VII: Relatedness: The Dominant Principle of The Inner (and Outer) Feminine
“Whatever might be our conscious attitudes toward royalty, we will do well to remember that there is an archetypal royalty within each of us. The symbol of King and Queen points our consciousness towards what is highest and most true within us, and toward our potential for making a synthesis of masculine values with feminine values.
King Mark’s refusal to take a queen tells us that something is amiss in the western male psyche: Not only has he lost the feminine, but he is not even interested – he doesn’t even consciously know that he has lost it. We have pursued our masculine and extroverted values for so long that we have come to see the soul as an unnecessary complication in an otherwise neat and tidy masculine world.
Strangely, it is the “felon” barons, Tristian’s mortal enemies, who challenge the state of affairs. From Tristan’s viewpoint they are the “bad man” in the psyche. But it is always something we look on as evil within ourselves that actually forces us towards wholeness. It is a threat, a fly-in -the-ointment, something that upsets our ego worlds and our production-line lives. It may be illness, exhaustion from overwork, and neurosis that suddenly wells-up and disrupts our lives, forcing us to look for the meaning behind what we can’t explain. Our symptoms and are complications appear to us as “felons” who only want to make trouble, but it is the felons who force us to look for the Queen.
When we finally go to look for her, we go, like Tristan, with “guile and force.” When our lives go sterile, we go looking for anima. But we want her on her own terms; we want to appropriate her as an appendage of our egos, an ornament of our personas. We want animal to energize us, to spark our lives, to give us a sense of meaning and direction, and to make our lives more exciting; But we don’t want to learn from her on her terms, and we don’t want to treat her as an equal. Tristan wants to use Iseult as a pawn of state craft, as a means of stealing alliances between male egos. This is our usual attitude.
Tristan, who tells us of our heroism, also shows us where heroism goes astray. Tristan is in the bath of herbs when he can convinces Iseult of his devotion with honeyed words:
“King’s daughter…. I came to find you from overseas. I braved the monster and his poison. See here, amid the threads upon my coat – your golden hair as sown: The threads are tarnished, but your bright hair still shines.”Tristian & Iseult
It may be that all the tragedy in modern man’s life begins in this one fatal deception – For it is himself that he deceives. The beauty in Tristan’s words is that they are so right; the tragedy in his words is that he does not mean them! If he meant them, it would represent a great evolution, a reversal in the western male ego, and affirmative seeking after the feminine. But if her patriarchal ancestor Tristan did not mean what he said, what about us? Could we learn to approach the feminine side of life with these same fine words In Maine them? Anima sends us tidings of peace. After centuries of guile, can we learn to approach her honestly?
When it is sealed here’s Tristan’s fine words, when she hears that one of her own golden hairs Is sewn into his coat of arms, she lowers the sword. She goes to find the proof of his devotion, and thinking she has found it, she puts the stored away. Instead of stabbing him, she kisses him. Here we see a way in which in her feminine and outer woman or a lake. And the dominant principal for each, is relatedness.
Like Iseult healed, if a woman is ignored or hurt by a man, she will often find a way to turn his own sword against him, to wound him through his own power drive. But in the instant that a man wakes up to his own need, Offers his love, and affirmatively relates to her, woman has an almost magical power to forgive. The feminine makes use of the sword of her antagonist; when he buries his sword and offers relatedness, she buries her sword in the same instant. Aggression is transformed into relatedness. The feminine, whether in a woman or in a man, will usually drop her grudges, and forget the wounds of the past if she is offered genuine relatedness and affection in the present. This is one of the most noble and beautiful instincts and woman, and one of the ways that she serves and transforms life. Relatedness is her first principal, The dominant theme of her nature, that for which, more than all else, she lives.”
– Dr. Robert A. Johnson in WE: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love
(also cf: Gen 2:18-25)