One of my favorite books about men’s psychology is "King, Warrior, Magician, Lover" by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. Moore and Gillette brilliantly discuss these Jungian psychological archetypes in an easy and digestible way. They go through each archetype by discussing their mature and immature forms, the shadow or darker aspects and how each archetype relates to one another. We all have aspects of these archetypes within us and it is important to recognize and notice which one is the strongest and which is lacking. We can also explore our shadow or immature side in counseling and adjust accordingly. I would like to briefly describe each of these archetypes and how we can channel them in our everyday lives.
Men often identify themselves with the warrior energy due to its tough and masculine nature. Even though men do channel the warrior spirit there is more to the mature warrior than flying swords and brute force. The warrior has a responsibility to those outside of himself to provide security and safety while not attaching to his ego or beaten down by what others think. The warrior is focused and not in his head much because that would lead to doubt, hesitation, inaction and finally in losing the battle. He focuses more on his skills, power, accuracy all while being in full control of his mind and body. He is willing to suffer to get the results he needs.
The Sadist and the Masochist
The two polar shadows of the warrior are the "Sadist" and the “Masochist.” The “Sadist” has passion for destruction, cruelty and has a hatred towards the weak. The "Masochist" is one who is a pushover and is weak until he explodes into sadistic tendencies.
Accessing the Warrior
What is it that you take a stand for or are willing to fight for? Is it your family, a cause or your own life? You're accessing the warrior when you are clear on your intentions. You know how to move forward without hesitation or doubt, whatever the consequences may be.
Today’s magicians would include computer scientists and chemical engineers among others. They are the holder of knowledge and the masters of technology. The magician uses his ability and smarts to better humanity and the world. He is the interpreter of the unseen world much like a shaman.
The shadow sides of the magician are the “Manipulator” or “Shyster” and the "Denying innocent one.” The detached and cruel manipulator withholds known information needed for other’s wellbeing. He charges heavily for the information he give which is just enough to demonstrate his superiority. The "Innocent" one wants the power and status of the magician but doesn’t want to take on the responsibilities of sharing and teaching like a true magician does. He has a lack of life energy and is afraid to be found out that he is a fraud.
Accessing the Magician
We all possess skills and the power to teach those skills to others. When we do teach others or help others figure out problems we enhance their lives. There is great power in being able to create or have insight into something. It is even more powerful when we are able to give it away.
The lover is the holder of passion and spirituality. He is the one who reminds us of the joy of the journey and to take in and appreciate the present moment. He lets us know that there is both pleasure and pain in being alive. The lover demonstrates the importance of recognizing that we and the universe are all connected, to enjoy life and to embrace one another.
The shadow sides of the lover are the "Addicted" and the "Impotent". The addicted lover becomes the victim of his own sensitivity and is always searching for the ultimate and continuous "high." When the high wears off he leaves looking for renewal of his ecstasy. The Impotent Lover experiences life as unenthusiastic, boring and dead. The impotent lover soon develops learned helplessness which turns into anger and resentment towards all beauty and love.
Accessing the Lover
Much like the warrior it is important to have a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. When we have meaning we are able to get inspired and become alive. Others are often attracted to those who are positive and passionate about things in the universe. It is also important to stop and be mindful of the beauty all around us.
The reason the king is mentioned last is because he encompasses traits of all the other archetypes in a perfect balance. He has the courage and fortitude of the warrior, the ingenuity and wisdom of the magician and the enrollment in life of the lover. He is centered, calm and always in position to provide order in the midst of chaos. He acknowledges and appreciates those who contribute and in turn- they follow with his blessing.
The shadow sides of the king are the Tyrant and the Weakling. The tyrant is more like a bully, abusing his power and using his force to deal with his own lack of self-worth. He is easily offended and fragile and will defend against being vulnerable. The weakling is more passive and possesses inner turmoil. He is afraid, in constant fear of being betrayed.
Accessing the King
When one takes on a leadership role there are certain necessary traits to be successful. Most often, people follow those who show passion and demonstrate appreciation, strength, and knowledge. The leader is reflective, but not quick to become offended. The king does not claim ownership for success but shares it with others.
There is a whole lot more in the “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” book to explore and much written on the topic. When tackling a job or wanting to better a relationship it could be helpful to access the archetype that best suits your context. It is also beneficial to notice the shadow sides we see in ourselves and others and be cautious.
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