Robin Hood: The Trickster Archetype

Attending University of Philosophical Research is my version of going into the forest to find the lost goddess within. We begin to yearn for something beyond ourselves answering the call and embarking on the journey, we find that soon we are experiencing privation and suffering. The Destroyer (sheriff) takes away much that had seemed essential to our lives (Pearson 21). We need help from our inner Robin Hood to steal from the rich and give back to the peasants, those part of ourselves that are spiritually and artistically starving.

There were things that we really love to do that brings us joy but we were not able to cultivate it because it was not supported by the people around us due to its lack of practical use to earn a living.

Looking back in elementary, all I want was to become a painter, for 3 consecutive years I won the national painting contest. People around me except my art teacher did not take my calling seriously; they said there is no money in art. I was transferred to another school with no painting lessons; it was the day that my spirit died.

After that I lived many years of mundane life, but you cannot repress for so long who you truly are. My spirit has awakened when I found the wisdom traditions, a world filled with symbolism, a transcendental art. Joseph Campbell said, “the adventure of the hero is the one he is ready for ” (21:24). It is important to live life with knowledge of its mysteries and unraveling our own mystery gives life new meaning.

Dr. Young:

Taking on the inner sheriff is a daunting task. This negating force is well-entrenched. It takes courage and Imagination to outwit the toxic destroyer. The sheriff is a clever liar. He claims legitimacy and nobility. He calls Robin Hood an untrustworthy thief and outlaw. 

The sheriff has an army. It is a wise move to assemble a circle of like-minded tricksters to help with the battle. On an inner level, it is time to coordinate all of our archetypal characters to launch a well-integrated effort ~ that maximizes our effectiveness.

The inner drama is often topsy-turvy. Taking honorable action to oppose the destroyer may stir guilt and shame. We need a good support team, both inside and outside. 

Robin Hood’s joke on John Little is word play. He shifts the name to Little John by simple reversal. The trickster move is re-labeling. In the interior power dynamics of personal psychology, finding a new way to describe a feeling state can provide liberation. 

Seekers who feel like wimpy losers, might start seeing themselves as sensitive, soulful poets. The qualities have not changed, just the description. The problem becomes a strength. Therapists call this strategy re-framing.

In our own self-care, a shift of language can provide new perspectives. Simply using different terminology allows change. When facing a long-standing inner tyrant, the jester is wise not to pick a direct fight. Better to make a joke. If the mean inner bully starts laughing, it might nudge us slightly toward getting along better with ourselves.

It is a heartbreak that the path of art was closed off so early. In studying symbolism you are able to put those rich visual sensibilities to good use in the pursuit of inner wisdom. 

If you get a chance to read Carl Jung at any length you will find it affirming. His view was the deeper reaches of the unconscious are mainly experienced as visual flow. He thought the great portal to the treasures is through aesthetics.  

Works Cited

Pearson, Carol S.  Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. Harper Elixir, 2012

Campbell, Joseph, and Bill D. Moyers. Part 1 – Program One. Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. New York, NY: Mystic Fire Video, 2005.

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