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King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine Paperback – August 16, 1991
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The bestselling, widely heralded, Jungian introduction to the psychological foundation of a mature, authentic, and revitalized masculinity.
Redefining age-old concepts of masculinity, Jungian analysts Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette make the argument that mature masculinity is not abusive or domineering, but generative, creative, and empowering of the self and others. Moore and Gillette clearly define the four mature male archetypes that stand out through myth and literature across history: the king (the energy of just and creative ordering), the warrior (the energy of aggressive but nonviolent action), the magician (the energy of initiation and transformation), and the lover (the energy that connects one to others and the world), as well as the four immature patterns that interfere with masculine potential (divine child, oedipal child, trickster and hero). King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is an exploratory journey that will help men and women reimagine and deepen their understanding of the masculine psyche.
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“The authors take on the difficult task of separating man from boy by excavating ‘psychological facts’ from ancient myths and modern movies” — Michael J. Meade
“A map for men...[Moore and Gillette] are handing men concrete images and explicit ways of thinking and being, ways to mature and still remain fully masculine.” — Chicago Sun-Times
“A liberating guide to self-transformation.” — Publishers Weekly
“An exciting view of masculinity, one rooted not in domination but in creativity and empowerment of the self and others.” — New Age Journal
From the Back Cover
The bestselling, widely heralded, jungian introduction to the psychological foundation of a mature, authentic, and revitalized masculinity.
- ASIN : 0062506064
- Publisher : HarperOne; Reprint edition (August 16, 1991)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780062506061
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062506061
- Item Weight : 8.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.12 x 0.48 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2021
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Moore and Gillette are Jungian psychologists, and explore the four archetypes of masculinity - King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover. An easy, but penetrating read, they drew me into a conversation about my past, future, and present. I began finding new ways to understand myself, a depth that I have longed to find. It meant at times understanding that I am a grown up boy in areas of my life, and at other times cherishing the growth I have made into a man - a mature man.
It's a difficult row to hoe, though. In our society we use words like "patriarchy" to attack the male-dominated structure. As Moore and Gillette state, the system of patriarchy is nothing more than grown up boys. Mature masculinity takes responsibility, includes others, and attempts to work with others. "Real" men would be hard to find in many leadership positions today, because we've created a system that thrives on castigating others in order to reach the top. Fulfilling life, for men and women, is best lived in relationship to each other.
As I read this book I found two points that I continue to wrestle with. First, our society has lost any ritualistic sense of becoming a man. Our tribal ancestry has been lost. We've inserted fraternities at colleges that are not about becoming men, but about drinking until death. We've created a mentality that it's fine for men to be ignorant about the larger issues in life. Simply put, there's no initiation into manhood. Some find it through religious tradition, but on the whole, there exists no initiation process.
Second, there are fewer and fewer mentors for men. Men need leaders, inspirations to dig deeper into their lives and the lives of others. This is easily seen with leaders in Congress that would rather ditch responsibility than live into compassion. They are, it seems, old boys that "made" it - but hardly men. In our society men occasionally find leaders, role models, or mentors that inspire them.
Finding solutions to both of these problems will not be easy. It took us quite awhile to get to this point, and changing socialized beliefs will not happen slowly - but Moore and Gillette have inspired me to dig deep. I suspect it's the "warrior" in me that is pushing forward in the face of social pressure to remain a boy. Yet for all those boys - young and old - out there I cannot sit idly by. Masculinity is not the only thing at stake - a greater humanity is too. If we can awaken men who learn about responsibility, compassion, and determination we might find that the oppressive structures will crumble too.
All this was sparked from this small book. I hope that whether you're a woman or man, you'll pick this book up from a library or store. Read it and allow it to work on you. When you're finished, pass it on to another man or woman, and see what happens. We might find that if we become concerned about our deeper natures that transformation can happen.
I originally learned about this book from Stephen Pressfield who recommended it as essential reading in the study of the Warrior Archetype, which is a video series he produces that's nearly 50 (at time of this writing), 5-10 minute episodes on that subject. If you don't know who Pressfield is, then simply understand that he is the preeminent author of warrior literature (e.g., Gates of Fire, Virtues of War, Killing Rommel) so he knows what he's talking about.
This work was so insightful and impactful on me. I had to keep from highlighting everything because "if everything is special, nothing is special". But right from the get go this book slaps you upside the head:
"We have written this book in order to answer this question, which is on the minds of both men and women. In the late twentieth century, we face a crisis in masculine identity of vast proportions. Increasingly, observers of the contemporary scene—sociologists, anthropologists, and depth psychologists—are discovering the devastating dimensions of this phenomenon, which affects each of us personally as much as it affects our society as a whole."
"We need to learn to love and be loved by the mature masculine. We need to learn to celebrate authentic masculine power and potency, not only for the sake of our personal well-being as men and for our relationships with others, but also because the crisis in mature masculinity feeds into the global crisis of survival we face as a species. Our dangerous and unstable world urgently needs mature men and mature women if our race is going to go on at all into the future."
And Those are merely two from the introduction, with so much more when actually discussing each archetype and it's shadow side. This book is primarily based off of the work of Carl Jung the Swedish Psychiatrist and his ardent followers and practitioners. It's also a good companion to previously reviewed works such as: The Boy Crisis, Strong Fathers Strong Daughters, Grossman's Assassination Generation (as well as both On Combat, and On Killing), and Jordan Peterson's Maps of Meaning.
I originally looked for this work on audible, but it is not available in that format. Kindle had it and I'm grateful for this as I was able to take note of so many passages I want to refer to in the future.
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Why? Because it's a theoretical treatise, an intellectual analysis of the structure of the masculine personality. And while this analysis takes us deeply into the complex mythology of historical societies through the ages, this is probably a subject of little interest to the majority of men and women.... unless you happen to be an anthropologist.
In fact, only a relatively small proportion of the book is devoted to explaining the 4 key archetypes in the male personality in our 21st century society. This might be enough for you if you just want some understanding. But the way this book is written will make your understanding hard won.
Also, I'd guess that most men and women thinking of buying this book are looking for a manual for practical change as well as some understanding of what makes a man a man (or what prevents him from fully embracing the true nature of his masculinity). If that's what you're looking for, you won't find it here. There are more recent books on the same subject which will serve you better.
In short, if you want to understand yourself AND a guide to personal growth, a book which will actually show you how to become more of a man and overcome your limitations, look elsewhere.