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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Male Archetypes

Male Archetypes

Reflections in a Child's Eye

Today I was over at Sloe's place washing clothes and watching Sunflower laugh and play. Then I got home (not before I got my weekly hug) and decided to update the book that I've been keeping for him. As I glued the pictures in his book, added new entries, updated others, and re-read old ones---I got to wondering about the type of man that he would grow into to.

Traditionally there are five major archetypes with which men have been associated and the way in which men are defined by both themselves and the society in which we live. These archetypes are named as Warrior, Lover, Hunter, Priest, and King.

These archetypes symbolize what it means to be a man, and provide men with a strong model by which they judge themselves as well as their brothers. However, in today's politically correct world of shifting perceptions and identities some have criticized these models as outmoded and say they have no place in this "brave new world."

Some of you men have probably looked over the list of archetypes above and have already defined yourself as one archetype or another. For example, the athlete may see himself as the Warrior, while the Mystic sees himself as the Priest, however, unlike others who would quickly define themselves as only one of these archetypes, I maintain that ALL of these archetypes are present in EVERY man, and that each one has something to tell you about yourself.

The Warrior represents the protector whose strength we draw upon in times of need, as well as issues of independence and self-sufficiency. He is man's primal need towards protection of the innocent, defense, and social activism. The Warrior's negative counterpart is his tendency towards war, prejudice, and persecution of the weak. He also represents man's inner tendency to fight against himself, which prevents him from his true purpose.

The Lover represents the need to both give and receive love. More importantly, he represents self-love and issues of self-esteem as well as self acceptance. He is inward aimed and works toward the unification of the inner masculine and feminine selves as seen in the Lovers card in the Tarot. The negative side of the Lover is the man who hates himself for his perceived weaknesses and flaws, the man whose self-identity is centered on his penis and physical gratification without emotional attachment. He is outer-aimed and rejects his own inner femininity, leaving him emotionally blocked and often unbalanced. He is the reason men cannot commit.

The Hunter is the provider, willing to sacrifice himself (or at least place himself in danger) in order that others may survive. He represents the will to survive, our natural gifts, and service to others. The opposite side of the Hunter is the coward. He won't fight for himself, he gives up too easily, is pessimistic and a defeatist.

The Priest is the spiritual guide and moral compass. He is our inner drive to understand our place in life as well as the desire to unite with the godhead. He represents our conscience and issues of morality. The negative side of the Priest is a tendency to abandon our morals and NOT do the right thing. The anti-priest urges you to embrace your addictions, to spread hate, and bring harm (often more to ones self than others.)

The King is each man's own sense of self, but also his responsibility towards others. The King teaches each man to be true to himself, while also recognizing the king (or queen) in others and giving that person the respect that they are due. In a sense, the other four archetypes are present in the King as in this role he must also be the Warrior-King, the Lover-King, the Priest-King, and the Hunter-King.

This archetype, which is arguably the most complex, is often difficult for many men to recognize in himself and allow to come through in the real world. The true King is self-sufficient, but can also recognize that others must take care of him at times and allows them to do so. The true King is self-confident, but recognizes his own fears and weaknesses. The true King loves himself, but not the exclusion of others. The true King shows his emotions, but is not ruled by them. The true King seeks to lift others up, rather than to bring them down. The true King serves as an example for all people, but does not judge those who lose their way.

These archetypes dwell in every man and can teach him a great deal about him self, and guide him in becoming the best "him" that he can be. The first step is to recognize the different part of yourself. They can be accessed through meditation, creative visualization, journaling, self-dialogue, or simply by listening to the inner truth.

It is my hope that Sunflower will always have the wisdom to recognize his destiny, the courage to follow his heart, and the strength to embrace his dreams...and never forget that he is loved.

Caroline Dean

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