The archetypes of the Warrior and Healer are two interesting archetypes for modern men. The warrior is viewed as the strong heroic type, while the healer is often viewed as the more passive, caretaker type. For modern men, these two archetypes can become quite complicated. Modern western culture tends to praise one at the expense of the other. Men are to be the “strong silent type” not emotional “cry-babies.” Working hard and fighting to get yourself to the top is valued above all else, regardless of those stepped on while on the way up. As for non-heterosexual men, these cultural messages get internalized in such a way that it often creates internal conflicts. How do “I” identify with masculinity, based on cultural norms, while being true to myself? Masculinity is a bit more of an illusive topic. It can go in many different directions and be discussed ad nauseam for days, and possibly still not close out the discussion. This is why I would like to narrow the focus a bit, by looking at The Warrior and The Healer.
What do we know about The Warrior? Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette are the authors of the book “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.” Moore says that ‘The characteristics of the Warrior in his fullness amount to a total way of life, what the samurai called a do (pronounced ‘do’). These characteristics constitute the Warrior Dharma, Ma’at, or Tao, a spiritual or psychological path through life.’ (Brett and Kate McKay; Oct. 23, 2011 [58 Comments in a Man’s Life, on Manhood. “The Four Archetypes of the Mature Masculine: The Warrior”]; The Art of Manliness, http://www.artofmanliness.com; p. “The Four Archetypes of the Mature Masculine: The Warrior”).
What are these characteristics?
These characteristics are: Aggressive (not in the dominating, domineering, or violent sense, but rather vigorously energetic, initiative) also, Purpose, Mindful, Adaptable, Minimalist, Decisive, Skillful, Loyal, Disciplined, Emotionally Detached, and Creative Destroyer (destroying only to make room for growth).
This is often what is referenced when speaking about a “warrior tradition.” The warrior is a position of service to the community. It is a self-less act of putting one’s self in harms way in order to protect the whole. This can lead to Hero Worship, either by the warrior feeding his own ego, or by community feeding the ego of the warrior, resulting in the warrior viewing everything as his rival. “The Warrior is both our blessing and our bane in that it’s what allows us to stay separate and individual, secure in our own talents. Conversely, it’s also that part of us that makes us see all other men as potential rivals – a burden that can be difficult to control unless we have a good sense of who and what we are.” (Dagonet Dewr; 2007 [“Sacred Paths for Modern Men, a wake up call from your 12 archetypes”]; Chapter 5, p. 56).
I think Andy Sherrod describes it the best: “The Warrior is lurking within the souls of all males but violent males are not Warriors! A cheapened perversion of this archetype almost completely dominates the film industry. The Warrior’s true masculinity is based on self-control and moral courage and has nothing to do with rage and revenge. The Warrior’s obligation, recognized in almost every culture, is to deliberately and strategically plan and then take full responsibility for his actions. He demonstrates an ethical code of personal honor, noble restraint, and individual humility for his deeds.” (Andy Sherrod; 2012 [“Andy Sherrod’s Big Boy Book Blog” “Positive Male Archetypes”]; p. part 2 of 5; http://andysherrod.blogspot.com/2012/06/positive-male-archetypes-part-2-of-5.html).
Sherrod goes on to describe The Healer: “It may be difficult for boys to access the healing side of masculinity because popular culture depicts men as violent and destructive while women go behind patching up the mess. After all, isn’t healing a feminine pursuit?
What does the masculine Healer look like? First off, to become an effective Healer he must have already “walked the path” and that takes courage. You’ve met him; he was the boy who endured an abusive father and vowed to change that aspect of his family tree…and succeeded! He has forgiven and harbors no bitterness. Now he is equipped to teach others to do the same. Now he is a Healer.”(Andy Sherrod; 2012 [“Andy Sherrod’s Big Boy Book Blog” “Positive Male Archetypes”]; p. part 4 of 5; http://andysherrod.blogspot.com/2012/07/positive-male-archetypes-part-4-of-5.html).
Dewr says, “Due to some misplaced machismo, men don’t take care of themselves… As men we have ambiguous relationships at best with healing, nurturing, and accepting help from others… needing healing and nurturing is perceived as a weakness, and in the highly competitive and combative environment of male society, a weakness can be lethal.” (Dagonet Dewr; 2007 [“Sacred Paths for Modern Men, a wake up call from your 12 archetypes”]; Chapter 13, pp. 216-217).
What I found quite interesting while doing my research was how little there was written about The Healer archetype for men. It quickly went to the female archetype of healer and to a dysfunctional male archetype of healer (calling it “The Nightingale” the ‘you complete me’ archetype) as a needy codependent.
We can see in these descriptions that there is still a subtle underlying preference of one over the other. The warrior is still strong, and the healer is grown from learning through “woundedness.” The Healer is passive and nurturing, these things are judged as weaknesses, they can lead to dysfunction. We mirror this within our community by placing greater value on “straight acting, straight appearing” (which means Butch, not gay) as opposed to terms like fem, nelly, (which have a female overtone). This is patriarchy at its finest: Male = superior, desirable, Female = less-than, subject to. In non-heterosexual men this results in an internal conflict referred to as internalized homophobia.
Where do we go from here?
A warrior can learn or be trained to be The Warrior – classic examples are the Knight, martial artist, military, etc. To be The Healer, a man must journey inward, find his wounded place, touch it, nurture it and integrate it; this offers opportunity to learn from one’s self. It is to confront the Ego Self, and destroy it, to awaken to Authentic Self. This is not to say that The Warrior is any less authentic, just that this is the path of the healer. Warrior – external, Healer – internal.
The journey to grow in fullness the archetypes of Warrior and Healer is a lesson in demon work, the demon work revolving around transcending the confines of the “demon” egocentricity (the ego self or lesser-self). The path towards one’s spirit (soul) is through the emergence of the authentic self – becoming whom you have always been. I call this Death Work, resulting in the death of the ego-self. It is in fact the shattering of the mask of the false-self (the who-we-think-we-are) the ego-self. Fears are the bricks and attachment is the mortar we use to wall ourselves in, to construct the mask of the false-self. It takes a warrior to step through the fears, and a healer to nurture the spirit; only then can one embrace themselves fully, wholly.
How do we get from here to there?
I would like to propose that The Warrior and The Healer are but two sides of the same coin. They are not conflicting archetypes, or one to aspire to over the other, or in any other dualistic way of viewing. You see, to heal you must know how to wound/to bless you much know how to curse – where warrior ends, healer begins, and where healer ends warrior begins.
Lets look at this in a broader sense. In the void there was nothing, god Herself, existed within the void; She is the void. To know Herself, She looked into the curved black mirror of space and was so moved by Her beauty. In viewing Herself, god Herself came to know Herself, and in this process She gave birth. From nothing came knowing one’s self within the context of all that is – Ego was born. God Herself gave birth to the Divine Twins. We move from “I know not who I am” into “I define myself by that which is around me.”
God Herself, from Her orgasm sprang forth the Divine Twins known as the Red God and Green God – they are the creators of all things made of matter. They are Blood and Plant – they are Creation and Destruction. Blood is life giving, and plants destroy (roots cracking the very foundation). Yet life consumes life, blood eats plant – life giver becomes the destroyer, and the destroyer becomes the sustainer of life. They are divine lovers, ever intertwined in the lovers embrace. It is through their union worlds are born and worlds are destroyed. We delve into our blood to “know thyself” and bring about the destruction of the false god (the ego-self) this brings about the Divine Child of Promise – what I call the Authentic Self. This is when your mouth and god’s mouth speak as one. When the 3 souls are in alignment and the divine self comes down upon you and you are “possessed by self,” or what Victor Anderson called Black Heart of Innocence; when your spirit and The Spirit merge.
The Warrior and Healer, the Red God and Green God, the Horned God and Green Man are divine lovers. It is a lover’s embrace of two men, with all the passions of men. It is our over-culture that has worked to portray these two as rivals, adversaries, one must die for the other to live. Even in Christianity, Christ and the devil are adversaries, locked in a timeless battle where Christ must die in order to ultimately bring about the destruction of Satan. The Divine Twins are better viewed within the context of the yin and yang, intertwining halves where one is contained within the other. Not the Oak King and Holly King, where one must defeat the other to bring about a turning of the wheel. Lovers were too powerful for the comfort of the over-culture during the onset of modern patriarchy. As patriarchy disassembled god Herself from ALL Powerful into delineated parts, so too, did they turn the Lovers into rivals, adversaries where one must defeat the other. Power of creation and destruction were feared, so they were subjugated.
As pagan men we may find this struggle all too familiar as the pagan community embraces the healer, yet even there, healer is thought to be female. The dominant culture often assumes that pagans are women. We bridge a gap between men and women; we walk the liminal space. We come into the larger pagan community and find the ability to accept Healer archetype but often still at the expense of Warrior. Paganism is often founded on a dualistic perspective, but it is not one or the other.
While meditating, praying, and listening to my faerie contacts and gods for the message they wanted me to bring through this topic, things began to shift into a particular direction. You see, the Red God and Green God are like the two outer tines of a trident – creation and destruction. But a trident has three tines. The center tine is Compassion and tempers creation and destruction.
When the Red God and Green God sexually embraced, a spark of their orgasm, the very embodiment of their orgasm was compassion. The result of their orgasm brings about the creation of all things made of matter within the universe. The collaboration of creation and destruction brought into being all things known and unknown in the universe and a spark from this brought into being compassion. The Horned God and Green Man, in divine passionate lust, compelled by desire, consume each other and a spark of this orgasm sprang forth bringing into being the Blue God – Dia-na-glas, the lover and teacher of mankind; the serpent at the bottom of the well, the Divine Child that is brought about by the integration of the Warrior and Healer into one. He is our god-self, high-self; divine self that kisses the breath of god Herself. He is what connects us to Universal Consciousness; He is the one that speaks on our behalf to all the gods. Compassion is the embodiment of the orgasm between men. As we come together in sexual union, we recreate this mythos. We stand in Power, not because we have power over, but because we are Power. The ego-self is locked in a death match between itself and self, the prize is our soul, or very spirit. As we embrace compassion we integrate self with self.
He revealed that this was not about the Warrior and Healer, but a pathway by which one my encounter the Divine Child. Dewr said, “…the Divine Child is powerful in his own right. He is the first archetype of drawing boundaries, of establishing the self that serves as the foundation for the great magickal advice “know thyself.” (Dagonet Dewr; 2007 [“Sacred Paths for Modern Men, a wake up call from your 12 archetypes”]; Chapter 13, pp. 216-217).
Dia-na-glas took over this project. He came to me in visions, dreams, and spoke to me. I could not get away. He wanted to bring His message forward. He said, “You must know Me, to know yourself, to know yourself, you must know Me. I exist in many forms. I am all over the world. I am the Great Serpent in the Well, I sit at the crossroads, I Am. I am the serpent at the bottom of the well that rises up, touches the flower, becoming the Dove, and descends as the winged serpent becoming the serpent in the well. I am the shape-shifter, shifting from ‘primal’ animal-like, to ‘divine’ human-like, from the Fetch to the High-Self, uniting the three Souls within mankind so that they may kiss the limitless breath of god Herself.” He went on, “The Tantric called me Kundalini, as I rise up I create Shakti, the sacred union of above and below from primal to the divine.”
It is the path of the Shaman, taken to the place of death, crossing over, and coming back. It is the warrior and healer seeing themselves as one. It is the hero, although he may be afraid, steps through the fears anyway, and meets at the great inner crossroads. The place where the false god (ego-self) battles with the all-seeing eyes of the Blue God, for Dia-na-glas is truth, the truth that destroys self-pity (a ploy used by the false god). This is the great act of compassion.
As Dia-na-glas spoke with me He began to reveal a mystery, a mystery about compassion. I have been working on understanding compassion on a deeper level. He showed me that compassion is swift and deadly, using truth to cut through fear. When one aligns with Him, it is a calling down of his spear of compassion that destroys the ego so that the soul may find liberation.