As I began getting involved in the men’s spirituality movement several years ago, one of the big aha moments for me was when I learned about the male archetypes. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine was particularly significant for me, especially its explanation of the king archetype.
Our society promotes many distorted ideas of what a man should be, for example: the rugged individualist, the playboy, or the one who succeeds at the expense of others.
In contrast, men who are in touch with the energy of the king archetype live differently. They
• Protect those living in their realm, the area they are in charge of, whether it is their home or an area of responsibility at work
• Provide order by establishing rules, guidelines, and principles for those in their care to follow, establishing a structure that allows them to flourish
• Create and inspire creativity in others. This could be any expression of creativity—writing poetry, becoming a father, building a deck, or starting a business
• Bless the lives of others by noticing and honoring them for their achievements
I recently read an opinion column in the New York Times about a wolf researcher’s description of alpha wolves. According to the column, men face pressure to always be in total control, the alpha male on the model of the alpha wolf. The wolf researcher, after years of observing wolf packs in Yellowstone Park, noted that this isn’t how alpha wolves act. A better description of an alpha wolf would be that if you’re the leader of the pack you have
“a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”
The article goes on:
The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don’t need to be. “Think of an emotionally secure man, or a great champion. Whatever he needed to prove is already proven,” he said.
As you’ve noticed by now, this issue of the Indiana-Michigan M.A.L.E.s newsletter is devoted to the King Archetype Retreat held at the Hermitage May 15-16, 2015. For those who would like more information about the King Archetype, David Wenger has provided two handouts from the retreat, which are available on the Indiana-Michigan M.A.L.E.s website on the Resources page.
I’m grateful for the Indiana-Michigan M.A.L.E.s, a group of men who together model the King archetype and motivate us to access its energy in our lives.
Tom Lehman, firstname.lastname@example.org