No question that Guy of Gisborne is the character to turn to when work is treating one badly, is there?
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Text extracted Women who run with the wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
All creatures must learn that there exist predators. Without this knowing, we will be unable to negotiate safely within our own forest without being devoured. To understand the predator is to become a mature animal who is not vulnerable out of naïveté, inexperience or foolishness. In fairy tales and stories the villain symbolizes this sinister force that must be recognized for what it is: an aspect of the psyche contrary to the nature of the soul that opposes the development of psyche and attempts to kill off all soul.
A force that is split off from its lifegiving aspect and needs to be overcome and contained. This is a crucial fact that we must acknowledge. Though we might have mercy upon it, our first acts must be to recognize it, to protect ourselves from its devastations, and ultimately to deprive it of its murderous energy.
Too, in day to day life, there are a plenty of soul-thieves and consciousness-killers afoot. The predator does not feel, so he does not wish for his your victim to feel either. This is exactly the intention of the predator, for the unredeemed aspect of the psyche does not feel, and in its insane envy of those who do, it is driven to a cutting hatred.
In the animal world, puppies learn to recognize the predator through the teachings of the parents. Among wolves when the bitch leaves her pups to go hunting, the young one try to follow her out of the den and down the path. She snarls at them , lunges at them, and scares the bejeezus out of them till they run slipping and sliding back to the den.
Their mother knows her pups do not yet know how to weigh and assess other creatures. They do not know who is a predator and who is not. But in time she will teach them, both harshly and well.
Like the wolf pups, we need a similar initiation, one which teaches that the inner and outer world are not always happy-go-lucky places. However, many people do not even have the basic teachings about the predators that the mother wolf gives her cubs. Without parents’ loving guidance, the child will certainly be prey early in life, since at the beginning of our lives our viewpoint is very naive, meaning that our emotional understanding of the covert is very faint. At this stage we are likely to perceive only the overt.
However, at this phase of our life, we are not only naive about our mental processes, but we are easily seduced by the pleasures of the ego. With extreme ease renounce our wild soul seduced by sweet dreams of ease, lilting enjoyment, of various pleasures, elevated status, of increased security, eternal love and so we launched a very confusing situation.
Family, mentors, teacher and friends are not supposed to be destructive to the child if and when they feel envy, but some decidedly are, in both subtle and not so subtle ways. Even with careful parents, the child can be taught not to see the predator and, instead to “make pretty” all manner of grotesqueries whether they are lovely or not. In that sense, the basic training for children to “be nice”, especially girls, cause them to override their intuition about the predator. Imagine a wolf mother teaching her cubs to “be nice” in the face of a rattlesnake. The covenant made unhappy by the child to be “good girl”, never say no to be loved with constancy, not only does not prepare them to recognize the predator, but actually purposefully taughtto submit to the predator. To be trained thuslygives enormous power to the innate predator and set one out to be prey for others. In the future, while it may be a external predator who denigrates and dismantles them life, the innate predator within them own psyche concurs with it.
But, besides young and naive animals, the predator has a taste for prey that is in some way soul-hungry, soul-lonely or in some other way disempowered. When we hambre del alma, a starved soul, we take something, anything that seems similar to the stolen from us. In this situation, the person burns with hunger for anything that will make her feel alive again. That is the trouble with famine. If something looks like it will fill the yearning, we will seize it, no questions asked.
Like the hungry soul, the wolf has been portrayed as vicious, ravenous, killing to kill, never knowing whenenough is enough. However, only when there is trauma to an individual wolf or pack does as a whole that the normal pattern of behavior changes. There are two ins intances in which a wolf kills excessively. In both, the wolf is not well. The wolf may kill indiscriminately when it is ill with rabies or distemper. A wolf may kill excessively after a period of famine. Also a starved soul can become so filled with pain, a person can no longer bear it and bursts into a destructive spiral.
Thus, to recognize the predator we must learn to recognize the strategies used by him to attack the vitality of prey. First, the complex predatory, using the voice of the ego, attacks our creativity, our ideals and our dreams. Second, the predator has the ability to twist human perceptions and vital comprehensions we need to develop moral dignity, visionary scope, and responsive action in our lives and in the world.
The devices used are denigration of the victim’s purpose, disparaging language used to to describe the prey, blind judgments, proscriptions, and unwarranted punishment unjustifiable. These are the means by which the predator changes the life-giving messages between the soul and the psyche into death-dealing messages that cut hearts, cause shame, and even more importantly inhibit us from taking rightful actions.
In our personal psychic work , we receive switched messages from the predator constantly_ “I am good, I am not so good. My work is deep work, my work is silly, I am making a difference, I am not getting anywhere, I am brave, I am a coward, I am knowing, I ought to be ashamed of myself.”
This psychic ambush is meant to loosen your faith, not only faith in yourself but in the very careful and delicate work you are doing in the unconscious. Finally, the predator in his final assault he mutilates us. He mutilate our ability to feel, see and heal. He causes us to lose our psychic ability to grasp, to hold, to help ourselves or others. This is how all poscrastinations which give rise to self-hatred, all shame-feelings which are pushed down and away to fester, all the new beginnings which are sorely needed, and all the long overdue endings are not met. Wherever the predator lurks and works, everything is derailed, demolished and decapitated.
So how we can to frustrate a predator? The basic tactics of a predator is a surprise, is not being detected by the prey. So the first step is to learn to sniff. What is behind the visible? What is it which causes that shadow in the middle of savannah? If there is a shadow something, if there is a forbidden something it needs to be looked into. Those who would develop aconsciousness pursue all that stands behind the readily observable: the unseen chirping, the murked window, the lamenting door, the lip of light beneath a sill. They pursue the mysteries until the substance of the matter is laid open to them. They’re not afraid of darkness deeper psyche, of investigate the worst. They are not afraid to discover the bodies, viscera and bones.
Once the a prey detects a predator it backtracks and loops. The prey dives into the ground to escape the predator and then unexpectedly surfaces behind him. This is the psychic maneuver we must to do in order to reestablish our sovereignty over our own lives. Thus, the prey stalls for time, it bides its time, it plan its strategy and calls up its power internally, before it makes an external change. In the process of confronting the predator, no matter how we feel exhausted, to survive we must force ourselves forward anyway, we can not give in to the fatigue.
In the psychoanalytic milieu the antidote is consciousness of one’s foibles and gifts, so that the complex is unable to act on its own. Analysis, dream interpretation, self-knowing,exploration, all are undertaken because they are ways of backtracking and looping. They are ways of diving down and coming up behind the issue and seeing it from a different perspective. We dismantle the predator by countering its diatribes with our own nurturant truths. Predator: You never finish anything you start. Yourself: I finish many things. We capture invidious thoughts before they become large enough to do any harm, and we dismantle them. We dismantle the predator by maintaining our intuitions and instincts and by resisting the predador’s seductions. We dismantle the assaults of the natural predators taking to heart and working with what is truthful in what the predador says and then discarding the rest.
Ultimately, the mature animal, the wild soul does not romanticize the predator. He knows what is integral, knows what needs to thrive, knows a predator when he sees one, know what to do about it. Even when pressured by the most distorced cultural or psychic messages, even with a predator loose in the culture or in our personal psyche, we can all still hear the original wild instructions, and follow them.
That’s what we learn when we dig down to the wild and instinctive nature, when we do the work of deep initiation and development of consciousness. We take on a massive enabling through the development of uninterrupted sight, hearing, being and doing. We learn to look for the predator instead trying to shoo it away, ignore it or to be nice to it. We learn the tricks, disguises and the way the predator thinks. We learned to read between the lines in messages injunctions, expectations or customs that have been perverted from the truthful into manipulative.
We learned to extract energy from the predator and turn it into something else. The predator’s rage can be rendered into a soul-fire for accomplishing a great task in the world. The predator’s craftiness can be used to inspect and understand things from a distant. The predator’s killing nature can be used to kill off whathat which must properly die in our lives. Then, whether the predator is emanating from our own psychic milieu or from the culture outside oneself or both, we are shrewd and able to meet it head-on and do what needs be done.
1. Estes, C. P. 1994. Women who run with the wolves. Editora Rocco, Rio de Janeiro.
2. Robin Hood (2006 TV series)