The Ruler Archetype: 3 Types of Matriarch

The Devouring Mother
kalmakov-the_apparition (1)
“The Devouring Mother “consumes” her children psychologically and emotionally and often instills in them feelings of guilt at leaving her or becoming independent.” ~ Caroline Myss.

The devouring mother, one of the many aspects of the mother archetype, is one of the most fascinating archetypes lurking in the human psyche that can apply to any of us – female or otherwise.

Having spawned her children, found her mate or simply turned around to prey on her existing family or circle of friends, the devouring mother is much like a co-dependent; high on the drug of assistance she smothers her children with an excess of love; stifling their very growth and suffocating those around her, even resorting to child abuse to get her way.

The Devouring Mother comes from a place inside of us that is afraid to be alone; afraid of solitude in the guise of loneliness… afraid of herself. Having served others for so long she becomes obsessive, controlling… even violent in her need to assert her control on the rest of us. Much like the darker aspects of the sacred feminine such as the femme fatale ‘female trickster’, she uses her ‘rule’ as her ultimate identity and lets it feed her ego, forgetting that a mother – as well as guide her children – must also know when to let them find their own way and control their own destiny.

The Devouring Mother can also be those who hide behind our followers. Devoid of real connection with ourselves we become shadows, wallowing in shame and pushing those around us forward yet to our own gain rather than theirs. The Devouring Mother becomes strict, critical and manipulative… and ultimately feared.

The Ice Queen
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“How men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how well she has got through the world, barefooted as she is.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson, The Snow Queen

The Snow or Ice Queen – as mentioned in Seven Archetypes of the Human Consciousness, is a Matriarch so intent on shielding herself from the pains of being heartbroken again she has created a whole environment of hostility around her.

Stay well away; the Ice Queen pretends she is cruel and her heart pierced with a shard of ice in order to keep the world out. Numbed and frozen from emotion; high or low, she often traps children and wanderers with promises of shelter or sweet meats – much like the archetype of the untrustworthy witch – in order that she might have a companion, prisoner to punish the nearby town (she projects blame onto whole communities to satisfy her deep sense of injustice and feels she’s owed something), even a tasty meal of innocence to momentarily quench her thirst for inner purity, long since buried in her blizzard of bitterness.

The Snow Queen lies in the heart of anyone consumed by victimhood; freezing themselves from the imaginary external forces of fate and using her intense powers of the Sacred Feminine to become an inverted ruler.

She is the fearsome eighties Boss, or the (perhaps more stereotypical) Feminist man hater. They all begin with the Snow Queen, her ultimate conclusion being the melting of the ice and the resolution to trust again, often ignited by a compassionate stranger who unknowingly wanders into her world or is willing to shatter the norm and subvert the system like Kirikou in the African legend of Karaba the Sorceress.

Kirikou discovers the root of Karaba’s terrifying rule and magical powers is a metaphorical thorn in her back and tricks her so he is able to pull it out. Having removed her pain, he promptly grows into a man and marries her, returning all the men who were thought to have been eaten by the Sorceress – including his own father – to the village and ends her tyrannical rule.

The Ice Queen often nicely compliments the Hero archetype and makes an ideal antagonist. Gender aside, the Ice Queen represents the forgotten importance of the feminine – of benevolent receptivity – and her desire to behave like a man in order to survive in this sometimes dog eat dog world.

The Queen is overly fluent in human nature, the hero illiterate in it. The hero – again man or woman, girl or boy – reminds the Ice Queen of their humanity and original nature; reconnecting her with the collective consciousness and rechanneling her vibrant and now highly individualized powers (much like the Hermit or visionary/revolutionary) back into the whole.

The Benevolent Goddess
benevolent goddess
“Historically, masculine rulers/conquerors of lands and societies, usurped the goddess power in these societies they conquered and absorbed and distorted these goddesses into their own beliefs of whom they most resembled.” ~ Nancy Creations

The Benevolent Goddess may have hit either of the two previous archetypes on the road to the positive aspect of the Sacred Feminine. Or perhaps at one time she was the Prostitute with a heart of gold archetype, selling her talents without boundaries, or the Princess archetype, completely dependent on a man and in need of saving.

In both cases, the Benevolent Goddess has had to scramble out of the mire and secure her boundaries once and for all. Neither becoming angered about those who want to take advantage nor let it go on for the rest of her days, she has found the true balance between the masculine and feminine energies and made her stand without freezing her heart.

The Benevolent Goddess is like an overflowing cup of loving kindness. She is devoid of ego and takes nothing personally, she has learnt how to refill her cup by herself and needs no-one else’s approval or compliments. She knows the value of her own beauty and lets no-one drain her of it, nor does she try to dictate it to anyone else.

She is without fear, knowing that, even when she is surrounded by others, the eternal family, she is still an individual and on the solitary road entirely responsible for how she expresses and shares her divine femininity. Many will be jealous and covert her energy, but she will rise above their bait… she is entirely self assured.

She is the source of life and gives birth to every moment, entirely swimming in creativity from the Source. Every person is her child. She is in no need of a consort yet enjoys and feels unthreatened by male company. She is athletic like Athena yet also sensual like Aphrodite, entirely comfortable in her unique form and sexuality yet unattached to it.

The Benevolent Goddess, above all, has struck the perfect balance between giving and receiving, receiving – not compliments about her appearance or financial and material support – but energy and love from her inner well and from that of the universe. It is this that enables her to give constantly, without resentment or exhaustion.

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  • Lauren

    Lauren Simpson-Green, who has had quite a few life-affirming spiritual experiences already, now passes her days trying to master one of the most challenging and rewarding spiritual experiences of all; being a mother to two children. Based in Devon, UK, she spends the rest of her time working on a children's book, practising yoga and making wool fairies and gnomes for her daughter's school fayres.

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