Once, at a certain pond, the King of the Frogs died.
So, all the frogs from that pond had a meeting to consider who should be their next king.
Well, after considerable discussion, it was decided that Heron would be the new king.
But this did not turn out so well for the frogs. Because, you see, the Heron wears a spear on the front of his face. And well, he just went around the pond and ate everyone up.
Now … we humans (who are surely much smarter than these silly frogs) … we would NEVER do such a stupid thing. RIGHT?
Anyway, let’s talk about the Heron.
The heron is like a Drug Lord. He knows Power and is not afraid to wield it (in fact he LIKES wielding it). He is a person who has the Warrior (archetype) developed … but little else. He doesn’t CARE about ‘collateral damage’ … about who might get hurt or dead due to his actions. We should not expect a drug lord to make a Good King.
So, this leaves us wondering – “Who WOULD be a good choice for King?”
[I think it’s lovely how such a simple little fable can point us in the right direction.]
Here are the archetypes which I think (for our purposes here) are important –
The Child represents Creativity, Spontaneity, and a capacity to enjoy the world in a Direct Way.
It brings to mind – how mature men and women of the First Peoples do not lose their ability to laugh as a child laughs. (This is a good sign. Lots of white folks are, as adults, might grumpy. Mmm?)
And remember how (in the film “ET” ) it’s the KIDS who are the heros. The adults show up in protective white clean-suits … to capture and study the extra-terrestrial; while the CHILDREN relate to ET in a direct and Human way … like he’s Family. And so they mobilize and try to help him. They have to rescue ET from the (crazy) grown-ups!
The Child has a Direct Connection to Life. (And the film does a good job of showing how important it is NOT TO LOSE THAT.)
To become a good Father (or Mother) one must move beyond one’s (initial) selfishness & self-absorption … into Love and Service.
The Father is the Provider and Protector … and embodies Love. The Mother is the Maintainer and Nourisher … and also embodies Love.
The Warrior has mastered the arts of Discipline, Training, and Preparation. And he has come to terms with putting himself into ‘harm’s way’ for the sake of Others. The Warrior willingly prepares and trains … then (as is required) risks Injury or Death to protect his comrades and countrymen (or species / planet). Training is required. Valor is required.
The Sage has studied and has become educated. But he possesses more than knowledge. He has become wise. (perhaps through suffering, life experience, and worship)
The Holy Man sees the events of the world … within the context of realities beyond the material realm.
During the Civil War someone (a unionist) asked Abraham Lincoln – if ‘God is on our side?’ He replied – “I don’t know about that. I just hope we are on God’s side.”
Surely we need a King … who (genuinely) loves everybody. (The Father)
We want him to be creative and to relate to life directly. (The Child)
He needs to be disciplined … and capable of wielding power well. He must be able to make tough decisions, ones which the average person would not be able to grapple with. (The Warrior)
We need him to be broadly educated … and wise. (The Sage)
His views must be contextualized by truly elevated truths and principles.
Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion … is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.
– Sharon Salzberg
(The Holy Man)
Are there any of the fundamental archetypes … which our ‘ideal King’ could do without?
I don’t think so.
He needs them all.
He needs to be a Complete Man.
[The story about the frogs making Heron their King – is one I heard from Robert Bly. (And it may be that Michael Meade was in on it as well; I am uncertain.) But I remember the STORY well enough.]