A personal myth
In a faraway land, far beyond the tallest mountain peaks stood a huge castle. It held itself tall and proud, protected by a fortress so strong that even the fiercest intruder couldn’t penetrate the steep iron clad walls, nor the humblest neighbour for that matter.
Within its walls ruled the high queen, a perfect vision of stern order, efficiency and control. For years she managed her subjects with a determined iron clad fist, her eyes fixated on a horizon of success and mastery.
After some time, her subjects began to complain. They were tired, their bellies hungry, their muscles aching, their minds overwhelmed and their hearts hungry to connect with something beyond the castle walls. The queen, unaccustomed to having her authority questioned, didn’t take kindly to this, and dismissed their pesky requests as a mere nuisance. The subjects became restless, their pleas turned to anger, and the queen retaliated by condemning anyone who dared complain to cold dark dungeons deep beneath the castle floor.
But, it seemed that the more bothersome subjects she imprisoned, the more that would turn upon her, their meagre groans becoming louder and more violent as the years progressed. As more subjects were locked away, there were less available to tend to the fields, the kitchen, the castle, and the queen herself became weak from overwork.
One night, when all was still, the faintest sound of bustling keys and tentative footsteps whispered over the cold silence of the castle. The queen called her maids to get her nightgown and lantern, but they did not come. With a nervous breathe she tore herself out of bed, catching sight of herself in the dressing mirror. A stranger peered back at her from the shadowy reflection, as a dread descended heavy upon her chest, black upon her eyes.
With a quickening heart she descended the cold stone staircase to the bowels of the fortress, the stench of despair daring her to approach. Unaccustomed to the dark, she could barely make out the steep steps, and her foot slipped on the mossy stone, sending her plummeting to the bottom of the stairs.
And there they were, all her loyal subjects, side by side with the traitors she and imprisoned, surrounding her, hurling all of their pains and hurts and anger at her like a wall of sharp stones. She stumbled blindly, desperately trying to escape the malevolent voices of those that had been her foundation for so long. They tore away her royal robes and pushed her outside, driving her deep into the woods beyond the reaches of the castle walls.
She found herself cold, lost, and blind, a queen unable to rule, not even herself. She realised then that she had to change, that a forceful hand would no longer serve. Bowing her head in defeat, she attempted to feel her way back to the castle, her home, but it was not to be. With every blind step, every turn, an angry voice would jump at her out of the woods and force her to the ground. She listened, she pleaded, she begged for forgiveness, she made promises she intended to keep, but still, her unforgiving subjects pledged to make her suffer as she had done to them.
Her feet were ripped out from underneath her, her hands bound behind her back, before they finally abandoned her, to die out in the woods alone. There was no control, no grace, no going back, nothing but surrender, and one last iota of strength, just enough to lodge thickly in her throat and call out ‘help me’…
It just happened that some neighbouring villagers had entered the woods that night, curious about the commotion that had come out of this land of self sufficiency. They were astonished to find the queen, stripped of her regal threads, bereft of her crown, writhing, blue and cold on the forest floor. They gently untied her, helped her to her feet, and in the process removed the darkness that had been blinding her for so long. When she was steady, she took one monumental first step back to the castle, to face herself, alone.
The castle was in chaos, the subjects had no idea how to control themselves. The place was filthy, freezing cold as no one had tended the fires, no food had been prepared so they were all starving, they’d raided the wine cellar, gotten riotously drunk then turned on each other as they had no idea what else to do. With the castle and its subjects in such an uproar, the queen had no trouble slipping inside.
‘Enough!!!!!’ boomed the queen, suddenly gaining some strength as the astonishment of the situation seized her. ‘Everyone, to bed, NOW!!! We’ll deal with this on the morrow when you’ve all sobered up.’ In wonderment that she had survived, her handmaidens led her to her chambers and promptly robed her to fend off the chilly dawn. Then she slept, and slept, and slept.
Upon the new day, they all gathered in the royal court. The subjects were alarmed to find the queens’ throne had been demolished, and quietly wondered what a punishment might be for such treason. But to their deepening surprise they found the queen sitting on a low stool on the floor, amongst a large circle of other similar stools, and invited them to join her.
‘My loyal subjects, I realise the error of my ways, and I know I have treated you badly. It is obvious we cannot continue in the way we have for so many years, and also, it is obvious you cannot function without my guidance. Therefore, I humbly seek your forgiveness for my ignorance, as I offer my heart to this kingdom. My staff I offer as a talking stick, and with it I grant you all an equal voice and my support.’
With this heartfelt declaration, the queens’ people again pledged their allegiance to both her and the kingdom, transforming the castle from a desolate fortress to a bustling joyous community. In acknowledgement of the neighbouring villagers whose support had saved her life, the fortress walls were removed and replaced with bridges, allowing a greater sense of trust and community to dawn upon the land. And, in great honour of the subjects that had forgiven her, every morning at dawn the people of the land would sing out in harmony together, to remind them of the unity in which they now thrived.
Written by Tjoni Johansen
As part of Ritual work during Transpersonal Studies at Phoenix Institute
Copyright 2014 all rights reserved
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