The Magician is the masculine archetype that is often overlooked. Merlin. Gandalf. Yoda. Dumbledore. These are the magicians. The wizards. The men who had access to special knowledge, wisdom, and skills. They touched a place deeper than those around them. And they used that knowledge to help themselves and others channel their energies for good. And every man can do the same by tapping into the Magician inside him.
This is the third part of my review of King, Lover, Magician, Warrior: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. In my first post, we looked at the King. The King is that balanced, stable energy that looks after the welfare of the realm. My second post examined the Warrior, that assertive and aggressive energy that attacks the problems of the realm.
The Magician as a Masculine Archetype
Today we look at the Magician as a masculine archetype. The Magician is both a master of deep thought and technical skill. Imagine Yoda calmly thinking through a problem and also wielding a lightsaber. Imagine Dumbledore wisely casting a spell to save Harry. Think of how Merlin’s wisdom guided King Arthur. Remember how Gandalf both guided and fought for the Hobbits.
While the Magician, at times, has to fight, that’s not his primary calling. His job is to know things that others don’t. His job is to reflect. To ponder. To find answers that others cannot. To tap into a power that others cannot. That power may be from God, from the person’s own psyche, or both. But the Magician finds it. And helps others to find it.
The Magician need not be an introvert. He needs only to be able “to detach from the inner and outer storms and to connect with deep inner truths and resources”. The Magician is able to get away from the distractions of life and think. And the power and calm that he finds there keeps the other archetypes in balance. He keeps the King from abusing his people. He keeps the Warrior from cruelty.
The Magician does Deep Work
The Magician is both incredibly appealing and difficult for many today. He is appealing to the technology gurus. Those drawn to the latest and greatest gadgets feel the Magician energy. They desire to use those gadgets to assert themselves over their environment. And they can help others do the same.
But the Magician is also incredibly hard to access in our day. As I’ve written repeatedly, our world is a distracted world. Technology causes our attention to shift from stimulus to stimulus. We move from e-mail to social media to text messages and back all day long. We rarely focus on one thing for more than a few minutes. This makes deep work impossible.
The Magician is the master of deep work. He is valuable precisely because he can focus and think for long periods of time. And it’s this depth of focus that allows him to find knowledge and develop skills that others cannot. But, like the other archetypes, the Magician can get distorted.
The Magician as the Manipulator
On one hand, the Magician can become the Manipulator. The Manipulator uses his deep knowledge to take advantage of people or hurt them. Darth Vader. Palpatine. Sauron and Saruman. Voldemort. They all gained access to deep knowledge and skill. And they all used their abilities for evil.
Those same things happen, albeit on a lesser scale, in real life. The doctor, lawyer, accountant, scientist, or priest who uses his deep expertise to manipulate or harm. And it’s certainly not limited to white-collar workers. Think of the mechanics, electricians, contractors, and plumbers who have used their knowledge to take advantage of others. We have no shortage of Manipulators in our world.
The Magician as the Innocent
On the other pole is the Innocent. The Innocent doesn’t actively harm or manipulate, but is still supremely self-serving. He loves his status as the source of knowledge. So he withholds his knowledge and skill from others to maintain his position. His shares his knowledge only when it deflate others or tear them down. Ultimately, he is afraid. Afraid to act, afraid of harm, afraid of failure and embarrassment. They seek to hide behind both knowledge and weakness.
The Shadow Magician thinks too much, but never acts. He reflects on his life, but never lives it. He exemplifies “paralysis by analysis”. He weighs every pro and con repeatedly, but never makes a decision.
“He is afraid to live, to leap into the battle. He can only sit on his rock and think. The years pass. He wonders where the time has gone. And he ends up regretting a life of sterility.”
So, like the other archetypes, the Magician must maintain balance. He must avoid distractions and spend significant time in thought and focus. He must develop skills and be technically proficient. But he must also act. He must use his knowledge to heal and guide those around him. And he must avoid using his knowledge and skills only for his own purposes.
Finding the Magician Today
As I noted, it’s hard to access the Magician today. You set yourself up to find the Magician when you:
- turn your phone off for long periods of time
- only read/respond to e-mails at a certain time each day
- close your internet browser instead of having 10 tabs open
- refuse to multitask
- go on long walks
- spend time in nature
- schedule solitude
- develop a new skill or refine an old skill
- take deep breaths and wait before responding
But remember, that’s only Step One. Step Two is to take the knowledge and skill you gain in Step One and use it to help others. Solve their problems. Soothe their troubled minds and hearts. Heal their bodies. Help them avoid the sterile, fearful, unlived life. Help them find the man’s life. Godspeed.