Jack and Bean Stalk Chapters 03 The back story.
Knowing the back story the Shadow: Jack, another young man, falls in love with Mary. Jack goes to his dad telling him he’s in love with Mary and that he wants to marry her. “Shit!” says his father “You can’t do that! She’s your half-sister. I had a bicycle when I was a lad and I got around a bit. Sorry!” After some time has passed, Jack again goes to his Dad, saying that he had fallen in love with Suzie and wanted to marry her. Same story. Unbelievably the same happens with Betty. Jack is very depressed and dejected and speaks with his mother. “Don’t worry, dear” “he’s not your father anyway”.
A Joke, but true nevertheless – Mum (the feminine) knows the back story and knowing the back story, the context can make a huge difference.
For those who have been following the Jack and the bean stalk story you may have noticed that we started not at the beginning but at the first climb up the bean stalk. I originally wrote this for women’s month here in South Africa 2017. It is worth going back to the beginning of the story to see how we find Jack and his mother and what that may say about our society. In South Africa we have plenty of single parent families and for very different reasons. The first is the migrant labor system where men go off to work in the mines leaving home and family behind, this system brings its own difficulties and stresses. The second is the high divorce rate in our urban areas which leaves the women as the adult in the house hold with their abandoned children (MGTOW. abandoned by their fathers anyway) and abandoned by the legal community as well in so far as it is inefficient and prone to the Stalingrad defense to the detriment of wives and children. This is territory where we find Jack and his mother, though because we are dealing with Giants, tyrants and titans this story also deals with the economic forces which create some of these issues and big business’s approach to the human component. With the onset of AIDS we now have child headed households, this too is a stressor in our communities.
The crisis I hear the anguished cry of women, girls, children and men across the space and time between here and the Castle Quo. I hear the cry of a planet, the spaceship earth, not unlike the alarms on the star ship enterprise when the environmental systems reach dangerous levels of failure. So much of our world, our environment, be it physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual or cultural is in anguish; is in crisis. Our communities and community institutions seem no longer to serve the community but their own internal agenda. Going to the traffic department for a driver’s licence renewal is an ordeal and a bureaucratic nightmare – passports. ID’s business registration, banks etc., are the same with a few notable exceptions. The great thing about crisis is that it asks us questions as to how we chose to respond.
Community is further threatened by the way we live, in walled estates and houses, if we are lucky and live in urban South Africa. – many don’t. The nuclear family is not a community, nor is it a repository for common sense. For without a community there can be no “common”. Men and women now have to work to afford the lifestyle we accept as normal; a sort of indentured servitude to the status quo. Men and women become estranged through this process; women and children are abandoned as men buckle under the pressure and just leave. Both parties are angry and bitter about their situation and women and children are the scapegoats for patriarchal frustrations. Alcohol and drugs are the modern stress relievers, these bring their own problems and the downward spiral continues. With 30% unemployment, South Africa is a bomb waiting for a trigger to explode.
As a storyteller, I can unpack a story that describes our situation and the solutions the story offers. This is where the story of Jack. Our Jack, that other inner Jack, opens. As with all stories of this nature, the story talks immediately to an inner, an older part of ourselves, the part that can hear when spoken to through the doorway of metaphor. A fairy story, a land so fair that happy thoughts can make you fly, like Peter Pan who lost his shadow because Tinkerbell didn’t want Peter to leave the fairyland – but that another story for another time.
The old story begins with a description of our state of being, its description is physical, its implications spiritual. This is a children’s story after all and therefore talks to our inner child, the child we left behind when we grew up and stepped out of childhood into the “real world”. We stepped from the sacred into the profane; we hid our gold, our sacred connection to the eternal so we could be accepted into the profane world of Castle Quo. It seems that to get to the Castle Quo we have to swim again the waters of the moat, the river of forgetfulness, the river Lethe from the Greek myths. We swim this once before birth and once again to swim the mote to gain entry to Castle Quo. The child we could not bring with us, and by necessity, we abandoned in the dark forest, the child that waits patiently for the redemptive moment. This is why the dark forest is such a dangerous place for Castle Quo and has to be demonized. If you go back to the forest and find your child, returning to Castle Quo is almost impossible. When we lose our individual connection with the axis mundi the center of things then Giants are formed. Giants do not live in this world but rather in the realm of ideals, ideas, theories opinions and beliefs.
Of Giants, tyrants and Titans. see chapter 4
Why would this be of interest to the men of MKP and or Boys to Men, and why post this on this site? Because building community, and ensuring that intuitions work is warrior work. To be a warrior in this sense is different from being a scraper, a fighter. A warrior works under the direction of a King. A Kingly understanding of community, a clarity of perception, and free from projections of personal shadow. The presence of the King heals because in the presence of the King shame is suspended. Kingship holds and values the soul of its subjects above all else. Kingship is a Masculine quality and is not dependent on plumbing or genitalia. Women and girls can express it also and do so often.
In traditional cultures, changes in life stations were marked by rites of passage, rather than rights of passage like an LLB, Matric, a driver’s license, or a PhD. The whole community participated in these Rites The difference between a rite and right of passage is this: When a state or educational institution confers a right it often comes with the legal implications of the right to be exercised and the power ( ability to charge or earn money) is held in the name of the state or professional institution. On the personal level, the process may indeed be a rite of passage but that is not its primary intention.
In a rite of passage, it is the Soul of the initiate that the rite is conferred upon and the power is held in the name of the initiate. If an individual didn’t go through these rites then they forfeited the entrance to the next stage of their lives. (1) A very different thing.
In modern times the “old ways” are glaringly absent, dismissing indigenous old ways as superstition or primitive, having little relevance to an automated life prescribed by consumerism. There is a creeping numbness that overcomes large numbers of people who live life as victims. A burden to themselves and the community. Lacking the inner resources developed from living a meaningful life we often nurture a negative picture of ourselves, which becomes a self-fulling philosophy. With that belief system then we are forced to look outside of ourselves for deliverance.(1) The government should or must……Someone else must be the heroic person to set things right. Rather than go on the journey of self-discovery and push through ourselves. Most of us have had the archetypal experience of birth, our first initiation into life, the first experience of potentially having to push through. Or did we? Did our preoccupation with safety and lack of pain deny us that experience and set the model for the rest of life?
I suspect it was…the old story of the implacable necessity of a man having honour within his own natural spirit. A man cannot live and temper his mettle without such honour. There is deep within him a sense of the heroic quest Our modern way of life, with its emphasis on security, its distrust of the unknown and its elevation of abstract collective has repressed the heroic impulsive to a degree that may produce the most dangerous consequences. Laurens van der Post, Heart of the Hunter.
We are now living in the time of those consequences. Women and children bear the brunt of men who are frustrated by their own apparent lack of power, and who live and work in a climate of intimidation and indentured servitude and pass their shame onto the softest targets around them. Women, children and the environment
The story simply states that Jack lived with his widowed mother and that they were very poor. A very modern description of our world, a prophetic story in many ways as this story is maybe 6000 years old. We don’t know how old it is. It is prophetic because these stories spring from the eternal and are therefore always relevant. And it is a very accurate description of single-parent families today and their struggle to make ends meet.
Whoever is mentioned in the story first tells us of the psychodynamic of the story. The relationship between Jack, the son, his mother, Jack’s absent father and the forces and energies which caused Jack’s father to be absent. Hereafter called “the Giant” – a titan of monstrous proportions and appetites.
In one simple sentence, the story encapsulates the history of our culture up to now, like a Japanese Haiku. The next line in the narrative says that things had got so bad Jack’s mother decided to sell the last thing of value, the family cow so that they could eat. Jack’s mother sent him to town to sell it.
Once again, with the benefit of hindsight, we see how the feminine in the form of Jack’s mother, the crone, and the giant’s wife, moves the story forward repeatedly.
Narrative: “On the way to town Jack met a strange fellow who told him stories of magic beans. “Where can I buy some of these magic beans for my mother?” asked Jack. “I have the last five magic beans and I will sell three of them to you because you are a good boy,” the strange man smiled at Jack. “Well I have nothing but our old cow and we need the money I would get by selling her for food.”
The man replied, “Trust me, my boy, these beans will bring you food and fortune and your mother will be proud.” Jack hesitated but finally traded the cow for the beans. When Jack returned home his mother was furious and threw the beans out the kitchen window crying.”
This was the Feminine moment. It would be good to be clear at this point as to what is meant by the Feminine in this context. The Feminine is an energy from the other world. The Feminine has its own consciousness, independent of ego, independent of the physical world. It has a luminous quality; it shines with its own light and energy and may express its self through a male or a female, an animal or nature. It is not dependent on plumbing or genitalia.
Jack’s mother in a Feminine moment of unconscious competence did the only thing she could do, what was needed. She threw the beans out the window, into the dirt, to grow. Back to the original Feminine the direction of below. The beans found a place to put down roots, to be nourished, the magic was the ability to grow across worlds, from below to above along the Axis Mundi with us you and me in the middle as Jack. That way she did not betray her promise to the giant for Jack’s life, and she set the redemptive process in motion.
I feel there are secret meetings between mothers and wildmen, magicians, hunters and adventurers of all sorts. Uncles, brothers, and old lovers may be involved. Magic beans, dogs and hiding of keys keep the stories going moving toward completion toward Gold.
How did we as a culture get to this place, this space? Jack. We.us, you and I, live in poverty, both physical and spiritual, in a world full of abundance. An abundance re-enacted every spring. Did we swallow too much water as we swam the river Lethe? How is it possible that we forgot we are spiritual beings, the sons and daughters of gods temporally in physical bodies? We are the dust of stars, citizens of the whole universe.
Good question. The answer is that Giants stole our birthright, The trick thing here is identifying who and which Giants stole our birthright, why they did that and the pay off for them. Who paid? we did you and I. Giants, tyrants and Titans Hi-jacked our birthright and our very lives, swore our mothers to secrecy upon our very life. Left us in poverty and intimidated us into a slavery of submission, constantly fearing the consequences of disobedience while all the while telling us it’s for our own good. This is like Gupta-gate on a grand scale. State capture; our mothers could tell us nothing but secretly plot our emancipation and their redemption along with their widowed husbands. Once again we come back to the story of the child redeemer. This motif is repeated over and over in literature which implies it’s not a new problem. Throughout history, there are stories of mothers hiding sons from danger who grew up to be kings. Boys in reed boats floating into palaces, fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod’s soldiers killing the boy babies. This is not exclusively biblical motif Taliesin of early English history was also left in a reed boat and later became king.
Who or what are these giants that live within us? Yes it would be nice to see these forces as outside ourselves; however the reality is that they are well and truly interjected. Sometimes in order to understand them it’s easier to see then as hostile outside forces. Again the reality is that giants are well and truly inside us, the outer reality reflects the inner reality.
Is it possible to kill the giant? Yes, the story says. But you have to be prepared and the circumstances have to be as the story relates:
- We have to find the courage to go up the beanstalk again and again.
- We have to steal back from the giant the harp that sings with its own voice.
- We have to have the courage to allow the giant has to chase us and make himself vulnerable.
- The giant has to be on the bean stalk.
- Mother (the feminine in some form) has to be standing at the bottom of the beanstalk with the axe.
- We have to chop down the beanstalk and allow the giants own weight to crush him. That is the only thing powerful enough to do the job.
Sounds very obscure, doesn’t it? Think about the last election. The giants were well and truly out claiming the moral high ground for all sorts of reasons. Claiming to be the one. What happened? There were some Jacks about: Red Teletubbies and Blue smurfs and some others, clearly having stolen the magic harp, speaking unpopular truths were being chased by enraged giants. Remember the threats of the giants. “Fe Fi Fo Fum” (he obviously didn’t have his false teeth in); then (teeth in) “I smell the blood of a man”. (Yes in the original version he said the blood of a man): “Be he alive or be he dead I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”
That in a way says it all. Giants smell out the blood of young men and having found them, grind their bones to make the giant’s bread. I could unpack this forever; however I’m sure you get the drift.
The beanstalks of popular opinion were swaying back and forth with the weight of giants chasing young Jacks all over the place. Finally when the votes were counted, the Feminine in the form of community handed Jack the axe of results and down came the beanstalk. Giants and all. The dust still hasn’t settled and the political ground is still shaking from that fall. That’s how to kill a Giant.
Wow! Even as I’m writing this there are Jacks of all sorts popping up. Trevor Manuel became a Jack as has Sipho Pityana. Watch that space as the story unfolds.
So for all the mothers, women and girls reading this as important members of our community. I bring you hope and I offer your boys, husbands and males of all sorts encouragement for tasks one and two.
Men and the Masculine owe Women and the Feminine the courage to face the Giants seeing as they offer their bodies to bring us into the world.
As Nicodemus said at the end of “The Secret of NIMH“ referring to Mrs Brisby who saved her son from death by the plough. “Courage, rage of the heart is a wonderful and powerful thing”
So to all the women, Mothers and girls who have kept their Jacks alive. And to my Mother.
The first step is to know the difference between the sacred and profane. Profane is the name of the giants’ land. Sacred is the name of the land of your/our birthright, Sacred is what it is and what it does. Making sacred and sacrifice is what we are prepared to do to redeem those we love. This act alone is what separates us from Giants, confirms our nobility and spiritual heritage.
- 1 Taken from “The book of the Vision Quest” Pg 19..20 by Steven Foster with Meredith Little.
Notes from the dark forest on 16 days of activism. ( a further look into Jack’s story and that bloody beanstalk again part III)