“King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine” is a C. G. Jung based interpretation of masculine behavior and personality in the light of social context mythology, poetry and art. This book describes what it takes for a man (and boy) to grow up, what C.G. Jung defined as individuation process. The book presents those four archetypes and asserts that men need to embraces or control their positive and negative elements (shadows). C. G. Jung believed as depth psychologist that evolutionary and cultural roots manifested in archetypes to form our unconscious experience. The authors describe the potential in contemporary us and how to access those archetypes and utilize there energy within us.The book is organized in two major parts, the archetypes of boys and the archetypes of men and four subchapters the respective archetypes. All four representations of the archetypes have one positive (right amount) and 2 negative poles (deficit or surplus). For example, the positive lover archetype embraces the world with passion whereas the negative poles are the addicted lover and the impotent lover. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette see every man (or boy) somewhere between these three extremes.
– The King is the life giver and the most important responsible for the safety and well being. The book quotes from history and art that every society must have king or leader who is entrusted with guiding his people to success and comfort. The benefits and virtues of the king are many, but the responsibilities are many as well. And if the king fails in his duties he is traditionally disposed. The shadows sides are tyrant and the weakling.
– The Warrior is today the most controversial of the archetypes, because of the cruel acts perpetrated by its shadow side. Yet aggressiveness is a highly needed characteristic responsible for our personal achievements and those of our culture. The authors suggest that properly accessed, the Warrior can do a great deal to empower us to live our lives, provide self-discipline, and protect. The two shadow sides are the Sadist and the Masochist. The Warrior is a destroyer who destroys the enemies and clears a space for renewal and change. The prototype of the warrior is the soldier.
– The Magician, represents Logos according to Jung a masculine principle, is the archetype behind a multitude of professions like, lawyers but also engineers, scientists and priests. He sees the unseen. He is the mediator and communicator of secret knowledge, the healer, technologist, teacher, and spiritual.
The Magician always has a tendency to abuse his power, being the negative Magician, the manipulator.
– The Lover like the feminine principle Eros manifests energy and fertility of the nature. The gendering of Eros and Logos and synergy is a consequence of Jung’s anima/animus synergy. Lovers are at easy with our own deepest and most central values and visions, and with others. And only through union of the feminine and the masculine our culture and personality prospers and grows. The “me- society” of the impotent is sterile and without compassion and the sex addict destroys any spiritual dimension.Gillette and Moore’s book asks valid questions and does right again on the misunderstood and suppressed aspects of masculine life.
The book asserts also, that in former time these roles could be fulfilled by on person. The shaman as a holistic archetype has the King’s capacity to care, the Warrior’s capacity to fight and the Lover’s capacity to value someone or something enough to fight.
There is much to contemplate in these books which can be mapped with political, mythic and culture examples. The self- evidence of this interpretation and its usefulness is overwhelmingly convincing. The book can be used for understanding history, analyzing the state of your society, for self reflection or spiritual exploration. For example, look at your politicians: Does one of them have the virtues of those positive archetypes? As a man look into yourself or ask your family – are you a good King, a good Lover, a good Warrior and a good Magician? I re-read this book after a monk, who not coincidently is also a trained Jungian, used it as guideline line in a weekends treat at a monastery.
Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette have had great influence in the American men’s movement, but I approached this book from C. G. Jung, on which the concept of archetypes is based. The proposed archetypes of the book: “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” of the book prove to be useful metaphors for men to work on themselves and to understand their sons. Hope that was not to lengthy…