There are many forms of love. The ancient Greeks spoke of agape, nonerotic love, what the Bible calls “brotherly love.” They spoke of eros both in the narrow sense of phallic or sexual love and in the wider sense of love as the bonding and uniting urge of all things. The Romans spoke of amor, the complete union of one body and soul with another body and soul. These forms, and all other forms of love (for the most part varieties of these), are the living expression of the lover energy in human life.
The Lover is the fourth archetype discussed in the book King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover. When speaking about The Lover, it is not simply just sexual love but a general appetite for life. A lover of life. The Lover energy is exhibited in the vividness, aliveness and the passion with which one lives life. There is a sense of joy that The Lover feels, delight in all sensory experiences.
It lives through the great primal hungers of our species for sex, food, wellbeing, reproduction, creative adaptation of life’s hardships, and ultimately a sense of meaning, without which human beings cannot go on with their lives. The lover’s drive is to satisfy those hungers.
The Lover is one who is able to be in the world and in one’s own body without shame. They have accepted themselves and are comfortable with who they are. In doing so, The Lover is also empathetic towards others and is open to the collective unconscious. The Lover is open to the aesthetic consciousness which allows him to read others and understand how they feel but this openness comes with a cost, namely, by being so open, the Lover also feels pain and feels it deeply.
The Lover is not, then, only the archetype of the joy of life. In his capacity to feel at one with others and with the world, he must also feel their pain. Other people may be able to avoid pain, but the man in touch with the Lover must endure it. He feels the painfulness of being alive–both for himself and for others. Here, we have the image of Jesus weeping—for his city, Jerusalem, for his disciples, for all of humanity—and taking the sorrows of the world upon himself as the “man of sorrows, one acquainted with grief,” as the Bible says.
The Lover energy is in some ways the opposite of the other archetypes. The King, Warrior, and Magician are more concerned with order, boundaries, and discipline while, the Lover is freer and is able to cross boundaries in the search for passionate experiences rather than performing duties.
The two shadow forms of The Lover are Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover. The Addicted Lover is someone who is a victim of his own sensitivity. He is lost in addiction and this stops the individual from detaching and assessing their own behavior. This lack of detachment can also result in having boundary issues. The individual lacks boundaries and principles that allow the Lover energy to be used for its proper purpose.
The lostness shows up, in the way that the Addict lives for the pleasure of the moment only and locks us into a web of immobility from which we cannot escape.
In his lostness—within and without—the victim of the active pole of the Shadow Lover is eternally restless. This is the man who is always searching for something. He doesn’t know what it is he’s looking for.
The Impotent Lover, on the other hand, suffers from a flattened affect. This effect is one that causes a lack of enthusiasm, vividness, aliveness towards life. The individual is unable to be passionate and open himself to the sensory experiences which life provides. One consequence of The Impotent Lover can be a chronically depressive state.
The Lover is last of the archetypes. The other three are The King, The Warrior, and The Magician. All of which I have attempted covered previously. The archetypes can be useful in assessing one’s own behavior. The archetypes can act as reminders for what one is missing or lacking. The King can remind one to be in service for others and try to help someone else be a better version of themselves. The Warrior may remind one to act and not wait for life to come to you and how through action, one should create the life they wish to have. The Magician can be a reminder of how much growth is possible and how one can gain knowledge to aid their growth. The Lover can remind you to live life in its fullest capacity and not be afraid to experience both the good and the bad sensualities that life can provide you.