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King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

Book Review by Bert H. Hoff

Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette have had great influence in the mythopoetic men’s movement, stemming from their original classic, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. Since then they have completed the series with The King Within, The Warrior Within, The Magician Within, and The Lover Within.

Their first book received only cursory review in M.E.N. Magazine. The last three books received extensive reviews.

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover
by Robert Moore and Doug Gillette
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Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine. (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990)Order on-line

This book provides a central focus to Men and Myth. [the seminar the editor created when he first began delving into Men’s Work] The authors' thesis is that the patriarchal structure of Western civilization, which victimizes men as well as women, is a result of immature Boy Psychology. The book presents four archetypes of mature masculine Man Psychology (and their Dark Side) in the vision that men will be able to integrate these four aspects into their own lives.

Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, The Warrior Within: Accessing the Knight in the Male Psyche. (New York, NY: Wm. Morrow, 1992)

Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, The Magician Within: Accessing the Shaman in the Male Psyche. (New York, NY: Wm. Morrow, 1993)

These books are reviewed together because they are two more books in Robert and Douglas’ continuing series on the King, Warrior, Magician and Lover, and because the introductory material and appendices are the same in both books. The introduction presents as clear and easily-grasped description of Jungian terms such as archetype and shadow as I have read. They lay a sound groundwork for understanding the theme of each book, how to experience the archetypal energy in our own psyches.

Often disparaged, seldom understood, the Warrior is the most controversial of the archetypes, because of the cruel acts perpetrated by its shadow side. Yet aggressiveness is an innate characteristic of our species -- for men and women alike -- and has been responsible for the achievements of our culture. They suggest that the razor-sharp clarity of perception that the archetypal Warrior stimulated in the post- Hellenic Assyrians is what gave rise to the Ego. Aggressiveness is not synonymous with rage or violence: these are expressions of overstimulated aggression. The Warrior, properly accessed, can do a great deal to empower us to live our lives, make our worlds, and protect, provide and create a just order on a perilous planet.

While capable of killing when necessary, the Warrior knows that the real war is within. A man appropriately accessing his Warrior draws on enormous resources of focus and self-discipline that enable him to live an empowered life in the service of his fellow creatures. The Warrior is an energy source that permits us to be assertive about our lives, goals, needs and causes. He gets us moving again after a period of stagnation.

The authors discuss the shadow side of the Warrior, for example in a form of cannibalism in New Guinea. This cannibalism was halted only when the Dutch settlers that were eating the bushmen were convinced that the bushmen, too, were people. The two shadow sides are the Sadist and the Masochist.

Self-discipline is the hallmark of the Warrior. The Warrior is a destroyer. He destroys the enemies of the true Self. He attacks whatever is wounding and damaging, whatever causes despair, depression, injustice, oppression, whatever is cruel or discouraging or making abusive demands. The Warrior’s destruction clears a space for renewal and a new, more just order. The final and most important, "seventh degree" of initiation of a Warrior is the honoring of a pledge -- a commitment to steward this power for the good of an inclusive community, for peace with justice.

The Magician is the archetype behind a multitude of professions and "callings." He calls us on into the unseen. He is the mediator and communicator of hidden knowledge, the healer, technologist, teacher, and contemplative. He keeps his inner eye fixed on the blueprint for the Self -- "image of God" or "Diamond Body" we each have within us. Technology is the Magician’s specialty.

The shaman is the fullest expression of the archetype, as guardian of esoteric knowledge and technician of sacred power, because of the problems he is willing to take on. He has the King’s capacity to care, the Warrior’s capacity to fight and the Lover’s capacity to value someone enough to fight for them.

When the Magician energy manifest, you begin to quest. You may not have the slightest idea what you are looking for when you start. Then an initiatory sacred geometry unfolds and your whole life becomes structured according to the archetype of initiation. You then search for a transformative space, a place where initiation can be completed. (Malidoma Somé says in his tape Nature, Magic and Community, reviewed in last month’s issue, that this is what men seek when they join in groups in Men’s Work.) The dynamic structure of sacred reality to which the Magician calls us involves the Call, the entrance to sacred time, and the Return. Only, when you return, you are a different person. We experience the Call through life-cycle changes or through trauma. We experience what Joseph Campbell calls the Belly of the Whale as the "dark night of the soul" or a "crazy time," hopefully ending, if guided by someone like a therapist, elder or shaman, with a feeling of ecstasy and of being one with all things. There, you can modulate the grandiosity of your visions and find ways to embody your sacred revelations in your ordinary life.

The Magician may always have a tendency to become schizoid, cut off from the realm of deep feeling. This is carried to its logical extreme in modern society, with the threats of nuclear destruction and ecological devastation and mass extinction of other species reflecting the "power shadow" of the negative Magician.

The authors describe the shamanic potential in contemporary man, describe the seven stages of initiation, and outline five stages to accessing the Magician within. I won’t tell you what the stages are, because it is a Secret Tradition. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

While Moore and Gillette’s series describe the working of the archetypes in the psyche and show you how to put these energies to work in your own life, they do not provide extensive, detailed descriptions of the archetypes over time. For this, I recommend John Wier Perry’s The Lord of the Four Quarters (reviewed earlier), Rick Fields’ The Code of the Warrior (also reviewed earlier), and Holger Kalweit’s Dreamtime and Inner Space.

Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, The Lover Within: Accessing the Lover in the Male Psyche. (New York, NY: Morrow, 1993)

Once again Robert and Douglas present us with a tour-de-force book on the male psyche. The book completes the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover series, and is every bit as powerful and insightful as its predecessors. The theme is similar to that in Sam Keen’s The Passionate Life: Stages of Loving, one of my favorite books. What would happened if we embraced the world as lovers, lovers of life and lovers of the cosmos?

Phallus is here as well, both the physical phallos of the fully engorged penis and the spiritual phallus that drives a man’s enthusiasms and spirituality. While Western tradition has focused on eros vs. agape, the authors bring forth amor. While Joseph Campbell restricts this to physical and spiritual love between two people, when he exhorts us to "follow our bliss" he is speaking of a joy of feeling empowered by the Lover within to live our lives in amorous union with our own deepest and most central values and visions, and with others. And others are, finally, One.

Lover energy fuels the mystic and the artist. Midlife crises around promiscuity arise when one partner claims the lover energy unconsciously, outside the primary relationship. The shadow emerges in an inability to separate from our natural or archetypal mother, in impotence, or the addict possessed by the lover within.

The last part of the book focuses on the erotic man, offering suggestions on how to embody masculine joy by embodying the lover within. The book concludes with a blessing from Robert and Douglas: May your embodiment of the Lover bring joy to yourself and to your world!

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