Craftsman, Warrior, Yogi
Archetypes of the Conscious Masculine
In this article I will describe the three archetypes of the conscious masculine, the Craftsman, The Warrior and The Yogi.
Each of us man or woman embodies both the energy of the masculine and the feminine. The path of the tantrika is to fully meet and integrate both energies at the core of our being.
For a man, the journey begins with the awakening and transformation of the masculine principle. This is a journey that passes through three levels. First there is the Subconscious level, our biological and tribal conditioning expressed through the archetype of Caveman. Then there is the Conscious level that I explore in this article. Finally there is the Essence level, the pure energy of Shiva, the cosmic masculine.
Before we turn to the Conscious Masculine, let us briefly consider the subconscious level. This is the level of our survival instincts and our tribal and cultural conditioning. It comprises both the collective unconscious and our individual unconscious. Here is how my teacher Dr Shakti Malan describes Caveman.
The Subconscious Masculine is very self-absorbed and focused on getting what he wants. He uses his strengths to assert and maintain dominance. He regards the superiority of his own position as paramount to his survival. The Subconscious Masculine is driven by the urge for sexual gratification, particularly for ejaculatory orgasm. He has little or no control over his sexual desire and tends to ejaculate simply as a response to excitement and stimulation. His sexuality is mostly an expression of the biological drive of homo sapiens to ensure that male seed gets planted in female womb space as much as possible. (Dr Shakti Malan, The Soulmate Within)
The Subconscious Masculine then is a powerful primal energy. It is not a negative force. It is something to be channeled and transformed. It is the rocket fuel of our spiritual awakening.
The path of transforming the Subconscious Masculine is the process of bringing that which is hidden in the shadows of unawareness into the light of consciousness and freeing ourselves from the often destructive and self-sabotaging patterns that has run our lives outside conscious awareness. This process leads us to the conscious level. This level represents the move to conscious choice and individuation beyond survival and tribal identity.
The Conscious Masculine is primarily expressed through three qualities, skillful action, single pointed focus and rock-like stillness. I describe these in terms of three archetypal figures, the Craftsman, The Warrior and the Yogi.
Pursuit of mastery
Often the first of these figures to emerge is the Craftsman. The Conscious Masculine delights in accomplishment, skill and ultimately the quest for mastery... over nature and himself. He loves to fabricate, to construct, to understand, to systematize and to express his power and his identity in refined, effective and skillful action.
Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the oriental attitude to the arts. In Japan for example, the arts are seen less as a manifestation of inspired creative genius but as a "Do" or path of apprenticeship leading to self-knowledge and self-mastery. In China, the word kungfu, most often used to refer to the martial arts, literally means skill or mastery. There is an understanding that the real purpose of the martial arts is not fighting but the cultivation of conscious awareness.
Sexually, the Craftsman shows up as the desire to be an accomplished lover in touch with his own and his partner's feelings and able to guide both of them into deeper and fully experiences of pleasure and union. Most specifically, the Craftsman seeks mastery over Caveman's urge to ejaculate. The aim is not necessarily to abandon ejaculation, but to make it a matter of conscious choice and open up the riches of energetic transformation that become possible when ejaculation is delayed. When a man cultivates what the Chinese call "sexual kungfu" he is boldly claiming the power and uniqueness of his individuated consciousness.
Like an arrow to its target
What emerges when the Craftsman goes through his apprenticeship is a singular ability to concentrate and focus his energy on his goal. Thus the second archetype, the Warrior. the man of action, characterized by courage and discipline, comes into being. Dr Shakti Malan describes the single-pointedness of the Warrior as like an arrow flying straight and true towards its target.
Two qualities are most expressed in the Warrior. First courage, the willingness to accept fear and act in the face of fear. Secondly discipline, which in essence is the vow to make every moment and every facet of life an expression of the Warrior's purpose.
Equally important to the Warrior is service and devotion. In embodying the Warrior, the masculine transcends Caveman's individual gratification and the Craftsman's exercise of skill for its own sake. His life becomes pledged to a higher purpose whether that is awakening of the spirit or service to the common good. This is beautifully expressed in the Holy Grail Legend where the warrior Parsifal discovers that question that unlocks the power of the Grail is not "Who does the Grail serve?" but "Who serves the Grail?"
The Warrior must show up in the bedroom as well as on the battlefield. In fact in the Taoist tradition lovemaking is sometimes described as the "flowery battlefield" in which the dragon of the masculine and the tigress of the feminine are locked in playful, ecstatic but mortal battle!
Integrating the energy of The Warrior into our sexuality may be the key to mind blowing sex.
What many men bring to sex is the immature Caveman, the little boy seeking mothering. However the dance of Dragon and Tigress is not about motherly comfort. Masculine and Feminine challenge each other, rub up against each others edges, touch each other’s wounds. Real sexual union, is going to take you out of your comfort zone. You are going to need the courage and fierceness of your Warrior to let go of those boyhood patterns and step into the magnificence of your power as a man.
The feminine needs your power. The energy of Shakti, as Tantra calls the Feminine, is amorphous, chaotic, wild and flowing beyond concept or control. She needs you to take her beyond her own fears and further into that flow than she has ever dared to go. She cannot do this without you. She is not going to go there with “Mummy’s Boy”…. but with the Warrior, she just might.
And she is going to push you. She is going to dare you to risk all, to step out of the fortress of your heart, out of your self-control, your autonomy into your power….and your vulnerability.
Being real about your vulnerability is in fact the essence of the Warrior. The true Warrior is not fearless. He knows he may die. He is the one who recognises and owns his fears but steps forward onto the battlefield regardless.
The Conscious Masculine begins his journey with his individuation from the collective unconscious but the fulfillment of that journey is the surrender of his individual ego consciousness into universal consciousness. This is where we meet the third archetype, the Yogi, the holy man who sits in unmoving meditative equipoise.
Shiva, the cosmic masculine principle is sometimes potrayed as Shankara, the Lord of Yogis. He sits in deep meditation on Mount Kailash and although the elements change and transform around him, nothing distubes him.
Dr Shakti Malan describes him in these words:
When the Masculine evolves beyond his conscious expression, a radical shift happens on the level of the mind. Instead of using his mind to develop mastery in logical reasoning and control over knowledge, he now dives into the unfathomable depths of pure stillness and emptiness at the core of the mind. He begins to know himself beyond time and space; indeed, the concept of the personal self is seen to have no absolute and ultimate validity.
The quality of the Deep Masculine in lovemaking is sexuality infused with presence and space. There is no mind that is projecting its desires on to the meeting. Instead, there is a total giving, through the thrusting/penetration, into the union – knowing that this giving can, and most likely will, be profoundly transformative of one’s outer forms and self perception. He is moving as Awareness, not from thought, and directs the consciousness that arises in this moment through the bodies, which instantly transforms them. (Dr Shakti Malan, The Soulmate Within)
In this way the archetype of the Yogi is the bridge into the third of the three levels of the masculine, the Essence level. As the deep rock-like stillness of the Yogi manifests, the masculine becomes conscious spaciousness and spacious consciousness.
I have introduced the three archetypes as Craftsman, Warrior and Yogi because this is the order in which they often unfold. I have also spoken of the three levels of the masculine, Subconscious, Conscious and Essence, as an evolution. There is indeed a progression but the actual situation is more complex.
The reality is that we inhabit all three levels simultaneously and we manifest different levels at different times and in different situations. All of us are "work in progress." The essence of the work is to bring that which is unconscious into consciousness and merge consciousness with infinite. Many tools are available to us, practical, reflective and meditational. We could sum up the path as follows:
The Craftsman - Apprenticeship, the slow evolution of skill through practice.
The Warrior - Initiation, seeking out challenges and facing fears
The Yogi - Meditation, reflection and absorption in emptiness
However, techniques are only a starting point. The path of tantra teaches us that the path and the goal are one and the same and invites us to find awakening in full naked openness to the reality of our human life. This is why relationship and sexuality are so important because it is in the alchemical fire of relationship with another that the truth of our own being is realised.
If you have enjoyed, been provoked or inspired by this article, I invite you to join me in Avignon on 30th June and 1st July for two short workshops which explore these themes further. On the Saturday, there is Comment Devenir Un Amant Accompli, a workshop for men and on the Sunday, presented jointly with Kalyani Ma Mukti, there is La Sagesse du Tantra, Le Mariage Intérieur. Details are here.
Mentor, transformational coach and author
"Holding a strong centre ground between life coach, natural health consultant and sexuality coach I work with the whole man, guiding you through the truly big challenges in life: Identity, purpose and confidence, work, relationships, sex, health and wellbeing."
"So I've got a string of letters after my name and 25 years in the field.... It helps being qualified and experienced. But the most valuable thing I can share is what I have learned the hard way in my own life journey from shy Mr Nice Guy to empowered King in my own realm."