Integrating stage red


I wanted to have EMDR and all the therapies but it’s difficult to get in my country unless you pay a lot. Correct, I studied psychology. But I actually work as a statistician. It means I can work only a few days a week, plus anxiety doesn’t make for a good therapist.


I make a huge distinction between “personal power” and “power over others”, and similar with control.

I judge that personal power and control over and within oneself is healthy and liberating while power and control over others is generally unhealthy to seek out and often covers up a lack of power and control within oneself.
This isn’t to say I necessarily always reject power or control over others if they lay it at my feet. I might choose yes or no according to the circumstances.


Hi @Julia248. I don’t know if this will be helpful to you or not with “integrating red,” but here are a few thoughts.

The stage that precedes red is the magical stage, which is characterized by there being a partial fusion with “other”–the environment or exterior world, although some would also say a partial fusion, albeit unconscious, with the very Ground of being. The “boundary” of what is ‘self’ and what is ‘other’ is not well-defined. (Sidenote: Shamanism arose during this stage, so this partial fusion allowed shaman-types to relate to the “essence” of water, the wind, the tree, etc. or to otherwise invisible (sometimes actual subtle) energies, all of which they called, and still call, “spirits.” Also, shamanism helped address some of the fear and anxieties of people by relating to, cajoling, and managing the spirits which were both “good” and “evil”–it was the only “religion” at the time.)

Psychologically speaking, this pre-egoic magical stage is immersed in sensation. It is very sense-and-body based, with intimacy a core ingredient. This includes libidinal/life force/emotional-sexual energies and intimacy.

So sometimes, it’s useful to revisit the magical stage as well, to get a sense of how those energies may be affecting any current difficulty in integrating red.

Out of the magical stage came the mental-egoic red stage, and the impetus to claim oneself as separate (not fused) and psychically-speaking, independent, with one’s own autonomy and agency. (The mature ego of course holds its autonomy and agency in the context of relationship with other(s).)

In Integral, we’re used to thinking of this red-egoic stage culturally as the “warring tribes” stage, or in an individual as the “warrior” stage, with its fierceness and power and strength and primary self-interest. That’s not wrong, but it is also, imo, incomplete, for “warrior” is simply one-half of a duality–call the other half anti-warrioring or peacemaking or loving with strength and power or heroism, or call it whatever. While the non-warrioring people during this red stage may have been in the minority, I’ve no doubt that they existed, just as I have no doubt that they exist today amidst all the warring tribalism; and it is clear to me that our egoic selves can be compassionate and caring about others, not just self-interested. The ego loves to play in the field of duality. So I agree with you when you say that red can be “incredibly healthy (strong, heroic and powerful, and not at all mean.)”

Whereas during the magical stage, we were sense-and-body based, at the ego stage, we are largely mentally-based. And whereas at the magical stage, intimacy (partial fusion) was core, at the egoic stage, individuality/separate-self/independence is core.

At the amber stage, the need for belonging is a primary influence. At amber we bring both our capacity for intimacy born of a history of partial fusion with the environment/other, and our individuality/independence born of our growth into a (mentally-perceived) separate self, and “tweak” them both. Through our need for belonging, we become more dependent and interdependent on the group with which we find that belongingness, and perhaps less independent in thinking/behavior (or less apt to share that independent thinking with our group). And our capacity for intimacy becomes identification with and empathy not for the ‘whole’ of others, but for the members of the group with which we share commonalities, our “us” group.

I’m pretty sure you know much of this already, but maybe there is something here that might help stimulate some new ideas about integrating red. I think it’s important to look at the stages both preceding and following the stage we want greater integration of, and ask not only if we have integrated those stages and how, but also, how are remnants of those stages affecting the current situation? Good luck!


Hi @LaWanna, thank you for your detailed and comprehensive reply. It’s much appreciated. I see what you mean that anxiety could also be caused by a lack of integration of magenta, because if you don’t have that ability for intimacy and emotional expression you’re never really going to feel at one with the tribe, whether that is in a magenta, amber or green sense and so on, and that could very likely lead to anxiety.

I’m glad to have agreement on these healthy aspects of red. I think focusing on the negative side can cause people to repress the stage including in its healthy form, or not work towards making it more healthy.

It’s interesting that amber (especially in its religious forms of Christianity, and likely in Islam and Judaism) can repress aspects of both red and magenta, but these feelings of belongingness of amber require the ability for intimacy and emotional connection from magenta, and the independent self-hood and courage developed in red. And then orange can ridicule the whole idea of amber.

Thank you.


This reminds me that when I was reading about Archetypes, it’s common to describe men as having 4 major archetypes: Lover, Warrior, Magician, Sovereign. While books on female archetypes often share some equivalent but slightly different versions of Lover, Magician and Sovereign but the feminine “warrior” archetype often doesn’t “fit” as neatly.

I don’t know the reasons exactly why - is it that the male “warrior” archetype is too limiting and we need to expand it to include more aspects? Or is it that there is a reluctance of women to claim that energy? Or is it something completely different or more complicated?
I’ve been thinking something similar to:

The warrior shadow is said to manifest as the sadist or the masochist, but I’m thinking that the actual warrior as commonly described can be a kind of shadow in itself when it only included “manly” qualities as described here:


You’re welcome Julia. Yes, anxiety as I see it can sprout from fear of intimate connection, as you say, and to fill out the complete picture, it can also sprout from a person not being differentiated enough or separate enough or adequately independent from ‘other,’ for example, being overly concerned with what others think of them or feel about them. I once read a definition of anxiety as: separation from the self and separation from the Self. This definition was addressing both the small self and the Higher or True Self. But also, some people are just very sensitive and intuitive
or empathic and pick up on at an unconscious level all kinds of stimuli in the environment, which can definitely produce anxiety. Thanks for your response!


Hey Ray,
As you may know, there is a grand tradition of archetypal female warriors who used physical force, fight, and weaponry, from the Amazons who cut off one breast so as to be better with the bow and arrows, to the warrior goddesses in various religions/traditions/myths. There is Kali, goddess of death and destruction in Hinduism, along with Durga, who is featured with eight arms, a weapon in each hand. The story goes that Durga was enjoined to help fight demons, and she became so enraged during battle, that the dark Kali, draped with skulls around her neck, burst out of Durga’s 3rd eye and with her tongue, began to lick up the blood of the fallen demons before they could reconstitute themselves as they were given to do. Gory stuff! There is the Norse goddess Freya, the Hawaiian “volcanic” goddess Pele, the Greek Nike, goddess of victory in battle and peaceful competitions (after which the shoe is named), the Greek Athena (and her Roman equivalent Minerva) who was a hunter-warrior but disliked pointless wars and preferred settling disputes using wisdom, amen.

If the warrior is about being willing to fight for a cause, I think there is a female warrior spirit alive and well in society now, even if most women don’t call it that. We’ve seen it historically in the suffragette movement (a few of those more radical women even used bombs and weren’t opposed to guns), and we see it to some extent and in its imperfections and without the physical weaponry and physical battle in the MeToo movement (although some of those women did physical battle with their assailant/harasser prior to using their voices, and some have been motivated to strengthen their bodies and learn self-defense). The environmental movement/climate activism has many female warriors.

I thought the article you provided was pretty good in terms of speaking to the warrior archetype and the character traits of that. I did not think it was very original, given I recognized numerous statements that clearly reference Castaneda’s writings on the warrior, which he seemed to base on Samurai warriors, and which perhaps he too borrowed or plagiarized from other sources.

I don’t think it’s a matter of just women being reluctant to claim that energy, as you say, but many men as well. Given that historically when young men were going through rites of passage to prepare them as warriors, young girls were going through rites related to menarche and preparation for motherhood; and given that the female/feminine typology has been more oriented towards relationality and communion and cooperation and less towards autonomy/agency, females probably have some catching up to do, as males have some catching up to do on the other side. But I really don’t see most of these warrior traits as either masculine or feminine; I see them as traits that make for a decent human being, character-wise.

The warrior archetype to me points to the fact that the primary “battle” is always with oneself, and I personally don’t see a lot of warrior-spirit in this sense anywhere. I see a lot of egos warring, fighting, competing, contesting one another for a “win,” which is not what I personally would call true warrior spirit, and this is what I was trying to get at in the passage you quoted from my post. Egoic conflict can also be addressed through the fierceness of care and compassion or loving, or holding the intent of peace. So in that sense, you’re probably right that there is some shadow involved.

There was a time when the warrior archetype as described in the article was really active in my life and I consciously worked with it intensely, deeply, and long-term. The “pay-offs” were tremendous. I think I became a much better human being through this work. I also afterwards taught basic psychological and spiritual warrioring traits to both men and women, individually and in groups. To me, the word warrior as I understand it is close to sacred. I still think of myself as a warrior, but it’s just an integral part of me now.

In terms of what I might add to the article’s description of the warrior archetype, I don’t remember “perseverance” being cited. Nor “retreat,” knowing when to back off, back away, or go off alone. Nor do I remember “surrender.” Surrender is incredibly important, and while in spiritual matters, it can be a most precious thing, I’ve always also liked Jack Kornfield’s definition of surrender, which can apply equally to psychological matters: to embrace the truth of ‘what is.’ Even on the ground of battlefield, surrender can be noble. I don’t know, but perhaps women have more of an affinity for perseverance, retreat, and surrender as warrior traits than men; what do you think?


Yes, this is a strange one. Because it’s not only the concern of what others think and feel, but as you say, and as other have said, not being differentiated enough in an actual subtle energy way, and almost as if you are them, and it can create a kind of jarring whirl of emotion and sensation. That’s what would also be described as being an empath, and maybe there is also a supernatural aspect to it… because I think it can only really be described when including that aspect. I feel like the ideal would be that completely, and just be subtle energy, but it doesn’t work that way because there’s still a self. And perhaps it is necessary to build the self more, to have a sturdy ego from which to access the subtle, as Ken Wilber and Susanne Cook-Greuter say. I still often want to find a ‘scientific’ reason though.

I agree there is also the side of when people are intuitive and empathic they’re very good at reading everything which can also be overwhelming, but I would say if one is balanced in oneself nothing is really overwhelming. And also if a person has cleared out all their own energy i think nothing is overwhelming then. For me after meditating for extensive periods, everything feels incredible all of the time, even when being near painful things - I feel the pain but it passes through me, it’s like everything is tiny, bubbling particles.

I feel like psychology has so far to go in explaining psychical phenomena.


Wonderful and thought provoking.
Death and destruction integral to life and the warrior archetype symbolized by Goddesses of War, Fire, Death and so on.
Then on the other side peaceful competition and wise resolutions to disputes.
Last night I brought the topic up with a friend of mine who just returned home from the Sun Dance. I’d say that ceremony or similar ones would bring to life many of the warrior aspects we are talking about that is not in the Art of Manliness article. Perseverance as you say, but also some things I struggle to put words to. Like when we have an ordeal to undergo and there absolutely nothing we can do about it to change it but we go down to the depths and don’t despair. Or we do despair and accept it all and come out the other side. Either way seems to work, lol. The Hero’s journey (as Campbell saw it). Surrender can have different elements to it depending on the circumstances. There is literal surrender, where the warrior would throw down his weapons and be captured, but there is also a “surrender to fate” such as the Vikings believing they will go to Valhalla if they died a certain way. I think initiation rites the surrender that was inevitable was acceptance of a way of life and one’s part in that way of life.

We also touched on active inaction as a warrior trait. “holding clean space”. The four levels of listening, clear communication, clean anger and clarity of motives and a few others.

I think healthy societies in other time periods carved out a place for these to be addressed. Modern society on the other hand really doesn’t want to look in those places except in books and movies as fantasies. Which does a lot to explain why so many men (and some women but a minority) are attracted to those kinds of dark fantasy games and why they don’t resolve issues.

I’m curious to what degree all of these men / women percentages is culturally determined vs biologically. Does childbirth serve a similar role as a rite of initiation to manhood?


Whilst not in Integral lingo, I’ve found David Deida’s “Way of the Superior Man” to be integrative of my feelings, desires, powers, fears, love, compassion, intelligence. It’s very much a masculine “how to” book so perhaps not so helpful for the feminine, but perhaps there is something similar?


I like your simile around pain passing through you, like “tiny, bubbling particles.” Very visual!

Simply cultivating inner silence leads to an emptying, I think. When there is no inner dialogue telling stories about pain, that helps. When the “I” is not as tightly identified with the gross physical body or with thoughts, that helps. And when there is greater presence, when we are simply “being with” whatever arises without desires or efforts to escape something that could otherwise present as overwhelming, that helps. All of these can be products of meditating. Are these the kinds of things you are talking about in terms of “clearing out all our own energy” and being balanced in oneself?

Although there are some individual practitioners who know something more than mental-ego-level stuff, I agree psychology has a ways to go as a field in general.


So much of my own work around the warrior archetype is coming back to me, thank you Ray, for stimulating that!

You mentioned the Sun Dance, and yes, I think that kind of ceremony both calls forth in advance in the participants some of these warrior traits we and the article are talking about, and strengthens them during and after the Dance. I have worked individually with a few Lakota men who have done the Sun Dance at least once and/or were in process of doing it the 4 requisite years. What they have told me is that being able to “let go” or, again, surrender is a big part of the ordeal. Along with this is humility as it’s intended as a sacred ceremony, so there is the reliance on, in Lakota language, Wakhan Thanka, or the Great Spirit. And along with this, akin to what is discussed under the “loyalty” trait in the article, there is holding firm the idea that they are doing it not just for themselves, but to “keep safe” their loved ones or tribe. Protection of one’s loved ones/community/tribe and even the earth through the purification and strengthening of oneself is really at the root of traditional warrioring among the Sioux, and central to the Sun Dance. Warriors often became leaders/chiefs, so this aspect of protecting the people was key.

Some other warrior traits that come to mind, some of which were mentioned in passing in the article or in different language, are trust, patience, presence, sobriety (seriousness) but also humor, equanimity, resilience, and in today’s language, anti-fragility. While important to, these traits aren’t just specific to the warrior archetype though. But do any of these aspects or the ones mentioned in the prior paragraph speak to you in terms of what you were trying to get at with undergoing ordeals?

You mentioned the Hero’s Journey, and I just read this article about Campbell:… I think a lot of women probably relate to this, for that’s where a lot of women are at, still trying to find their “voice” so to speak (literally, though pun not intended :slightly_smiling_face:) in order to stand up for themselves and “make a stand” against what they see as the masculine “conquer and control” mentality. I understand it; I was once there, and the problems with harassment and abuse and such are ongoing and real. Warrior training or otherwise developing one’s inner warrior, I believe, would be one of the most helpful things to many women as again, I don’t see that archetype as limited to “manliness.” And I do think that, as the article you provided pointed out, the ‘problem’ with some men is that they do not hold their warrior selves in harmony particularly with their lover-selves.

Per Ken Wilber, of the studies that have been done about the differences between males and females, the one thing that holds consistently is that men (and boys) are most interested in “things” and women (and girls) are most interested in “people.” Does that surprise you?

As for rites of initiation, in my experience with indigenous people in the U.S. and Mexico, the traditional initiation rites for boys into manhood correspond to the initiation rites for girls into womanhood, which take place after first menstruation. Childbirth is more of a communal celebration than a rite of passage. In many tribes, while there has been and continues to be role definition based on sex/gender, the two areas where these divisions collapse are in making art and doing medicine work.


I meant that this is how the body and world feel in general in that state. When witnessing something painful, the pain is still there and it feels heavier but it doesn’t cling. I think this is what enlightenment would feel like, or I hope. Though the non identification and presence are important, I think there’s also that sense of enjoyment. I’d recommend reading about jahnas on this. I’m reading an amazing book at the moment - ‘Seeing that frees: meditations on emptiness and dependent arising’ by Rob Burbea. He recommends the combination of samadhi, which includes contacting the jahnas, along with insight practice, and that bathing in those blissful feelings can be extremely helpful in accessing insights on emptiness. It’s also what’s spoken of somewhat in the vipassana tradition from S N Goenke - he also speaks of clearing the sankharas, the formations, through body scans. And when you go into a bliss state, called the bangha state, all the most deep routed sankharas can rise to the surface and you can release them. And also in scientology they talk of clearing the engrams through feeling the somatics of them completely and letting then go. You could also say this is what happens in therapy to a certain extent when people feel their emotions fully and let their pain go. I’d say this is also what can happen with psychedelics, long with the visuals it gives you (it can be very similar to deep meditation) and with Reiki to a certain extent in energy clearing, though that is said to be a transference of universal energy.