“Submission to the power of the mature masculine energies always brings forth a new masculine personality that is marked by calm, compassion, clarity of vision, and generativity.”
– Robert L. Moore
We all want balance in our life … that feeling of being whole and complete, without the discomfort of tipping too much to one side. Many men don’t understand what it means to be a balanced male and those who do constantly struggle to find that state of equilibrium and identity. Being balanced in your masculinity means you have maturity, a firm sense of self, and understand your relationship with yourself, the outside world, and the people around you.
An approach to better understand the concept of balance and how to integrate balance into your life is well expressed using the models set up by psychologist Robert Moore in his four basic masculine energies – or archetypes – of masculinity, which he labels “The King,” “The Warrior,” “The Magician,” and “The Lover.” Like a compass, they have both their positive and negative sides.
The archetypes can be viewed as a quadrant with a scale that runs positive to negative or maturity to immaturity. Unless a man has a conscious and well-developed relationship with each archetype (or some similar energy or personality type), he can be driven by its bipolar shadow. Why is that so? That’s just the natural law of the universe. Anything that isn’t brought to light ends up controlling our lives from the shadows. In other words, what we resist persists.
Each of the four archetypes is not a separate identity. Ideally, they integrate to balance one another without dominating any of the others. They also overlap, enriching one another. Exploring them will give you access to new ways to look at your behaviors and achieve that balance that makes you feel steady, comfortable, and liking yourself. To become a complete man, you must work to develop all four archetypes, says Moore.
The king is decisive and centered, which makes him a prototype protector and provider. He is secure in his role and worth. In that benevolent role, the king also rewards and encourages creativity in others.
The king’s shadow can be characterized as a tyrant. A tyrant is destructive, afraid of his hidden weakness, impotency, vulnerability, and worthlessness. He vacillates between hating, fearing, and envying. The shadow king can be exposed as a weakling; passive, someone who projects their inferiority with anger, one who seeks to prove how important he is. He wants to be worshipped.
Efficient, effective, focused, rises above pettiness, the warrior has lofty and spiritual ideals but is also aware of his mortality (God, country, and freedom being the highest). His energy is highest when working on building new civilizations and ventures for humankind. The warrior is also a destructive force – but for good. He is a destroyer of corruption, tyranny, and corporate hierarchies.
On the flip side, the warrior can be emotionally detached. His attitude toward sex is that women are for fun, not for relating to. We easily recognize warriors in the working world; they are businessmen consumed with their work.
The warrior’s shadow side needs to have his mind and feelings under control. He is detached and can be cruel and sadistic. He seeks to humiliate and violate others under his control – think drill sergeant. Warriors can be masochists, projecting their warrior energy onto others and thus experience themselves as powerless, pushovers who can’t psychologically defend themselves.
The magician is the quintessential thinker. He may play the role of a shaman of sorts, or one who in some way communicates with the cosmos. He is a “knower,” a master of technology, engineering, and logic. The magician guides himself and others through the process of transformation. If there’s a crisis, a magician is a good archetype to have around; they will think clearly.
Turning upside down, the magician is one for guilt trips and sabotage. He is a manipulator par excellence who gets a kick out of controlling others. The magician will withhold information to set you up so that you’ll appear inferior. He uses knowledge as a weapon and feels proud that he is better than others.
The lover worships beauty. His vocation is the poet, musician, or artist. He wants to experience the world and all its joys. Passion rules him. He is touchy-feely, wants to be and stay connected to others, and ignores boundaries. Don’t ignore or separate him from people or the action; He doesn’t like that one bit. He is intuitive about others and attuned to their energy.
Always searching for fulfillment and never satisfied, the lover is ripe for having an addictive personality. He takes on one lover after another, always searching for sexual fulfillment and never being satisfied romantically. Show any sign of demand and he will drop you instantly as a romantic partner. He has no idea what he’s looking for and constantly shifts his desires. Pulled easily by circumstances, the lover’s negative side is chronically depressed and easily loses energy and zest for life.
Immaturity, or the shadow side of the male personality, is often celebrated in western culture,
taking on a dominant role by being promoted and reflected in the media, music, advertising, and the workforce. You’ll recognize that these are irresponsible, rebellious, egotistical, and selfish behaviors, but they are publicly framed in positive attributes like independent thinking, strength, assertiveness, and so on. Masculinity in this context isn’t emphasizing leadership and integrity but rather, insecurity, desire for money, fame, power, and sex. It’s confusing to men today how they should behave when the shadow side is romanticized in this way.
By examining these four archetypes, you will have a better understanding of the elemental energies that make up who you are. The use of these representations can be a starting point for working with your competing energies and taking practical action in your growth process. I hope they give you more clarity on where your positives and negatives (maturities and immaturities) show up in your personality so that you can more productively explore who you are and the kind of man you want to become.