King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine is, quite simply, essential reading for every man.
Most popular men’s work offers tips and tactics that ultimately help men do unhealthy better. This is why I do not suggest Conscious Men as an initiatory book for men’s work. It is also why I personally chose not to continue with some of the men’s groups I used to be part of. Now this does not mean that popular men’s work is bad, after all, unhealthy better certainly beats unhealthy worse, but generally speaking, the books and groups are missing one key thing: a map of the male psyche.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is one offering of a map. Bill Plotkin and The Animas Valley Institute offers a different variation. However, the biggest difference between these maps is the language that goes with them. They express the same essential archetypes in different ways.
Mapping The Four Archetypes
The essential idea is that deep within a man’s soul resides a king, a warrior, a magician, and a lover. One way or another, each of these characters is going to express itself. Moore and Gillette identify how they manifest first in boy psychology and then in man psychology. In each stage, they each have a passive and an aggressive dysfunctional expression. The goal is for each child driven by the masculine psyche to grow up with healthy boy psychology and then move into healthy man psychology.
However, we live in a time where there is not only a void of healthy men to guide the journey, but also a lack of rites and rituals to facilitate the transitions necessary to move into healthy masculinity. This means it is up to each man to figure out where is stands on the map of the male psyche, and what he needs to move towards health.
That is what makes this book such an invaluable resource. If a man is willing to be honest with himself, he can identify where he is so he can discern where he needs to go.