The Sovereign Archetype

In common usage, the sovereign is the ruler of the realm, the king, queen or other leader who reigns over the land. The sovereign holds a vision for the good of the people, motivates them to reach for the vision, and blesses and supports them along the way.

As an archetype, in Shadow Work we see the sovereign as that part of us which leads our way. When we have dreams or a vision for our life, this archetype is lively. When we are inspired to reach for the stars, we are feeling the energy of this archetype. The sovereign in us gives us self-esteem and confidence to think big and go after our dreams. It opens our eyes to the bright, sunny side of life, like putting on rose-colored glasses, so that we look at the world with optimism an hope. In our confidence and enthusiasm, we are also able to inspire and motivate others. In addition, when we are in this sovereign archetype, we easily bestow blessings, as it were, on those around us. Sovereign energy carries a sense of fullness and generosity, and people who have a lot of this energy often connect with others by helping them, taking care of them, and nurturing them. It’s our sovereign nature to be giving and to support others. It is also our sovereign nature to step into positions of leadership and authority, from parenting to heading a company or nation. When this archetype is activated, we have a vision of how something could be, and along with our positive outlook, we can be like a magnet, drawing other people into our vision. Sovereign energy conveys a sense of grandness that attracts followers.

Sovereign energy also has a warmth to it. In Shadow Work, we associate it with the element of fire. In everyday language, also, we find sovereign qualities expressed in terms of fire: People are “on fire with an idea,” they “hold the flame” or “carry the torch.” When people are passionate about something, we say they have a “fire in their breast.” Many customs also connect fire with the sovereign, such as when we put an “eternal flame” on the grave of a leader. We light candles for hope or to honor something or someone we hold in high esteem. Fire represents the passion of life, which lives in the sovereign archetype.

The gateway for accessing this part of ourselves is the emotion of joy. This does not mean that someone who is functioning from sovereign energy is happy all the time, but rather that the joy serves as a portal to sovereign energy. In and of itself, this archetype is fundamentally about esteem; that is, sovereign is about having a sense of value and confidence. When we are joyful, we most easily tap into our self-esteem. We feel good about ourselves, and from here we are able to dream and to find the motivation to fulfill our dreams.

When sovereign energy is weak and deflated, it’s as if people lose their fire. They lack motivation and confidence. Whereas strong sovereign energy says, “yes we can,” someone with weak sovereign energy says, “I can’t.” They can also be heard saying, “it’s too hard,” or “I’m just too tired.” They seem to be defeated. Their self-esteem is usually low, and they often feel shy. On the other side of the coin, when people have inflated their sovereign energy, they tend to be overly confident, thinking that that they can ace just about anything. They may be almost bursting with inspiration, to the point where they get so excited about each new possibility that they can’t follow through with any of them. They tend to have such inflated self-esteem that they come across as grandiose and even showing off.
The wounding that causes people to inflate or deflate the sovereign archetype is the shaming message that they aren’t good enough as they are. This wound typically stems from early experiences of conditional love, which sends the message, “you are good, but not good enough.” In reaction, people either go into “super gear” to prove that they are good enough, or else they resign themselves to never being good enough and fall into hiding and shyness.
One of the main tools we use for helping people bring their sovereign energy back into balance is some kind of support or blessing. We locate the part of them that feels small and unworthy, and then we bring out a nurturing, helping, big part to give support and blessing. With this unconditional love, people can relax and either stop performing in the effort to be good enough or stop hiding. They can, instead, step into their own sovereignty and move forward with joy, confidence, and inspiration.