Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The King Archetype

The King is an important archetype in myth. It symbolizes leadership, adherence to ideals, and stern discipline. The Queen serves this role equally well. Joseph Cambell wrote about the roles of the King and the Warrior as they exist in the myths of many cultures. I think that these archetypes are still resonant in our culture today, although their trappings (and their struggles) have changed.

On a personal level, many people struggle to connect with their inner Kings or Queens. Until they do so, they are like tumbleweeds, being continually blown to and fro by the winds of fear and desire (the sources of suffering according to Buddhism). Some people are in touch with their inner "regents", but have not connected with their warrior spirit that enables them to fight against adversity, and to live by the rules that their Kings or Queens set forth. This usually results in self loathing that can be very destructive.

On a tribal level, aspiring Kings and Queens now wear business attire and wield laptops and briefcases. Their challenge is to realize their potential as leaders in this modern age. Modern leaders no longer wield absolute power by default. Most are beholden to processes and forces that periodically measure their performance against short term goals. It is the rare leader that earns enough credibility to assume the mythical role of the King, which is to lead with absolute authority. I think it's fair to say that we have a shortage of true Kings and Queens in the world.

The theme of the pursuit of a King or Queen is one that I'm thinking about for the subsequent Hemlock stories.


  1. I really enjoyed this post. Good luck in your pursuit of a King or Queen for your Hemlock stories. :)

  2. Thanks, Jeffrey. Good luck on your upcoming releases. They sound like some very interesting books; and, by the sounds of the comments on your blog, they are generating quite a bit of anticipation.