|May 11, 2020 | DR. JORDAN B. PETERSON|
|Mothers, Sleeping Beauty, and the Beast|
On the Female Heroic Archetype
Q&A from August 2018
Q: What is the female equivalent of the hero archetype?
A: The figure of Mary is actually a heroic figure in and of itself.
… The thing about Mary is that she knew initially, when she agreed to give birth to the savior of mankind, that he would be broken. And that’s an archetypal story, because women know in their heart of hearts that their children are going to be broken and killed by the world. That’s the human condition. And of course, a woman who’s well developed loves her child more than herself, loves her child more than anyone else—which is something you can’t really understand till you’ve had a child—but is still willing to bring that child into the world, knowing full well what his or her fate will be. And so there’s real heroism in that.
And then there’s the standard heroism that a woman can undertake where she develops her masculine side, which is basically what happens for example in Sleeping Beauty. When Sleeping Beauty is awakened by the prince’s kiss, you can think of her being rescued by an actual man, but you can also think of that as the masculine part of her psyche waking up her unconscious femininity so the two of them can unite and rule the kingdom. It’s a perfectly reasonable interpretation of that story. And so that would be the development of the masculine side in a female—the side that’s stalwart and forthright and willing to go forth into the world and conquer uncertainty.
And then there’s the Beauty and the Beast archetype, which I think is in some sense the primary female sexual archetype. Beauty and the Beast is another kind of dragon-slaying story. It’s more like a “dragon-taming” story, I suppose, where the woman—the virginal woman who’s out for an adventure—finds a beastly male. And that’s the dangerous man that I was talking about earlier, the man who has the capacity, say, to kill; the capacity to harm; the capacity for violence at hand. Right? At hand. And [she] then proceeds to tame him, which is a real adventure…
About Jonathan Zap
Jonathan Zap grew up in the Bronx and attended the Bronx High School of Science. He graduated from Ursinus College with honors in Philosophy and English and received his Masters degree in English from NYU.
Jonathan is an author, philosopher, journalist, and teacher who has written extensively on psychology and contemporary mythology. Jonathan has worked as a staff gemologist and instructor for the Gemological Institute of America. He has taught English in High School and College and worked with troubled youth as the dean of a South Bronx High School. As a wilderness guide, Jonathan has led inner city kids and other young people on expeditions to remote desert canyons and to the summit of Mount Rainer. (See Crossing the Great Stream—Education and the Evolving Self published in Holistic Education Review for more on his experiences in education.)
(with Alex Grey at Cosm in New York City)
Jonathan is the author of numerous published articles, essays, experimental works of fiction and the Zap Oracle. His most recent book is Crossing the Event Horizon—Human Metamorphosis and the Singularity Archetype.
Jonathan has done numerous radio and television interviews including five three hour shows on Coast to Coast AM—the world’s most listened to late night talk show. He is a featured correspondent and editor for Reality Sandwich, the popular online magazine, which has published dozens of his articles.
Jonathan has an extensive background in Jungian psychology, paranormal research and dream interpretation. For over thirty years he has been using the tools of Jungian psychology to study popular culture and contemporary mythology.
Jonathan currently resides in Boulder, Colorado .
Anyway, that’s the dry recitation of resume like facts expected in a bio section in which it is impossible to recognize anything resembling a human being. My most autobiographical work is The Path of the Numinouswhere you can find a slightly more fleshed out version of some of the factoids listed above.