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Adler, G. (1967). J. W. Perry: Lord of the four quarters: myths of the royal father. New York, Braziller, 1966. pp. xii + 272. $6.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 12(2):178-179.

(1967). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 12(2):178-179

J. W. Perry: Lord of the four quarters: myths of the royal father. New York, Braziller, 1966. pp. xii + 272. $6.95.

Review by:
G. Adler

Perry's book is the last in a series of four volumes, ‘Patterns of myth’, edited by Alan W. Watts. The three previous volumes have dealt with the myths of creation, the myths of polarity, and the myths of death, rebirth and resurrection (the last one by J. L. Henderson of San Francisco in conjunction with Maud Oakes).

In his book Perry discusses the phenomenology of the father figure as it appears in the most ancient myths of mankind. The book is divided into two parts: a general introduction—a highly competent, excellent presentation of the various aspects of the myth and ritual of kingship—and a selection of myths of the royal father from ancient sources. In the centre of his inquiry Perry puts the figure of the sacral king in whom the two most important aspects of the father figure meet: that of the ‘king-god of the myth’ and the ‘god-king of the realm’.

Approaching the problem from the angle of analytical psychology, Perry treats the royal father figure as the archetypal configuration of all superior male qualities. Foremost among them are the function of mediating the life force, giving fertility and virility, giving order and integrity, and being the bearer of the aggressive might of the executive function.

Perry regards myth and ritual as ‘simultaneous and mutually interdependent expressions of psychic propensities in spoken and in acted form’. Psychic contents were formulated as externalizations of inner experiences, and their numinosity became personified in the figure of the royal father.

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