The tragedy in Arizona last weekend has us all wondering. Why did this happen? Why were good, innocent people victimized by this senseless violence? How could it have been prevented ? As one who always looks for a psychological reason, I’d like to share what I know about the King and Queen archetypes. As symbols of humanity’s universal striving for lawful order and moral virtue, they hold the answers to these questions.
The King sees justice as the highest good and believes it can be achieved with logical thinking and hierarchical authority. Leaders with well-developed King archetypes devise, enact, and enforce rules with orderly chains of command. In history, literature and lore, a strong and wise king blesses the land with safety, peace, and prosperity whereas a weak and ignorant one ruins it.
The Queen’s highest priority is to establish caring relationships. She values compassion, harmony, peace, flexibility, understanding, mercy and forgiveness. She promotes charity, tolerates diversity, and supports the creative arts. She nurtures communities in which authority is shared by all and decisions are based on the particulars of each situation and best interests of each individual.
These two approaches to building a fair and orderly society produce different leadership styles and forms of government. King energy generates authoritarian systems like monarchies, plutocracies, theocracies and dictatorships. Queen energy nurtures the authority of individuals and creates democracies in which everyone has a voice and a vote. Leaders with this preference work one-on-one with people in the trenches — like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was meeting her constituents in a grocery store when she was shot. The key to personal and societal health is integration and balance between both leadership styles. When either one is undeveloped or obsessive the result is polarization, prejudice, hatred, fanaticism, violence, terrorism, chaos.
Throughout history humanity has obsessed over the King’s priorities and neglected the Queen’s. Jesus challenged Roman imperialism by promoting love and equality for all and was killed for it. Lincoln, Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King did the same with the same consequence. What meaning can we draw from this regarding recent events in Arizona? I do not believe the people in Arizona died in vain. I believe that in this world where everything is connected, everything that happens has meaning. The meaning is not that God causes or even allows atrocities, but that we humans cause and allow them because of our psycho-spiritual ignorance and unconsciousness.
Like all martyrs, those who lost their lives last weekend gave the ultimate gift of love by showing us our collective blindness to the Queen’s values, our deafness to her voice, and the fear and hatred in our hearts. An overwhelming surge of consciousness has been raised by this tragedy, and it will create more compassion. You and I can add to it by fanning Queen Sophia’s flame in the dark caverns of our souls so that we become guiding lights for a wounded world. May we all look deeper to see how we contribute to the chaos and suffering that always precedes new life, and may we grow wiser and more compassionate in the process. My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the fallen.