An archetype is a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches. In the MKP world, we work with four masculine archetypes:
This notion of archetype is derived from work by Carl Jung and is described very well in the book, “King, Warrior, Magician Lover” by Moore & Gilette and in “The Four Archetypes of the Mature Masculine” by Brett McKay.
The Structure of the Archetypes
Quoting from McKay, “Moore argues that each male archetype consists of three parts: the full and highest expression of the archetype and two bi-polar dysfunctional shadows of the archetype. To better understand this, Moore portrays each archetype as a triangle.
“The bottom corners of the triangle represent the bi-polar shadow-split in the archetypal Self. The goal of each man, according to Moore, is to reconcile and integrate these two bi-polar shadows in order to attain the fullest expression of the archetype as represented at the top of the triangle.”Moreover, each archetype has a mature and immature form. Moore calls the mature forms of the masculine archetypes “Man Psychology” and the immature forms “Boy Psychology.” The mature masculine archetypes are the four we’ve already mentioned: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. The immature, boyhood archetypes are the Divine Child, the Hero, the Precocious Child, and the Oedipal Child. Each of these immature archetypes have the same tripartite configuration as the mature archetypes. They all have their highest and fullest expression along with their two bi-polar dysfunctional shadows.
“Before a boy can access the King archetype he must develop the Divine Child; before he can access the Warrior archetype, he must develop the Hero archetype. And so on and so forth.” The image below lays this all out.
The following definitions of each archetype are copied directly from this article.
The lover is finely attuned to the realm of the senses and worships beauty. He is a musician, poet and artist, and a lover of all things, both inner and outer. He is passionate, and delights in touching and being touched. He wants to always stay connected, and does not recognize boundaries. He wants to experience the world as one ongoing big orgasm of hearts uniting as One. He is the mystic who feels everything as himself, and the source of all intuition. Through his feeling capacity, he is finely attuned to people’s energy, capable of reading them like an open book. His desire for love and connectedness considered, feeling into other people and discovering dark intentions is a painful experience for him. He is opposed to all structures that maintain separateness – of all law and order that keep hearts lonely and isolated. He is, in other words, opposed to all the other archetypes. The Lover is crucial in keeping the other archetypes energized, humane, and in touch with the ultimate purpose of love. The Lover keeps them from turning dark.
The Shadow Lover: The Addicted and the Impotent Lover
The Addicted Lover is the active pole of the Shadow Lover. He is constantly searching for the fulfillment of his sensual desires. A true hedonist, he throws himself into a never ending and exhausting search for the fulfillment, without ever really knowing what he truly looks for. He is pulled around by circumstances and his constantly shifting desires, never finding rest. A woman here, a women there, then music, art, fine wine – whatever keeps his sensual side alive. The Addicted lover has not solidified in his internal structures, and will forever hunt for the attainment of his desire, helplessly shackled to the desire for union with Mother (the realm of sensory experience is the realm of the Feminine).
The Impotent Lover is the passive pole of the Shadow Lover. He is chronically depressed, and feels cut off from himself and others. He loses his zest for life, his energy all but gone.He is sexually inactive, and will withdraw from all demands that are placed on him and his sexuality. If his partner becomes too demanding, requesting a sex life from him he is incapable to offer, his feelings of imprisonment may propel him out of the relationship and onto the endless road of addiction that is the domain of the Addicted Lover.
The warrior is a powerhouse of energy, the source of which is a transpersonal commitment. He is fiercely loyal to his warrior code – which is his honor – and to the king, who mythologically represents his purpose. The warrior is not concerned about his own comfort and security in pursuit of his goal, as his training teaches him to live with death as his constant companion. The domain of the Warrior is the battlefield – be it a battlefield of war, of spirituality, or of moral ethics. The Warrior’s purpose is often to destroy, but the mature warrior destroys only that which is negative and harmful to the world. He is a master tactician, knowing at all times his limitations, and finds creative ways around them. The warrior is not a thinker, he is a doer. Thinking is his enemy, because it inhibits his ability to act swiftly and with force. He trains himself not to think, and becomes a master of his mind, attitudes, and body. The warrior is detached from life, with an almost infinite ability to withstand psychological and physical pain in pursuit of his goal. He is a little «unhuman», always chasing his next big goal, always putting emphasis on his mission as opposed to his relationships.
The Shadow Warrior: The Sadist and the Masochist
The Sadist is the active pole of the Shadow Warrior. The Warrior’s detachment from life leaves the door open to cruelty. The Warrior is most vulnerable in the area of relationships, where he must constantly stay vigiliant of his mind and emotions. They must not be repressed, but be under control, lest cruelty sneak into him while he isn’t looking. The Sadist hates weakness and vulnerability, which is a projection of his hidden Masochist, and will take great glee in tormenting those unfortunate souls that remind him of his shadow. The Sadist directed inwards has people running themselves into the ground out of deep anxiety. They have low sense of self-worth, and will endure great self-torment on their way to burnout.
The Masochist is the passive pole of the Shadow Warrior. The Masochist projects Warrior energy onto others, and experiences himself as impotent and vulnerable in their presence. He is unable to defend himself psychologically and allows others to manipulate and mess with him. A man might endure enormous amounts of abuse until one day he might snap, and percolate back to the Sadist.
The Magician is the wise man, the sage, the knower of secrets. He sees and navigates the inner worlds, he understands the dynamics and energy flows of the outer. He is a master of technology, engineering, mathematics, mysticism, and logic. He reads the stars, navigates the soul, and writes the laws. In the legends, he is the King’s close advisor, who stops the regent’s anger with cool rationality before he acts rashly and channels to him knowledge from hidden sources. The Magician is the thinker, and all knowledge that requires special training is his domain. The Magician has the capacity to detach from events – the chaos of the world – and draw on essential truths and resources deep within him. He thinks clearly in times of crisis, and enables us to take a broader view of things. He governs the observing ego, and is the meditator that reveals the truth of the universe, the shaman who communicates with the ancestors and stars
The Shadow Magician: The Manipulator and the Denying «Innocent» one.
The Manipulator is the active pole of the Shadow Magician. He works in covert ways to undermine others. He withholds crucial information, and deliberately sets others up so as to appear inferior to himself. The specialist knowledge he possesses makes him feel proud and gives him a feeling of being better than. That feeling is all he lives for, so he is not prepared to share his knowledge, unless the price is right (and even then probably withholding crucial details). He will rather use it as a weapon, ready to strike when the impact is the most devastating.
The Innocent one is the passive pole of the Shadow Magician. He wants the status belonging to a true Magician, but he doesn’t want the responsibilities. He doesn’t want to be burdened with helping, of setting up sacred space for others’ learning. His main focus is to learn exactly enough to sabotage those who are trying their damnedest to make a difference, so that no other man will get achieve that which he is too lazy to strive for. He is envious of the vitality of others, because he is so «flat» himself. Whenever confronted with his elusive and destructive behavior, he responds «who, me?». He is a master at manipulating others into thinking that it really wasn’t his doing, a carefully crafted puppet theater conducted behind a smokescreen by the Manipulator.
The King is the source of order in the kingdom. If he is a wise and just king, the kingdom prospers, people eat well and are safe from harm. In the kingdom of the wise king, laughter rings through the lands, the crops shoot up high, joyful celebrations keep the woods awake, merchants travel with overflowing carts to lively markets. The king is the harmonizing principle, the subjugator of chaos, the uniter of opposites. He is the channel through which the gods communicate, and he channels divine blessings to his people and the lands (to whom he is «wed»). He is selfless, and puts the good of his people above his own needs. When the King grows weak, darkness threatens the borders of the kingdom, the sun disappears from the sky, and the crops wither and die. When the king dies, he knows, he is merely replaced by another in a lineage of divinely blessed kings, which humbles him (remember the saying «The King is dead, long live the King»).
In the psyche of the man, the King archetype is the central archetype, around which the rest of the psyche is organized. If the King energy in us is weak, our psyche falls in disarray, and chaos threatens our lands. The man who is constantly overwhelmed by life – who can’t seem to find harmony or order – must develop the King energy, often in conjunction with Warrior energy to protect his borders.
The two main functions of the King are:
- Live according to the Tao, the Dharma, the Word, and the lands will flourish
- Bring fertility and blessing. The King is the masculine equivalent of the Great Mother, and he is wed to the lands. The king’s vitality and sexuality directly reflect on his kingdom.
The Shadow King: The Tyrant and the Weakling
The Tyrant is the active pole of the Shadow King. The Tyrant, unlike the King, is not the harmonizing center of the kingdom, and his power is so fragile that he hates with a passion all new life; the beauty and purity of a mere baby boy threatens the Tyrant’s rule. He does not realize that a King is merely a channel, and wants the power to be associated with himself. He will even develop godly pretensions to cover up his enormous insecurity. His degradation of others and all beauty is limitless, as everything good, true, and beautiful reminds him of his own shortcomings. He is extremely sensitive to criticism, and will be deflated by the slightest remark, responding with rage, when what he feels is fear and vulnerability.
The Weakling is the passive pole of the Shadow King. He is not centered in himself and lacks inner peace and harmony, and is prone to paranoia. He suspects that those around him are disloyal, and his fear of betrayal will inevitably cause him to switch over to the Tyrant to control them.