What’s on the Surface?
King Warrior Magician Lover is about the individual and the social ramifications of the unconscious archetypal energies present in the psyches of boys and men. This book introduces the reader to Jungian psychology; founded in the mid 1900’s by the widely-influential psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. Primarily aimed at male readers; this book explores how internal psychic structures of masculinity can lead to healthy or destructive behaviors. Authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, through personal and anecdotal experience, discuss the vast manifestations of these primal and prevalent archetypes in the lives of boys and men today. In the book the concepts of each archetype are explained thoroughly. They are illustrated with examples ranging across many cultures, religions, and philosophies throughout history.
Overall, King Warrior Magician Lover is a must read for any boy or man who is dissatisfied by modern, superficial, and wistfully non-sacred, pseudo-ritual initiations into manhood. For these men, and myself, have found that trivial initiation ceremonies such as turning 18, learning to drive, or losing ones virginity– have seriously neglected to mark real or convincing masculine transformation.
- The dysfunction of main-stream patriarchy
- Boy Vs. Man psychology
- Immature archetypal structures; The Precocious Child, Oedipal Child, Divine Child, and Hero
- Mature archetypal structures; The King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover
- The cultural, religious, and philosophical background of each archetype
- How to access the archetypes
How is it useful to me?
- Gain perspective on your masculinity – Do you know what sacred masculinity in it’s fullness is about?
- Understand the psychology of boys and men – Can you identify your behaviors and actions that are immature, and why you act them out?
- Access the archetypal energies – Are you able to access each archetype when the situation calls for it?
- Be conscious about your fathering – From what wounds or repressions are you impacting your sons and daughters?
What Lies Beneath?
In antiquity across cultures all over the world, initiation rituals and ceremonies have been a vital process for boys to transition into manhood. Although the process may vary from tribe to tribe, the intention of the processes have been the same. A ritual trial, often a psychological and/or physical ordeal, took place for the young boys who were showing signs of puberty or maturity. Led by the elder men of the tribe, the young boys were taken away from their mothers and inducted into the ways of the mature masculine.
Sadly over the centuries of civilization in the West, almost all of these ritual processes have been abandoned or devalued. The forms of ritual initiation that remain have been transformed into pseudo-initiations of lesser energy and importance. For example, turning 18, getting your first car or job, or losing your virginity. Authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, although not alone in their opinion, pose that the loss of these ritual initiations, ritual elder-ship, and sacred space have paved the way for a society dominated by ‘boy psychology’. Boy psychology is characterized by abusive and violent behavior. Passivity and weakness. The inability to act effectively and creatively in one’s own life. That which seeks to destroy or minimize the life and creativity of others. It is this immaturity in men, and the dominant boy psychology, which has formed the social and cultural organization of patriarchy that rules the Western world in fear and insecurity today.
Ours is a psychological age rather than an institutional one. What used to be done for us by institutional structures and through ritual process, we now have to do inside ourselves, for ourselves. – Moore & Gillette
The most significant aspect of the process was sacred space. Sacred space was often represented by a holy place regarded sacred by the tribe. It was sacred space and the guidance of a ritual elder–which provided the psychological impetus for deep transformation of the psyches of young men.
Sacred space is the container of raw power– the “step-down transformer” that insulates and then channels the energies that are drawn into it. It is the reactor shield in the nuclear power plant. It is the sanctuary of the church. – Moore & Gillette
Unfortunately it is apparent in social movements, particularly feminism, that masculinity itself has become under attack and blamed for the state of patriarchy today. It is understandable why people view patriarchy and masculinity as the same phenomenon. However, it is made clear in King Warrior Magician Lover, that patriarchy seen today is not a healthy representation or expression of masculinity at all.
Patriarchy, in our view, is an attack on masculinity in its fullness as well as femininity in its fullness… The patriarchal male does not welcome the full masculine development of his sons or his male subordinates any more than he welcomes the full development of his daughters, or his female employees. – Moore & Gillette
The crisis in mature masculinity is partly caused by the lacking of adequate models of mature men. And also, the abolishment of institutional systems that support healthy masculine development. The prevalent absence or inadequacy of fathers in our society today have left many men to figure ‘it out’ for themselves. The enormous absence of guidance and has left men stunted in their masculine development. Men are frustrated, anxious, unloved and unappreciated, purposeless, and are often ashamed of being masculine.
‘Boy psychology’ is personified by the drug dealer, the drug addict, the gang member, the dishonest politician, the violent partner, the company ‘yes man’, the whinging co-worker, the unfaithful husband, the absent father. As bluntly stated by Moore & Gillette:
All these men have something in common. They are all boys pretending to be men. They are embodying and displaying the energies of the boy archetypes in its immature forms… The devastating fact is that most men are fixated at an immature level of development. – Moore & Gillette
Boy psychology manifests itself in the forms of obsession with control, threatening behaviors, and hostile actions of strength. In reality, these forms are the indications of underlying extreme vulnerability and weakness. The scars of a wounded boy. However, a man does not benefit by eliminating or ignoring the boy inside him. For the boy is the source of playfulness, of pleasure, fun, energy, wonderment. Of open-mindedness and sense of adventure. Rather than seeking to kill the boy we must focus our attention on transforming the energies into their mature masculine counterparts.
The struggle with the infantile within us exerts a tremendous “gravitational” pull against achieving that full adult potential. Nevertheless, we need to fight gravity by dint of hard labor and to build the pyramids of first boyhood and then manhood that constitute the core structures of our masculine Selves. – Moore & Gillette
From here, the proposed model for transformation is centered around the underlying archetypes of the psyche. Based heavily on Jungian psychology, Authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette first illustrate the 4 archetypal energies present in boy psychology. Then the 4 archetypes of the mature masculine. Each archetype is described with it’s passive and active bipolar ‘Shadow’ side.
What is an Archetype?
Authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette define an archetype as a mysterious energy that flows behind the curtain of the psyche. One cannot deny the overwhelmingly prevalent appearance of kings, warriors, magicians, and lovers in societies throughout history. They appear in art, poetry, music, religion, and in our patterns of thought and behavior. An archetype is manifested through many different forms. For example, the Warrior is manifested in today’s culture as the football player, the soldier of war, and action hero’s such as Rambo or The Terminator.
Just like we cannot observe electricity, only the effects of electricity. So is true of an archetype. The re-occurrence of archetypes across cultures, religions, and throughout history indicate that they are structures of the human psyche themselves.
We have said that there is no use asking ourselves if the negative or shadow sides of the archetypes are showing up in our lives. The realistic, honest question we need to ask is how they are manifesting.” – Moore & Gillette
Structure of the Archetypes
The structure of the archetypes are not meant to be taken too literally. It is just a visual aid that helps bring perspective of the bipolar shadow states of each archetype. And how they interrelate with each other. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette describe the structure of the archetype below:
Each of the archetypal energy potentials in the male psyche– in both its immature and its mature forms–has a triune, or three-part, structure. At the top of the triangle is the archetype in its fullness. At the bottom of the triangle the archetype is experienced in what we call a bipolar dysfunctional, or shadow, form. – Moore & Gillette
The archetype in it’s healthy fullness is positioned at the top of the pyramid– which is also the center of 2 diametrically opposite poles. The lower poles are both unhealthy expressions of the archetype; one that is active in nature, and the other passive. Here is an example of the King archetype; The Tyrant is the active expression, and The Weakling is the passive one:
The King is represented on one side of the pyramid. The Magician, The Lover, and The Warrior are represented on the other 3 sides of a 3-dimensional pyramid. Another diagram of all the archetypes is given below.
The Immature Archetypes
There are 4 primary archetypes of the immature masculine which is evident in boy psychology. The first archetype of the immature masculine is the Divine Child. The Precocious Child and the Oedipal Child are next; the final stage of boyhood is governed by the Hero. Each archetype has a bipolar ‘Shadow’ state, with an active and passive pole that the Ego may possess. All of the immature masculine energies are overly tied to the Mother. Not a mortal mother, but the Great Mother, the beauty that connects all things in life. The development of these archetypes are not completely linear; just as the human is a complex organism, so are the archetypal influences.
1. The Divine Child:
The Divine Child is the first and most primal of the immature masculine energies. The figure of the Divine Baby Boy is universal across all religions. Baby Jesus, baby Buddha, baby Moses. They are personifications of The Divine Child. Perfect and innocent, yet helpless and completely dependent. The Divine Child within us is the source and enthusiasm for life. However, like all archetypes, The Divine Child has a bipolar shadow state. These are defined by active and passive bipolar energies:
The High Chair Tyrant ( + active)
- The center of the universe.
- Others exist only to meet his all-powerful needs and desires.
- Everything is not good enough.
- He hurts himself with his grandiosity, and the endlessness of his demands.
- He expects the impossible of himself and others.
- He imagines himself invulnerable and all important.
- The traits include arrogance, pride, childishness, and irresponsibility.
The Weakling Prince ( – passive)
- He appears to have no enthusiasm for life.
- Very little initiative; a subtle stale personality.
- He requires coddling and babying.
- A helpless victim of life.
- He surrenders before the fight has begun.
- Everything is too much for him.
- The traits include lethargy, victim, helplessness, and melancholy.
2. The Precocious Child:
The Precocious Child manifests in a boy when he is eager to learn and share what he knows. There is a spark in his eye. He is keen to know the why’s, how’s, where’s, and what’s? He has a talent or is developing a skill. He is curious about life and seeks to share his insights with others. He is learning about the dynamics of life. He is attuning himself to the expectations of others and the mechanisms of the world. The active and passive poles of the shadow state are:
The Know-It-All Trickster ( + active)
- The immature masculine energy that plays tricks.
- He is an expert at creating appearances and illusions.
- He seduces people into believing and trusting him, then betrays them.
- He is the practical joker, and an expert manipulator.
- He is verbally abusive of others, who he regards as his inferiors.
- He is self-sabotaging and self-neglecting.
- The traits include smugness, self-righteousness, and grandiosity.
The Dummy ( – passive)
- The Dummy’s ineptitude is frequently less than honest.
- He may grasp more than he cares to show.
- He seems unresponsive and dull.
- He may be labeled attention deficit disorder.
- His dunce-like behavior may just be a mask to hide his grandiosity.
- The traits include naivety, lazy, and irresponsible.
3. The Oedipal Child:
The term Oedipal is based on the Oedipus complex; a boys son–father competition for possession of the mother. The Oedipus complex, in psychoanalysis is: a child’s desire to have sexual relations with the parent of the opposite sex. The successful resolution of the complex results from identification with the same-sex parent of the child. The Oedipal Child refers to a boys inability to identify with masculinity. He yearns for the infinitely nurturing, infinitely good, infinitely loving Mother. The Mother is not referring to his mortal mother, but the Great Mother. The Goddess. What the Greeks called eros.
In tribal culture there is a distinctive moment in a boys adolescents that requires him to separate from his mortal mother. This separating from his mothers ‘umbilical-cord’ marks an important stage of his masculine development. He is no longer under the cover of his mothers protection. He is to face the world. To find his own feet. To bravely take a step into the great abyss of the unknown. If a boy never separates from his mother, then the man may grow up possessed by The Mama’s Boy or the Dreamer.
The Oedipal Child is able to be passionate and show a deep appreciation of himself, for others, and with all things. He is warm, related, and affectionate. He is spiritually aware and feels a mystical oneness with nature, with life, and with the Great Mother. The active and passive of the shadow states are:
The Mama’s Boy ( + active)
- The Mama’s Boy seeks to be his mothers rescuer, to save her from his inadequate father.
- He becomes supplicating to the needs of other women, and desperately seeks their approval.
- He becomes auto erotic, may compulsively masturbate, and be obsessed with pornography.
- He unconsciously seeks to experience his masculinity through the nearly infinite forms of the female body.
- The traits include supplication, addiction, and desperation.
The Dreamer ( – passive)
- The Dreamer takes spiritual impulses to the extreme. However, he is detached from doing and acting.
- He is obsessed with imagining.
- He dreams of everything but accomplishes little.
- The dreamer avoids reality and prefers to live ‘in the clouds’.
- He is inattentive, lost in his own thoughts.
- He is often a loner, and does not like to form relationships with others.
- The traits include depression, withdrawal, and distant ethereal-like behavior.
4. The Hero:
The hero fallacy in society is that the heroic approach to life, or to a task, is the noblest. However, a boy or a man that is possessed by The Hero archetype will feel they are far superior to others. If possessed he will believe himself to be the center of the Universe. He has a sense of god-ordained destiny to righteousness. He will feel rightfully owed an ultimate reward (the Princess). The Hero believes himself to be supremely special above all others. Worthy of a great life and a birthright to success.
Indeed, one may wonder why the Hero exists in the psyche at all? Considering these traits can be so detrimental and counterproductive to society. The answer is is to allow the boy to summon the strength and courage to face life’s challenges. To overcome difficult physical, psychological, or emotional trials. Without the Hero, one would not have the courage to face the overwhelming odds against the ‘dragons of life’. The Hero is an essential archetypal energy. Interestingly The Hero– is not meant to survive. In fact, the “death” of the Hero marks the “death” of boyhood, of Boy psychology. The boy dies and is reborn into manhood.
He has fought the dragon and been burned by it. He has overcome the Mother and then realized his incapacity to love the Princess. The “death” of the Hero signals a boy’s or man’s encounter with true humility. It is the end of his heroic consciousness. – Moore & Gillette
The Hero is the most advanced form, the peak, of the masculine energies of the boy. This archetype is most prevalent in the adolescent stages of development. When the boy expressing The Hero dies, the man becomes the Warrior. His ego has been demolished, and in it’s place he feels humble and has appreciation for humility. He is no longer the center of the Universe. He realizes he has a smaller place in a larger scene. He realizes his duty to something beyond himself. This will be explained more in The Warrior archetype. The bipolar active and passive states of The Hero are:
The Grandstander Bully ( + active)
- The Grandstander Bully seeks at every opportunity to proclaim–his superiority, his right to dominate, and center stage as his birthright.
- He thinks he is invulnerable and unbeatable.
- He is all to eager to sacrifice others to get what he wants.
- He is risk taking even at his own expense.
- He denies his own mortality.
- The traits include inflated ego, recklessness, irresponsibility, and ignorance.
The Coward ( – passive)
- The Coward is extremely reluctant to stand up for himself in physical or verbal confrontations.
- He will deeply regret running away from fights and arguments, but will at every opportunity seek to escape.
- He will allow himself to be walked on and devalued.
- He is a victim to women, to men, and to the world.
- He lacks the inner motivation to achieve anything of significance.
- The traits include cowardice, weakness, shyness, self-depreciation.
The Mature Archetypes
Just as there were 4 primary archetypes for the immature masculine, there are also 4 archetypes for the mature masculine. The King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover archetypes are the successors of the corresponding boy archetypes. See the Archetype Progression diagram below:
As you can see from the diagram, the natural progression of the archetypes are as followed:
- The Divine Child → The King
- The Hero → The Warrior
- The Precocious Child → The Magician
- The Oedipal Child → The Lover
Here is the final pyramid structure:
1. The King:
The King’s primal energy exists in all men. It is the most important and most inclusive of all the other masculine energies. However, it is often the last archetype embodied by mature men. The progression from The Divine Child, or prince; naturally leads to the King. In other words, we could say that the King is the Divine Child, but seasoned and wise. His attention turned from a self-involved position, to a selfless and blessing one. Healthy King energy is orderly, central, and generative. The King is encompassing of all his kingdoms people; with their individuality, skills and talents. He represents vitality, healing, and blessing for the realm.
It is vital to understand the distinction between the archetype of The King, and a mortal man who is a king. A mortal man can only access the archetypal energies, and can not entirely possess or become them. Therefore, a mortal king is embodying King energy, but he himself is less important than the archetype. The mortal king is replaceable. The King energy will again be manifested in society, via the same form or another. Sadly, the fact is the King’s positive energy is disastrously lacking in the lives of men today. The King also has a bipolar Shadow side. Structurally the same as the immature archetypes:
The Tyrant ( + active)
- The Tyrant hates, fears, and envies new life.
- He is threatened by losing his gasp on his own kingship.
- He is not calm or generative.
- He is mad with power, and fears losing it.
- He hates all beauty, all innocence, all strength, and all talent.
- He is the father that depreciates the talents of his sons and daughters.
- The traits include rage, weakness, vulnerability, and worthlessness.
The Weakling ( – passive)
- The Weakling desperately needs to be adored, worshiped, and praised.
- He seeks approval when he should be blessing others.
- He fears disloyalty and betrayal.
- He suffers from inaction.
- He is consumed by fear.
- He is passive-aggressive with hostile rage.
- The traits include weakness, cowardice, insecurity, and paranoia.
2. The Warrior:
The Warrior archetype has been under heavy scrutiny in society today. The Warrior has been blamed for being at the root of masculine aggressiveness–manifested in forms of war, physical, emotional, and domestic violence. However, it cannot simply be ignored or eradicated. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette state:
We can’t just take a vote and vote the Warrior out. Like all archetypes, it lives on in spite of our conscious attitudes toward it. And like all repressed archetypes, it goes underground, eventually to resurface in the form of emotional and physical violence… If the warrior is an instinctual energy form, then it is here to stay. And it pays to face it. – Moore & Gillette
The healthy aspects of The Warrior are too valuable to exclude from society. The Warrior has a trans-personal commitment; he has a sworn duty to something greater and beyond himself. He is loyal and self-sacrificing for the good of others. He is a protector of his loved ones. He lives to serve others: his family, the realm, the world. He has transcended his own ego and personal comforts. The Warrior knows that life is fleeting. With an acute awareness of his own mortality, he brings purpose and meaning to each action. The Warrior in its fullness, without admixture with the other archetypes, is detached from emotion. He is decisive and rational. He is “unavailable” or “inaccessible” emotionally. I must state that being emotionally detached is obviously not the goal of the mature masculine; quite the opposite. In order to realize the mature masculine potential in all men, being able to fluently access all archetypal energies is essential. There are times in a mans life when he needs to “step back” from a situation in order to gain perspective, so that he can act. This is when The Warrior is required. The Warriors bipolar Shadow states are:
The Sadist ( + active)
- The Sadist is still detached from his emotions, but he is cruel in action.
- He has no compassion for others or for life.
- He has savage out-bursts.
- He has a passion for destruction.
- He feels hatred, but it is due to his fear.
- He fears women, and particularly other men.
- He is threatened by feminine energy, but doesn’t know why.
- The traits include insecurity, violent emotionalism, and desperation.
The Masochist ( – passive)
- The Masochist is a pushover.
- He experiences himself as powerless.
- The Masochist is unable to defend himself psychologically.
- He allows others to push him around.
- He takes far too much abuse for far too long, and then explodes in verbal or physical violence. Only to repeat it again and again.
- The traits include powerlessness, victim, weakness, and tolerance to pain.
3. The Magician:
The Magician is the energy that drives innovation and the thirst for knowledge. He is the thinker, the intellect. The Magician is the shaman of the tribe, the priest of the church, and the possessor of sacred and secret knowledge of all kinds. He is the scientist, the teacher, and the doctor. He is not only an initiate, but also an initiator for others of specified and rarefied knowledge. It is to him that people go with their questions, concerns, pains, and unease of the body and mind. The Magician energy is the archetype of awareness, insight, thoughtfulness, and reflection. In modern psychology it is the archetype that governs the “observing ego”. The Shadow states of The Magician are:
The Detached Manipulator ( + active)
- The Detached Manipulator in society is the toxic waste and byproducts of technology affecting the planet.
- The Detached Manipulator abuses his powerful intellect and abilities.
- He purposefully misleads others who are seeking his knowledge.
- He charges heavily for the little information he does give.
- He is detached and cruel.
- He withholds secret and specialized information for the purpose of self-aggrandizement.
- The traits include detachment, cruelty, superiority, manipulation, and isolation.
The Denying “Innocent” One ( – passive)
- The Denying Innocent One wants the power and status that traditionally come to the man who is a magician, without any of the responsibility.
- He doesn’t want to share or to teach others.
- He wants to learn just enough to interrupt and distract other peoples goals.
- He does not want to steward sacred space.
- He is slippery and elusive.
- He hides the truth for the sake of maintaining his own precarious status.
- The traits include lifelessness, desolation, irresponsibility, detachment, and lying.
4. The Lover:
The Lover archetype is the energy of the life-force itself. The Lover is the libido. Not just sexual appetites, but a general appetite for life. It is the primal energy that manifests through great primal hungers such as sex, food, well-being, reproduction, and our sense of meaning. The Lover seeks to satisfy those hungers. In the psyche, The Lover archetype is trained and adept at enjoying life through the senses. He has a divine appreciation for smells, sounds, tactile sensations, colors, and tastes. He is deeply sensual. Sensitive to the physical world, he feels compassionately and emphatically united with all things. The Lovers aesthetic consciousness craves physical and emotional connection with all things. However, as long as a man is possessed by the Shadow Lover, the energy serves to destroy himself and others. The Shadow states of The Lover are:
The Addicted Lover ( + active)
- The Addicted Lover does not put limits on his sensual and sexual experiences.
- He is the victim of his own sensitivity, losing control of his urges.
- His life is consumed by over-sensitivity, and he will sacrifice anything to fulfill his senses.
- He lives for the pleasure of the moment.
- The Addicted Lover is eternally restless and unsatisfied.
- He unconsciously identifies himself with God, as Lover.
- The traits include boundary-issues, obsession, shame, perversion, and abuse.
The Impotent Lover ( – passive)
- The Impotent Lover will ‘feel’ the sterility and flatness of life.
- He lacks enthusiasm, libido, and aliveness.
- He feels there is nothing worth living for, and all pleasures have been exhausted.
- He lacks imagination and vision.
- He withdraws from sexual advances and demands.
- He is sexually inactive or stale.
- The traits include depression, detachment, dissociation, and impotence.
Accessing the Archetypes
Below is a list of each archetype with brief outlines of how to access the healthy aspects of the energies.
- Dis-identify our Egos from The King, keep cognitive distance.
- Recognize and bless others; their talents and beauty.
- Commit and honor a trans-personal devotion.
- Be generative and encourage growth.
- Be energetic, decisive, courageous, enduring, persevering, and loyal.
- Care for ourselves and others.
- Show warmth, compassion, and appreciation.
- Fight good fights to make the world a better place for everyone
- Seek clarity, deep understanding and reflection of ourselves and others.
- Apply technical skill in our outer work, and in our inner handling of psychological forces.
- Regulate and control the energies of the other archetypes.
- Feel related, connected, alive, enthusiastic, compassionate, empathetic, and energized.
- Have romance about our lives, our goals, our work, and our accomplishments.
- Find the spontaneity and joy of life inside ourselves.
If contemporary men can take the task of their own initiation from Boyhood to Manhood as seriously as did their tribal forebears, then we may witness the end of the beginning of our species, instead of the beginning of the end. – Moore & Gillette
King Warrior Magician Lover is a deep and profound examination of the masculine psyche. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette draw on their vast knowledge and expertise in Jungian psychology. Each description of the archetypes are woven with examples across many cultures, religions, and historical figures. I found King Warrior Magician Lover to be an easy and enjoyable read, whilst also providing enlightening insight into the underlying energies that I have experienced myself as a man.
Thank you for reading.
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