The series “Vikings” is replete with archetypal characters, both male and female. The central and most powerful woman character is Lagertha. She sits beside and easily equals the most powerful male character Ragnar. For a time they are married, a marriage cut short by Ragnar’s shortcomings. It is these shortcomings that lead him into a spiralling and self destructive journey into his dark side, his shadow.
Lagertha’s trajectory, on the other hand, is an inspiring journey into her nobility and her sacredness. In a powerful way Lagertha and Ragnar swap poles – she masters the external world of human exploits in the physical realm, while he masters the internal and unseen world of the soul in the religious realm (the Hierophant card of the Tarot). In this way we witness a powerful woman mastering the masculine within, while a powerful man masters the feminine within. Her journey lies in the outside world, while his journey lies within the internal world. She is active, he is ultimately, passive.
Astrologically, we see Mars succumb to Pluto in Ragnar’s journey through the underworld, while Lagertha’s Venus masters and integrates Mars the warrior.
While Ragnar’s boundaries weaken and fail in a finely nuanced slow motion existential dissolution, Lagertha defines and defends her sacred and divine boundaries to the hilt. She defends herself and others, and that which is precious to her – her family, her clan and her divine feminine power. She spills blood to protect blood, the bloodline, and ancestral memory. She becomes The Queen, having mastered herself and the world around her. Her anger is righteous anger in that she uses it to defend the sacred and divine boundaries of herself and her people. All attempts to break down her boundaries are met with the power of the spiritual warrior. She is equally fire and ice – a fully integrated being, who can consciously choose the fierce heat of battle, or the cold, hard and deliberate stratagems of political power.
The underlying archetypal theme that weaves the entire “Vikings” narrative together into a coherent whole, is the sacred boundary of the divine. We live in a time where boundaries on all levels are under sustained attack – individually, collectively and globally. Globalism is really just a canard, a false flag under which each and every existing boundary is destroyed, thus opening up the entire planet and everything upon it, to extractive exploitation, perversion and destruction.
The Vikings represent an archetypal expression of powerful, independent and free Human Beings. They are fully self-actualised and are able to defend themselves and what they value – they are not to be messed with. They must be treated with respect and be carefully negotiated with. Their territory – physical, cultural, and spiritual, is entirely theirs, and is fully embraced as such. If you step over their boundaries without permission, you had better be ready for the consequences. This is something that we have lost in our so-called modernity.
We have been domesticated to the point that when the wolves enter our fenced enclosure, we wait frozen in apprehension while our owner’s come to our rescue. What we are just now realising is that our owners are the wolves – that which predates upon us. We wait politely and passively in our safe space. We have been disarmed, defanged and drugged into a lazy torpor that makes us easy pickings.
Viking Paganism (from “the Pagani – those who live with the land”) on the other hand, speaks of a time when the natural world was respected with awe and at times a little fear. It also speaks of a time when Human Beings were not labouring under the insidious and parasitic control of the church’s priest classes, or the money changers. At this point it must be noted that Ragnar”s journey into “religiosity” is predicated upon the 6th century christian mysticism of the Hebrides of the British Isles, which evolved in splendid isolation from the catholic church. This mysticism speaks of a direct and personal experience of the divine – something which is anathema to the church.
Within this context Lagertha embodies and expresses the archetype of the Spiritual Warrior. She has fully functional boundaries in all dimensions of her being. She is conscious, she is aware and she possesses a subtlety of mind that serves her, rather than drawing her into self delusion. Her earthy integrity prevents her from being seduced by hubris, conceit and arrogance. It is her womanhood and her motherhood that keeps her earthed and true. It is her womanhood that drives her unflinching fight to protect her hearth and her kin. Where the men might be fighting for fame and fortune, Lagertha fights for life and liberty – her own and that of others.
The expression and integration of archetypal energies is central to the Hero’s journey, and Lagertha is that hero. Her journey is one of heroic integration at the expense of self, in the sense that she becomes an avatar of something spiritually wilder, deeper, and wiser. The archetype of the spiritual warrior has two poles – as do all of the archetypes. When any archetype is expressed in a polarised manner – unconsciously or deliberately – it becomes a destructive autonomous complex.
This is starkly painted by the character of Ivar The Boneless who is in the thrall of his inner beast. The polarised forms of the spiritual warrior swing between two extremes – the psychosis of the despotic war lord (Ivar), and the detached superiority of the self sanctified narcissist (Floki).
Lagertha’s great and enduring victory is the very victory that Ragnar could not achieve. She has healed the wounds that would have fated her to live in a permanent state of reactive judgement and victimhood – unconsciously acted out against herself and the world. We see this manifested in the permanent and cyclic state of ritualised revenge killings that propels, and provides the central motivation for much of the action occurring around her.
Lagertha’s own wound is the wound of betrayal – as she says in her own words, there is no-one who has not betrayed her. In a moment of deep realisation she sees that the only person who can truly betray her, is herself. As she surveys her life she sees that she has indeed never betrayed herself, she has remained true to herself through all of life’s travails.
Where Ragnar willingly surrendered his power and submitted to the world, Lagertha chooses her power in the service of her sacred and divine boundaries. As is the case for all spiritual warriors, she has won the only battle that truly matters – the battle with herself. She has become an actualised, empowered and sovereign being.
© 2019 Murray Hill
Murray Hill is an artist and writer who produces work around spiritual themes. He is an initiate of the Toltec mystery school as taught by Don Miguel Ruiz. He is also a Seer in the Celtic tradition. In 2004 he experienced a life changing moment in the ancient Mexican Toltec capital of Teotihuacan, which brought a lifetime of spontaneous spiritual breakouts into coherent form.