On 2006-03-12 08:25, creekmary wrote:
But, back to maidens and dragons and knights in shining armor.
I think the dragon energy becomes successfully subdued by the knight energy or you don't get the fair maiden...
All those qualities that make up the perfect knight that conquers the dragon are what frees and captures the perfect maiden.
Right on, Susan.
Concerning the Western Dragon: the Dragon and the Maiden archetypes symbolize two sides of Feminine emotional power, either within the psyche of a man or within a woman. The Maiden aspect, as Susan wrote, is loving, wise, devoted, beautiful, pure, and virtuous. But more than a list of qualities
, she is a real, tangible, living force within us all. On the other hand, the Dragon is destructive, devouring, cold-blooded, greedy, slothful, covetous, and wrathful. The Maiden is shown originally with the Dragon because, in Her unconscious form, the Feminine power is undifferentiated: She is both positive (striving toward consciousness) and negative (pulling forâ€”or maintaining a state ofâ€”unconsciousness).
The Knight ("in shining armor")â€”the light of the focused Masculineâ€”is the power that can discern and separate the positive aspect of the Feminine from the negative. Since the Feminine in and of herself is Wholenessâ€”in a way, the darkness of the Feminine is violated
by the light of the discriminating consciousness the masculine. The Feminine alone cannot and will not separate herself. Why? She is wholeness. Why should she violate herself by cutting herself in two?
Once the Maiden is liberated from the Dragon, however, the Feminine can work for the psyche by guiding us, sharing Her wisdom, and giving us a conscious awareness of our own inner divine love and devotion. Before this psychological event, Wisdom (Sophia) is obscured, occult. The Dragon aspect of the Feminine hordes Her treasures within the depths of the unconscious, not to be shared. It's a momentous event in the Western mindï¿½s psychological evolution: The Dragon Slaying.
How can there be a sacred marriage between the Masculine and the Feminine if the Dragon is around or involved? The Primordial Feminineâ€”the Great Motherâ€”with all of Her manifest power and unconscious knowledge, can easily subdue an infantile Masculine consciousness and devour it. Or, She can trick the Masculine by showing him that He does not exist: that He is only one aspect of Her. This is why the Dragon, the Sphinx, and Baba Yaga all ask riddles of the heroic Masculine: to trick him into seeing His own non-existence and thereby stealing His power. If he gets ensnared in Her riddle, He will go mad, and be swallowed by the unconscious. This is being devoured by the Dragon. He could also try to know the Feminine by staring at her directly, without detachment. But this will only paralyze Himâ€”take away His powerâ€”as Medusa paralyzed so many men before Perseus. Without detachment, the Masculine will see that He is
Lifeï¿½and the Great Mother Herselfâ€”and become absorbed into the unconscious. He cannot possibly know who He is without going mad according to Western understanding of madness. In this case, only through an indirect glance (via symbol, metaphor, archetype) can She be fathomed and can the psyche know what It is without losing its stability.*
For the Western psyche, only when the Masculine focuses itself into a single-pointed lance, focused on distilling the Truth from within the depths of the Unconscious, will He be able to slay the Dragon and the treasures of the unconscious Feminine be accessibleâ€”in the form of her strictly positive, consciousness-affirming aspect: the Maiden. The single-pointedness of Masculine power has taken a number of forms in mythology and art: the lance, the spear (of Archangel Michael), the sword held aloft, the dasher, and the arrow. My personal favorite tale of focus is from the Mahabharata.
Drona's, the great archery teacher, gave an archery test to all of the Pandavas and Kuruvas, each of whom failed to focus exclusively on their target: a decoy bird perched in a distant tree. Arjuna was saved to be tested last. As Arjuna notched his arrow and drew his bow, Drona told him to take aim at the target, but fire only on his command.
"Now tell me, Arjuna," Drona asked, "What do you see?"
"I see a bird's eye," Arjuna replied.
"What kind of bird is it?"
"I do not know; I can only see its eye."
Only Arjuna had mastered the focus required to fell the target and pass the test. The Great Mother will do much in her power to distract the Masculine from achieving this one-pointed focus, for it is this power of His that will reveal Her maidenhood, as a torch pierces the a cavern's darkness. He must not be distracted, or his light will not achieve the penetration necessary to succeed. (Of course, in the Arjuna story, he's aiming for much more than just a consciousness of his own Feminine beautyâ€”Arjuna aimed for Truthâ€”but that's another story. The masculine focus needed is the same in each case.)
The Positive Feminine actually may long for her own distillation, but the Masculine must ultimately carry it out. Her inner longing is the "cry of the Maiden" imprisoned in the cavern of the unconscious. "I was a hidden treasure who wished to be known," is the old sufi saying.
Until this event takes place in a Western male's psyche, he is, somewhere, juvenile. He cleaves to the Mother archetype for he cannot separate himself from the Matrix of his origins in the Great Mother. He cannot reach his guiding inner feminine to form a relationship of balance and equality with her, for she will always, ultimately, devour him if he gets too close. Sheâ€”his inner feminineâ€”is still half Dragon! Lasting intimacy with a real woman, therefore, is difficult (if not impossible) for him with a womanï¿½except in a mother-son relationship. He may be drawn to the wisdom or beauty in a woman, but then he will be afraid of her real powerï¿½and either submit to it submissively or try to silence or destroy her with the unbridled masculine violence we are all too familiar with. He may take his violence toward the Negative Mother out on a real woman because he will easily project his own inner Feminine onto her, and behave in a juvenile way that will encourage a real woman to play the role of the Negative Mother out on the stage of their relationship. He can then blame her for wanting to "swallow" him or "cling" to him or "possess" him, and slay her in one way or another, or just flee as so many males do today.
Many of us have played this game on one side of the court or the other. It's no fun. The archetypes locked in the eternal war of opposites seldom care for individual humans, and when we get possessed by them, we lose our humanity and become monsters.
So they're all there within us, as Susan elucidated: Dragon, Maiden, and Knight.
*The many-headed serpent of the Negative Mother represented in the Greek myths by Medusa, I might add, is not as dangerous to the Eastern mind as it is to the Western psyche. Sesa-naga, the serpent of the myriad heads upon whom Vishnu/Narayana reclines, is a symbol of the paradox of unity-and-diversity: how all of us can possess a unique perspective and, at the same time, be One. This understanding is "common sense" in many Eastern culturesâ€”a simple fact for most Indian Hindus, for example. The Western psyche's sense of individuality, on the other hand, has evolved in a counterpoise to this knowledge: the cold, detached, scientific mind is a byproduct of slaying the Great Mother by seeing her only as a reflection in a mirror. The simple fact for the Westerner is that he or she is an individual, independent and detached from the life-flux somehow. From the Hindu perspective, this is a ludicrous idea, as is, for many Western scientists, the notion that we are all One.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: RavenHeart on 2006-05-29 17:23 ]</font>