October 3, 2022

Wise Woman Archetype

Wise Woman

Wise Woman is a manifestation of  archetypal wisdom that resides in everyone. In my case, she first appeared as a character one evening when I was writing about an incident stored unprocessed in my mind for years. It  had  happened when I was in my teens but emerged when I was in my early forties. After this, Wise Woman remained totally alive and active helping me with information about other disturbing events in my life.

As my pen literally flowed with lines of of witty, no-nonsense words of commentary and advice in a voice clearly not the one I used daily, I was shocked and amused. I thought I was channeling this powerful character. I began accumulating so much from her, I wrote and published a book full of her advice calling it Maddie, I still thought it was just my imagination.

Eventually, I realized  that Wise Woman is primarily what eighteenth century Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung refers an archetype of the collective unconscious. In the progressive process he calls individuation, she is the superior self.  For men, of course, it is an old man.

Wise woman, also known as the crone, is regarded typically as coming to a senior woman from wisdom and experience  in the world. While this is the normal stage of maturation, I believe that individual life experiences alter and complicate the “normal” process because it happened in my life as well as with other women I know. Because I did not follow the normal maturation process (I’ll save that for another post), my wise woman is more like a combination of the archetype described above and a spiritual guide– one that can only be accessed on a subconscious level. You can find a similar example of this guide in the The Shack by William P. Young; however, he says his encounter is with God in the form of an African American female.  I find it interesting that mine is an African American voice  one, too.  Perhaps each wise one is individualized to fulfill our souls’ mission. Yes. I believe that is so.

For detailed  information on the goddess or god within, you will find it helpful to refer to the works of Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst in private practice, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of California Medical Center. She is also an internationally known lecturer and the author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, and Close to the Bone, and Goddesses in Older Women: The Third Phase of Women’s Live.