I have been thinking about this story, The Loathly Lady….
It has showed up in my dreams and meditation here on retreat. So, I will talk about it from a five-element perspective. I begin this post with a caution: spoiler alert! We are meant to sort out stories on our own, not have someone do this for us. All interpretations of a good story are important, and personal, and relevant to us personally. Should you be in your own process with this story, read no further! If you want to hear about the five elements, read on. Listen to the story first.
Michael references the original story tellers supplicating the gods before telling their story, and by doing so shares with us the mark of a worthy story. A wisdom story. We mortals have ‘no business’ sitting at the table with the gods. Truly. So, in all seriousness, I proceed by acknowledging that my comments here are a few insights that might be of some help in penetrating the riddle of this story.
All worthy stories are riddles. While entertaining, they also ask something of us. There is nothing direct, rational, or linear about story. Worthy stories exist within water energy, which is creative, intuitive, engages our divergent thinking, and penetrates the realm of wisdom. We don’t ‘take notes’ listening to good stories, we relax and let the story work on us. We listen to story in winter, water time of year, to relate to and learn from our own, deep, innate, and perfect wisdom.
Martin Prechtel, native born author, artist, teacher, knows story and is a master of riddle. He lives and teaches from water energy. His school, Bolad’s Kitchen, at: www.floweringmountain.com, is dedicated to:
Teaching forgotten things, endangered excellent knowledges…
He goes on to say:
Because the world is a boundless compendium of stories told in as many languages as there are things to know, the language of galaxies, of rocks, the languages of weathers, plants, and rivers, languages of animal and human cultures, I have never understood knowledge as a finite possession but more like a corral of wild language horses…
Have a look.
Back to our story. We have a King, so this is a story about heart. Here is a mythical story of good King Arthur, so it takes us to our heart of hearts, the truth of our good heart, to the depth of fire energy. In a moment of vulnerability, King Arthur is bested by his nemesis, Gromer. Arthur, selfless and loving; Gromer, selfish, and hateful.
The story shows us the dilemma of our own heart: in moments of vulnerability we can acknowledge that both love and hate reside in our heart. This story has left the exclusive realm of the mythical and the gods; it has now become our story, our ordinary story. We get to relate to the truth of our life: we possess the capacity to both love and hate.
It goes on to say, that if we don’t do something about this, ‘Gromer” will kill us. Our ego and hate - our self-will that wants things to go our way - not only has the power to destroy us, but to destroy peace in the Kingdom.
Gawaine is a second aspect of fire within five-element thinking. He is our heart protector. He’s the guy that gives his life to save and protect the integrity of the King. Gawaine is devotion; he represents the aspect of us that knows if we sacrifice the truth of our heart, our capacity to love (the King), our life loses meaning. But he can’t accomplish devotion by himself.
The Loathly Lady, Ragnell, is the key here. Gawaine needs her. And who is she? She is self-determination, the part of us that knows who we are and decides how we are going to live our life. She is our innate purpose and the means to manifest our purpose: she is water energy, essence, wisdom itself. She (water) presents as pure chaos: ugly and unappealing. The impossible potential within us that we can’t imagine making manifest.
It is Gawaine’s love – his pure devotion to his King, the truth of his heart – that transforms Ragnell’s chaos into her potential: wisdom. Wise counsel.
The story is telling us something more: to be wise is to know that the seed of our purpose altogether, the truth of our heart, is to love. When that happens, all is – Beautiful!
This story speaks to the relationship between water (chaos/wisdom) and fire (love/the truth of our heart), as these energies work within and through us in the most ordinary and extraordinary ways. Through curses and secrets and sorcery, all very powerful. This story speaks to the relationship between the sacred (King Arthur-heart) and the profane (Gawaine-heat protector/devotion). In faithfulness and love – which acknowledges hate and the consequences of hate - we transcend ordinary reality and touch the realm of the King. Or Queen.
To read more about this, have a look at my blog post, Heart and Mind.