Exploring the 3rd Prince – The Healer / Lover Archetype: The Rise of Marianne Williamson, the Self-Help Guru, in American Politics

Exploring the 3rd Prince – The Healer / Lover Archetype

The Rise of Marianne Williamson, the Self-Help Guru, in American Politics

 

In April 2016, I had written a blog on the archetype of the Warrior (the 2nd Prince), highlighting its dark and shadowy side, by reflecting on Donald Trump’s candidacy within the Republican party and his claims to fame. Shockingly, Trump won not just within the Republican party but went on to become the President of USA – the last few years have only strengthened my understanding of this hypermasculine archetype, and how overwhelmingly destructive it can be. Like the USA, many democratic societies across the world have chosen to emotionally and collectively support the hypermasculine, authoritarian alpha male toxic leader across the world – the list is long and depressing.

However there seem to be an interesting shift happening for the moment …

Like many others, I have recently discovered Marianne Williamson who seems to have made an initial impact in the party of Democrats, pitching for the role of presidency. Curiosity took me to her website, her speeches at Harvard and Berkeley, her TEDx videos and her writing – she has written 13 books, four of which have been bestsellers in the New York Times list of Self Advice books. Her biography makes an intriguing reading, and for many years if not decades, Marianne has been talking about the soul of America and the need to heal this very soul with compassion and spirituality.

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At the risk of over-simplifying and perhaps reducing Ms. Williamson to a singular meme, this blog attempts to explore the possible resurgence of the Healer/Lover archetype – not just in terms of content, but also its timing. Ms. Williamson’s messaging is both confounding as well as refreshingly unusual and so are her arguments for revival of American society. As I write this blog, she speaks of offering US$ 500 billion to the descendants of slaves in USA. She speaks of revival of the soul of USA, and how deep hurts has led to symptoms of depression, alienation, isolation, etc. She speaks of Yoga and of mindfulness. She is definitely different from Hillary Clinton and other leaders!

In many ways, Marianne Williamson epitomizes the 3rd Prince or the Healer / Lover archetype.

The more I read about her, the more convinced I am that her rise to fame and public limelight is an interesting shift within society – a transition of sorts from the masculine toxic oppressor.

I would be deploying both Pulin Garg’s analysis and commentary on the 3rd prince or healer archetype, in his famed work – The Four Princes, as well as refer to the work of Roger Moore and Douglas Gilette who speak of the four archetypes in their book – King, Warrior, Magician, Lover at the C G Jung Institute of Chicago. The idea is to explore what this transition may mean or imply – what hopes it may generate and what expectations would burden Ms. Williamson as well as her supporters, as well as what challenges would be thrust on her.

I am sure Marianne Williamson unlike Trump is a complex human being, with an inherent multiplicity, and it would be unfair to limit her to just a signifier of an archetype – but I guess how I see her from thousand of miles away would resonate with what an average voter would be doing as well.

Some initial facts on Ms. Marianne Williamson as per her website and internet:

  • Marianne is the 3rd and the youngest child born in a conservative Jewish family in Texas. She was born in 1952.
  • She dropped out of college to pursue a career as a cabaret singer in 1972 in NY. However after delving into a course on miracles, she ran a combination metaphysical bookstore and a coffee shop in Houston.
  • She speaks of her journey in her 20s and 30s – as “mired in a series of unhappy love affairs, drug and alcohol abuse, a nervous breakdown and endless sessions with therapists”, till she speaks of an insight – that came from her work with divinity and Christ – an insight that is summarised by the statement – “Nothing occurs outside our minds”.
  • In 1992, she wrote her first book – “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles” – this was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s show and was the NYT bestseller for 39 weeks.
  • In 1997, she published ‘Healing the Soul of America’, where her messaging becomes more political as she speaks of the need to transform American political consciousness – by integrating democracy with soulfulness, mindfulness, hope, and love. She refers to the conflicted origins of American society and the simultaneity of American principles and the shadow of slavery, racism et al. Healing the Soul of America is said to have healed many an American afflicted with problematic legacies of American history.
  • Marianne has been an activist as well – she and Louise Hay (Many process workers would know the name) set up the LA and Manhattan Centers for Living – offering refuge and love to AIDS / HIV patients. In 1989, she launched Project Angel Food – today the organization cooks and delivers 12,000 meals each week to homes of men, women, and children affected by life-threatening illnesses.
  • Marianna has been active on women’s empowerment as well as peace building and poverty.
  • In 2014, she began her political career as an independent and came 4th in the US House of Representatives for LA. Interestingly, one of my favourite singers – Alanis Morissette wrote and performed her campaign song – “Today”.
  • In January 2019, she launched her presidential campaign in LA

 

Introducing the 3rd Prince Role Identity: The Gargian Lens

Pulin K Garg was quite reticent in his writings, but the oral discourse that he anchored in process labs while working with themes of ‘Role-Identity’, and the sheer richness of insights that disseminated from him, and through many other behavioural practitioners, who were fortunate to have worked with him, point out to a particular inner energy vector or an archetype or what Pulin termed as ‘role-identity’ known as the 3rd Prince. The following bullets summarise my understanding of what the 3rd prince is all about –

  1. Firstly, it resonates with the psychological location of the ‘Victim-Lover’ within – the One who seeks and loves the Other, and yet gets hurt, spurned, or rejected repeatedly only to transform into the sacrificing altruist –devoted to the wellbeing of the Other, without stating or negotiating any expectations or reciprocity in return
  2. For the Healer to get enlivened within, the person is compassionate, empathetic, and resolute in offering and serving the Other. The dream of the 3rd prince is to rescue the Other (and perhaps Self) from the hurts and the narcissistic injuries that accompany the process of living. The 3rd Prince gets expressed through the roles of the missionary, the saviour, the nurturer, and the altruistic saint.
  3. The 3rd Prince prefers to work with feelings – especially those feelings that are difficult to talk about – feelings such as deep sorrow, pathos, past hurts – and finds energy in the processes of replenishment, of cathartic renewal, of healing, and of loving.
  4. The 3rd Prince is most energized with the idealized dream of a non-violent, loving, humane world or society or systems, and abhors violence, oppression, anger, narcissism, and selfishness – the latter were talked about in my earlier blog on Trump.
  5. The 3rd Prince may also become a commentator of sorts – a Greek chorus perhaps – expressing anguish and concern, tears of sorrow and wails of disappointments – all of this dressed with ‘hope’.
  6. The shadow of the 3rd prince, especially in leadership roles, is that of the self-sacrificing martyr, willing to die for the well-being of the larger community; deriving a huge sense of power over others through their awe, obligation, and dependencies.

 

Just like a mono-dimensional 2nd Prince (a la Donald Trump), denial of other archetypal energies within renders the Third Prince or the Healer Prince whacky for lack of better words.

Marianna Williamson “Imagine the AIDS virus as Darth Vader, and then unzip his suit to allow an angel to emerge. See the cancer cell or AIDS virus in all its wounded horror, and then see a golden light, or angel, or Jesus, enveloping the cell and transforming it from darkness into light.”

The above-mentioned quote is one of many that would hound her in the days ahead, but Marianne Williamson has to convince her audience that she understands the world of economics, systems, rules and policies, technology, and even alpha men, otherwise she would become just a parody of the third prince meme.

 

Additional Perspectives from Robert Moore and Doug Gilette, ‘King, Warrior, Trickster, Lover’

 

Moore and Gilette build on this archetype further, adding to many an aspects offered by Pulin Garg. For example, if you read their quote, you will sense how easy was it for Ms. Williamson to explore American History as primal simultaneity of wisdom in terms of principles, and barbaric savagery – that has eroded or corroded the American soul

“Thus, the Lover is deeply sensual—sensually aware and sensitive to the physical world in all its splendor. The Lover is related and connected to them all, drawn into them through his sensitivity. His sensitivity leads him to feel compassionately and empathetically united with them. For the man accessing the Lover, all things are bound to each other in mysterious ways. He sees, as we say, “the world in a grain of sand.”

Moore, Robert. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover (p. 121). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

Along with sensitivity to all inner and outer things comes passion. The Lover’s connectedness is not primarily intellectual. It is through feeling. The primal hungers are felt passionately in all of us, at least beneath the surface. But the Lover knows this with a deep knowing.”

Moore, Robert. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover (p. 122). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

 

The authors speak of the shadows of this identity – that of the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover. Both these shadows are important to dwell upon for the first shadow may drag Ms. Williamson into a chaos of hyper-sensitivity and frenzy without understanding boundaries, pragmatics of living, and restraint. Her intent to offer for example US$ 500 billion, earnest as it seems, has to convince many who work with pragmatics of living, and may not believe her promises of healing so easily.

The Impotent Lover is the chronically depressed person – languishing in the shadow of the Lover archetype … it has been this target audience that Marianne Williamson has been working with as a Self-Help Guru. It may be possible that this shadow is projected on to the alienated lonely men and women, and she emerges with the angelic touch, leading her brood to joy and happiness.

3rd Prince or Lover / Healer Leadership: Caveats

 

I am not sure that I value this archetype within and in Others and there lies a bias while writing this blog. However, the more I see powerful leaders who are energized by the Healer/Lover archetype – and I am seeing this happen in various systems that I am a part of, there are some caveats that emerge:

 

  1. This archetype is extremely powerful on one hand, but the very same leaders are unwilling to explore their manipulativeness and their possessiveness of people (read followers). The Lover/Healer in each of them makes them extremely sensitive to their context, and along with this sensitivity comes the seduction of manipulating and exploiting the fears and the ‘need to be loved and owned up’ of the Other.

 

  1. A leader who is singularly Lover/healer or the 3rd Prince, is always unaware of her or his violence and aggression. Denial of any intensely violent interface and reluctance to deal with conflict, competitiveness, and envy, renders most such leaders very oppressive. Osho in his latter years, exhibited this lack of awareness of his own violence and aggression.

 

  1. Thirdly, this leadership is difficult to integrate with systemic issues, policies, and duty. Moore talks of Roma versus Amor; the latter represents deep love and the former epitomizes society, norms, dutifulness etc. Very often, the 3rd Prince renders systemic concerns as insignificant.

Conclusion

It is interesting that Ms. Williamson has come to the front – almost representing a collective wish to cope with toxic, sadistic, partisan, narcissistic men such as Donald Trump… it is as if the collective psyche is also yearning for what Ms. Williamson calls as spiritual healing. The planet is in a crisis with the hypermasculine colonizing mindset, and human society is afflicted with loneliness, empty rage, and alienation.

However, we don’t need a SPLIT between the Warrior (2nd Prince) and the Lover/ Healer (3rd Prince), for it would only make matters worse – sparking off another crisis – between the cruel masculine actor and the loving feminine soulful nurturer.

Ms. Williamson has to be careful in not being reduced to a Self-Help Guru, because she would not just harm herself, her aspirations, but also this beautiful facet in each of us – the Lover makes us human, humane, and compassionate.

 

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