In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about archetypes, defining exactly what they are, why are they are powerful tool for transformation, a deep dive into the 4 primary masculine archetypes and more.
What Are Archetypes?
The word archetype stems from the Greek word ‘αρχέτυπα’ which means original pattern or model. It refers to universal entities or blueprints that are hardwired into our subconscious and radically influence our behaviour.
A Powerful Tool For Change & Transformation
Everyone ― men and women ― possess both masculine and feminine archetypal patterns. What archetypal patterns we express and how we express them is influenced by our own individual experiences of life, particularly during childhood.
We can therefore use archetypes as a way to connect to specific qualities that we want to embody so that we can transform how we think, how we feel and how we act.
The 4 Masculine Archetypes
Psychologist and Jungian analyst Robert Moore and mythologist Douglas Gillette argue in their book Rediscovering The Archetypes Of The Mature Masculine that masculinity consists of four primal archetypes ― King, Warrior, Magician and Lover ― with each serving different purposes.
The authors assert that all men are born with these four archetypal energies and that in order to become complete, a man must be in touch with ― and have a balance of ― all four energies.
Interestingly, within each archetype lies an innate animal instinct that we need to be aware of. The King wants to be a leader or Alpha Male, the Warrior wants to defend boundaries, the Magician wants control and the Lover wants to connect.
Each archetype can be expressed in either its fullest form (its highest expression) or its shadow form (its lowest expression in either its active or passive role).
It is up to us identify when an archetype has become dominant or is expressed in its shadow form so we can then bring it back into balance in its fullest and healthiest expression (often referred to as ‘shadow work’). By doing so, not only can we live life more fully, but we can also achieve our highest potential.
Below we’ll unpack each of the four archetypes, with a slight twist so that they apply to both men and women, looking at how each is expressed in its fullest and shadow form.
- Sovereign (King Or Queen)
In its fullest form, the Sovereign is the part of you that provides order and blessing.
The Sovereign is wise, selfless, calm, secure, decisive, balanced, centred and compassionate.
The Sovereign is responsible for leadership, vision and purpose. It leads by serving and protecting your kingdom ― which may be your family, friends, employees, community and the world ― it creates your vision and knows your purpose.
The Sovereign is the part of you that builds others up through discipline, guidance and reassurance and by recognizing, praising and honouring their hopes, talents, abilities, competences and achievements.
Examples of roles in society that specifically require the Sovereign archetype are fathers, mothers, politicians, directors and CEO’s.
In its shadow form in the active sense, the Sovereign becomes a tyrant. The tyrant is foolish, selfish and insecure. The tyrant is a destroyer and tears down the hopes, talents, abilities, competences and achievements in others. The tyrant lacks order and compassion and is envious, hateful, deprecating and mentally, emotionally and physically abusive. The tyrant has a scarcity mentality and exploits its power.
In its shadow form in the passive sense, the Sovereign becomes a weakling. The weakling is insecure, indecisive and lacks leadership, balance and centeredness. The weakling is filled with fear and paranoia and becomes dependant on others.
The Sovereign is the central archetype and in its fullest form results from having integrated the Warrior, Magician and Lover archetypes. Moore and Gillette write: “The good and generative King [Sovereign] is also a good Warrior, a positive Magician, and a great Lover.”
- Warrior (Biological)
In its fullest form, the Warrior is the part of you that provides action and strength.
The Warrior is courageous, energised, committed, intense, strategic, tactical and demonstrates endurance and perseverance.
The Warrior is the part of you responsible for accomplishment, achievement and boundaries. It accomplishes tasks, achieves objectives and sets mental, emotional and physical boundaries.
The Warrior is the part of you that knows what you want and how to get it. The Warrior is the part of you that is loyal to your mission of serving something larger than yourself and protecting and defends what you value and the boundaries of your kingdom.
The Warrior is the part of you that is disciplined and knows how to control and focus your mind and body. The Warrior is the part of you that is emotionally detached which allows you to think clearly and recognise both your capabilities and limitations. The Warrior is the part of you that takes responsibility for your actions. The Warrior is the part of you that is a destroyer, but destroys only what is necessary.
The Warrior is the part of you that is aware of your mortality, but rather than depressing you, this awareness arouses, energizes and motivates you.
Examples of roles that specifically require the Warrior archetype are soldiers, marines, activists and sports athletes.
In its shadow form in the active sense, the Warrior becomes a sadist. The sadist is emotional, depreciating, critical and cruel. The sadist despises those that he perceives as weak, helpless and vulnerable.
In its shadow form in the passive sense, the Warrior becomes a masochist. The masochist is stressed, overwhelmed, lonely and is obsessed with success. The masochist lacks self-care, discipline and neglects his physical and mental well-being. The masochist doesn’t know when to quit an impossible challenge and cut his losses – instead he ignores the danger signs.
- Magician (Intellectual)
In its fullest form, the Magician is the part of you that provides awareness and insight.
The Magician is wise, objective, thoughtful, stable, creative, protecting, centred, humorous, contemplative and detached.
The Magician is the part of you that is responsible for finding solutions to problems. The Magician is the part of you that can turn problems into opportunities that allow you to learn and grow.
The Magician is the part of you that is responsible for change and transformation. The Magician is the part of you that allows you to connect to your deep inner truths and recourses. The Magician is the part of you that makes informed decisions that benefit everyone and everything.
Examples of roles that specifically require the Magician archetype include inventors, scientists, doctors, psychologists, teachers, lawyers, stockbrokers, technicians, priests and shamans.
In its shadow form in the active sense, the Magician becomes a manipulator. The manipulator is a charlatan and conman. The manipulator is secretive, deceiving, self-serving, cruel, isolated and lonely. The manipulator withholds information that may be beneficial to others and society. The manipulator lacks detachment. The manipulator is indecisive – in fear of making a wrong decision, the manipulator ends up making none.
In its shadow form in the passive sense, the Magician becomes the innocent one. The innocent one lacks responsibility and commitment and fails to follow things through. The innocent one is critical, envious and seeks the downfall of others.
- Lover (Social)
In its fullest form, the Lover is the part of you that provides connection and energy.
The Lover is passionate, sensitive, warm, vibrant, alive and enthusiastic.
The Lover is the part that allows you to be fully in touch with all of your senses and everything you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. The Lover is the part of you that lives in the world of sensory pleasure without shame. The Lover is the part of you that sees the world as bright and vivid and has a sense of awe and wonder about life.
The Lover is the part of you that is responsible for getting in touch with your emotions, allowing you to feel deeply, both in pleasure and pain. The Lover is the part of you that enjoys giving and receiving affection – physically and emotionally. The Lover is the part that allows you to connect to yourself, to others and to the world around you.
In its shadow form in the active sense, the Lover becomes addicted. The addicted one is lost, restless and becomes a victim of its own sensitivity. The addicted one lacks balance and discipline and overindulges in sensory pleasures, including food, drink, drugs and sex.
In its shadow form in the passive sense, the Lover becomes impotent. The impotent one perceives the world as dull. The impotent one is bored, angry and depressed and feels dead inside. The impotent one is alienated from family, friends and co-workers, but most importantly, themselves. The addicted one lacks passion, emotion and balance. The addicted one is overly disciplined and denies themselves of sensory pleasures. The addicted one has no libido or sex life.
The 4 Archetypes Summary
Below is a table summary of the four archetypes and their characteristics.
|Order & Blessing
|Action & Strength
|Awareness & Insight
|Connection & Energy
Archetypes are universal patterns that exist in the collective subconscious that humans have developed over thousands of years of evolution.
They are genetically determined potentials or possibilities for different aspects of our personality. They manifest within our own psyches, shaping our thoughts, feelings and actions and how we relate to the people and world around us.
We can therefore use archetypes to embody different qualities that we want to integrate into our own personality. Not only will this transform our behaviour, but it will allow us to live a more complete life.