Every human has both masculine and feminine archetypes and both should be developed but one will normally be their more dominant essence. This article focuses on the masculine and can be used by both sexes.
The King, Warrior, Magician, Lover according to Jungian literature represent the four archetypes that makeup masculinity. It was further developed by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette in their book with the same title.
Moore states that these archetypal male energies serve different purposes. A complete man must develop all of these which will bring you a life of confidence, service and purpose.
You may notice as you read the article that some areas are more developed for you right now and that you need to focus on the others.
The Structure of the Archetypes
Moore writes that each male archetype consists of two bipolar dysfunctional shadows and one highest expression.
The goal is for each man to reconcile and integrate both to attain the highest expression of the particular archetype.
It goes even deeper than that. Each archetype has a mature form and an immature form. The mature form has been mentioned already as the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. The immature forms are the Divine Child, the Hero, the Precocious Child and the Oedipal Child and they also have two bipolar dysfunctional shadows.
To access the mature aspect you have to develop the immature form first, for example if a boy wants to grow the warrior he must develop the hero or king he must develop the divine child etc.
Here’s an illustration to help simplify things for you:
The Boyhood Archetypes
These are the immature forms of the masculine but have their purpose. There is a time to be a boy but the problem arises when your a man and you are still primarily operating from these.
Accessing these are essential for a boys development and instils a sense of play and wonder to their learning and development.
The Divine Child
This is the archetype that comes before the King and is normally this first one you develop as a boy. This is our source of enthusiasm, joy and adventure when we are young.
Here we are helpless and all-powerful at the same time as we still need our needs met by other people but we believe we can do anything. If you look at old family videos, listen to stories from your aunts and uncles or watch children in this state their happiness and playfulness is contagious.
Great stories come from this think of special babies like Jesus, Krishna, Moses and the Buddha who had enormous potential.
The High Chair Tyrant
In this aspect you still need attention and your needs met like the divine child but you don’t give anything back. There’s no inspiration only demands and if they are not met you’ll throw a tantrum. Imagine a boy on a chair being given food but still complaining and making a mess everywhere.
This is the embodiment of entitlement and narcissism. A grown man living in this aspect will sulk when he doesn’t get what he wants and won’t take responsibility for his life.
It also comes up when we are seeking perfection in ourselves and not taking action.
The Weakling Prince
This aspect is a victim that doesn’t have any zest for life. When challenges arise he doesn’t handle them but expects people to save him.
As an adult this can come to play in the form of passive aggressiveness and nice guy syndrome.
Accessing the Divine Child within you:
This about being playful, living a life of wonder and staying open to your infinite potential as you get older.
The Precocious Child
This archetype if properly nurtured will lead you to the magician as you get older.
Here we want to learn about the world asking the big questions about life like why are we here? What’s in space? How was that made?
The precocious child manifests as the boy that reads for hours, starts to paint, creates a science project or improves his athleticism. He’s all about investigating the things that are mysterious to him.
The Know-It-All Trickster
This is where mischief comes from as a boy. He starts to feel a sense of superiority and wants to show off.
The Know-it-all Trickster doesn’t have much integrity and knows how to charm his way out of trouble or manipulate people covertly. He’s often the loud mouth that tries to be smart or intimidate with words which come from his jealousy and insecurities.
As a man, this can play out as portraying the life of a millionaire whilst not earning very much.
Many cultures have a trickster figure as part of their mythology. Think Loki from Nordic mythology, Odysseus in Greek mythology or a coyote in Native American culture.
This aspect is where a boy seems to be un-resourceful, naive, incompetent and slow to catch on to things. The is often not entirely true however and he plays dumb to save face so he doesn’t have to actually apply himself.
Accessing the Precocious Child within you:
To develop this within you it’s about staying curious about life whilst accumulating knowledge. You don’t use this knowledge to feel superior to others but to share them with those wanting to learn.
The Oedipal Child
This archetype if properly integrated will allow you to access the Lover.
Moore argues that all boys long for the feminine energy that appears as the Goddess in many myths and cultures.
It’s about exploring the connection with others and enjoying life deeply with self-expression and passion.
The Mummy’s Boy
This is where a boy associates that feminine energy solely with his mother. He is too connected with his mother and this aspect can come up when there is no father or a weak one in the household.
This is one of those undercover shadows because we are often told that we should make our mothers happy no matter what and women will say they want a guy like this but really they don’t find this attractive at all. If you’re struggling to attract women or struggling to lead other men you may be embodying this archetype.
It’s where you put your mothers’ desires above your own just to be validated by her and men under this influence never learn that their wives come before her.
This also manifests with jumping from woman to woman for instant gratification or excessive porn use as they have failed to harness the feminine energy in a healthy way.
This shadow cuts himself off from human contact for example when you see the boy who is always sitting on his own while other children are playing. This is different from taking time for healthy solitude and introspection. He thinks about what life could be instead of learning or taking action to actually make his dreams come true.
Accessing the Oedipal Child within you:
This about being able to be warm and connected to others whilst staying true to yourself. He’s not afraid of feminine energy but doesn’t put it on a pedestal. He loves and appreciates his mother but isn’t going to sacrifice his own life just to please her. When you can access this archetype you will start having healthy relationships with women.
This is where as a boy you become more and more independent from your parents. You began to rely on your own competence and take challenges on. This can manifest as sometimes taking very risky challenges that adults wouldn’t take. The hero is portrayed in so many movies like Batman, Spiderman and Star Wars. It is still an immature archetype because he doesn’t know his limitations and has not become truly selfless like the Warrior.
It’s normally the last development stage before a boy becomes a man. Moore says that the transformation must be done with the ‘death’ of the Hero. In many cultures this is done with an initiation or ritual which has been lost in western culture. For example, in one Senegalese tribe a boy is taken from their mother and has to survive one month in the forest before having the privilege of being respected as a man.
The Grandstander Bully
This is when a boy aims to impress others with dominance and intimidation. He demands respect instead of earning it and always wants to be centre stage.
You can see this in action when a man blows up at a waitress or takes what’s happening in his personal life out on his staff. Underneath however there is an insecure coward that is trying to protect his inflated sense of self.
He also cannot integrate any feminine energy into his psyche and you can see this with macho men who look down upon things like meditation or discount the importance of love.
When the bully is outmatched you can see clearly his false bravado flip into the next shadow – the Coward.
This aspect of the boy avoids all confrontation and cannot stand up for himself. He is a conformist and would rather save face then go after what he wants.
A boy/man will never be happy if he is operating from here. Sure he’ll save some moments of discomfort but his internal world will be a mess. Deep down he despises himself and his envious of other people. This can reach breaking point like in the Simpsons when Ned Flanders the super nice neighbour finally erupts and turns completely into the Grandstander Bully a because his true self has been bottled up for so long.
Note that all shadows can flip easily from one to the other.
Accessing the Hero within you:
This archetype is about coming to grips with the fine balance between taking risks and pushing towards greatness but also knowing your own limitations so you are most effective.
These boyhood archetypes never leave us and If they have been developed properly it creates a strong foundation for manhood. Now its time for us to transition to the mature masculine archetypes.
This archetype is about feeling deeply whether it is of joy or pain, opening up your heart and using all of your senses, being connected to others, enjoying the pleasures of life and having no boundaries.
Passionate, present, boundless, sensual, excited and idealistic.
The Addicted Lover
A man possessed by this shadow is always searching for that new thing to make him feel alive. He’s never satisfied and always needs a new woman, experience or possession.
It’s the type of guy that falls in love with every girl he dates and becomes depressed when it ends. He has many ideas for business ventures but no follow through. He collects items and is always buying new things. He travels the world but doesn’t get the joy he’s looking for from the experience.
He doesn’t feel whole and his love is constantly being channelled in different directions or he is so focused on one thing that it brings him to ruin, think Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
The solution to this is to have enough awareness to look beyond your base desires grounding your energy onto what truly fulfils you.
The Impotent Lover
This is a man who is completely out of touch with his lover energy. His life feels bland and nothing brings him enjoyment anymore. His relationships are non-existent and he is sexually inactive.
This can be the by-product of the man who disciplines himself too much and denounces any form of pleasure but he cannot escape that part of him so it manifests into an unhealthy addiction like excessive porn use.
Accessing the Lover within you:
Cultivate a fun and energy-giving hobby. – Ideally, it should be different to your primary career to activate a different part of you. A few examples are art, dancing, surfing, and gymnastics.
Enjoy some play and pleasure. – Do something for the sake of enjoyment without achieving anything like treating yourself to a massage or exploring nature.
Enjoy the beauty of life all around you and go deeper with it. – Be mindful with that meal you’re about to have enjoying all the different flavours. Appreciate all the goodness in you’re favourite drink. Enjoy kissing and touching your woman’s skin instead of getting to the end. Be completely present when you look at that awe-inspiring view or when you’re having that deep conversation with a friend.
Take time for romance. – It could be reading a romantic book, planning a surprise date for your girlfriend, giving someone a sincere compliment or buying someone special a gift.
Groom yourself well. – Taking time with your appearance. Buying nice clothes. Shaving. Looking good. Smelling good and keeping your environment tidy.
This archetype is when you are embodying action towards your goals, fighting for a worthy cause, going after greatness and leaving a lasting legacy.
Aggressive, purpose-driven, mindful, adaptable, minimalist, decisive, skilful, loyal, emotionally detached and a creative destroyer.
The Warrior can detach themselves from emotion when it’s needed but it’s unhealthy when that is his default state of mind.
This is the soldier that finds it difficult to adjust to the family life when he comes home or the drill sergeant that runs his relationships the same way as his troops. Men like this are married to their job and nothing else satisfies them.
They have unattainable standards for themselves and others and this can lead to cruelty. The father that berates his son over poor grades instead of expressing his disappointment and then studying with him
A man taken over by the shadow is powerless. He has no personal boundaries and lives to please everyone but himself in life.
He’s the one that takes all the abuse at work, gets walked over by his boss or allows his girlfriend to control his life.
He enjoys the suffering in a way and it gives him a sense of inner pride and martyrdom however he can quickly turn into a sadist if he gets pushed over the edge.
Accessing this Warrior within you:
Challenge yourself. – Exercise your body and push your physical limits. Take up boxing or martial arts. Go after your goals and regularly do something that scares you.
Strengthen your discipline. – Establish good habits and routines. Build up your resilience and give your gifts fully every day without letting any external force slow you down.
Stands up to injustice. – The warrior stands up for what he believes in or when someone’s being taken advantage of. He knows what’s right and wrong and acts accordingly.
Be assertive. – State your needs and desires. Be honest and direct with your communication; don’t shy away from hearing a no or telling someone no when you need to.
Be Decisive. Bring more certainty to your relationships and environments. One of the main traits of successful people is making decisions quickly. Women also love a decisive man so cultivate this daily and you’ll notice a big change in your life.
This archetype is about mastering a craft, planning and acquiring knowledge.
Intuitive, a truth-seeker, reflective, thoughtful, patient, spiritual and an alchemist.
The Detached Manipulator
Here instead of being a magician in its fullness where you want to bestow others with the knowledge you have learnt; this shadow withholds critical information so people appear inferior to himself. He often poses as if he is willing to allow people to learn his secrets. Think of the guys that sell get rich quick scheme or getting a 6 pack in a week. Deep down however he is extremely lonely and craves connection with others.
The Innocent One
A man possessed by this shadow wants all the glory and success associated with harnessing the Magician but isn’t willing to put in the actual work it takes to get there. They float around trying different things but never commit to mastery and instead use their energy to bring down others that are actually doing it.
Accessing the Magician within you:
Commit to life long learning. – This part of you knows that theirs is always room for improvement in your life. Taking the time to study combined with action will maximise your results.
Have a transcendence practice. – This could be meditation, a walk in nature, gratitude, visualisation, and forgiveness. This will allow you to tap into altered states of consciousness, which will support you in accessing insights, energies, and ideas that are outside the busyness of ordinary life.
Find a mentor. – This is where magician energy is built knowing you do not have all the answers. There are people that will exponentially speed up your abilities if you let them. Be a good student listen well, do the work and show appreciation.
Dedicate yourself to your mission. – Don’t dabble. Yes, there’s a time to try new things but committing is a sign of true maturity. It exercises the traits of patience, effort and discipline that allow you to build something great.
Create more. – Boys consume everything from video games, tv, clothes, food, parties whereas the mature man is of service to others with his actions through his work, learning new skills and actioning his ideas. He cuts out what isn’t useful in his life and focuses on what matters.
This archetype is a well-rounded deeply trustable man. It is what you earn when you have integrated the Warrior, Lover and Magician consistently.
Centred, decisive, present, he lives with integrity, he providers order, he protects his realm, he inspires creativity in others and he blesses the lives of others.
This is a man that abuses his power. He tears down others and believes the whole world revolves around him. He has a scarcity mentality and doesn’t understand the truth that the more you share with others your power and influence grows. He’s also the one that is quick to throw people under the bus for his own gain even they are his friends, family or employees.
You see this in tales when a pure baby is born who people believe will be a future king who the tyrant goes after because it reminds him of his shortcomings.
This is the opposite shadow aspect. He defers decisions onto other people and doesn’t take responsibility for his life. He is constantly paranoid that people are out to get him and can quickly become controlling and cruel out of fear which can turn him into a tyrant.
Accessing the King within you:
Live by your own internal code. – Not what society tells you, not what the youtube comments are saying, not your parents, not your friends. At the end of your life, you want to be proud of how you have lived and that you have created your own kingdom, not someone else’s.
Take full responsibility for your life. – This means the good and the bad and letting go of blaming others. Facing your lessons directly and understanding that everything in your life is under your control.
Develop traits of true leadership. – Take risks and put your reputation on the line when needed, asks of others what you would only do yourself and rewards the people around you that deserve it.
Be a mentor- A king blesses other people and for a young boy a kind word from someone he respects can mean the world to him. Pass down the wisdom that you have learnt and help others on their path to maturity.
Live with more integrity – Live if you are always being watched and aim for true alignment where your values, beliefs and actions are in harmony. This is where wholeness comes from.
For me, this is one of the most powerful frameworks you can use to develop yourself as a man. You may be able to see where these archetypes show up in your psychology. Use it to evaluate what you may not have integrated and take action on it.
Blessings future Kings!