Shadow Work for Men #1: The King vs The Tyrant

In this series, I’m aiming to combine the great masculine archetypes that live in our soul and the shadow work we can embark on to really make sense of what’s going on inside of us as men psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

Now if you want a lowdown on shadow work itself, check out the video linked below to get an intro into the topic, as in this series I’m gonna look at the 4 great archetypes of masculinity – the King, the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover, as well as each of these archetypes’ shadow side.

In this piece, we’re gonna look at the most famous of all masculine archetypes – that is – the King and his opposite – the tyrant.

The King & The Tyrant Archetype

The king-tyrant dynamic is so ever-present in the psyche we’ve seen it acted out time and again in the most famous stories young and old – from the Saviour King Jesus and the tyrant satan to the King of the pack Mufasa and the tyrant Scar in the Lion King.

These stories are so powerful because they speak to the battle between good and evil in the world, but more fundamentally within our own very souls.

Lord of the Rings is a good example here because, just like King Theodon, if we don’t embody the inner King, we will slip into the shadows and become overcome by the tyrant, or the other lesser-known form – the weakling.

The Weakling

Now while this video is gonna focus on the king and tyrant predominantly, it’s worth saying a few quick words on the weakling.

In our age of gender-bender philosophy and progressive feminism, the great masculine archetypes are all but ignored.

So, while we try to ‘detoxify’ masculinity as a culture, all we’re really doing is making men worse by depriving them of a meaningful path of growth in which they can develop into healthy, strong mature men.

Worse still, we’re actively pushing men into their shadow sides, especially in the form of the other shadow side of the king – the weakling.

The Weakling is he who flees from all confrontation, who criticizes from the sidelines and stays deep in the comfort zone, jealous of the king’s power, yet fearful of taking any of his responsibility.

In modern language, the weakling is he who rails against capitalism while living on Daddy’s trust fund, it’s he who extols the virtues of peace and love yet has no option but to act in a gentle way because he couldn’t even defend the peace he claims to hold if he was called to.

The tyrant would eat him alive. Henceforth, the weakling relies on the king for his safety, yet resents him for it.

The King

We cannot just embody the King without a process of learning, which often involves pain, sacrifice, humility and even humiliation – as well as facing our own darkness.

As all great kings are loved for their strength, loyalty and service to the kingdom, we too must learn to be loyal and to serve to something beyond ourselves, something that we’re willing to sacrifice our immediate egocentric desires for that develops within us the principles of the divine masculine spirit.

Socrates ‘the wisest man in Greece’ has accomplished near king status in philosophy from the foundation point of ‘all I know is that I know nothing’, while Christ the Saviour King was crystal clear in stating that his Father, not he, did the works…

Both men were killed by tyrannical energy that couldn’t handle their union with being itself because as Socrates strived to be and Jesus knew… a king must be outside of human laws, he must seek a higher authority to which he is obedient and humbled, an authority which allows him to be still, unmoved by the temptations of the world, at one with being, willing to sacrifice himself for greater life and free of the pull of worldly power.

This means in order for us to embody the inner king, we must go within, we must face our fears, our dark cravings for power, and the depth of our sins first.

After all, if a king has not overcome the lust for more power, more women, more plaudits and more money, he will be forever a tyrant unable to overcome the things of the world.

He may look powerful on the outside, yet within he is ruled by his ephemeral things of the world, not the divine spirit, and within his being the weakling lays at his core… 

The Tyrant

The tyrant is a figure that is all too common today, he is in the know-it-all who can be taught nothing, he is a show-off desperate to show his exploits with women and money, he is all about taking and never giving. He is what the world will turn you into if you don’t wake up and humble yourself.

One of the great dangers in men’s hearts is believing the lie of the tyrant that possessions, pleasures or womanising shows a man’s value.

To the wise king, all this shows is that a man is lost in a feminine-style pursuit of pleasure, and such a man rarely has any true peace within. 

Of course, the tyrant hates the peace of the King and he wants his throne, yet even in desiring it he doesn’t realise he couldn’t handle its power because at root, he serves only himself, never the deeper principle of BEING which is beyond self-promotion and self-seeking that the king inhabits.

He may have all the riches of the world, yet nothing he seeks in this world will ever be enough if he cannot stop blaming others and humble himself.

Long Live the King!

One thing I’ve heard guys say before is ‘the tyrant’s voice is really on me and I feel bad about it’ or ‘I’m free of the tyrant’s voice, I’m all in my king energy’ – both of these statements are tricks of the ego.

In order for us to truly grow we must see that life itself, the universe, the battle of good and evil is going on within us right now – once we grasp this, we see we ALL have the voice of the tyrant tempting us – maturity is recognising that we don’t choose our thoughts, we choose how to respond to them.  

In order to learn discernment, we must ‘sit on the throne’ as the king does while he listens to the affairs of the townspeople openly, nonplussed.

We must learn to rest in the simplicity of pure being, not jumping at the ‘good’ or ‘evil’ in our minds, but remaining still, watching, trusting in being and knowing that the right answer will come when the situation calls for it.

This doesn’t mean we don’t embrace life, we very much do, but from a foundation of balance rooted in pure being before the mind.

Practical Steps for Shadow Work

In this mission which all men need to be on, we can practice the following:

  • (To escape the noise of the mind) we must practise meditation and the silent prayer. This can help us build our awareness of the inner tyrant and learn to not get dragged into games of the ego-realm.
  • We must learn to say a powerful ‘no’ to tyrants and learn how to defend ourselves physically, verbally and spiritually, as well as set boundaries based upon respect for others and ourselves
  • We must seek the stillness of being over the temptations of life in the form of women, instant gratification and intoxicants
  • We must dive deep within and face our own shadow…

If you’d like to venture further into this topic, why not pick up the core Awakened Man text, From Lost Boy to Awakened Man

2 thoughts on “Shadow Work for Men #1: The King vs The Tyrant

  1. Great post, I’m a big fan of Gillette and Moore.

    As a coach, I work with men to help strengthen their healthy masculinity and move beyond the immature archetypes most of us see as our only examples to guide us.

    One way I look at the modern, everyday examples of the Tyrant is the idea of “alpha males” guys who go around working so hard to prove they are “dominant” in so many different ways. A King never has to try to prove himself, he knows who he is, and does his own thing, and everyone around him simply KNOWS he’s king – not necessarily in the sense of the boss, or whatever, but in control of himself, following his purpose unflinchingly.

    I look forward to reading more!

    • Thanks Charles, interesting post and we have siilar aims evidently. However I’d disagree on the alpha male not really being a thing in the broad sense of the word – I get what you’re saying, there are lots of fakers and it can do damage pretending, yet I do think the alpha energy is real and can be accessed by men in differing arenas of life.

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