Republished with permission from Masculinity-Movies.com by Eivind Figenschau Skjellum
(video greeting at the bottom)
If you are someone who is in honest conversation with your life, I bet you’ve had the same experience. We are in many ways in over our heads, with lives full of activity. And while “activity” used to mean that we do a lot of different things in the outer time-space dimension, this rapidity has long since infiltrated our inner worlds as well.
The consequence is that we seem to be transforming, for better or worse, faster than ever before. People seem to be “popping” all over the place. Indeed, waking up from the trance of conventional life seems no longer reserved for hardcore meditators only.
We have become fed up with the “old world”, have we not? This tight-assed, hyper-rational, consumerist, destructive, depressed world seems to be gradually losing its grip on humanity, and while its consciousness should never be eliminated (it’s part of the spiral of evolution that we all must traverse), it looks set to lose its status as top dog.
This is good news!
The bad news is that on the way down, it seems quite willing to take the whole eco-system with it. You would think the problem is “out there”, but this process towards ecological collapse is fuelled by normal folks like you and I who are simply too busy, challenged or depressed to go looking for the answers to their problems in their inner worlds. So instead, they keep buying shit they don’t need, polluting both their inner lives and the planet in the process. We are probably the most addicted people the world has ever known.
This planet has everything we need to thrive. And if we were to take this opportunity to turn towards lives of sanity, our future looks bright indeed. But for that to happen, we must, in a sense, die.
Failing identity structures in a changing world
“The world is changed. I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air”. Thus opens the start of the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings epic. For those who have done deep inner work and opened the door to mysticism in their lives, Galadriel’s words ring true these days. The other day, I could feel it as an “electric charge” and an otherworldly, pregnant silence in the air. A friend described it as “the quiet before the storm”.
It seems that these shifts in the collective soul of humanity and the spiritual air we breathe are causing large numbers of people to come face to face with their false identity structures. I went through this process in 2014 and many of my friends either did go through it or are in it now. We became so allergic to ourselves (a concept poet David Whyte talks about beautifully) that we were forced to drop our attachments to our old world identity structures and fall into the alchemical crucible of underworld initiation.
And in this dropping of old world relics from our inner geographies, landscapes of connectedness and mysticism seem to open up. This isn’t woo-woo. Such phenomena are studied at esteemed learning institutions such as Harvard and MIT (check out the research of Robert Kegan or Susann Cook-Greuter for more information).
Not only are serious practitioners hitting their Nekyia journeys, en route to their fully incarnate Sovereignty, “normal people” are starting to wake up as well. I have made my own contribution to this process, particularly with my Inner Throne work, and many, I’m happy to say, have been waking up through material I’ve offered. (I’m obviously not talking about enlightenment here, but of becoming introduced to some bedrock truths about who we are and how we operate.)
What is going on?
It seems we are at a stage in human history where the forces of evolution have pressed the red “nitro” button and are speeding forth into some sort of crescendo. (remember those fun driving games from back in the 90s?)
Where are we headed?
I’m reading about Carl Jung’s life now, and am intrigued and impressed by the level of guidance he opened to in his life. He was a truly remarkable man. In 1913, he had a premonition of bad tidings in the world, just like in Galadriel’s voiceover. And as we all know, World War I started the year after.
Dr. Jung was clearly a very intuitive, tuned in man and I doubt not for a second that his premonition was more than mere coincidence. So when one conscious man can put his finger on the world pulse and read it accurately, what are we to think when thousands of conscious people simultaneously feel the exact same thing? What are we to make of this persistent collective feeling that we are moving towards the point of “make it or break it”? Shall we adopt the ostrich strategy and pretend nothing’s going on?
Or shall we rise to the task and assume responsibility for a world which hovers periluously close to disaster?
The world is so beautiful. Yet, it can be a pretty scary place. For the ecological crisis isn’t our only one: Large parts of humanity are now fanning the flames of their wet armageddon fantasies. Millions of “right believers” are concurrently, from opposite sides of the globe, invoking the end of the world. “Chosen people” mythologies like those of right wing Christians and radical Muslims hold that the old world must end before the new world will be reborn. The consequence is that they will, more or less consciously, encourage any developments in the world that promote the coming of the end times. Essentially, the sooner the world goes to shit the better. In their mind, you see, there is such a thing as paradise, and it is not on earth as we know it! (that’s what happens when you exile the Lover archetype to the afterlife)
So understand that there are many people who think that the world should end as soon as possible and that anything you do in service of saving it is actually an obstacle to the fulfillment of their chosen people mythology. Of course, you can’t campaign politically with such ideas, but that still doesn’t prevent you from being run by them.
When you understand that millions of people – and a large percentage of Fox News-watching Americans andpoliticians – actually live within this paradigm, you may start getting very scared indeed.
And this is but the start of the challenges we are faced with!
Ah, humanity! We sure made a mess of it this time.
Becoming guardians of the balance
If you are one of the many who have had a glimpse of reality – who have seen the true face of madness that (still) governs humanity – you cannot anymore pretend to be okay with conventional living. And I believe 2015 is a year when you will need to accept the consequences of what you have seen more fully than ever before. This is a blessing and a curse. It will give rise to tremendous joy, even bliss. And it will fill you with despair.
This much is clear to me: When you take the red pill, you can’t undo it. You can’t plug back into illusion as if you hadn’t seen the truth. That’s for characters in movies only. As one who knows, you must either assume leadership in the process of birthing the “new world” or you must suffer deeply trying to pretend you can be happy in the old. The suffering you may experience in 2015 is simply your soul’s way of telling you that you’re out of alignment with reality. Trust it.
And know that there is a wave of awakening washing over the world. This is not some trite new-age concept; I see signs of it in my life every day, as I’m in the privileged position of counting some of the most powerful change agents in the world as friends.
What I want for you, dear reader, is that you let yourself be inspired by all of this. There has never before, in the whole history of humanity, been a time when the forces of the world have been more perfectly aligned for individuals like you to discover and give their Great Work. This is a gift to you. It also happens to be a moral imperative. Your life plays a crucial role in getting us all safely through this unfolding human drama. If you discover what you are here to do, and then do it, all of us will have a better chance of making it through.
And by plugging in to the global network of change agents who are actively taking on these challenges, you will discover friendships unlike any you ever before have experienced. In the real world, staying in the matrix simply isn’t as fun as unplugging from it.
Here’s the deal: If fulfillment and empowered masculinity is what you’re after, you don’t really have a choice; you must engage with the battle for the soul of humanity as soon as possible. Anything else will be out of integrity with your deepest calling and the depression and suffering you feel will remind you of it every day.
You can tell the degree to which you are on the right track from your level of addictive behavior. If you are severely addicted, yet thinking idealistic thoughts, you’re still a symptom of the disease and not the cure. Having nice ideas is not enough – you must engage with life. You must accept your destiny as a guardian of the balance of the world.
Our survival is at stake. Wake up.
May 2015 be your best year ever
There’s a lot of talk in the world of self-development of creating your perfect life. Yes, it’s important to have a good life. I want that for you, just like I want that for myself. But it’s a limited perspective. Thinking that the purpose of your existence is merely to create a good life for yourself will create a bad life for yourself. For a good life is found in giving. Learning to receive openly is more important than you may think, but learning to give sustainably is even more so. In fact, it seems that your level of happiness is in direct proportion to the level of service you are offering to others.
In some strange and ironic way, your life is not really about you. This is what I want you to wake up to in 2015. You live to be fully given away. You must die an empty vessel or what you die with is regrets.
I will give all of my energy to this global alchemy in the time to come. And I would be honored if you let me play a part in your awakening. The Reclaim your Inner Throne workshops and online training are powerful ways of unplugging from illusion and putting you on the path to Sovereignty (see calendar). And I offer powerful one-on-one coaching for those who want to take it deeper.
Whether you choose to work with me or not, I sincerely hope – from the very bottom of my heart – that this becomes an amazing year for you. Truly, there has never been a better time for amazing years. But the stakes are high, higher than they ever have been. You may find that you will have to give up a lot of things which you hold dear to manifest this joyful life of service.
As for me and Masculinity-Movies.com, I don’t know for sure what will happen. My energy will go to where it has the greatest impact. I love connecting with you here on this site, and if that keeps changing lives, I will keep doing it. What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, however, is that you will find me hard at work spreading Inner Throne work in the world. And I would love to see you in a workshop or an online training soon!
A very happy new year to you, friends and followers of Masculinity-Movies.com. May you rise and rise again, with heart and with fierceness, and become who you truly are.
My best wishes for your best year ever,
Eivind Figenschau Skjellum,
Founder of Masculinity-Movies.com
and creator of the Inner Throne process
by Eivind Skjellum
Often men in movies are portrayed as somewhat incomplete characters – the fumbling dad in the family comedy, the hard-ass action hero, the angst-ridden sensitive New Age ‘guy’ and so on. What chance does a teenager boy, moving into manhood, have of becoming a Jason Statham-type? (Not that I think it is even desirable)
What ‘Secondhand Lions’ shows is how men are complex characters, battling their own demons, protecting those in their care – albeit somewhat reluctantly at first – while hanging on to what is worthwhile to pass on to the next generation.
The story centres on Walter, of ‘coming -of-age’ -age, and how he settles into an initially uneasy but ultimately warm and inspiring relationship with his two elderly uncles. These two men have a lived a full life, and their history has profoundly shaped who they are. Living with the his uncles and hearing about of the adventures of their youth Walter learns about strength and sensitivity, the dichotomy and the tension of what mature manhood is. This duality can be in fact so difficult to live with that it could be argued that Hub and Garth, the uncles, each show a predominant aspect of the balancing act.
‘Secondhand Lions’ provides an entertaining (it is a family favourite) yet a thought-provoking and a challenging story of manhood – one life ready to start on the journey, and two lives, having a full life behind them, still looking forward to the next stage.
Five stars out of five.
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.
by Eivind Skjellum
Last night, I facilitated an evening workshop on the King Archetype with my friend and Brother, Pål Christian Buntz. En route to the workshop, I felt somewhat flat and hollow. I am familiar with that feeling. What I yearn for then is being filled in some way, to “feel seen and embraced for exactly who I am”. And that means, I need to feel blessed.
The need to feel blessed is, I believe, a bedrock need for all human beings. When we grow up, we need to feel blessed by Mother and Father – demi-gods that only the passing of time reveals as imperfect human beings with their own set of challenges. And yet, no matter how mortal, if the level of blessing that I needed was not provided for by them, my blessing tank will need to be filled by others. The person for whom that is true will set out on a journey to seek out others who will provide those essential drops of blessing water. Some people spend their whole lives finding but droplets. They surrender power over their lives and look for that one person who will make everything just right, in the way Mother or Father never could. We know how that story goes…
The good news is that there are good people in this world – be they elders, loving and wise peers or a good partner – who will help fill up that blessing tank outside of the context of co-dependency. And yet, this afternoon, all those people who have contributed so immeasurably to my life could not help keep at bay this subtle, but pervasive longing for something more, something richer and fuller.
Four hours later, the workshop was over and I felt full, open and warm. Many people I care about attended and in the time I held space for them and facilitated their exploration of King energy, I was more focused on blessing than on being blessed. And this dispelled my flatness and hollowness completely.
There can be only one explanation for this – when I bless others, I get blessed.
Embracing the awkward
Now, the challenge that many have is that blessing others – telling them truly good things – feels really awkward. It seems to me that many are so used to minimizing their own worth that they simply won’t consider themselves worthy of blessing another human being. Instead, they will remain negative, masochistic or self-involved, and hope that one day, their blessing tank will magically fill.
What gets in the way of addressing this challenge is often people’s sense of integrity. It seems to me that there is a danger to conflate integrity with maintaining habitual patterns (I saw that in myself first by the way . The weird logic that a lot of people end up running their lives by then goes something like this “I’ve felt empty and depressed for most of my life. I have never felt like I had anything to contribute to others. I am not worthy of that. So for me to go around caring for people all of a sudden would be totally inauthentic and out of integrity.”
Now, I’m not saying that this thinking is completely without merit: To put on a happy-mask in an attempt to bless others is futile and incredibly draining. But the truth is that many of us have done the requisite work to authentically bless others. And what this evening reminded me of is that even when I believe I need to be blessed, I can choose instead to bless. I can go against the current of my own habitual patterns – which tells me I must wait for others to make things right – and bless others even in moments when it does feel awkward, when it does feel out of integrity. For feelings are as fleeting as clouds in the sky and if it takes but one little move against what feels like “me” to dispel days of brooding dark clouds, is it not worth it?
Bless another today!
I was reminded yesterday that instead of surrendering to the pain of my heart like I often do when I feel the need for blessing, I can tap into the vast energy of the archetypal King. I can open that channel and be nourished and fully served by it, as its gifts flow through me and into the eyes and hearts of another. For as the archetypal King pours through me into Other, he blesses me in full measure. It is a win-win situation.
Blessing another may not feel natural, but try it.
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.
Daigo Kobayashi lives with his wife Mika in Tokyo. He plays the cello in a struggling symphonic orchestra. As the movie opens, the orchestra where he plays for a living is disbanded by the owner. Daigo’s dreams are crushed. He was going to be a famous musician and the concert halls of the world were going to be the stage of his life and his marriage with Mika. Those temples of high culture seem far away now.
A new job
Daigo’s mother is dead. His father is gone, having run off with a waitress when Daigo was but a child. He is for all intents and purposes an orphan and his childhood home in Sakata northwest of Tokyo stands abandoned. It is a quaint house, surrounded by cherry trees, perched on a piece of land above a babbling stream. His mother lived alone there after Daigo moved out. The house was his only inheritance when she died two years previously.
Daigo sells his expensive cello to stabilize their finances for the next leg of their journey – a new life in his childhood home – and feels relief as he does it. Maybe the dream he had pursued wasn’t really his dream after all, he tells us in a monologue. This is a pivotal moment in his life, and he rightly recognizes it as such.
When a man finds himself stuck in a dead-end life, he is wasting his birthright. We are put here on this planet, I believe, to find our true gift and courageously give that to the world. Every man yearns deep down to leave a mark. I think I know that much about you, brother! I don’t think the gift that will leave that mark necessarily needs to be our livelihood though. But if our work is draining us of energy and makes us daydream of a life that isn’t ours, we should course-correct. Many men reach that point of recognition, but few are those who act. For stepping into that unknown is a scary thing, especially if he is the main breadwinner of the family (in certain conditions, it would even be irresponsible).
Men have always, it seems, sacrificed their inner yearning for depth, vitality and meaning in favor of a stable job that puts food on the table. But hearts of men close when their life experience turns certain, controlled, measured. So how do we make a living and live with open, beating, passionate hearts? Many, if not all, men will struggle with this question in their lifetime (I do – and I haven’t even started a family!). And finding a satisfying answer is always a process of risk and challenge.
Daigo is lucky in a way – fate intervenes and forces him into a time of transformation. It is as if the universe conspires to give him what he needs to find a truer path, when he himself has neglected the seeking (note that he only realizes after selling the cello that he was chasing the wrong dream). This process, when it arises in our lives, often signals an entry into the sacred time of the Magician Archetype. If we resist, we will suffer. But if we embrace the mystery of life’s unfolding and learn to die while we still live, we will be in for a ride that will almost certainly change our lives for the better.
A hieroglyphic job ad about “departures” takes Daigo to a red house on a hill where large wood coffins line the back wall of the front office. NK Agent is a company which has made dead people its business. The owner Sasaki prepares them beautifully and gracefully for their final journey as if he were an artist. Through his work, the bereaved uncover deep and forgotten feelings of grief, love and joy. This is the gentle and beautiful ritual of departure that has become his craft. And since business is reasonably good, he needs a right hand man.
Death as a doorway to feeling
When the story plays out, Daigo’s new boss has been widowed for nine years. When she died, he prepared her body and sent her off. When he shares this story with Daigo amongst the thick foliage of his upstairs living quarters, we understand there was a profound depth of love and feeling between the two. I’m reminded of the universal rule that suggests that our true gifts to the world shall emerge through our wounds. Sasaki has embraced his loss and transmuted the grief into a gift he can pass on to others.
Daigo’s first days on the job serve as a baptism by fire and he learns soon enough that dead people smell. He is challenged beyond his comfort zone, but something remarkable starts happening to him: He realizes, as if it were a surprise, that he is surrounded by death. When Mika brings home a dead bird one day, he feels ill. A wave of emotion takes him as he appears to tune in, perhaps for the first time in his life, to the frailty and preciousness of life. Perhaps he sees that we are all so fragile, so beautiful in our infinite vulnerability. He embraces his wife and starts kissing her with tender passion.
Later that night, he pulls out his old childhood cello, with which he performed for his parents in his early years. As he plays, memories of his father, whose face he cannot even remember, pour in. He remembers that they gave each other a “rock letter” by the riverside. A rock letter, his father taught him, was a way of communication used before words emerged. It would tell the recipient something about the mood of the sender based on its weight, shape and surface. He remembers that he gave his father a small, smooth stone back then. In return, his father gave him a rough and heavy rock.
Something in Daigo is coming out of hibernation. His naïveté is starting to give way to a deeper feeling landscape.
Standing firm in the face of challenge
Death is a taboo subject in Japan, so much so that the director allegedly feared for how the movie would be received upon its release. So when the people in his life discover what he does for a living, they react with disgust. His wife even screams at him that he is unclean before she leaves him and travels back to Tokyo. But Daigo has found a calling now; he has seen how Sasaki’s work heals the wounds of the bereaved and brings more love into the world. He has seen the grace with which he carries out the ritual. He has learned that there is beauty to be found even in death. He describes it with these words in one scene:
One grown cold
restored to beauty for all eternity
this was done with a calmness, a precision
and above all a gentle affection.
At the final parting
sending the dead on their way
everything done peacefully and beautifully.
Daigo is alone now. He only has his work, his boss and the office lady. Surrounded by people who are mortified by the concept of death, he finds himself in a form of purgatory. “Demons are eating his flesh” yet he presses on. His heart is in his work now. That is all he needs to endure.
Our twisted relationship to death
The way we relate to death in the world today is very unnatural. I know that to be true for the Western world. This movie tells me that it is true for the Eastern as well. Losing touch with the wisdom and gratitude inherent in contemplating our deaths has a huge cost: We forget that we are finite, here for but a short time. And with the arrogance inherent in forgetting our finitude, we lose the basic humility and gratitude required for living a fulfilling life on this splendid, little rock.
But what can a normal man do when there is such pressure on him to be happy-go-lucky, to shit diamonds for breakfast and manifest heavenly mansions out of thin air for dinner? All while smiling, laughing, beaming success and having not a worry in the world. Well, he must become a courageous man. Because it takes great courage to shed the facade and allow the grief and wildness that is inherent in the depths of us to emerge in an authentic way in his daily life. The mature man has access to his feeling body and there is so much repressed feeling in today’s society.
For a world entranced by trends, fashions, and reality TV, the “wild man love” that is lived openly in the truly courageous man looks way too much like the heavy dark of death and strange, hairy creatures that live under the ground. Who wants to get soil stuck under their finger nails when they can get the latest in manicures on special offer down the road and look splendid to their friends?
But lest we embrace that life is a series of deaths and understand that the key to living well is dying well, we will never be truly happy. Consumerist culture is an empty promise. It delivers only fleeting moments of joy in an ocean of half-life. Most of us feel hollow and miserable. And who are we kidding anyway? In the depth of our hearts and souls, we know the truth: Something is seriously wrong about our culture.
Letting go at the side of his dead father
One day, a telegram arrives at Daigo’s door. His father has died. Daigo’s trials have all been presented him, it may seem, to prepare him for the most pivotal of them all – letting his father back into his heart. Ever since he ran off, Daigo has carried fierce resentment against him. He is now committed to not forgive. Fortunately, his wife is now back in his life, thanks to the beautiful ritual he performed for the sweet woman who ran the local bath. Mika has seen first-hand the beauty inherent in a graceful departure. Mika is back and Daigo has passed the test.
He finds himself at his father’s side somewhat reluctantly. His heart is closed – who is this sad, lonely man who lies on the floor before him? He doesn’t even recognize him! Then he starts carrying out the ritual of departure. As he works on the hands, stiff and cold with rigor mortis, something falls to the floor. It is the rock he gave his dad when he was little.
Daigo’s feeling body comes online like a great wave. His father’s last thought was of him. His father must have loved him! But life happened and feelings of shame and regret came between them. In that very moment, I know that a huge reservoir of feeling and power that was previously inaccessible to Daigo opens up. As he washes his dad, tears stream down his face. He forgives – and he loves. This is a good moment to remember that it is impossible for any man to stand up fully in his own power and beauty without finding peace in the part of his heart that holds the imprints of Dad. Daigo holds up the rock to the pregnant belly of his wife Mika as they smile to each other. Something is healed there – in the midst of the circle of life.
Departures is a wise and beautiful movie about life’s big questions. It is a movie about art: Music connects all cultures in a way similar to death and Daigo could take to the art of departure more easily because he was a musician. It is also a movie about mentorship: Sasaki opens Daigo’s heart and helps him reconnect with his own core truth in a way that empowers him to find his calling and forgive his dad. But most of all, it is a movie about life. It reminds us gently of the invisible cords that connect us, of the petty little things that keep us apart, of the vulnerability of life and humankind, and of the healing, life-giving power of true grief. In that, I sense that it beckons us to get more intimate with each other, to go beyond fear and judgments in order to heed the eternal call of the Lover archetype: Love one another today. Tomorrow may never come.
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.
Here’s food for your Lover archetype. Nature is magnificent.
by Eivind Skjellum
No warm bosoms in the Royal Palace
The best and most important scenes of “The King’s Speech” feature speech therapist Lionel and king to be Bertie (aka Prince Albert) alone in some form of conversation. One of my most favourite of these scenes arrive after Bertie’s dad King George V has died. Bertie comes to Lionel’s eccentric-looking office in a damp London basement for support. At this point, they have already been working together for a while.
Lionel has accepted Bertie’s terms to not talk about any “personal nonsense”, yet made it clear that his demand will allow him to deal only with the surface of the problem. “That’s sufficient,” his wife Elizabeth says in a way that makes me laugh; the enormous emotional suppression of the English Royal family is here made funny.
But now, Bertie’s pain is huge, his desire for release greater still, and his trust for Lionel sufficient to enter into “personal nonsense” willingly.
Bertie has not flourished in the suffocating emotional atmosphere of the Royal Palace. We learn that Bertie didn’t see his parents much growing up, only for the “daily viewing”. His mother, an emotionally shut down woman, did not relate to him as such – the maternal duties were tended by a nanny, a seriously nasty woman by the sound of it, who would pinch him and withhold food.
Knowing the enormous need a boy has for his mother in the forming years, we can understand how desperate must Bertie’s need for intimacy and closeness be. To take a boy from his mother’s warm bosom as a child is tantamount to torture. That boy needs the safety and intimacy of Mommy to have a fighting chance to one day turn into a mature man.*
Bertie uses his right hand as he glues the wings of a model airplane while sharing his heart with Lionel. Yet, as Lionel discovers, he is really left-handed. He was coerced to change that. Left-handers have traditionally been treated with suspicion; they do after all feature largely among artists, those right-brained people that all those who repress their archetypal Lover energy are so scared of. It’s a sad story.
It becomes clear that Bertie has been put through a lot of traumatic conditioning to move him away from his own nature, all the while being virtually without parental presence in his life. That, we understand, is the cause of his stammer. And we understand that all speech impediments have their source in some emotional trauma, for as Lionel assures us “no baby is born with a stammer”.
Bertie discharges a lot of his traumatic material through shaking and breathing exercises. Even more important is perhaps the swearing which he takes up, once he lets himself, in a delightfully gratuitous way (swearing seems to access the Warrior archetype). And then there is the singing. “Try singing it,” says Lionel when the words fail Bertie. “Continual sound will give you flow.” It also gives you access to the Lover archetype, truly a strong one in Bertie (as it is in his Brother David, where it appears as the Addict).
Bertie’s flow – his natural being – has been completely disrupted as a child in one of the world’s most repressed families – the English Royal family.
Finding your voice through the affirming gaze of another
The aptly named “The King’s Speech” is a movie not just about the important speech Bertie – King George VI – delivers to the nation as England enters into war with Germany. It is also not, at its deepest level, really about his speech impediment. No, at its deepest level, it is an allegorical tale about a man’s journey to find his voice (become himself fully) as a prerequisite step for fulfilling his destiny on Earth.
We all carry trauma within ourselves. And this movie gives us some nice techniques to explore to discharge that (swearing, breathing, shaking, singing). But really, the true healer of wounds is the friendship between Lionel and King George VI. It shows us the enormous healing powers of authentic, loving relationship between men. Lionel and Bertie meet as peers and it is in that spirit of Brotherhood that Bertie’s wounds are laid bare. When we men share vulnerably our wounds with other men and find ourselves accepted and loved in spite of them (or truly, quite often, because of them), something heals in us, and we regain some of our voice.
The implications of the deep need for male soul bonding is most beautifully summarized when Lionel has to defend himself against the attempts of the King’s “helpers” to remove him from his duty. Lionel, you see, has no formal credentials. Yet, while he doesn’t have the credentials, he has the wisdom of lived life:
It’s true, I’m not a doctor. And yes, I acted. A bit. I recited in pubs, I taught in schools. When the great war came, all our soldiers were returning to Australia from the front, a lot of them shellshocked. Unable to speak. Somebody said “Lionel, you are very good at all this speech stuff. Do you think you could possibly help these poor buggers?”
I did muscle therapy, exercises, relaxation, but I knew I had to go deeper. Those poor, young blokes had cried out in fear and nobody was listening to them. My job was to give them faith in their own voice and let them know that a friend was listening. That must ring a few bells with you, Bertie?
The emotional weight and wisdom of these words shows us clearly that Lionel doesn’t suffer from the Fisher King wound.
A King’s destiny
Only when Bertie discharges, with Lionel’s help, much of the tensions of past traumas does he start accessing the King Archetype which waited powerful and dormant in his deep Self (his brother did not display the same King potential). And after he delivers the speech that signals the start of Englands trials in World War II, we see how his body and entire demeanor shift; he now walks with confidence, his inner masochist overcome.
Having claimed his voice, through an inner battle that now serves as metaphor for the outer battle which is about to start , and having had his victory observed by the entire British empire, his self-confidence surfaces for the first time and he is ready, against all odds, to take on the duty which has been trust upon him – leading a country at war.
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Translated by Professor D. L. Ashliman. I hope you will enjoy this fairy tale./em>
A father had two sons. The oldest one was clever and intelligent, and knew how to manage everything, but the youngest one was stupid and could neither understand nor learn anything. When people saw him, they said, “He will be a burden on his father!”
Now when something had to be done, it was always the oldest son who had to do it. However, if the father asked him fetch anything when it was late, or even worse, at night, and if the way led through the churchyard or some other spooky place, he would always answer, “Oh, no, father, I won’t go there. It makes me shudder!” For he was afraid.
In the evening by the fire when stories were told that made one’s flesh creep, the listeners sometimes said, “Oh, that makes me shudder!” The youngest son would sit in a corner and listen with the others, but he could not imagine what they meant.
“They are always saying, ‘It makes me shudder! It makes me shudder!’ It does not make me shudder. That too must be a skill that I do not understand.”
Now it happened that one day his father said to him, “Listen, you there in the corner. You are getting big and strong. You too will have to learn something by which you can earn your bread. See how your brother puts himself out, but there seems to be no hope for you.”
“Well, father,” he answered, “I do want to learn something. Indeed, if possible I would like to learn how to shudder. I don’t understand that at all yet.”
The oldest son laughed when he heard that, and thought to himself, “Dear God, what a dimwit that brother of mine is. Nothing will come of him as long as he lives. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
The father sighed, and answered him, “You may well learn to shudder, but you will not earn your bread by shuddering.”
Soon afterward the sexton came to the house on a visit, and the father complained to him about his troubles, telling him how his younger son was so stupid in everything, that he knew nothing and was learning nothing. “Just think,” he said, “when I asked him how he was going to earn his bread, he actually asked to learn to shudder.”
“If there is nothing more than that,” replied the sexton, “he can learn that with me. Just send him to me. I will plane off his rough edges.”
The father agreed to do this, for he thought, “It will do the boy well.”
So the sexton took him home with him, and he was to ring the church bell. A few days later the sexton awoke him at midnight and told him to get up, climb the church tower, and ring the bell.
“You will soon learn what it is to shudder,” he thought. He secretly went there ahead of him. After the boy had reached the top of the tower, had turned around and was about to take hold of the bell rope, he saw a white figure standing on the steps opposite the sound hole.
“Who is there?” he shouted, but the figure gave no answer, neither moving nor stirring. “Answer me,” shouted the boy, “or get out of here. You have no business here at night.”
The sexton, however, remained standing there motionless so that the boy would think he was a ghost.
The boy shouted a second time, “What do you want here? Speak if you are an honest fellow, or I will throw you down the stairs.”
The sexton thought, “He can’t seriously mean that.” He made not a sound and stood as if he were made of stone.
Then the boy shouted to him for the third time, and as that also was to no avail, he ran toward him and pushed the ghost down the stairs. It fell down ten steps and remained lying there in a corner. Then the boy rang the bell, went home, and without saying a word went to bed and fell asleep.
The sexton’s wife waited a long time for her husband, but he did not come back. Finally she became frightened and woke up the boy, asking, “Don’t you know where my husband is? He climbed up the tower before you did.”
“No,” replied the boy, “but someone was standing by the sound hole on the other side of the steps, and because he would neither give an answer nor go away, I took him for a thief and threw him down the steps. Go there and you will see if he was the one. I am sorry if he was.”
The woman ran out and found her husband, who was lying in the corner moaning. He had broken his leg. She carried him down, and then crying loudly she hurried to the boy’s father. “Your boy,” she shouted, “has caused a great misfortune. He threw my husband down the steps, causing him to break his leg. Take the good-for-nothing out of our house.”
The father was alarmed, and ran to the sexton’s house, and scolded the boy. “What evil tricks are these? The devil must have prompted you to do them.”
“Father,” he replied, “do listen to me. I am completely innocent. He was standing there in the night like someone with evil intentions. I did not know who it was, and I warned him three times to speak or to go away.”
“Oh,” said the father, “I have experienced nothing but unhappiness with you. Get out of my sight. I do not want to look at you anymore.”
“Yes, father, and gladly. Just wait until daylight, and I will go forth and learn how to shudder. Then I shall have a skill that will support me.”
“Learn what you will,” said the father. “It is all the same to me. Here are fifty talers for you. Take them and go into the wide world, but tell no one where you come from, or who your father is, because I am ashamed of you.”
“Yes, father, I will do just as you wish. If that is all you want from me, I can easily remember it.”
So at daybreak the boy put his fifty talers into his pocket, and went forth on the main road, continually saying to himself, “If only I could shudder! If only I could shudder!”
A man came up to him and heard this conversation that the boy was holding with himself, and when they had walked a little farther to where they could see the gallows, the man said to him, “Look, there is the tree where seven men got married to the rope maker’s daughter, and are now learning how to fly. Sit down beneath it, and wait until night comes, and then you will learn how to shudder.”
“If there is nothing more than that,” answered the boy, “I can do it easily. But if I learn how to shudder that quickly, you shall have my fifty talers. Just come back to me tomorrow morning.”
Then the boy went to the gallows, sat down beneath them, and waited until evening. Because he was cold, he made himself a fire. However, at midnight there came up such a cold wind that in spite of his fire he could not get warm. And as the wind pushed the hanged men against each other, causing them to move to and fro, he thought, “You are freezing down here next to the fire. Those guys up there must really be freezing and suffering.” Feeling pity for them, he put up the ladder, and climbed up, untied them, one after the other, and then brought down all seven.
Then he stirred up the fire, blew into it, and set them all around it to warm themselves. But they just sat there without moving, and their clothes caught fire. So he said, “Be careful, or I will hang you up again.”
The dead men, however, heard nothing and said nothing, and they let their rags continue to burn. This made him angry, and he said, “If you won’t be careful, I can’t help you. I don’t want to burn up with you.” So he hung them up again all in a row. Then he sat down by his fire and fell asleep.
The next morning the man came to him and wanted to have the fifty talers. He said, “Well, do you know how to shudder?”
“No,” he answered. “Where would I have learned it? Those fellows up there did not open their mouths. They were so stupid that they let the few old rags which they had on their bodies catch fire.”
Then the man saw that he would not be getting the fifty talers that day. He went away saying, “Never before have I met such a fellow.”
The boy went on his way as well, and once more began muttering to himself, ” Oh, if only I could shudder! Oh, if only I could shudder!”
A cart driver who was walking along behind him heard this and asked, “Who are you?”
“I don’t know,” replied the boy.
Then the cart driver asked, “Where do you come from?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who is your father?”
“I am not permitted to say.”
“What are you always muttering to yourself?”
“Oh,” replied the boy, “I want to be able shudder, but no one can teach me how.”
“Stop that foolish chatter,” said the cart driver. “Come, walk along with me, and I will see that I get a place for you.”
The boy went with the cart driver, and that evening they came to an inn where they decided to spend the night. On entering the main room, the boy again said quite loudly, “If only I could shudder! If only I could shudder!”
Hearing this, the innkeeper laughed and said, “If that is your desire, there should be a good opportunity for you here.”
“Oh, be quiet,” said the innkeeper’s wife. “Too many meddlesome people have already lost their lives. It would be a pity and a shame if his beautiful eyes would never again see the light of day.”
But the boy said, “I want to learn to shudder, however difficult it may be. That is why I left home.”
He gave the innkeeper no rest, until the latter told him that there was a haunted castle not far away where a person could very easily learn how to shudder, if he would just keep watch there for three nights. The king had promised that whoever would dare to do this could have his daughter in marriage, and she was the most beautiful maiden under the sun. Further, in the castle there were great treasures, guarded by evil spirits. These treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Many had entered the castle, but no one had come out again.
The next morning the boy went to the king and said, “If it be allowed, I will keep watch three nights in the haunted castle.”
The king looked at him, and because the boy pleased him, he said, “You may ask for three things to take into the castle with you, but they must be things that are not alive.”
To this the boy replied, “Then I ask for a fire, a lathe, and a woodcarver’s bench with a knife.”
The king had all these things carried into the castle for him during the day. When night was approaching, the boy went inside and made himself a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the woodcarver’s bench and knife beside it, and sat down at the lathe.
“Oh, if only I could shudder!” he said. “But I won’t learn it here either.”
Towards midnight he decided to stir up his fire. He was just blowing into it when a cry suddenly came from one of the corners, “Au, meow! How cold we are!”
“You fools,” he shouted, “what are you crying about? If you are cold, come and sit down by the fire and warm yourselves.”
When he had said that, two large black cats came with a powerful leap and sat down on either side of him, looking at him savagely with their fiery eyes.
A little while later, after warming themselves, they said, “Comrade, shall we play a game of cards?”
“Why not?” he replied, “But first show me your paws.”
So they stretched out their claws.
“Oh,” he said, “what long nails you have. Wait. First I will have to trim them for you.”
With that he seized them by their necks, put them on the woodcarver’s bench, and tightened them into the vice by their feet. “I have been looking at your fingers,” he said, “and my desire to play cards has disappeared,” and he struck them dead and threw them out into the water.
After he had put these two to rest, he was about to sit down again by his fire, when from every side and every corner there came black cats and black dogs on red-hot chains. More and more of them appeared until he could no longer move. They shouted horribly, then jumped into his fire and pulled it apart, trying to put it out.
He quietly watched them for a little while, but finally it was too much for him, and he seized his carving-knife, and cried, “Away with you, you villains!” and hacked away at them. Some of them ran away, the others he killed, and threw out into the pond. When he came back he blew into the embers of his fire until they flamed up again, and warmed himself.
As he thus sat there, his eyes would no longer stay open, and he wanted to fall asleep. Looking around, he saw a large bed in the corner. “That is just what I wanted,” he said, and lay down in it. However, as he was about to shut his eyes, the bed began to move by itself, going throughout the whole castle.
“Good,” he said, “but let’s go faster.”
Then the bed rolled on as if six horses were harnessed to it, over thresholds and stairways, up and down. But then suddenly, hop, hop, it tipped upside down and lay on him like a mountain. But he threw the covers and pillows into the air, climbed out, and said, “Now anyone who wants to may drive.” Then he lay down by his fire, and slept until it was day.
In the morning the king came, and when he saw him lying there on the ground, he thought that the ghosts had killed him and that he was dead. Then said he, “It is indeed a pity to lose such a handsome person.”
The boy heard this, got up, and said, “It hasn’t come to that yet.”
The king was astonished, but glad, and asked how he had fared.
“Very well,” he replied. “One night is past. The two others will pass as well.”
When he returned to the innkeeper, the latter looked astonished and said, “I did not think that I’d see you alive again. Did you learn how to shudder?”
“No,” he said, “it is all in vain. If someone could only tell me how.”
The second night he again went up to the old castle, sat down by the fire, and began his old song once more, “If only I could shudder!”
As midnight was approaching he heard a noise and commotion. At first it was soft, but then louder and louder. Then it was a little quiet, and finally, with a loud scream, half of a man came down the chimney and fell in front of him.
“Hey!” he shouted. “Another half belongs here. This is too little.”
Then the noise began again. With roaring and howling the other half fell down as well.
“Wait,” he said. “Let me blow on the fire and make it burn a little warmer for you.”
When he had done that and looked around again. The two pieces had come together, and a hideous man was sitting in his place.
“That wasn’t part of the wager,” said the boy. “That bench is mine.”
The man wanted to force him aside, but the boy would not let him, instead pushing him away with force, and then sitting down again in his own place.
Then still more men fell down, one after the other. They brought nine bones from dead men and two skulls, then set them up and bowled with them.
The boy wanted to play too and said, “Listen, can I bowl with you?”
“Yes, if you have money.”
“Money enough,” he answered, “but your bowling balls are not quite round.” Then he took the skulls, put them in the lathe and turned them round.
“There, now they will roll better,” he said. “Hey! This will be fun!”
He played with them and lost some of his money, but when the clock struck twelve, everything disappeared before his eyes. He lay down and peacefully fell asleep.
The next morning the king came to learn what had happened. “How did you do this time?” he asked.
“I went bowling,” he answered, “and lost a few pennies.”
“Did you shudder?”
“How?” he said. “I had great fun, but if I only knew how to shudder.”
On the third night he sat down again on his bench and said quite sadly, “If only I could shudder!”
When it was late, six large men came in carrying a coffin. At this he said, “Aha, for certain that is my little cousin, who died a few days ago.” Then he motioned with his finger and cried out, “Come, little cousin, come.”
They put the coffin on the ground. He went up to it and took the lid off. A dead man lay inside. He felt his face, and it was cold as ice.
“Wait,” he said, “I will warm you up a little.” He went to the fire and warmed his own hand, then laid it on the dead man’s face, but the dead man remained cold. Then he took him out, sat down by the fire, and laid him on his lap, rubbing the dead man’s arms to get the blood circulating again.
When that did not help either, he thought to himself, “When two people lie in bed together, they keep each other warm.” So he carried the dead man to the bed, put him under the covers, and lay down next to him. A little while later the dead man became warm too and began to move.
The boy said, “See, little cousin, I got you warm, didn’t I?”
But the dead man cried out, “I am going to strangle you.”
“What?” he said. “Is that my thanks? Get back into your coffin!” Then he picked him up, threw him inside, and shut the lid. Then the six men came and carried him away again.
“I cannot shudder,” he said. “I won’t learn it here as long as I live.”
Then a man came in. He was larger than all others, and looked frightful. But he was old and had a long white beard.
“You wretch,” he shouted, “you shall soon learn what it is to shudder, for you are about to die.”
“Not so fast,” answered the boy. “If I am to die, I will have to be there.”
“I’ve got you,” said the monster.
“Now, now, don’t boast. I am just as strong as you are, and probably even stronger.”
“We shall see,” said the old man. “If you are stronger than I am, I shall let you go. Come, let’s put it to the test.”
Then the old man led him through dark passageways to a blacksmith’s forge, took an ax, and with one blow drove one of the anvils into the ground.
“I can do better than that,” said the boy, and went to the other anvil. The old man stood nearby, wanting to look on. His white beard hung down. The boy seized the ax and split the anvil with one blow, wedging the old man’s beard in the crack.
“Now I have you,” said the boy. “Now it is your turn to die.” Then he seized an iron bar and beat the old man until he moaned and begged him to stop, promising that he would give him great riches. The boy pulled out the ax and released him. The old man led him back into the castle, and showed him three chests full of gold in a cellar.
“Of these,” he said, “one is for the poor, the second one is for the king, and the third one is yours.”
Meanwhile it struck twelve, and the spirit disappeared, leaving the boy standing in the dark. “I can find my own way out,” he said. Feeling around, he found his way to the bedroom, and fell asleep by his fire.
The next morning the king came and said, “By now you must have learned how to shudder.”
“No,” he answered. “What is it? My dead cousin was here, and a bearded man came and showed me a large amount of money down below, but no one showed me how to shudder.”
Then the king said, “You have redeemed the castle, and shall marry my daughter.”
“That is all very well,” said the boy, “but I still do not know how to shudder.”
Then the gold was brought up, and the wedding celebrated, but however much the young king loved his wife, and however happy he was, he still was always saying, “If only I could shudder. If only I could shudder.” With time this made her angry.
Her chambermaid said, “I can help. I know how he can learn to shudder.”
She went out to the brook that flowed through the garden, and caught a whole bucketful of minnows. That night when the young king was asleep, his wife was to pull the covers off him and pour the bucketful of cold water and minnows onto him, so that the little fishes would wriggle all over him.
When she did this, he woke up crying out, “Oh, what is making me shudder? What is making me shudder, dear wife? Yes, now I know how to shudder.”