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The King and Queen Archetype Published: Sunday, January 6, 2002 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

I have always been fascinated by the work of Carl Jung, a great psychologist, who coined the term archetype to describe bundles of image, affect and intention that transcend time and culture. They are like templates that are hard-wired into the human mind. His theory was that we are all influenced by a collection of ancient urges, desires and inclinations. At most time in the history of humankind these have been talked about through myths and stories. These urges and desires tend to have coherence: the urge to overpower and also the will to protect others. These bundles of qualities get personalized into characters who populate our myths and stories.

One can talk about the warrior archetype as a template with common characteristics that appears as a soldier, or hunter, or Indian, or slave, or knight in stories and myths of all human cultures. The core argument is that the same images and stories reappear time and again, in all economic levels of society and in all cultures. They are present in all human art, poetry, scientific discoveries, and religion, and in our patterns of thought and feeling. It is as though the human race projects these deep structures into the things we create. Some stories seem to be closer to the source, and as such they offer advice and wisdom on what it means to be human and how to lead a life worth living.

The great Jungian scholar, Robert Moore has identified a deep part of the unconscious mind that has needs, feelings and potentials, which he calls the “King or Queen archetype.” This archetype is very interesting for learning about leadership. It is as though our beliefs and feelings about good authority (likes others, makes them center of attention, serves people, has vision of great society, culture and organization, takes responsibility, steps aside when necessary) and bad authority (seeks always attention, self-serving, vision only of own greatness, blame others, holds on to power), are hard-wired into us as human beings.

The core function of the good King and Queen archetype is to give others praise and blessing. The bad King or Queen create deep and suffocating interpersonal mush around them, stifling the potential and creativity of the people they have power over and leaving a toxic work environment in their wake. The good King’s or Queen’s job is to admire and praise their employees, and in doing so, help them become more than they thought they could be.

Anyone who has ever had a good King or Queen in his life (parent, coach, teacher, supervisor, or other authority) knows exactly the meaning of this interpretation. Merely being in their presence leaves people the feeling of being more capable, productive and motivated than you felt before. They purpose is to nourish your self.

Praise refers to appreciating something that has already happened. A common ill of our times is lack of gratitude. Blessing is about the future. When we bless someone we are giving them consent to continue being what they are and developing their potentials.

God bless all our readers! Amen.


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