Mindful Lover’s of Creation – Strength with Vulnerability

The Lover

In his book The King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover, Robert Moore outlines the archetype of the Lover. The lover is finely attuned to the realm of the senses and worships beauty. He is a musician, poet and artist, and a lover of all things, both inner and outer. He is passionate and delights in touching and being touched. He wants to always stay connected and does not recognize boundaries.

He wants to experience the world as one ongoing big orgasm of hearts uniting as One. He is the mystic who feels everything as himself and the source of all intuition. Through his feeling capacity, he is finely attuned to people’s energy, capable of reading them like an open book. His desire for love and connectedness considered, feeling into other people and discovering dark intentions is a painful experience for him. He is opposed to all structures that maintain separateness – of all law and order that keep hearts lonely and isolated. He is, in other words, as opposed to all the other archetypes. The Lover is crucial in keeping the other archetypes energized, humane, and in touch with the ultimate purpose of love. The Lover keeps them from turning dark.

The Addicted Lover is the active polarity of the Shadow Lover. He is constantly searching for the fulfillment of his sensual desires. A true hedonist, he throws himself into a never-ending and exhausting search for sensual fulfillment, without ever really knowing what he looks for. Circumstances and his constantly shifting desires, never finding rest pull him around. A woman here, a woman there, then music, art, fine wine – whatever keeps his sensual side alive.  The Addicted lover has not solidified in his internal structures, and will forever hunt for the attainment of his desire, helplessly shackled to the desire for union with Mother (the realm of sensory experience is the realm of the Feminine). 

The Impotent Lover is the passive polarity of the Shadow Lover. He is chronically depressed and feels cut off from himself and others. He loses his zest for life, his energy all but gone. He is sexually inactive, and will withdraw from all demands that are placed on him and his sexuality. If his partner becomes too demanding, requesting a sex life from him he is incapable to offer, his feelings of imprisonment may propel him out of the relationship and onto the endless road of addiction that is the domain of the Addicted Lover. 


The Lover Archetype is obviously joined with those who are romantically inclined, but also in anyone who exhibits great passion and devotion. One can be a Lover of art, music, fishing, fine machinery, nature or things nautical. The key is in the having of unbridled and exaggerated affection and appreciation for someone or something that influences the organization of your life. It is strongly linked to your self-esteem especially regarding your physical attractiveness 

The Lover in His Fullness

When you hear the word “lover” you probably think of romance and sex. But there are many types of love–a love for family, for friends, for God, and for life itself–and the Lover archetype passionately seeks after them all.

The Lover is the archetype of emotion, feeling, idealism, and sensuality. Like the word “lover,” sensuality is often exclusively associated with sex but really has a far broader application. Being sensual means opening up and using all of your senses in all areas of your life–touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing–or in other words–experiencing as many dimensions of life as possible, as often as possible.

Thus, when a man taps into the Lover archetype’s energy, he feels alive with vim and vigor and connected to the world and those around him. A man in touch with the Lover archetype feels deeply, whether those feelings are of joy or pain.

The Lover is attuned to the mysterious forces underlying our everyday existence; this is the archetype that fuels a man’s spirituality, and the one in which the Muses reside. When we get those flashes of inspiration or sparks of creativity, that’s Lover energy manifesting itself in our lives. A man who takes time to develop this archetype will experience those hunches, insights, and premonitions more frequently than men who don’t.

A man who has fully developed the Lover archetype in his life is also often adept at reading people and social cues. He’s empathetic with others and understands how to get along and connect with a wide variety of people.

Because the Lover is so alive and sensual, he enjoys all of life’s pleasures, whether it be good food and drink, beautiful art, or gorgeous women. This is the archetype that spurs our appetites. But these hungers aren’t just for “baser” pleasures like sex and food, but for a life of meaning and purpose. And in seeking the freedom to passionately pursue these ends, the Lover can see limits and rules as constraining.

This is why the Lover archetype has a unique relationship to the other three archetypes of mature masculinity. While the Lover’s energy seeks to be boundless, the King, Warrior, and Magician archetypes provide a man with structure and discipline. Thus the Lover’s passion fuels and powers these three life forces, and in turn, they channel and harness the Lover’s energy in a healthy way and towards worthy goals.

You can find the Lover archetype in myths and rituals that span culture and time. The Greek god Dionysus presents perhaps the most salient example. Dionysus was the god of wine, merriment, art, passion, and sex. His followers believed that when a man became so overcome with emotion that he appeared mad, Dionysus was to blame. The yearly festival held in his honor each spring was a ritual inspired by the Lover archetype: lots of drinking, lots of dancing, lots of theater, and lots of sex.

A modern story that exemplifies the Lover archetype is Zorba the Greek. Zorba is a man who lives life fully. He’s earthy. He loves good food and drink. He dances his heart out. Zorba understands that for a man to be truly free, he needs to have a deep emotional life; he needs a little madness:

The Lover archetype is usually the first that develops in a man. Look at most young men and you see that they’re often ruled by the passionate Lover archetype. They’re looking for new and exciting endeavors, they develop intense romantic and sexual relationships, and they’re filled with youthful idealism. Their experiences are marked by an acute intensity.

The Shadows

Remember that each archetype has both a pinnacle, which represents the fullness of the archetype, and a bi-polar shadow split.  These shadows are the result of the archetype not being integrated into a man in a healthy and coherent way. The two shadows of the Lover archetype are the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover.

Accessing the Lover Archetype

According to Moore, the Lover is the most repressed and stunted archetype in men today. Men in the West aren’t encouraged to be “in touch with their feelings.” As men, we’re supposed to be coolly detached from anything and anybody. But the great men in history understood that emotion, properly harnessed, is what drives greatness. The ancient Greeks called this passion for life thumos. It’s a fire in the belly that propels a man to do great deeds.

So accessing the Lover archetype is vital to our success as men. But how do we do it?

The easiest way to tap into the Lover archetype is to take more time to really enjoy the stuff that brings you pleasure in life. The Addicted Lover is forever looking for the high that will last indefinitely. When he takes the first “hit” of something–whether a new drug, a new place, a new lover, or a new car–his brain lights up with pleasure. But our brains quickly get used to the same stimuli, and each additional hit brings diminishing returns. So the Addicted Lover will then take a bigger hit of the stimulus in order to feel the same pleasure he got the first time he tried it. But he’ll quickly get used to that “dose” too. And soon the Addicted Lover is stuck in a destructive cycle–restlessness and dissatisfaction plague him.

The answer to short-circulating this cycle and tapping into the Lover energy in a healthy way is something we have talked about a few times before: cultivating the virtue of moderation and being fully present in your life.

Instead of reaching for more, you stop to experience the things you already have and do in a deeper way, using all of your senses. You turn life’s little everyday activities into indulgent, pleasure-inducing rituals.

For example, do you like drinking coffee? Create a slow, relaxing, coffee-drinking experience for yourself a couple times a week. Take a whiff of the beans before you grind them, carefully create your brew in a French press, pour it into a mug you love, and slowly sip it on the porch, really enjoying the flavor.

Chew your food slowly and really taste the flavors. Enjoy touching and kissing your woman’s skin instead of just immediately getting down to the deed, take a walk after a rain shower and breathe in that fresh smell. Remember, the Lover experiences as much of life as possible, with as many senses as possible.

Another way to access the Lover is to take part in a hobby you’re passionate about, particularly ones that involves artistic skills or craftsmanship. Make it a priority in your schedule to spend time on that hobby. It doesn’t matter how silly it is. As long as it gives you joy, and offers you a creative outlet, do it.

A man seeking access to the Lover archetype should also make reading a lifelong habit. Immerse yourself in literature and writings on a variety of subjects to stimulate your brain and provide it with something to ponder other than whether to have a ham or turkey sandwich for lunch. Seeking knowledge will spur the Lover’s capacity for imagination and inspiration.

Spend time outdoors–hiking and camping. Nature helps you get in touch with the mysterious forces of life.

And of course you can access the Lover archetype by taking time for romance. Plan a surprise date for your wife or girlfriend. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. And don’t just stop there. Write your woman love letters or, if you’re feeling particularly inspired, a love poem. Boom. Instant Lover access.

In addition to the above suggestions, Moore also provides a few techniques to access all the mature masculine archetypes more fully in our lives. These techniques require what Moore calls active imagination. 

Moore suggests admiring and learning about men who exemplify each archetype. For the Lover, you can read biographies and study the work of great artists you admire. Maybe you can spend a month studying the life of Leonardo da Vinci. Or if you’re a Hemingway fan, read all of Papa’s novels.

A final technique to access the archetypes in your life is to “act as if” you’re already accessing the archetype in your life. It’s the old “fake it until you make it” philosophy espoused by Aristotle. If you feel as if the Impotent Lover has taken control of your psyche and you’ve lost your vim and vigor, act as if you were passionate for life and were accessing the Lover archetype fully.  If art never really interested you, force yourself to visit a museum and really look at the art. Act as if you’re really interested and pretty soon you might find yourself no longer having to pretend.

    Assignment At Home:

    • Watch the videos below, which outline The Lover Archetype and think about how the Hero’s Journey applies in your life.  

    First Video – Start at 45:09 min

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