Category Archives: Archetype-Overview

Those “Tower” Moments

Those Tower Moments: When Life Comes Apart (Again and Again)

Well, darling.

If you were with me over two years ago (September 16, 2014 – so make that two years and three months ago, see When Life Comes Apart), I was writing about a Tower time. My life had certainly come apart.

Those Tower moments - when life comes apart completely!

Those Tower moments – when life comes apart completely!

And I thought that the shake-up was done.

How wrong I was!

When we have a Tower moment in our lives – when everything comes apart – it’s like having an earthquake. And as with any good earthquake, there are aftershocks.

My “aftershocks” continued for another two years.

A total (over three years) of five different jobs, in four locations. Three moves, and two different states. And somewhere in there, I’m sure, there was a partridge in a pear-tree.

All of this makes me an expert (at least in my own mind) on Tower moments in our lives. And also, by no means, unique. Many, MANY of us are having Tower-moments. For some, it may seem like an unending series of Tower-times, like living on an earthquake fault.

So how to deal?

Recap: Getting the Big Picture

Let’s pull back just a bit.

If you’ll recall, I’ve been writing – for several years now – about how the Major Arcana from the Tarot show up in our lives. The underlying theme here is that we can use these Major Arcana, not so much for divination (fortune-telling), but in terms of high-level life-guidance.

In fact, I’ve got a very strong sense that these Major Arcana were put down in pictorial form so that master teachers had something like a MS Powerpoint (TM) slidedeck; something that they could take with them on journeys, and that they could use as reference points in talking with each other and with their students. Let’s keep in mind also that the first appearances of the Major Arcana (as part of the overall Tarot cards) was in the late 1400’s, and was more-or-less coincident with various Inquisitions. Let’s keep in mind also that there is a strong connection between the organization of the Major Arcana and various aspects of the Jewish Kaballah, and that the Inquisition particularly targeted the Jewish people. Major Jewish centers of learning were hugely disrupted during the resulting combination of expulsion (of those who were still openly Jewish) and imprisonment, torture, and death (to those who had converted, but were then subject to a later round of persecution). (See The Inquisition (from a Jewish historical perspective for a brush-up on the history.)

Without trying to push things too far (as I’m not a historian, nor a scholar of the Kabbalah), it is real interesting that around this timeframe, many Jewish mystical scholars were writing down materials that had hitherto been transmitted only in oral form, across many centuries. (See Index of Sages for a sense of who did what, when.)

Where the Tower Fits into the Big Picture

Thus, back to the main point.

The Major Arcana, organized into three sets of seven each. The "Fool," or the zeroth Arcana, precedes this set.

The Major Arcana, organized into three sets of seven each. The “Fool,” or the zeroth Arcana, precedes this set.

The Tower is an archetype in the Major Arcana. There are many teachers who suggest that the Major Arcana can be viewed as a set of three sets of seven Arcana each, with the “Zeroth” Arcana (The Fool) preceding all of them.

If we look at the Major Arcana this way, we see that the Tower (Major Arcana XVI) is second from the beginning of the last set of seven. The Major Arcana immediately preceding it is the Devil (XV) and the one immediately after is the Star (XVII).

Of the two cards that people hate to see show up in readings, probably the Tower and the Devil are at the top of the list – even more than Death (XIII). However, we often feel a sense of peace when we see the Star show up.

The challenge for us is that these are all related.

Things Come in Threes

We can make sense of these Major Arcana the most when we view them in the context of our overall life-journey, and not just in isolation. Thus, if we’re having a Tower time, what immediately preceded it – and often, that which was a set-up for the Tower – was a time dominated by the Devil Major Arcana. And what comes after it is that peaceful sense that we get with the Star.

This blog has been long enough already, so I’m going to defer a detailed discussion (or many detailed discussions) for further blog posts. The important point, for now, is that when we see the Devil Major Arcana show up, whether in a reading or in our lives, it doesn’t necessarily mean a for-real devil, as in a satanic personage. Notice, in that card, that the Devil figure is much larger than the persons bound at its feet.

The Devil is, most often, a blown-up, larger-than-life, distorted fun-house projection of our own inner beliefs and mental constructs.

When a Tower moment happens, or even a series of Tower moments, we often start getting clarity on what was going on that the Tower is now shaking apart. Usually, there was something that was just not-quite-right. It could have been a corporation built upon a flawed business plan, or with leadership that was making poor decisions. It could be a marriage that had seriously bad dynamics. It could be a belief that life would continue as it has been, in the face of mounting evidence that things are adapting and that we all need to change – to learn new skills, or take some other action to keep pace with unfolding events.

Because we all like to keep our status quo going as long as we can, it takes a Tower to shake us up. Sometimes, a succession of Tower moments. That’s absolutely what happened to me.

The thing is – once we’ve had our Tower time, we begin to see much more clearly.

The Star (Major Arcana XVII) is a time when we get clarity and a new energy flow.

The Star (Major Arcana XVII) is a time when we get clarity and a new energy flow.

The ground under us settles; the dust clears. We might be completely naked (as is the woman in the Star Major Arcana).

We might be in a situation where we have not only lost the (admittedly illusory) protection of the Tower walls, but have even lost the shirt off our backs. Totally exposed and vulnerable.

However, in this new moment, we get new juice. Things start to flow for us. In the case of the woman in the Star Arcana, we see that she is pouring from two pitchers; one onto the earth, the other back into the stream. She is kneeling, with one foot planted in the stream of water. She’s accessing flow.

Far different from the Devil and the Tower, right? And a big step in personal freedom.

More to follow …

Until next time –

with love and laughter – Alay’nya


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Alay'nya - author of <a href="">Unveiling: The Inner Journey</a>

Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

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Three Essential Rules to Getting the Most from Your Archetypes

Archetype Management Isn’t Easy – Three Rules to Getting the Most from Your Archetypal Team

Leadership is our biggest challenge ever - and leading our inner archetypal team is as challenging as leading other people!

Leadership is our biggest challenge ever – and leading our inner archetypal team is as challenging as leading other people!

Who says leadership is easy?

Whether you’re Chairman of the Board, or managing a group of pre-schoolers, we all know that getting people (even toddlers) to cooperate on a single mission or goal is a hugely difficult challenge.

In the company that I co-founded prior to my current one, my job was to be the Chief Scientist – the resident genius.

Being a genius was the easy job. The CEO’s job was much tougher!

The CEO had the hard job; he was managing much more complexity – different people, different groups of people, and each had their own sense of what was most important. He had to work with each person (or group) differently to get them to really come on board with his view for what we should all be doing next.

But just like learning to be a good CEO – or good Chairman of the Board – is a learned skill, learning to manage our inner archetypes is also something that we learn.

Three essential rules help us manage our inner archetypes for not just greatest effectiveness, but greatest inner calm and serenity as we create what we desire in life.


Rule #1: Keep It Simple

The pure sheer force of our inner archetypes is not some abstract, fuzzy-wuzzy concept. Instead, each powerful archetype pushes and pulls us towards circumstances in our lives.

Our inner archetypes have strong desires and tendencies; these lead to immersing ourselves in activities and committing to relationships and obligations.

Case in point.

My young colleague is brilliant. Truly a creative genius. She also has the drive, the passion, to make her visionary creations become real.

The result? Her inner Magician is one of her most dominant archetypes.

Because of her strong inner Magician, she’s in graduate school – and of course, in a very challenging major.

She pushes herself harder than her course-of-study demands. She takes courses that are not absolutely necessary to get her degree, because she sees that what she’ll learn is essential for what she’s creating. She does research, she builds systems that will let her experiment with her novel ideas.

All of this would be just fine – but …

She’s also a mother. Let me make that Mother, capital M. She wanted to be a mom. She fought hard to be a mom. And it didn’t come easy; numerous heartaches and personal sacrifices just to get her child.

So of course, her child takes time. Mental, emotional, and physical time and energy. And she gives this very gladly. This is her Empress/Isis archetype, with a very strong lead.

So now she’s got two of the strongest archetypes going full-tilt, and their demands are non-negotiable.

Even this could be handled. But … (you knew this was coming, right?)

Her income is essential to the family’s well-being. She is forced – more by life-circumstance than by personal desire right now – to spend a lot of time in a job. When you get right down to it, non-negotiable. This means that she spends a lot of time also being an Emperor; a major bread-winner for her family.

Three core power archetypes. Each of them needs – no, demands – a whole lotta time.

How do we deal, when we are in this (not uncommon) situation?

Ruthlessly prioritize how we use our time. Everything that is not essential to our archetype-needs must go towards rest and replenishment for ourselves.

Illustrative example (my colleague’s case):

Taking the child on a Disney vacation during school break. Good call. Doesn’t matter that my colleague had papers to write, experiments to run, and was just simply dragging-her-heels tired. Doesn’t matter that the vacation was damn expensive; meant ratcheting up a credit card. It created good memories. Fun family times. A much-needed break from routine and from consistently putting energy on papers, experiments, etc. Good use of time, money, and energy.

The money and time involved can be recouped.

The pictures that she, her husband, and her child took – irreplaceable. And there will never be this moment with that child again.

Now a not-so-good use of time? A family reunion when there’s emotional tension, demands, dynamics. When said young colleague feels drained after every interaction. She leaves this so-called “vacation” far more depleted than when she began.

See the difference?

When it comes to supporting our archetypes, we can recoup losses of money and time. If we have to borrow to start a business, go to school, whatever – we’ll recover.

It’s a lot harder to recoup from emotional bleed-outs; from situations that get inside our defenses with criticisms and nagging. From people who drain our psychic energy, for whatever rationale or reason.

The lesson from Rule #1: If we’re managing a tough archetypal challenge (three, or even two) dominant and demanding inner archetypes, and if we’ve committed to their aspirations and goals – everything that does not support these commitments must go.

This does not mean that we don’t take time for prayer and pleasure (High Priestess and Hathor). What it does mean is that we don’t let commitments to others sap our reserves; our reserves are necessary to keep ourselves going.

Ask yourself – how do I feel? – after each of these extra commitments or interactions. If we’re short on sleep, but bubbly, then yes – go for it. If we’re drained to the core, then – look more closely. A whole lot more closely.


Rule #2: Deliberately Involve Your Supporting Archetypes to Help with the Major Ones

Suppose that you’re managing a team that has some real hot-shot players. Something like a football team with a fabulous quarterback, or a basketball team with Michael Jordan. (At this point my sports-analogy-abilities run out. But you get the idea.)

The smart coach will make the big plays off the star players, right?

And he (or she) will train the team so that the other football players clear the field for the quarterback. Or they set up the throw for the basketball super-star.

This is a lot like taking the family on a Disney vacation. (See above.)

A lot like; a little different.

If we’ve got one, two, or three major archetypal commitments, then the rest of the archetypes must go into support mode.

Not everyone can be the quarterback.

Not everyone can call the shots.


Rule #3: Use Desire More than Drive in Mobilizing towards What You Want

I tend to write either in the middle of the night, or in the earliest hours of the morning.

This morning (really, closer to midnight), I woke up, and thought about writing to you. The injunction that all blog-writers have in their minds came up – how important it was to stay steady and consistent. I felt motivated, but it wasn’t really enough to get me out of bed.

Then I thought about how much I really wanted to connect with you. Some of you, I know in person, or via email exchanges. But with some of you (brave soul that you are), we’ve never met. Our relationship is strictly through this blogging channel.

Yet still – just by my showing up to write, and you showing up to read – this is a relationship.

What got me out of bed this morning wasn’t drive, it was desire.

Drive pushes from behind (we all know how good that DOESN’T feel!); desire pulls us forward.

Your Hestia Archetype: The High Value of Puttering

Hestia, the Goddess-Archetype of Hearth and Home, Keeps Life Glued Together

Puttering about - essential to unlocking our creative gifts.

Puttering about – essential to unlocking our creative gifts, quote from Brenda Ueland.

Puttering is vastly underrated.

I took three days off from my usual schedule this last weekend. On one of these, I got a new project started – with alacrity and focus that surprised even me. The other two days?


After a long, cold winter (which is likely to be longer and colder; the groundhog definitely saw his shadow), we’re having more light.

More light is not only increased energy, its more light on the cobwebs and dusty corners; the piles of paperwork, every little thing that piled up while we were busy getting through the holidays, and then hibernating for the weeks of Solstice and immediately thereafter.

This was our High Priestess time.


Our High Priestess Time Is for Introspection and Inspiration

The High Priestess, by Mari-Na.

The High Priestess, by Mari-Na.

In our High Priestess mode (still continuing, especially when we finish shoveling out and just want to take a long hot bath, sit in front of the fire, or curl up with a good book or DVD), the boundaries of our awareness are open, diffuse, and unfocused.

If we can manage not to overindulge in novels, DVDs, and Facebook surfing, then we are open to our inner wisdom and guidance. This is the time when connections happen; ideas and thoughts emerge that can influence us for years ahead.

Several years ago, we had a big winter blizzard, and were snowbound for three days. I used that time to study some notes and pull together some ideas that had been lurking in the corners of my mind. This led to the first patent that I wrote for my newly-formed company; it was a significant and over-arching invention in the new realm of knowledge discovery.

Vacations similarly help us access our inner High Priestess, and medical researchers suggest that vacations help promote creativity. There is even a study supporting a relationship between vacations and marital happiness and reduced depression!


Our Hestia Time Is for Getting Our Lives in Order

Vacations are important. Even snow days (once we’ve gotten home safely, and have done the requisite snow-shoveling) give us a little bubble of time-out-of-time. That’s what our High Priestess moments are all about.

But Lee G., one of my dear friends, once said:

5% of life is the highs. 5% is the lows. The rest is maintenance.

Hestia - Greek goddess of hearth and home.

Hestia – Greek goddess of hearth and home.

Our Hestia mode is all about maintenance.

Hestia is not as fun, exciting, or dramatic as our visionary and creative Magician. She doesn’t give us the same surge of taking-over-the-world as does our Emperor. She’s not about the feel-good times of our nurturing Empress or mentoring Hierophant. She’s very far removed from the dopamine-fueled, pleasure-seeking Hathor mode (our inner goddess of love, sensuality, and pleasure in all its forms).

But without our Hestia, life falls apart.

Hestia sews on buttons.

A Woman Sewing by Henri Martin.

A Woman Sewing, by Henri Martin (French Post-Impressionist Painter, 1860-1943).

Recently, I wanted to get back into sewing.

Sewing is one of my favorite creative activities; I love the interplay of color, weave, sheen, and texture. I delight in the feel of fabrics. I love the technical challenge of making something beautiful and fitted, or something that drapes just so.

Hand-sewing is my own “wax on, wax off.” It’s one of the ways in which I access my inner High Priestess; the gentle rhythm of hand-sewing keeps my hands busy while my mind opens up. It’s one of my chief ways of encouraging creativity.

In short, sewing helps me access my High Priestess, which then helps me (because its creative, yet gives me quiet-time) access my inner Magician.

But sometimes, it’s hard for me to jump right into a creative project.

So this last time, to get my juices flowing, I tackled my mending basket.

Over the course of an afternoon, I replaced elastic, mended tears, and did lots of other little itsy-bitsy sewing chores, getting my hands and mind used to the rhythm once again.

Getting into my Hestia mode helped me access my High Priestess mode (when I actually started a for-real sewing project this last weekend), which was tied into my Magician. (The sewing project involved envisioning what I wanted, matching colors and fabrics, putting together accessories, etc.)

When I access my High Priestess and Magician on right-brain (sensory-rich, hands-on) projects, my mind starts to free up and get new ideas for the more logical, linear, left-brain areas.


Making the Most of Your Hestia Time

Some years ago, one of my dance students – whose day job was working at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm (a living history farm) says that she and the other lead staff figured out how to get the best out of volunteers.

Volunteers were easy to come by. Also, various schools would occasionally have students spend a day at the farm, getting a real-life taste of what it was like to live back in colonial times.

So, willing hands and strong bodies were not the problem.

The problem was getting them on a useful task.

A mending basket is a tool for our Hestia time.

A mending basket is a tool for our Hestia time.

My student and her colleagues found that the ideal solution was to establish project boxes.

Every project box contains a written list of exactly what needs to be done, and all the tools/supplies needed to do the job.

I thought this was an excellent idea, and started using it for my own projects-about-the-house.

For example, my mending basket doesn’t just contain clothes to be mended. Each item is put into a plastic zippered bag, with a note about what has to be done, matching thread, and whatever other small items are needed. If I need to get something special to complete a task – a zipper or even the right color of thread – that goes on a special shopping list, and the zippered bag doesn’t go into the big mending basket until everything is there, ready-to-use.

When I take Hestia time, I don’t have to run around looking for the odds and ends needed to get a job done.

Try this at home, and see if it makes your life easier. (And let me know if it does – use the comments below)

More on Hestia

Has Your High Priestess Been Shortchanged This Year? (How to Fix)

Your High Priestess and Your Empress Archetypes – Are Both Their Needs Being Met?

Introducing Julie Marie Rahm, certified YUEN Mastery Practitioner and Instructor

Julie Marie Rahm, the Resultant, is a  certified YUEN Mastery practitioner and instructor.

Julie Marie Rahm, the Resultant, is a certified YUEN Mastery practitioner and instructor.

This week’s Guest Blog by Julie Marie Rahm, the Resultant, gives us insight on how to regain our center when we’ve over-extended ourselves by nurturing and caring for others.

Julie applies YUEN Mastery, the New Science of Achieving Immediate Results; a blend of insight and logic with a dash of quantum physics. The bottom line – if you’re ready to be free of stress and pain, if you’re ready for self-mastery, if you’re ready to know what’s really going on in the world, then read her articles or schedule a one-on-one results-guaranteed telephone consultation with Julie.

Note from Alay’nya: Curious about the Yuen Method? I was. And I had my own consultation with Julie just yesterday. Learn more about this method in this week’s post from the Alay’nya Studio (look for the link two days from now, Thursday, Jan. 30th), and in next week’s blogpost here in The Unveiling Journey. (I’ll put the link in when I write next week’s post.)

It’s been less than twenty-four hours, and I can already feel the life-changing difference!

Our Inner Empress – Feeling Good through Helping Others Feel Good

We’ve just come out of the Season of the Empress. She was our dominant energy from Samhain (October 31st) to Winter Solstice (December 21st).

Our Empress Archetype Is All About Connecting and Nurturing.

The Empress - Major Arcana Card III - from the Touchstone Tarot by Kat Black.

The Empress – Major Arcana Card III – from the Touchstone Tarot by Kat Black.

When in our Empress mode, we’re under the sway of the powerful neurohormone oxytocin.

As beautifully described by Dr. Shelley Taylor in The Tending Instinct, oxytocin makes us seek out and find pleasure in the warmth of human connection.

When we are pregnant and mothers of young children, we are awash in oxytocin, and it governs much of what we do until our children leave home and menopause arrives. (Usually, these two events more-or-less coincide, and check out Dr. Louann Brizendine’s book, The Female Brain.)

Our Empress Archetype Causes Us to Bond with Animals

We get a surge of oxytocin, a feel-good neurohormone, from playing with warm, furry animals. Photo courtesy

We get a surge of oxytocin, a feel-good neurohormone, from playing with warm, furry animals. Photo courtesy

If we are not maternal – by nature or by life-role – we often nurture animals. Nothing like cuddling up with our pet cat, or romping with our dog, to release a good oxytocin surge into our brains – helping us feel calmer, more soothed, and more happy with life. Meg Daley Olmert describes how oxytocin helps the human-animal bond in Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond.

Obviously, both men and women access the Empress archetype – think of the many men who are devoted fathers, or whose lives involve caring for people and animals. It’s the same neurohormone that gives all of us satisfaction in the human-human or human-animal bond.

Our Empress Governs the Biggest Feast-Days and Holidays of the Year

In our Empress mode, we get satisfaction from nurturing others - particularly during holiday feasts!

In our Empress mode, we get satisfaction from nurturing others – particularly during holiday feasts!

It’s no coincidence that our Empress time encompasses the two biggest feasting, family, human-warmth-and-connection times of the year – Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But what happens when our Empress is overextended?

This can happen so, so easily.

Our Empress is about caring; not about setting boundaries. Thus, when someone needs her, she often responds without saying, No, I need time for myself right now.

Sometimes, there’s a crisis during the holidays and people need more time than expected.

Sometimes, there’s too much travel; too many demands on our time.

Sometimes, people come to visit – and stay longer than expected, or we have the lovely misfortune of living someplace where everyone wants to visit us over the holidays!

At the end of this time – special though it was – we need time for ourselves.

Our Inner High Priestess – Intuitive and Contemplative

The High Priestess, depicted by Mari.

The High Priestess, depicted by Mari-Na.

Our inner High Priestess is all about regrouping.

During the darkest time of winter, she’s about staying in bed for an extra hour or so each day.

Instead of focusing on the needs and wants of others, our High Priestess wants to not focus at all.

Our inner High Priestess wants to drift in a quiet, calm, contemplative space – and being forced to focus on anyone, or anything, is painful to this aspect of our psyche.

After being an Empress (sometimes for too long), we need our High Priestess to recharge.

Did you get your High Priestess time this year?

If you’re a little low on your High Priestess, you can still nurture her – and thus nurture your whole self.

Read this Guest Post from Julie Rahm to find out how.

Instant Rejuvenation for Generation Empress – Guest Post from Julie Marie Rahm, aka The Resultant

Forget about being a Baby Boomer. Aren’t we in fact the Sandwich Generation, caught in the middle?

Our adult offspring have boomeranged back home. Also, our aging parents need daily attention. Thus, perhaps an even more fitting title for our generation of women is Generation Empress.

If you are like me, you find yourself for months on end in full-throttle Empress mode, caring for and nurturing family, friends, clients.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my family, friends, and clients. However, spending all of our time in Empress mode causes us to stagnate in body, mind, and spirit. Flow stops and unevenness sets in between others and us. Where there is unevenness, there is struggle. Struggle leads to reactions of anger and frustration.

What’s an Empress to do? Read on.

First, restore flow and thus rejuvenate by investing at least five minutes in contemplative High Priestess mode every day.

How? I recommend awakening five minutes earlier than usual. Sit in bed with the lights out. Imagine your day unfolding perfectly to your design. Most others are still asleep, so you can connect without static to the Universe and the Universe can connect back to you, supporting your design.

Then, strengthen yourself for your day.

How? Imagine a bright point of light moving quickly up and down from the crown of your head through your spine to the bottom of your tailbone. Run the light up and down eight times while saying to yourself “strengthen and delete.” Throughout the day, “run the light” any time you need a boost!

As you incorporate those first five minutes into each day, be willing to be amazed.

Expect to feel stronger and be happier.

My clients from ages eight to eighty agree that “running the light” daily is life changing. May it be for you, too!

Does Your Inner Empress Need to Recharge? (Ask Julie!)

Julie Marie Rahm, M.S., is a Resultant who resolves problems for individuals, families, schools, organizations, and businesses. How? She applies YUEN Mastery, the New Science of Immediate Results; a blend of insight and logic with a dash of quantum physics.

Julie is a certified YUEN Mastery practitioner and instructor. She earned her B.S. in physics and mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her M.S. in industrial engineering at Georgia Tech. She worked for the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense for 20 years before applying physics and engineering to the human body and the human condition. Find her online at

Healing Our Inner Emperor – What a Breakthrough Feels Like

A Healing Shift with My Emperor Archetype – from Controlling & Power-Grabbing to Wise & Benevolent

Lioness and lion, by Franco De Luco Calce.

Inner healing brings together our feminine and masculine archetypes. Photo of asiatic lioness and lion in Wild Love II series by Franco De Luca Calce.

Healing is much like integration.

Really, the two go hand-in-hand.

Over the past week, I’ve had a big, huge healing with my inner Emperor – one of the six core power archetypes that we each have.

I didn’t know that I needed this healing.

Also, I didn’t know how deeply this unhealed relationship had impacted my entire life – that it was a huge, pervasive pattern. (The full extent only popped out completely this last week.)

And I can’t say that everything – every aspect – is completely healed. Probably not. Probably more to go; multiple layers.

But this is big.

So huge, that I’m breaking with what I planned to write to you – which dealt with healings and breakthroughs of a different form – to introduce this new one.

Join me?


Before Healing – A Controlling Emperor Archetype

If you know me well (and many of you do), you’ll recognize that my attitude about men has not always been healthy.

Of course, this showed up in both my personal and professional life.

Ghengis Khan.

Ghengis Khan.

You may remember that I characterized the Emperor archetype in a not-too-kindly manner – the image that I selected to represent this archetype back less than a year ago was Ghengis Khan.

More to the point, I was wrestling with an oppressive inner Emperor – from Dethroning Your Emperor, written in March, 2013. (Even then, I was starting to shift – from dethroning to a more useful incorporation.)

More recently, I characterized my (and generally, our) inner Emperor as a resource-hog, in Is Your Emperor Ruling Your Life?.

Khan, like many other conquering Emperors, definitely embodied the Emperor archetype – but in a brutal and controlling and punitive sense. (Read a brief synopsis of Khan’s slaughter of the inhabitants of the Persian city Nishapur.) While his virtues of leadership, courage, organization were fabulous – as was his vision, focus, and tenacity – he was not a good or kind person. He’s reputed to have said, “It is not sufficient that I succeed – all others must fail.”

This is the dark side of our Emperor archetype.


After Healing – A Wise and Benevolent Emperor Archetype

The healing itself was preceded by several months of substantial attention to this area – no one big thing, but steadily clearing out the brushes.

I wrote about this in an earlier blog:

When we invoke our Emperor in a benevolent mode, he comes in as a rescuer. He brings not only structure and order, but strength and stability. He may bring some routine in to our lives …

When we do a higher level of life-integration, we call on our Emperor in a more powerful and comprehensive way.

When You’ve Betrayed Yourself and How to Recover, written October, 2013.

The healing itself took place within 24 hours. No one specific person “healed” me; there was no moment of divine intervention, but I knew – when I woke up the next morning – that my relationship with this whole archetype had shifted.

Emperor Kangxi.

Emperor Kangxi.

As I cast about inside my head for words to describe this new Emperor, the ones that seemed most appropriate were wise and benevolent.

Wise and benevolent, it seems, can be a success strategy. China’s Emperor Aixin-Juelo Xuanye (1654-1722) was known as Emperor Kangxi. His title means peace for all people and prosperity for all lands.

"Where Are the Initiated Men of Power Today?" – An Answer to Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

To Find the “Initiated Men of Power” – Seek Out the Martial Arts Masters

Leaders of the men’s movement today are addressing the question brought before them by young men:

“In a Bill Moyers interview with poet Robert Bly … a young man asked the question, ‘Where are the initiated men of power today?’ We have written this book in order to answer this question, which is on the minds of both men and women. In the beginning of the twenty-first century, we face a crisis in the masculine identity of vast proportions. Increasingly, observers of the contemporary scene – sociologists, anthropologists, and depth psychologists – are discovering the devastating dimensions of this phenomenon, which affects each of us personally as much as it affects our society as a whole.”

(See Robert Moore’s website page for this quote and also for an introduction to the excellent book by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, written to answer this question.

See also my review of Moore and Gillette’s book on today’s Unveiling webpage, Moore and Gillette; King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.

The question is a real one. In all of our mythic Heroic Quests, the young man is tutored by a sage, someone whom we’ll call a Hierophant – a “wise older man” who can guide the young man towards full adulthood. In his excellent book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman describes his teacher Socrates.

In the movie Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is tutored first by Obi-wan Kenobi, then by Yoda. In The Karate Kid (1984 version), Dan is tutored by a martial arts master, Mr. Miyagi.

What is consistent here? Young men are taught by martial arts masters. This is the classic initial stage of the Hero’s Journey.

Socrates, Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda, and Mr. Miyagi – together with numerous similar characters in fiction and film – are idealizations. But the “real versions” exist!

In Unveiling: The Inner Journey, I credit two martial arts masters with whom it has been a great privilege to study. Robert Fusaro Sensei, 7th Dan, Founder of Midwest Karate Association, and Peter Ralston, founder of both the Cheng Hsin school and the martial arts discipline of that name, are masters who are substantial and very authentic. Further, diligent search of the martial arts schools and systems in most cities will reveal others who are competent teachers; not only of martial arts, but also of life.

Even those who prefer something other than martial arts can benefit by the pathway to becoming a “Superior Man,” as described by author Davide Deida.

Deida states “The two ways to bring you right to your masculine edge of power are austerity and challenge.” (The Way of the Superior Man, p. 191)

Women are aware of whether or not men are willing to do this. As we observe men, we note whether they are creatures of comfort, or if they are afraid to disrupt their own “status quo.” In essence, we note their courage – their willingness to accept both discomfort (“austerity”) and their willingness to step beyond their safety zone (“challenge”).

So for all men who are looking for a pathway: Seek out austerity and challenge, as Deida suggests. Give up the TV and the video games, and spend time in a real dojo; study with a martial arts master. Push yourself into the wilderness and into your own wildness. Then see how your woman responds to you. (Or if you are not in a relationship, then observe what sorts of women begin to be attracted to you.)

Easy Self-Assessment Quiz – Match Books to Archetypes

Easy Self-Assessment Quiz – Match Books to Archetypes 

How Well Do You Know Your Archetypes?
How Well Do You Know Yourself?

“A (wo)man is known by the books (s)he reads …”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why Bother?

First, it’s fun. You’ve been reading for a while – now you get to figure out how much you’ve really learned.

Second, this gives you insight into yourself. If you find a certain match-up easy, it means that you already know that archetype well – and that means that you’ve likely done some mastery work and own that archetype yourself. (It’s always fun to get positive feedback, right?)

The Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. Missing a core archetype is like driving a powerful V8 car when one of its cylinders is misfiring.

The Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. Missing a core archetype is like driving a powerful V8 car when one of its cylinders is misfiring.

Finally, this gives you some sense of the way forward. We all have strengths and weaknesses. I’m absolutely not saying that you give each archetype equal attention in your life. But if one area is completely missing, or is not being supported, then that’s like driving the eight-horse stagecoach with only six or seven horses.

Missing a core archetype is like running a V-8 power car with a couple of cylinders misfiring.

Missing a core archetype is missing an important aspect of life.

So where are you?

If you match all of these easily, give yourself a high-five! You’re well into personal mastery and archetype integration.

Missing one or two, or more?

When you get my email (see the Sign-Up form at the bottom of this blog), you’ll also start getting some ideas on how to take steps to make yourself more powerful – more integrated – more able to easily ride the waves of life’s challenges.

And that’s what it’s about, isn’t it?

Have fun with this! – Alay’nya

How to Take the Quiz

There are nine books in the colorful table below. (That’s the one filled with book pictures; you can check them out on Amazon just by clicking the link.) These books are labeled A – I.

There are eight core archetypes (see the list below the table). In addition, there’s the whole notion of archetype integration – a real sign of personal mastery.

This gives us a total of nine different “answers.”

Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to match the books to the archetypes.

Simply copy down the archetypes (listed below the table), and match up the book letter to the archetype number.

How to Get the Answers

I’ll email you the answers right away – simply fill in the form below the table. (This is the orange-red and grey form; the one that says “Sign Up” in the orange box below the name and email fields.)

It’s that easy. Sign up, check your email for a confirmation email from AWeber (that’s so we know you’re a real person, not a spam-machine), and the very first email that I’ll send to you will have the answers.

And a special bonus or two as well.


Got your interest tweaked?

Have you been “paying attention in class” and want to find out?

Try this now.

It’s more than fun – it will tell you a LOT about yourself!

I’ll connect with you soon – via email – as soon as you Sign Up with me!




How to Think Like a CEO



The Artist’s Way … Higher Creativity



Living a Beautiful Life



Eating Local: The Cookbook



Unveiling: The Inner Journey



Bombshell Manual of Style



A New Day: 365 Meditations



Organizing … Inside Out



Game Plan for Life: Power of Mentoring



How well do you know yourself?

If you understand your archetypes, you’ll easily figure out the match-ups for the quiz above.

Write down your choices for each of the following (select from A – I).

Eight Core Archetypes

  1. Magician
  2. High Priestess
  3. Emperor
  4. Isis/Empress
  5. Hierophant
  6. Hathor (Love Goddess)
  7. Green Man
  8. Hestia (Hearth & Home)
  9. Winged Goddess (Integration)

Get the answers – emailed to you immediately!

Sign up using the form to the right.

(And have fun!)

Have You Mastered Your Archetypes?

Get your answers now!

Sign up to get your Quiz Answers emailed to you right away – along with a Special Bonus

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Six Top Blog Posts for The Unveiling Journey

Six-Year Anniversary for The Unveiling Journey Blog Series: Six Top Blog Posts Over Past Six Years

Over these six years, I’ve written about 100 blog posts.

The archetype overview blogs are by far the most popular in the nearly 100 blogposts, written over six years, for The Unveiling Journey – a companion blog to the book, Unveiling: The Inner Journey, published in July, 2011.

The most popular concept that people are tracking is that of our core power archetypes.

Crucial Themes for Previous The Unveiling Journey Blog Posts

Many of the Unveiling Journey blogs over the past two years (since Unveiling was published) have focused on refining and giving more context for the six core power archetypes, together with identifying and building out the two “support role” archetypes – the two rest-and-recharge ones.

Not surprisingly, the most popular blogs have been those that overviewed the eight core archetypes – either as all eight, or focusing on the six core power ones. The masculine/feminine archetypal distinctions have also been popular.

For all of these crucial blog posts, the essential diagram is the Core Archetype Octant Chart given below. It shows each of the core archetypes (six core power ones, and two rest-and-recharge ones), mapped to the Jungian Psychological Type matrix. (This subsumes the Introversion/Extroversion distinction, and focuses on the three other modalities: Sensing/INtuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving.)

Core archetypes octant chart - each archetype (each octant) corresponds to one of Jung's Psychological Types (discounting the introversion/extroversion distinction).

Core archetypes octant chart – each archetype (each octant) corresponds to one of Jung’s Psychological Types (discounting the introversion/extroversion distinction). Copyright Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D., 2013. All rights reserved.

The Six Most Popular Blogs – During Six Years of The Unveiling Journey

Here, in increasing order of popularity, are the six most popular blog posts since this blog site was established:

  • #6: Becoming a Master of the Universe: Three Essential Life-Stages – three stages, and seven steps each, describe our adult life journey – real mastery work; and the first of these (the Worldly Sequence) encompasses our six core power archetypes, followed by integration,
  • #5: Moore and Gillette, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” – 2 1/3 Out of Four Ain’t Bad! – Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette advance the notion of four core archetypes describing the male psyche. (Similar approach to how Antonia Wolff advanced the notion of four core feminine archetypes in her highly-regarded Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche.) Find out why Moore and Gillette rank 2 and 1/3 as a “correct score” out of four possible points (whereas Antonia Wolff’s insights get 3 1/3 out of 4),
  • #4: Masculine vs. Feminine – Core Archetypes – particularly useful if you’re trying to understand a “masculine” archetype within a simplified “feminine” archetypal group (what does your Amazon really mean?), and vice versa, ,
  • #3: The “Unveiling Archetypes” and the Jungian Dimensions – details the relationship between the eight core archetypes and the Jungian Psychological Types,
  • #2: Mapping the Eight Core Power Archetypes to the Jungian System – introduces the notion that there can be a relationship between the eight core archetypes and the Jungian Psychological Types (this is an intro blog; you can skip it and go directly to #3, which is meatier),
  • #1 (The All-Time Winner for Blog Popularity): Your Six “Power Archetypes” – What Happens When One Doesn’t Function? – introduces the notion that we need to cultivate all of our core power archetypes – not just sit in our primary one. The idea that we would be “typecast” was an indirect result of the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, which was invented to match incoming servicemen (and women) to military specialties during WWII. Carl Jung, in his theories for the Psychological Types, advocated that we develop all of our Type-roles over time. This realization is coming back more into mainstream recognition.

If You Had to Pick Just One

The most useful blog out of these six is not the one that’s been the most popular. Instead, it’s the most recent one: Masculine vs. Feminine – Core Archetypes. Three reasons that I suggest this as your starting place:

  1. Most useful and relevant content – in the eighteen months between posting the first blogs on core archetypes and their integration (these would be the three most popular blogs), I’ve had plenty of time to refine, distill, and make more concrete the essential ideas,
  2. Clearest overview of the eight core archetypes – including their match-ups to the Jungian Psychological Type dimensions, and
  3. Best encapsulation of the “feminine archetype” and “masculine archetype” bundles – gives a concise summary of how women use their Amazon archetype as a short-hand notation (or “bundling”) for their four masculine archetypes, and how men use their Lover archetype as a “bundling” for their feminine ones – the pros and cons of this “bundling” for each gender.

Over the past two years, I’ve been “filling in the blanks” for each of the core archetypes. (A detailed Guide will appear in a forthcoming blog.)

In the next few weeks, I’ll divulge the Editorial Calendar for the coming year – important topics, major themes, and essential insights (useful for helping you navigate your own Journeys). In addition, starting in 2014, we’ll introduce several Guest Bloggers – people who have important messages to share about their own JourneysHeroic, Integration, or Great.

Alay'nya - author of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"

Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Very best wishes as discover and empower each of your core archetypes during your own inner journey!

(Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.)

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

The Unveiling Journey blog details the theory – archetypes, life journeys, integration.

To experience your own Journey in a structured, safe, and gentle (yet effective) setting, visit Alay’nya’s website, and consider either a workshop with Alay’nya or one-on-one coaching.


Connect with Alay’nya and the Unveiling Community

Unveiling, by Alay'nya, currently has an overall five-star Amazon rating.

Unveiling, by Alay’nya, currently has twenty five-star Amazon reviews.

This blog series develops themes originally published in Unveiling: The Inner Journey, published by Mourning Dove Press.

Unveiling currently has twenty 5-star Amazon reviews, and has been recommended by luminaries:

  • Dr. Christiane Northrup – “This book is delightful”
  • Midwest Book Review, in Bethany’s Books – reviews by Susan Bethany – “highly recommended”
  • Nizana al Rassan, writing for (the now out of circulation) – “a fascinating read with so much wisdom and solid advice.”



Julie Marie Rahm, aka America’s Mindset Mechanic on Unveiling: The Inner Journey

What does Julie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic and author of Handle Everything: Eight Tools You Need to Live Well and Prosper have to say about Unveiling: The Inner Journey?

Julie writes:

Unveiling is the definitive guidebook for women who want to experience lives of joy and fulfillment, and who just want to exhale into each day. Alay’nya reveals powerful, personal stories of her own life journey to fascinating womanhood, sensuality, and self-acceptance in ways that struck me like a velvet hammer. Her fresh approach to living illuminated my own bind spots. It is impossible to read Unveiling without awakening to new and possibly shocking self-awareness. For women ready to make real and lasting changes toward enlightenment and bliss, Unveiling is a must-read..”

Read this and more reviews of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.





Julie Marie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic

Check out Julie Marie Rahm!

Julie Marie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic and author of Handle Everything: Eight Tools You Need to Live Well and Prosper and also Military Kids Speak (great for parents, teachers, and coaches of military kids) uses a great technique that can help you clear energy blockages, ranging from those from this life through the influence of your ancestral karma. Connect with Julie at info (at) americasmindsetmechanic (dot) com to learn more about how she can help you.

Books by Julie Marie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic



Copyright (c) 2013, Alay’nya (Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.). All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Archetypal Roles and Everyday Life

When You’ve Betrayed Yourself – And How to Recover

All Betrayal Is Really What We Do to Ourselves – and Yes, We CAN Recover!

Do you give yourself what you're really worth?

Do you give yourself what you’re really worth?

Right now, there’s a nationwide (and worldwide) concern about money.

The past three weeks have been thought-provoking for anyone in the United States. We’ve teetered dangerously close to the border of default. The Federal Government was shut down for nearly three weeks.

This means that even though the government (civil service) employees will get paid for their furloughed time, a great deal of churn has been thrown into the realm of government contractors, as well as the suppliers and service people who keep both the government and the contractors going.

In this particular area (North Virginia), it makes a big difference.

Throughout the whole country, though, there have been many people who’ve been asking themselves: How could I have put myself so much at risk?

This goes beyond government contractors and their support system. It includes the many people who are on Social Security, and who wonder about their economic future. It includes the many who lost the huge bulk of their retirement savings during the financial collapse of 2008, and who still have not recovered. It includes many of us who have leveraged ourselves into a tight position – those of us who have a steady job, with nice benefits – but little flexibility, and who feel trapped in the system.

Betrayal Is What We Do to Ourselves – and Then We Take Charge of Our Lives

I had a mentor once who famously said, We always know. We may not want to admit it to ourselves, but we always know.

When we set ourselves up for a tough spot, we also discern the tools and gifts that we need to move on.

When we set ourselves up for a tough spot, we also discern the tools and gifts that we need to move on.

It’s possibly no accident that of my last three face-to-face meetings, each has been with someone who has or is in the midst of stepping out of a corporate job – even a very nice and secure corporate job – and is striking out as an entrepreneur.

They’ve identified that the “betrayal” here was not so much entrusting the system (their job and the entire corporate culture) to take care of them financially, as it was in believing that they could “make it work” (for much longer than necessary) within that environment.

Intimate Relations and Job/Corporate Relations Riff on the Same Internal Dynamic

Our intimate relations often have the same dynamics as our job and social relations.

Our intimate relations often have the same dynamics as our job and social relations.

Over the last week, I’ve had in-depth conversations with four different women. Two of them – ones who are also just rebuilding their business lives – spent time recounting unhappy relationships or marriages. They’re carefully keeping themselves out of relationships right now, while they rebuild their lives.

The two others? Absolutely fabulous, totally enviable marriages. (One is newly married. She’s older than me, but is vibrant, glowing, and truly a blushing bride.) Of these, one has moved out from a secure position in which she’s been highly respected and wielded much influence. The other is getting ready to move on; retiring from a job that’s become stifling, and doing what makes her heart sing.

I see this a lot. There is often a common theme in our lives – one that we express again and again, in our selection of (and staying with) jobs, closest friends, and intimate partners. In other words, those people and institutions with whom we let down our walls – we open to some level of trust and vulnerability.

Sometimes we make great choices.

Sometimes, we make awful ones.

What Happens When We Dethrone Our Own Internal Emperor

Our Emperor archetype is our inner Protector and Provider. Of all the masculine roles, he is the one most charged with keeping us safe and secure.

Many of us, when we find that opening ourselves up has led us into disastrous situations (either financially or emotionally, or even both), do a sort of shock-reaction: we flip an internal switch and go into Emperor mode.

Sometimes, we go into Emperor mode early in life. This happens when we feel that our feminine aspects are too dangerous a place. This can be due to family or societal dynamics, or even one truly awful early-life experience. (Sometimes, a succession of them.) We flee our feminine selves, and put on a Warrior’s armor and an Emperor’s mindset.

I write about this extensively in:

What really happens when we do this, though, is that we engage a sort of pseudo-Emperor. We don’t have a real, fully-fledged Emperor running our show – we have an archetype who has the power to direct our attention, and make our judgment calls – but is not really there for us as either a Protector or as a Provider.

The result?

We work.

We work really, really hard.

We work really, really hard for years and years.

But – when we finally pull our heads up (or a corporate or national crisis forces us to step back and assess) – we realize: we haven’t protected or provided for ourselves at all. We’ve poured ourselves into a certain kind of task – but left ourselves with a kind of vulnerability.

In short, we’ve created our own Achilles’ heel. We have a vulnerability because we haven’t really dialed in to our Emperor archetype; we’ve never really let him take charge in an intelligent and useful way.

We’ve gone into Emperor-type activities, but we’ve not really let him Protect and Provide.

The crunch comes, and we’re devastated.

How to deal?

Will Our Real Emperor Please Stand Forth?

Our real Emperor persona is highly mature, and takes his responsibilities very seriously.

Let’s look at where he comes in during our archetypal evolution.

First, we invoke and cultivate our Magician; our creative visionary. We have great ideas for what we want in life, and we move forward with them.

Then, we realize that we need to pull back a bit; we need contemplation to balance our creative surges. We cultivate our inner High Priestess.

By the time that we’ve gotten our Magician and High Priestess going strong, we realize that we’ve been so focused on our creative vision that we’ve neglected our emotional selves. We begin to pay more attention to our inner Empress. (I call this our Isis archetype, after the Egyptian goddess of nurturance and love.)

It is only at this point – in the “archetypal evolution” scheme of things – that we invoke our Emperor. We do so because – by now – every one of our active archetypes needs him. Our Magician needs help creating a business plan and a structure that will support the creative vision. The High Priestess needs someone who is “out there” – taking care of the worldly things – so that she is safe when she calls a retreat. And the Empress?

Oh my, the Empress. She’s the one who takes on the emotional responsibilities for caretaking and nurturing, and the practical day-to-day ones as well. This can be with children. It can be with animals, particularly if someone devotes himself or herself to animal rescue or environmental care. This can be in community service or in any other way of emotional investing.

In terms of archetypal patterns, both our High Priestess and our Empress get very diffuse. They tend – by their very natures – to be ever-expanding in their awareness and attention.

For the High Priestess, this is a sort of intellectual or simply perceptive awareness. In our High Priestess modes, one thought leads to another, and to another. (When coupled with Magician moments, this leads to fabulous brainstorming.)

For the Empress, this kind of expansiveness is emotional. She winds up committing to caring for more than she can practically handle.

Between Isis and High Priestess, things can get too diffuse; too over-extended. The Magician, with his intense focus on creativity, may have let the rest of life pile up in huge, chaotic disarray.

The Emperor’s role? First, to bring in some structure and order.

He’s the one who will say: Let’s get all these names of people we’ve met (while doing all of our great networking and connecting) into a database. He’ll say: Let’s stop producing new stuff for a while, and organize our files, and back-up all our computer data. He’ll say: Let’s put together a spreadsheet of expenses, and figure out what we’ve got.

When we invoke our Emperor in a benevolent mode, he comes in as a rescuer. He brings not only structure and order, but strength and stability. He may bring some routine in to our lives – whether as regularly scheduled times for certain tasks, or as business processes that ultimately let us delegate tasks to others.

When we do a higher level of life-integration, we call on our Emperor in a more powerful and comprehensive way. We may have previously given away our power. We may have pretended to ourselves that our corporate job was secure, or that the financial system would stay stable, and our futures would be safe if we simply trusted these institutions to work in our favor.

We may have married someone, or taken in a boyfriend, or even given over a great deal of power to a more masculine business partner – and then realized that they were not there for us. They were not protecting and providing; if anything, we were providing for them!

We Recover by Invoking a Strong, Healthy, and Benevolent Emperor Inside Ourselves

As we recover, we realize that we don’t need to give away our power (and our trust, and our financial resources, and our work) to someone or something else.

We realize that we really can take care of ourselves, and we can do so in a very loving, calm, compassionate – yet very structured and disciplined manner.

This is a fairly big step in personal growth.

This goes beyond our first work in archetype integration, in which we make opposing sides work together.

In this more advanced work, we are subduing the “inner beast” (our raging fears, insecurities, and desires to simply run away – let someone else be in charge). Instead, as we gentle these fears to the ground, we invoke each of our inner archetypes as needed, and give them the full power and authority to get the job done.

If one of our tasks is to provide for our own financial well-being, then we assess what we need, calmly and deliberately. We undertake the next steps, in a way that brings our goals to fruition most solidly and steadily. We don’t look for shortcuts, and we don’t try to cut corners. We simply do what we need to do.

Inner Stillness Leads to Your Palace of Pleasure

The Pathway to Your Pleasure-Goddess Hathor Lies in Finding Your Inner Quiet Core

Are you ready to break the chains?

Are you ready to break the chains?

Are you feeling that your life is run – much too much – by your commitments and your “to-do” list?

Are you seeking to bring more pleasure into your life?

Are you actually desiring to reframe your entire life so that pleasure is at your center and your core?

In short, are you ready to start making you your own top priority? Not your job. Not your husband or significant other. Not your family (could be parents, could be the kids).

Not even fitting into your own earlier expectations for yourself.

These are ones that you may have carved out for yourself much earlier, and now find to be way too much of a straightjacket.

In short, are you ready to bust loose? To find freedom? To discover and embrace who you really are?

Welcome to the club, dearest one.

Pioneers in Pleasure

One of the strongest advocates for women finding their own pathway to pleasure these days is Regena Thomaschauer, aka Mama Gena. An early interview with her, for Glamour magazine, cited some of Mama’s suggested reading. Among these were a book by Dr. Stella Resnick, The Pleasure Zone: Why We Resist Good Feelings and How to Let Go and Be Happy.

Naturally, I did what you would do: I jumped into the book using Amazon’s Look Inside feature. And I found the most fascinating little vignette:

At that point, I felt I couldn’t just go back to my hectic life in San Francisco. It was time to confront my pain and loneliness and discover what was keeping me so unhappy. A month after my mother’s death, I moved to Mount Tremper, New York, a town int he Catskill Mountainst near Woodstock. The few people I know ther had summerhomes, and in winter they came jp only for an occasional weekend. I found a small house surrounded by woods, without a TV, and signed a lease for a year.

I spent that year in the country more alone than ever before – bht this time it was a chosen solitude. For guidance, I read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden…

At first, my days were terribly lonely. I cried a lot and felt sorry for myself. I read, wrote in my journal, and took long walks in the woods… In winter, I chopped kindling to feed the fires in the two potbellied stoves and fireplace that kept me from freezing.

What I began to discover during those endless days was how little I knew about how to be happy on a daily basis. I knew how to drive myself to succeed. I knew how to criticize myself … But I didn’t know how to take on a day and enjoy it…

Finally … I had a flash of insight… It isn’t enough to know what you are doing wrong, you have to know how to do it right…

I had no role models of happiness… I knew how to have a good time and to distract myself … with external pleasures… I could relish being admired by others and indulge myself in a material success … But I didn’t know how to get off my own case and relax, to enjoy the inner pleasures of a quiet mind and ease within my body.

So that becamse my grand revelation, what I had intuitively placed myself in exile to learn. I had not come to figure out what was wrong with me… I had come to experiment with how to do things differently. More than that, I had come to discover what was truly right with me.

One of the first actions I took was to turn all the clocks toward the wall and to tape over the clock on the stove. Even though I was completely alone, I still found myself fixated on time – what time to wake up, when to eat a meal, how much time was left in the day, and how late I was staying up. I realized I was uncomfortable with open-ended time.

It was hard at first, but I came to appreciate the freedom in the open space… When I released myself from the tyranny of time, I became more attuned to my own natural rhythms … If there was a choice … I saw how easy it was for me to be hard on myself. More and more I began to choose kindness. [pp. 7 – 10, The Pleasure Zone, by Dr. Stella Resnick]

Here we have it – one of the most essential keys to finding our true sense of inner pleasure.

It’s not necessarily the physical things – the special objects that we crave, or being pampered at a spa, or going out and having fun. These are all good, and way too often, we are pleasure-deprived.

So please – bear with me on this.

By all means, we should go for that which makes us feel good, and sometimes, that is pure, sheer fun, or physical sensation.

But there is this deeper level within ourselves, and our true sense of pleasure is embedded in this more internal core.

What Keeps Us from Our Pleasure Zone?

Dr. Resnick writes about how, at first, she had to deal with massive waves of negative self-talk. She had to penetrate these before she could find her inner self.

So very often, as soon as we start to unwrap the very tight constraints that we put on ourselves, the first thing that happens is that all of our internal self-talk gets very, very loud.

It’s hard to turn this off. Zen masters and yogis spend years in meditation, just trying to bring the internal noise level down. So should we expect it to be easy? Of course not!

But we can get through it.

Dr. Resnick got through it much like putting herself into a “mindfulness boot-camp” for a year. No distractions. No TV, no Twitter. Just herself and a lot of hard work; chopping enough wood to feed the stoves through the long winter nights.

Brutal, but effective.

Most of us won’t take a year off. (In next week’s post, though, I’ll take us through another story of a woman who did.)

What we can do is start to notice how we fill our lives with distractions in order to put a lid on the noise of our self-talk.

That’s it.

The most important thing that keeps us from having more pleasure in our lives is that our self-talk is so negative, we’d rather be under huge pressures and horrible deadlines; we’d rather listen to any banality on TV, or trace through jungles of Facebook links, that be quiet inside.

The Turning Point

The most telling point in Dr. Resnick’s story was when she turned all the clocks to the wall and taped over the clock on the stove.

Do you know what she did with this one, final, extreme act?

She called in her High Priestess archetype, in a major and extreme way.

This was an act of extreme courage.

It may not have seemed like this to her at the time. It may have seemed like the only thing that she could do – to start knowing herself aside from the superimposed mind-chatter. It may have seemed like an act of desperation – something that only the soul in its extreme state would do.

But it worked.

From this point on, she began to know herself.

This tells us something that we all need to learn.

In order to access our inner Hathor, our inner pleasure-goddess, we first need to bring an extreme interrupt-signal to our mind-chatter. This includes self-judgments and expectations, as well as the constant vying of our other archetypes (most often our inner Emperor and Magician) who insist that survival depends on action.

Who Is Our High Priestess, and How Does She Help Us?

In order to understand our inner High Priestess, it helps us to review our masculine archetypes. After all (writing to you in late September), we’ve just been through two quarters dominated by masculine “energies” – Spring (the metaphysical Season of Air), and Summer (the metaphysical Season of Fire). So, for the past six months, our studies (and sometimes our lives) have been dominated by masculine archetypes.

By definition, all of the masculine archetypes are – using the Jungian framework – very goal-oriented. Some are more so than others. Our Green Man, for instance, may set hiking to the top of the next hill as a goal. Our Magician and our Emperor, however, are extremely and dominantly goal-oriented.

Our society reinforces the value of our Magician and Emperor archetypes. Thus, not only do we have them – as “inner voices” – telling us that they and their needs are important; they should be in charge – but all the messages that we get about success and survival reinforce that we should be in Magician or Emperor modes as much as possible. (Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is just one such recent example.)

But if we’re focused on Leaning In, then we’re not giving ourselves permission to step back, are we?

When we Lean In, we’re putting our Amazon archetype (our bundle of the four masculine archetypes) in the forefront.

And yes, whenever we get an Amazon in the room, she tends to take over, right?

It’s much more difficult – it takes almost an extreme situation – to get our Amazon to release control, and to let our High Priestess have a moment.

Because our Amazon is a bundle of all our masculine archetypes (and we women use this sometimes just for simplicity, not for accuracy), she is – like the masculine archetypes themselves – very goal-driven.

All the masculine archetypes are Judging. They like to come to closure. They like to cross things off the list. “On schedule, on budget,” is their creed.

In contrast, our feminine archetypes are Perceiving, rather than Judging. They are by nature open-ended. One thought or connection leads to another, which leads to another.

Authors Bill and Pam Farrell expresses this by saying, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. (See the Farrell’s Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti YouTube vid, and for an absolutely hilarious vid on this subject, click on What Attracts Men the Most About Women.

The masculine archetypes tend to focus in.

The feminine archetypes tend to expand out.

When we invoke a feminine archetype – in any form – our minds go into Perceiving mode. Our thoughts spread outward like ripples on an a lake.

If we’re in Empress mode (and we will be, in just five more weeks), we think about people and animals and their needs. Thoughts about one person lead to thoughts about another. Our lives fill up with caretaking and nurturing.

When we’re in Hestia mode (a less feeling, and more thinking, mode), our thoughts are about maintaining our homes. One task or chore leads to the next. “A woman’s work is never done.” It’s not so much that we’re task or closure-driven, it’s that one small task leads to the next, which leads to the next one.

When we’re in pleasure-seeking Hathor mode (as is our desire right now; we’re getting there), one pleasure opens the door for the next.

When we’re in High Priestess mode – if we’re successful in shutting down our internal noise – we have a more diffuse awareness that extends out from ourselves. We don’t try to chase down thoughts. Instead, we begin to notice what emerges from within.

And this becomes our real source of pleasure. We begin to notice that which truly speaks to us.

As expressed in the Latin American folksong Guantanamera,

The little streams of the mountains
Please me more than the sea

Men as well as women need to invoke their High Priestess, and they do. (Read a lovely interview with William O’Shaughnessy, who reflects on that line from Guantanamera.)

Taking This Home

So – the abstract concepts of Hathor and High Priestess – what do they mean to us in our day-to-day lives?

Starting now, and for the coming six months, we’re exploring our feminine archetypes. Right now, we’re entering into our Hathor mode – we’re opening ourselves to pleasure, in all its forms.

Soon, just in time for Thanksgiving and the Christmas/Hanukah/Solstice holidays, we’ll be focusing on nurturing those who are close to us – and even extending love and kindness to strangers. This will be our Empress time.

With holiday festivities over, we go into the deeper, quieter, and most introspective time of the year – our High Priestess time. And just as we feel like moving about again, we’ll engage our inner Hestia – goddess of hearth and home – as we start spring cleaning.

We don’t have to wait until January to invoke our High Priestess, though. Not when we need her tranquil presence to help us discern that which we truly desire, versus that which we feel we should desire.

Thus, as we seek the pathway to pleasure in our lives, we can begin with High Priestess-type actions.

We can go for a walk. (Julie Cameron describes this as an Artist’s Walk in her book, The Vein of Gold.)

We can journal. (Julia refers to this as writing down our Morning Pages in The Artist’s Way.)

We can pull out magazine-images of things that inspire us – or even strike our fancy – and put them into a box, or even get fancy and put them into sheet protectors in a three-ring binder, or make a collage.

The weather is going to be beautiful, darlings!

The summer’s heat has been cooling off. The colors are vibrant. The farmer’s markets are showing the best of late-summer harvests; flowers and luscious fruits and veggies.

Why not make a sensual adventure this weekend of going to a farmer’s market, tasting wonderful samples, and bringing home something for a special meal?

Enjoy it either outside (if it’s a sunny, warm day), or set a table for yourself (and perhaps some special others) near a window where you can see the best that early autumn has to offer.

Much love to you, darling, as we learn to bring more pleasure into our lives!

Alay'nya, author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.

Alay’nya, author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.

To your own health, wealth, success, and overall well-being –

Alay’nya (Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.)
Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

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Unveiling, by Alay'nya, currently has an overall five-star Amazon rating.

Unveiling, by Alay’nya, currently has an overall five-star Amazon rating.

This blog series develops themes originally published in Unveiling: The Inner Journey, published by Mourning Dove Press.

Unveiling currently has twenty 5-star Amazon reviews, and has been recommended by luminaries:

  • Dr. Christiane Northrup – “This book is delightful”
  • Midwest Book Review, in Bethany’s Books – reviews by Susan Bethany – “highly recommended”
  • Nizana al Rassan, writing for (the now out of circulation) – “a fascinating read with so much wisdom and solid advice.”



Unveiling, by Alay'nya, currently has an overall five-star Amazon rating.

Unveiling, by Alay’nya, currently has an overall five-star Amazon rating.

This blog series develops themes originally published in Unveiling: The Inner Journey, published by Mourning Dove Press.

Unveiling currently has twenty 5-star Amazon reviews, and has been recommended by luminaries:

  • Dr. Christiane Northrup – “This book is delightful”
  • Midwest Book Review, in Bethany’s Books – reviews by Susan Bethany – “highly recommended”
  • Nizana al Rassan, writing for (the now out of circulation) – “a fascinating read with so much wisdom and solid advice.”



P.S. What can you read that will help you understand yourself more?

Dr. Stella Resnick

The Pleasure Zone by Dr. Stella Resnick



Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Learn how you can bring more pleasure into your life starting in Part V of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.





Copyright (c) 2013, Alay’nya (Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.). All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Hathor – Leading Up to This Point

Related Posts: The High Priestess – and how she relates to Hathor

Related Posts from the Alay’nya Studio Blog: Expressing Your Inner Hathor through movement and dance