A Mystery Reading for The King Archetype

This is the sixth mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes.

Sun and Lion

A poetic name for the sun in Spanish is “El Astro Rey”: The King of the Stars. The sun is indeed our ultimate king, whose eternal dance with the feminine earth sets into motion our concepts of time, weather, and season. As ancient stargazers came to understand sooner or later, the sun is the literal center of our solar system. In many cultures, the maximum ruler, as well as the principal god, are linked to the sun, and by extension, to light and to fire. For example, the Incan sun god and royal ancestor, Inti, projects flames radiating from his head. The King as leader can ignite a fire, or he can inflame a conflagration, but to be a good ruler he must, more often than not, take the middle road: he must emulate the steady burn of the hearth, the fire that heats the broth and warms the home. He is often compared to the male lion, who mates with many lionesses, and who can hunt on his own if needed but more often receives the offerings of his pride. The lion’s regal nature is accentuated by his signature mane. Like a ring of flames, the mane encircles the lion’s visage and calls to mind the sun, or a crown atop the head of a hirsute, bearded sovereign.

King Collage. Clockwise from top right: a fire in a hearth; a male lion; a golden figure representing Inti; the sun; a crown.

At his best, The King endeavors to rule his people, his territory, with justice and harmony–roaring or roasting only if necessary. The King learns that he can only truly succeed if he blends his own ardent objectives with those of his community for the betterment of all. He must surround himself with wise counsel in acknowledgment that the lion is weak without his pride, and the bright sunshine of the daytime would be intolerable were it not for its alternating rhythm with the night.

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