East, Water, Lover

What part of me is being expressed with this archetype?

This is the part of me that likes to connect, and to feel connected. This might be connection with others, with my friends or family. This is the part of me that really doesn’t like to be alone, we are social animals and belonging to a group, a tribe is essential to us. Think about how fundamental this part of us is: the cruelest punishment that can be inflicted is solitary confinement. So we humans have a huge desire to connect, and in or model we call this part of ourselves our Lover archetype.



Releasing is the part of us that is comfortable and willing fully expressing our emotions as they arise, without editing or censoring ourselves.   Its also the part of us that is willing to let go.


This is the part of us that is willing to sacrifice, to give way or surrender to something difficult.  It is the part of us that accepts what is happening when things are painful or unpleasant.


Relying is the part that allows us to be looked after and cared for.  It is the part of us that is able to be small and supported.

This is the part of me that is happy to be looked after…

The part of me that is happy to surrender. It is also, unsurprisingly, the part of me that is really comfortable to feel and express my emotions. In this respect this is the part of me that is connected to my deep feelings. It is also the part of me that seeks connection more widely, perhaps with the natural world, or the wonder of the cosmos.

In Shadow work we associate…

…each of the four archetypes in our model with the four fundamental emotions we feel as humans. For the lover archetype the gateway emotion is grief, or sadness. We say ‘gateway’ because when I feel grief or sadness I move into this lover place. It is not that this lover energy is a sad or mournful place, far from it. Rather I think about the feeling I get after having had a ‘good’ cry with a trusted friend or partner: I feel more connected, with myself and with my partner. When I express my lover energy I allow myself to be vulnerable and to be looked after. There is a small, vulnerable part within each or us, deep at our core. This part is sometimes referred to as our inner child. This is where my lover energy sits. Other parts of me act to protect this soft vulnerable me. And when the circumstances are right, when I feel safe enough I can let my innermost parts be seen. That’s my lover energy.

We can think of people or professions…

…that access, or help us access this part of ourselves. Creative people like musicians, poets or artists. Fairy tales and myths are full of innocent small children, naïve, trusting and often vulnerable like Hansel and Gretel.

When we remember that as humans..

…we are just animals, we can consider what animal instincts these human archetypes correspond to. In our model we feel a strong resonance between the lover archetype and the bonding instinct in animals. We think of the ultimate vulnerability of all animals when they are born, and how the first action is to bond to our mothers. Throughout live many species, from simple bacteria to primates like ourselves, live in co-operative groups. It is a deep instinct therefore to connect with others. We believe that this lover archetype is strong and irrepressible: ‘loving is not something that you do, it is something that you are.’

When we do Shadow work we have tools, or techniques…

…that we use to help people access different archetypal energies. It is our believe that people have within them every ability and skill that they need to navigate their lives. And sometimes we get stuck because we can’t access those parts of ourselves that would be most useful in the moment. To help people access their lover energy we work with the body. We create a space where it is safe enough for people to feel their emotions, whatever they may be and however they show up in the body.



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