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Witch King Aesthetics

There is a power in using archetypal imagery for personal transformation. In a mundane sense they can be utilised to concretise an aspiration or remind us of our greater objectives. In a more esoteric sense they have the potential to create powerful effects that can transform your life and your body.

For magickally inclined men (I'll deal with Witch Queens separately) wanting to embody the "essence of male beauty" I suggest to you the notional Witch King. In modern times this icon has been wonderfully represented by artist and hereditary witch, Jeff Cullen (amongst others), however the origins are far more ancient. The Witch King is more accurately a representative of Dionysus in his chthonic mode, to which Jake Stratton Kent has written, "He incarnates not the misleadingly languid and feminine Dionysus, but the lord of the panther, the bull, the snake and fire."

The archetypal Witch King, is physically emblematic of a primal masculine aesthetic, the physical characteristics he manifests are suggestive of power, beauty and athleticism. If that imagery speaks to you - and it should be unique to you - you have access to a source of power that you can actualise. (Image of The Witch King sourced from the incomparable Allen Spiers. Find his work at

If you want to pursue that physical ideal for yourself there are certainly magickal and devotional things you can do but let me suggest the physical work is required to reach Witch King Status. These are strength and conditioning standards that draw a straight line towards a classic, athletic male physique. That is to say, there is a direct correlation between these performance standards and the type of aesthetic being discussed.

There are five bench mark challenges to progress: the front squat, the standing overhead press, the chin up, a 400m sprint and a 3-minute burpee test. Yes, there are other movements you could you use but for the vast majority of men, hitting the upper end of the standards will produce an elite, Witch King-esque physique. You'll not only look strong and classically proportioned but you'll be highly conditioned to boot.

To keep this within a magickal framework I'm presenting four levels of progression in this work: The Neophyte, The Initiate, The Adept and The Witch King. There is no judgment implied in these levels, wherever you are is where you are right now. If you're only on the way to Neophyte level - Great! That just means you've got lots of untapped potential in you, get to work.


Strength standards for each of the first three movements are referenced against your own bodyweight. For example, for a 70kg male wanting to reach Witch King status on the overhead press (0.9 x bw) would need to press 63kg x 5-6 reps. The reason that these movements use your bodyweight as a reference is that strength increases within those rep ranges guarantee you are gaining functional mass (muscle) and not fat. All of this comes with the caveat that you are performing each movement with good form.

The standards for the two conditioning challenges - 400m sprint and 3 minute burpee test - have a timed and repetition score respectively. Being strong and muscular is one thing, throw some high-level conditioning in the mix and you'll be one formidable looking beast.

The standards for each movement are as follows:


NEOPHYTE - Your Bodyweight x 1.1 or less x 5-6 reps

INITIATE Your Bodyweight x 1.2 x 5-6 reps

ADEPT Your Bodyweight x 1.3 x 5-6 reps

WITCH KING Your Bodyweight x 1.4 or more x 5-6 reps


NEOPHYTE - Your Bodyweight x 0.6 or less x 5-6 reps

INITIATE Your Bodyweight x 0.7 x 5-6 reps

ADEPT Your Bodyweight x 0.8 x 5-6 reps

WITCH KING Your Bodyweight x 0.9 x 5-6 reps

CHIN UPS (Hands facing you)

NEOPHYTE - Your Bodyweight x 5-6 reps or less

INITIATE Your Bodyweight + 0.2-3 x 5-6 reps

ADEPT Your Bodyweight + 0.4 x 5-6 reps

WITCH KING Your Bodyweight + 0.5 and over x 5-6 reps


NEOPHYTE - Anything over 1:30

INITIATE - 1:15-1:30

ADEPT - 1:00-1:15

WITCH KING - Anything under 60sec


NEOPHYTE - Anything under 30 reps

INITIATE - 30-40 reps

ADEPT - 40-50 reps

WITCH KING - 50 reps and over

Honestly, anything beyond Initiate level in the first 3 movements will make you stand out in a crowd. If you're able to hit Witch King Status in all five standards people will definitely notice you. The thing is these standards are definitely accessible and achievable if you're prepared to put in the work. The work isn't time consuming - three workouts per week (four max) of less than an hour, will get you there. How long it takes depends on you and where you are at now but the path is there if you decide to follow it. Good luck!

If this kind of work interests you and you're passionate in building a body that is aligned to your greater ideals and purpose, we should talk. Shoot me an email and let me know where you're at on your journey and what kind of VISION you have for yourself.

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