Lessons from King Lindorm

In the story of King Lindorm, there are a few things that stand out for me…

Cycles of nigredo, albedo and rubedo

The cycles of nigredo, albedo and rubedo occurs in different areas and in different phases of the process. They may change characteristics, but the basic process is most likely endless. There is always further to go in terms of a differentiated, mature, functional and conscious conjunctio.

We may awaken as awake emptiness and form, into realized selflessness. And yet, there is always more maturing and development in store for this individual, selfless or not.

Engaged persistence

At two points in the story, we see the value (and necessity) of engaged persistence.

The third bride engaged the lindorm in alternately shedding night skirts and layers of skin, nine of them altogether, and then continued with beating him to pulp, before dipping him in milk, wrapping him in the night skirts, and cradling him.

And King Lindorm, following the miscommunication with the castle, engaged persistently with his mother until the situation was clarified.

The calm after the storm

Following the hard and messy work of the third bride, there was a nurturing phase of dipping the lindorm in milk, wrapping him, cradling him, and then falling asleep for a short while.

And each nigredo/albedo phase is followed by a rubedo, a period of maturing, resting and reaping the fruits of the work. It is a period of rest before the next cycle is initiated.

Each cycle born out of what needs to be differentiated and made conscious

Each nigredo/albedo/rubedo cycle seems to be born out of what is undifferentiated and unconscious from the previous cycle. And it is initiated by the trickster, whether it shows up in our own actions or in the wider world.

The old queen couldn’t help but eating the second rose, in spite of the warnings against doing it. She was unconscious, at the mercy of instincts and impulses. She couldn’t help it, and it initiated the first nigredo/albedo/rubedo cycle.

And the nigredo of this cycle was amplified by the lindorm who somehow knew that a marriage was what he needed, but ended up promptly eating the brides (if he only wanted to eat the maidens, he wouldn’t have needed to marry them.) He too was at the mercy of his instincts and impulses. He couldn’t help it.

The second cycle is similarly born out of exactly that which needs to be made conscious. There was a separatio of the masculine and feminine so they both could explore themselves more fully – the masculine through war and the feminine through mothering.

And there was also a misalignment between the masculine and the feminine, partly because they didn’t quite know themselves yet, and partly because they hadn’t explored their relationship much yet. Much is still undifferentiated and unconscious, leading into the next cycle of nigredo/albedo/rubedo.

Again, that which needs further differentiation and to be made more conscious, is exactly what initiates the next cycle. It creates cause for grief (nigredo), which nudges us towards differentiation and consciousness (albedo), and finally into a resolution (rubedo.)

Looking at my own life, it is not difficult to find examples of that process.

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