The term “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means original or old; and typos, which means pattern, model, or type. The combined meaning is an original pattern in which we all draw on over various parts of our lives. The dictionary describes an archetype as “a very typical example of a certain person or thing”. Think of an archetype as the essence of something. Author Caroline Myss defines an archetype as “your energy guides to your highest potential”.
Fairy tales are especially rich in the use of presenting archetypes to underline the story ~ the archetype of the ‘damsel in distress’, or the ‘Queen’ (usually portrayed as the shadow Queen), the orphan child, and the ‘knight in shining armor’ archetype are common themes. We’ve grown up with these archetypes and many of us have portrayed these essences at different times throughout our own lives. I find archetypes fascinating! But before I digress any further into the absolutely diverse world of archetypes, allow me to get back on track and return to the original question of: how do archetypes relate to our menstrual cycle. I am glad you asked …
To explain our menstrual cycle, think of Day 1 of your cycle as the first day that you start your period. This is our RESTING phase. You are shedding your uterine lining in the form of bleeding. The traditional archetype relating to this phase is the Crone or Wise Woman. We typically may feel quiet. Communication is low and we tend to go inward. While I definitely feel these energies of going inward, I have also learned to embrace the archetype of the Queen during this phase. This means that I honor myself as much as I possibly can! We need much more rest during this phase. If at all possible, I will slip in a quick nap at some point during these days. You can honor yourself with a luxurious bath. You can honor yourself by having a few nutritious meals made ahead so you do not have to cook. Even better, if you have a spouse who likes to cook, have him prepare the meals for these restorative days. Ladies, this is your time of rejuvenation.
Moving into the next phase, the BUILDING phase, we notice we are feeling renewed, coming out of our shells, productive, and connected! Our hormones are building; estrogen is rising and having us feel more attractive, more vibrant, more seductive! The archetypes to think of in this phase are the Maiden, Lover, Builder, and Virgin. Just as in fairy tales when the old crone turns into the beautiful young maiden, we too experience this transformation – every single month! This phase of our cycle can be extremely productive – our energies are returning and building after the lull of menstruation. This is an excellent time to begin a new project, have a date night with your love, and re-introduce light exercise to your routine.
As we move through the Maiden energy, we are propelling toward OVULATION. The climax of the female cycle – when one beautiful egg gets released from an ovary with the intention of connecting with a handsome sperm! The archetypes associated with this phase include the Mother, the Leader, the Goddess, and the Healer. We are at our peak hormonally and feeling good. We may find we exude sexual energy and feel like a Goddess in the flesh. To honour these archetypes, express yourself – wear the sexy dress if it makes you feel good! Be open to learning and trying something new! This is your time to shine Sister, so shine your light bright!
Finally, we come to the final stage of our monthly female cycle, also known as PRE-MENSTRUAL. Each woman is unique and will experience all of these phases at her own pace. I have been tracking my own cycle and notice the premenstrual energies approximately 10 or 11 days before I start my period. Although this phase is usually shrouded with negative associations, there are some pretty cool archetypical energies happening here! The Enchantress is one, for example. Some say that this spell of time before we bleed is our most potent time of being magical (pun intended). Our intuition is more acute and the energies are right to perform any magical living you might require – whether that is releasing that which no longer serves you, or doing some self-healing work, this is a good time for it. It is no accident that things come up to anger us, irritate us or even hurt us. This is Life showing us which boundaries need to be addressed, what is no longer serving us, and where we can make changes for improvement in the future. The Priestess and Wild Woman are related archetypes. Another archetype that can be associated with this phase is the Athlete, however, this would be more at the beginning of the phase; as you get closer to your period, your energy will start to decrease or wane.
I hope this has helped you to more fully understand the phases of your wonderful menstrual cycle. And I hope it gives you insight on how to embrace the different phases more fully. We women are cyclic in our very nature and learning to roll with these changes gracefully will enrich your life in more ways than I can say. I hope this article has served you.