This subject has been on my mind for quite a while and this last week I just felt compelled to write/talk about it:
Today on Think Spiritual I’m going to delve into a topic that I intellectually understand a little and that I emotionally understand on a much greater scale. This makes talking about the subject something of a challenge - like most subjects I cover on this podcast - but I feel that it’s necessary for me to take the plunge.
Let’s take a look at the easy-to-describe, but difficult-to-achieve archetype of the Ruling Monarch.
Hello, Spiritual Seekers, and welcome to a brand new episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts. As always, I am your host, Mark, and as I said in the introduction, today’s episode will finally be exploring the vast subject of Archetypes.
This is a difficult and fascinating topic and when you begin to get glimmerings of understanding of it, whole new worlds of thought and personal wisdom are opened up to you.
Let me preface this talk by stating that I am not an expert on the subject. Delving deep into psychology and exploring the works of Carl Jung is probably the only way to really become an expert. I can point you to a few books and some other online talks about archetypes, but I honestly feel that the only true way to understand them is to attempt to puzzle them out for yourself. And I believe that statement pretty clearly implies that what you are about to hear are my own thoughts on the subject.
This material has been on my mind for quite a while now - pretty much since I broke down the Thor: Ragnarok film - but what urged the writing of this script is this book: The Lost King by Margaret Weis.
Yes, I’ve finally managed to squeeze books into this podcast and, if you’re watching the video for this episode, you can easily see how worn out and yellowed my copy of this book is. I bought it in 1995 and I couldn’t put it down and felt truly compelled to buy each subsequent sequel. I’m reading the series again for what I believe to be the tenth time.
The Lost King is the first of a series of four books titled The Star of the Guardians. It is a genre that Weis termed as “Galactic Fantasy” because it really is a fantasy story similar to those that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman wrote together, but it is set in the distant future with the entire galaxy as the backdrop rather than ancient Earth.
It could be debated as to who the main protagonist of this story is: is it Dion, the boy with no past who discovers he is heir to a throne that no longer exists? Is it Maigrey Morianna who ran and hid from the rest of the galaxy for seventeen years and who fears her own power and desire to rule the Galaxy? Or is it Derek Sagan who strives after power and greatness, but ultimately knows deep down that the true battle lie within himself?
I don’t think I need to explore that debate right now as the main theme I want to extract from The Lost King is how Lord Sagan and Lady Maigrey represent the ambitions and emotions of our psyche. They are the masculine and feminine archetypes - the yin and yang that I refer to so often.
Sagan and Maigrey are mind-linked. They are practically one soul split in two bodies. They are separate, but they make up the whole. These two guardians - we could call them the guardians of our soul - have the ability, ambition and power to rule the galaxy, but they know that their ultimate duty is to protect the King and allow him to take his rightful place on the throne.
This imagery fits a lot of themes and concepts that I have been promoting on Think Spiritual Podcasts for the last few months. Check out my last few Hero’s Journey and movie review episodes - there isn’t much need nor time for me to reiterate everything in this episode.
Let me put aside Star of the Guardians for a while because I want to take a look at another story first. This one is called, The King with Six Friends and it was my absolute favourite as a child. Unfortunately, my copy was lost somewhere along the way due to the number of times we moved and I couldn’t quite remember the title. However, my mother remembered it and last year she found this copy and sent it to me.
So, as I began to read The Lost King again, The King with Six Friends caught my eye from where it sat on our bookshelf and this whole idea of exploring the Archetype of the King or Queen, or the Ruler, surfaced once again. And let me point out here that I will most likely refer to this Ruler as King throughout most of this talk, but please don’t take this with any particular gender applied to the role. King, Queen, Ruler, Monarch - while some differentiation could make for some useful discussion, they all mean the same thing for my purposes today.
The King with Six Friends is a story of a King named Zar, but he is a young king and his kingdom was taken from him and now he is in search of a new kingdom.
The author, Jay Williams wrote it this way: [read first page up to “without much experience”]
So, young King Zar goes on a journey in search of a kingdom. During his journey, Zar continually meets strange individuals: men that can change into creatures or elements. One can become an axe, one an elephant, one can become fire, the next a huge snake, there is an old man that can become a tree, and the final man can become a swarm of bees.
In some way or another, Zar rescues each of these men and they, in turn, essentially swear fealty to him. They all eventually reach a new kingdom that is ruled by an old king who is looking for a worthy suitor for his daughter, but in order to win the princess’s hand in marriage, Zar must complete a series of tests.
Of course, Zar’s six friends all happen to be perfect candidates for helping him to complete his tests and that helps me to steer this talk in the direction that I’d like it to take.
You see, the true job of a King is not to demand authority or respect or to rule with an iron fist or to sit on one’s throne and expect the peasants to throw riches and food at one’s feet. The role of the King is to do whatever is best for the Kingdom as a whole and the King does this by being the best leader that he or she can possibly be.
And to be the best leader, you have to know who you are leading and what their strengths and weaknesses are. In other words, a good King allows those under his leadership to flourish where they are strong and he or she will also challenge them where they are weak.
One of the best day-to-day examples of being a King would be the owner or manager of a business. Now, I know that a lot of owners have to wear a lot of hats if they run the business without many employees, but for the sake of example, let’s say that we are talking about a business with a number of employees.
So, then, what is the role of the owner in this business? Well, her job would be to manage her employees. Her job isn’t to do customer service - she’s hired someone for that and she should be able to trust that her employee is handling the customers well. If the business is making money and the customers are happy, then the employee is doing their job well and the owner’s job is to ensure that her employee can keep doing her job well.
But if the owner doesn’t give her salesperson the tools she needs to do her job or if she undermines her authority at every opportunity - say, if customers always had to ask to speak to the owner to get a better price - then that salesperson isn’t going to be very happy and she’s going to be looking for another job at every opportunity.
The owner’s job - the King’s job - is not to do the job of her employees, but to allow the employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Yes, perhaps the King needs to step in from time to time, but they must always learn to step out of the way as well. They need to do what is best for the Kingdom...or the business in this case.
This is why The King with Six Friends is a great example of what a king is supposed to do. Zar passes all the tests that the old king sets before him, he becomes next in line to be King, marries the Princess, and his six friends become lords of the land. During the big celebration feast, the old King’s steward says this:
He led us.
You see, that leadership is the key, because leaders have something specific that a lot of people don’t have. Good leaders have ambition, zeal, and most of all, vision. A good king will see the end result and at least have some idea of how to get there. Other people may want the same result, but they have no clue how to reach it nor what to do once they achieve it.
In The King with Six Friends, Zar has a vision and he has a goal and he sees the best in each of his friends. He knows how to use their abilities, yes, for his benefit, but also for their own.
Before they met Zar the six men were living pretty simple, lonely lives and getting themselves into uncomfortable and chaotic predicaments. Zar brings order and companionship to each of them and once the goal of achieving a kingdom and a queen is won, the six men are each made a lord of the land - something that not one of them had likely ever considered possible.
That’s a lot of Truth hidden within a children’s book, don’t you think?
Good king messages need to be in children’s books, because we need that message at a young age and we need to be told that it’s okay for us to view ourselves as kings and queens and rulers.
Alright, we can’t all be kings and queens and rulers in day-to-day, physical life. The truth of the matter is that most of us are going to be followers - that is the reality of existence.
However, we have to be able to recognize a good ruler when we see one and we have to recognize that we are our own king and queen and ruler.
While my theme for Think Spiritual Podcasts is currently “Be Your Own Hero”, it is absolutely necessary to understand that every Hero must become one of three things as they mature: a sacrificial lamb for others, a mentor, or a king.
Unfortunately, what happens far too often is that we run from those responsibilities. Being a proper sacrifice for an ideal is exceedingly difficult.
Mentoring others is a burden and a road fraught with error, and being king - being a good, benevolent king - requires strong leadership ability and often includes the paths of sacrifice and mentor.
Now, think about what I’ve just said and ask yourself why we see the story of the Reluctant Hero and/or the Reluctant King so often in our stories and myths.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
This is why I love, not only the story of Margaret Weis’s Star of the Guardians, but also the title of the first book, The Lost King. Because we are all lost Kings and Queens who don’t know who we really are.
We’re told that our stories are just stories and that our gods are either all-powerful beings outside of ourselves or figments of our imaginations. We’re told that heroes belong in comic books or only wear a uniform or perform special deeds that make people’s physical lives better.
But I am here to tell you, yet again, that there is a Hero in your spirit and it is your job to nurture that Hero into a worthy ruler of your internal existence. A King and Queen that will walk that line between the Yin and Yang and balance the Order and Chaos that make up all parts of your Self.
And when you do that, you live your bliss, as Joseph Campbell put it, and everything you touch seemingly turns to gold and every person that you encounter will give you the best version of their Self because you will see the best within them and encourage them to bring it out.
What happens on the inside of you, transforms the outside of you and affects those around you. This is why I always say, Change your Self, Change your World.
Now, I am not saying that I have reached this level of Kingship in my life, but I do know of someone who has - at least in a certain part of his life. I have no idea what goes on in the rest of his life, but I imagine that his Kingship spills over into other areas as well.
The man I am talking about is the musical composer, Hans Zimmer and if you watch Hans Zimmer: Live in Prague, you will absolutely see the archetype of the King in action. This musical special is currently on Netflix, by the way.
The King energy is so prevalent and so blatant in this orgasmic, audio / video feast that it completely spills out of the screen. I can completely imagine what it must have been like to be present in that arena. It must have been electrifying and something you would never forget.
During the concert, there is no question that Hans Zimmer is the King of the evening, but he is the Benevolent King. The night is about him, but he is not arrogant or vain about it. Every single musician on stage is highlighted and honored and blessed by him - from the lowliest percussionist to the highest profile guitar players.
And I don’t mean the term “lowly percussionist” as a slight. To be a percussionist for Hans Zimmer means that you’re a hell of a percussionist - perhaps a master of your craft even.
You can see this honour and blessing on the faces of the musicians. They are playing Hans Zimmer’s music at a Hans Zimmer concert - a concert that is about him - and every single one of them is in their bliss. They love him. They honour him. They are his subjects, but he brings the absolute best out of each one of them.
There is one particular person that stands out during the concert and Hans allows her and encourages her to not just shine, but to absolutely conquer her instrument and the stage.
At around the 54 minute point of the show, cellist, Tina Guo, takes centre stage and softly begins the Pirates of the Caribbean suite that most of you are probably familiar with, but by minute 55 her expression changes, the tempo changes, she grits her teeth, gives her cello a spin and the woman explodes into the Warrior that she is.
If you want to see a woman in her full power and glory and element then you have to watch this Hans Zimmer special and see Tina Guo in action.
And if you want to know who the Queen of the stage in this special concert is, look no further than bassist, Yolanda Charles, who is most often stage right - from the audience perspective - to Hans Zimmer.
Okay, I’m slightly biased towards bass players as that’s my instrument of choice, but when you see Yolanda’s poise and groove and steadfastness, I think her Queen Archetype is fully manifested.
I suppose it could be argued that multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Czarina Russell, is actually Queen of the event, but I prefer to think of her as a High-Priestess who is casting her magic around the stage.
Look, I’m trying to impress upon you that these Archetypes are represented everywhere! You can call them whatever you want and label them however you want, but they are present in our art, in our media, in our workplaces, and - most of all - within our Self.
Getting back to the point, none of what I’ve mentioned would have happened had Hans Zimmer not been embracing his Benevolent King Archetype. Were the man not so obviously living his bliss, that concert would not have happened. Those musicians would not have got together under his banner and they would not have been able to express their love for him by giving him their absolute best.
Those other Archetypes that I mentioned - and so many others I haven’t touched upon - would not have manifested during the evening either.
This is why you need to embrace your inner Ruler. This is why you need to be King of your life. This is why you need to follow your bliss. If you have a dream or a goal, follow it because you don’t know where it may possibly lead and you don’t know who you’re going to meet or whose life you’re going to change.
Or who’s going to change your life, for that matter.
Well, I believe that I have reached the end of yet another episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts. There are many directions I could have taken this subject and I could certainly have talked about a lot of movies that share this theme, but I’m really glad to have finally worked some books and music into this podcast. Perhaps I’ll do another episode on this topic in the near future, but I’m fairly certain I’ll finally get to the next step in my Hero’s Journey series in the following episode.
Thank you very much for listening or watching today. I have been your host, Mark, this has been a talk about the Archetype of the King or Queen or Ruler - again, whatever you want to refer to it as - and I know that if you make the effort to develop that Royal energy within you and mature your inner Hero into an inner King, that you will change your Self and, thus, change your World into the best Kingdom that it can be.
I will see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.
Change your Self; change your World.