Working with the Dark Queen – an Archetype of alternative Sovereignty
“Men have forgotten what it means to be afraid. We will bring fear.”
-Freya The Huntsman, Winter’s War
The beginning of comprehending our spiritual journey often comes from the practice of wearing many masks. This is not meant as deceit… unless that is a shadow lesson about the self and our own unfortunate poisonous habits that need to be addressed… but instead an experience to guide us in the art of seeing through eyes that are not our own.
In the process of seeking to understand personal fear, the message that “…I will sit with my fear, I will wear it like a mask, I will understand it, in all its complexity, not to simplify it, not to reject it, but to better understand it…” came to the fore as I delved into the symbolism of Rabbit as the Fear Caller.
One such mask that has long intrigued and piqued my interest is that of the Dark Queen, often portrayed as the Fairy tale “villain,” she is a complicated and intricate creature forged from Otherness; often in full command of magical abilities, sometimes a Witch, sometimes a Shapeshifter, sometimes a Seer… but always she is a ruler, in complete control of herself, her power, and frequently, her kingdom. The Dark Queen often exudes power and sensuality, in extremes her sexuality is weaponised and considered wild and even dangerous – in patriarchal retellings of fairy tales she is the threat – usually to an inexperienced and innocent female counterpart.
Given that the ‘heroes’ in these tales are never as complex or diverse in their personalities I have to wonder if they are simply a reflection of the villain through the mirror (mirror on the wall), they represent a ‘light’ side to the ‘shadow’ of the Dark.
The heroes frequently seem far less interesting, often they are presented as two dimensional, rarely grappling with their situation or their morality. This presents them as lacking in depth – which is present in humans and is often key to spiritual dialogue and investigation; the ability to wrestle with the moral and ethical implications of a situation, or to act in a manner outside of their archetype. Arguably of course, all fairy tale archetypes are stuck in the paradoxical nature of rigidity, they are either wholly “good” or wholly “bad” in order to tell a moralistic tale of the ‘triumph’ over evil.
In modern retellings however, this has begun to evolve somewhat, with television shows such as “Once upon a time,” playing with the idea that the Evil Queen is more complicated than Evil and story origin movies such as “Maleficent” shifting the focus and giving us an alternative perspect (and indeed, story). Although none of these re-tellings are without problems, they do open up the concept of interpretation of mythos and the rise in interest in what Dark Queen imagery means to a modern mind.
To my mind, Sovereignty is a concept I struggle with slightly because with followers of the Morrigan, the realm of Sovereignty is usually ascribed to Macha.
Personally, being more in tune with Badb and Underworld energies (even though Badb is designated the Phantom Queen), sometimes I would wonder how best to address my own shadow elements of sense of self and self worth whilst engaging with Her. The Dark Queen holds many of the answers to this conundrum; for Dark Queens are easily relate-able to Goddesses of the Underworld, whom are cloaked in the surety of their sovereignty without malice or hubris, and though many of them find their rule mocked and challenged, they invariably win any contest to belittle their worth.
Death is sure. It will always come, in many forms, both throughout life, in moments of orgasmic ecstasy, “La petite Mort,” that are so inextricably linked to Dark Queen sexuality, in moments of death within our life that sees the shedding of ‘lives once lived’ as well as in a literal sense, we are often observers at the sidelines as others pass away, and one day, we too shall shed this lifetimes skin.
Fear of this certainty has always seemed to me to be counter productive; Dark Queens fair far better when they accept change and inevitability rather than seek to control that outside of their sphere of influence. The uncertainty of life, however, is a state of flux which I (in all my Earth sign glory) often seem to struggle against, preferring the familiar even whilst I dislike routine, and seek to control even whilst I know most of these efforts are futile, and worse, against the mission of soul.
Wearing the mask of the Dark Queen holds many important lessons; we must all confront that which seeks to usurp our sovereignty, and know when to act to protect ourselves, forming boundaries and walls of thorn, and when to smile knowingly and let the moment pass. This process of self preservation is again finding a balance, and not allowing fear to dictate to us, at least not too much. Sometimes our intuition about situations and people is instinctual and moreover correct – those are not our territories to be traversed, those are not our people; those circumstances will not enrich us (and we will not enrich them in return.)
In contrast, when fear is ruling over us, we can seek to escape situations that challenge us, and are meant to… because even though they are painful, they are necessary, for our own spiritual growth.
“Often, in the face of pain, we reveal who we are.” – Joey Morris
Pain, and the fear of painful experience, often encourages many of us to flee before the lesson, seeking Rabbit like to burrow ourselves deep underground until it passes, or in some cases, when we have begun the Dark Queen path, we internalise it so deeply that it poisons our insides until we believe that shadow is part of our identity, unmutable, unchangeable…
Image – Daniel-Vazquez
That pain can become fuel, lashing out in a multitude of unhealthy ways, motivating us to see attack where there is none, or blow situations out of all proportion. I should know, because I have done it.
The imbalance to a Dark Queen mentality is that sometimes, we roar with disdain at those seeking to belittle our experiences, because they have found a way to poke our shadow and the wounds that have not healed.
We do all encounter people whose shadows are encouraging them to be the false light princess who secretly covets what the Dark Queen has already paid for in pain, and blood, and experience, and we all have the moments of pure irritation where we feel like a sleeping curse might come in handy against such encounters.
The difference in life to fairytale, is that there is no “right” way to address situations that challenge us, and fear often meshes with our emotions, bringing pain to the surface so that we react too abruptly, too harshly, and even too cruelly.
Ultimately, no one can challenge your personal Sovereignty, your power, but you.
Refusing to allow your power to be handed over to the upstart princess with a superiority complex can take all forms of behaviour, but ultimately non engagement seems to be the tested and true method of response.
What Dark Queen energy truly instigates in us is balance; we can be fiercely proud without arrogance, we can take charge of ourselves without seeking to rule over others, we can rise above the matters of state which are beneath us, and form boundaries without guilty conscience. We can accept fear without attempting to buckle and break it.
We can be our own Queen.
Many blessings, Starlet Joey
– Joey Morris 2017 All my own work all rights reserved