Soul Sessions by CreativeMind

Symbols of Transformation in the Lord of the Rings

December 15, 2020 Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts Season 2 Episode 41
Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
Symbols of Transformation in the Lord of the Rings
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Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
Symbols of Transformation in the Lord of the Rings
Dec 15, 2020 Season 2 Episode 41
Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts

J. R. R. Tolkin’s classic The Lord of the Rings was for many of us our introduction to the power of myths. In this episode, we delve into the heroic adventures of Frodo as he battles dark and powerful forces in order to complete his mission.

  • Identify the stages of the Hero’s Journey and learn how these stages mark important milestones in life.
  • Learn how the symbols of transformation are an integral part of our dreams and fantasies.
  • Understand the hidden meaning of Frodo’s mission to destroy the One Ring.

Interact LIVE in the Creative Mind Coaching Group.

Enrolling now for our next Life Coach Training Certification Program. Developed by a Ph.D and Master Life Coach, this 6-month online course is based in Jungian psychology, philosophy, and Eastern spirituality. So visit creativemindcoach.com.  

Show Notes Transcript

J. R. R. Tolkin’s classic The Lord of the Rings was for many of us our introduction to the power of myths. In this episode, we delve into the heroic adventures of Frodo as he battles dark and powerful forces in order to complete his mission.

  • Identify the stages of the Hero’s Journey and learn how these stages mark important milestones in life.
  • Learn how the symbols of transformation are an integral part of our dreams and fantasies.
  • Understand the hidden meaning of Frodo’s mission to destroy the One Ring.

Interact LIVE in the Creative Mind Coaching Group.

Enrolling now for our next Life Coach Training Certification Program. Developed by a Ph.D and Master Life Coach, this 6-month online course is based in Jungian psychology, philosophy, and Eastern spirituality. So visit creativemindcoach.com.  

Symbols of Transformation in the Lord of the Rings


SPEAKERS

Debra Maldonado, Robert Maldonado


Debra Maldonado  00:01

Hello, everyone, welcome to soul sessions. This week we are talking about archetypal symbols in one of our favorite movies or series of movies, The Lord of the Rings. We've been doing a series on archetypes in modern culture. And today is by popular demand. We'll be talking about Gollum, the Frodo, the ring, and all the wonderful characters in the Lord of the Rings. If you haven't seen the movies, you'll still learn a lot. So hopefully you— or you catch up on them this weekend.


Robert Maldonado  00:42

I often use that reference of the little hobbit house. Yeah, hobbit hole.


Debra Maldonado  00:47

Yes.


Robert Maldonado  00:48

Because it really represents our comfort zone.


Debra Maldonado  00:55

I always think of one of my favorite line in the movie is when Sam says to Frodo “If I take one more step, this will be the farthest I've been from the Shire.” And there's times in our life where we feel that I'm going beyond where I had journeyed before. And that's what this— really the theme of this movie is all about that hero's journey. And the quest for knowledge, the quest for truth, the character, so—


Robert Maldonado  01:27

So we're going to be talking about the book, Jungian psychology, of course, yeah. How would we see that? How would we interpret Tolkien's work from the Jungian perspective, a little bit of the archetypes that we have in the book and the movies. And then what that teaches us about how we live today, our technological journey through the universe.


Debra Maldonado  02:04

Technological journey. So I never read the book. Did you read the books?


Robert Maldonado  02:11

Yeah. Oh, yeah. That reminds me, I wanted to dedicate this podcast to my good friend, Bobby Markage who passed away in the early 90s. Way too young, way too early. But he introduced me when we were kids — I think I was about 10 — to The Hobbit. He's the first one that said “Look at this book. It's really cool. Read it.” And, you know, I’ve been a fan since then. And, anyway, thank you, Bobby. Wherever you are, we still think of you and miss you. And your inspiration still continues. Yeah, so let's see, the the book was actually written in the 30s. Very early on, which of course, is it has some relationship to Jung, because before Tolkien wrote the book, he was in World War I and got to observe kind of the machinery that was coming up through the industrial age, the Industrial Revolution was in full force. And he got to experience firsthand the horrors of the weapons that human beings were forging and creating. And a lot of that went into his writings of course. Now at almost the same time, though, Jung was a little bit older, but around 1913 to 1917 Jung was going through his transformational journey. That's when he started writing The Red Book. And it was around that time also that Tolkien was developing these languages of the Elves and the maps.


Debra Maldonado 04:11

Wow. Very symbolic.


Robert Maldonado  04:14

Yes. So we are always caught up in these time cycles. We are children of our time.


Debra Maldonado  04:24

The archetypes are bigger than us and, like you say, calling us to step into a role.


Robert Maldonado  04:33

And it is a collective experience. I mean, Jung came up with this idea of the collective unconscious, which is really where great art comes from.


Debra Maldonado  04:43

And when you say collective experience, what do you mean by that?


Robert Maldonado  04:47

Well, if you look at culture, the world is the stage for us. Who are the other players on the stage right now? What is going on in the big stage of the world? That's where we have to live our lives, meaning that's where we play out our individual roles. Not in some just personal living room.


Debra Maldonado  05:13

Because that lays down the world stage. Yeah, that’s collective experience, meaning that you can't really exist in the world without the collective experience. You can't just be isolated. And even though we all feel isolated right now, you can't really live your life that way. That's, I think, why this time has been so hard for people because we are so social and connected, and we depend on each other for so many things. And everyone plays different roles in our life. And every system and every experience, like the archetypes aren't just people there, they’re patterns.


Robert Maldonado  05:54

Human behavioral patterns, cultural patterns. And yeah, so Jung presents this idea that really gives us a better insight into the Lord of the Rings. This idea that inspiration is coming from the collective unconscious. So the individual of Tolkien himself might think “Well, I've decided to write this book”.


Debra Maldonado  06:22

I have these great ideas. Meanwhile, the deeper— he's getting them from the collective.


Robert Maldonado  06:30

That's right. Now, the individual of course, is the instrument who delivers the goods to the collective. But yeah, his inspiration comes from deeper patterns. And he himself, Tolkien himself, talks about how he saw that the Industrial Revolution had stripped human beings of their mythologies, especially in England, or in the UK. People were kind of all of a sudden jarred into this mechanistic Industrial Age.


Debra Maldonado  07:10

Or intellectual, logical.


Robert Maldonado  07:14

And all the beauty and mythology and kind of dreaminess of fairy tales was taken away.


Debra Maldonado  07:23

You know, that's what I love about Jung’s work is because other personal development I've done was really about building up the ego and, like, you're relying on your own personal resources, and your personality, and then maybe making it a little better to function in this world. Where Jung’s work, it really is about— you're allowing that ego to step aside versus trying to fix it, and you're allowing these other forces that are you, that are bigger you, live through you. And this is I think why we attract so many creative people in our work, coach training, because it's really the root of creativity is the collective unconscious.


Robert Maldonado  08:09

Yeah. And Jung says that great art— and certainly the book and the whole stories that evolved out of Tolkien's work is great art, it is art at its highest form, which means it speaks to almost everyone on the planet. It has this universal quality. Although it's coming from an individual, it has universal appeal that speaks to the collective unconscious. And then it creates culture in a way, it informs the way we start to see the world. We see in his work this idea of “Okay, the machinery is coming up and the technology is arising” not only in the present moment. And this is an interesting part that here is someone who's looking at the past. So he was gathering mythologies from all over the world, the things that he was interested in, the stories and myths and languages from around the world, meaning from the past, bringing them into the present moment that he was living, the industrial age, but it also— great art speaks about the future. Where are we going with this technology, building this machinery and these weapons? Where is human kind going with it?


Debra Maldonado  09:44

And I know you're from a man's perspective, it's the technology and the weapons and that kind of like thinking about industry. But for us, even women, it's think of— socially how technology has interfered with our lives, right? Socially, how do we build relationships? How we date right now is on an app, you know, we're not like actually meeting people. So not only these big military industrial complexes, and big machineries, but even in our everyday life, the technology, how it interferes. I mean, in a way, during the pandemic, it's great that we have Zoom, and that we can do videos, and we don't have to do a live event and put people in health risk. And we can talk to our loved ones on video, and it's great, you know, but how much has social media played a role in harming our own ability to relate and just the— I don't know, just kind of the interactions people have. It's just can be very destructive and uncaring and cold, because there's that distance and that machine in between you, and you're just typing into your phone. So you wouldn't say something to someone, like one to one. Something you would say in a Facebook post, arguing with someone, most people in person have a different thing. So I think technology's interfering with that as well.


Robert Maldonado  11:14

Yes, so Tolkien deliberately set out to build a new literature of mythology for his people, for his country. But of course, he ended up changing the world through that. And that is definitely part of the individuation process, as Jung defines it, that in doing your personal individual passion, your own Dharma, you're bringing into the world something that's needed. Instead of just being a cog in the machine.


Debra Maldonado  11:52

Playing like the default?


Robert Maldonado  11:54

Yes. You're actively participating in the creating of culture, of history, of defining your age. And Jung definitely says, you have to live in your present age. So if your present age is about technology, you have to engage with it. Even if it's about defining it, like how do we use this. 


Debra Maldonado  12:24

Re-defining how we use those tools.


Robert Maldonado  12:27

Not necessarily just saying it's bad and we should get rid of it. But how do we think about it? How do we define it? How do we use it?


Debra Maldonado  12:37

Well, just like anything else, if you just let people run on their egos, that's really what happened with social media, which everyone is familiar with pretty much is that when you run on ego, all the dynamics of neuroses of everyone comes into play. And so how do you— when you're on social media, how do you bring some higher, something new into the experience. So for me, I've been posting on my page, just really great quotes, or something to think about, and like moving the positive and the depth in questioning life. And, you know, for me, that's how I’m choosing to express myself on social media versus bashing people or getting up in arms. And, you know, I think there's a lot of that out there. And people are getting in arguments, and everyone has strong opinions about different things. And it's like “How do you bring— what do you want to bring into that environment? And how can you shift the environment?” If we all decided that we want to make the environment better, we could actually do it, it's just not enough of us are actually saying “Oh, I can actually change it." So whether it's a digital environment or a physical environment, we're always able to bring in something else than our default.


Robert Maldonado  14:00

Absolutely. So before we go into the archetypal characters in the stories, keep this in mind — Jung says that great art is also talking about the future. It's almost like you think about the prophets. The myths that come through great art are giving us a heads up as to what's coming up in the future.


Debra Maldonado  14:31

Like that guy who wrote 1984. It's like living in that future world. He wrote that in the 60s, right?


Robert Maldonado  14:41

Maybe earlier.


Debra Maldonado  14:42

Oh, yeah. I think it was the 40s maybe, just after World War II, around World War II, but yeah, you read that now and you're thinking “That's going on. He's predicting the future.” So let's go into the archetypal characters of the Lord of the Rings. And I think, where do you want to start? Because there's so many. Well, Frodo is the main the hero, right? The reluctant hero, because he didn't really want to go.


Robert Maldonado  15:13

That's a good point. He is reluctant. And he's really a failure at everything he does. Because he's the weakest basically, he's the smallest, he's the only kind of a teenager, right, when he goes—


Debra Maldonado  15:31

Innocent, it's an innocent— and that's really— the journey starts of the hero as the fool, you know, not knowing, confused, not knowing where to go.


Robert Maldonado  15:42

Yeah. And throughout the journey, he just wants to go back home. Yeah, he's not like, you know, into it. He wants to be back in the Shire, of course, and be safe. But he is chosen in a way to do this big mission. And so he represents our lot as human beings, that life chooses us, right, we come forth into the world and we're on this mission that we didn't really choose. But now we have to meet the challenges of this grand mission.


Debra Maldonado  16:28

And grow up basically, leave the Shire, leave our comfort zone, like you say, leave the hobbit house, and go out into the world. It's a call to adventure in the hero's journey. It's that call to adventure. And we're always called, many people don't answer the call, they just put it off and put it off. And it's a broad world out there, big opportunities and potential in us that we're called to become, beyond our personality, beyond this little human personality, the collective unconscious has these powerful archetypes that want to live through us, want to be expressed in the role that we can play. And so the hero archetype was basically activated, and he had to step into that, even though his little ego is “No, I don't think so.” And Sam, the role that he played, he was his best friend, he was kind of— we all need a community, we all need people to be next to us, a best friend, someone that will keep reminding us who we are, and so he's kind of taking him on the journey, but also reminding him of his true self. Like, you know, you're still the same person, you know, don't get lost in the journey as well. So he kind of tethers him a little to the home of who he is, but also allows him to go on that journey. Keeping him in line.


Robert Maldonado  18:00

Good friend. Very much like I was saying about Bobby. He played Sam to my journey, my process of individuation, of growing up. But let's talk about the Shire because the Shire is a character in its own right. It is this community of people and they’re partying and having a good time.


Debra Maldonado  18:25

It's almost like Eden in a way in the Bible, like that kind of perfect. Everything's perfect and abundant. And you notice there was food everywhere and it's colorful, and there's no danger.


Robert Maldonado  18:37

But at the same time it's what creates the dark shadow, in that the Shire becomes an idealized space to be in, very much the persona.


Debra Maldonado  18:51

Like an attachment to it.


Robert Maldonado  18:53

And attachment, and you have to fit in. Gandalf, when he shows up, he's considered a disturber of the peace. because he's bringing in this—


Debra Maldonado  19:03

Stirring things up.


Robert Maldonado  19:05

Yeah. And he's coming from the outside. And so that's frowned upon. In there you see how— let's say just from the ordinary point of view it looks like “Well, I would rather be a hobbit and being in Hobbitville” right?


Debra Maldonado  19:21

I was thinking why didn't he just stay, it’s so comfortable.


Robert Maldonado  19:24

My little hobbit hole but it's what creates that external other, which is the opposite of that.


Debra Maldonado  19:34

And what's interesting is in the second role, there's The Hobbit which is the original book, where his uncle was actually the first one who discovered the ring, Bilbo. But he had left and did his journey, which is in the next movie, it’s the prequel to this, but he did come back to the Shire transformed and he had all this wisdom that he brought. But I thought it was really cool that he didn't want to stay there. He was like— he needed to go back to the adventure. So when we leave that comfort zone and we go out, when we return, we're different. And then the comfort zone is not fun or as fun, or doesn't fill you up anymore. So in our life it's like— for me it’s like going back home, you know, you go back home to your family. And you're just, you know, it's nice and comfortable. But then you're like, I'm different now. I'm not the same person. And then this isn't as comfortable as it used to be. And for some people family has never been comfortable. But we always feel that we can’t— like you always say, we can't go back home. And I remember when we left Denver, like 10 years ago now, we moved to New York. And we went back and did an event there. And I had changed so much from when I was in Denver, and I saw my friends. And it was like a different experience. Like you said, it's not the same place you left. And I think that's what happens when we leave, we're kind of breaking away from that idealized place, we wake up, and we see it for what it is, and we're not as attached anymore. It could still be there. But we're not as attached or deluded in that it's the perfect ideal place. And so many of us can relate to that. If you leave your hometown, you go out and you work somewhere else, and then you go back and you kind of connect with your old friends. And you've grown and they've grown and it's like going back to your college reunion or high school reunion and you just don’t— you're a different person. So when we leave it, it's almost like we have to let go that idealization and that perfect image of what it used to be.


Robert Maldonado  21:49

Yeah, often the journey of individuation begins with something that jars us out of our comfortable sleep of community, being in nature. So let's talk about Gandalf because he represents the wise old man, which is a Jungian archetype, really the inner wisdom, and he is of course the inner guide. He's not external to us. He's part of us. But because he's an archetype he is autonomous, meaning we're going to experience him outside of our ego persona. It feels like we're speaking to someone else.


Debra Maldonado  22:36

Yeah, like the collective, right?


Robert Maldonado  22:43

Jung had his own wizard inside. He called him Philemon. And in The Red Book he drew him out very much like an old man with a beard and kind of the wise old man who instructed him and guided him in the process. So in the book Gandalf comes into the Shire, and all hell breaks loose.


Debra Maldonado  23:13

And yeah, and he sets the fireworks off. And then that dragon kind of comes and then it turns— the kids play with— it's like the two boys, Merry and— I can't remember the other kid's name, but they were like the tricksters a little bit— Pippin. They're kind of like the people that like almost childlike. Yeah, it's like the magical child almost brings in, they stir things up in a way. They cause a lot of problems on the journey. But interesting. And then Gollum.


Robert Maldonado  23:49

I was gonna go for the ring because the ring sets us up to kind of how to deal with Gollum or what is going on with Gollum, what is Gollum’s role? So if you notice the action begins with a ring, right? Bilbo passes the ring on to Frodo. And that's when that darkness starts to creep in. Meaning the shadow starts to appear in a person's life. This awareness of something outside the parameter of the Shire.


Debra Maldonado  24:27

So is the ring the kind of the powers of the collective unconscious?


Robert Maldonado  24:32

Well, you know, mythology is like dreamwork, it has many layers of meaning. And so it functions in many ways. But ultimately for me, the ring represents the wheel of karma. When we're in the Shire, when we're in our innocent phase, we’re caught up in pleasing others. Creating a persona that fits into society. And there's nothing wrong with it, we need to do that. But we're caught because it's all about fitting in.


Debra Maldonado  25:09

It's like an attachment. Like that idea of Eastern philosophy of attachment. And I always think of it because they described it as the power of the world, that you can have the power of the world. So it's more that attachment to the material and the physical versus the spiritual.


Robert Maldonado  25:31

Yeah, the seeking pleasure, power. Life is—


Debra Maldonado  25:36

But not spiritual power, material power, like factories and kingdoms. The human pursuits.


Robert Maldonado  25:47

Very much so in kind of seeking out in mortality, but in the physical sense. And so the ring, this kind of awareness of the power of the ring, which hypnotizes people, right? Even Gandalf is—


Debra Maldonado  26:10

— doesn’t want to touch it. He picked it up, like, with a stick or whatever. He was not willing “Oh, his little thing.” He didn't want to touch it.


Robert Maldonado  26:18

He didn't want to touch it because he understood that it can seduce even our spiritual wisdom.


Debra Maldonado  26:25

How many times have we been seduced in the world?


Robert Maldonado  26:28

Yeah. And so you see people that start out with good intentions, and they have spiritual purpose. But they're seduced by the money, the fame, the power.


Debra Maldonado  26:41

Why are you looking at me?


Robert Maldonado  26:44

And not to point fingers, right, but we're all in danger of that. So Gandalf, being weary of the ring—


Debra Maldonado  26:53

— says “We need to destroy it.” So it's almost like destroy our karma, or to clear our karma. And if the ring is circular, and that's how karma feels, so you're never really getting anywhere. You're just craving and craving, and craving, and it's never enough. And so it almost magnifies— the ring magnifies that craving. Because if you notice, people, like you said, get hypnotized. But it's also the craving the ring, it's like craving in itself, of needing love from others or needing money or security, the things that we all want to crave in life, that key that seduces us into forgetting. And hypnotizes us into forgetting our true nature.


Robert Maldonado  27:36

Yeah. And it has that hypnotic power because it's so immediate. And so our senses are geared towards instant gratification. And so that immediacy of that power is what gives it its seductive power, right? We want it now.


Debra Maldonado  28:01

It almost like gives you a promise. Like, it's the ring, the way they got so like “Wow”, it's that kind of feeling of “I'm gonna win the lottery tomorrow”. That kind of idea that it's gonna solve all my problems if I just possess this. And then that possession and attachment.


Robert Maldonado  28:22

Yes. And then we see Gollum there as what happens to a person that buys into that. Because he was a, you know, an ordinary Hobbit. But he was—


Debra Maldonado  28:36

Hanging out, swimming, fishing with his brother.


Robert Maldonado  28:41

But he was seduced by the power of the ring. And it consumed him. It took him into the underworld but in the sense of his lower nature, his animal nature, his base element.


Debra Maldonado  28:58

He lost all his humanity, he became more of a creature. And we can kind of be like that when we're attached. We feel like we're just this creature that isn’t human anymore, or just so hungry, or so angry, or reactive to life and fearful and almost animalistic— that animal nature of survival that we get. And so he's pure survival, pure ego, that kind of lower nature, that would be a great way to describe it. And I love that he led him, Frodo, to the higher point. So in a way he was instrumental in helping them get rid of the ring. But kind of in a tricky way. So how would you relate that to Jungian psychology and the process of individuation?


Robert Maldonado  29:53

Right. So Jung says you cannot transcend your persona ego without integrating the shadow. In other words, the shadow has to be a part of your process. And you see that in the journey. Frodo and Sam eventually end up with Gollum, and Gollum becomes their guide into the crack of doom, where they can essentially get rid of the ring.


Debra Maldonado  30:27

I think it's interesting too that Sam evolves, and he actually becomes the true hero of the whole thing, because if it wasn't for Sam, Frodo and Gollum would have— who knows what would happen. But Sam was kind of like a high— I think of it like we talked about the higher knowledge and the divine intelligence, like that ability to see clearly, while you're balancing these forces. That part of your psyche that has that clarity, and that the kind of “I know where we're going. And I know, it's scary, but we got to keep going and moving.”


Robert Maldonado  31:07

Absolutely. You see that friendliness, that dedication to your friends. Kind of a noble purpose, you know, and just staying human, staying grounded.


Debra Maldonado  31:24

We really need that part of our mind that we can get lost in the ego, and we would get lost if we just didn't have that kind of focus point to relate to the collective, we have to have that kind of divine consciousness that is beyond the ego, that's available to us right now.


Robert Maldonado  31:44

Yeah, that’s why you see in a lot of spiritual practices, the cultivation of humility, compassion, those are the key elements that get you going on your journey. Because if you start off with “I want power”, you're already seduced basically by the ring. And you’re—


Debra Maldonado  32:04

And Sam wasn’t seduced, and he— well, he knew he couldn't handle it. But he also wasn't attached to making it about him. He was serving the purpose. And that's that idea, there's no selfishness in his act. It was purely “I'm standing by you. I'm allowing.” So this part of ourselves that says “I know you're having a tough time, I'm standing by you”, that other part of your psyche that can just hold the light for you as you go on your journey. And we all need to cultivate that in our lives. Our own little inner Sam.


Robert Maldonado  32:45

Yeah, so back to Gollum, we see this incredible creature that is really an ideal representation of the shadow. Again, he lives underground, meaning he's in the unconscious. He represents the unsavory aspects of our human nature, that we have to eat other animals, we have to kind of crawl around in the dirt to survive, and that we have a physical body that is inherited from our animal ancestry.


Debra Maldonado  33:23

That's not very clean, and it's hairy and smelly. Like, it's not like this “You have to wash it all the time.” It's just like “I'm pure environment that we're in, we have to live with.” Make it pretty with my earrings and nice pretty shirts.


Robert Maldonado  33:43

In essence, Jung talks about how modern civilization is a lot about denying our animal nature by covering it over with this covering of civilization.


Debra Maldonado  34:00

Because we think we're separate from animals because we're human, but we have that— we all evolved from them. So we have to remember that they're our ancestors.


Robert Maldonado  34:09

Absolutely. And it's our connection to nature again. Doing Shadow Work reconnects us to nature, without destroying it, without pushing it away.


Debra Maldonado  34:21

And I'm sure in Jung’s time, the Victorian times, there was a lot of suppression of sexuality, of even homosexuality, people couldn't, you know, really be themselves. A woman who wants to start a career would be looked at as, you know—


Robert Maldonado  34:38

Loose?


Debra Maldonado  34:39

No— loose. No, almost like a— I don't know, someone who doesn't choose marriage as sort of— What's the word? It's kind of a negative word that people use on women who don't marry and, you know, go in their career path. I can't remember the name of it. But I used to call myself that all the time when I was single, just because I was just “I don't want to be like, you know, turned out like—” I can't think of the word. But anyway. But back then we really— I think though society has evolved in lots of ways to be more expressive, more inclusive of different cultures and races and sexual orientations. I think people are more open. I mean, we have, you know, television and the media, you know, talks about being gay openly now versus 100 years ago when Jung— But we have a long way to go. There's so much that we keep in the shadow, there's so much that we try to put up our best face, our best persona. And the parts that are, like you said, unsavory are following us around like Gollum following. And they're really there to help us remember that, but also I think it's the humility that we can respect our humanity, but also accept our spirituality.


Robert Maldonado  36:03

Yes. So now, let's think about the dynamics between Frodo and Gollum. There's a couple of points in the movie, in the book that Frodo expresses, like, a pity or a mercy towards Gollum. He doesn't want to kill them. He doesn't want to destroy them, right? He understands—


Debra Maldonado  36:27

He kind of has a pure heart, Frodo, he's not angry, or aggressive or, you know, wants to harm anyone?


Robert Maldonado  36:34

Well, he sees that, you know, Gollum was a ring bearer like him. But he wasn't able to.


Debra Maldonado  36:42

So he has a connection to him.


Robert Maldonado  36:44

Yeah, he feels sympathy for him. Because he himself is under that weight of carrying the ring. And so he has compassion towards him. And that's what gives him that power to hold the ring. But he fails. In the end, if you notice, towards the very end of the scenes where they’re in the crack of doom, and the lava is right there and they’re on that cliff, Frodo decides to keep the ring. There’s an incident where he says “I'm not gonna throw it in. I'm gonna keep it, this is mine, you know, this is my precious.” And then it's Gollum who wrestles it in fighting with him, finally takes the ring, but slips it into the lava. So it's the shadow that allows us to—


Debra Maldonado  37:39

— let go of attachment. Beautiful! I just got goosebumps from that. That is beautiful. The Shadow we've been denying our whole life is the key to set us free. We forget that. It's embracing our— and I hate to say darkness, because really none of this is really dark, unless we— it's really the fear of those things, the fear of being seen as something other than our persona, that we're really facing, not the actual thing itself. And it's just letting go of that fear. And if someone thinks, you know, a certain personality doesn't seem appealing, you are free, we're not afraid of that anymore, we can really be ourselves versus trying to prop up our persona so everyone agrees with us, or everyone likes us, and everyone does what we think they should be doing. And then we could just be ourselves and I love that idea that the shadow is what frees us.


Robert Maldonado  38:40

And then we can think about, well, what do these archetypal stories and myths teach us about our current age, and our situation, collectively and individually as well. So we know, you know, as human beings, we're in a time where we haven't really come to terms with what is our role with nature. Like we're saying, we appear to be pushing it away, denying that we need nature, and then we're part of nature.


Debra Maldonado  39:10

Just put concrete down everywhere.


Robert Maldonado  39:12

And let's do technology full force.


Debra Maldonado  39:17

Well, kids today, they're on the computers all the time, they're now even learning on computers because of distance learning with the COVID. And they don't go out to play anymore because it's not safe to just play in the backyard and “I want to watch my video game, play my video game or go on social media instead of actually talk to people”. Even when they eat dinner at home. We see families that kids are on their phones instead of talking to their parents. That kind of disconnection from each other and nature.


Robert Maldonado  39:52

Yeah. And these myths are meant to remind us of that internal journey that we need to be doing. And the destructiveness essentially comes from the denial of that mythology, of listening to that internal story, the imagination, the dreams, the unconscious content.


Debra Maldonado  40:20

I think people don't really— most people don't know how to be alive. They learn to survive in their life but they really don't know how to be alive in their life and the journey, internal journey, working with dreams, working with these different aspects of the archetypes and even facing your shadow, meditation, going to other states of awareness, there's so much to discover about ourselves, that's our inner world, that makes life, this physical life, whatever it is, so much more rich and meaningful and purposeful. And people need to put down the phone, pay attention to their dreams and really ask themselves deeper questions and think about your whole life. What are you chasing, you know, chasing these external things? And you never stopped to say “Well, why don't you chase yourself, go inside and chase the wisdom.” And that would give you so much more reward than just a nice sports car or a great promotion at work. Because we end up spending so much time at work, being unhappy in careers we don't love, creating things like versus— someone said “manufacturing things that people buy that no one wants anyway”, and we get lost in that attachment. And humanity has— and the only way we can wake up and change our experience in the world is one at a time each take our own responsibility for our own mind and our own experience. And then that creates a ripple effect in the world.


Robert Maldonado  42:09

Yeah, so in the movie, there's a scene where they show what the evil dark side is up to. And it shows them— I think it says that they're combining orcs with the goblins. So it's essentially what we're up to as human beings, we're genetically now modifying life forms to create for our purposes. And we know it's going to go into military ends.


Debra Maldonado  42:42

They're starting to join that in China, I think, the military— the master races.


Robert Maldonado  42:47

That's right, these archetypes give us a heads up as to what's coming up in the collective, what's going to go on. And we have to be very conscious of these things, with artificial intelligence, with genetic engineering, we're going to get into gray areas of that, if we don't think about them, if we don't consciously take the reins, they're going to catch us unawares, they’re going to be there all of a sudden, without us knowing what to do with these powers.


Debra Maldonado  43:25

And the ego will have— of humans will run, make these decisions. Just like the precious, and has a lot of power. The ego has a lot of power, but not as much as the spiritual power. But if we give the ego all the power, that's what happens. We just let it run. And a lot of us think “Well, I'm just one person, the world is messed up, how do I change the world?” You do by changing yourself. And you've probably heard that before. But it is so true. Because as you shift, you create a ripple effect with everyone around you, because people will start to change. Just do that transmission of you being true to yourself. And that's why we do what we do, because we want to have more coaches that can help people facilitate this transformation on such a deep, profound level that we're not just thinking positive and putting a vision work together, manifesting you know, the next thing in our life, we're actually becoming our true self. And in that has all the power in the world. And you don't need a ring to make and go to your destiny. That’s your purpose on Earth.


Robert Maldonado  44:41

Yeah, because individually we feel like “Well, I'm just the little grain of sand in this huge universe. What is my work going to amount to?” But Jung says that it creates that tipping point that if enough individuals do their internal work and wake themselves up, you get to that tipping point where the culture changes, you know, the ideas that come through great art like literature, like these books, then they become a way of guiding our work in the world. And instead of just blindly destroying nature and saying, “Well, there's nothing we can do, because we need the jobs and we need to create these technologies”, we find these opportunities that say “Wait a minute, we're looking for life out on other planets while we're not even taking care of—”


Debra Maldonado  45:38

Looking for another Earth, let's just destroy this one and keep destroying it and not doing anything about it. But let's go to Mars and see if we can build something there. It's just insanity. But yeah, so I want to get to some questions before we go. But so think about if you haven't watched The Ring, or you haven't watched it in a couple of years, check it out. Look at it through new eyes now. And then we invite you to look at all the pop movies and series that you see. We're going to be talking about Dune next week, I think. I think, I can't remember what's next. But we are really going to be able to see what can we learn besides being entertained. How can we understand ourselves better? How can we see the world better? And what do we need to do? I feel like it just has a whole new meaning when you watch it with this lens of archetypes and individuation.


Robert Maldonado  46:38

And if you haven't read the books, like Debbie hasn’t read, we encourage you to read the books because in reading you're activating your own mythological imagination. I mean, I love the movies.


Debra Maldonado  46:59

Well, I read Jung directly. So to me, I always feel like he awakens that imagination just by reading. If I read Jung before I go to bed, my dreams are fantastic. So anyway, have a great, wonderful rest of your day and weekend. Stay safe. And we'll see you next week at another Soul Session.


Robert Maldonado  47:22

See you guys. Stay well. 


Debra Maldonado  47:24 

Bye bye.