The Sovereign or King Archetype: Leader, Holder Of Vision & Mission

The Sovereign archetype is the King (or Queen in women). This archetype, in its most mature form, is the leader in our lives. He holds our sense of mission, purpose and vision. He leads others by example and is accepting, generous, just, clear and wise. A good expression, one that captures the essence of this sovereign energy within, is “the heart centred leader”.

Because sovereign energy is often the last to develop fully, your King may be an Elder. But whether he is or not, he still carries the wisdom of generations and an understanding of what needs to happen next. He is able to issue orders to the Warrior to get things done, and he knows he can seek the counsel of his Magician. He is softened in his way of being by the compassion and empathy of his Lover.

The main emotion of the King is joy. Joy about what is, backed by a knowing that everything is OK, just because it is. However, his knowing that everything is OK just the way it is (indeed, it could only be the way it is right now) also allows for an understanding that things may need to change in the future – and a determination that they will change.

So while the King’s energy is imbued with an acceptance of what is, he also knows that action may be required to ensure his intentions, wishes and vision are manifested in the future. And he knows he has the power and authority to bring those changes about.

Also, when action is needed to ensure the safety, prosperity and well-being of the Kingdom, he will decide on a course of action without fear or favour, and issue orders to his Warrior to take the necessary action.

A mature King is also wise. Part of his wisdom comes from having mourned his losses, and journeyed through his sadness and grief to a place of joy.

He embodies a certain quality of calmness which comes from his profound knowing that he is good enough. He has deep wisdom and the ability to bless. He blesses others for who they are and what they have to give. He rules with the consent of his citizens, who in turn bless him with their acceptance and trust in his reign.

And he brings balance and integration to his Kingdom, possibly embodying the energy of the Heart Centred (or “Servant“) Leader, but always working for the prosperity of the Kingdom, its fruitfulness, peace and harmony.

Additional descriptive words for the mature King include: benevolent, authentic, in integrity, caring, centered, humble, integrated, noble, royal, overseeing, visionary, sacrificial, self-assured, wise.

King Archetype on Video

The emotional wound here is the belief that “I am not good enough.”

This is probably the most widespread archetypal wound in modern society. The consequences of a lack of sovereignty can be seen everywhere in the business, social, political, social and media worlds. The lack of sovereignty is also seen in the way so few people are effective leaders in their own lives, lacking any sense of mission, purpose, clarity and direction.

After all, if you believe at some fundamental level that you are not good enough, why would you even try to get a hold over your life, or even be aware of the possibility that you might be able to lead yourself and others in your own Kingdom?

The origins of this sense of not being good enough lie in the way children are raised in our society. We’ve all heard things like: children should be seen and not heard, don’t blow your own trumpet, pride goes before a fall, don’t get too big for your boots, if you’d tried harder you could have done better….

All these well-worn maxims summarise a way of relating to children which stops them developing a strong sense of self worth and feeling good enough. Indeed, low self-esteem is the curse of our society. It leads people to abdicate responsibility for their lives, to put up with second rate treatment, and to be at the mercy of anyone who looks like a strong leader.

Children need to have a sense of pride in their achievements, an appreciation of their ability and talents, and a strong sense of self-worth because a powerful King simply knows he is good enough. He does not have to be perfect – perfectionism being the curse of the deflated sovereign – he just has to be good enough. And what is good enough?

Well, it’s simply knowing that you are good enough – a felt sense of being OK, and knowing others are OK, and that all is right with the world. This grows through positive reinforcement and is fostered in an upbringing which seeks to affirm children rather than criticize their errors and shortcomings, or point out their failures and punish them for making mistakes.

Children may put their sovereign energy into shadow for many reasons, but they come down to two things: either being shamed in some way for standing out from the crowd, or growing up in a culture of mediocrity. 

When a child puts his sovereign or king energy into shadow, as with all the other archetypes it may inflate or deflate. 

Typical qualities of the inflated shadow King archetype 

  • He is a tyrant King, inflated and grandiose, without any justification for his high opinion of himself.
  • He holds on to power through the blind obedience of those who are seduced into following him. You challenge the opinion of a tyrant at your own risk – the risk of being banished from the Kingdom, usually with a tirade of abuse ringing in your ears. Or much worse.
  • He requires you to abdicate your own sense of right and wrong, to follow him regardless. If you disagree with him, you’re being disloyal. In fact, his sense of self-worth is so weak that he cannot tolerate any disagreement, for this brings him into contact with his sense of inadequacy and inferiority.
  • He thinks he doesn’t need counsel (though in fact he needs it more than anything). It’s “my way or the highway.”
  • The tyrant King is a Special Boy, a narcissistic child who’s never grown up. He screams, one way or another, “Do it my way, I’m right!” Yet below this you can find  a scared little boy who was never taught how to be in the world, who was never guided or mentored by his parents. Maybe he was abused.

Typical qualities of the deflated shadow King archetype 

  • He is an abdicating King, full of doubt, with no sense of responsibility, and no solid self. He is unsure of himself and fundamentally weak at his core.
  • He lives by the motto “It will all work out.” The subtext is, “And I need do nothing about it.” The abdicating King wants respect and honor. But because he feels so unworthy of it, he may try to get it by offering concessions or handing out what he sees as acts of love, or by people pleasing and avoiding conflict at all costs.
  • He won’t have much of a vision, and he certainly won’t take responsibility for the failure of the Kingdom that comes from his lack of leadership. He will, however, seek to blame everyone but himself. And he is inevitably blind to his own errors and failures. To admit these failures would be to recognize his true nature, and that he will never do.

The Mature King 

You will know your mature King is supporting you when you bless others and feel it coming from your deepest core. You will know you’re in Sovereign when you feel connected to your higher power, calm and firm. This is a place in which you are calm and open to seeking input from your counselors or King’s court.

You know you’re in your Sovereign when you feel confident, unfazed, powerful and present. You know your mission in the world, you know the vision for your life and your Kingdom. You feel a flow of energy that comes from within, a flow fuelled by something more than you, a power which moves through you and seems ready to take you there.

The King In Shadow

You know your Shadow King is sabotaging you when you intimidate or belittle, verbally, emotionally, or intellectually. You know you are in shadow when you blame others, fail to take responsibility, or make out it’s their fault, not yours.

You may shame others, too, or threaten them with the final “authority” of the weak King – “Off with your head!” And most of all you know you are in your shadow King when you feel no presence, potency or power, just as though you have abdicated from your throne or position in life.

Discover Your Archetypes and Explore the Shadow In You!