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My guest today is Isaac Cotec.

We go deep talking about:

  • Masculine Archetypes and how to use them to grow and heal,
  • Embodying masculinity after disconnecting from it after it was pushed on you, **
  • Finding balance between the stoic man of the 50s and the soft man of the 90s,
  • Rituals and symbolism, and how to use them to work with your subconscious,
  • Bringing consciousness to each archetype to guide your growth journey,
  • Practical ways to work on aligning and levelling up your embodiment of each archetype,
  • Using the HeroRise Masculine Archetype deck to grow as a man,
  • Facing your shadows,
  • Daily self-care rituals to go deep.

Isaac Cotec has dedicated his life to empowering others through art and creativity. He is a scholar of the subconscious and has studied the power of symbolism to help create enduring change. 

He has spent over a decade facilitating dance events, hosting music retreats, and mentoring artists. 

The HeroRise Archetype Deck gave Isaac another platform to inspire others on their creative purpose. He has seen the transformative power of self-discovery through symbols and rituals and created the deck as another tool for those along the path. 

Find Isaac online at:



Free eBook:

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. Thank you for joining me today I am excited to go into a topic that is usually a little bit heady and it's hard sometimes for men to wrap their heads around exactly how to do this in real life. It feels good to read about it sounds cool, but how do you actually use this work to become better men, and the topic is archetypes and masculine archetypes specifically, if you haven't heard of this before, this is a fantastic primer along with some amazing practical ways to work on yourself and become a better man, partner and father. My guest today is Isaac Cotec and he is the creator of the hero rise archetype deck. We are going to go deep talking about masculine archetypes and how to use them to grow and heal embodying masculinity after being disconnected from it. Finding it balance between the stoic man of the 50s and the soft man of the 90s rituals and symbolism and how to use them to work with your subconscious, bringing consciousness to each archetype to guide your growth journey. Practical Ways to work on aligning and leveling up your embodiment of each archetype. Using the hero rise masculine archetype deck to grow as man facing your shadows and daily self care rituals to go deep. Isaac Cotec has dedicated his life to empowering others through art and creativity. He's a scholar of the subconscious and has studied the power of symbolism to help create enduring change. He has spent over a decade facilitating dance events, hosting music retreats, and mentoring artists. The hero rise archetype deck gave Isaac another platform to inspire others on their creative purpose. He has seen the transformative power of self discovery through symbols and rituals, and created the deck as another tool for those along the path. You can find Isaac at on the web, that is type in your address bar, you can find his free ebook at And you can find him on Instagram Like I said, this is one of the most accessible conversations I have ever had or heard on archetypes. And I strongly recommend you listen to this and even consider picking up one of the heroes masculine archetype decks, I bought one for myself and actually organized a group by with the other captains of my men's group organization. And I think in total, we picked up about 30. So this just goes to show how impactful and important this work can be when you know dozens of leaders in men's groups are using this to develop their own routines and practices surrounding the archetypes. All that being said, looking forward to this one, Isaac, thank you so much. And that's it. Let's dive in.

Alright, Isaac, thank you so much for joining me today I'm extremely excited to talk about archetypes because this is such a huge topic for men. And I would love to learn how we can use them. So first of all, thank you for coming on. I really appreciate what you're doing.

Isaac Cotec 2:56

Yeah, thanks so much for having me here on this podcast. And for anyone listening, just grateful that we're here for this journey together. So

Curt Storring 3:04

appreciate Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much. So I want to talk about archetypes today, particularly masculine archetypes. And this is this is a very important place in men's work. And it goes back to, you know, a long lineage of this type of work, whether it's Jungian archetypes. We see them in King warrior magician lover, an important book of the, I think the 90s, sort of early mythopoetic Men's movement. And I want to talk to you about what are archetypes to start with? Because there's a huge conversation we can get into, but I just like to set the stage with like, what they even are in the first place.

Isaac Cotec 3:44

Yes, so Carl Jung, who is the founder of archetypes believed that they were universal symbols that we see throughout cultures. When I say for instance, the warrior, you can start thinking of qualities of a warrior pretty instantly you think of stories you can think of people, but it's just kind of baked into our collective unconscious, these certain patterns right. The other part of it is as human society evolved in grew up, and started organizing in groups and in culture, it needed ways to create common language and common behaviors. And those behaviors started to form as archetypes as like, here's how we appropriately interact with one another when it comes to our warrior. Here's how we interact with each other when it comes to like harmony of our space, like the king and so on. So there, they were emergent and grew with culture. And each of us has them as these kind of like, I view them a lot of times as focal lenses that allow us to see different parts of ourselves and the patterns that we have around certain aspects of our life. And each of them are unique, like the Warriors very different than the lover. And looking at those things can help you understand the complexities of who you are.

Curt Storring 5:15

Right. Okay, thank you for that. So the thing that I just made a note of was that they're useful tools for self exploration. Is that sort of Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And it sounds like, as they sort of grew up in culture, are they social constructs? Or are they something different than that?

Isaac Cotec 5:35

Well, the belief is there a little bit deeper than that, because they're, they're almost like these primal. They're almost like these primal aspects of who we are something that's almost a layer below culture. That's why we see in so many different cultures, it expresses itself in different settings, right? Like the way the Japanese might see the warrior is a little different than maybe someone in Africa and so on. But there's something there that we can all connect to. So it's a little bit deeper in the psyche.

Curt Storring 6:09

Right? Okay. So these are things that are worldwide shared humanity, we can almost break down our personalities or our trades into these buckets of archetypes, and see pieces of ourselves from different lenses, I think was the word you use. That's very, absolutely. That's a great way of putting it. Okay. And so what are the archetypes I think you work with? Was it five different archetypes?

Isaac Cotec 6:33

Yeah, so in the system that I work with, there's five we've have warrior, and then wizard, which would be like the magician, then father. And that one's the difference in this system, we can talk about that later, of how important that is, I think to create the father archetype. And then lover, and Salford, otherwise known as king. So you'll see if many people are familiar with the book King warrior magician lover. I have those four in here. And then I just added the father, because I think it's important to create space for that archetype. Mm hmm.

Curt Storring 7:14

Interesting. So what is the difference then between the father and the sovereign in this case?

Isaac Cotec 7:19

Yes. So in the book, King, Warrior, magician lover, the father was kind of put in with the king. And the idea was, The King is the progenitor, right, the creator of the realm. And I understand why they did that, in that in that system, but it didn't really allow space to really hold for the caregiving aspect of masculinity. And the king could easily be overshadowed by the harmony, and the strategy and all these other aspects that we have within the king. So separating it, I think, gives it space and allowance to say, you know, men and fathers are caregivers, and they have a unique space in in the totality of who we are. Right?

Curt Storring 8:12

Yes. Okay. Know what that brings up for me. And I don't know if this is a dead end, or if we even need to go here. But how does this relate to men embodying feminine archetypes, because in many traditions, there, we embody both the masculine and the feminine. And it almost sounds to me like the father is a way to almost put some of that at least the caregiving aspect into it, that I would traditionally say is like, my feminine side. So is there anything in there that we can sort of discuss in terms of like how these relate to feminine archetypes, whether or not that matters in this context of the conversation? Yeah, so

Isaac Cotec 8:51

you can explore it as in well, if you have a mother and father, and they are caregiving, are there any different feelings in which those roles have? Right? Like, sometimes we think of the Father, as being a little bit more tough love, or a little bit more of making sure everything's provided for and set up just right, like that's still a type of caregiving that could be seen as a more masculine version of that, then maybe the motherly love, which is more emotional reliability and being there for the child on more of an emotional level, which is what I find so interesting about creating a space for how does the masculine fit in the caregiving role and how might that be different?

Curt Storring 9:42

Absolutely. Okay. That's very cool. Now, it seems then like this whole conversation will be a way for men to explore masculinity sort of full stop. We're not worried about how this relates to our feminine aspects. This is how do we relate to each part of our masculine identity? Is that true?

Isaac Cotec 10:01

Yeah, absolutely. And I will say, as you were saying, like, we still have feminine attributes within us, Carl Jung believed in the Anima, and animus, this idea of the feminine within the masculine and so on. And I think having spaces for that is really important that that's where we find true balance. But creating another space just for exploring our masculinity is is very healing as well.

Curt Storring 10:26

Yes, I really like that. Thank you. Now, I would love to go more in depth on how we can use these archetypes as tools because I think my first reaction to them when I came across him was like, oh, that's neat. It's kind of like a personality trait or test. But But now what? And I think there's a lot of good that can come out of this. So can we just give like a little spoiler, and then we'll come back to this because I'd like to get into your journey and how you came to this point starting here arise and sort of diving into these archetypes. So give us a quick, you know, 123 reasons why the archetypes are so helpful for men practically.

Isaac Cotec 11:06

Yeah, I mean, that's a great point. That was one of the reasons I moved towards this work. I've read the book King warrior, magician, lover, amazing, super academic. And it came out of it, like, what the heck do I do with this. So over a decade of exploring that in myself, I came to this work that I now do. A great example of this, what I found really useful is understanding these archetypes as modes, kind of like modes that we get into. So the wizard, for instance, is all about intellect, wisdom, knowledge, seeking, that sort of thing. And now that I'm used to the five different archetypes, I can feel when I'm in that mode, I can feel when I'm, I'm thinking, like, a good example is just having my head forward. Right? I'm just my body posture, my heads forward, and I'm thinking a lot, I'm in my brain. I'm not as grounded in my physicality as much. And that's great when I'm doing taxes when I'm doing like writing or creativity, something like that. But what happens if my partner or a kid needs help all the sudden? And if I come at them with that energy of like, well, you know, did you do this, this and that, it's, it's not going to help the situation. So if I can consciously realize the mode, I'm in and move to the mode that's appropriate, like the father, and be like, Okay, how can I support you in this moment? How can I care for what you're going through and make you feel seen, and flipping between those modes, it's like a language that you learned, that becomes very powerful, to better be present and better use of your energy in the moment. So that's one example of how we might use archetypes to, to better our lives to become better men, to become better fathers and so on.

Curt Storring 13:09

Right, that's very good. I love the different energies, and just embodying that. And that's so important. As part of this podcast, one of the things I like to do is just like plant seeds, just ideas that men might not have heard of before, because this, unfortunately, men's work is so niche still, and yet it has like life changing capabilities for pretty much everyone that I have worked with, who's done men's work. And so just understanding that you can tap into different energies that you can't embody these different parts, these different archetypes is so important for people to to realize, and then using them for self exploration, just identifying, you know, what are the mature versus immature? Where's the shadow side of this, which we'll get into later? So those two things, the energy and the sort of self exploration, I think I'd love to come back to. And how did you even get into this? Because this is such again, this is like a niche part of a niche menswear community. What is your story can you bring us from when you were a seeker, essentially, what it was in your life that you were seeking to move from or grow into? And then how that led to today?

Isaac Cotec 14:17

Yeah, so when I grew up, I grew up all over the United States, I moved up, moved around a whole bunch. And I kept being in these different cultures, different places. And all of them had different versions of masculinity that they were kind of forcing on me. And I had lots of traits that weren't necessarily seen as traditionally masculine. Such as I was very emotional, very creative, and I might have been seen as maybe more feminine than masculine when I was growing up. So because of that, I actually began to push away my masculinity even more, because it was this thing that was just pushed on me it didn't feel as Right. And in part, that's because I didn't have mentors in that work as well. Right. So as I grew up, I thought that was a way that I could make it through this world is like, I don't even need these like gender roles or, or look into them. And then I just started seeing my relationships had some kind of dissonance with them. And within them, I had real questions of, of what my value in the world is and what I can, what I can give to society. And as I look deeper into those, I realized, you know, what, I have to look into what my masculinity is, I have to connect with it on a deeper level. And that's when I first read King warrior magician lover, and it totally blew my mind, I went in to studying archetypes and Jungian theory. And understanding my identity is a much wider and bigger thing, giving myself more room to express myself and be who I am. Then a decade passes, I was doing this work a little bit, but not like directly. And I again had this moment of, in between careers, problems with relationships, that just weren't coming together, there was something that wasn't smooth. And it made me start looking at my masculinity. And as I looked at that, and connected to, for instance, the warrior was something that was really low in my life. As I connected with that, I started to feel more fire and passion, life became more vibrance, and I just continued this work. And as I did that, I started working on this archetype deck and the work that I've been doing with other men or other organizations. And it just kind of emerged out of that. And a big part of it is it emerged out of the fact that not a lot of people are doing this work. And it was so transformational to myself to accept myself to, to widen what is possible, that I've just been driven to do this work. And I'm now doing it every day, you know, joining conversations like this working on my blog and writing about it, and I just love it. And I see the impact. I've seen fathers talking to their children about this by using archetypes. I've seen this work used in homeless shelters to give people opportunities to know themselves and so on. And it's just, it's amazing to see this change that, you know, I'm just one part of a bigger thing, like your work as well, right? We're we're both excited by this, because we see how much it improves the world on a deep, deep level. Yeah,

Curt Storring 17:47

thank you for sharing, first of all, and for pointing that out. I, I had this thought this morning, which is like, I know what I'm trying to do here, which is, you know, just my like you said, My journey has been so important to me that I can't help but share it. And what does that look like on a grander scale, like I it is a success. Each time a man a father reaches out and said, like, Wow, thank you for this, this has changed my perspective, or the way I interact with my kids. And each one of those makes all of this worth it. And there's this broader scale, that in the world, I think, whatever you think the problems in the world are the problems that I see in the world have a lot to do with the fact that we don't have a good connection to masculinity, that men are emotionally stunted, that we don't have this grounded ability to tap into all these archetypes. And so for me, I was going like, Well, I think Dad.Work Like if I could have this impact that would allow me to improve the negative outcomes that we see today. And things like addictions and depression and suicide and men over the next 20 years. Like that's how important this work is to learn about yourself to come home to yourself, as many people say, to really like, unpack those layers of conditioning that we've just, you know, accepted from society. All of those things. If we can help the dads do that, they'll help the kids do that the kids won't pass it on their kids. 2040 years from now the world will be a bunch of different plays. So I am in full agreeance with just how important this work is. I love hearing that you've been working with organizations and homeless shelters that is beautiful. Now, can I ask what was it about your childhood that didn't allow for this comfort? In you know, expressing your own masculinity? Or like Why were there so many different styles of masculinity and why didn't you feel comfortable? Are you able to go into a little bit about that?

Isaac Cotec 19:41

Yeah, I feel in part. My parents were Mormon or are Mormon. So very religious. And within that structure of my family my father was a little bit more emotionally distance he was providing which was Amazing. I feel very grateful for my upbringing in that way. But I, I wasn't having as much of like, the camaraderie that I feel with masculinity, where I was offered more around femininity and those options, as well as culture when I grew up. So, you know, I was in my teens in the in like 1990. And we were given this version of the soft man. Right? Something that Robert Bly talks a lot about in his book, iron John, or the metrosexual type of man, right? And I think that was very important as a reaction to this kind of stoic, unfeeling version of masculinity from the 50s. But it kind of left this really strange part of like, well, if I'm taking on these traits that feel not as masculine, like, where's my masculinity? Where does that want to be? So it just kind of pushed it to the side, I feel like many people my generation did. And then as they grew up older, they're like, Wait, there's, there's something missing here. There's, there's like this grounded presence, that's just not available to me. And when I don't have it, I feel the people around me like there's there's a dissonance or uncomfortability around others. Because people are waiting to feel present and grounded and having having a man being able to hold that really like can sync things together. So that's why I looked into that work deeper as I grew older.

Curt Storring 21:33

And how were you able to be so in touch because even that, even noticing that like a lot of guys will just go like, Oh, I don't really feel too good. But no, whatever. This is just how it supposed to be. Was there anything that you did? Like did you meditate? How did you sort of know yourself? Well enough to catch that?

Isaac Cotec 21:52

Yeah, I feel like perhaps it was, it was two things. One of them was my own work around spirituality, which in part was meditation, but also ritual. So ritual is the language of the subconscious, like a very simple way of putting it is, hey, I've got a, I've got a piece of paper, it's a love letter. And I've broken up with this person. And I want to release that relationship. So I'm going to take this love letter, I'm going to light on fire and it will burn. So the letter did exist, like the relationship validity, the letter no longer exists, like the relationship. And that's direct symbols that you're speaking to your subconscious, because it talks in symbolism. So understanding that language was a huge part of me knowing who I am and knowing what's missing. And, you know, this is when you get into Jung Yeon dreamwork. And seeing like, oh, there's these feelings that keep coming up in images through my subconscious trying to poke their way through. And then I was able to consciously look into them deeper in and teach myself right and or find mentors.

Curt Storring 23:04

Wow, that's so interesting. i When you said rituals. This is probably like a 1% part of that. But I'd had a conversation recently on the podcast, with my friend Dominic core Tucci, and he said something like, 95% of the things we do every day are habitual. And it's, it's the rituals of the daily grind, I suppose. And I know, that's not what you're talking about here. But just noting that like 95% of the things that we do day to day are because of just subconscious patterns. So that being said, one can see why things like you know, rituals, like you're talking about, and having these very clear ways of going like it existed doesn't exist, it doesn't exist. It makes sense. Why hat? I don't like the word hacking, necessarily. But in this case, it almost seems like you're hacking the subconscious, to find out more about yourself and to sort of get the outcomes that you're looking for. I mean, I would love to go down this rabbit hole a little bit. Are there any things else are there? Is there anything else from that time in your life, when you're looking into rituals a lot that helped in this journey that you did as practices or techniques, or just ways that men might be able to use some of those things that you want to talk about right now?

Isaac Cotec 24:23

Yeah, I think it kind of reminds me of this idea of roles. Right? So when you're looking at different spiritual traditions, a lot of times you're looking at either goddesses, gods, planets, whatever energies they are, what you learn is how to connect to the feeling of that. Let's say it's a god form. And then you play the role of it. And by playing the role of it, it's like you're getting closer to what that feels like. So if you were to pretend that you were Zeus, and you pretended to do that every day, you're slowly building the confidence of what that feels like. So maybe you're not even invoking Zeus, you're not even like connecting to that anymore. You still know what it felt like you practice that role so you can slip into it. So in that way, practicing ritual increases the range of what you can act, right? You no longer see yourself as a singular mold, like, This is who I am. Because of all the stories of my life, you're able to say, Hey, this is who I am right now, I'm going to switch into this role, I'm going to switch into that role. And I'm going to take what works for me and practice them to to change my life for the better.

Curt Storring 25:45

Huh, that is so cool. Because what I'm hearing there is, well, first of all, I just want to suggest that this is not to say you ought to be something you're not embodying these roles are finding out either ways for you to navigate the world that feel better and more aligned with who you are, or to develop confidence and grow. Because, you know, when I think about what I want to be 20 years from now, I don't want to be the same person. But that doesn't mean I'm not being me. And so that is a very cool thing to do. And are there any like books or anything like that for people to go down there because this is like a whole other conversation planning. So I'm gonna get back to architects but other like elastic resources, people can look at

Isaac Cotec 26:31

their there's a huge range. It's hard for me to think of Where's a really good start. I really like what this this thing called Chaos magic. And I think it's it's not called Chaos, magic for beginners. But maybe chaos, magic cookbooks, something like that. If you just look into chaos, magic, because the idea of that is utilizing belief in the way that I'm talking about, it understands that you take on these roles temporarily, you don't have to be like 100%, a pagan to do a pagan ritual, you don't have to be 100%. Christian, you can utilize your belief in it, to practice and change yourself, right. So I highly suggest that there's also this book called The Sorcerer's secrets. And it's written by John, man, I'll have to get you a link to it. But that's a really good one. Because it it gives you like a one on one basics.

Curt Storring 27:33

Okay, amazing. Thank you now, and bring it back to the archetypes. I think if we can maybe just give us like a quick overview of each one of the archetypes so that we can go into what the mature versus immature looks like, as well as what the shadow is because this is huge. And some of the most important work that I have done in men's group and in men's work is Shadow Work. So I'd really like to spend some time there. But are you able to just give us I was the warrior, the wizard, the Father, the lover and the sovereign? Can you give like just a quick description of each of those, and then we can work out what the different sides of those look like?

Isaac Cotec 28:12

Yeah, I think a good example of this is let's just start with the warrior. Where as I was saying before, if I see that most people will start getting an image in their head, these concepts, these ideas. So before I even share what the attributes of the warrior are, you know, take a moment as the listener, to just try to feel into what that archetype would mean to you. Like what type of characters come up with type of traits that you just associate with that. And that speaks to how universal this is. So as I speak of these other ones, these are things that I've seen, these are things that other people have talked about, but you have total access to this, by just thinking on these, you could create lists of what they are and what they mean to you. That being said, the warrior is about drive about willfulness, like the willfulness to get back up when you're hit. Or when you push down? Like do you stand back up for what you believe in? It's about the passion of belief, right? Like to fight for something, you have to utterly believe in it, like fully 100%, there can't even be any bit of doubt. And it's also about boundaries, right? Because the Warriors protecting the boundaries of the realm. So it's saying, No, this is the line and I will uphold it, which is really, really important. Then we have the wizard, do we want to just go into each one or do we want to go into this? Yeah,

Curt Storring 29:49

yeah, let's do that. Let's do that. Each one just so everyone knows sort of what we're talking about, then I love to get in the shadows afterward.

Isaac Cotec 29:56

So then we have the wizard, the wizard or magician And that archetype is all about wisdom, knowledge, seeking to understand the universe, the complexities of life, right. And that can look like scientific research, or that could look like spirituality. They're both similar in the way that they're a seeking of knowledge and to know oneself in the world. Then we have the Father, and father is about providing caregiving mentoring, big part about the Father, is it's also about empowering, right? It's not about doing absolutely everything for children or community or loved ones. It's about creating a safe and empowering space for that person to become who they are. Right?

Curt Storring 30:54

Yeah, I just want to jump in there. Because what you said is exactly what Dr. Dan Siegel talks about, in his book, The Power of showing up, he says that, as parents, we need to be both safe harbors, and launchpads. And so the child should know that, you know, if there's a storm, they are coming back home, they're going to be safe with you. And they have the confidence to blast off as a rocket ship knowing that when they leave that, that Launchpad, you and your love, and your connection will not leave when they do that. So I just quick side note, I love that that is how you explained it.

Isaac Cotec 31:28

Yeah, well said I like that. And then we have the lover, and the lover is about presence. It's about sensuality. And what I mean by that is it's about sensuality. What I mean by that is really engaging with the senses, enjoying taste, flavors, touch that sort of thing. And that allows you to become present with what's happening. It's also about intimacy, how we create emotional intimacy with others how we open up. It's also about Adventure seeking excitement and passion. Then lastly, we have the software. And the sovereign or king is about organization, Harmony strategy. How do you create a very efficient way of handling things also has to do with diplomacy? How do I mediate with other people? How do I find the Win win in situations? It's not just about shutting off your realm from everything else? It's about how do you interact with others as well?

Curt Storring 32:39

Okay, that's perfect. Thank you for going through all of those. And the question I have is Can man access all of these immediately at any time? Or does it take a while to embody the sovereign? Does it mean that you have to get all the other ones aligned? Like maybe you can't access the lever, you feel you can't access the lever? How does? How does that work into this?

Isaac Cotec 33:03

Yeah, I like to think of RPG games where at the beginning of an RPG, you've got like 20 points, and you have to put them on certain stats. And you say, oh, you know, I'm going to be a wizard. So I'm going to put it all in charisma, and intellect, I'm going to have a lot less on strength and so on. And in a way, that's kind of how we grow up, we have certain strengths and certain weaknesses. So we work on certain aspects of ourselves more. And as we get older, we can begin to see like, oh, you know what, I didn't really put any stats over here. Like I want to bring those up to balance things out. And each one of us is going to have a different level of where those are at, dependent on, you know, the time that we've spent on things, how old we are. traumas certain traumas can create, like, they can break a pattern of the archetype. That's where the shadows start coming in, and maybe it's stunted a little bit. Like, for me, the warrior was super stunted, until I really consciously worked on it a few years ago. And it's not always about balancing them all. 100% Like, they're all equal, but it is bringing consciousness to it. of, okay, here are the modes I am. And I want to increase this in my life, and I can see how that will help other parts of me. And also, sometimes I'm just stronger in this and you know what, that really helps me in my career. That really helps me in my life, and that's okay. And I'm gonna keep those stats. Bringing consciousness just allows you more choices, and a wider possibility.

Curt Storring 34:45

And, sorry, I was just gonna ask about the king. Yeah. Can you get the king energy early on in life? Do you have to reach like a certain maturity? Where does that fall in?

Isaac Cotec 34:59

Yeah, so This is something that's interesting, which is why I kind of changed my system a little bit was in the book King warrior magician lover, right, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, they talk about the king how the king is unlocked. When the other ones are in balance, and you enter into the realm of the king. There was a lot of backlash from the kind of young in psychology community with that, in particular with their work, because within the young Ian concept of the 12 archetypes, you have like the ruler, the caregiver, and so on. There is no hierarchy in that way. And it kind of it created a hierarchy that a lot of young uns just don't see. And I kind of took that stance because there are times that you can be super efficient. You can create a harmonic life with other people, and you can take on the role of the king or the sovereign, but you can still be a really crappy lover, or a really crappy lawyer, right? I will say that. You could look at these other archetypes. The other four archetypes are like chess pieces. And the king or the sovereign is moving the chess pieces. Right? So the stronger those different archetypes are, the more that King has to work with. And the more balanced that King can become. But you don't it's not like it unlocks at a certain stage are on locks and other things are there. It's definitely all of them overlap in different ways, if that makes sense.

Curt Storring 36:37

Yeah, that is perhaps the favorite way of mine that I've ever heard that being explained, like the king is always engaged. But depending on what pieces he has to play with, he's going to be a more or less effective King. That is a great way to put it. Now, how are there ways that we can sort of get more skill points for going with the RPG route? How do you unlock like, you know, I got three lever points now and I got two warrior points. What kind of things can men do to upgrade? Pardon me, archetypes that they're not super pumped on?

Isaac Cotec 37:08

Yeah. So one thing that I started with was, I kind of made a little piece of paper with some outlines for each one of the archetypes. And every day, I would put a coin down. When I did something that I felt really invoked that archetype. So that way I could kind of track like, where my day's going. And at the end of the week, see like, oh, wow, I put a whole bunch in the wizard. But I put hardly any in the lawyer. And I kind of knew that, but to physically see it every week, really gave me this reminder of wow, I really need to work on this. So how I worked on that as I just thought like, okay, what are the attributes within this archetype? So let's say it's lawyer, well, lawyer is about drive. It's about confidence. It's about, like passion and belief. So I just started thinking of things that I could do that would bring in that energy. And as I brought in that energy, I was connecting deeper to the warrior. So for me, I brought in Muay Thai martial arts. Not so much, too, because some people get obsessed with the warrior being just physical. But it's not about physicality. It's about that, that push, like, where is my edge? And how do I push beyond my edge in a healthy way, and keep moving forward. That's the energy of the warrior. And I use the metaphor of martial arts to do that, to do that physically. Every day today, I went to my edge, almost passed out and took a breather and did it again. But you could do this in different ways. It could be working on the house, right? Like, I just need, I have all these things that need to get done, I'm going to invoke my warrior by doing the things I don't want to do, because they have to be done. I'm just going to take action over and over. I'm going to track that. And the subconscious and the conscious mind just kind of change and morph over time with consciousness. If you just give awareness to this space, it will grow. And don't think it'll happen overnight. If you got a 2% 5% increase over a few weeks, that's big. 510 15. Right. It just grows over time. So it takes a long time for me in the warrior. I'm still getting better at it, but it's a good year, two years into that journey. I feel way more connected to it. But it was not easy at first.

Curt Storring 39:52

Yeah, I resonate a lot with that. And for me, it was the lover just trying to figure out how to connect with You know, joy and presence and love and romance and just like noticing things that are beautiful, and being creative, and like, I'm the same sort of thing, I may be like, you know, 20 to 25% there, but I really feel like I was coming for about negative 50%. And so, you're right, it's all about using the archetypes to understand what parts of your life are lacking. And for me, it lacked so much because I had a hard time connecting even with my kids, and with my wife, and like, as a friend, and not in the gogogo crashing mode all the time. And so I was suffering to a degree I was struggling. And it was simply because I could very clearly see this box, if you will, of the lover archetype to love her energy, had no coins down on it. And you know, I love the symbolism again there. And so I have just with attention, I think was what you said, placing the attention on it, the mindful awareness, you're able then to go, Okay, I know that this is my sort of job right now. And what am I going to do? Okay, maybe I'll tell my wife, I love her more often, maybe I'll do something like, I'll write a romantic love note, maybe I'll just like, be silly and play with my kids, maybe I'll go outside and like smell the flowers. Notice the color of the sky, like all of these things. And so I think this is perhaps like, the most actionable step of this whole journey is use the archetypes as like a spotlight to shine on your life. And when you come across a box that is a little bit dark, or you know, isn't really showing up or serving you put some energy there, put some coins down in the paper and try to try to go there. And that brings me to my next question, which is, Can you can you talk about the maturity aspect of this, because knowing that we all have these archetypes, we have these boxes. And I'm not sure if your system is quite the same. But in King warrior magician lover, for example, there's a maturity aspect of it, you know, you go from the boy to the man. And so do you work like that? And could you sort of walk us through what that means?

Isaac Cotec 42:05

Yeah, this is a great question. So one thing I wanted to offer as well was, if you want specific activities to connect to the archetypes, I have a free ebook at And I'm sure I'll share a link for the notes. But there I have this ebook, and for each archetype, it has a description, and then two activities you can do to connect to that archetype and explore it. So that's it's free, go check it out. It's a it's a great resource.

Curt Storring 42:35

Amazing, thank you, I'll definitely put that in the show notes. So if you're listening, go to dad dot work slash pod pod. And you can check out this episode and the show notes will have a link to that. Okay. So

Isaac Cotec 42:47

as far as the maturity so In, King warrior, magician lover, amazing book, again, there's kind of like these triangles. And there's a triangle that represents the immature version of that archetype. And then another set of triangles above that represent the mature, and their shadow aspects, in the immature and the mature realm of that archetype. I didn't quite go with that system, I was looking again more towards Jung Yin. So in Jung, in psychology, there isn't as much of these polarization of archetypes and immature and mature. So instead, in this system, I took the route of we have the archetype in its fullness. And then still, we have the overactive and underactive version of it, which is sort of those immature aspects. So it's a little bit different. I did really enjoy that part of the of the book. But I just took a little bit of a different approach.

Curt Storring 43:47

Okay, very good. So you still have the shadow aspects, though. And I think that is a very meaty part of this whole archetype work is understanding that through archetypes, we can start to understand things about ourselves that have been repressed or that show up in ways that don't serve us they show up in, you know, the language as just using immature ways or they show up in overactive or underactive ways. So could you give us like a couple examples of what like, for example, what is an overactive and underactive warrior? What is the what is the shadow side of the warrior?

Isaac Cotec 44:22

Yeah. So. So with the warrior, the warrior is all about drive, and will and passion, right. But when you have them in their shadow, usually it's some type of trauma, some type of pattern that you've developed, that doesn't allow the energy of the warrior to circulate in you fully. Sometimes I like to think about it as once if you had a circuit of energy that's in a circle, and sometimes there's a break in that energy. Well, that break means that it's going to go all these different ways. Try to come back to that circuit. So it'll kind of spray out like a, like the way that lightning does, looking for the ground. And then we'll reconnect and complete that circuit. But that break is just constantly going to create these weird, unexpected behaviors, and this kind of stuck feeling. So we want to look to what those are, and that's the shadow, and then try to figure out how to bring it back and circulate that energy properly. And in the case of the shadow of the warrior, the overactive version of that is the aggressor, which is pushing one's will onto other people being aggressive, and forceful. It's really not listening to the needs of other people. It's just pushing for whatever, whatever you want. The other side of that is the coward. And this doesn't always necessarily mean running away from physical pain or scared physically. A lot of times this is about emotions, like in relationship? Are you willing to say the thing that hurts? But has to be said to your partner? Are you willing to be courageous enough to take on that responsibility? cause pain, knowing it's betterment, right? Or do you shrink away from these things? Do you not say things stay in this, like kind of Misty haze of never saying yes or no, like that's falling into the coward. And one thing that's interesting here, is you have these two polar sides. And usually, when you're in the shadow, you have both, well, you always have both. And the more deep The shadows are within you, the more they become polarized, they become firt, you become more and more aggressive, while at the same time, more and more of a coward. And then you jump between the two. It's kind of like this bipolar action. And we see this in what some people call the nice guy syndrome, right? Where it's like, oh, I'm going to do everything I can to make this person happy. But the second they say, No, I'm going to jump over to the aggressor. So you're the coward in the way that you're not making boundaries, you're not making clarity around what you want, you're just bending to whatever they want, until you get fed up and jump over to the aggressor. And then you can move back and forth. So one of the ways to see how kind of healthy or integrated you are with their shadows, is we're always going to jump between these two. But how do we lessen that jump? How do we bring it closer and closer and where it's like, okay, I can feel when I'm a coward, but it's just a little bit. And then I move over to my grass, or it's just a little bit as compared to like these extremes.

Curt Storring 48:10

Right. So can you journal on this, then what's the best way to work with the shadow to both identify, and then hopefully remedy to get closer to that sort of peak performance? If you will?

Isaac Cotec 48:22

Absolutely. I think journaling is one of the best ways that you can connect to your shadow into these archetypes. So it could just be sitting down and reflecting doing the the free writing of, okay, where's my warrior, what is what attributes are coming out. And you can explore the the patterns that are happening in your life, and that'll help you understand where those shadows are. Another way is, I mean, this is why I made the hero rise deck, because I wanted to create a physical object that you could put out the art like here's a photo, here's a card of the warrior. And here's the two cards of the shadow, and just sit at it. Look at the imagery and ask yourself which one have I brought in this week? Have I fallen into my coward too much have I fallen into my the aggressor too much and so on. And just having kind of a place for reflection? By looking at things moving them around? I just find it's incredibly powerful for the exploration of the archetypes.

Curt Storring 49:32

That's a perfect segue into the deck then. I think that we've talked extremely sort of broad level about the archetypes but I think there's been a lot of like actionable things which for an archetype conversation is not always the case. So I'm so grateful that you're able to like bring it down to doing the work, which is you know, this podcast is movement is all about is how can dads as men do the work on themselves so that they can become better men, which will allow them to become better partners and fathers If you journal on this, if you start keeping track of where you are showing up as a warrior wizard, a father lover, a sovereign, if you can do all these things to embody the energy, like your life can grow, you can grow as a man to show up better for your kids, maybe you're weakened the warrior, like you just said, and your passive aggressive, and it drives your wife away, and your kids don't want to spend time with you as much, because they're not sure which poll you're going to give them. Well working on this with the tools we've just talked about. And then you know, something that I'm sure you're more excited to even talk about your own creation, which is just so amazing. I love the you put this together. It's like you're one of the first people that I followed on on Instagram, actually, because it was just like, so eye catching. And so cool. I was like, I can't believe someone's doing something like this with archetypes of all things. I thought we just talked about this in men's group. So what is the deck? Could you please give us an overview of that, and then how we might use it?

Isaac Cotec 50:57

Yeah, I'll maybe start with how the deck was came to be. So with my own work around archetypes, I sat down and I created this invocation of the masculine. And I wrote it out one day, I was just feeling really inspired to connect to these archetypal pieces of myself. And there was different sections for each of the archetypes. And this is when I set up the five archetypes. And I read that every morning for six months. And it was incredible. It really helped me meditate in the morning on these parts of myself and feel the totality of what was possible. And that consciousness kind of grew over time, and really connected me to them. And as I did that, I was like, This is great. But I really want an image to look at when I'm reading these, I'd like to look at an image of the warrior, and of the Father and the sovereign. So then I was like, Okay, I'm going to do that I'm going to make these images Well, once if I worked on their shadows as well. So I'll need two shadows for each one. And then I was like, Well, I also want to have some sub archetypes, some subtle expressions of these. And then before you knew it, I was like, Well, this is 47 cards, I might as well make a deck. And then COVID hit. And I was home, I was in between projects. And I was like, I'm just gonna go full in on this. And I did all the artwork, I wrote the book, I designed it, everything produced, it did a Kickstarter, it was a success, and now it's out in the world. And one of the reasons I was excited for it is because I was talking about earlier, it's a physical thing that I can place in front of me. And I could put all five archetypes down. And then it's easy for me to say, Okay, which one of these am I lacking in? I can say, all right, I'm lacking in the lover. And I'll bring that over. And then maybe I'll flip through and find the shadows and put them out and be like, Okay, I'm lacking in this, what shadows are coming out. And it just becomes this kind of free play, where my mind can start exploring these concepts in ways that don't necessarily happen when I just try to sit down and think about it. And that's, that's how it evolved. And its use.

Curt Storring 53:18

Amazing. And so how are there other ways to use it? You know, you can pull out which ones that you're looking for. But is it considered like an Oracle deck as well?

Isaac Cotec 53:29

Yeah, so it's an Oracle deck. And in the the guide book that comes with it, I talked about how there's two ways to use this deck. One way is what I call an active reading. And an active reading is when and there's some different readings you can do, where you do actions consciously. So one example is in this deck, there's also the 12 steps of the hero's journey from Joseph Campbell. And you can lay those out. So you have all 12. And then you flip through and you try to think of what archetype you're having trouble with, then you take that archetype, and you put it down on what step in the hero's journey you're at. So maybe you're at the very beginning the call to change. And you're asking yourself, okay, I'm being called to work on this, I feel like, there's opportunities in my life that tells me I need to change, but I don't know what to do. The next step is gathering aid. So this would be a great moment to look at mentors to look at, you know, towards this podcast and the work that you're doing and other men that are doing as great examples that can help you along your journey. So that's an example of an active reading. The other way is called a passive reading. And the idea here is you mix up the cards shuffled them, and there's different readings you can do as examples. So perhaps you're doing one that I have is a two card reading called the obstacle in the path. So you put out two cards. One is the obstacle, the other one's the path. And you look at those two cards, and you try to figure out their meaning behind the situation you're working through. What's really cool here is our minds love to make meaning. When they see images, we try to make them all about us. We're call it ego, whatever. But we love putting what might seem as totally opposites together to create meaning. When you put these cards out, you can actually watch the process of meaning making. I'm watching myself look at these images and trying to figure out, okay, I have the warrior, and maybe the addict, which is the shadow of the lover. So I see those two, what does that have to do with my relationship? Well, I find myself falling in these addictive patterns and not following through with my warrior. And I can just keep following that path. And my mind will start moving in ways that it hasn't before. So it's a great way to come up with thoughts that aren't linear, that if you have a problem, and you're thinking about it stewing on it for days, and days on end, you're keeping the same information, you're only using the same data set. So the cards with that randomization in the meeting, making helps you see in a wider view and new ideas kind of pop into space that wouldn't be there before.

Curt Storring 56:37

That is so cool. I'm just imagining how many decks I'm gonna have to buy for my men's group. We're, we're gonna be doing some archetype work over the next few months here. So I'm excited to dive into this for sure. How do you use them today? Like where? What is your journey, your path look like today? What are you trying to step more into? The full expression of? Do you? Is it something you do every day? So what is your practice look like right now? And what sort of things do you use to stay grounded? That might be sort of a final, practical push for the dads listening?

Isaac Cotec 57:13

Yeah, so most days, you know, you got to allow a little room for chaos. But most days, I will start with a meditation. Even just quick, if I can just get myself to sit for five minutes, it generally turns into 20 minutes. And that's that's the trick, right? But I'll try to sit there for as long as I can, in that stillness, and then I'll pull a card of just like what type of energy should I look towards today. And then it just gives me a nice little like theme that I can look towards. And that helps me see patterns that might not have paid attention to before. And I just see how those show up. And every few days, I'll do some journaling around these things. In particular, my work has moved more towards the shadows. Because really, that's where the depth of this work goes, like seeing the parts of yourself that you're ashamed of seeing the things that you're suppressing, facing that is incredibly scary. It is hard work. And the more I do it, the more it frees up other energy in my life. And that's my current process is I've got a pretty good feeling and connection to the archetypes and now I'm going deeper and deeper into the shadows of them and how they show up. And that's been feeling really good, really hard, but very fitting also for the changing of seasons and where life is.

Curt Storring 58:46

Very cool. Thank you. Do you do this work with other men at all? Have you got a men's group or like mentors that you've worked with?

Isaac Cotec 58:55

So I've been a part of tons of men's groups. I feel very, very fortunate that I've been a part of one for nine years. We are good friends. And I'm in Portland and they're in Seattle, and I used to drive up every month because it was that important to me. And I'm fortunate to have that support. There's other groups like the unshakable man that I'm a part of, I really love the work that they do there. But the only real teaching in terms of groups that I do is on my website, I have an online course that I just released. And it's seven weeks it goes through each archetype. There are meditations, activities, and also embodiment. So certain movements that you can do to kind of feel into the archetype, which I feel is a really great way of making it practical to feel it within your body to feel those modes and those changes is really helpful. And I've been doing online calls with people who join those and they've been really amazing so far. But that's the only work I do kind of in group settings.

Curt Storring 1:00:06

Yeah, that it just came up as you're talking about shadow because I know it's a lot. Maybe not easier, but it feels better to do shadow work with a group of people, that's for sure. So I'm just being conscious of the time now I know we're at the end of our, our chat. And I just want to say this has been like so much fun. I learned so much, just personally, and I think this is going to be a very popular episode. So Isaac, thank you so much. And where can people find you? Once again, I know you mentioned the website, but just give us a list so people can find everything you're working on.

Isaac Cotec 1:00:38

Yeah, so On that website, I've got like 60, blog posts, more coming tons of articles, I really want to make this work accessible, that there's not a lot of like financial burden to get into it. That's why I love being a part of podcasts like this, because it's like you you have access to this. You just start doing the work. you'll stumble your way through it and but it's available. That's what I did. But I've just been doing it long enough that perhaps I have some wisdom and skill that I can share as well that can speed that up if you're interested. So there's that online course and the free ebook. Other than that, I'm somewhat active on Instagram. Just as well.

Curt Storring 1:01:25

Okay, well thank you so much Isaac, and I am going to pick up a deck or five so thanks again for joining me and yeah, all right, take care

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world. To find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes, resource,s and links to subscribe, leave a review work with us, go to dad dot work slash pod. That's Type that into your browser just like a normal URL, Dad dot work slash pod. To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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