The archetype of the warrior in our modern world

Tyr - warrior god related to the north starThe Teutonic man in my soul is the archetype that draws together a long lineage of   german/nordic ancestors. Warriors and hunters assuring survival in a harsh environment in harsh times. Of course those times of the Teutonic warrior have long gone, he was not needed anymore when the north of europe got christianised.  With Christianisation came a much more organised society, where survival was more depended on adhering to man-made laws. So the Teutonic man slowly disappeared from the world – where he once was free to roam – into deep recesses of the collective mind.

I discovered him in a wild and unredeemed form deep inside my own psyche. This is the first time I met him there because before that I only met him outside of me in the external world.

Well, this is not entirely true, he was rising up before during my teenage years. At that time I expressed him by acting out my rough side. Those where wild years and I felt absolutely free but I also showed a lot of irresponsible behaviour and realising that, I slowly grew out of  those habits.

But back then I wasn’t consciously reflecting on internal forces. So to put it more correctly, I should say, that now is the first time that I consciously meet the Teutonic man in my own soul.

Back then I could see him in the external world and I didn’t like what I was seeing there, I actually hated him. I saw him in those skinheads with their Teutonic symbols and nazi ideologies and an important part of my youth was about fighting him. It was us (the punks) against them (the nazis).

Well, its easy to hate something that shows itself  in a unredeemed and ugly form but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a projection.

I recently lived in an area where I came a bit closer to that projection. Not in a radical form (I would probably not have been ready for that), but I came into contact with people who at least entertained some extrem ideologies.  They embodied the warrior archetype quite fittingly: big strong man who used their fighting spirit to stem as much iron-weights as possible in rooms filled with raw male energy.

If you want to keep your enemies than don’t get to know them.  That certainly came true for me and although I couldn’t come to terms with right-wing ideologies, seeing the humanness of those man, made it impossible to project my anger on them. One of them even became a real friend to me. I guess this was an important step in facing my own warrior in a more friendly way. But initially it wasn’t a friendly encounter. He made himself known trough strong feelings of rage and outbursts of anger. Only slowly did I realise that I can’t make my environment responsible for that rage, it only had to do with myself and my passivity.


The warrior archetype has always been there: Ares, Mars, Tyr, Thor… there is a long list of gods associated with him. He is in every one of us and he won’t go away only because we think we are such advanced and civilised people. Full of reason and moral behaviour that assures that everything stays just and fair. No one needs to get hurt if everyone sticks to the laws! And if someone doesn’t? Well we just punish him a bit harder next time!

But it doesn’t work that way. We only need to look at the terrible destruction that wars still cause in our world today. It’s the pure expression of our unredeemed collective warrior. Our ancestors still knew that the gods become furious if they are not honoured. Humanity witnessed how furious they can become during Nazi-Germany. Isn’t it telling that we germans, who are rather known for being law-abiding, organised, able to take orders and always emotionally controlled suddenly showed such a monstrous face? Those attributes I mentioned above are all qualities that exclude the warrior in us. No wonder he became enraged and distorted, we certainly didn’t knew our shadow.

I hope humanity as a whole will get to know its shadow in time. Because this plutonic force of Mars doesn’t need to be that destructive. We can assert ourself in much more constructive ways. Imagine using that powerful force that causes so much devastation in the world, for something constructive instead. We really could achieve anything.

Its possible!

I feel that we should make friends with our own warrior, instead of despising him or trying to forget him which only makes us passive  victims and bystanders. Giving him some form by supporting our favourite sports-team doesn’t help either.

This world needs change, everyone knows that. Yet there is still so much passivity and old habits resist. If  we can claim our warrior we can take action! We don’t need to kill or hurt someone for that, we can just stand our ground and be the change that we want to see in the world, even when challenged.

The modern hero doesn’t has to sway the sword, he just needs to assert himself in the world for what he beliefs in.


Posted on July 31, 2012, in Archetype, Depth Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thanks Carol! for shining your light on this path.

  2. I am so happy to share the Road…you have travelled far.

  3. P.S. I love the picture you have chosen, it is inspiring to the Eternal Masculine within each of us. I feel within the same pain – in an odd way – even as a woman, of “missing Thor”…He is important in our lives, and to the Wholeness, one might say, of the human race, both male and female. This is a post “for all seasons” – thanks so much!

    You raise such an interesting issue, about the “karma” of nations, and how it is borne by generations (as our 4th house in the Birth Chart shows where and how we bear the karma of our genetic, family, clan lines)…For Germany, this is hard, very hard, and so far, many have spoken of the guilt and karma, but no one has offered the Shamanic healing which needs to be, and can be, done. It is true that the Poet comes very close to being a Shaman, but it has to be a little more. The Shaman’s work is Soul-Retrieval, Soul-Calling (and hence restorative) – and in that sense, “calling the German Soul back” is a Great Healing still to be done, or at least still to be completed.

    It seems to me you may be called, and your writing now is for you, and also for Germany.

  4. A very good article and discussing a valid question, particularly for Germans. Yes, we do need also make friend with our “Warrior”.

    A year ago I went to a spiritual retreat in a catholic monastery led by a priest who holds a diploma in Jungian depth psychology. He based his group work on the Book on “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine” – a C. G. Jung based interpretation of masculine behavior and personality in the light of social context, mythology, poetry and art. Good book – that is if you cut out the New Age stuff. The book is loosely based on C.G. Jung using bipolar “shadows”.
    During one discussion the monk asked us – men of all walks of (middle class) live – which archetype we most like and describes us best. No one went for “The Warrior”. Now “The Warrior” is today the most controversial of the archetypes, because of the cruel acts perpetrated by its shadow side particularly in Germany. The prototype of the warrior is the soldier, yet aggressiveness (call it assertiveness) is a highly needed characteristic responsible for all personal achievements and those of our culture. Properly accessed, “The Warrior” can do a great deal to empower us to live our lives, provide self-discipline, and protect. The two shadow sides are the Sadist (too much) and the Masochist (too little) – the bully or the one being bullied.

    I that about this discussion mentioned above and came to the conclusion:
    /1/ Archetypes can be applied on Nations or social groups.
    /2/ Current German Culture clearly went on the “too little” side.
    /3/ There are many reason for this like: lots of (good) men (and women) died in the war and many of them also left Germany before and after ww2.
    /4/ Mediocrity stayed behind and imposed a “feminized male role imago” discrediting “The Warrior” even in its positive form.
    /5/ Unfortunately suppressed shadows creep up in their negative form – be it skinheads with their Teutonic symbols, neo Nazi ideologies but also the righteousness in the Anti-Nazi ideologies who are claiming fighting against Nazis but actually fight more against democracy and The Warrior”.

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! I find it very important to hear various perceptions and associations from others on this topic. It broadens and deepens the understanding of it.
    I really like how your account of the spiritual retreat, where no man felt to be described by the warrior archetype, validates the point I make in the article. Thanks again for that nice example!

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