. They are seen as being in touch with their primal instincts and are willing to sacrifice themselves for a greater cause. In short, to put it another way, they are ready to kill whatever needs to die for the benefit of the greater good. In our society this equates to such things as ending a relationship or terminating actions and activities which no longer serve our “Kingdom”. 

The King archetype, on the other hand, is associated with wisdom, order, and responsibility. Kings are often depicted as calm and collected, with a strong sense of purpose and the ability to make difficult decisions. They are seen as being in touch with the needs of their people and are willing to put the welfare of their kingdom above their own interests. This embodies the qualities of the  so-called “Servant Leader”, or in more modern terms, the Heart Centred Leader.

In some cases, the Warrior and King archetypes can merge into one. For example, a king may have been a great warrior in his youth, and his experience on the battlefield (literally or figuratively – for men, the world of work is often some kind of modern battlefield) may have shaped his approach to leadership. Similarly, a warrior may become a leader of his people and take on the responsibilities of a king.

Overall, the Warrior and King archetypes are complementary, with the Warrior providing the strength and protection needed to defend the kingdom, and the King providing the wisdom and guidance needed to lead it. They are in many ways the two primary male archetypes, the ones which make a man a masculine man.


Video – The Concept of Shadow by Carl Jung

More On The Warrior Shadow

The Warrior archetype represents strength, courage, and the ability to overcome obstacles. However, like all archetypes, it also has its shadow side. The shadow of the Warrior can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Aggression: The Warrior’s desire to fight and conquer can become uncontrolled, leading to unnecessary violence and aggression.
  • Brutality: The Warrior’s focus on strength and power can lead to a lack of empathy and an inability to recognize the value of life and human dignity.
  • Dominance: The Warrior’s need to be in control and assert dominance can lead to a disregard for the opinions and needs of others.
  • Rigidity: The Warrior’s determination and focus can become inflexible and rigid, leading to an inability to adapt and change.
  • Disregard for consequences: The Warrior’s focus on achieving victory can lead to a disregard for the long-term consequences of their actions.

It’s important to note that the shadow side of the Warrior archetype is not inherently negative. It is only when it becomes unbalanced and unchecked that it can cause harm to oneself and others. By recognizing and integrating the shadow aspects of the Warrior archetype, individuals can develop a more balanced and healthy expression of this archetypal energy.

Throughout history, many cultures have idealized the Warrior archetype, often associating it with nobility and honor. In societies where warfare was a common occurrence, Warriors were highly respected and admired for their bravery, skill, and dedication to their cause.

The nobility associated with this archetype varies depending on the culture and time period. In medieval Europe, for example, knights were considered the epitome of nobility, and their code of chivalry emphasized virtues such as honor, loyalty, and courage. Knights were expected to protect the weak and defend their kingdom, and their valour in battle was highly esteemed.

In Japan, the Samurai warrior class similarly embodied the ideals of honor, loyalty, and self-discipline. Samurai were expected to live by a strict code of conduct known as Bushido, which emphasized the importance of martial prowess, loyalty to one’s lord, and self-control.

In Native American cultures, warriors were also highly respected for their bravery and skill in battle. Among the Plains Indians, for example, warriors were often the most honored members of their tribes, and their deeds were celebrated through song and dance.

While the nobility associated with the Warrior archetype may differ from culture to culture, certain virtues such as bravery, honor, and self-sacrifice are often seen as central to the ideal of the Warrior. The Warrior archetype continues to be celebrated in popular culture today, and its enduring appeal reflects our ongoing fascination with the qualities of strength, courage, and honor.

It is important to know that we ar enot powerless in the face of shadow energy, whether that is our own or other people’s. Shadow work is the key to recovery from the grip of the suppressed energies within us.

Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette describe the “shadow” aspect of the warrior archetype in their book “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine”. The shadows of the warrior archetype are:

  • Brutality: The warrior archetype can become excessively violent and aggressive, causing harm to oneself and others. This shadow can manifest as physical, emotional, or psychological violence.
  • Machismo: The shadow of machismo involves an excessive focus on the physical aspects of strength and power, often at the expense of emotional intelligence, empathy, and sensitivity.
  • Sadism: This shadow of the warrior archetype involves taking pleasure in causing pain or suffering to others. It can be characterized by a desire to dominate and control others.
  • Masochism: The shadow of masochism involves taking pleasure in one’s own pain or suffering. This can manifest as a desire to be punished or a tendency to engage in self-destructive behavior.
  • Bullying: The shadow of bullying involves using one’s strength and power to intimidate and harm others. It can manifest as physical, emotional, or psychological abuse.
  • Addiction to adrenalin: This shadow involves an excessive need for stimulation and excitement, which can lead to risk-taking behavior and a lack of concern for one’s own safety.
  • Intolerance: The shadow of intolerance involves a rigid adherence to one’s own beliefs and values, with little tolerance for those who hold different opinions or lifestyles.

Overall, the shadows of the Warrior archetype represent the negative, destructive aspects of the masculine energy associated with this archetype.

Video – how to integrate your shadow