You will hear many men blaming their personality type for their struggles in life.
However, what tends to happen when a man’s internal and external worlds begin to feel:
- Unenthusiastic for life
- Impotent or weak
Are really imbalances in the four male archetypes: King Warrior Magician Lover.
At first, it may be hard to hear that there’s something you need to rectify in your psyche to find contentment, meaning and passion in your life.
But now is the time to take ownership.
After integrating this information and taking action, you will likely feel that this is the starting point for transforming your life in a profound way. Just as many men have done before you.
Jungian analysts Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s book: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine is the basis for this article.
Not only will we discuss the core elements of each archetype but also how they apply to the modern man.
Each archetype also has a Shadow side. And guaranteed, if you are struggling in your life, one of these Shadows is at play.
For a man looking to develop himself into his greatest potential, explore the four mature male archetypes below.
Table of Contents
What are the four powerful male archetypes?
In short, these are the four male archetypes that influence a man’s masculine energy:
- The King archetype
- The Warrior archetype
- The Magician archetype
- The Lover archetype
1. The King archetype
What are the characteristics of the King archetype?
The King archetype is the primal essence of man.
Of the four mature masculine archetypes, the King is king. It involves having the rest of the archetypes in perfect balance.
See, the King is an excellent Warrior, a talented Magician, and a magnificent Lover.
Overview of the King archetype:
– Shadow sides
Trait #1: Selflessness and Wisdom
One of the most essential elements to embody the King is a sense of selflessness rooted in wisdom. When you finally are born into your new King energy, expect the death of your old patterns of being.
You’ll know well the famous lines announced at the time of royal ascension, “The King is dead; long live the king!”. Or that kings often rise by killing his predecessor in battle.
There is a noble death involved in waking and rising to the power of the inner King. If it were easy, there would be many, many more powerful, actualized men in your life.
The challenge before you is the death of the archetypes of boyhood, which leads to the birth of the Hero. Of initiating the man you are destined to become.
Trait #2. Ordering
Without structure— non-creation and chaos rule.
Specifically, this ordering comes from the center and sprawls outwards. To be clear, order starts with the King.
What is incredible about the ordering function is its presence in all aspects of history where the King archetype is present.
From ancient maps, sand paintings of the Indian deserts, in the rose windows of Christian churches, and right into the dreams and art of men today.
Jung spotted this pattern in his observations and borrowed the Tibetan Buddhist word “mandalas”. These structured patterns delivered healing and life-giving energy.
The duty of the mortal King is to live his true path, also known as Dharma or the Tao. Doing so means that all in his kingdom follow the Right Order. Subsequently, his kingdom will flourish.
Refining his mature masculinity is the first step. Next, he becomes confident in taking charge of his kingdom.
As a result, he’ll find a burst of creation and a diminishment of chaos.
For example, we see that dysfunctional families very often entail having a weak or absent father. The King energy in its maturity, and the order that comes with it, simply isn’t present. In effect, the family is left in chaos and disorder.
Trait #3. Fertility and Blessing
The manifestation of fertility and blessings is a vital energy of the King archetype.
In the spiritual world, Gods engage prolifically with goddesses, demi-goddesses, and mortal women.
However, it’s not simply fertility that makes up this second aspect of the King archetype.
The divine masculine’s ability to pro-create also applies to land prosperity, an abundance of resources, and blessings of wealth.
Mythology often states that a sexually vigorous king, meeting his own needs and his lovers, would enjoy a thriving kingdom.
Basically, as long as he is healthy, happy, alert, and alive mentally, the crops would grow, his cattle fatten, babies would be born, and even merchants would earn their riches.
So let’s apply this to the modern-day man.
The point is that when men thrive in all regions of their life, so does their tribe and realm. So does their partner, their job, and their social status. Everything is elevated.
It goes without saying, fulfilling this archetype comes with responsibility. You are in service of your realm— whatever shape this takes in your life— and also serving the greater forces of the cosmos.
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Shadow king male archetypes: the Tyrant and the Weakling
The Tyrant, the active Shadow of the King, uses and abuses others.
This man is ruthless and merciless, only using his powers to further his own agenda.
Over time, the Tyrant becomes blind to all that is beautiful, innocent, and good in the world.
This imbalance often stems from parents who neglected to see and honor the Divine Child when this boy was young. Underneath, his actions are all to cover up what he perceives are his weaknesses and lack of potency. As a result, the man this child has become seeks to hide his perceived weaknesses.
He hardens his heart to the world. And becomes callous, cold and numb.
The Weakling is the passive Shadow of the King archetype. As we’ve mentioned, blessings reveal the generosity and awareness of the King. A wise king takes great pride in noting men of excellence in his ranks and honoring their deeds.
Conversely, young men of today don’t receive that blessing and recognition from older men.
Blessings have untold consequences for us on a psychological level.
Specifically, our chemicals shift when we are praised, blessed, and valued. The outcome of this blessing famine is seen when men are left needing to hunt for that recognition. You’ll see those in outbursts of:
“See how important I am!”
“Look at what I do for this family!” or;
Here is a sure sign of the reverse of the King archetype— the Weakling.
Ultimately, this man lacks:
- Calm; as well as
Paranoia may creep in, as well as defensiveness and even hostility.
A king, as you see in the myths, never reigns for long when fighting an inner battle of wills.
How to access the King archetype?
First things first, you must learn to disentangle from your ego.
The easiest way to grasp this is to think about being the river banks, and the King energy is the river water. He lets the King current flow through him and holds the banks firm and unwavering.
If the man is not strong enough, the King energy will only harm him as he will not be able to harness it.
Secondly, his interests must lie in the realm and not just his own skin.
When accessed correctly, as servant of his own King energy, the amazing potential unfolds to exist as a rightful king in his fullness.
Moreover, he lives as a centered participant, with full authority and expression in a calm, creative and bountiful world of his own making.
2. The Warrior archetype
Unfortunately, the shadow side of the Warrior is familiar and common in modern society.
Women, for good reason, are particularly fearful of this dark energy.
Warfare, aggression and monstrous deeds fan across the earth. However, the current method of repairing this imbalance is to attempt stomping out the Warrior archetype for good.
Needless to say, this does more damage than good.
Repressed male archetypes rise back up in violent eruptions.
The Warrior, when in balance, is actually the opposite of human rage. Instead, this primarily masculine archetype revolves around courage, discipline and being devoted to a cause greater than their own personal survival. See that this male energy plays a vital part in extending cultural and moral advancements to all of humanity.
Truly, the Warrior energy is an amazingly humble force when expressed in its entirety.
The Warrior’s path is deeply linked with a man’s spiritual and/or psychological path through life. In essence, the Warrior is concerned with skill, power, accuracy, and control. Once he has unleashed this archetype, the man becomes all that he can be— in his thoughts, words, feelings, and actions.
Overview of the Warrior archetype:
– Shadow sides
Trait #1. Confidence
In this age, men tend to doubt their capabilities and, even more importantly, their potential. The Warrior transcends those doubts, refutes self-consciousness, and acts without hesitation.
Connecting with this male archetype allows men to harness his masculine energy and become a male that refuses to back down.
That’s because true Warrior energy prevents a man from seeking to prove his strength and power by:
- Stirring up drama
- Massaging his ego; or
- Seeking external validation
Undeniably, he is self-assured in his power and doesn’t need external recognition of his prowess.
Trait #2. Control
When a man takes control of his life, he’s removing himself from defensive or victimhood roles.
He’s back on the offensive, ready to seize each day.
Just as a samurai leaps into battle, this man takes responsibility and makes hard decisions.
He knows there is only one direction to move: forward.
Note, that when we discuss aggression in the modern man, we absolutely do not advocate violence of any kind— be it physical, emotional, financial, mental or otherwise. Rather, Gillette and Moore explore through the male archetypes that the quality of aggression creates action and forward momentum for men to achieve the life of their dreams.
These men also know when to use aggression and when other tactics are necessary.
How does a man know when to tap into his aggression in a healthy way?
Well, the inner Warrior is always alert, always awake. The Warrior does not sleep through life. Also, he is a great strategist. As you can imagine, using these qualities, he evaluates circumstances accurately and adapts to reach the best outcome.
The ability to assess your strength and skills is part of the Warrior archetype. Sometimes that can mean playing the long game.
However, when the Warrior cannot carry out these cool-headed evaluations, he is veering into the archetype’s Shadow.
Trait #3. Discipline
If there’s anything you are to take from the Warrior archetype, it is the immeasurable power of self-control.
Once the warrior has control over his mind and attitude, the body will follow suit. The unconquerable spirit rises up once a man has control over his own thoughts and deeds.
He is willing to put in the hard graft, even to suffer so he can come out the other side stronger. The old saying “no pain, no gain” fits very well in this scenario.
Trait #4. Loyalty
Whether it’s to a family, a task, a nation, God, a partner— the Warrior always prioritizes loyalty over saving his own hide.
Otherwise, he’d be reduced to a cutthroat mercenary.
Having a higher purpose gives a man higher ideals to clear his thoughts. His razor focus shifts from overanalyzing and anxiety to relentlessly working towards his highest potential.
All so that his ultimate purpose is carried out.
When the Warrior is connected with the other mature masculine energies something incredible happens. To each of the male archetypes, the Warrior brings:
- Vigilance to the King
- Mastery and control to the Magician; and
- A sense of both duty and fun to the Lover.
The Shadow Warrior: the Sadist and the Masochist
The Warrior energy runs into trouble once it detaches from human relationships.
Above all, connection keeps the man from becoming destructive and cold-blooded. When stressed, frightened or angry, the unbalanced Warrior seeks bloodlust and loses his control.
What’s more, cruelty — particularly when inflicted on those weaker than him — is all too common to regain a warped sense of this control.
This only proves to reflect their boyhood insecurities and violent emotional outbursts.
Sadistic Warriors will lean unnecessarily into pain, such as workaholism, to prove their worthiness and quell their anxiety. Unsurprisingly, the Sadistic Warrior eventually reaches burnout.
The Masochist is the flip side of the Sadist.
They are the all too common “pushovers”.
All the while he projects Warrior energy out onto others causing him to experience a dire sense of helplessness. Of course, it would be hard to expect any man to maintain their psychological health and self-confidence when being trampled on by others. And, even worse, himself.
If the Masochist is pushed too far, they can oscillate into the Sadist energy.
This pull and push between the Warrior’s active and passive Shadow energies leads to dysfunction, unhappiness, and self-hatred over time.
Accessing the Warrior
To push himself out of this unhealthy, powerless cycle, he chooses the courage to bring control, discipline, and loyalty back into the fold. Ultimately, the man works to earn a sense of perseverance, energy, and confidence in his amazing potential.
3. The Magician archetype
In truth, the Magician energy powers our modern world. The Magician archetype manifests in two ways: the knower and the master of technology.
Think of the Magician as a ritual elder who guides transformation from within and without.
What we mean by this is that growth as a young man, or a man looking to tap into his potential, cannot be done solo.
Inner intuition is crucial. Equally though is the support and wisdom of a mentor who has walked through the fires of initiation before him. Without this guidance, the man seeking the Magician energy can become lost, and the power winds up mastering over him.
Overview of the Magician archetype:
– Shadow sides
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Trait #1. Knowledge of the hidden realm
Chiefly, the unknown is the Magician archetype’s domain.
We live in an age of personal identity chaos.
The Magician energy as a whole is in a state of massive imbalance. The Magician knows that what we perceive to be normal reality— about ourselves and nature— only whispers to the mysteries and vastness of the universe.
Trait #2. Unconscious energies
The power of unconscious energies is truly awe-inspiring.
Carl Jung was known to reveal his secrets about deep concepts such as male archetypes only to those initiated into the deepest levels of psychic awareness. Great wisdom resides in this decision.
A man needs to be prepped and guided before showing him the secret powers around him. Just like waking up each morning, it has to be done in stages so that the dream world has time to reel back into the recesses.
Also, awareness and insight are the realm of the Magician energy. In short, this is the part of him that knows without knowing and sees what is not altogether apparent.
Primarily, the Magician’s role is to take a bird’s eye view of the situation and the Self. Following that, this energy scans all the minute details, and uses wisdom and knowing to make pivotal decisions in his life.
This detachment of the Ego, and arrival into what Jungian psychology defines as the observing Ego, is practiced commonly in tantra.
Separating from the ordinary flow of life with its daily events allows you to make the right choices at the right time to create lasting, positive changes.
Even if you’ve felt stuck for months, years, or even decades.
Another bonus is how much Magician energy can be of benefit to others. Basically, those who balance the Magician with the other male archetypes turn raw power to their advantage, be they doctors, sales reps, lawyers, CEOs, carpenters, or anything in between.
Trait #3. Introversion
Introversion is not another term for “shyness”.
No, introversion is the tremendous ability to step outside internal and external storms and plug into deep inner truths and resources.
The stability and centredness of this quality are unimaginable. And we’ll see that the Magician really comes into his own in times of crisis.
A “voice” takes over from within and allows the man to do whatever needs to be done to maneuver and rectify the situation. Fight or flight mode is when the incredible intuitive capabilities of this archetype thrive.
Although the Magician energy provides spectacular clarity of the mind and a deep intuition, without the Warrior energy, he is paralyzed. The Warrior energy instigates action and carries through the Magician’s will. The Magician alone does not have the power to act.
Now we’re beginning to see how each archetype has a fundamental role in building a man’s life to his true potential.
The shadow Magician: the Manipulator and the Denying “Innocent” one
Similar to the other male archetypes, the shadow side of the Magician has the potential to leave a man’s life in shreds.
As previously mentioned, the Magician energy built this world we live in. You only have to look around at the toxic waste to get a sense of the outcomes of an imbalance.
The active role of the Shadow Magician is what’s known as a Power Shadow.
In essence, this male refuses to guide others, but instead directs them in ways they cannot see. He is a puppeteer, pulling the strings of everyone around him.
Hence, the Magician becomes the Manipulator.
He isn’t interested in helping others reach fulfillment and awareness but seeks to withhold information they need and charges heavily for what he does lend out. Ultimately, the Manipulator is not only detached but deviously cruel.
The passive role of the Shadow Magician is known as the “Innocent” One. In this case, the man craves the Magician’s power but does not want the accompanying responsibilities. He has no urge to share or teach, to help others with tasks or their own initiation.
Without exception, he is out for himself. He hides the truth to hinder others’ growth, all the while working to stay under the radar. To be perceived as naive to all his wrongdoings while accumulating expertise.
In reality, this carelessness for others leads to an unfulfilled, joyless life.
How to access the Magician archetype
The greatest challenge of balancing the Magician archetype is to separate the Ego from emotions without suppressing emotions altogether.
The Magician detaches emotions when solving problems, but otherwise brings them back into the fold.
Once the Magician has space to observe and solve, the Ego actually becomes strengthened. With this newfound reinforcement, the Ego can experience and be with his emotions with ease.
The Ego is now able to transform raw emotive energy into potent forms of expression.
Again, no archetype works well alone. Archetype combinations:
- The Magician-King archetypes create generosity and productivity.
- The Magician-Warrior can act decisively and courageously.
- Finally, the Magician-Lover enjoys a deep, unwavering connection to Source.
4. The Lover archetype
The Lover archetype is the primal source of passion, vitality, and aliveness.
Above all, the Lover energy echoes back to the hungers of our species for food, sex, and creativity to withstand life’s hardships. This archetype roots deeply into a sense of meaning that drives men towards survival.
Overview of the Lover Archetype:
– Shadow sides
Trait #1. Sensual pleasure
The Lover instinctively empathizes with those around him and is in tune with his surroundings. He is sensitive to colors, forms, sounds, smells, and tactile sensations.
In his fullness, the Lover embodies play and sensuous pleasure. In effect, he lives in his body without shame and exudes masculine selfhood and confidence. Moreover, the Lover’s greatest strength is not his ability to cognitively understand.
His strength lies in leaning into the discomfort of emotions and owning his internal experience. He is an excellent lover and builds trust easily with women.
Trait #2. Intimacy
The Lover wants to touch and to be touched.
Intimate contact enhances his connection to the collective consciousness and the world beyond what we see.
Ultimately, the Lover desires to drive into the world of sensual experiences full throttle.
In reality, love comes with joy and pain. Even so, the Lover does not shy away and constantly goes beyond social boundaries. Living an unconventional life does not bother the Lover, he refuses to let rules get in the way of his sensual experiences.
In the ecstatic consciousness, men delight in cherishing their woman’s beauty, in both body and soul. Through physical and emotional union, the man is transported into something more.
He spirals into a Divine World of immense ecstasy and pleasure. But also the flip side— pain and sorrow. The Lover embraces all aspects of the masculine experience. All in the pursuit to live fully with meaning and vividness.
So how does the Lover fit in with the other masculine archetypes?
As you’ve likely noticed, the former three are centered around control, discipline and structure. The Lover provides balance and opens up room for creativity and sensitivity for the other male archetypes, preventing men from turning to stone.
The Shadow Lover: the Addicted and the Impotent lover
The greatest flaw of the Addicted Lover are his insatiable desires. And the destruction they unleash.
Common phrase to leave his lips will be:
“Why should I place limits on my sexual experience?”
“Why stop drinking from the bottomless well of pleasure in this world?”.
The Addicted One is literally lost in the ocean of the senses.
Above all, his obsession with the next pleasurable experience prevents him from enjoying the now.
Hindus talk of the maya— the unending dance of illusion, that enthralls and enchants while numbing the mind. Eventually, the Addicted one becomes lost in cycles of pleasure and pain.
On the opposite side, a man completely out of touch with the Lover veers into the Impotent Shadow. As a result, his life feels sterile and flat. Of course, it goes without saying that feeling this way doesn’t lend itself to an amazing love life!
This bored, listless energy creeps into all aspects of his life, and if he is in a relationship, the woman will suffer also.
Another common symptom of the Impotent Shadow is depression. Life feels unexciting and so, unimportant. In this haze, the absence of love is glaringly obvious.
How to access the Lover archetype?
Once the male archetypes of the King, Warrior and Magician are stable, the Lover’s greatest task is to lean into the world.
As the idealist and dreamer, the Lover:
- Creates goals,
- Feels compassion; and
- Experiences pleasure.
In essence, the Lover keeps the other male archetypes humane, loving, and connected to each other.
Crucially, the energy keeps him open to real life. The Lover truly sees everyday people and struggles in a world filled with both hardships and pleasure.
Summary and learning to live the male archetypes
So, you’ve explored the four male archetypes: King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover— and some of you may be ready to dive deeper.
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What are the five male archetypes?
There are many different forms of male archetypes out there and the five male archetypes refer to: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Sigma. These male archetypes focus on a man’s position within the socio sexual hierarchy.
What are the characteristics of an alpha male?
An alpha is the top of the male archetypes. This man takes charge, and imposes his will on others. While other men attempt to emulate his leadership qualities, women naturally crave and desire him. An alpha male commands respect and loyalty no matter what the situation.
All in all, the alpha male archetype commands the highest level of social and sexual status.
What are the characteristics of a beta male?
Beta male archetypes are the ‘lieutenants’ of the socio-sexual hierarchy. While devoting their loyalty to their alphas, they in turn, enjoy the benefits of high status and position. Beta males create stability within groups as they enforce the alpha’s rules to maintain structure.
What are the characteristics of a gamma male?
Gamma male archetypes are highly intelligent, hopelessly romantic and seek to uphold their ideals. However, they hold a lower-status position in the social dominance hierarchy. Even though they desire the rank and prestige that comes with being an alpha or beta, their struggles with conflict and self-confidence prevent them from climbing the ladder.
What are the characteristics of a delta male?
The delta male archetypes make up the majority of men in the socio-sexual hierarchy. These men show up to their jobs and actually get the work done. They take pride in their skills and competence. Interestingly, Delta males are the most likely to move up or down in the hierarchy.
What are the characteristics of a sigma male?
Sigma male archetypes are men within the socio-sexual hierarchy yet choose to live outside of the normal hierarchy structures. Similar to Alphas in their traits but Sigma males tend to seek freedom outside of the social dominance structures. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be non-conformists and incredibly self-sufficient.
What are the characteristics of an omega male?
Omega male archetypes are the rejects of the socio-sexual hierarchy. Unlike the Sigma male, they do not choose this separation from the hierarchy. Instead, women are disinterested in Omegas and other males find them socially inept. Also, their awkward nature and inability to understand women harshly affects their social status.
What are the female archetypes?
Seven feminine archetypes prevail in contemporary western society.
– The Mother
– The Maiden
– The Queen
– The Huntress
– The Sage
– The Mystic, and
– The lover
The presence and balance of these archetypes within a woman influence her unique expression of feminine energy.
How can you act in a more masculine way?
There is no shortcut or absolute list that makes up “the perfect man”. The first step is to make a choice to work on growth. Applying the knowledge of the male archetypes will help you to see what you can improve upon. Then it’s in your hands to find and follow a mentor with genuine wisdom and experience in attaining the masculine energy that you seek.
What are masculine energies?
As we’ve explored in this article, there is not one single masculine energy. It is far too reductionistic, to simply say it is doing rather than being — as you’ll hear quoted a lot. To understand masculine energy, it’s essential to seek knowledge of the four male archetypes: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.
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Men's Relationship Coach
Steffo is the founder of The Tantric Man Experience, the #1 masculine mentorship program in the world. There he helps men in relationships reignite the passion to restore their marriages from the brink of divorce. And single men attract their dream women naturally with success. He's on a mission to guide men towards an intimate and meaningful relationship, and end the war with their sexuality, so they can finally become integrated men, fathers, brothers, husbands, and leaders in the world.
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