I am a warrior. Er, actually, I’m a pilgrim on the way to becoming a warrior. In the recent past, life has been an ongoing search for truth, for self, for some greater purpose to commit myself to. People, jobs, even cities have come and gone, but I have moved forward with the conviction that the route leads toward a life rich with meaning and existential bliss. And now, I am on the warrior’s path. After having found the purpose and the people to devote myself, I will find the courage to fight, even my own worst fears, to keep safe that which I hold dear. If this all sounds like a load of pseudo-spirituality hooey, it ain’t. Not one to buy into the latest new-age fad, I come to these concepts with the most skeptical of eyes. But while reading The Six Archetypes of Love by Dr. Allan Hunter, I couldn’t help but find truth in his theories. And not just because I get to be a Warrior. The goal of the book is to distinguish between the six archetypes and discover how to bring love into our lives within the paradigm. The book is filled with lots of philosophical questioning but came down to this: love, like life, is a journey of the soul. The Innocent starts things off with her idealism, as new love infuses her with a sense of hope and possibility. The Orphan, desperate to “belong,” will settle for anything and anyone, as long as she’s attached. Next, the Pilgrim strikes out on her own, searching for the right life path and partner on which to stake a claim. In love, pilgrims aren’t looking for someone to complete them, but someone with whom they can evolve. The Pilgrim becomes the Warrior when she’s found both her path and the courage to follow it. This is the moment of commitment. The Monarch emerges when the lover finds herself in a committed partnership based on trust, loyalty and combined efforts. Finally, the Magician transcends all of this by focusing her love on humanity. Think Princess Diana, as Dr. Hunter asks us to think. Nineteen, a virgin, she falls in love with Prince Charming. Innocent as they come. She marries the dude then suppresses her identity to “belong” to the royal family and meet the world’s expectations. Orphan like nobody’s business. Marriage blows, Prince cheats on her and the princess role she’s supposed to fill doesn’t fit. So she kicks the chump to the curb, takes lovers and becomes the Pilgrim on a search for self. Diana became a Warrior when she devoted her time to charity and a Monarch when she started non-profits to carry out her work. As a Magician, her legacy lives on after her death. Though Princess Diana helped make the archetypes clearer, confusion may still linger. “Fine, I’m a Pilgrim,” one might ask. “So, who should I date?” Unfortunately, love isn’t that straighforward. Our culture tries so hard to simplify our lives, emotions and identities that we really believe beings as complicated as humans can be reduced to easily manipulated categories. The archetypes simply demonstrate the possibilities in life and love, and challenge us to make the most out of existence. But the types are fluid. You could be an Orphan in relationships but a Monarch at work. One day, you’re a Warrior until someone comments on your fat ass and you’re a whiny Orphan all over again. So, who should you go after? The person who scares you, says Dr. Hunter. Someone who makes you feel at ease may be lovely, but he or she may not help you grow. And isn’t life about growth? Leaving the planet a different person than when you arrived? The situations and people who put us on edge are the ones we probably need to evolve. The point of existence should not be to find a job and a person to stick a fork into and say, “I’m done.” The point should be to become a more interesting person, lover and resident of the planet. So perhaps we should always move toward what scares us. Unless, of course, it’s wielding a knife. Or it’s a spider. Personally, I look forward to embarking on the Warrior’s path. But I won’t be one of those war-mongering types. I plan to be one of those peaceful warriors who show courage in the face of challenge. Though I do hope they give me a cool sword.