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When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, Myths and Legends

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Gonna Lay Down my Sword
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A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

Line

My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set

Articles by Victor

Mandelbrot Set   Fairy Stories
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Mandelbrot Set  Complexity
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Mandelbrot Set  Spirituality
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Short previews
of all talks

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The Evolve Holistic Development Trust

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My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set
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Archetypes

from a talk given by Victor MacGill to the Dunedin Spiritualist Centre in March 2006

I would like to begin by asking you to cast your mind back into the past a little bit. Further back than 9/11, further back the Captain Cook’s discovery of New Zealand, further back than the builders of stonehenge and the pyramids, right back about 2 million years to East Africa where small groups of our ancestors left the trees to walk upright on the Savannah. One of the species from which we all descended is was called Australopithecus.

They dwelt in small family bands, which had to learn quickly how to survive in a new environment or they would die. There were several things they had to do. First of all they had to find food, water and shelter. They had to learn to co-operate amongst themselves, so, they had to care and nurture each other, especially the young, old or sick. They had to be able to protect themselves from outside threats and in fact if they were to not only just survive but thrive, they usually had to try to take over resources in the environment from other groups. They had to take over control of food and water sources and have good shelter to get an edge over their competitors. They had to be able to make decisions the whole group would follow and to work together as one to reach their goals whether it was hunting for food, making shelters, making tools or whatever. Finally they had to be able to develop on a pool of knowledge which they would then pass on to the next generation. They needed to know about the weather patterns, animal behaviour, seasonal changes how to build thing, how to get on with and care for each.

They also had to be able to compete well against other groups or they might well all die out. Even very small advantages could be significant. For example, if there were two groups of Australopithecus living on an area of land and their numbers were increasing to put pressure on the available resources, just one small advantage could make a big difference. If one group was a little bit stronger physically, co-operating a little bit better, or even just had slightly better hearing or eyesight, it would tend to mean that that group would be a little bit more likely to get food in a hunt, to be efficient at exploring to find new food sources, or react more quickly to marauding lions. That group would then become even more physically strong because it had access to more and better food, or a more protected place to live or avoided having group numbers reduced by attacking lions. They would be even more likely to survive and more likely to breed a new generation evn better adapted to the environment.

This can start a cycle so the stronger group gets stronger and stronger and the weaker groups gets weaker and weaker. That continues until the stronger group dominates the weaker group and could even make it go extinct. Over many generations, the groups of Australopithecus, or indeed any animal groups that does not go extinct, become more and more suited to their environment.

Australopithecus could not speak, or at most could convey a few ideas by sound or gesture. That made it much harder for them to co-operate than it is for us. The most  efficient way for them and so many other creatures in nature to make quick decisions everyone would follow was for the strongest, most violent group member to take control and force everyone do things as they commanded or suffer the consequences. We all learned to be violent from those days, and you and I would not be here now if those early ancestors of ours had not found out how to be the most effective violent creatures on the planet at the time. We arguably still are.

One strategy that developed was to specialise; to create distinct social roles. This didn’t really start to happen until humans began farming and built permanent settlements that needed to be protected far more. If a particular member of the tribe was particularly skilled at a certain type of work, it made sense for them to undertake that role more than others in their group. If a person was a good spear maker, then it made sense for those who were better at hunting to give the spear maker some of their food in return for better spears. Having social roles was more effective than a group where everyone does everything.

Four particular roles have developed in all human social groups. First there is the leader; the one in control who keeps law and order and discipline. The leader makes decisions on behalf of the group. In modern times there is a whole parliamentary systems and judiciary that sets out the laws and makes decisions on how they should be enforced. Next is the protector and enforcer, protecting the tribe from outside threats and makes sure everyone obeys the laws of the leader. Today that might be the Police or the army. The third is the nurturer caring for the young and old and ensuring that good relationships are maintained in the group. This is seen in our society as all the caring organisations and social support structures. Finally comes the knowledge keepers, who must hold the wisdom gained through the years and pass it on to the younger generation. In modern times this becomes our education system, schools and university, Polytechnics etc.

Each member of the tribe or group had to keep a picture of each of these roles in their mind so they knew what to expect and what to do when they met up with someone holding that particular role. Over time shared mental pictures emerged in the minds of each tribal member. It created a common understanding, as similar mental patterns spread across the tribe. Over time, these mental patterns took on a life of their own and we have come to know them by the name coined by Carl Jung. He called them archetypes.

Carl Jung identified four basic human archetypes, which you will see, have come into being from the collective mental patterns from the four social roles.

He leader is the KING
The protector and enforcer is the WARRIOR
The knowledge keeper is the MAGICIAN
And the nurturer is the LOVER

Carl Jung described these as all male archetypes, but prefer to see the King and Warrior as male and the lover and magician as female.

We use these archetypes continually. When we make any decision the king as decision maker needs the right knowledge from the magican and must consider what is for their  their own good and the good of others from the lover. The King then makes the decision and tells the warrior who carries it out. If any part of the chain is missing or weak, the process of decision making will be flawed in our life.

So, each of these archetypes need to be expressed in ourselves and in our lives. If any one of these is lacking in our lives, we cannot operate effectively. If our warrior is weak, we will let other people walk all over us, if our magician is not wise, our king will make poor decisions, because he does not have the best information. If we lack our lover, we will become cold and heartless.

On the other hand, If our warrior is too strong, we will become a bully. If our magician misuses her ability, she will use her knowledge against people and our king would become a dictator. If our lover is too strong, their love will smother that which they love.

The key is therefore to have strong archetypes, all kept well in balance.

Next I identified a quality for each archetype and since these are four fundamental human archetypes, the four qualities will be four fundamental qualities we need in our lives.

So we get, the King  -  Authority
The Warrior  -  Courage
The Magician – Wisdom
The Lover  - Compassion.

Just as the archetypes must be strong and in balance, our four qualities must be strong and in balance.

I would now like to move on to two more critical collective mental patterns we all hold on our brains, which are like archetypes, but do not come from social roles. Every decision we make will either take us closer to our goals or further away from our goals. When the king, warrior, magician and lover are all working well, we move closer to our goals, symbolised by the TREASURE. When they are not working well, we move closer to the DRAGON. The dragon symbolises all the things in our life that stand between us as we are now, and us as we could be. It is our obstacles and our challenges that keep us from our treasure. It is through approaching our dragons and overcoming them, that we come to know our true nature, and meet our goals, not by avoiding them. So,in a strange way our dragons are our allies, because they point us to our truth; they take us to our treasure, but do beware, because if you take your eye of the dragon, even for a moment, it will eat you.

I would like us to just take a few moments to consider these archetypes in our lives

How does your King; your sense of authority, control and power over yourself and others take you towards your treasure, or towards your dragon?

How does your Warrior, your courage to stand up for yourself and those around you, to protect everyone and the courage to unflinchingly do what needs to be done; how does that take you towards your treasure, or towards your dragon?

How does your Magician, your sense of wisdom and intuition take you towards your treasure, or towards your dragon?

And finally how does your Lover, your compassion for your self and others take you towards your treasure, or towards your dragon?

You might like to consider these four questions in more depth later on

The power of fairy stories is that they work with our archetypes. They work directly with the shared mental patterns we all have in our mind. You will find many variations on the four archetypes in fairy stories, so the dragon might be a goblin, a demon, Darth Vader. Sometime two archetypes will combine; a bad witch is distortion of the magician and the dragon, king may be a prince, a Duke, a woodsman or whatever, but if you look carefully the four archatypes will always be there. Fairy Stories can be a powerful means of reprogramming our mental patterns that may have become distorted over time.

Fairy stories are like maps of our journey of life and just as a map helps us to find out how to get where we want, so too can fairy stories guide us on our journey.
Fairy stories, and life, take us on a journey from order to chaos, and from chaos back to order again.

The usual pattern of a fairy story is that everything starts out as normal for short while. Luke Skywalker lives peacefully on a far off planet with his uncle and aunt, Sleeping Beauty lives with her parents in a wonderful castle, Jack lives with his mother. The king, warrior magician and lover are barely awake, all seems well, but then an event comes to shatter the apparent peace. The Emperor’s storm troopers arrive and kill Luke’s uncle and aunt, Sleeping Beauty is pricked by a needle and Jack buys some magic beans. The hero is thrown into the world of chaos, where everything is unknown and unpredictable. The dragon has woken, so the hero must wake the king, magician, warrior and lover to rise to the challenge thrown down by the dragon. After the struggle with the dragon, the hero prevails and world returns to the world of order as “everyone lives happily ever after”. This new order, however, is not the same as the order at the beginning of the story. The first order was an order of innocence; it was unconscious, it was the order of a child, whose every need was met by surrounding adults. As the story proceeds, the child becomes an adult, becomes conscious and knowing and can live in peace in a turbulent from their own strength.

This is your journey and my journey. That’s what the reading from Joseph Campbell was about tonight. Every day we all go on our own hero’s journey, face our own dragons, in order to find our treasure. We do it by finding our king, warrior, magician and lover and using them strongly and in balance in all we do in our lives. We then find our treasure; we find out who we really are, what our life is really about, and touch the spiritual essence that is at the core of our being. 
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