Posts Tagged ‘Shadow Work’

Radiance ~ The Negative

This came through as a comment on “Alternative Views and Considerations about CERN,” and I loved it so much, I asked Radiance if I could turn it into its own post. I write so often about the importance of Shadow Work and of the value of darkness (seeds sprout, embryos grow, plants and animals rest …), reminding people that a world of all light all the time would be just as destructive as a world of only darkness. I love where Radiance takes the theme of “the negative” and how this analogy offers so much potential creativity. Here’s Radiance’s comment:

The negative

I could write a book about this subject. I will only write a few sentences here.

The negative is the infinite well out of which the positive arises. By simple analogy, a photographic negative can produce an infinite number of positive images. The negative is — feminine, unseen, dark, nascent, undifferentiated. The negative is the very screen upon which the positive appears and does its dance. The universe knows nothing of the superiority of the positive. Only the human mind could come up with such a bizarre concept. Modern “civilization” with its “science” rests on the shaky sands of this strange idea.

I’m sure that some people will say– “but that’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about, you know- negativity.” And what is this “negativity”. It’s a fancy word for bad or badness. Show me this bad. Where is it? Does it exist “out there”, somewhere in the universe?

If you put manure in your garden, your flowers will grow stronger. If you listen deeply to someones “badness” you will find fertilizer for amazing celestial experiences. When I listen to people, I invite their most “negative” (previously unwelcome) aspects to come forth bearing gifts for both of us.

Radiance
awakendance@live.com

Deconstructing Bully Culture: Shaming Class and Poverty, and Those Who Stand

Going along with the recent themes of money, abundance, sharing, and courageously, unapologetically creating and living into a new paradigm, Jamie sheds light in even more of the complex nooks and crannies, including the ways we — as individuals and as a culture — often internalize and even perpetuate the shaming and attacks on what Jamie calls “those who stand.” In a world that tells us only to value certain things in certain ways — and to treat humans (and the material realm, including our planet) like trash, the greatest potential for liberation and change comes from recognizing the manipulative, disempowering messages for what they are and then, consciously, choosing to break free and chart new territory.

How DO we choose to treat others and our Earth? In which ways do our gifts find acceptance and thus enable us to serve in bigger ways? How can each of us hone courage, clarity and compassion so that what needs offering finds receptors in a broken world?

Thank you, Jamie, for continuing and expanding this important discussion as the old structures continue to fail and crumble. Opportunities await for those who can find their way through the rubble — or find ways to build cairns from shattered foundation stones. Love and blessings!

Sophia's Children

Brigid's Fire at Kildare Abbey Brigid’s Fire at Kildare Abbey

“But human beings are not trash. We are the civilizing force on the planet.” ~ Chris Offutt, “Trash Food”

I came across a couple of articles this morning that stirred the fire-pot … you know, that liquid lava center that lets you know when something has hit nigh on “what breaks your heart, what makes you angry” — two questions that help you get right at your innate motivation.

The fire-stirring articles are aboutclass, wealth (or the lack of it), poverty (in financial terms, cuz there are a whole lot of ways a person or culture can be impoverished), and internalized shame and thus internalized oppression … and likely a lot of other potentially debilitating conceptions that get laid on thick in a Bully Culture.

The whole issue also points to a certain wealth of spirit,and considerable creativity, among other things…

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Subtle and Overt Attacks on the Goddess, Nature, and the Sacred Feminine

In an uncharacteristic pattern, I’ve been working on this post for a couple weeks. Normally, if I don’t finish in one go, then the post gets deleted or forever floats in limbo. I signed on yesterday with the intent to delete this one as too obvious, too alarmed, or too unnecessary. Then, I stumbled upon so many attacks on Nature, the Goddess and everything associated with the Feminine that I realized I needed to finish this piece and post it. You see, the attacks weren’t just coming from men and the military industrial complex; they were also spouting from the mouths and keyboards of people who usually recognize and honor the Sacred and Divine Feminine, especially the Mother Goddess energies responsible for creation, seasons, nurturing, and growth. I post the following links as examples of just how insidious and desperate the attempts have become to eradicate the very principle of Life. When we recognize the patterns of suppression, we can also discover clues of what reclamations would break the chains.

This destructive, perverse impulse pervades society, but it is especially strong in both the medical mafia and the New Age Movement, neither of which celebrate or honor Life. Monica Sjöö has written entire books about this topic, including Return of the Dark/Light Mother or New Age Armageddon?, which I reviewed here and reblogged yesterday. For today, I will simply include a few headlines, comments and links to the full articles, asking that while reading them you look for both the symbolic and the very real physical side effects of the actions these articles describe. What’s the unifying theme from so many “helpful” and “empowering” angles? If we follow this trajectory, what happens to our bodies, to our planet, to our poor, fragmented souls? Conversely, I wonder what happens when instead of rejecting and destroying, we –men, women and all children —reclaim our alignment with this true Source of power, wisdom and love.

Cutting Out the Feminine

Here’s an excellent piece from Green Med Info, called “Beware of Organ Removal for ‘Cancer Prevention’: Jolie’s Precautionary Tale.” While more focused on the medical misrepresentation of facts than on the broader philosophical and spiritual implications, this article gives a clear, detailed and difficult to deny run-down of traditional medicine’s war on women’s distinctively female body parts in the name of “safety” and “protection.” I had written “About Those Breasts” when it was first reported that Angelina Jolie lopped off her breasts as a precaution against a “genetic marker” for breast cancer. While I support Jolie’s decision to do whatever she wants with her body, I mourn the media’s propaganda to try to make such unnecessary butchery a trend. The Green Med article explains the tricky manipulation of statistics, along with frequent (documented) misdiagnoses.

Again, it’s not really a philosophical article, but I ask you to use wider vision and awareness when reading this in context of other things happening in our world. One such thing includes plans to separate women into categories of gene donors, fetus carriers, and “mothers,” thereby fragmenting and effectively mechanizing women in the name of eugenics and social engineering.

Disabling the Moon

We may or may not know whether there’s a base on the Moon, whether humans ever landed on it, and whether or not it’s hollow. What any good researcher does know, though, is that the Moon has long been associated with the feminine, with Goddess energies, feelings, creativity, and intuition. The Moon allows for seasons on our planet, fosters the tides that keep areas from becoming totally flooded or complete deserts, and it reminds us of the ever present ability to fade and renew. Things spring to life, die and grow again, like the cycles of Nature, the cycles of Life, and the ancient archetypes of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Farmers and witches alike know that working with the Moon can enhance outcomes — whether crops or intentions. As a reflector of the Sun, the Moon also represents the receptive quality, which is just as important on all levels as the active Solar Male Principle. Before electric lights, women menstruated in harmony with the Moon, strengthening connections among women and with Mother Earth Herself.

As with most alternative media topics, when the talking heads share “truth” about the Moon, we never hear them talking about women’s wisdom or the Goddess — unless someone decides to pervert a real tradition of life into some kind of masculine or transhumanist co-opted “lunar death cult.” Whenever people bring out the “truth,” it tends to reveal just a stronger, more acute angle of the same old, same old denigration, fear, co-optation or suppression of anything associated with the empowered Feminine or Goddess energy.

All of which brings me to the second link — a mish-mash of New Age dogma, rumor, David Icke revealed half-truths, and pseudo-science: “How Disabling the Moon Will Dissolve the Matrix.” While I’m sure these people mean well, they do not recognize or celebrate their bodies as part of Earth; and they have so disowned anything to do with the Dark/Light Mother that they can’t even see how they’re playing right into twisted anti-human, patriarchal programs, while claiming liberation from those very things. I found some encouragement in the comments. At least a few people recognize this plan for the destructive, manipulative perversion that it is.

Gagging on the Goddess

And then there’s this piece, called “Illuminati Blasphemy – Gog, Google, Gold and the Goddess,” which could have potential from its title. Alas, no. This piece does a great job dissecting how advertisers have co-opted the Goddess for their own ends. It calls this process blasphemy, but not against the Goddess. Make no mistake: according to this article, anything even remotely associated with Goddess energy comes from the pit of hell, determined to seduce and drag you into it. Nowhere does this article explore the obvious elephant in the room — that the advertising works because it appeals to parts of humanity that have been so rejected, disowned, and denied that vapid, rampant, insatiable consumerism can freely exploit such sacred receptors. This piece comes from a fundamentalist Christian perspective, but I hear echoes of it all the time on “truther” websites claiming to debunk the “public Illuminati Satanic rituals” at major sporting or music events. As usual, the debunkers tell part of the story, but in the telling, they dramatically underscore and embolden the original attack on life itself.

Calvinists in New Age Clothing

You can find the article that finally convinced me to finish this post by clicking here. Called “The Unmasking of an Archon” and written by a supposedly love filled, enlightened author, this piece and the earlier one she cites would have given John Calvin a run for his money. For those not familiar with Calvin, his misogynist version of Christianity inspired such a frenzy that it initiated the most draconian, theocratic police state Western society has ever witnessed. Eradicating the devil — which meant anything to do with images, the body, feminine power, sex, sensuality, natural healing, most women, and all of Nature — became an obsession, turning Geneva into a patriarchal, iron fisted bloodbath — all in the name of purification.

Believe it or not, I toned down my comments:

laurabruno says:
April 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Monica Sjöö must be turning over in her grave at the anti-life, anti-body, “liberating” message of this post. People give the A-cons (and they are A$$-cons) way too much power. Even continuing to call them “Archons” or “Rulers” affirms their “higher,” “more powerful” status. They’re the great deceivers, and they’ve got people conned into believing the A-cons have even more power than they do. They’ve got supposedly awakened people hating the natural world, hating ALL aspects of sexuality and sensuality, terrified of anything Goddess related, throwing all babies out with dirty bath water until eventually there’s nothing left. Does a path have heart? I also ask, what does that heart love? Does it love our planet? Does it nurture Life? Or has the heart become consumed by such a victim mentality that it in turn persecutes whatever remains of Life?

What about sacred sexuality? What about kundalini energy or sex magic? What about getting in touch with one’s real desires, which stem from an urge to create life — not just for self-replication, but also through the desire to create beauty and harmony, to merge in watery depths with another soul, to create *with* the rest of the natural world? What about the inherent sacredness of our bodies and of our planet? What about all the other ways of “killing a parasite”? Because yes, there IS more than one way. You can alter the environment of the host, thereby making the host less attractive to the parasite, and you can do this through a variety of means, not only on the mental plane. You can also ingest antidotes that kill parasites, and these can be physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, magical, ritual, and yes, even mental.

The second chakra is one of the primary creative chakras. Reclaim it, don’t reject it.
Reply

Ann Kreilkamp says:
April 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Do you really think she’s rejecting the second chakra?

laurabruno says:
April 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

I don’t see any acknowledgement of any inherent value to the second chakra or any honoring of what a reclamation might look like, no mention of the life-giving creativity of the water center. No mention of how the very things most hijacked were hijacked because they house some of the greatest liberating power. No mention of how “loosh” can be reworked so that we summon, expand and then direct our own emotions to empower those things we most desire for planetary healing. If that message is in this post or the one she references, then it’s an extremely hidden (i.e. unintentionally “occult”) message.

Ann Kreilkamp says:
April 8, 2015 at 10:20 am

I see what you mean, and I also feel that the value of her concise post is what she does say, not what she does not say. You wanted her to supply a larger context for her remarks. That wasn’t her intention.

Everything we say can be placed in a larger framework, which then, morphs its meaning. So what? I hope that my introductory remarks supplied some of the context missing for you. The point is, whether or not its archons or some other kind of explanation for historical, cultural, familial and/or personal oppression, our first three chakras, when divorced from heart-centered awareness, DO tend to devolve towards service-to-self and survival modes, whether as victim or predator. That’s what the mind/body split is all about, and has been for centuries. You, Monica and I — and most likely, Elva Thompson — all realize this and, in concert with Earth’s primal and mysterious aliveness, we are putting our HEARTS into everything we do.

laurabruno says:
April 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

No, I didn’t take any issue with your introductory remarks. My comment was based on observing a trend in her work not to provide the larger integrated and regenerative context. I see that as a dangerous trend, not just from her, but from so many “enlightened” people who tend to demonize the lower chakras. The upper chakras can be just as brutal, if not more so, when divorced of their connection not just to the heart but to the lower chakras. Whenever the blame is placed so strongly on the material realm or something “outside” us, some “parasite” with so much more control than we supposedly have, to me it screams of a need for Shadow Work and reclamation.

I meant no offense to you. That piece was just one in a much longer chain of pieces (from her and others) denigrating matter, the Mystery, and the lower chakras without any mention of redemption. It seems the prescribed solution would make John Calvin proud, and I find that attitude one of the most oppressive and life-denying ideas imaginable — much more in line with the A-con agenda than against it.

Ann Kreilkamp says:
April 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

Yes yes yes. The upper chakras “can be just as brutal.” And the compartmentalization of ideas can be just as pernicious as that of roles we unknowingly play in the gigantic systemic tsunami that is driving civilization (and Earth) toward catastrophe. Agree. Thanks, Laura, for further elucidation.

laurabruno says:
April 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

Thanks for creating space for the discussion. It just really hit me on so many levels as I’ve been writing an article for weeks now about this very thing. So thank you, Elva, for providing the shock and horror to get me to finish it.

***

Synchronously, after my initial online freakout, David returned from work by way of the library, where he felt called to pick up a copy of Avatar. I’d never seen this film before, but he felt last night was the right time. Indeed, it was. We watched the patriarchal, out of touch, insatiable military industrial complex sneer at Goddess and tree worship, mock the deep connection to Nature as “animal,” and objectify the delicate, visceral beauty that runs through all of Nature, including human[oid] nature. This objectification, this utter disgust and contempt that justifies annihilation is what concerns me most when “truthers” end up strengthening the very agenda they claim to subvert.

For an excellent discussion of the difference between the “reptilian agenda” and Serpent (Goddess) Wisdom, please read John Lamb Lash’s post, “Who Wrote the Reptilian Agenda?” While I cannot endorse parts of John’s most recent work and direction, I feel his earlier work reveals some of the most crucial healing insights for our times.

I conclude by echoing a favorite quote from Monica Sjöö’s book “Return of the Dark/Light Mother or New Age Armageddon?”:

“I believe in the power of thought and of thought-forms. I know the importance of meditation and visualisation. I believe in the reality of communication with the spirits, of the spiritworld and of reincarnation. I have experienced many times the oracular power of wells and of the sacred places of the Goddess. I do believe that we are indivisible and holistically whole. I believe that we must open our second sight and ‘see’ again. I believe that if we work with Earth’s places of power and Her evolutionary lights, we ourselves will be deeply affected and great changes will come about. I believe in synchronicity — as above, so below — and in multiple universes.

“Superficially, one might think that I have much in common with New Age thinking. But, as I have tried to show throughout this book, there are great differences indeed between being open to psychic changes on many levels and adopting the fundamentally reactionary, anti-Earth and anti-Goddess, patriarchal religious views of so many New Agers. I do not believe that they truly love Earth, our sorrowing Mother.

“I sense that we are having a mass near-death experience at this time… Now is the time for all visionaries — women and men — to come to the aid of our ancient Earth Mother. We must struggle to make far-reaching changes politically and economically if we are to survive, and we must indeed also mediate worldwide and dream Her alive. …”

May we celebrate Life.
May we honor Our Mother.
May we remember we are Her children.
May we reclaim our place in the Cycle of Life.

Ross Bishop ~ Dealing with Dragons

This is one of the best articles I’ve read on Shadow Work, (real) faery tales and/or dragons and how they relate to feminine energies. Highly recommended! Thank you, Catherine. 🙂

Dealing with Dragons
by Ross Bishop

Fairy tales bring us the experience of thousands of years of dealing with negative entities (satans) and healing our emotional wounds. Tales that involve dealing with entities, something we have come to call the Hero or Heroine’s Journey or the dark night of the soul, are death/rebirth tales that typically involve dealing with dragons.

But, there is much more to dealing with the shadow than trying to vanquish it. These churchmen had not learned that evil cannot be conquered, it must be transcended. They also did not know that there is even more at stake here.

Once the dark side has been transcended it provides a wealth of resources that are not available in its unrecognized state. It contains primal qualities like power and passion, courage and strength, that are unavailable to our rational self. The journey into the cave to deal with the dragon is a journey to bring those aspects of the self into consciousness.

In creating dragons the old myth-makers drew upon powerful, fear creating images. Consider that a dragon is big and incredibly strong, with mystical powers. He is a serpent, he breathes fire and venom, has claws and fangs, his eyes are piercing and often hypnotic, he has thick scales to protect him, and great wings with which to fly. He swallows horses, sheep and humans in a single gulp. Consider the impact of the image (on the next page): it is vital, alive, and captivatingly powerful. This is a very scary beast!


(Caption) This is a painting by Ciruelo
from The Book of the Dragon. It is
presented with permission and through
the generosity of the artist.

A moment’s reflection will point to the allegoric nature of fairy tales when we consider that no one but a complete idiot would confront such a creature by himself and with only a sword or spear. There are obviously deeper meanings here.

The dragon is a personification of the animalistic nature of our unconscious dark side, of the shadow. He is the beast that dwells in the damp, dark dungeon where we confine our woundedness. This is our primal energy and we fear it. When it acts from the unconscious it can be dangerous! The Hero’s journey is a metaphor for one’s pilgrimage into the darkness. It involves bringing our wounds into the light of consciousness where they can be healed so that life can become richer and fuller. This is the reward of the hero’s journey.

Dragons have a strange passion for collecting gold and hoarding it for no apparent reason. A dragon told Phaedrus, “I guard my gold for no reason of reward or gain, but because great Zeus has made this the proper employment for dragons.” Any time you find something out of the ordinary in a myth or fairy tale you know there is a deeper meaning.

The gold that dragons hoard is the reward we receive for facing our fear and healing our wounds. It represents the bounty we receive when we quit fighting with life and learn to love ourselves. Before that, like our beast, dragon is wild and dangerous and the treasure is inaccessible.

There is an old myth from Serbia, a land of wonderful stories and story tellers, that illustrates the journey into the wound and offers some suggestions for dealing with the dragon. The story comes to us through Roger Lancelyn Green:

THE PRINCE AND THE DRAGON

There was once a king who had three sons, fine young men, so fond of hunting that scarcely a day passed without one of them going out to look for game. One morning the eldest gave chase to a hare, which led him up hill and down dale and through the forest until it sought shelter in an old mill beside the river.

The Prince followed it to the very door – and then turned in terror to fly for his life. For inside the mill stood a huge Dragon, breathing smoke and fire. But the Prince could not escape, for he was not across the bridge that led to the mill door before the Dragon’s fiery tongue caught him round the waist, plucked him out of the saddle and drew him into the mill; and he was seen no more.

A week passed; the Prince did not return home, and everyone began to grow uneasy. At last the king’s second son set out to look for his brother. He had not gone far, however, before up started the hare and led him up hill and down dale and through the forest until it again disappeared into the old mill. After it went the second Prince, and out of the door came the Dragon’s fiery tongue, coiled round his waist, plucked him from the saddle – and he too was seen no more.

Days went by and the king waited and waited for his sons to return, but all in vain. His youngest son wished to go in search of them, but for a long time the king would not allow him to go lest he should lose him also. But the young Prince begged so hard and promised to be so careful, that at last the King gave his permission, and ordered the best horse in the royal stables to be saddled for him.

Full of hope, the Prince started on his quest. But no sooner was he outside the city walls than up started the hare and away they went up hill and down dale and through the forest until they came to the old mill. As before the hare dashed in through the open door: but this Prince did not follow him. Wiser than his brothers, the young man turned back well before he reached the bridge over the river, saying: “There are as good hares in the forest as any that came out of it, and when I have caught them I can come back and look for you.”

But he rode about in the edge of the forest, out of sight of anyone in the mill but where he could keep a good eye on it. At last he saw an old woman come slowly out, cross over the bridge and sit down on a fallen tree not far from it. The Prince then rode cautiously out of the forest and up to where she sat. “Good day to you, little mother,” he said, taking off his hat to her politely. “Can you tell me where I shall find my hare?”

“Good morning, my son,” said the old woman. “That was no hare which you followed, but a dragon who has the power of changing his shape, and who has led many men here and then devoured them.” “Alas, then, my brothers have been eaten by the Dragon,” cried the Prince. “They have either been eaten, or put away to be eaten, where you can never find them,” answered the old woman. “And my advice to you is to go home at once before the same fate befalls you too.”

“Will you not come away with me out of this dreadful place?” asked the Prince. “I can promise you a kind welcome and a comfortable home for the rest of your life.” “I am the Dragon’s prisoner,” she replied sadly, “and I cannot escape from his spells. But I would help you in any way I can, if only I knew how.” “Then listen to me,” said the Prince earnestly. “When the Dragon comes home, ask him where he always goes when he leaves here, and what makes him so strong. Coax the secret from him carefully, and tell me next time I come.”

So the Prince went home and the old woman remained at the mill to coax the Dragon’s secret out of him. She succeeded so well that, after two false answers he gave her the true one: “My strength lies far away, so far that you could never reach it. Far, far from here is a kingdom, and by its capital city is a lake, and in the lake is a dragon, and inside the dragon is a wild boar, and inside the wild boar is a pigeon, and inside the pigeon a sparrow, and inside the sparrow is my strength.”

This sounded as if it must be true and the old woman sadly gave up coaxing the Dragon, feeling that never, never could anyone take his strength from him. When she told the Prince, however, he at once set out dressed as a shepherd to look for the far away country where the Dragon’s strength lay. He sought in vain until the months of his quest were growing into years; and then at last he came to a large city in a distant kingdom surrounded on three sides by a great lake.

This seemed a likely place and so he went to the Emperor who lived there and offered his services as a shepherd. The Emperor engaged him on the spot, saying: “You may succeed where others have failed. Graze my sheep beyond the lake, but be careful they do not go near the meadows which lie on the edge of the lake itself on this side. They will try to go straight to those meadows, but do not let them – for no sheep which have grazed there have ever come back.”

The Prince’s heart was filled with hope when he heard this. But he bowed low, promising to guard the sheep as best he could, and set out from the palace to take up his charge. First of all, however, he went to the market place and bought two greyhounds, a falcon, and a set of pipes. And only then did he drive out the sheep to pasture.

As soon as the sheep saw the lake, they dashed off as fast as their legs would carry them to the green meadows right in front of it. The Prince did not try to stop them: he simply perched his falcon on the branch of a tree, laid his pipes on the grass, and bade the greyhounds sit still. Then rolling up his sleeves and trousers, he waded into the water, crying as he did so: “Dragon! Dragon! If you are not a coward, come out and fight with me!”

“I am waiting for you, Prince!” came a deep voice from the lake, and a moment later out of the water came the very Dragon of the mill, huge and horrible to see. The Prince sprang upon him and they grappled with each other and fought and wrestled until the sun was high, and it was noonday. Then the Dragon gasped: “Prince, let me dip my burning head once into the lake, and I will hurl you to the top of the sky.” But the Prince answered: “Ah, ha, my dear Dragon, do not boast too soon! If the Emperor’s daughter were only here, and would kiss me on the forehead, I would throw you up higher still!” At once the Dragon’s hold loosened and he sank back into the lake and disappeared under the water.

As soon as it was evening, the Prince washed away all signs of the fight, took his falcon upon his shoulder, his pipes under his arm, and with his greyhounds in front and his flock following after him he set out for the city. As they passed through the streets the people stared in wonder, for never before had any flock returned from the meadow by the lake.

Next morning the Prince set out as before, and all things happened as on the previous day. But the Emperor had commanded two men to follow the Prince unseen and report on all that he did and all that happened. They were able to hide quite near the lake and heard all that the Prince and the Dragon said before the Dragon sunk once more under the water, and the Prince drove his flock safely home from the meadows whence no flock had ever before returned. Later that night the two men reported what they had seen and heard to the Emperor, and after he had heard it all, he repeated every word to his daughter. “Tomorrow,” he said when he had finished, “you must go with the shepherd to the lake and kiss him on the forehead when he asks for it.”

When the Princess heard these words she burst into tears and sobbed: “Will you indeed send me, your only child, to that dreadful lake from which I am quite certain never to return alive?” “Fear nothing, beloved daughter,” said the Emperor, “all will be well. Many shepherds have gone to the lake, but none of them or their sheep have ever returned. But this one in these two days has fought twice with the Dragon and has escaped without a wound, bringing back with him his flock completely unharmed. So I hope that, with your help, he will kill the Dragon tomorrow and free this land from the monster who has slain so many of our bravest men.”

As soon as day dawned the Princess went to the shepherd who laughed with delight when he saw her. But she only wept the more bitterly. “Do not weep, Heart of Gold,” he begged her. “Trust me and fear nothing. Only kiss me on the forehead the moment I ask for it, and all will be well.”

So they set out, with the shepherd-prince playing merrily on his pipes until they reached the lake. In an instant the sheep were scattered all over the lush meadows by the waterside. The Prince paid no attention, but placed his falcon on the tree and his pipes on the grass, while he bade his greyhounds lie beside them. Then he rolled up his trousers and his sleeves and waded into the water, saying: “Dragon! Dragon! If you are not a coward, come out and fight with me again!” “I am waiting for you, Prince,” came the deep voice out of the lake, and a moment later out of the water came the Dragon, huge and horrible to see. Swiftly he drew near to the bank and the Prince sprang upon him and they grappled with each other and fought and wrestled until the sun was high and it was noon day. Then the Dragon gasped: “Prince, let me dip my burning head once into the lake, and I will hurl you to the top of the sky.” But the Prince answered: “Ah-ha, my dear Dragon, do not boast too soon! If the Emperor’s daughter were only here, and would kiss me on the forehead, I would throw you up higher still!”

Hardly had he spoken when the Princess, who had been listening carefully, ran up and kissed him on the forehead. Then the Prince swung the Dragon straight up and over the clouds, and when he reached the earth again he broke into a thousand pieces. Out of the pieces there sprang a hare, and in a moment the greyhounds were after it and they caught it and killed it and tore it to bits. Out of these bits there came a pigeon which flew swiftly away. But the Prince slipped his falcon which towered straight into the air, swooped upon the bird and brought it to his master. The Prince cut open the dead pigeon and found the sparrow inside, just as the old woman had said he would.

“Now!” cried the Prince, holding the sparrow firmly in his hand, “now you shall tell me where I can find my brothers!” “Do not hurt me,” said the sparrow, “and I will tell you willingly. In the mill where the Dragon used to lurk there are three slender twigs. Cut off these twigs and strike the ground with them, and the iron door of a cellar will open. In the cellar you will find all those whom the Dragon was keeping on ice until he wanted them for his dinner. Breathe three times on each of them, and they will wake as if from sleep – and among them you will find your brothers.”

Then the Prince thanked the sparrow and let it fly safely away. He washed himself in the lake, set the falcon on his wrist, the pipes under his arm and with the greyhounds gambolling before and the sheep following after, he took the Princess by the hand and set out for the city. By the time they reached the palace they were followed by a vast cheering crowd. When they arrived, the Emperor, who had followed unobserved and seen all that had happened, was waiting there to greet them and lead them straight to the chapel royal to be married.

When the wedding and the feast were over, the Prince told them that he was not the poor shepherd he had pretended to be, but a very King’s son – and the Emperor rejoiced more than ever. But the Princess felt that she could not have loved him more had he turned out to be Lord of all the Earth. And when they had freed the two brothers and the other captives from the Dragon’s larder, the Prince and Princess settled down to live happily ever after, and in course of time became the best-loved Emperor and Empress that the land had ever known.

Let us consider aspects of the story: The fact there are no women main characters early in the story tells us that there will be an absence of the feminine (not female) energy and therefore an overabundance of masculine (not male) energy. It is likely that the theme of the story will be the resolution of that imbalance. This is reinforced by the preoccupation with hunting, a strong masculine image. Because there are three sons we are also alerted to mythical doings. Three is a magical number.

One thing we need to consider is the wisdom of two intelligent Princes spending their days chasing bunny rabbits around the kingdom. We know that either this kingdom is extremely short of suitable game, or something more serious is afoot. The mystery clears when we learn that the shape of a wild animal most often assumed by witches and other mystical beings is that of the hare (an animal that often represents spirit/life force).

The Princes’ inability to catch the hare illustrates the difficulty of integrating the vital energy of life from only one side of our beingness. Challenged, the two Princes pursue the vitalizing essence using their masculine energy, the only form available to them. When exposed (the open door to the mill) to the energy of the darkness (the fire-breathing dragon), the Princes are overcome by it. The two Princes are unable to make a shift in their consciousness and are captured by the darkness. Before the Princes can escape, the dragon grabs them and drags them inside. The inner darkness is simply too powerful to be overcome by force of will. This scene illustrates the raw power of the darkness. It shows how it can imprison a person who has not integrated the power of the shadow into his or her consciousness. This speaks to the powerful potential for seduction by the dark side (remember Darth Vader?). Note that the setting for this scene is a mill, a place of transformation where grain is changed into flour.

The contrast between the rigidity of the 2 Princes and the formlessness or shape changing of the dragon is notable. Dragons are associated with water, which is also formless. Lao Tsu pointed out that water is the most powerful of all things because of its ability to be flexible and adapt to any situation. If we cling rigidly to anything, we will be unable to integrate the life force into our consciousness. It is our attachment, our rigidity, that keeps us imprisoned and unable to heal.

The youngest Prince’s plea to search for his older brothers is a noble quest. The Prince sets out and immediately encounters the hare and pursues it. Again we know that something is up because no self-respecting Prince would waste his time chasing rabbits when he has pleaded so fervently to search for his missing brothers.

When the hare runs into the mill the young Prince does not follow him. There is a deeper wisdom in us and, because the young Prince is less attached than his older brothers, he instinctively knows that he is not prepared to take on whatever is in the mill.

Riding around the mill and watching carefully speaks to his wise use of awareness. When the old woman emerges from the mill the coincidence is simply too great and so, again, we know that larger forces are at work. The old woman is wise, as old women in fairy tales tend to be, because they usually represent the strong feminine. The Prince approaches her carefully and greets her courteously, because he respects the power that he faces. It is not clear from this part of the story whether the old woman is an aspect of the Prince’s own undiscovered feminine hidden in the darkness (the dragon) or a more universal feminine wisdom. In any case, it is good that it has come.

Consider what takes place with the old woman: The Prince has listened to his inner wisdom and avoided a confrontation with the shadow that he was certain to lose. The old woman, in the dragon’s power if not the dragon itself, has offered to help him. If the dragon were simply after the Prince it would prevent the old woman from helping him, or use her as bait to lure him in. Instead, the old woman has come forward and offered to help the young Prince. She offers the wisdom of the unknown aspect of his being and together they hold the key to his dilemma.

The masculine response would be to gather an army and assault the mill. Although there are times when this is the only alternative, that is not so in this instance. Power cannot subdue darkness, only compassion can (remember the lessons of Prohibition, the War On Drugs or our present campaign against terrorism?). The Prince seems to know instinctively that attacking the mill would not work. Will power is wonderful for some things, but it is no match for the energy of the shadow.

Instead, the Prince asks the old woman to coax from the dragon the secret of its power. And, of course, she does. The Prince is wise enough to know that he is up against something far greater than himself and so he seeks to learn about it. He finds a teacher. We must consider again that a dragon with magical powers and great wisdom would not reveal the source of his strength unless he wanted someone to discover it.

When she explains that “Inside the dragon is a wild boar, and inside the wild boar is a hare, and inside the hare is a pigeon, and inside the pigeon is a sparrow, and inside the sparrow is the dragon’s strength,” she illustrates the layers we must peel away to get to the core of the wound. Notice the declining nature of ferocity and size as we move through the layers to the core, coming to the sparrow and its wisdom – the source of real power.

Having learned about the darkness from this teacher, the Prince prepares to set out on his quest. He has received information, now he must put it into practice. He uses the guise of a shepherd, not a warrior, because he is not yet a True Prince.

The kingdom associated with a lake is a wonderful metaphor; the deep pool of the unconscious in which the dragon lives and for which we must quest. After years of searching, for this is not an easy journey, the Prince comes to the kingdom. He has doubtless experienced suffering, as have you and, like you, is standing at the mouth of the dragon’s cave, peering into the wound.

The Emperor, not a mere king, who rules this place hires this young shepherd. Again anomalies: What is an Emperor doing wasting his time hiring shepherds? In any case, the Emperor cautions the young man to keep the sheep away from the meadow near the lake, for no sheep that have grazed there have ever returned. (Sheep do not fare well against the darkness.) We know that the Prince has come to the right place.

In cautioning the Prince the Emperor expresses the anxiety of the establishment: “Don’t take risks, don’t rock the boat, we’ve lost too many sheep already.” The Prince however, disobeys the Emperor, intuitively knowing that playing it safe will not serve the situation. There is a time to break the rules and do it your own way. However, these times must be carefully chosen.

Too often we break the rules for the wrong reasons and at the wrong times. Lao Tsu wrote that running a great nation is like cooking a small fish, it is all a matter of careful timing. The two greyhounds and the falcon that the Prince obtains are noble hunting animals and strong allies. One might consider them to represent the personal resources one gathers as the experience of the journey unfolds.

Confronted by the Prince, the dragon’s response, “I am waiting for you, Prince,” tells us that he knew the Prince was coming! The dragon, described as huge and horrible, springs from the depths and the two begin to wrestle. Again we find an anomaly. Here is an unarmed and unprotected youth struggling with an obviously more powerful adversary. The Prince knows instinctively that the only way to deal with the beast is to take it on directly.

We can only imagine his courage, and fear, as he wades into his unconscious for the encounter. He must go after the dragon. It cannot be done any other way. Heroism aside, the dragon has invited the contest and, presumably does not really want to vanquish the Prince. If he does, he has gone to great lengths to simply acquire lunch.

The two fight until high noon and the dragon gasps, “Let me dip my burning head once into the lake, the waters of life, and I will hurl you to the top of the sky.” The Prince responds, “If the Emperor’s daughter were only here to kiss my forehead, I would throw you higher still!” The dragon immediately withdraws to the bottom of the lake.

There are many important points in this particular part of the story. The Prince is struggling with the dragon as we all struggle with our inner beast. We struggle because that is all we can do when we only have access to part of our being.

The two fight until high noon, the time when there is no shadow. Operating simply from his masculine side, the Prince will be unable, as were his brothers, to bring the darkness into the light. At best it will be a standoff. But, with the benefit of the totality of his being (the kiss from the Princess, representing his feminine side), the Prince can easily subdue, i.e. bring into consciousness the darkness represented by the dragon. When presented with this fact, the dragon immediately withdraws for there can be no further struggle. How does the Prince know this? We all have access to inner wisdom if we will take the time to listen.

On the second day the Prince and the dragon wrestle again until noon. The Prince has sustained no wounds and has lost none of the sheep, but he and the dragon are, at best, even. Overcoming darkness is not a simple thing. It takes effort and time.

On the third day (you have to do things three times in fairy tales) the princess, named Heart of Gold, has reluctantly accompanied the Prince. The Princess represents the feminine aspect of the hero and together with the dragon and the Prince is the third piece of this story’s puzzle. The Princess is uncertain because she has not experienced the protection of the Prince’s masculine energy. This speaks to the incompleteness of any single aspect of our beingness. The Heart of Gold is the immortal and untarnishable heart center through which we balance and blend the forces of our lives.

The Princess’ kiss symbolizes the essential integration of the whole self. Realizing his self worth, i.e. his love for himself, the Prince throws the dragon up, and over the clouds, into the light. Now that he is complete, the Prince simply transcends the old struggle. The transcendence of the struggle is a point easily missed. The Prince did not vanquish the dragon as much as he moved the whole process to a higher level where struggle was irrelevant.

In reading fairy tales it is important to remember that each character in the story represents some aspect or quality of the hero or heroine. Each tale is the story of one person’s inner journey. In this story a fierce and powerful dragon has been defeated by the power of self-love.

In integrating and learning to love himself the Prince will move to another level of consciousness. And the dragon knows that through this process he will be transcended. There is no room for darkness in a being filled with compassion and light. Another important image is the Prince’s wrestling with the dragon. This is not an intellectual process. The Prince cannot resolve the conflict by sitting on the shore reading books or going to seminars about dragons. He must be willing to wade into the dragon’s domain and wrestle with the beast, a dangerous reptile! How repulsive! That is exactly how it feels when we confront the shadow. Yet, if we are to transcend our pain we must find the courage to face whatever is in the cave and meet it on its own terms.

The only way we can effectively integrate all the aspects of ourselves is through the transformative process of facing our darkness. No amount of understanding or analysis will substitute. The dragon does not wish to defeat us, as he is a part of us! His ferocity is a facade designed to force us to find the inner courage to face our pain and fear. When we make that decision we have already won, for then the dragon cannot defeat us.

Courage, not strength, is the essence of the Hero’s Journey. Confronting the fears associated with wounds is not enjoyable. This fear can make even the strongest people weak. Most of us struggle against the fear, but this just creates frustration and consumes enormous amounts of personal energy.

Fairy tales teach us that fear of the dragon is a self-created myth. The Ancient Ones explain that the difficult part is rolling up our sleeves, wading into the lake and calling the dragon out. This story tells us that if this unarmed boy can face his dragon, his shadow, so can you.

The fear exists to keep you immobile, to keep you away from what has been an unsafe place. Some people wait until they hit bottom, until their lives fall apart, before they are willing to peer into their woundedness. They create so much despair that anything would be better than their deadlocked struggle with themselves. Only then will they relinquish control and surrender.

The transformation of the dragon from a reptilian, water dwelling monster, to a ferocious land mammal, and then to the various birds and finally to the tiny sparrow, speaks to the evolution that occurs in our shadow as we acknowledge, accept, and finally come to love it. The birds symbolize the movement to the higher realms of spirit enabled by the integration of the self.

With the sparrow in hand, the spirit of the dragon says, “I will tell you willingly.” The dragon, once a seeming enemy, has become an ally now that it has been integrated into consciousness (remember Beauty and the Beast?). The Prince frees the sparrow, knowing that it will be available whenever he needs it.

The brothers are frozen, we can presume, by their inability to change. The Prince does not set out to free his brothers immediately, however. He must complete his own integration (marry the Princess) because only then can he truly help others. The Emperor conducts the wedding and the Prince reveals himself to be a king’s son, for he has become a True Prince.

Freeing the brothers by breathing on them three times can be construed as the teaching, or the service, one performs after healing oneself for those still held prisoner by the darkness.

They all live happily ever after and the kingdom is renewed through their unity. The Prince incidentally, becomes an Emperor not just a king. And we know that somewhere up in the clouds the dragon is smiling.

In the healing process one must identify the wound, accept the pain associated with it, become free of attachments to it and find the courage to march into the cave and face it. Facing it is not doing battle with it. Struggle is a human way, it is not God’s. That is a hangover from the European age of conquest that sought to subdue the primitive world under the boot of western values.

The healing process is one of learning to love and heal the wounded parts of the self that have been stuffed into the bag. After all, they are just doing their thing. Bringing the wound into the light transforms it and allows one to release the negative entities associated with it. Healing the wound converts this liability into a significant personal resource.

Healing makes a great deal of energy available for life. It creates compassion, brings us into direct contact with the infinite wisdom and power of the light. This is the purpose of the life. This rite of passage is called the Heroine’s Journey because it is one of the most courageous trials one can undertake.

©2004 Blue Lotus Press.
Reproduction is permitted with attribution.

link to Ross Bishop’s blog

Gary Z McGee ~ Gray Walking: The Art of Transforming Militarism into Humanism

Here’s another insightful, practical and hard-hitting piece by Gary Z McGee of Waking Times. The article’s copyrighted, so I’ll just give you a teaser excerpt. Please click through to read the excellent full article.

You’ve probably heard of light working, and the light workers who practice loving energy and cultivate sacred spaces for such energy to flourish, but you probably haven’t heard about gray walking and the gray walkers who seek to maintain the tension between opposites and work at bringing opposites back in line with one another. They are the ones successfully getting in touch with their dark sides. It keeps them whole. They are amoral agents par excellence. They realize that the secret of alchemy is found in the intimacy of opposites. They don’t deny their shadow. They don’t shun the shadow for fear of being immoral. They play with it instead. They reconcile with it. They understand that shadow work is ultimately light work. They embrace the wise words of Carl Jung, “There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

Gray walkers have undeceived themselves precisely because they have made the darkness conscious. They realize that their inner-darkness is where their light needs to shine brightest, because compassionate empathy with the world requires a baptizing of our inner-shadow, lest we demonize the shadows of others. Like Loius G. Herman wrote, “By accepting the inevitability of our shadow, we recognize that we are also what we are not. This humbling recognition restrains us from the madness of trying to eliminate those we hate and fear in the world. Self-mastery, maturity, and wisdom are defined by our ability to hold the tension between opposites.”

Full article here.

Gary Z. McGee ~ Six Signs You May be a Disaster Shaman

Excellent article! Thank you, Raven.

Gary Z. McGee ~ Six Signs You May be a Disaster Shaman

About Those Shadows ….

Please remember balance in all things.

Yes to this: “One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star.” ~ Nietzsche

But also yes to this: “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” ~ Nietzsche