I'm a big fan of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, an American poet, psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist, who uses her poems throughout her writings, spoken word audiobooks and stage performances as expressive therapy for others.
In one of her audio series, Clarissa tells the story of Bluebeard...
The story illustrates the powerful forces at play in our psyches, the plot is that Bluebeard selects and marries the youngest and most innocent of three sisters, in spite of the suspicions of the elder sisters and who goes to live with him in the grandeur of his castle.
One day an occasion presents itself where Bluebeard is called away and before he goes, he gives his wife the keys to the castle but informs her of a forbidden room, the key to which is also given to her, with the instruction that she may enter any room, but this.
The youngest sister in the story represents the curious and creative spirit who soon becomes bored in the big castle and wants to explore the forbidden room.
This spirit is within us all, but if not afforded it's natural expression, is nothing more than a servant to the predator, also within. The price of marrying illusion, is feeling of obligation that you must 'be happy with your lot' and not want the 'something more', like the freedom to explore, which is represented by the entering of this room. To obey the predator, is to sneak your life.
There is a way out of this, we must dare to unlock the forbidden door... but the risk we take is that doing do may shatter all illusions, not just those of the oppressor, but our own too. The ideal life we signed up for may not be all it's cracked up to be, especially if what you long for, is for it to instead, be real.
Change is risky... people don't like it... to change yourself is no different.
But what do you want? To live as if all is well, let a predator control your castle, uphold illusions... or to explore, discover all your authentic glory, self government and expression?
If you chose to turn the key... you risk angering your inner (and sometimes outer) Bluebeard.. the one who didn't want you to go there and you're going to have to identify and recruit the parts of you that are strong, that know how to protect, stand up for and fight for you until the predator is no longer in control.
This is how it is... this is how the battle is lost or won.
I made this spread in my journal yesterday, to represent and celebrate my favourite imagined scene from that story. The one in which the brothers are summoned and arrive to rescue the sister from her fate, now that she has challenged Bluebeard's power, his hold over the castle.
These brothers represent the self supporting inner forces available to us, the decision and capability to rescue ourselves, they are commitment and providence. They are strength and action, the forces through which we emancipate and empower ourselves.
If you're curious about the telling of and unpacking of this story as told by Clarissa, I highly recommend her audio performance of Theatre of the Imagination.
I'm so grateful for my brothers and that I had the courage to call upon them <3