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The King



King with Title & QR Small.jpg

Symbol of Life

Power & Force



Card Meaning

The King symbolizes authority, establishment, a dominating male, masculinity, power, and control. In his right hand, he holds the symbol of life. His crown represents his authority over his pupil. What he says goes, he makes the rules, because he is the ruler. 

World View

The King is a search for a transcendent Purpose, a recognition of the importance of order and meaning, a universe controlled by a single higher power. The Order sees its “Truth” as fundamental, all-encompassing, and worthy of any sacrifice or personal surrender, even of one’s life.

The Order seeks to clean up, straighten, and structure the chaos of life. Such movements, whether religious, cultural, or nationalistic, are forged from conditions of chaos, deprivation, and suffering. They accomplish this within their worldview, in part, due to their polarized thinking. Knowing the difference between what is “good” and what is “bad” makes them able to act without doubt according to held beliefs and ideals.

Rife with myths and legends that give its “higher power” ultimate authority, they seeks to perpetuate its ranks and strengthen its worldview. It does this especially well through its myths and ritualistic dogma. Joseph Campbell, widely considered one of the greatest scholars of mythology, is quoted as saying: “the social function of a myth is not to open the mind, but to enclose it: to bind a local people together in mutual support by offering images that awaken the heart to recognitions of commonality”. As a result, consciousness evolution is allowed only within its approved structure. They believe that any non-system approaches are implicitly wrong, possibly sinful, and may have been introduced as tests of faith and commitment to the True Way. If it challenges the currently held structure of power and authority, it is to be feared and fought, for it is outside of the sanctioned path.

Characteristics of The King:

  • Impulses and displays of power

  • “I-orientation”, dominance, power & oppression

  • Strives for self-preservation and respect

  • Free from guilt or shame

  • Fast & Impulsive

  • Guts (Guts ‘n Glory)

  • Loyal to those who are considered friends

  • Decisive and energetic

  • Enforcement by way of sanctions

  • Passion “ We’re on a mission!’

  • No-nonsense “ If you are not with us, you are against us.”

  • Urgency: making your business or yourself important: “ Your playing small doesn’t serve the world!”


Bottom line: Power and action.


Basic theme: Be what you are and do what you want, regardless What’s important: Power, spontaneity, heroism, immediate gratification; standing tall, calling the shots, receiving respect, and getting attention; being daring, impulsive, and enjoying oneself without regret; conquering, outsmarting, dominating


Where seen: The ‘terrible twos’; rebellious youth; frontier mentalities; feudal kingdoms; epic heroes; wild rock stars; gang leaders; soldiers of fortune

Self Identity

Main focus: Own immediate needs, opportunities, self-protection


Description: First step toward self-control of impulses; sense of vulnerability and guardedness; fight/flight response is very strong; very attack-oriented and win/lose in nature; short-term horizon; focus on concrete things and personal advantage; sees rules as loss of freedom; feedback heard as an attack


How influences others: Takes matter into own hands, coerces, wins fight

Ego Development

The Order has an expanded 2nd person perspective. They can see things from their 1st person perspective, take on a 2nd person perspective of another person or group. For them, you are either and in-group member or an out-group member.

Their self-identity is defined by their relationship to a group. This leads to confused boundaries between oneself and the group (whether family, sports team, or nation). Being part of this larger entity allows one to be protected and share in its power. The price for inclusion is an unexamined demand for loyalty and obedience. This holds for both leaders and followers at this stage. In cultures, where ostracism is a form of severe punishment, being “shunned” is meant as a death sentence. “You no longer exist for us.”

Conformist adults actually relish the dependency that group membership bestows. It provides safety in numbers and a new sense of power. The self is defined by and generated by the expectations and values of those others to whom one “belongs.” Conformists tend to accept norms without inspection or questioning.

Moreover, this is the first stage where people grasp that they can continue to grow in mind and heart as adults. They have places to go, personal goals to reach, and opportunities for self-knowledge and self-improvements. Conscientious folks, cherish self-knowledge and work at increasing it. They generally have positive self-regard based on their capacities and successes. They have gained a measure of independence and self-authorship that makes them feel they are the masters of their ships. As captains of their own self-enterprise they are no longer as vulnerable to being accepted or excluded as Conformists and Self-conscious adults are.

Having a shared truth gives people a ready-made way to make sense of the world. Sometimes this goes beyond feeling valued as a member of the group. Some groups believe that their truth is the only truth. This fosters a sense of superiority. Members are told that they are the “chosen few” that shall be saved. All those who do not belong are doomed, considered heathen or barbarians, or whatever label makes them lesser or non-human. This kind of mindset is particularly common in various fundamentalist religious groups. They can judge harshly those who do not belong. It is difficult for someone whose self- sense is based on belonging to such a group to even realize that there may be others of different faiths who believe equally fervently that they have the only truth.

Expanded 2nd Person Perspective:

  • Morality: Conformists adhere to a simple rule: “everything goes into two piles. The good, or correct, and the bad, or incorrect

  • Social: To be liked one has to have an attractive social personality. It is important to be nice, pleasant, and accommodating.

  • Feelings: Blind conformism, fundamentalism and prejudice can be expressions of this early conventional frame of mind. One’s negative feelings “I hate you” are split off and projected outside and then experienced as “they hate me.”

  • Cognition: Conformists are interested in the concrete, visible aspects of experience and tend to use superlatives and conventional clichés to describe it.

  • Preoccupations: Conformists put great value on appearance, status symbols, material possessions, reputation and prestige. They are concerned with social acceptance and attempt to adjust to group norms.

  • Truth: There is only 1 truth and you must abide by it.

Healthy Expressions

Assertive, movement, show courage, acts immediately on what needs to be done in the here and now and in a respectful way. Set clear boundaries and indicate urgency. Express one’s own opinion.

Unhealthy Expressions

Over-simplified, impatient, harsh, blabbermouth. Too honest. Insistent. Impulsive, unreasonable. Have one’s own needs met or wants to be right at all costs. Dog eats dog. Only thinks of oneself.


Spiral Dynamics: Stage Red 

Ken Wilber's AQAL: Stage Red

Cognitive Development: Concrete Operational 

Ego Development Stage: Opportunist (2 to 2/3)

Kegan: Imperial

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