“Young men today are starving for blessing from older men . . . . This is why they cannot, as we say, ‘get it together’. They shouldn’t have to. They need to be blessed. They need to seen by the King.”
As those of you on my e-mail list know, I spent a week at the beach recently. The beach, the weather, the condo, the food, and the company were perfect. I spent my downtime reading two books, both of which were excellent.
The first was Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire’s Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire by Ryan Holiday. It gives the inside scoop on Peter Thiel’s decade-long conspiracy to take down Gawker Media. It’s a fascinating look at how big minds work. If nothing else, you’ll be entertained.
The second book was likely more important. King, Lover, Magician, Warrior: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.
As the title suggests, the book is about four themes that are present in a man’s inner workings. At various times, men want and need to be a King, a Warrior, a Magician, and a Lover. These are the energies we feel and want to tap into. But each of these archetypes can get warped. The King can become either the Tyrant or the Weakling.
The Warrior can become the Sadist or the Masochist. The Magician can become the Manipulator or the Innocent. The Lover can become the Addict or the Impotent. But the healthy, well-adjusted man can tap into all these energies in their fullness, as needed throughout his life.
The King as a Masculine Archetype
I’m going to examine all four masculine archetypes. Today, we look at the King and his shadows. The King is “the central archetype”. He’s the one that rules and governs the use of the other energies.
The King provides two functions: he brings order and blessing. He brings order by establishing laws for the realm. And the kings highest commitment is to the realm, not to himself. It is the tyrant, not the King, who builds the kingdom for himself.
Instead, the King serves the realm – the family, the friend group, the community. He establishes in his own the life the “right order”, the proper way of living. He then passes that right order on to the realm. When the King finds the right order, the realm flourishes.
When the King is weak or absent, the realm is weakened. Ours is a time of weakened and absent kings – at home. There is no greater problem facing our society than fatherless homes. They have no King to bring order to the realm. Or the existing “king” is too weak or uninvolved to do so. And so those who grow up without order reinforce a realm without order.
The King’s second function is to bring blessing. “The good King delighted in noticing and promoting good men to positions of responsibility . . . . He held audience, primarily, not be seen, but to see, admire, and delight in his subjects, to reward them and bestow honors upon them.”
When young men are “seen and valued and concretely rewarded” for their efforts and accomplishments, they are healed and made whole. That’s the blessing that a King brings to the realm. He inspires the young men to seek greater honor, then he bestows that honor. And those young men can later find the King energy in themselves. Then they pass the blessing forward to the next generation. And the realm thrives.
Aspects of the King Energy
When a man taps into the King energy:
- He brings stability.
- He brings calm in the midst of chaos.
- He stays in control.
- He maintains balance.
- He acts with confidence.
- Helps others reach their potential.
But the King energy can get warped. It can become a Tyrant, who attempts to use the energy to rule for his own gain. Or it becomes the Weakling, who is fearful of those around him. It may contain elements of both.
The Shadow King is unbalanced, paranoid, and overly emotional. He cannot be criticized. He will either become enraged (the Tyrant) or completely defeated (the Weakling). His focus is firmly placed on himself, rather than on the realm.
While all four masculine archetypes are important, you need to tap into the King energy. You’re called to lead. Your first calling is to lead yourself. Bring order to your life. Then lead the realm. Your wife, your family, your work, your friends, and your community.
Bring them stability, calm, and balance. Be confident in yourself as a man and a leader. Look to help others become who they can be. That’s the man’s life. That’s the king’s energy. Tap into it. Next we’ll look at another of the masculine archetypes: the Warrior. Godspeed.