Chapter 10: The Lover

Imagine an archetypal Little League game. The Magian coaches the junior Warriors on how to hit and where to run while the King officiates and inspires the players from the sidelines. But over in left field, the Lover is staring off into the trees watching a strange bug flit among the leaves. Whether this image makes you laugh or cry, it depicts well the bliss and plight of the most misunderstood archetype. The Lover is off in his own world—a place with no schedule, no structure, and no demands. The time is always now. And the purpose is always joy.

In this chapter we’ll pursue the mysterious and primal capacities and desires that we call the Lover Archetype. We’ll consider where these traits come from and how they show up and affect our lives. We’ll consider the connection between the Lover and the core emotion of sadness. Then we’ll delve into the complex and interwoven shadows of the Lover—the Addict and the Impotent One. All of this will prepare us to view the entire structure of the archetype, with his shadows, to gain a perspective on the synergy that can be experienced when his diverse traits are held in balance.

At the end of the chapter we’ll consider some ways to channel Lover energy in healthful ways. Specifically, I’ll discuss some important principles related to friendship, which is one of the most important avenues for channeling Lover energy.


The Lover holds the power of our passion, urges, and desires. He’s internally driven and entirely centered in the body. He’s our ability and urge to sense the endless variety in the world outside us, and the awareness of all physical and emotional feelings from the world within. He doesn’t know boundaries and isn’t goal focused—other than the goal of satisfying his urges. The Lover’s activities all culminate in pleasure, fulfillment, and joyful expression through creativity. He seeks union and wholeness, bringing together all opposites through the ordering function of the King archetype. He assists the King and Magian in their vital functions of creating axis mundi. The King holds the Center. The Magian knows our Center. And the Lover feels our Center.

The Lover is also unifying within relationships. He’s the power at work when a little boy holds his father’s hand, an adolescent boy hangs out with his friends, and a young man makes out with a girl. He’s active in the adult male making love to his wife, holding their newborn child, and sacrificing for his family. He’s in the older man looking lovingly into his wife’s eyes at their fiftieth anniversary and doting on their grandchildren. He fills the leader with compassion for those who follow him as he tries to make a better world. And he’s alive in a man feeling the spirit as he kneels before God. Lover is empathy, compassion, and the source of our deepest spirituality.

(Chapter 10 continues on pages 304-347 of the book.)