King, warrior, magician, lover : rediscovering the archetypes of the mature masculine

by Robert L. Moore

Other authorsDouglas Gillette
Book, 1991



Call number


Call number



[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

Original publication date


Physical description

xix, 160 p.; 24 cm

Local notes

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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member dimlightarchive
Heavily gender essentialist and heterocentric, as well as being critical of feminism in ways that are not quite fair. Understandably male-centered book -- it's a book for men about masculinity -- but the assumption of binary gender and masculinity as something which is a singular thing instead of being a point on a spectrum is foundational to the book.

That said, there is some value in here in terms of contextualizing interpersonal and personal difficulties in a symbolic way, and in using that symbolic thinking in ways very congruent with modern spiritual and magical practice.

Take with a truck of salt, a vat of tequila, and a lime grove.
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LibraryThing member Arctic-Stranger
Moore separates the pysche into four dimensions, which obviously correspond with the title of the book, and deals with the importance of each role to the male psyche and to society. (Later he is going to write about the need for Kings.)
LibraryThing member bespen
The four archetypes show their power from the first. These are not alien ideas forced onto us. Rather, they are us, in a more pure form. The archetypes help us to see what is best in ourselves, as men. The King is the source of order, he is wise and just. The Warrior has boundless energy. He is devoted to a cause greater than himself, and fiercely loyal. The Magician is powerful and crafty, and he has the ability to detach himself from events and see more clearly. The Lover seeks beauty in all its forms, and delights in it. He can break down barriers and empathize with everyone.

This book is valuable for anyone who wants to know what it is to be a man. It is also valuable if you are interested in understanding depictions of masculinity, both positive and negative. I can easily think of people I know, or situations I have found myself in, and immediately see the application of these archetypes of masculinity.

Moore and Gillette are definitely children of their age: the Age of Aquarius. With that in mind, I found the chapter on the Lover the most unbalanced. This is the chapter that is the least burdened with scholarship or historical accuracy. It is also the least aware of the negative side of the archetype. The chapter on the King went into great depth on the bipolar shadow Kings, the Tyrant, and the Weakling. The chapter on the Lover talked about the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover, but many of the examples used for the Lover per se were really just as bad as the shadow forms. Given that the Lover is the spirit of the age, it is probably hard to attain critical distance.
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LibraryThing member jerame2999
This book has opened my eyes to a few new ideas. Ironically they are old ideas that i had never heard before. More reading is required. I think that may become my mantra.
LibraryThing member michaeladams1979
Not the typical kind of book I read, being something of a self-help book, but nonetheless filled with very useful psychological, philosophical, and anthropological observations about the divine or mature masculine. These archetypes (first postulated by Jung, if my understanding is correct) are based on classical cultural roles and evolutionary psychology, and describe the ideal aspects of man; applicable in the spectrum of life from tribal hunter-gatherers to highly technological. It also describes some of the aspects our more modern society lacks; rites of passage and initiation, and on why this 'age of the individual' has hurt the function of men in daily life; pushing them into habits of infantilized behavior and / or toxic masculinity. It offers some small suggestions for self-driven practices to effect change in an individual's life, but my primary takeaway was this; the therapist or psychiatrist has in many ways replaced the priest or shaman in our society; healing the hearts and minds of the man-children consumerist society has made of us, and our 'kings' can no longer be looked to as examples of correct action, being so corrupt, and manifesting only the shadow aspects of the archetype. What then do we do in this strange age to live up to ideals we no longer have the guidance to become?… (more)
LibraryThing member zen2
Excellent book for all men and the women who love them.

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