Summary of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

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  • Post last modified:June 9, 2024


  • Men struggle to evolve from boyhood to manhood due to the disappearance of the father from the home, the end of male initiation rites, and the mainstream idea of toxic masculinity.
  • In this day and age, men cannot count on anyone but themselves to enact the initiation into manhood that tribes and rituals used to take care of.
  • Manhood can be accessed within. There exists inside the mind four archetypes (universal images) that embody the ultimate masculine identity.
  • These are the King, the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover.
  • The King orders his kingdom, blesses his people, and gives it children.
  • The Warrior pushes forward aggressively.
  • The Magician learns a great deal about everything.
  • The Lover seeks sensation and connectedness with all things in life.
  • You can access these images through inner dialogue with the “voices” in your head, invocation, mimicking great men, or acting “as if”.
Cover of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

Short Summary: 3 min

Summary: 35 min

Book reading time: 4h

Score: 9/10

Book published in: 1990

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Table of Contents

What King, Warrior, Magician, Lover Talks About

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is a book written by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. It explains that the masculine rests on four archetypes that help men develop a healthy masculinity. Each of these archetypes has two negative shadow poles that men embody when they have not well-integrated their psychological conditions.


The authors explained well what archetypal images are, where they live in the mind, and how to access them.

You realize how true the book is when you recognize your own crappy behavior as detailed by the authors.

While Models and No More Mr. Nice Guy are great books too, they don’t explain how men can change their behaviors and become who they truly are.

They remain superficial: dress well, talk to girls. But it won’t be enough for most people.

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover does the job these books didn’t do.


The explanation of how to access the images could have been more elaborated.

Get the book here!

Short Summary of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

We no longer know what it means to be masculine and feminine for three reasons:

  1. The father has disappeared (divorce, etc) from the home which prevents the sons from becoming men and the daughters from learning how to relate to men.
  2. There are no longer any rituals that transform boys into men.
  3. The patriarchy has become an abusive system because it is operated by boys, not men.

The path from boyhood to manhood consists of integrating various parts of one’s personality during a process culminating with a ritual event guided by an old wise man. During this ritual, the boy’s Ego dies and he becomes a man.

Lack of mentors on the one hand and the disappearance of rituals on the other make it difficult for boys to become fully integrated men.

Luckily, all men have inside their psyche several archetypal images of the masculine. By reconnecting to these images, men can draw on healthy masculine energy and become masculine men.

There are four healthy boy archetypes that each have their active and passive Shadow poles; and four healthy men archetypes that each have their active and passive Shadow poles.

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The masculine archetypes.

The boy archetypes cannot be erased; rather, they need to be transcended to access the adult archetypes.

The boy archetypes are:

  • The Divine Child: like Jesus, he’s powerful and fragile. He needs protection from the armies that want to kill him.
    • The High Chair Tyrant: the love and care he receives are never enough, so he rejects them, thereby destroying the very thing he needs. Icarus’ story, pathological narcissism.
    • The Weakling Prince: overprotected, he needs constant care. Anything is too much for him.
  • The Precocious Child: he wants to know everything.
    • The Trickster: envious, he wants to destroy those he sees as better than him. He pretends he is better than he actually is, tricks people, then makes fun of them.
    • The Dummy: he pretends he doesn’t understand anything while in fact, he just thinks of himself as too good to reveal who he is.
  • The Oedipal Child: he seeks connection to the Great Mother whose love and nurture he needs.
    • The Mama’s Boy: obsessed with getting women’s love, he suffers from Don Juan’s syndrome.
    • The Dreamer: he dreams of love and relationships with real people but doesn’t go and get them. He develops relationships with intangible things as a result.
  • The Hero: he thinks of himself as invincible and immortal. He conquers, but he doesn’t know what to do with his conquests. He needs to break the bond with the mother and become courageous enough to fight off the villains of life by himself.
    • The Grandstander Bully: he gets enraged when his “rightful” place at the center gets challenged. He mainly seeks to impress others.
    • The Coward: he doesn’t stand up for himself and lets himself be abused until he snaps and transforms into the Grandstander Bully.

The Hero dies when he encounters humility (knowing one’s limits + asking for help)

  • The King: he has two functions: order, and fertility and blessing. The King brings order to his kingdom through the Word. He gives blessing (aka validation) and fertility (children) to the land of his kingdom (the Queen). When the King falls ill, so does his kingdom.
    • The Tyrant: he identifies with the archetype and refuses to give up power. He fears the youth and vigor of his children that he keeps on belittling.
    • The Weakling: Uncentered, and dependent on attention, he underlies the Tyrant who attacks anyone he projects his weakness on.
  • The Warrior: aggressive, aware of his death, and with a clear mind, the Warrior trains for skill, power, and accuracy. He pushes things forward, he’s courageous and takes responsibility. His loyal to someone and doesn’t commit to women.
    • The Sadist: he is afraid of being swallowed by the feminine as he does not yet trust his own abilities. He enjoys destroying what he sees as soft and feminine because he’s scared of it.
    • The Masochist: they abuse themselves hoping this will increase their sense of self-worth. They’re not confident so they seek confidence in something external (work -> workaholics, women -> sex addicts, etc). They project their warrior energy onto other people and rely on them for everything.
  • The Magician: he knows what others don’t, and can exploit knowledge and technology.
    • The Detached Manipulator: he plays with information for personal gains and manipulates others without them knowing.
    • The Denying Innocent One: he wants the power of the Magician without making the effort of learning. He’s envious of people better and will sabotage them.
  • The Lover: he realizes everything is connected to everything and connects to them too. He rejects boundaries and seeks passion in life. He wants to experience the world and all of its senses. He gives meaning to life.
    • The Addicted Lover: he seeks the love of the Great Mother which is never enough for him. He has no boundaries and won’t accept any.
    • The Impotent Lover: he lacks liveliness and becomes depressed, alienated from everyone.

You can access these archetypes with four different techniques:

  1. Active imagination dialogue: engage those “voices” in your head live or through writing. Understand they just want to be noticed and understood, and that they won’t bother you anymore after that.
  2. Invocation: choose an image representing an archetype and asks it to give you the power of the archetype within you.
  3. Admiring Men: read biographies of great men that embodied one or several archetypes well.
  4. Acting “as if”: fake it till’ you make it.

Summary of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover Written by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette


In the late twentieth century, we face a crisis in masculine identity of vast proportions.

We’ve lost what it means to be feminine and masculine and so people are confused regarding their own gender.

Three reasons explain this.

1. The disappearance of men

The disappearance of the father is traumatic for both women and children.

The weak or absent father cripples both his daughters’ and his sons’ ability to achieve their own gender identity and to relate in an intimate and positive way with members both of their own sex and the opposite sex.

2. The disappearance of ritual processes to initiate boys into manhood

These rituals have disappeared partly due to the Protestant reform and the Enlightenment, and have led to pseudo-initiations that fail to initiate boys into manhood. As a result, they remain boys.

Boy psychology is everywhere around us, and its marks are easy to see.

  • Abusive and violent behaviors.
  • Passivity and weakness
  • Both at once

3. The bad reputation of the patriarchy

The patriarchy is the social and cultural organization that has been ruling over the world from at least the second millennium B.C.E. to the present.

The feminists saw the patriarchy as an abusive system to women that subsequently needed to be deconstructed. In their eyes, the masculine identity is necessarily abusive.

However, this is incorrect. The patriarchy (defined as an abusive system to women) isn’t the expression of the male psychology but of the boy psychology – the immature masculine.

The boy fears both women and adult men.

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.

This is the manager at the office that cannot handle when someone is better than he is.

Men don’t struggle to connect to their inner feminine: they struggle to connect to their inner masculine, partly because of the patriarchy, partly because of the feminist’s criticism, and partly because of the lack of a masculine transformative rite.

By reconnecting with these strong masculine archetypes, many men are stuck in boy psychology managed to enter adult man psychology.

We don’t need less masculinity. We need more.

Because there is little or no ritual process in our society capable of boosting us from Boy psychology into Man psychology, we each must go on our own (with each other’s help and support) to the deep sources of masculine energy potentials that lie within us all.

That’s what this book is about.

Part I: From Boy Psychology to Man Psychology

1. The Crisis in Masculine Ritual Process

Sometimes we see men who “can’t get themselves together.” They’re fragmented; various parts of their personality are split off from one another and lead independent and chaotic lives.

No one has led him into direct and healing experiences of the inner world of the masculine potentials.

The evolution from boyhood to manhood can be understood as the attempt to move from a lower form of life experience and consciousness to a higher (deeper) level of consciousness; from a diffuse identity to a more consolidated and structured identity.

Our society has pseudo-rituals called pseudo-events. The “pseudo” comes from the fact that the type of masculinity the boy is taught is false and skewed (military, gang initiation, etc).

If the boy wants to become a man, there needs to be a symbolic death.

Death—symbolic, psychological, or spiritual—is always a vital part of any initiatory ritual.

The Boy Ego (the boy’s way of doing, thinking, and being) must die.

The second reason why our rituals are pseudo is that there is neither a sacred space nor an old wise man in which trust is total and who can guide the boy.

As a result, it’s every man for himself today, and most of us, ignorant about what to do and how, fail.

2. Masculine Potentials

According to Jung, the masculine essence exists in every man. They’re called “primordial images.”

The psyche of every person is grounded in what’s called “the unconscious collective”, made up of patterns and energy inherited from our ancestors. These archetypes provide the foundation of our behavior.

Eg: ducks instinctively bond with whoever is near them when they hatch. This is the caretaker archetype.

We have similar archetypes for “mother” and “father”. When our actual parents don’t fulfill their archetypal roles well, we end up with psychological problems.

The existence of archetypal images has been documented and proven. We can find them in mythologies and religions across all people.

3. Boy Psychology

Consider the following people:

  • The drug dealer
  • The wife beater
  • The “crabby” boss
  • The company “yes-man”

All these people are boys pretending to be men because nobody showed them how to become men. They’re governed by the boyhood blueprints, not the manhood ones.

Each of the archetypal energy potentials (both mature and immature) in the male psyche is made out of three parts.

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The three parts of the archetype.

At the top, the archetype is in its fullness. At the bottom, the archetype is experienced in a bipolar dysfunction, also called shadow form. This form is immature because the psychological condition has not been integrated well.

Lack of cohesion in the psyche is always a symptom of inadequate development.

Growing up means integrating the poles of these shadow forms (Aure’s Note: read Meeting the Shadow).

When you stand at the bottom of the pyramid, you can easily switch to the other side. As a result, men rarely suffer from the active or passive pole: they switch from one to the other.

Eg: A High Chair Tyrant can quickly become a Weakling Prince and the other way around.

image 3
The Male Archetypes.
image 2
Illustration from the book.
image 3
Illustration from the book.

Different archetypes come at different stages of life. The first archetype of the immature masculine is the Divine Child. The Precious and Oedipal children are next, followed by the Hero.

Each of these archetypes gives rise to the mature archetypes.

  • The Divine Child -> the King
  • The Precocious Child -> the Magician
  • The Oedipal Child -> the Lover
  • The Hero -> the Warrior

The boyish archetypes do not disappear – they’re transcended and built upon.

The Divine Child

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The Divine Child archetype.

The first, the most primal, of the immature masculine energies is the Divine Child.

Image: Jesus being born, worshipped by the angels and the Magi. He is extremely powerful (he’s the awaited King) yet extremely fragile – and needs protection.

Such a story exists in most mythologies.

  • Moses, for the Jews
  • Zoroaster, for the Persians
  • Sargon of Akkad, in Mesopotamia
  • Baby Buddha, in India-Nepal
  • Baby Krishna, in India
  • Baby Dionysus, in Greece

These stories are universal because the Divine Child is a psychological archetype living inside ourselves.

When men get better, they often dream of a newly born baby. And as in the stories, the current King (Herod, for Jesus) wants to kill the new King -> change is hard and the beginning of change should be protected because it is threatened!

The High Chair Tyrant

Image: the baby in his high chair screaming and crying for food and attention.

Like Jesus, he’s powerful and needs care, but the care he receives is never enough. As a result, he hurts himself by rejecting the very things he needs.

Characteristics of the High Chair Tyrant:

  • Arrogance
  • Childishness
  • Irresponsibility

Psychologists call this pathological narcissism. The boy needs to learn he is not the center of the universe.

The HCT archetype can still rule through the Shadow King in adulthood. Eg: the promising CEO who shoots himself in the foot. It’s Icarus’ story.

The more we rise in a hierarchy, the likelier we are to fall due to arrogance.

Then there’s the perfectionist.

The Perfectionist is the High Chair Tyrant who attacks his human host.

He gets angry at himself (just like his mother did) when he cannot meet his unrealistic demands.

The Tyrant pressures a man for more and better performance and is never satisfied with what he produces. The unfortunate man becomes the slave (as the mother was) of the grandiose two-year-old inside of him.

The pressure is such that the perfectionist eventually gets sick and dies, death being his only way out.

When the Tyrant cannot be controlled, he becomes Hitler, Stalin, or Caligula.

The Weakling Prince

The boy (and later, the man) who is possessed by the Weakling Prince appears to have very little personality, no enthusiasm for life, and very little initiative.

He needs constant care, and everything is too much for him.

He tends to be the overprotected one in the family.

He’s the polar opposite of the HCT.

Accessing the Divine Child

In order to access the Divine Child appropriately, we need to acknowledge him, but not identify with him.

We need to love and accept his creativity and the beauty of his primal aspect to utilize them. Unfortunately, many therapists depreciate the Divine Child which is too bad as what the patients really need is to get in touch with him.

Grandiose is good as it implies success. Failure, indeed, is often “normalcy” aka “average” -> the need to honor the Divine Child.

The Precocious Child

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The Precocious Child archetype.

The Precocious Child manifests in a boy when he is eager to learn.

The boy (and later the man) want to know the “why” of everything.

The Precocious Child is the origin of our curiosity and our adventurous impulses. He urges us to be explorers and pioneers of the unknown, the strange and mysterious.

The Know-It-All Trickster

He is expert at creating appearances, and then “selling” us on those appearances.

He makes you trust him then betrays you and laughs at you for it.

The Know-It-All man who is still possessed by this infantile shadow form of the Precocious Child wears his superiority (…) and displays it in his “I’m too busy and too important to talk with you now” attitude.

The man caught in this persona deceives himself and others about the depth of his knowledge and his level of importance.

His only positive side is that his arrogance enables him to deflate the ego of other people. He’s the Fool in the king’s court who reminds everyone of their own mortality.

The Trickster has no friends, as he alienates the very people he needs the support of.

Though its purpose in its positive mode seems to be to expose lies, if it is left unchecked, it moves into its negative side and becomes destructive of oneself and others.

The Trickster doesn’t want to do anything, he just wants to be. He’s passive-aggressive.

This is the energy form that seeks the fall of great men, that delights in the destruction of a man of importance.

But the Trickster doesn’t want this man’s responsibilities. He just wants to destroy him. This is why he doesn’t like authority. He is condemned to forever be on the outskirts of life, never taking responsibility.

His energy comes from envy.

The less a man is in touch with his true talents and abilities, the more he will envy others.

When we envy a lot, we are denying our own greatness. We need to get more in touch with ourselves as envy kills creativity.

The Trickster is the archetype that fills the space left due to the lack of connection to the Divine Child.

It gets activated when we are attacked or depreciated for who we are.

The Know-It-All Trickster has no heroes, because to have heroes is to admire others.

We can only admire others if we have a sense of our own worthiness.

The Dummy

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The Precocious Child archetype

The naive Dummy lacks personality, vigor, creativity, and energy. He can’t learn anything and doesn’t understand jokes.

His ineptitude, however, is often faked. He understands more than he shows. He may feel himself as too important to reveal who he is to the world. As a result, he is also a Trickster.

The Oedipal Child

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The Oedipal Child archetype.

All the immature masculine energies are overly tied, one way or another, to Mother, and are deficient in their experience of the nurturing and mature masculine.

While the Oedipal Child may lack the nurturing of the masculine, he can access its qualities.

He is passionate and has a sense of wonder and a deep appreciation for connectedness with his inner depths, with others, and with all things.

He is also in touch with spirituality, which comes from his yearning for mother. Not his real mother – she will disappoint him many times – but the Great Mother from the beyond (what the Greeks call eros).

Men should relieve their actual mothers from the role of the Great Mother that they cannot fulfill, and connect to the Great Mother instead.

The Mama’s Boy

The Mama’s Boy fantasizes about marrying his mother and taking her away from the father, especially when the father is absent or weak.

Freud came up with the term Oedipus complex.

Oedipus was the child of King Laius and Jocasta. A prophecy said he would kill his father, so the couple abandoned the baby in the forest where he was expected to die. Obviously, he was rescued by a shepherd.

He grew up and as he was walking on the road one day, he got into a fight with a chariot driver and killed him, without knowing that the victim was his father.

He went to Thebes and learned that the queen (his mother) was looking for a new husband. He married her. The truth was only uncovered years later, and Oedipus was cast out by the gods for his pretension to godhood. Moral of the story: Boys who are too bound to the Mother get hurt.

The Mama’s Boy is seeking the union with the Great Mother hence no mortal woman will ever satisfy him -> Don Juan syndrome.

These men often masturbate compulsively, using pornography in their search for the Great Mother.

Instead of affirming his own masculinity as a mortal man, he is really seeking to experience the penis of God—the Great Phallus—that experiences all women, or rather that experiences union with the Mother Goddess in her infinity of female forms.

The Mama’s Boy just wants to be, he doesn’t want to do the required sacrifice to have an actual relationship with a woman.

He doesn’t want to take responsibility.

The Dreamer

The Dreamer causes a boy to feel isolated and cut off from all human relationships (…) relationships are with intangible things and with the world of the imagination within him.

While other boys play, he sits on a bench and dreams. While the Mama’s Boy seeks the Great Mother, the Dreamer shows he’s failing at finding her.

The Hero

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The Hero archetype.

It is generally assumed that the heroic approach to life, or to a task, is the noblest, but this is only partly true.

The Hero is the most advanced form of boy psychology usually expressed in teenagehood.

However, it remains immature and will prevent men from reaching maturity in adulthood.

The Grandstander Bully

The boy (or man) under the power of the Bully intends to impress others. His strategies are designed to proclaim his superiority and his right to dominate those around him.

If his “rightful” place centerstage is challenged, he gets enraged. As a result, he’s a loner.

He’s a hot-shot junior executive, salesman, revolutionary, stock market manipulator. He’s the soldier who takes unnecessary risks in combat and, if he’s in a position of leadership, requires the same of his men.

He has an inflated sense of his skills and importance. He thinks he can do the impossible but he eventually shoots himself in the foot.

The Hero is tied to the mother; he needs to overcome her.

He is locked in mortal combat with the feminine, striving to conquer it and to assert his masculinity.

Fairytales never talk about what happens when the hero marries the princess because he doesn’t know what to do with her. He’s incapable of admitting that and fails as a result. This echoes the nature of Western Culture.

The only thing we know how to do is conquer; we don’t know what to do when everything has been conquered.

Our modern worldview has serious difficulty facing human limitations.

Sooner or later, we pay the price of playing god.

The Coward

The boy possessed by the Coward, the other pole of the Hero’s bipolar Shadow, shows an extreme reluctance to stand up for himself in physical confrontations.

He will also tend to let himself be bullied emotionally and intellectually.

When someone insists, the boy caves in.

He will feel invaded and run-over, like a doormat.

Once he’ll have had enough, he’ll switch to the Grandstander Bully.

What’s the Hero’s function? The Hero mobilizes the ego to help it break up with the Mother and face the difficult tasks that life assigns him.

The Hero calls on the masculine energies to face off against the villains of the world.

The Hero enables the boy to begin to assert himself and define himself as distinct from all others, so that ultimately, as a distinct being, he can relate to them fully and creatively.

The Hero pushes the boy beyond his limits.

We live in a world where sadly, the manifestation of the Hero is attacked by friends, family, etc due to pure envy.

We need a great rebirth of the heroic in our world. Every sector of human society, wherever that may be on the planet, seems to be slipping into an unconscious chaos.

Only a massive rebirth of courage in both men and women will rescue the world.

The end of the Hero is death followed by resurrection and access to heaven (Eg: Jesus).

His death, really, is the death of boyhood and the birth of manhood.

The “death” of the Hero (…) means that he has finally encountered his limitations. He has met the enemy, and the enemy is himself.

Death is the Hero’s encounter with true humility, that is:

  1. Knowing his limits
  2. Getting the help he needs

Being possessed by the hero means living the Grandstander Bully.

We will walk over others in our insensitivity and arrogance, and eventually we will self-destruct, ridiculed and cast out by others.

But if we access the energies of the Hero in the right way, we will be able to transition to manhood.

4. Man Psychology

It is enormously difficult for a human being to develop to full potential.

The boy within us exercises gravity to keep us in infancy, making it hard to “fly” to manhood.

We need (…) to build the pyramids of first boyhood and then manhood that constitute the core structures of our masculine Selves.

We need to build manhood on the structure of boyhood.

The four major forms of mature masculine energies are the King, the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover. They overlap and enrich one another.

Eg: a good King is also a good Warrior, Magician, and Lover.

They’re all archetypes that live in every man’s psyche.

The archetypes are mysterious entities or energy flows. They have been compared to a magnet beneath a sheet of paper.

They’re hidden, but we experience them. The myth, songs, paintings, etc always give a hint of their existence.

These archetypes act a bit like board members from a board chaired by our Ego.

We need to listen to them and then make a decision.

Man psychology is rare. The tough context in which people have grown (abuse, trauma, etc) stunted their growth. Most remain stuck in boy psychology. The role of philosophy and theology is to explain why that is so.

Psychologists have the following saying: “take responsibility for what you are not responsible for”.

That is, whatever traumas you got which weren’t your faults, will have to be fixed by you.

Institutions used to take care of these through rituals and ceremonies. Since it no longer is the case, we need to take care of it ourselves -> we live in the psychological age.

Part II: Decoding the Male Psyche—The Four Archetypes of the Mature Masculine

5. The King

The King energy is primal in all men (…) It comes first in importance, and it underlies and includes the rest of the archetypes in perfect balance.

The King is also a good Warrior, Lover, and Magician. He’s a bit like the Divine Child, just more selfless.

While the Divine Child (especially the HCT) has godhood ambitions, the King is closer to being God.

He is the primordial man, embodying the Father energy.

However, he is more extensive and basic than the Father.

Historically, the King was sacred, but the man who embodied him was not. Function man.

He was often killed when his ability to embody his role was failing, and a new one came -> death and resurrection of Christ -> those who become possessed by the King energy will die prematurely.

The King is the central archetype around which the psyche is organized.

He is the one who grants the boy access to manhood.

The Two Functions of the King in His Fullness

Two functions of the King help the boy become a man:

  1. Order
  2. Fertility and blessing


The King sits in his realm where he transforms chaos into order.

In religion (Egyptian, Judaism, Christianity, etc), Kings transform chaos into order using the Word -> words define our reality.

In this sense, at least, words make our reality and make our universe real.

The King gives a structure to the world through the map (all maps across cultures were divided into four parts) and through the law.

To become King, the man must first live according to the order (the law) before seeking to enforce it onto his people.

As long as the King respects the law given to him by the Gods, all go well in his kingdom. If he does not, the kingdom will be in trouble.

Practically, this translates to fatherless families, confronted with chaos.

Blessing and Fertility

Ancient peoples always associated fertility with the creative ordering of things by the gods.

Before that, fertility was associated with the feminine, but as the patriarchy developed, it came to be associated with the masculine. This was not an easy shift, and it never completely worked out.

Ancient cultures recognized that technically, fertility was the result of the association of male and female. But culturally, it was mostly given by the masculine.

In Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, the world comes from God, a masculine god. In mythology, male gods proactively engage in sexual relations with goddesses, and mortals.

King David had many children from many women.

The point is that as these men prospered physically and psychologically, so did their tribes and their realms. The mortal king, so goes the mythology, was the embodiment of the King energy.

The land was the symbol of feminine energy, to which the King was “married”

The King married the Queen to give his kingdom children. The kingdom mirrored the generativity of the royal couples. When the King became sick, the country weakened.

Blessing was the acknowledgment of the value of something. The King gave his people an audience and gave them his blessing. Blessing is extremely important. Our biology changes when we receive praise or feel valued.

Young men today are starving for blessing from older men, starving for blessing from the King energy.

Blessing heals and makes one whole.

The King archetype in its fullness possesses the qualities of order, of reasonable and rational patterning, of integration and integrity in the masculine psyche.

  • It stabilizes chaotic emotions and out-of-control behaviors.
  • It gives stability and centeredness.
  • It brings calm.
  • It mediates vitality, life, force, and joy.
  • It brings maintenance and balance.
  • It defends the sense of inner order, the integrity of being and of purpose, and the central calmness about who we are.
  • It looks upon the world with a firm but kindly eye.
  • It sees others in all their weakness and in all their talent and worth.
  • It honors them and promotes them.
  • It guides them and nurtures them toward their own fullness of being.
  • It is not envious, because it is secure, as the King knows its own worth.
  • It rewards and encourages creativity in us and in others.

The Shadow King: The Tyrant and the Weakling

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The King archetype.

We’ve all experienced a tiny bit of this King Masculine energy but most of what we have experienced was the Shadow King energy.

The Shadow King archetype has a bipolar active-passive structure: the Tyrant, and the Weakling.

The Tyrant

In the Bible, Herod sends his army to kill every newborn when he learns Jesus, a new King, was born. He’s the Tyrant. The Tyrant in us feels threatened by the new life that comes to “take our place”.

The Tyrant King is destructive rather than creative.

If he was secure in his position, he would understand his need to step aside and would have been happy to give the kingdom to Jesus.

It is the Shadow King as Tyrant in the father who makes war on his sons’ (and his daughters’) joy and strength, their abilities and vitality. He fears their freshness, their newness of being, and the life force surging through them, and he seeks to kill it.

He insults them or ignores them, both being a way to alter their development.

The man possessed by the Tyrant is very sensitive to criticism and, though putting on a threatening front, will at the slightest remark feel weak and deflated.

He doesn’t show it though. Behind his rage lies weakness and vulnerability: the Weakling.

The Weakling

The presence of the Weakling explains the need for attention and validation that the Tyrant has.

We can often feel this from our bosses or friends.

This explains their angry outbursts and their attacks on those they see as weak, that is, those upon whom they project their own inner Weakling.

The man possessed by the Weakling lacks centeredness, calmness, and security within himself, and this also leads him into paranoia.

Paranoia destroys calmness, orderliness, and character, and invites retaliation.

The Shadow King is formed when parents give either too much attention and adoration to their child, or not enough by means of abuse and attack on his grandiosity.

The Tyrant King/Weakling are split in his subconscious. These men seem like nice guys at first then unexpectedly become tyrants.

Accessing the King

The relation to an archetype is the same as the relationship between a star and a planet. The planet needs the star and “serves” the star, it doesn’t identify with the star.

Likewise, you can access the King energy by disidentifying your ego from it.

The Ego of the mature man (…) needs to think of itself as a steward of the King energy, not for the benefit of itself, but for the benefit of those within its “realm,” whatever that may be.

If the ego identifies with the archetype, it inflates and becomes fixated, which prevents the person from growing. If it disidentifies too much, it cuts itself from access to the archetype.

Too much (dis)identification sends the person back and forth between the active and passive poles of the archetype.


  • The Shadow King rises when the ego identifies too much with the King (in myth, trouble arises when someone wants to take the place of a god). This is the Usurpation Syndrome: the ego takes the place of the god.
  • The Weakling arises when we lose touch with the King energy within and project it onto other people. This is the dependent personality disorder.

We experience ourselves as impotent, as incapable of acting, incapable of feeling calm and stable, without the presence and the loving attention of that other person who is carrying our King energy projection.

When we are out of touch with our own inner King and give the power over our lives to others, we may be courting catastrophe on a scale larger than the personal.

But when we are accessing the King energy correctly, as servants of our own inner King, we will manifest in our own lives the qualities of the good and rightful King, the King in his fullness.

6. The Warrior

The Warrior archetype.

The Warrior is a controversial form of energy because of the damage (wars) it has created.

The people that seek to cut themselves from this energy usually find it back in unexpected places at unexpected times (sudden rage, etc).

We can’t ever cut ourselves from an archetype, we can only bury it, which creates far worse consequences.

Violence is still very much prevalent in our society:

  • Video games
  • Movies
  • Wars
  • Crimes

The Warrior as an icon existed in all societies that ever walked the earth. They didn’t only fight; they achieved stuff by defending their kingdom or expanding it.

The Warrior energy is a vital ingredient in our world-building and plays an important role in extending the benefits of the highest human virtues and cultural achievements to all of humanity.

The Warrior in His Fullness

The characteristics of the Warrior in his fullness amount to a total way of life, what the samurai called a do (pronounced “dough”). These characteristics constitute the Warrior’s Dharma, Ma’at, or Tao, a spiritual or psychological path through life.

The characteristics of the Warrior are clarity of mind, awareness of one’s death, and aggressiveness.

Aggressiveness is a stance toward life that rouses, energizes, and motivates.

It pushes us forward. The Japanese believed that there is only one way to face life’s battles (frontally) and one way to take: forward.

The Warrior knows the amount of aggressiveness to use because he knows his limitations, unlike the boy Hero.

The Warrior knows life is short,

This sense of the imminence of death energizes the man accessing the Warrior energy to take decisive action.

The Warrior trains for skill, power, and accuracy. He has a positive mental attitude. He’s courageous, takes responsibility for his actions, and has self-discipline.

He is loyal to someone or something (a people, a god, a king, etc).

Warriors don’t marry women for love, but for fun. Their true love is their work.

The Shadow Warrior: The Sadist and the Masochist

Detachment from the Warrior is dangerous as it usually happens as a result of repressing one’s feelings.

You want to have your mind under control, not detached. Otherwise, cruelty will sneak back in unexpected moments.

There are two types of cruelty: cruelty with passion and cruelty without.

The Nazis trained the SS to care for a puppy then to kill it at an arbitrary moment: it was cruelty without passion.

Then there is the passionate cruelty, like the God of the Old Testament that destroys civilizations.

The Warrior as avenging spirit comes into us when we are very frightened and very angry.

This passion for destruction and cruelty accompanies a hatred of the “weak”, which is the Sadist’s own Masochist.

The Shadow Warrior is related to the Hero.

He carries into adulthood the adolescent insecurity, violent emotionalism, and desperation as he seeks to resist the overwhelming power of the feminine which evokes the masochistic (or cowardly) pole of the Hero’s dysfunctional Shadow.

The man under the influence of the Shadow Warrior’s bipolarity, unsure of his legitimate phallic power, is still battling against what he experiences as the inordinately powerful feminine and against everything supposedly “soft” and relational.

He’s terrified he will be swallowed by it.

People with compulsive personality disorder (workaholics) are often Shadow Warriors. Their addiction comes from deep anxiety, the Hero’s desperation.

They have a very slim grasp on a sense of their own worthwhileness. They don’t know what it is they really want, what they are missing and would like to have. They spend their lives “attacking” everything and everyone— their jobs, the life-tasks before them, themselves, and others. In the process, they are eaten alive by the Sadistic Warrior and soon reach “burnout.”

They can’t measure up to their own standards so they abuse themselves.

Soldiers, revolutionaries, and activists often fall into the sadistic pole of the Shadow Warrior.

We become what we hate.

Leaders of revolutions always become the tyrants they have ousted.

If we are not confident in ourselves enough, we will rely on some external proof to reinforce it.

The man who becomes obsessed with “succeeding” has already failed. He is desperately trying to repress the Masochist within him, yet he is already displaying masochistic and self-punishing behaviors.

The Masochist is the passive pole of the Warrior’s Shadow, that “pushover” and “whipped puppy” that lies just beneath the Sadist’s rageful displays.

The Masochist projects warrior energy onto other people and experiences himself as powerless.

The man possessed by the Masochist is unable to defend himself psychologically; he allows others (and himself) to push him around, to exceed the limits of what he can tolerate and still keep his self-respect, not to mention his psychological and physical health.

We will take too much abuse for too long then explode one day “unexpectedly”.

Accessing the Warrior

If we are possessed by the active role of the Shadow Warrior, we will experience him in a sadistic form: we will abuse both ourselves and others.

If we are not in touch with the warrior, we will be possessed by his passive pole: we will be cowardly and masochistic.

We will dream but not be able to act decisively to make our dreams come true. We will lack vigor and be depressed.

The question isn’t whether we are possessed by which pole of an archetype, but how we are failing to properly access the energy of the archetype.

If we are accessing the Warrior appropriately, we will be energetic, decisive, courageous, enduring, persevering, and loyal to some greater good beyond our own personal gain.

7. The Magician

image 1
The Magician archetype

The Magician is the one who knows (1) and who can master technology (2), his energy being of a dual component.

He is often the “ritual elder” who guides the processes of transformation, both physical and psychological.

The Magician is initiated in the secrets knowledge and his job is to initiate others.

All knowledge that takes special training to acquire is the province of the Magician energy.

Historical Background

It may be that in the past, the energies of the King, Warrior, Lover, and Magician were all experienced by “the chief” who was the only one to get access to them. He was the only one that was “whole”.

Today, each energy is usually embodied by one person. In the case of the Magician, his specialty is to know what others don’t.

He’s a master at channeling power. Since he knows a lot about human nature, he can deflate arrogance.

The Magician is expressed in men as the “BS detector”. He sees when the King becomes too arrogant and can get him back to reason.

The early Christians didn’t like the Magicians and cast them out. The Magician’s energy came back in the Middle Ages with alchemy, the art of transforming lead into gold.

What most people missed with alchemy is that it was also an attempt at self-transformation.

The current age is the Magician’s age due to the amount of technology we develop. But it’s also an age where the wisdom of the Magician lacks due to the absence of rituals.

Two types of science today do the work that ancient Magicians used to do (physics and depth psychology).

The knowledge of the Magician helps us understand the depth of our psyche.

The Magician in His Fullness

The Magician energy is the archetype of awareness and of insight, primarily, but also of knowledge of anything that is not immediately apparent or commonsensical.

It is the archetype that governs the “observing Ego”.

The Ego is not bad – it is in fact, vital for our survival. The Ego becomes detrimental when it identifies with or is possessed by a negative energy form.

The normal role of the Ego is to stand back and observe, monitor, then make decisions.

When the observing Ego is aligned with the masculine Self along an “Ego-Self axis,” it is initiated into the secret wisdom of this Self. It is, in one sense, a servant of the masculine Self.

The Ego should be detached from ordinary life. Its role is to access the right energy flow at the right time.

The Magician energy is the one that manages the energy from the other archetypes. The Magician alone doesn’t act (that’s the quality of the Warrior), but he thinks.

The Magician, then, is the archetype of thoughtfulness and reflection.

The Magician in past societies, was the Shaman.

The Shadow Magician: The Manipulator and the Denying “Innocent” One

We need to think about the Magician the same way we think about polluting technologies: it can also be toxic.

Behind the propaganda ministries, the controlled press briefings, the censored news, and the artificially orchestrated political rallies lies the face of the Magician as Manipulator.

The active pole of the Shadow Magician is a manipulator that guides people without their noticing. He reveals just enough information to look good, and charges a lot for that. He is cruel.

Eg: pharmaceutical companies. They charge a lot for medicine they only have the knowledge of and withhold harmful information for their patients. Lawyers do the same thing.

These people think too much and never really live their lives. We all know someone like that.

He is caught in a web of pros and cons about his decisions and lost in a labyrinth of reflective meanderings from which he cannot extricate himself. He is afraid to live, to “leap into battle.”

In his fear of making the wrong decision, he makes none. In his fear of living, he also cannot participate in the joy and pleasure that other people experience in their lived lives.

Whenever we use our knowledge to lie, control, or increase our status, we identify with the Shadow Magician.

The passive pole (Denying Innocent One) is the adult Dummy. He wants the power of the magician without wanting the responsibility. He doesn’t want to learn, make efforts, or know himself.

He’s also envious; he blocks others and seeks their downfall. He wants to “deflate” them when deflation isn’t necessary.

His hostility toward questions, even his accumulated expertise, are all designed to cover his real inner desolation and hide his actual lifelessness and irresponsibility from the world.

He hides his hostility behind naiveté.

Accessing the Magician

Possessed by the manipulator, we are in the grip of the Magician’s Shadow. If we’re out of touch with him, we’re in the Denying Innocent One.

  • We won’t have a sense of inner security
  • We won’t be able to trust our thinking processes.
  • We won’t be able to detach from our emotions and our problems.
  • We’re likely to experience inner chaos and be vulnerable to outside pressures that will push and pull us in many different directions.
  • We will act in a passive-aggressive way toward others, but claim to be innocent of any ill intentions.

The key is to separate your ego from your emotions without repressing your emotions.

A good way to do that is, when a negative feeling arises, to take it and “place” it in the middle of the room to observe it. If there are several feelings, we can stack them up.

When their force has passed, we can banish them.

This improves the connection with the Magician as the Magician is the one who observes and thinks.

8. The Lover

image 4
The Lover archetype.

The erect penis is a sign of life force. Blood carried the energy and enables the penis to erect.

There are different forms of love:

  • Nonerotic love
  • Eros: sexual love, enabling bonding: general appetite for life.

The Lover, by whatever name, is the primal energy pattern of what we could call vividness, aliveness, and passion. It lives through the great primal hungers of our species for sex, food, well-being, reproduction, creative adaptation to life’s hardships, and ultimately a sense of meaning, without which human beings cannot go on with their lives.

The Lover in His Fullness

The Lover is the archetype of play and of “display,” of healthy embodiment, of being in the world of sensuous pleasure and in one’s own body without shame.

The Lover is sensitive to the physical world. He understands and feels everything is connected to one another.

The man under the influence of the Lover wants to touch and be touched. He wants to touch everything physically and emotionally, and he wants to be touched by everything.

He wants to experience the world in all of its sensuality. Everything he sees is art.

He can “read” people like a book. He is often excruciatingly sensitive to their shifts in mood and can feel their hidden motives.

He doesn’t like boundaries and wants to embrace it all, which makes him at odds with the Magician, King, and Warrior.

He’s often conflicted between “love and duty”.

Cultural Background

The Lover is different than the other archetypes. All religions have persecuted him, seeing him as deviant.

The Lover manifests two different ways of life:

  1. The artist: painter, musician, comedian, etc.
  2. The psychic: those who are deeply connected to their instincts.

Every activity geared towards “enjoying something” will draw energy from the lover.

The Shadow Lover: The Addicted and the Impotent Love

The man living in the Shadow Lover is possessed by him. Usually, he asks himself the following question: Why should I put any limits on my sensual and sexual experience of this vast world, a world that holds unending pleasures for me?

The Shadow Lover is lost in an ocean of sensations. Anything is enough to get him off his center.

In the active pole, the Shadow Lover is restless, always looking for the next adventure, constantly craving for something new.

This is why in a way, monogamy can be seen as the product of a man’s centeredness. He’s stopped looking for something new. A monogamous man cannot be an Addicted Lover.

He is bounded, not by external rules but by his own inner structures, his own sense of his masculine well-being and calm, and his own inner joy.

On the other hand, the Addicted Lover seeks the ultimate and continuous orgasm. He has no boundaries, and won’t accept any. He is a grown Mama’s Boy. He is still within “his mother”.

In the passive pole (that is, out of touch with the Lover), a man is the Impotent Lover.

Lack of enthusiasm, lack of vividness, lack of aliveness.

We can’t wake up, can’t go to sleep, speak in a monotone voice, are alienated from friends and family, aka we become depressed.

Without a vision, the people perish.

Accessing the Lover

If we are appropriately accessing the Lover, but keeping our Ego structures strong, we feel related, connected, alive, enthusiastic, compassionate, empathic, energized, and romantic about our lives, our goals, our work, and our achievements.

The Lover gives a sense of meaning. The King, Warrior, and Magician are detached from life. The Lover energizes them and gives them the final purpose – love.

Many men have repressed their Lover early and don’t feel any passion. It’s important to find again this joy and spontaneity in life.

Conclusion: Accessing the Archetypal Powers of the Mature Masculine

There has never been a time when the mature archetypes of the masculine were dominant. However, there used to be structures, systems, and symbols that evoked a greater level of masculinity.

All that is changed now, cashed in for personal wealth and self-aggrandizement, the currency of the day.

Our world needs the masculine energy more than ever. Here’s how you can access this masculine energy.


The first thing to do is an honest self-appraisal.

The question isn’t whether the Shadow archetypes show up in your life, but to what extent do they do?

Let us remember that the key to maturity, to moving from Boy psychology to Man psychology, is to become humble, to be grasped by humility.

True humility means knowing our limitations and getting the help we need.

1. Active Imagination Dialogue

In this technique, the conscious Ego enters into dialogue with various unconscious entities. Behind these lie the archetypes.

image 10
Representation of the archetypes in the mind.

We sometimes do things we don’t mean and fail to do things we want to do. Why? Because of these Shadow archetypes.

In active imagination dialogue, we talk with these archetypes and listen to their reply. It’s best to carry the dialogue in writing.

If the archetype is really combative, it’s best to reach a truce or a consensus and talk to a therapist. If you somehow talk to several archetypes at the same time, treat them all like you would a board meeting.

The more you “talk to yourself”, the more likely you are to discover the answers you are looking for.

What these Shadow archetypes want is to be listened, noticed, and taken seriously. Once it’s the case, they no longer need to act out in our lives.

2. Invocation

Invocation comes down to closing your eyes and calling on the images you desire to see.

Imaging deeply affects our moods, our attitudes, the way we look at things, and what we do.

It’s therefore important to invoke the right images.

  1. Find a quiet place.
  2. Clear up your mind.
  3. Focus on an image that has mental pictures and spoken words (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover).
  4. Choose the image. Focus on it. Talk to the image. If it’s the image of the King, call him up inside yourself.
  5. Merge your deep unconscious with the King.
  6. Realize that you are different from him. Your ego should serve him, not become him.
  7. Tell him that you need him, that you need his help—his power, his favor, his orderliness, his manliness.
  8. Keep a reminder of these archetypes in your daily life.

3. Admiring Men

Mature men need to admire other men, living and dead.

We need to be in touch with older men, and if they are not available, we need to read their biographies.

For the Warrior, read the stories of Ramses II, King Cetshwayo, or George Patton.

For the King, read the stories of Lincoln or Ho Chi-Minh.

For the Lover, read Leo Buscaglia.

The images and thoughts we invoke don’t only change how things look – it also changes how they are.

Eg: you start meeting many girls when you invoke the Lover.

4. Acting “As If”

If you can’t feel like you are somebody, act like him. Fake it until you make it!

If you need the Lover, go out and force yourself to enjoy the sunset.

If you need the Warrior, go out and learn a martial art.

If you need the Magician, act as if you really have wisdom!

Final Word

It is time for men— particularly the men of Western civilization—to stop accepting the blame for everything that is wrong in the world.

Men should never feel apologetic about their gender.

Don’t forget that transformative movements take time and effort.

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