The Maiden King
The Maiden King by Marion Woodman and Robert Bly came out in 1998. It is based on the Russian Folk Tale The Maiden King or The Maiden Tsar. Persian story tellers say “At one time there was a story and there was no one to tell it.” Or “At one time there was a story, but there was no one to hear it but God.” Sometimes they even say, “In a certain land in a certain time.”
There is an intimate connection between dreams and fairy tales. For example, the pin prick and fairy tales can be a shamanistic tool. Siberian Shaman prick their finger with a pin and fall into a sleep. The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty can be seen as a ritual or rite of passage.
In fairy tales sometimes the tutor is the destroyer of imagination. They expect you to get poison from standing water, and so some women need to develop their masculine side deeply enough so that they can cut off the head of their interior tutor.
In the folk tail there is “The Kingdom of Difficult to Find.” It is the kingdom of 3×10, which lies beyond the kingdom of 3×9. Women must travel to this Kingdom for women ARE this kingdom. The divine female is represented by the number 3X10.
Baba Yaga, Kali, Demeter and Persephone are all dark mothers. They represent a death that brings you back to your mother’s womb. Baba Yaga eats people, particularly those who think in term of only black in white instead of gray.
The Firebird is energy. It represents artists and people like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Democrats lose artists because democracies believe that an artist has to be sincere. Garcia Loca says, “Very often intellect is poetry’s enemy because it is too often given to imitation because it lifts the poet to a throne of sharp edges and makes him oblivious of the fact that he mad suddenly be devoured by ants or a great arsenic lobster may fall on his head.” Spanish Bullfighting is also a firebird type event. The Firebird’s greatest gift in “Perception of the infinite.”
But the secret is out. “There is a Goddess who doesn’t love you any more.” It is easy for men and women to devour each other, but ingesting one’s love for the other gender is a different matter.
The Maiden Tsar has loved Ivan since the foundation of the world, according to the fairy tale. Their love IS the foundation of the world. The appearance of the Maiden Tsar gradually transforms the profound despair caused by materialism into life renewing energy. Ivan’s true wealth is not the lasciviousness of the step-mother, but rather in the creative transformation of feminine energy originating in the great mother.
The Maiden Tsar is the Golden Maiden that initates Ivan’s journey. At this state, he naturally projects his divinity onto her. The Maiden Tsar is too radiant for him. He can’t deal with the loss possibility.
When the young man’s weak response to the maiden has her retreating in anger, he must go on a quest for self-discovery that leads to Baba Yaga, the fierce yet empowering old woman of Russian folk tradition.
The three horns in the folk tale represent the Triple Goddess. It is virgin, mother, crone or life, death and rebirth. The Unconscious feminine is tied to nature and the laws that govern it. The Firebird represents full flight without any compulsion, which means it is of pure spirit.
The loss of connection to the positive mother or father is the core of emptiness. But Presence is not the opposite of absence. It is what remains hidden in absence.
There is an inner marriage even still. What is the Maiden Tsar thinking when she eats the egg? “Ivan, I think, I shall love you. Yes, I have been angry with you. Yes, I did withdrawal and I am sorry.” She is the Felix Culpa or the fortunate blunder. In the end, The Maiden Tsar wakes Ivan up to authentic personhood.
The Maiden Tsar shows the male tendency toward impotence in the face of feminine magnificence, the female fear of power and abandonment that leads to rage, the need to get beyond oppositional thinking en route to the Divine. These are issues the book addresses with wisdom and lyricism.