It is said that within all of us there exist at least four fundamental archetypes which are representative of a collective consciousness going back to prehistoric times.
Every ancient tribe included archetypes such as a king or queen, a warrior/soldier, a magician/shaman, and a lover.
Through the work of psychiatrist Carl Jung, we have come to realize that our DNA contains universal attributes based on the shared history of mankind.
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Jung’s concepts about the archetypes that make up our personal identities have been utilized and expanded upon in modern books like Douglas Gillette and Robert L. Moore’s King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, and Steven Pressfield’s The Warrior Ethos.
In today’s world, the warrior archetype is often the part of us that is most neglected; sometimes associated with aggression or violence, the warrior energy can be frowned upon. While ancient civilizations such as the Vikings in Scandinavia or Spartans in ancient Greece built entire societies of warriors, this energy is largely relegated to specific professions (soldiers, athletes) in contemporary society.
But it’s important to recognize that this warrior energy still exists within us, and that we can still access it and adapt it to help us best face the challenges of the present day.
Despite common misconceptions, the warrior archetype is not a mindless fighter, but rather one who follows a strict moral code, decides on a just course of action, and follows through that decision regardless of the obstacles in their path or consequences that may result.
Throughout history, notable warrior classes have included Templar Knights, Vikings, Samurai, Shaolin monks, and many others. Each of these classes followed a specific set of tenets, rules, laws or virtues.
While there are some key distinctions between the various warrior classes throughout history, their commonalities can be adapted into the eight virtues below to make up a modern-day warrior archetype.
By cultivating these virtues within ourselves, we are transform the warrior energy that exists within ourselves into a practical force that we can use to tackle any obstacle.
The eight warrior virtues:
Most people would agree that a certain amount of courage is necessary in daily life. Fear surrounds us, but courage is the ability to overcome that fear and still continue to fight in the right way. Fear and courage are two sides of the same coin. One implies the other.
The universe itself had a beginning, a vital force of energy that propelled forward and began the expansion of matter. This same energy continues to run through each and every one of us; by learning to tap into it, we can wield the passion and energy to carry on.
Fully understanding our surroundings is the antidote to anger and fearful trepidation. We already have everything we need to be present in the moment. A true warrior holds life as precious and worth protecting.
The ability to make confident, strategic, and powerful decisions is an important tool while facing the challenges of life. Being too hesitant in affairs can lead to constant doubt and uncertainty.
Flexibility of purpose and sensory acuity are essential when marching towards a goal. Things change, the unexpected is to be expected. One must maintain goals but adapt the different paths of reaching them. Be like water.
Carrying around a steadfast inner peace is crucial for mental health and wellness. Just as the spinning top has a calm center, we should endeavor to live in a state of living calmness amidst the surrounding storms.
Keeping our promises to ourselves and others and being a reliable member of a community is part of the warrior ethos. Mind, body, and energy should be one, not scattered.
Generative and resourceful, the modern warrior learns from the past to create a new and better future. We have a limited amount of time in which to focus our efforts, and must make sure that time is well spent.