The Maiden Archetype
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The Maiden Archetype is one of the beautiful and powerful 7 Feminine Archetypes.

Archetype work is so powerful because (much like metaphors) it helps us to become aware of truths about ourselves which we respond to at a deep inner level. We don’t see ourselves objectively and we are often unaware of the unconscious parts of our personality which can become a blind spot. This is often referred to as our ‘shadow self’. As this part of ourselves is hidden, it is difficult for us to see how our own thoughts, beliefs and behaviours are holding us back in life. This leads us to live on autopilot, blame others for our misfortunes and stay in a continuous state of feeling stuck and confused.

What we learn from Archetypes and Shadow Archetypes, we can use to bring awareness to our own beliefs and behaviours. We can make a conscious choice to shine a light on our shadow parts which need our healing attention.

Throughout this blog series, I will be exploring all 7 Feminine Archetypes individually, starting with the Maiden Archetype, the important often underestimated and extremely influential first Archetype of our child self.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Maiden Archetype? Buy my book.

The Maiden Archetype
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Who Is The Maiden Archetype?

The Maiden is youthful, enthusiastic and excited about life. Infused with the optimism of youth, she is energised and ready to take on the world. The Maiden has carefree energy and is extremely trusting, receptive, curious, playful, and full of wonder. She is uninitiated and childlike and there is a sense of naivety and innocence about her. The Maiden lacks life experience and is not yet jaded by the learning injuries of many lessons.

The Maiden Archetype represents our receptiveness as women and being open to new ideas.

An “untouched” or uninitiated Maiden, has not yet been corrupted by the world around her. She is creative and imaginative and connected to her spiritual wildness. The Maiden is deeply connected to her emotions, her needs, and who she is truly is at her essence.

Just think of a young girl observed through the lens of the Emily Bronte quote,

I wish I were a girl again, half-savage and hardy and free.

Emily Bronte

Authentic Maidenhood is crystallised between 8-10 years old according to Harvard Psychologist, Emily Hancock. If a Maiden is not able to do this for herself she ‘ages’ out of her wildness at the start of puberty. At this stage, girls typically feel the pressure of the ‘female role’ and move into the Shadow Maiden Archetype, The Unnamed Maiden.

Read all about how the Maiden and the other Archetypes influence a woman throughout her life HERE

Representations Of The Maiden Archetype

Common representations of the Maiden Archetype in popular culture are the early fairytale princesses. ‘Damsels in distress’ waiting for the prince on his white horse to come and save her.

Examples of this are Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Brooke Shields’s character in the classic movie, The Blue Lagoon is a great example of the Maiden Archetype.

The Maiden’s greatest strengths are her empathy, optimism, creativity, and open receptiveness. The healthy embodiment of the Maiden’s energy can represent the thrill of adventure, being open to new ideas, or starting something new. A mature Maiden is compassionate, creative, spiritual, and endowed with deep reservoirs of inner strength.

The Maiden Archetype is generally connected to the Greek Goddess Persephone and her many representations including Kore; ‘Maiden’.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Maiden Archetype? Buy my book.

The Maiden Archetype.
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The Unnamed Maiden Archetype

The Shadow Archetype, the ‘Unnamed’ Maiden does not know who she is. This means that she is extremely impressionable, malleable, and easily shaped by those around her. The shadowed side of the Maiden tends to be obedient, co-dependent, and a people-pleaser. As the Unnamed Maiden often lives in a fantasy world, she is extremely trusting and does it blindly where she often gets hurt because of her naivety.

To the Unnamed Maiden, fitting in is a priority. She will change anything and everything about herself to be liked and accepted by others. The Unnamed Maiden finds it difficult to set personal boundaries. This leaves a gateway for others to use her or walk all over her as she has a hard time saying ‘no’. She often abdicates all decision-making to others. She is easily led into relationships with unhealthy power dynamics where she is abused.

When under the influence of the Unnamed Maiden, a woman casts herself as a victim. She can feel ‘powerless’ to change her life or circumstance. She is waiting for someone else’s permission or ‘a prince on a white horse’ – someone or something outside of herself to come along to save or fix her.

One way to know that we fall into this is when we find ourselves pinning our successes or happiness on a person or an outcome, outside of us. We may find ourselves thinking, ‘When I lose the weight… meet the right person… (fill in the blank) … then I will be ‘happy’.

We blame others for our misfortune and feel ‘not enough’ in some way.

Want to know more about the Maiden Archetype and the other Feminine Archetypes? Buy My Book, When She Wakes, She Will Move Mountains HERE

Maiden Culture

Our society is obsessed with ‘maiden culture’. The pressure that women feel to portray a certain ‘mould’, to be ‘young enough’, ‘thin enough’, ‘pretty enough’, has always been prevalent. It is something that continues to grow along with social media. These platforms with their unrealistic, ‘fairytale’ view of life and their many filters to help us ‘fit in’. These are just another trap to ‘unname’ us and keep us small.

Our obsession with ‘maiden culture’ comes at a huge price to humanity. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphia and suicide rates continue to rise especially in our teen girls.

‘Maiden culture’ affects all women and our relationships with ourselves and with others. If we have unhealed ‘maiden wounds’ (woundings we received when we were young and in our Maiden state) this can affect us in so many ways. ‘Maiden wounds’ can influence how we mother, our relationship with sex and intimacy as well as our relationship with leadership, success and money.

Woundings to our Maiden self, significantly influence our capacity for self-compassion and self-love which affects our self-confidence.

When we have a Wounded Maiden as a Shadow Archetype, this will determine how we view and treat our bodies as well as how accepting we are of aging.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Maiden Archetype? Buy my book.

The Queen of The Underworld
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The Queen Of The Underworld

Persephone, the Greek goddess of spring, was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Legend has it, that she was abducted by Hades who was in love with the maiden, while she was out gathering flowers with her friends. Hades’s abduction of Persephone was committed with the permission of her father Zeus. Her mother Demeter, was not consulted.

Upon the discovery that her daughter was missing, Demeter scoured the ends of the earth trying to find her. She was unable to find Persephone. Grief-stricken, Demeter (the goddess of the harvest) neglected the earth and nothing grew due to her despair. When she eventually heard what had happened from Helios, the Sun, enraged, Demeter demanded that Zeus return Persephone to her.

Zeus did not comply immediately. He was eventually persuaded to change his mind when pressured by the angry cries of hungry people and other deities. Zeus forced Hades to return Persephone to her mother. Hades complied but first he ‘tricked’ Persephone to eat the seeds of a pomegranate. With this action, Persephone was obligated to spend half of the year with her mother and the other half of the year with Hades as The Queen of the Underworld.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Maiden Archetype? Buy my book.

Decoding The Rape Of Persephone

There are many ways to interpret this story which is rich in symbolism.

The Maiden, Persephone is bargained for without her consent, between her father and her would-be husband. A practice that is still so prevalent in many cultures today.

Demeter is ‘powerless’ to get her daughter back and has to employ ‘passive-aggressive’ methods to be taken seriously by her husband. This represents the powerlessness that many women feel in a male-dominated culture. This further highlights how women manipulate and withhold in order to get what they want.

The tasting of the food of the underworld is symbolic of sex and sin. It hints at the duality of a woman’s nature. The eating of a red pomegranate symbolises our journey from being premenstrual girls to becoming women after our first menstrual bleed. This also represented the exchange of wisdom that is handed down to us through this transition.

In many versions of the story Persophone, it is claimed that she was ‘tricked’ to eat the pomegranate seeds. There are some schools of thought that believe that she did this consciously as an act of rebellion to escape her mother and her overbearing nature. Many classics scholars believe that Persephone was having a great time in the underworld and didn’t want to go back to ‘mummy dearest’. This can represent the natural ‘pulling away’ of a daughter in her adolescent years from her mother.

The abduction into the underworld of Persephone and her ‘rape’ symbolises the fracture we create in childhood of our personality. We learn to value and show others our ‘light’ acceptable parts to please our parents and other influential figures in our lives and banish our ‘darker’ less loveable shadow parts into the darkness of our subconscious.

This story represents a woman’s life journey from ‘asleep’ Maiden to a Queen. A powerful Queen of the Underworld capable of befriending her shadows, integrating their lessons and acting as a guide to other Maidens being initiated into shadow work for the first time.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Maiden Archetype? Buy my book.

The Maiden Archetype
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Maiden Wounds

Shadow work is a process of bringing gentle awareness to the unloved, unwanted bits of ourselves, healing and lovingly accepting and integrating our shadow as part of us. Women, especially in midlife, feel the pull to go back to the places they stopped loving themselves and to heal old woundings to their Maiden self.

Some of the ‘maiden wounds’ that many Unnamed Maidens need to heal are:

  • Having your reality denied by your parents or caregivers.
  • Being shaped and moulded to ‘fit in’.
  • Learning ‘chronic obedience’ and conforming to be accepted, liked or loved.
  • Having your voice taken from you, because girls are meant to be ‘seen and not heard’.
  • Learning to feel fearful of anger or having no ‘safe’ way to object or navigate confrontation.
  • Been made to feel powerless and ‘victim-like’ or that you needed a ‘prince’ to save you.
  • Learning and repeating ‘self-protective’ behaviours which cause you to stay small and invisible so that you will be ‘safe’.
  • Being treated like ‘property’, with no or very little say in how decisions about you are made.

Many of these unhealed ‘maiden wounds’ are unconsciously passed from mother to daughter as ‘mother wounds’, a topic I will be exploring in my next blog in this series.

Does this list of maiden wounds resonate with you?

Do you identify with The Maiden Archetype or the Unnamed Maiden Archetype?

Are you ready to start the healing process for yourself and for your children?

Do you want to be to find out more about the Maiden Archetype? Buy my book.

Maiden Wounds


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