Archetypes

Domination and Alliances

My last post was on the evolution of the relationship between the feminine principle and the dragon archetype, relaying my take that the dragon is a mythical representation of feminine power. This post also mentions something I think is very interesting and appropriate to the discussion – the relationship between the different gender principles and “power”.

The masculine principle, archetypally speaking, generally seeks to dominate the power of others and wield it as they see fit.

In Game of Thrones, the Masters attempted to recapture their power/control over their former slaves. In another part of the story, the magicians sought to capture the baby dragons, to collar and enslave them so they could be milked for their magic. In both examples, while the enslaved may survive it is hardly a beneficial arrangement to the used party.

The feminine principle, archetypally speaking, generally seeks to enter into relationship with others of power and work together to accomplish goals.

In both of the Games of Thrones examples, the attempts at by-force dominance are defeated by the relationship that evolves between Daenarys and her dragons. As mentioned previously, she never attempts to harness them in servitude until their power scares her – even then she doesn’t attempt to dominate their power as much as she tries to bury it (chaining up the female dragons underground in the tunnels). It is only when they are freed to resume their choice of alliance that she regains their allegiance. They remain free though – an arrangement beneficial to both parties.

One of the absolute BEST movies to truly illustrate this clearly and beautifully is the movie Shaolin Soccer. WOW. That movie blew me away!! I recommend everyone see it. Sure it’s subtitled, but more than worth it. The movie is about a soccer team in which all the players keep upping their power – kicking harder and harder until the ball is a rocket which literally crushes all attempts to block it. Goalies are annihilated as they attempt to block these massive kicks: clothes shredded, sonic shockwaves, that sort of thing (featured image). But ultimately the hero of the story chooses a female goalie, much against his and her own initial cultural training. In the final matchup, the kicked ball is surrounding by flames it is moving so fast and with so much power — straight at the goalie. Only she doesn’t confront the power of the ball head on as the previous goalies did – she instead takes its power for herself by redirecting it, using its power to spin it around her body until ultimately she is in total control of it and the ball spins wonderfully balanced on the tip of her finger. It’s a stunningly beautiful scene, and a hilarious movie overall. A true work of genius, and so damn archetypal I keep returning to it over and over again as the best example of the difference between how the masculine and feminine principles approach power.

Both approaches have their benefits and work nicely, but each individually is one-sided, unbalanced. It’s when they work together that a true team is made, and that’s where the whole will finally begin to win.

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Archetypes

Dragons and Power

One of my favorite favorite fantasy critters is the dragon. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern gripped my imagination at the age of 13 and inspired me to write my first novel, unfinished opus that it was. I still spent 10 years with the dragon archetype, dreaming about it and writing. The dragon is still something I adore. I have numerous lego dragons, glass dragons, carved dragons, and painted dragons within my dragon collection. I consider it one of my totem animals, even though technically it’s not “real”. Archetypally speaking, however, it’s very real. It is a very real construct of our collective imagination, common to all of humanity – though each culture has its own spin and version and what it means.

Being a Westerner, I can really only comment with any degree of authority on the dragon’s evolution within my own culture. I was musing while driving, as often is the case, when a visual montage suddenly cascaded through my brain.

It starts off with medieval versions of the story, where dragons hold women hostage and need to be “rescued” by knights. For some reason, these dragons apparently coveted virgins and demanded them in sacrifice. I suppose non-virgins taste gamey? *lol* Culturally speaking, at the time, women had no power of their own. They couldn’t own land, they couldn’t inherit anything, they had no say in governance, educating them was considered a waste of time, and they were bought and sold with dowries and bride prices from owner to owner. In short, they were essentially slaves – though that concept generally gets strongly objected to. In this culture at the time, the dragon was a beast which must be slayed by the righteous man in order to “free” the woman from its dastardly, dangerous, greedy, murderous claws.

This was the prevailing archetype for the dragon for centuries, in this culture at least. Until roughly this century, when it rather abruptly changed – or rather, expanded to included something more.

Enter the Dragonriders of Pern, Puff the Magic Dragon, Dragonsbane, How to Train Your Dragon, the SunRunner series, the Dragon Heart movies, and most recently Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons from Games of Thrones. The archetype has changed dramatically … most notably with respect to its relationship with women. *LOL* Indeed, Maleficient, the dragon shape-shifting Disney witch, went from the ultimate villain to the antihero! A woman of power on two fronts – dragon (physical) and witch (metaphysical). But I think Daenerys is perhaps the highest example of this, where the dragon is the wild, dangerous, human-killing machine but is willingly wielded by the hand and voice of a woman. Virginity has nothing to do with it, unless it means “untouched by man”. I think the dragon is an archetype representing the power of women.

In the old myths, the un-owned-by-man (virgin) woman was dangerous so a man had to kill that part of her in order to lay claim to her. Her power-self had to die in order to be bought and sold without any real say, to be the biddable woman who bought the lie as “the way things are”. Her fire-breathing beastly self, the one part that refused to lie meekly, had to be vanquished. Destroyed. The myths served to help convince women that her own power was dangerous to herself as well as society at large. Indeed, if not slain then the dragon would rain fire down on the entire world and destroy it (Reign of Fire).

But in this century and culture, women are reclaiming their dragons, their power – and by doing so we’re showing the rest of the world that it’s ok to do it too. The dragons are our allies. Dangerous still, but allies. Interestingly, it’s the entire kingdom which benefits when this happens. Daenarys is a nice metaphor for the struggle of the feminine and her claiming of her own power. True she wants her throne back and will go through hell to get it, but not on the backs of slaves. Not at the expense of the helpless who cannot otherwise defend or care for themselves (read “children”). She is courageous, strong, prideful and stubborn, but she is also fair-minded, principled, and tries to be wise. In the Dragonrider’s series, both men and women ride dragons to save the world from an otherwordly threat – but it’s the women riders of the gold dragons who are the matriarchs of the dens. Granted in the story it’s still a male-dominated society and world, but that changes as the story unfolds and the dragons continue to grow in size and power.

Of course this is not universal. There are still dragons which are the bad guys, such as the movie Reign of Fire with Christian Bale. Interestingly, that movie doesn’t really feature an active feminine principle – though we do learn that the first victim of the resurrected dragons is the hero’s own mother. In this case, the dragon is so dangerous and so out-of-control that the first to fall is indeed the feminine principle, and it is up to the masculine principle to then slay the resulting creature and thus save the world.

I will say that a woman’s dragon, her power self, is definitely dangerous … if repressed. If beaten. If maligned and villified. If given no other alternative. When the masculine and feminine are left no recourse but to battle each other to gain any degree of emotional and physical safety, some form of legacy, then yes, the dragon is beyond deadly. It cannot be “tamed” like the old-school cowboy would emotionally break a horse and call that taming. But it can be worked with, allied with – provided its power is respected. Daenarys, again, is the one I look to as the archetypal example of this. Her dragons don’t wear a harness, don’t come when called, aren’t “heeled” by anything except their own choices. When Daenarys attempts to chain them because they begin to prey on humans, that is when her own power begins to slip. The slave-masters regain a foothold, and it is only when the dragons are once again freed to be themselves that her power fully returns.

Oh yes, and I am reminded that the serpent is an ancient and longstanding metaphor for the feminine principle! Dragons are often lumped in with this – the serpent/dragon. This just lends weight to my take on this interpretation of a meaning for dragon. Granted, it is not the only take – being a great symbol, it has many interpretations. Truly though, this is a fascinating example of an archetypal evolution! This could be a folklore thesis, I think.

 

 

Featured Image: The browser crashed after I saved this image and other than the file name of “woman-dragon” I don’t recall where this came from or who it was by. There was no signature that I could see on the original uncropped version either or I would have saved it and moved into the field of view. 😦 Attempts to relocate it have been futile. Let me know and I’ll link to it.

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Personal Growth

This is the line…

I’ve always identified myself as a “green witch” – someone who has the capacity to work with life on a fundamental level. Someone with a “green thumb” is a common example of this. I had been experimenting on some rose bushes out in front of my house way back when. I chose to talk to the sickly, scrubby one behind a tree, encouraging it to grow. Boy did it! It went from scrawny and gangly to shooting up and sprouting these gorgeous blooms within a few months of the experiment starting. I did nothing more than talk, coo and encourage it. The other bush, which was doing fine in the first place, showed no real change other than a normal growth season. Then one day I pointed to a bare section of the lower branches, telling my experimental bush essentially ‘you’re doing amazing and I love it, but you’re getting too tall – I want to see some growth down here too.’ Guess what? Within a week, new branches were sprouting exactly where I pointed. I was rather impressed with the results overall. Nothing empirical, but enough for me.

Then one day I was walking into the house and saw a hornet was making a nest in the upper corner of the door frame. My husband HATED bees of any kind and I knew this would be a seriously unacceptable situation. Looking up that hornet guarding her little nest, I saw she had already laid eggs. Well, it had worked to talk to the rose bush, perhaps I could do something about this too? I figured I’d give it a try – why not? I centered myself, then imagined a path of communication opening and told her that I would protect her for one generation, provided she helped me out by not attacking when the main door opened and closed constantly. Once the current eggs were hatched, she had to leave. Message sent, I went about life like usual.

I watched for the next month or so as those eggs matured, but the tiny nest did not get bigger and she never attacked. One day I came home to a bunch of hornets with drying wings and an empty nest — they had hatched! The next day, all those were gone but a new hornet was there. It is difficult to explain but when I did the mental reaching out again, the level of …. malevolence (asshole with wings for sure!) for lack of a better description was shockingly pronounced, when it was absent before. I told her with 100% conviction “I told you one generation. I see new eggs. You will be gone by tomorrow.”

Guess what? Gone the next day. The nest was empty, including the newly laid eggs which were there the day before. Since then, I’ve done this type of thing with spiders, mice and snakes — all with success, provided I am 100% sincere in my establishment of the boundary. It’s been an interesting experiment to say the least. Also great practice at authoritatively saying “this is the line, and no further.” This experience is the foundation for my concept of “spiritual authority”, which I’ll talk about in another post.

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Personal Growth

Taking What Isn’t Mine

I’ve been thinking about the boundaries concept from the last post.

When one part of a whole lacks something, the other tends to overcompensate. I’ve always been puzzled by my husband’s insistence on taking responsibility for things that aren’t his – like my happiness, as a popular example. Look around and see what other examples you can find where the dominant partner – typically the male, but not always – does this, and also where one partner deliberately abdicates responsibility and demands the other take it up. “I don’t want to work; you owe it to me to provide.” That sort of thing.

What I find also interesting but sad is that the one taking on more responsibility than they should often feels resentful for it. Not always, but in the cases that I have experienced this is so. I also tend to get a little resentful when my own responsibilities are taken away and then payment is expected. Excuse me? Did I ASK you to take ownership of this thing which is actually mine? No, I did not and I will happily take it back because it is, after all, mine in the first place. Which is exactly what happened after WWII — women collectively went “I’m taking back my responsibility and ability to provide for myself. I need you still, as you need me, but holding survival and reproductive resources hostage is not part of the paradigm which needs to be birthed now. We need to navigate our way to an honest and empowered relationship for both of us – a relationship of inter-dependence which fosters our individual strengths for the betterment of all, especially our children. This co-dependent, crippled and disempowered paradigm we’ve been operating under for too long has got to go.”

Heh. Little bit of channeling there. *lol*

I wonder how many women have problems with men hearing their boundaries because they haven’t figured out how to hold them yet? I know I haven’t had any problems with men trying to push things after I’ve said no, but I also have a great deal of authority when I pull on it. If you can stop a dog attacking with a single word or gesture, then you don’t have a problem with having people believe you when you say “not interested”. Too many times I see people working with dogs and the dog is like “yeah, right, as if you actually mean that.” It boggles my mind when the owner then says “but I TOLD them no, why didn’t they listen?” Um, because energetically they know you lack the conviction to enforce the boundary you just laid down? Dogs are masters at reading energy, and whether we consciously know it or not so are we humans. Women as a collective have only had the right to say “no” for a generation or two, at most. It wasn’t until the 1980s that a man could be legally held accountable for violently raping and beating his wife for goodness sake. That’s not that long ago. Is it overly shocking that women collectively are still finding their way to clear and enforceable boundaries? Men have had scores of years practice, plus the psychic weight of generations to aid them. Women are still learning.

As always, this is exceedingly generalized and from a very “high overview” perspective. It is not individual per se. I do encourage everybody, male and female, to think about your relationship with your boundaries and the boundaries of those around you. Can you tell when someone (including yourself) is serious and willing to back up their declaration versus when they are not? How? Why do you think a boundary is declared when the will (not necessarily the means, but the will) to enforce it is lacking?

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Uncategorized

Boundaries Of The Incomplete

I’ve totally been hot-boxing all of the various series by Robert Ohotto that I have and every time he says something that sparks a thought or a realization or a question, I make a voice note so that I can remember all the sparks. In his “Creating Intimacy” series, he flat out says the Patriarchy doesn’t permit women to have boundaries.

Talk about a “duh” moment.

All those incidences where women’s polite “not interested” is responded to as if this was some code for “please continue the unwanted advances but up the aggression factor”? Disrespect for boundaries!

There are thousands of permutations on this theme that I can think of to illustrate this, and I’m sure you can as well. What’s fascinating is that, from my observations, those who are most likely to disregard boundaries are also unbalanced themselves. It’s like they completely steamroller attempted boundaries because they literally cannot tolerate them on a psycho-spiritual level, feeling the need for something outside of themselves to ‘make them complete’ – like a black hole sucking in everything around it.

“No! I don’t want to be sucked in!”
“Now don’t be rude. You’re just playing hard to get. I like it.”
*agog*

It’s … pathological. (Apparently that’s my new favorite word.) I also think it’s part of the whole co-dependence thing I’ve talked about before, where an incomplete thing seeks to complete itself from outside sources. An inability or unwillingness to recognize the boundaries of that which is considered necessary for completion then begins to make some sense — as well as understanding why it affects some and not others.

Exactly how this can be meaningfully addressed is best left to those more educated than I am, but it’s an awareness that needs to be more widespread. Pointing this out for what it is, in a calm and rational way, is far more likely to get attention than shaming and blaming. Crucial Conversations teaches that the best and fastest way to shut down any form of communication is to put someone into a position where they feel they must emotionally defend themselves. Doing the shame and blame thing is an instant conversation killer and nothing productive will result from it — except for more shame and blame with increasing levels of  resentment.

 

Featured Image: That just totally cracked me up and had me laughing for a good hour afterwards. It came from a post on Anger Mentor entitled “How to Control Your Anger by Setting Solid Personal Boundaries.”

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Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

We are One

Ohotto has a new title that he’s chosen for his work in astrology: HoloKompass. It’s a blend of the words “hologram” and “compass”. A hologram is a 3-d image made of light. What makes true holograms really cool is that no matter how you slice it up or take it apart, each piece will still contain the whole picture. If my body were a hologram, and I pulled out a single liver cell, that liver cell would still be my entire body — just tiny. Of course, my body is not a hologram.

A while ago I did an examination of a cultural wound, and afterwards I was wondering just what the heck I could do to actually address the wound? I mean, I’m one person, and my blog here hardly has any traffic. It’s not like my work is actually going to impact anyone. Why bother?

So a few days later there I am driving in the car, listening to Ohotto’s latest offering of Jupiter/Venus Retrograde and he’s talking about what he means by his use of holokompass. Random things begin to rise to the surface of my awareness, like flashcards.

Hologram.

One Person.

All is One.

What All does affects the One.

What One does affects the All.

Suddenly it coalesced in my brain. I know that the individual physical self is both real and illusion, that beneath the meat suit is a soul which is connected to the All and thus all is already one while being many – even if we don’t see it yet. In addition to this, I know that every individual human contains the full range of Humanity within them. If one human is capable of murder, so are all. If one human is capable of love, so are all. I could be Jeffrey Dahmer or Mother Theresa but for the choices I have made and the circumstances I exist within. You will never hear me say “Oh I could never do such-and-such” because I know I’m capable of anything any human anywhere has ever done for emotional reasons — but for the choices I make. In this way, Humanity is a hologram.

When I start to see and work with emotional conditions, even if it’s just me by myself in my little ill-traveled corner of the internet, those ideas and emotional realities are being shared with the whole of humanity through our holographic nature, through the unity. So is my work truly wasted? Even if no one ever reads it?

I suddenly now realize, no. It’s not wasted. None of it is wasted. It may not be a tsunami, but it is a drop, a steady drip drip drip. And with enough time, a steady drip can carve great things.

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Archetypes, Personal Growth

Why The Victim, Why NOW?

I’ve been musing on the Victim archetype, considering that it’s pretty much running amok on a cultural level right now. As with most things, there’s a bright side and a dark side. Personally, I call the Victim our “Guardian of Boundaries” and its job as I see it is to warn us of boundary infringements so that we can be conscious of what to do about those infringements. It is a survival archetype, and vital to our ability to navigate through this physical life.

That said, it has a disempowered face and an empowered face. I’m sure there are additional faces but I’ll keep it simple here. On the disempowered side, there is one key characteristic:

  • Blame others because a Victim is NEVER at fault, ever, for anything. If you have the temerity to ever even THINK that a victim had any role to play either before or after the transgression, prepare to be attacked with the standard “how dare you blame the victim” mantra.

But the Victim rarely acts alone. It brings in another survival archetype – the Prostitute, or as I think of it the Guardian of Values. Why do I say that? Because pretty much the next breath after “YOU are to blame” comes “you OWE me”. And that takes me to next key characteristic.

  • Entitled to something as a result – money, recognition, catering, apologies, etc. “You did this to me, so I demand you apologize. And give me this list of demands. Now give me deferential treatment as compensation for my pain. And…” See, the entitlement doesn’t end. As long as the blame is still being thrown and accepted, entitlement remains active and ever greedy. It’s a disempowered attempt to  regain personal power.

Right now, both of these disempowered aspects of the Victim are running riot in our Western society. A perfect example, one of many, is the litigious “I’ll sue you” perspective which is very much a combination of “you’re to blame” and “you owe” rolled into one.

Now these have a place: recognizing the source of the transgression is as important as knowing the value of what has been violated! But the disempowered side does nothing to actually move things forward – rather it continues to look backward and focuses on the actions of the past.

We, culturally speaking, are totally dancing around and reveling in our disempowered Victim … and being very angry doing it. Indeed the anger is often the justification for the continued shadow dancing. Interestingly, it’s no longer just Western culture either. I’m seeing it flare up all over the world, as if our own engagement is encouraging other cultures to do the same.

Why? Why, on a global level, is this part of our journey toward One World Consciousness? Looking over the course of our history for the past 6,000 years, as humanity evolves and goes though some serious growing pains now, what purpose does this current wide-spread engagement of the Victim support?

That is what I have been wondering about. Then it hit me, at least in part.

The role of the Victim is indeed the Guardian of Boundaries. We as a species are lurching our way into a growing awareness that All Is One, but we are also Many. Indeed, we are Many Who Are One. Like cells within a body, the Boundaries of the individual Ones is vital to the integrity of the One! But before we can actually begin the merge, old transgressions much be addressed … and released. The past must be resolved before we can move forward as a whole, and that is what the Victim is attempting to do. Alas, we may be One but we are also terribly, horrible emotionally immature as a species. Without the maturity to own our shit and work together to move forward, we will remain disempowered.

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