Sometimes when men and women have a persistent issue, their conscious attempts to resolve it fail — repeatedly. They decide that in the future, they will "be more open," or "set clearer boundaries," or "lead instead of follow," or "listen to my intuition." Instead, however, these direct attempts to operate differently get overridden by a mysterious, unconscious mechanism. In Shadow Work, we would say this hidden reaction pattern is in shadow.
To understand what's going on, we use a simple map that divides the human psyche into four parts. Each part is called an archetype and represents one fundamental human dimension. In Shadow Work, these are identified as the Sovereign, Lover, Warrior, and Magician. And for a given issue, a person has each of these four archetypes set at a relative strength or "volume" level.
For example, imagine that as a boy, I get shamed for showing vulnerability. Messages of "Men don't cry" or "You'll be taken advantage of if you’re weak" come in forcefully and from several directions. In order to cope, I make a conscious decision (a "vow") to hide my sensitive side. By reducing my tendency toward openness and sharing, I have effectively turned down the volume level of my Lover archetype. At the same time, I also turn up the volume on my tendency to be emotionally detached and to respond from a mental place (my Magician archetype.) From that point forward, this archetypal balance of settings affects my relationships, decision making, and eventually career direction.
Years later, this coping mechanism of detaching and shutting down feelings has now become so ingrained that it occurs automatically with no conscious thought on my part. Although this works well for a career in computers, any endeavors that require more heart and less head become problematic. What is tragic is that the Magician on high volume and Lover on low volume pattern also occurs with the very people who love me and would honor my vulnerability. My relationships with my spouse, my child, and my own spontaneity are all casualties of this pattern. The coping mechanism has been successful in keeping me safe but at a cost of emotional isolation.
So, how can Shadow Work be used to reset one's archetypal volume settings? Via Shadow Work Coaching, or Centerwork in a group setting, we create a process where a person can experiment with what has become difficult (in this case, vulnerability). The facilitator helps him to actually experience and feel what it’s like to operate by being open. And by running this new pattern slowly and deliberately while in a shame-free setting, he builds a new pattern with the Lover volume cranked higher and the Magician volume reduced.
Afterwards, the payoff is that he now has choices about openness and connection. The depth and quality of his relationships grow, his world becomes bigger, and he feels more whole. And now he must turn his attention to the challenge of accurately discerning which situations and people merit his vulnerability and sensitive side.
Motivation through esteem
The Sovereign is the ruler of the realm. The Sovereign is the visionary, full of selfesteem to carry out his/her ideals. The Sovereign is all about Idealizing. While the Magician is about seeing, the Sovereign is about hearing and speaking. The Sovereign is concerned with making moral choices.
Examples of Sovereign energy people: parents, leaders, politicians, judges.
Setting the mission and supporting others/Creating the Vision and blessing oneslef
Fire - The Spark of creation and source of energy and power
The Hero, Little Parent, Caretaker
Joy - Through our joy we find the gateway to blessing and seeing what's right abiut the world and ourself
Alpha male or female, ranking
Shy (too little)"I can't, it's too hard, I'm tired"
Shining (too much) "I can ace it, I am the best, I will handle everthing"
"I'm not good enough"
Bring support from an ideal figure
Seeing options, guidance, detachment
The Magician is the elder, who draws the sacred circle, sets the ritual space, holds the container, initiates. The Magician believes in staying detached from things, so it can create options, and reframe things if necessary. Magician energy is all about seeing. Magician energy isn't about morality; it's about seeing different perspectives. Magician energy can often seem kind of cold.
Examples of Magician people: Merlin/Morgaine, shamans, witch doctors, therapists, ministers, fairy godmothers, facilitators.
Cooking by recipe/Cooking by taste
The Clown, Mascot, Comedian, Trickster, Coyote
fear - The emotion that tells us it's time to detach or move away, that options and quick thinking is needed to keep us safe
Dense/Rigid (too little) "I don't know"
Fragmented (too much) "I'm confused"
"I am bad"
Using role-players, symbolism to create the distance for people to exam there internal landscape
Connection through feeling
Lover energy is about connection. It’s about being connected with the natural flow of feeling or touch or love or body or relationship. The Lover energy wants to yield to the flow. It wants to channel the flow. It wants to rely on the flow. If the Magician sees, and the Sovereign hears, then the Lover feels. Our ability to feel our feelings lives in the Lover quarter. This is where our inner child lives. The Lover quarter is about our sexuality and our sensuality.
Examples of Lover people: healers, artists, bodyworkers.
Spirit looking up/Soul looking down
Water - That which flows and connects.
Lost Child, the quiet but deep one
Grief - Sadness and loss remind us of our need at love of connection, without this side there would be no ability for love and connection
Dry/Stoic (too little) "I can't get at it"
Overflowing (too much) "It's getting me"
"I don't love right"
Work in the body, possibly with a metaphor
Warrior energy is about power, service and boundaries.
And in order to exercise power, and have boundaries, we need a strong sense of self. It’s our ego, our sense of self, that enables us to have a starting point from which to act. And successful action confirms that our self is the right self.
The ultimate boundary is our ego. That boundary distinguishes between what is “us” and what is “not us.” So, Warrior energy is all about self-building and self-defining. To this end, the Warrior energy likes to Dualise situations. It likes to identify with one side of a Dualisation. And it likes to compete, or Contest with the other side of the Dualisation. This is like picking teams, then choosing your team, then working so that your team beats the other team. All this is what helps you build your sense of self.
The Warrior is also in service to the other three archetypes. If the Magician is about seeing, the Sovereign is about hearing, the Lover is about feeling, then the Warrior brings them all together by doing. The Warrior carries out the mission of the Sovereign, and protects the Lover. In the cycle of death and rebirth, the Warrior is willing to kill that which must die. In business, a great success is often called “making a killing.”
Examples of Warrior people: businesspeople, lawyers, police, judges, airline pilots, generals.
Earth - Being grounded in what's real and solid
Anger - Anger tells us a boundry has been crossed and it's time to put things straight
Flaky/Victim (too little) "Please, no conflict or separation"
Savage/Defensive (too much) "You can't get me"
"I don't exist apart from you"
Setting a boundary