There are so many female archetypes to explored in different ways, but the four most popular female archetypes in the cycle which most like to tie to are the Maiden, the Mother, the Queen and the Sage or, more commonly known as The Wise Woman. These archetypes each represent a time in history when women ruled the world. Depending on your personal interpretation of each of these archetypes may represent something entirely different. Each one represents a time period in which there was a significant amount of change for women.
The Maiden is one of the most popular female archetypes in all cultures. In most ancient societies the role of the Maiden was to be a close aide and friend of the mother. Her duties included comforting the child during their first few weeks in the womb, holding them as they slept, comforting the mother when she wept and comforting any other female that the mother might be away from the baby. Over time this role has varied according to societal pressure and necessity. In most modern societies the role of the Maiden is still to be close to the mother, comforting and caring for their offspring during their growing years and possibly later as they become an adult woman.
The Mother is the second most popular of the seven feminine archetypes. She is the embodiment of fecundity. She is the ultimate nurturer and provider and in some cultures represented the goddess of childbirth. Depending on the culture, the role of the mother varies greatly. In some she is a loving, supportive presence, in others she is the nurturing figure that every young girl hopes to become. The Mother is also one of the most powerful and in some cultures serves as a symbol of purity.
The Maid is the third most common of the seven archetypal characteristics. As previously stated she is a supportive nurturing figure who provides a home for her children. In some cultures the role of the Maid is less defined, it is usually considered a support role and no special abilities are necessary. This archetype could also represent qualities such as sympathy and friendliness. In most cultures though the definition of a Maid is usually that of a delicate, loving and caring individual.
The Childress is fourth and last of the seven archetypes. These archetypal qualities are often seen in stories revolving around the fairy tales or legends of women and being the nurturing, protective and knowledgeable older woman. The cycle of life with the Childress includes the childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The Childress may also be the mother figure to another archetypal character, such as a motherly figure to her daughter or to a sister or close friend.
The fifth female archetypes, which is the Water Nymph, represents the natural beauty of feminine beauty. Most often associated with such things as the sea or other bodies of water, a nymph is an attractive young woman often seen in stories about the beach. Although the water may not be a significant element in these stories, this archetype still carries significant meaning to the person represented by this archetype. A nymph can also represent a young woman that is playful and full of spirit, just like a child.
The final two archetypal female archetypes we will discuss are the embodiment of fire and the fairy. The fairy is one of the most famous and most often represented archetypes in literature. The fairy is a beautiful woman with magical powers. This represents a younger woman that is clever and full of energy. She is the female counterparts to the Snow White and the Maid character from Disney’s Snow White princesses franchise.
The final two female archetypes we will discuss are the Riverress and the Phrygian. The Riverress is powerful and fearsome women, often representing someone who has lost her memory. The Riverress is also usually wispy and thin, representing a woman who is memory hungry and lost in time. The Phrygian is almost identical to the Greek’s Aphrodite, but is more fire-like. She is usually portrayed as a woman in a red dress, which represents the flames of passion and love. Similar to the Greek’s Aphrodite, the Phrygian is also known to be fickle and forgetful.