The Four Female Archetypes & How To Work With Them
There are four main female archetypes that we cycle through during our lives:
Maiden, Mother, Wild Woman & Wise Woman.
Sometimes Wild Woman is missed off this list, and the Maiden, Mother and Crone (also known as the Triple Goddess) are said to represent the three main stages of a woman’s life.
Each archetype corresponds to a different season, a different phase of the moon, and a different phase of our menstrual cycle.
These are all connected. Women have a deep connection to the moon, which mirrors their own internal rhythms.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a regular cycle—which lasts around 29 days—or if you’re infertile, or you no longer bleed. You still cycle, because women are cyclic beings.
And this means the moon and the archetypes are always present within you, and always available for you to work with.
Some women go through long phases in their life where they embody and express one archetype, and don’t create room for any others to emerge.
Sometimes, we can cycle through all four archetypes in one day, or week; or through each menstrual or lunar cycle, or the seasons of the year.
It all depends on who you are, what’s going on in your world today, and where you’re focusing your energy and attention.
But if we abandon or fear one or more of these archetypes; or fail to recognise when they emerge (or when they don’t), we are left feeling frustrated, incomplete, and imbalanced. We feel disconnected from our bodies, and ourselves; and this can lead to deterioration in our physical and mental health.
Tuning into our sacred cycle, along with the four female archetypes, allows us to celebrate the divine feminine within, and without.
It allows us to recognise and celebrate the subtle shifts in femininity that we cycle through; all of which are beautiful and have their own unique gifts to offer us.
Understanding the four female archetypes begins with understanding your menstrual cycle. Because the shifts in your mood, your energy, and your wants and needs are not random, or irrational.
Our patriarchal society does its best to infuse shame around certain phases of our cycle; but if you tune into it, and learn to honour all of it, you will release yourself from this learned shame.
You will reclaim the divine feminine within you.
And you will be able to understand and tend to yourself in a way you never have before.
You will no longer feel like your cycle is a wave you get caught up in and thrown about by each month. You will regain control of your natural rhythms, and navigate the ocean with fierce grace.
This is deep, archetypal work, sister. And it is always available to you.
The four female archetypes & how to work with them
These are the four main female archetypes, along with their corresponding moon and menstrual phase, and wider season.
- Maiden: Waxing Moon & Follicular Phase (Spring)
- Mother: Full Moon & Ovulatory Phase (Summer)
- Wild Woman: Waning Moon & Luteal Phase (Autumn/Fall)
- Wise Woman: New Moon & Menstruation Phase (Winter)
We won’t all cycle through these phases in the way they are listed here. Because each of us has our own cycle that is based on where we are in our lives today, what we need to learn, what we seek, and where we want to grow.
But it’s helpful to know which archetype relates to which phase and season, so you can gain a better understanding of the energies that are most potent, and available to you at any time.
The Maiden is tied to the Waxing Moon & Follicular Phase (the season of Spring).
She is young at heart, full of optimism, energy, and a care-free nature. She embodies independence, strength and confidence.
The Maiden is also sometimes known as the Virgin, because of her pure state of mind. But this is not to be confused with the definition we have come to know over the past few thousand years. Because the word virgin never used to mean sexually chaste; rather it meant a woman who was free, sexually independent, and not owned or tamed by anyone.
The Maiden stands firmly, rooted in her own power. She’s able to magnetise all she desires towards her with ease; people, opportunities, and projects.
A woman embodying the Maiden archetype will appear to sparkle, as she communes with the Universe, always being held and guided by Her.
Out of all the four archetypes, the Maiden is the most “masculine” in the way she acts and approaches life..
The Maiden archetype—along with the Mother—are the two most widely accepted and celebrated female archetypes in our current society.
We are taught this is what a woman should look like, act like, and do, for her entire life. But of course, it’s not. This is just one facet of a woman’s entire being.
How to bring the Maiden archetype into being
- Be assertive (ask for what you want, calmly but firmly)
- Make plans and be social
- Surround yourself with inspiring messages, people & vibrations
- Invest in self development and growth
- Discover your unique gifts
- Celebrate other women’s success & strength
- Join an online group (or get involved in your local community) – this could be taking up a new hobby, investing in a cause you believe in, or doing charity work.
- Dress in ways that make you feel powerful and active
- Don’t forget to pause and take a breath
The Mother archetype is linked to the Full Moon & Ovulatory Phase (Summer).
She embodies creativity, nurturing (of the self and others), and attention.
Our society has reduced her to no more than birthing and raising children, but she is so much more than this; this is just one of her aspects.
The Mother learns to nurture, but not control. She supports and gives when needed for care and growth, and takes a step back to allow separation and freedom. This is what creation is really about; co-creating something with the divine, that is one day able to sustain itself without your presence.
She is also deeply connected to the earth, and all of life. Plants, animals, and the elements. She believes that when we nurture and care for ourselves, and replenish our well, we in turn fill Mother Earth’s cup, too. We help nourish, honour, and heal her with our energy. So she is devoted to taking care of all beings, knowing that we are all connected.
Many women fall into the habit of devoting all their Mother archetype energy outward; to their kids, families, and communities; while largely ignoring themselves, and their own needs. But we cannot give from an empty cup. This is why prioritising yourself and self-care is not a luxury, it’s a foundational need.
How to bring the Mother archetype into being
- Make time for yourself and your desires
- Be in nature often
- Explore creativity (write, sing, cook, play, dance—whatever you want to do)
- Decide what you want to prioritise in your life, and simplify things
- Clear out any distractions, so you can create space for more of what you really want
- Integrate in community
- Track your menstrual cycle (so you can feel more in tune with Mother Earth)
- Weave tradition/ceremony into your life (celebrate the new and full moon, the wheel of the year sabbaths, or give thanks before you eat a meal)
- Wear clothes that feel cosy and comfortable
Also known as Medicine Woman, the Witch, or the Enchantress.
As the moon begins to wane, our energy turns inward, and Wild Woman shows up. She is tied to the Waning Moon & Luteal Phase (Autumn/Fall).
Towards the end of this menstrual phase, pre-menstrual syndrome is common. Headaches, mood swings, irritability, dread, shame, and emotions run high.
When a woman displays any emotion that isn’t deemed rational or feminine, it is blamed on her cycle—”it must be her time of the month.”
The reason we experience these dark and destructive behaviours is only because we’ve learned to repress and bury these natural emotions and energies.
We’re battling against our inner Wild Woman, and that is what causes us so much pain. She’s desperate to be seen and heard. And she has her own unique gifts that she longs to bring you.
Wild Woman asks us to feel our pain, and address the root of where it comes from, below the surface. Because this is the only way we can begin to truly heal.
She asks us to stand still, reflect, accept, and alchemise our experiences. Because this is how we learn the lessons, grow, and move forward.
How to bring the Wild Woman archetype into being
- Allow all your feelings, and value them—because each one is a teacher
- Explore your shadows, and bring them to the light
- Support yourself, and reach out when you need to
- Spend time alone, and reflect
- Create a sacred space or altar in your home (a place to ground and centre yourself)
- Set clear boundaries between yourself and other people
- Unplug (less screen time, more stillness)
- Practice acceptance & forgiveness (of the self, and of others)
- Nourish your body (have a spa session, get a healing treatment, run a bath etc.)
Wise Woman is another of the four female archetypes with more of an internal focus, and is linked to the New Moon & Menstruation Phase; the season of Winter.
She is also sometimes known as the Crone; another word which has lost its original meaning over time. Crone used to be a term for a wise, older woman, or community leader. But today, we think of an old, haggard woman, or spinster.
The Wise Woman represents loss of fertility, external beauty, activity, and youth; the only things that our patriarchal society values in women.
She feels a need to slow down, physically and mentally. She becomes introspective, and sometimes more sensitive. This shows up during our bleeding days each cycle. Our energy is low, we need more rest, and in time comes renewal.
It’s the continuous cycle of life, death, and re-birth.
Our womb releases blood (an egg which is the source of potential life), and this cycle repeats.
The Dark Moon symbolises the end of one phase, while the New Moon that follows marks the beginning of a new one.
If we fully embraced and learned the lessons during our Wild Woman phase, all of the wild can now be transmuted into wisdom. But we must slow down, be patient, and wait for the wisdom to emerge.
Wise Woman does not align with our patriarchal societies’ expectations of how a woman should be, which is why many of us don’t allow her to emerge in our lives.
And it’s no coincidence that there is still deep-rooted stigma and shame around a woman bleeding. What was always celebrated and revered, was twisted into something dirty and devilish. And we, as women, lost our inner connection to our greatest power and strength.
Wise Woman is deeply connected to the other world, and the divine. She offers us intuition and wisdom that will guide us into the next phase or chapter of our lives; allowing us to elevate and evolve.
And in turn, we can offer compassion and guidance to those around us; particularly to other women.
How to bring the Wise Woman archetype into being
- Rest on the first day or two of your bleeding days (if you bleed)
- Learn to love and embrace your menstrual cycle, and harness its’ potent power
- Have a New Moon ritual for yourself, or attend a New Moon circle
- Set new intentions for the coming moon cycle
- Journal & reflect on what you’ve learned over the past cycle and beyond
- Work on strengthening your intuition (through meditation, oracle readings, and channelling your personal guides)
- Give yourself plenty of time to retreat
- Let go (physically, mentally & energetically)
- Practice self love (and learn to love any physical signs of ageing)
- Share your wisdom with others
Question to ask yourself:
Which archetype do you think shows up most for you?
Are there any archetypes you’ve been ignoring, or repressing?
How can you embody and embrace all four female archetypes in your life?
Got a question about the female archetypes? Drop it in the comments below!