Bluebeard, Inner Predator, Loyal Soldier

March 8, 2006

Over the last year or so, I have been pondering the Archetype that CPE (Clarissa Pinkola Estes) calls the Inner Predator. She illustrates this presence in the psyche through her tale of Bluebeard. I have now read or heard several versions of the bluebeard story – in her book WWRWTW (Women who run with the wolves), an audio version from WWRWTW that is slightly different from the book, and her amplification of the myth in Theatre of the Imagination and most recently in other “original” stories of the predator – Fitcher’s Bird, The Robber Bridegroom, etc.

Where I get stuck – is the treatment of the inner predator… From my personal experience, the inner predator gets stronger if I attempt to slay him. Instead I am finding the archetype of the Loyal Soldier a better fit for me and my inner predators (I have a committee – one is not enough.)

The Loyal Soldier archetype comes from Bill Plotkin’s Soucraft **************************************************
The metaphor of the Loyal Soldier comes from the fate of certain Japanese soldiers, called Japanese Holdouts, or Stragglers for whom World War II did not end with Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945. These soldiers, living in isolated regions, continued to fight for years after the Axis defeat, some unaware, others refusing to believe, that the war was over. To avoid humiliating these loyal fighters, the Japanese honored them.

Each one of us, Plotkin contends, has a Loyal Soldier in our employ who has faithfully protected us when it was necessary. But many of these old wars are history and, in order for us to move on, our entrenched servicemen need to be thanked, released, and assigned other duties.

All children form a Loyal Soldier when they are young and powerless. This sub-personality develops to help us survive the realities of childhood. It works to make us small, invisible, to suppress our natural exuberance, emotions, wildness etc. so that we are more acceptable to our parents or guardians, or teachers or other authority figures. The parts of us that the Loyal Solider has us deny are stuffed into our shadow.

And the key is to honor the Loyal Soldier – to tell him – Thank you!

You have served me well. You protected me when I was powerless. You made fitting the Procrustean Bed less painful. But now, I am waking up to my full Self and so we need to find ways that you can still be loyal, but not so protective. I so appreciate everything you have done for me.

So, this is the imagery I have been working with in the last several months whenever my inner editor, critic, predator, or shadowy self rears her ugly head.


One comment

  1. Great! This is exactly what I have been mulling over for some time. I was not at all clear on the “Loyal Soldier” concept. Thank you very much.

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