Magician, Alchemist and Song of Solomon

“It must be pointed out that just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious.”

-Carl Jung

Sigmund Freud was interested in unconscious mind- thoughts that are stored in some part of brain about which we are not aware while in conscious state; such thoughts creep into our conscious mind through dreams or Freudian slip. Carl Jung too believed in unconscious mind, but he believed that it is not at individual level but at collective level i.e. there are some things children all over the world are aware of ex. mother, father, child, devil, god, wise old man, wise old woman, the trickster, the hero. Jung called them archetypes. This perhaps explains universal appeal of Harry Potter novels.

Carol-Pearson-SCALED[1]

Psychologist Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr designed a psychometric test based on archetypes to identify which archetype dominates your thinking, it is called The Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator. There are twelve such archetypes. One of them is magician.

archtypes

magician

Magician is one who believes in changing what happens by altering his own thoughts and behaviour. He believes in transformative, catalytic and healing power. He believes that he can transform reality by changing consciousness changing- what I think can change my reality.

They also believe that everything is interconnected and in transformation of lesser into better realities- whatever I need I can make it happen.

Such characters can be found in two novels- Alchemist by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho and Song of Solomon by American novelist Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison won Noble Prize for her work.

Paulo-Coelho-Quotes-2

Hero of Paulo Coelho’s novel is shepherd called Santiago, every time he sleeps under a sycamore tree that grows out of the ruins of a church, he has a dream, and in dream a child tells him that there is treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids.

alchemist[1]

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Santiago decides to follow his dream; he leaves Spain and goes to Egypt. During travel, he faces lot of hardships, but he also meets alchemist and a lady whom he falls in love.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure…The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

On reaching pyramids he starts digging at the foot of the pyramids, but finds nothing, there is no treasure. To make matters worse, two thieves beat him up. Santiago tells them about his dream, to which one of thief replies not to waste time on such dreams, as he too had a dream that there is some treasure buried in an abandoned church in Spain where a sycamore tree grows. Santiago now knows where treasure is buried.

Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked.

“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”

 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Santiago after coming back to Spain goes back to place where he had dream and finds treasure there.

Santiago is magician, who follows a dream, doesn’t give up and in process transforms himself.

toni morrison

The central character in Toni Morrison’s novel is Milkman Dead. Milkman is son of Ruth and Macon Junior. While Macon Jr. is ruthless and greedy, the female characters in novel love Milkman, these include, in addition to his mother, his sisters Corinthians and Magdalene, his cousin and lover Hagar, his aunt Pilate (sister of Macon Jr.)

song of soloman

You wanna fly; you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

 ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Milkman like his father is selfish and doesn’t care for people who love him. He has a friend called Guitar, whose aim in life is to get rid of whites who he believes commit atrocities on Afro-Americans.

Father of Macon Jr. and Pilate was Macon, a landowner who was killed by whites to grab his land. Macon Jr. tells Milkman that Pilate has hidden gold in land of his father. Milkman decides to search for gold, so Milkman and Guitar reach land of Milkman’s grandfather, but don’t find any gold, instead find skeleton of Macon Dead Sr.

“He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”

 ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Disappointed, Guitar decides to return, but Milkman is now interested in knowing about his family background, he decides to go to place called Shalimar, where Macon’s father lived. Before starting his journey he breaks his relationship with Hagar.

“You think because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think because he doesn’t want you anymore that he is right- that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Hagar, don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that.”

 ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

On reaching Shalimar, he finds out that his grandfather’s real name was Jake. Jake was son of Solomon and Ryna. Solomon was an innovative person, he designed wings and using them he flew back to Africa to get out of life of slavery. He left behind Ryna who died heart broken. Jake married an Indian girl Sing, and had two children Macon and Pilate.

This discovery of his family roots transforms Milkman and he becomes more caring.

Milkman’s transformation takes place on reaching Shalimar, where he becomes aware of his roots, he hears children sing Solomon’s song; he also participates in rituals of men of Shalimar.

But novel ends with a tragic note with Hagar committing suicide and Pilate gets killed by Guitar (Guitar’s actual target was Milkman, who Guitar believes has found gold but is not sharing with him.)

 

 

 

 

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