Archetypes are understood as universal patterns that are embedded in the unconscious of all individuals, hence, the collective unconscious of mankind. We consider these archetypes to be inherited potentials which can be actualized when we “discover” the archetype within us. When one speaks of the archetype of the King, it is the ideal King that is being discussed and not the individual on the throne. How an ideal King should act and think, how an ideal King behaves and how it’s the King’s energy that is important for organizing and creating one’s life.
In the book King, Warrior, Magician and Lover, authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette speak upon the different archetypes and the function of each archetype. They mention the shadow form of the archetypes as well, the unfulfilled potential or misguided use of the archetypical energy and how such a thing can lead to immaturity in an individual.
Firstly, it is believed that the King has two main functions. The first is that the King’s energy is ordering. It brings balance; it is the lawmaking energy. The second function of the King’s energy is that it provides fertility.
Order starts with the King himself. In order for the society to be good, the King must be good. In order for the civilians to respect the law, the King must respect the law. There is a rippling effect from the King to his subjects. So, if the King lives properly, according to good principles then, his subjects will also feel the effect of this order. There is a sense of ownership with this function. The King must own up to his actions, behaviors, and habits and erase those which bring about negative events and consequences and by doing so, his subjects will follow his lead.
In a household, a father must live the way he wishes his children to live. If the father works hard, he is disciplined, he can sacrifice immediate pleasure for something greater in the future, then the children benefit as well. They see and they observe and in doing so, they come to view how to act in life through the proper example of the King energy that their father possessed.
Fertility is associated with the creative ordering of things. The King’s energy being fertile means that it is positive, it is creative; it wishes for others to grow and become better. This energy nurtures the talents of others, it guides them and recognizes it. It is not destructive or envious, or jealous of what others can accomplish.
With this fertile energy, the husband would support his wife’s decision if she took a break from work and went back to school. The husband would willingly take on the increased burden of providing financially for the household, for in the long term, his wife would be happier and the burden will be lifted. In the same way, if the father takes time off from work, the son should willingly take on more responsibility, for this is what the King’s energy would have us do.
However, as mentioned before, each archetype is accompanied by a shadow form. A shadow King is one who sometimes possesses the King’s energy and acts as a proper King, but other times he either acts as a Tyrant or the Weakling.
A tyrant is active while the weakling is passive. A tyrant is essentially a narcissist. He envies creative force, for it can create a new life which can threaten his position. He cares more about himself and his own accomplishments rather than what is good for the community. Think about the worker who only cares about his own paycheck instead of making the company better. These selfish interests create a selfish individual who cannot stand criticism. Even as a father, he may envy his own son. He may not give proper praise to his son for his accomplishments or even take credit for what his son has done.
While on the other side of the spectrum, is the weakling. He is someone who is always overcompensating. The reason being that this individual is not secure within himself, so he needs to be noticed because he feels he is nothing. He needs to be adored and worshipped, always drawing attention to himself because he is not satisfied promoting others. Essentially, the weakling lacks centeredness, meaning there is no order or organization which the King’s energy is supposed to bring.
Perhaps the best way to access the King’s energy without falling into the Shadow King’s influence is by misidentifying the ego from the King. One has to see themselves as a servant of this energy. This can help deflate one’s own ego by associating one’s accomplishments with the King’s energy rather than your own actions. Also, similar to roleplay, before acting, one might think what would the King do? How would the King act?
By doing so, you may decide that doesn’t just benefit you. It may cause you to rethink and change certain behaviors or reshape aspects of your life where you have allowed laziness to seep in and have become undisciplined. The King’s energy may focus your sight on the things that are in your control which you have not improved and once you take care of that it may have a positive effect on those around you. Also, by keeping the King’s energy in your mind, you can have a shift in how you view others. You may actively seek out ways to help nurture the talents of other people, hence making your life partially less about yourself and more about the wellness of others.