Iron John Chapter 0 Kings and Kingship.
About Kingship in general
The Old King is the old established King and rules over the status quo in a stone Castle called the Castle Quo.
True Kingship is sacral. That is the saving grace of King and Kingship, always making way for the new younger King. This is the whole point of the “Off with the Rat’s head” story and while it is a dilemma story, it really tries our understanding when we are asked who we would kill. We are not as clear about the sacral nature of Kingship as we would like to believe.
Sometimes it is the Old King’s job is to send people on Quests
- The Fire-Bird.
- Jason and the argonauts.
The dark side of Kingship.
History has judged tyrants over time and their tyrannical rule is well documented. What is not so obvious is how they get to be tyrants and how the people ruled there allowed it to happen. In my immediate history, there was Mussolini, Hitler, Idi Amin, Haile Selassie, Jacob Zuma. These people were not born dictators. They were born of women just like the rest of us. Rather they grew into the role over time. They suffered from the tyranny of Ego over Soul, which drove Soul out of their conscious being. Soul appears to them as shadow, dark foreboding, and dangerous, which drives their increasing need to control their environments and relationships.
Once having gone down the road of absolute tyranny, they are all driven by the same thing. People around them who feed off them, puff them up. They fear that somebody will do to them what they have done to others. All totally convinced of the righteousness of their actions. They join the story of the “‘Kings New Clothes” living in a flat world of distorted reality.
In Star Wars, this is described as going to the Dark Side.
Anybody who has held responsible positions in a volunteer organisation will understand. Like a debating club, bowling, club, tennis club, whatever. It is very difficult to hold your centre while those around you want an exception to the rules.
The Castle Quo. The home of the older King. The older masculine.
A place where the head rules and there is a disconnect with the Heart. (see Moon Palace Story a story of disassociation).
At the Castle Quo, this disassociation is the norm, feelings are untrustworthy and viewed with suspicion. It is seen as manipulation and weakness, a weapon of women, and the Feminine. (against the males of course).
A Castle Quo is a construct of literal truths that we hold, made concrete and immutable. Often there are objections with these stories of stone Castles. That they are very Eurocentric and have no place in an African context, like the stone Jacob slept on in Jacob’s ladder; stone carries a different meaning in stories. Even stoning people to death, irrespective of the physical act. Stone signifies death by a very literal interpretation of the law and truth.
In the process of ruling such a kingdom, it is so easy to get so tied up with the petty trivia of leadership that we forget our connection with the divine and soul. The downfall of every long-reigning monarch. At this point, we need to be reminded that true Kingship is sacral and the old king is always making way for the new. When this process stops happening, the old King can become a tyrant. A giant of egocentric desires.
One of the main functions of a good King is to limit fire power. What I mean by that is that in disagreements between people, or two or more competing ideas and responses, somebody must make the hard decisions. The trick is to do the least amount of wounding to the dissenters while respecting the dissenters’ right to differ. However, free will is given to us absolutely and sometimes dissenters can sabotage the process
A hunger for something. Why a feeling of a loss of connection? And a connection to what?
Many times, in our world we feel a hunger, a longing for something just below the threshold of consciousness, of awareness. For me, I have tried to fill that hunger with food, with work, with sex, with books and Netflix, still, that discomfort persists. It’s like being cold at night, I can’t sleep so I put on socks, Ah that’s better, then sleep comes.
There is a disconnect between the feet and the brain. So it is with Soul, Ego, and the body. In order to live and be accepted into the Castle Quo, the Ego (our risk manager) forms an alliance with the intellect and our body to keep us safe. To follow the primary directive, STAY ALIVE. To do that we have to disconnect from Soul. More than that, we learnt that to get brownie points it’s a good idea to attack anything that acknowledged Soul, so we basked in the warmth of group acceptance.
Then there was Mum, the willing custodian, and Midwife in the land of quo. “Don’t come in here with those muddy boots, change your clothes. You smell like horses, pigs, sheep, or whatever. What’s that you’re wearing? Are you going out like that? In this way, nature gets separated from life and the Castle remains pristine?. Nothing has touched us, nothing touched by human hands, nothing felt.
For boys, there are the not so subtle expressions. Cowboys don’t cry, man-up, take it on the chin, don’t be a wussy, cry baby, Your mother dresses you funny.
For Girls. “That’s not nice dear”. Be nice, cross your legs, don’t speak out of turn, laugh at men’s jokes, don’t push yourself forward, always look your best ladies don’t……….
You want to be an artist, musician, dancer, poet, storyteller. OK, but you will have to get a real job as well? We have a whole range of put-downs for this, You’re still wet behind the ears, grow up, catch a wake-up, its only business, it’s nothing personal, he meant well, those shoes look comfortable, he’s/she’s special, Focus!, Right!, really?
We culturally now have an aversion to wet things, like frogs. And to things of the forest like, spiders, snakes, mice, wild places and chaos. None of this is allowed in the Castle Quo. It’s all dry and ordered, guarded and functional. Disconnect is now a suburb in the land of Quo.
Now Soul speaks to us through subtle nudges, hungers, desires, feelings of unease, emptiness, and lack of fulfilment and purpose. But mostly through Crisis.
Our culture knows how difficult this drying out process is. Now we start off in toddler groups, preparing children for adult life and we keep doing that until the being is 16, 18, 25, even 30 years old before we get a Ph.D. that will earn you an income.
To reconnect with soul, to retrieve what has been lost or forgotten. That is the Heroic Journey. The kingdom is a wasteland of the Parsifal story; the post-apocalyptic world of cinema, a world of violence and desolation, despair and hopelessness. The Queen, that natural balancing force is missing at the beginning of the story, so we know the story is not about the feminine; and so the quest is revealed for the child redeemer.
There was part of the forest that had protection for the wild things. There is part of our inner world where the Ego cannot just take what it wants. We meet this again at the golden pond or the golden well. Later in the story, we meet another aspect in the walled garden of the Divine King’s castle.