All women are cyclical beings. Whether we flow with a menstrual cycle or we flow with the Luna phases, we each experience a journey each month through four ‘seasons’. Much like the Earth’s season of spring, summer, autumn and winter, we experience the maiden, mother, enchantress and crone. They echo each other in their moods, energies and challenges, but the deeper we take our understanding of them, the easier we can access their unique skills and advantages and the better we can support and care for ourselves.
As a rough guide the four archetypes correspond with the four moon phases… maiden/first quarter, mother/full moon, enchantress/the third quarter and the crone/the dark moon. Each phase lasts for roughly 7 days, covering the 28 day cycle of the moon, but each individual woman is different and her experience will be fluid. The phases are not marked by rigid barrier, instead they flow into each other just as the spring moves into summer, and summer slowly turns to autumn.
It is for this reason that deepening our understanding of the archetypes and how they show up for us is essential to knowing where we are at, what we need and what our superpowers are for that time.
In these four articles I will introduce you to each of these archetypes, so let’s begin at the beginning and meet the maiden…
The archetype of the maiden is that of the young woman, emerging from childhood as fiercely independent yet at times still shy and uncertain. She is fully of dynamic energy and excitement. Ideas run through her mind almost faster than she can grasp them and everything feels possible.
There is little planning for the maiden, for she desires action, immediate action and pity the slower more cautious person who stands in her way! Where the enchantress demands change and the crone thinks about it, the maiden simply does it.
She is positive and over flowing with self-belief, with high ideals and expectations of herself and those around her.
The maiden is the initial new growth after a hibernation of winter (our menstruation), but we have all felt the sadness of seeing a beautiful bud appear at the first hint of spring warmth, only for it to have risen too soon and been killed off by the last frosts. Just as much as the energies of this phase are heady and exciting, it is essential to our self-care to not rush ourselves by over committing ourselves and stretching ourselves too thin…
‘Don’t yes yourself into overwhelm!’
Physically, during this phase we feel lighter and need less rest. It may feel as though life is easier as you have more energy to complete your tasks than the week before, when all you wished for was comfort and to retreat. Our sexual interest is re-awakened, and we feel flirty and playful. Our minds are clearer and sharper, and able to process at a heighten pace, yet this comes with the problem of far too many ideas all at once which can feel dizzying. Our thought processes are driven by logic and are ideal for rational, linear tasks. Which is a big part of why this phase is considered the ‘ideal’ for the business woman trying to match the masculine driven, goal oriented and competitive way of working that she experiences all around her.
Our memory and concentration levels are also enhanced during this phase, making it the perfect time to attempt to learn something new, which is a challenge the Maiden couldn’t love more. Utilise her ability to process and remember information… is there anything you need to research, do you have reading to catch up on, or do you need to figure out how something technological works that previously seemed baffling? She’s your woman and she’s eager to get started.
So, what does she want…
The maiden is our inner young woman, she wants to run and skip and laugh. All the stresses and burdens of adult life, confine and suffocate her, and play is a way for her to release all of that responsibility without guilt or her resorting to snapping frustration.
What are her superpowers…
As we embody the energies of the Maiden there is a sense of being in control of our lives which feels empowering, and an independence that enables us to be assertive and get our point across in a clear unemotional way, as we walk with our heads a little higher and backs a little straighter.
The maiden is able to use her heightened intellectual abilities to create structure out of chaos and clear actionable plans for all her wild and wonderful ideas. She is a problem solver, being able to use her focus to cut through the fog and get to the practical heart of a situation. Use this skill to review goals set in the past, are the priorities in the right place, are these goals still worth aiming for? What do you need to change to achieve your desires?
She has the stamina and motivation to be physically as well as mentally active, making this the perfect time to start a wellness plan or lifestyle regime; to make changes in your life and initiate action. She is your greatest ally in creating your future.
What are her challenges…
The action and fast pace of the Maiden energies are desirable in many ways, and on the surface can seem like the easiest phase of the cycle, however all things need balance and when we identify too strongly with her more ‘hyper-masculine’ traits things can become difficult for ourselves and those around us.
Her need for immediacy can reduce our ability to empathise with others and leave us feeling impatient, which can leave our relationships suffering and tensions with colleagues running high. This lack of sensitivity is an echo of the young woman’s over preoccupation with herself and all the plans and projects she is involved in.
She is easily frustrated when things do not go her way, or as she planned. Is can be heard for her to achieve all of her goals in the time she’s given herself, and her expectations can be impossibly high. Her outward view can be a jealous one as she perceives others reaching the goals she has for herself, and she can falsely feel that people are hindering her progress or deliberately slowing her down. When these feelings are based in fact, it is harder still as the ‘glass ceiling’ can feel uncomfortably low, and it is hurtful to imagine people close to you are not helping to lift it.
A big challenge of the maiden archetype is the cultural battle she has with the second ideal of womanhood… the selfless mother. This image of a woman as empathic, endlessly supportive and nurturing can create feelings of guilt in a woman who relishes this time each month and wishes to run with her Maiden. Especially for those who are physical mothers or in nurturing roles within their family and friendship circles, or their work roles, this time can raise a lot of contradictory feelings, and leave them feeling pulled in two opposing directions with no positive outcome available.
Self Care essentials…
The need to achieve immediate results is strong so try to find projects and activities that meet that need as well as the more long term planning you’ll naturally wish to do, by balancing the projects you have on your ‘to do’ list you utilise her strengths while offering her the gratification she desires.
Her spinning mind can easily turn on itself and while self-examination is important it is far better done with compassion, be aware of this and offer her the mental stimulus she craves.
Avoid trying to fix others because ‘you know best’. You may well be right but save communicating your advice until the mother phase can soften your tone.
Keep your challenges physical as well as mental and take regular exercise to burn off excess energy. Incorporate dance breaks in your day, or a good brisk walk to help disperse tension.
The maiden’s single-minded focus is ideal for the motivation needed to work alone but it’s not the best for team and collaborative work. What can you schedule for the following week and hold back on for now?
Book evenings out and get social, the Maiden isn’t all about work and play is essential to her happiness. Remember, the Maiden is our young vibrate and fun-loving self, she needs to let her hair down and laugh from her belly.
Most importantly accept that this just like every other phase will pass and make the most of the energy you have. Anything that doesn’t get done make a note of, you can come back to it, if life gets in the way and you feel frustrated that you didn’t get the time you desperately needed, breathe and acknowledge that you are a cyclical being… the wheel will turn and this time will come round again in only three short weeks.