Archetypes

Owning my Outcast

I always considered myself an Outcast. I’m an unusual Outcast in that I’m not an orphan, my parents are still happily married, I do have a sibling, bath regularly, am fine in social settings, have no serious health issues, no major fears or neuroses, etc. Every person I’ve ever encountered who uses this term is an Outcast more by circumstance. I feel like an oddball because I’m an Outcast by choice. Perhaps Loner is a better word, but I like Outcast.

It’s sort of like energetically I’m used to being the town witch who lives out in the woods, that everyone openly reviles when others are nearby but they all secretly come see me to help them solve their problems. Heh. Apart from being a bit lonely (ok, a LOT lonely sometimes), I’ve come to terms with it.

I was talking to my mom the other day and mentioned that I always considered myself an outcast. Of course she started to object and I cut in “But that means peer pressure largely has no effect on me.” She asked what I meant.

I gave her just one example – going to Frat parties. I went to a few Frat parties during my tenure in college. Since I can’t stand the taste of beer, I don’t drink it. Period. If you’ve never attended any kind of gathering where the alcohol is flowing freely yet don’t actually drink it, you’ll never really understand just how much pressure there is to drink. Even if you have a cup in your hand to help allay that, it doesn’t. Then you’ll get demands to drink while they watch. Nope. I drank my water at every party, happily partaking of games and jokes and dancing etc but drank my water instead of beer or the jello shots. The number of “are you sure you’re having fun??” comments was staggering. I imagined those actually meant “you’re harshing my mellow by being stone cold sober and making sure all the friends that you came with are safe from me and my buddies. You have to drink so I can freakin’ relax.” Hahaha. Still, no. Not drinking. Not even tempted to. Even if you get every single guy in here to try to coerce me into consuming it, no.

That’s my Outcast. The part of me that is perfectly content to follow my own path, regardless of what others are doing. Some people get really belligerent about it too. I generally just stare at these people, confused as to why my not following along like a good little sheeple is so threatening to them. I think it’s because other sheeple don’t like being shown they don’t HAVE to follow the crowd, but they are choosing to because it’s easier.

Part of me wonders “Is it really an Outcast, or a Narcissist?” Ha!

 

About the Featured Image: This GORGEOUS picture is from Jinterwas.

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Archetypes

Home Ownership is NOT the American Dream

Home Ownership is NOT the American Dream. *gasp* I know, I know. You have likely swallowed the red pill that was given to us all, and I’ll probably come across as crazy as Neo appeared to those still in the Matrix. Hear me out, if you will.

The American Dream is about opportunity. It’s about being free to pursue your own goals, be your own person, regardless of your parents. Back in the 1700s when this country was founded, a child’s life was largely determined by their parents.

Son of a baker? Guess what YOUR occupation was expected to be? If you said ‘baker’, 10 points to you!!

But as this country began to form and develop, mercifully free from the ravages of convention and looking at a fairly blank slate in terms of landscape (at least by European standards), this opened the mind to possibilities. “You mean … I don’t HAVE to be a baker like my dad?” All those penniless second sons, of which I have many in my family tree, came here to make something of themselves because they believed they could. Other ancestors of mine came over as indentured servants to pursue something bigger for themselves.

That’s the dream — the freedom to make of yourself what you will. The “made it” goal? To be a land owner, or in common parlance “to own your own home”. Again, in the 1700s only the truly wealthy owned land. Even earlier, land was owned solely by the crown and granted to families for stewardship — revocable at any time, at the pleasure of the crown. Eventually, those families became the owners of the land and then eventually people wealthy enough could own land. It was a very exclusive club. Now? Any shlub like me and you can buy property. It’s amazing! Yet claiming that the American Dream is home ownership is a crass bastardization at best, and an egregious disservice to the true Dream at worst.

Don’t be fooled. The American Dream is to have the freedom to make of yourself what you will. Next time you hear it different, give that speaker a metaphorical kick in the pants.

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Archetypes

What is it about me…

There is a trait that I somehow exude which is extremely consistent and yet baffles me entirely.

People will stop and ask me for directions – where is this, where is that, how do I get here, when does X start, etc. It does not matter where I am, and sometimes even what I’m wearing doesn’t matter.

I’ve had people stop and ask me where things are in Nordstrom, Macy’s, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and every store in between, at concerts, at events, at dog shows, etc. I’ve even been mistaken for representatives from Corporate headquarters on a number of occasions. Boy is that odd when the manager is all kinds of treating me deferentially until I actually have to tell them “you know, I’m not from corporate. I’m just a customer”.

Today, I’m wandering through the courthouse complex in my city, trying to find where the heck I need to go to check in for Jury Duty. As I’m wandering around with what I expect is a “where am I?” look, some ladies stop me and ask where the bathroom is. Not having seen one, I couldn’t tell them. They apologized, as most do when they realize I’m not actually associated with whatever store or facility we happen to be in, and as part of that they tell me that I looked like a lawyer so they thought I knew. A lawyer … wearing jeans? Ooookay.

On the way BACK from check-in where I got reassigned and sent home immediately, I get stopped by another man who asks where he goes for Jury Duty. Well, now I happened to know that answer, and if I know then I’m always happy to tell people. So I gave him directions, he thanked me, and we went on our way.

Typical.

But why? What is it about me that inspires people to think “she knows where this illusive thing I seek is, let’s ask”? I don’t mind, really, I’m just baffled. I don’t mind for several reasons. One reason is it means people think I’m approachable enough to in fact do that. Ok, I can be down with being approachable. It also means that no matter where I am, people think I belong there. From lawyer to sales clerk to event coordinator, apparently I fit the bill. Lastly, it means that something about me says “I have the answer you seek”. Whether I do or not is immaterial. It’s perception. Often, I do have the answer.

If I could figure out exactly what this energy is, perhaps I could use it somehow? Make it an active asset of some sort. I can’t even identify what archetypal pattern it might belong to! The only thing I can think of is that I’ve taken to smiling pleasantly at almost everyone everywhere I go, and I’ve stated in previous social experiment posts I almost ALWAYS get a positive response. Even it’s a confused look with that reverse-chin-nod of greeting. I can almost imagine them thinking “I don’t know you, why are you making eye contact and smiling? Guess I’ll nod in reply.” I wonder if this energy is associated with the current quandary – but being asked things while out started in my teens, looooong before I consciously begin projecting this general pleasantness attitude so I don’t think that’s really the source.

Oddly enough, this never ever EVER translates into anything which could remotely be construed as flirting or even an invitation to engage in any way beyond “where is X”. No guy has ever taken a smile from me while out and about as anything other than “how-do have-a-pleasant-day take-care”. It doesn’t even translate to have actual friends. I’m not approachable enough to ask out, or just chat with, but if you have a question about where something is, then apparently I’m the one ask.

 

About the Featured Image: something fun I found on a skillshare site talking about Photoshop layers. I’m sorry I didn’t get the link. It’s not mine. Do a google search for it and I’m sure you can find it.

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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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Archetypes, Emotions, Personal Growth, sexuality

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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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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