“The Lover is the archetype of play and of “display,” of healthy embodiment, of being in the world of sensuous pleasure and in one’s own body without shame. Thus, the Lover is deeply sensual – sensually aware and sensitive to the physical world in all its splendor.”

– King, Warrior, Magician, Lover - 73% on Kindle

Just as the King is the central, organising force of the other masculine archetypes, so too is the Lover a necessary and grounding presence to all others. By his empathy and connection to all of life, he helps the other archetypes get out of the Shadow and enter their Fullness.

He keeps the Warrior from being emotionally distant to the point of cruelty. He keeps the Magician from getting lost in his head. And he tempers the King’s ambition with empathy, concern, and love for his people.

Ignoring The Lover is common in the modern world. The great power of the intellect and reason has seduced many men to ignore their more spiritual, emotional side. Most of us mistake The Lover for our “feminine side” and consider it unimportant to our masculinity. This is a gross misunderstanding.

Men who have pushed The Lover to one side often experience burnout by constantly “attacking” their work, and even life itself, in the belief that makes them more masculine.

Charlie Hoehn’s unusual book Play It Away has helped many men (and women) resolve long-standing anxiety issues, simply by reconnecting with their playful side and making time for fun. The more of a high-flying go-getter someone is, the more important it is that they regularly block off time for play.

As well as being your fun side, your Lover’s sense of connectedness leads to all true forms of spirituality (rather than mere religion).

It’s no coincidence that, as generations grow up in secular society, many world-class performers recognise the importance of some non-religious substitute to reconnect with their “spiritual side”. Many would call it by another name, such as “mindfulness”.

In Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss states:

“More than 80% of the interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice.”


The Lover’s Powers

“The man profoundly in touch with the Lover energy experiences his work, and the people on the job with him, through this aesthetic consciousness. He can “read” people like a book. He is often excruciatingly sensitive to their shifts in mood and can feel their hidden motives.”

– King, Warrior, Magician, Lover - 76% on Kindle

In many ways the Lover’s sensuality and messiness is directly opposed to the order and rationality of the other archetypes. That is why they need him so sorely.

Imagine two bosses. Both are decisive, organised, and wise. There is only one difference.

The first is cold towards his subordinates. He doesn’t want his time to be wasted by the “emotional complaints” of an employee who’s having a hard time. Either you’re producing, or you’re not, and if you’re not, you’re easily replaced.

The second is different. If you need to talk something through with him, he’ll free up time in his schedule as soon as he can for you. When you talk, he looks into your eyes and listens. He’s sensitive to your emotional landscape, and is able to quickly intuit the root of your problem. He is hard-nosed when he needs to be, yet he ultimately yearns for his team to be happy, and their customers, too. It just so happens that achieving that aim is also boosts productivity and the “cold” metrics of results like nothing else.

Which would you be loyal to? Which would you “follow to the ends of the earth”?


Active Shadow: The Addicted Lover

If possessed by the Lover, a man will become overcome by his sensuality. Enjoyment turns into a need, a hunger into a craving.

The Shadow Lover is lost. Without the King’s direction, he becomes “lost in an ocean of the senses”. The slightest stimulus from the outside world pulls him off-course. By wanting everything, he finds he doesn’t really know what he wants. By refusing to put limits on his sensual experience, he gives his up his personal power to his pleasures, which then own him.


Passive Shadow: The Impotent Lover

If the Addicted Lover is lost in a sea of the senses, the Impotent Lover is lost in a desert. He “feels” the sterility and flatness of life, as if that were the reality.

The Impotent Lover is both ruled by his sensuality, and disconnected from it, leading to a lack of conscious awareness of feelings that are ruling him. The result: depression.

If the Addicted Lover is obsessed by the impossible goal of satisfying all of his appetites, the Impotent Lover has given up on his completely.



Now that you know what to look for in each of the masculine archetypes (and their Shadows), how do you develop them into their fullness?

Techniques for accessing your latent, full masculine archetypes is the topic of my last post of this series – up tomorrow.

– James