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Backpacking With My Archetypes

The last couple weeks I’ve been recording a 4-part podcast series on Embodying the Feminine Archetypes with Isabelle Wellman. (You can check it out here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 coming soon)

It’s been really fun to think in depth about each of the four archetypes, what I learn from them, and how they show up in my own life.

For example, I’ve been trying to listen to my inner Wise Woman-Crone more lately. Whenever I feel like I’m hitting a wall and all of my other archetypes are either checked out, making more of a mess, or drowning in their own shadows, I’ll lie down on the floor and just…be.

And that Wise Woman energy is so helpful in a way that my inner Virgin-Warrior can’t be, when she’s too busy burning the house down with her fire and energy, blinded by her enthusiasm to do everything all at once.

This last week, when I was out backpacking, I realized that you can really take any activity that you do and ask yourself, “How do each of my archetypes show up in this situation? How do they act? What do they sound like in my head? How do they love to express themselves? What do they need to feel more nourished and alive? How can they help me when I encounter challenges?”

So, I applied this concept to my backpacking self…

The Virgin-Warrior

My Virgin-Warrior archetype is the part of me that is dying to get up early and get out of camp right away for a long adventure.

She’s the part of me that looks at the map and can’t stop thinking about those spiderwebbing lines – so curious about each of the trails, needing to know the personality of each one.

She’s the part of me that will stop at nothing to get to the top of the mountain and can laugh at the absurdity of how hard it is. She’s the voice inside that says, “Hiking 20 miles in one day is nothing…you probably won’t even break a sweat!”

And she’s the one I call on when things don’t go perfectly, and I need that extra energy to hike 5 or 10 more miles.

The Mother-Creator

The Mother-Creator archetype shows up for me in a very different way.

She shares the innate enthusiasm of the Virgin-Warrior, but her enthusiasm is directed at experiencing sensations – bursts of color from wildflowers, explosions of sweetness from mountain berries, the delicious chill of diving into an alpine lake.

She’s the one who says, “I’m gonna give you a foot massage when you get back to camp…while you’re watching the sunset!”

She melts when she feels the sun on her bare shoulders, hears bird songs as sacred hymns, and gets chills when she sees the full moon rising over the rocky peaks.

And she’s the one I call on to help me shed the thoughts of the mundane and trivial as I seek to find the cosmos with every step deeper into the forest.

The Wild Woman-Enchantress

My Wild Woman-Enchantress has her own spin on the wilderness. She abandons the happy-go-lucky mentality and the outward energy without a second thought.

She draws me into myself, and when I realize I’ve walked for miles lost in thought, I know she’s with me, reminding me to let the thoughts rise and fall, like ocean waves, or the rolling hills I’m wandering over.

She’s also the part of me that warns me loudly when I’m tired, sometimes whining, sometimes shouting, sometimes just whispering in my ear, “Why did you decide to do this?”

Possibly mistaken for negativity, what she’s really doing is making space for a different, quieter energy. Space for me to hear what the birds and plants, animals and trees are telling me. Space to hear my deepest self. Space for me to know that nothing is permanent, nothing is necessary, and I can cast off anything that is not serving me.

And I know that she’s the one I would call on if I was lost, to help me ride the emotional wave and keep my bearings in that moment of darkness.

The Wise Woman-Crone

My Wise-Woman energy is beautifully matched to the places I visit.

She is as old as glaciers, deep as an earthquake, and expansive as the sky full of stars.

The older I get, the more I know how to make room for her. To sit still and let the wisdom of a place seep into me.

She slips easily into ruminations. She loves to fathom the unfathomable – how ancient these rocks are, how many years the stars have glittered above this same place, how long it takes for the fallen fir needles to be absorbed back into their roots.

She knows how to rest deeply, almost becoming part of the earth as soon as she closes her eyes.

And she’s the one I call on at the end of the day – when the dust and heat has settled, and I feel myself pulled to sit and just observe the mysteries all around me.

Never Alone

Recognizing all of these archetypes in me, I come to understand just how expansive we are as human beings.

Who I am today cannot be explained solely by my few short years on earth. I must look beyond my own human experience to fully know myself, and my full power.

These archetypes reaffirm that I contain the wisdom of my ancestors and the ancients. They remind me that I have access to the wisdom of the sages, explorers, healers, warriors, and creators of the past.

They remind me that I am never alone – no matter how limited I feel in any moment, there is always more depth available to me.

They guide me on my path as I spend every day opening more and more to the possibilities of the infinite.

I'm curious...In what ways do you see your archetypes show up? What do you learn from them? Comment below!

And if you're interested in getting in touch with your own archetypes on a backpacking trip, check out my upcoming 3-day trip in Oregon on Aug 25th-27th, or my 1:1 coaching program that includes a 5-day backpacking trip!

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