Iron John. Chapters 02: The Story viewed as a whole.

Chapter 02 The Iron John story viewed as a whole

The iron John story in two Books. A tale of conscious initiation.

First Book.

The Old King’s hunger for something wild to eat.

  • Sometimes we confuse calls from the soul with physical need, hunger, sex, death or creativity
  • The releasing of the Wildman from the dirty pond, caging him and later releasing him

A separation from Mother and the great mother of chaos story

Facing the dragons of the Mother, the midwife of status quo.

  • Steeling the key and releasing the Wildman

Seeing our true potential in the Golden pond_learning about our gold.

Leaving the Wildman and his mentoring


The second Book.

Learning about poverty and the road less travelled.

A child redeemer story

A facing your dragon’s story and slaying them “each and every one”.

Meeting the girl who loves gold.

A father redemption story.

A king making story.

A complete initiation story cycle that ends in a marriage.

This is the point of the Iron John story. The Iron John story charts our journey from a child of the forest, the child in utero, totally dependent on mother. To the young child, as we get socialised into the norms of our culture and move towards the Castle Quo the status quo we all live under. Our escape from the Castle Quo back to the forest with the Wildman, and after many adventures down the road less travelled. To the castle of the divine King, his daughter, the girl who loves gold, our Soul. Finally, the mystical marriage, and being sovereign over our own forest. And “living happily ever after.”

Redemption stories. On the way redeeming; our parents, the Wildman and our Ego. This is how we fulfil the destiny, of our own story. Fulfilling the promise of the gifts we brought with us into this world, and our mission to fulfil those gifts and promises.

Often the Castle was the residence of a king, the ruling masculine principle of that place. In other words, in our physical world, the Ego. The King, the ruling masculine principle would determine who could enter the castle. Usually the King had guards or an army of solders to patrol the boundaries of the castle and the kingdom. The King also determined the rules of the castle.

The Status Quo it is a place of differentiated unity “Rules is rules you know”

The use of the word King here refers to a sovereign or regent and is an asexual term, like teacher. I had thought to replace the word King with other words, but it makes for clumsy reading, so please infer what is meant from the context.

The Enormous Forest (later to be called the dark and dangerous forest.) The forest is the opposite of the castle. While the castle is structured and is mostly square is built by man, the forest grows organically, following a different set of necessities sunshine, water, soil, space, and time. The forest in a closed, self-sustaining system, incorporating the full cycles of life and the seasons. Everything is interconnected and everything depends on the presence of the other. It is a place of undifferentiated unity.

The forest a metaphor for soul and describes the direction of below in the Axis Mundi. The Castle Quo a place of differentiated unity, the direction of above in the Axis Mundi. And of course, mankind stands in the centre between these two poles as a transformer, bringing these divine energies into the physical world.

Kingmaking story, Child redeemer and a Father Quest. There are several myths that seem to run here. It is a redemption story of the Father by the son. The child redeemer. The boy redeems himself, the girl who loves gold, his Soul, his parents, the Wildman, and the rest of us as well.

In the storytelling tradition the characters who are mentioned first in the story tell us of the psychodynamic that the story is going to deal with; in this case the father and the son and all that is implied by that. The status quo, and the older Masculine. Masculine is not another word for a male but rather a male is an embodiment of Masculine energy from the other world. Men are said to be hard-wired for the Masculine. Females, however, can access the Masculine and express it and often do, especially in defence of their young.

The psychodynamic of the whole story: Who is not mentioned at the beginning also tells us something of the psychodynamic of the whole story. The boy’s mother,, the queen and by extension the Feminine, are missing. This missing feminine is the cause of the story and for us the cause of the journey. While it is the King’s hunger, his unconscious need for Soul food that kicks off the story. The feminine here seems to play a double game. On the one hand, she appears to be the midwife of the status quo as mother, the dutiful and loyal wife-she wants “a nice boy”. On the other hand, she wants her son to realise his fullest potential. Kingship is an act of rebellion and subversion against the status quo, and her husband. 

Initiation and rites of passage stories:   Are a description of the process of how we become King, or sovereign over our own domain.

The descent and facing our dragons.  After this we are ready for the mystical marriage. It seems that the story after letting the wild man out of the cage may not happen in our physical world but rather on the inner planes of experience as we grow. Because this drama ends in the other world, women go on this journey as the Hero. Hero is a sexual term like teacher. Women also need to go on this Journey to gain sovereignty over their own domain.

Stories that end in Gold or a Marriage. “The Mystical Marriage”:   Are said to be a description of a complete cycle or a complete process of initiation and follow the monomyth as set out by Joseph Campbell. The call, the descent, the trial and ordeal, the transformation, the return, the celebration of return and finally the gift brought back to the community by the hero.

The Mystical Marriage. The marriage between two equals, the Soul and the Ego. This created a whole person which the divine energies can flow through. It is an activated Axis Mundi. The same image is the celebration of the mysteries in the Grail Castle. The healing of the King’s wound. His return to above, her to below and life to the centre. The wasteland is healed.

The dance called life. Like the Flamenco dance, she does some steps some movement, he responds with his steps his movement, round and round they go creating the dance of life both together and both apart, stepping out the rhythm with their feet both to the same music, the cosmic dance.

The journey of the Ego:   our Ego must undertake this journey to retrieve what’s lost, the feminine in the form of the girl who loves gold. In order to win her, there is a trial, a challenge, a war (in this case) and adversaries to be overcome and conquered. O,nly then can the mystical marriage take place and the ancient masculine redeemed  There are two Myths that seem to run here. The separation from Mother domesticating Aunties of the status quo, along with the trading of personal freedom and thought for a false promise of safety. It is a King-making story and a Father Quest. A redemption story of the Father by the son. The child redeemer. The boy redeems himself, the girl who loves gold, his parents, the Wildman and the rest of us.

The Feminine in the story. We see how the Feminine continually drives the story forward . The Masculine, as the old King can only take us so far. The old king holds the story in stasis until we are old enough to encounter the adventurer. Upon the revelation of the Wildman, the feminine (in the form of the queen) takes over, until she hands the story over to the girl who loves gold; the younger feminine who drives the story and the process to completion and to starting the whole process anew. We need to understand that the old King and Queen started here as well and that this is not the first iteration, the first cycle of the story.

Our culture has polarised male and female and Masculine and Feminine.

In our cultural thinking these two energies are polarised into opposites. This is because our world is a world of duality and the outworking of the tension between them. Writing here I have split male from the masculine to allow females to express masculine energies. Within the image of the wild man within the pond is a feminine aspect of the masculine. A deep abiding nurturing aspect which has been called husbandry. Care of the earth, animals, nature, family and a groom to a wife. When we uncover the wild man, we are returning to something very deep and maybe something not comfortable in our world of polarised duality.


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