Blue Beard, and why our deepest work is often our darkest

Barbe Bleue

Barbe-Bleue donnant les clefs des garde meubles a sa femme, gravure par Gustave Dore, 1862, pour illustrer le Conte de Charles Perrault — Bluebeard giving keys to his wife, engraving by Gustave Dore, 1862, illustration for Charles Perrault’s tale

The tale of Blue Beard is one that terrifyingly enough, all women will come to understand in our lives. Particularly as we begin to recognize the difference between our higher consciousness and our Ego. Their separateness. And as we start to see the “predator” within our own psyches that seeks to keep us Ego-bound and unenlightened. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls it, this predator seeks to turn all crossroads into dead ends. It does so by convincing us to dismiss our wildish nature.

In the this tale, from Women Who Run with the Wolves, Blue Beard was a particularly strange man with a bright blue beard who had his eyes on three sisters. He wanted to marry them. But the two oldest sisters had their doubts. Something about him just didn’t sit right.

In an effort to win them over, he took the three sisters to his castle where he showed off his lavish lifestyle…his acres of meadow and forest, his horses, his enormous estate, and so much more. He fed them, charmed them, and gave his all trying to win the sisters over. Showing them what he believed they wanted to see.

After the trip to his castle the two older sister discussed their experience and agreed that despite all of his efforts, something was still off.  So they declined his proposal.

The younger sister, however, was enchanted by him. She saw him to be nice enough, so she agreed to marry him.

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