20 Archetypes, 20 Invitations: In Reverence of Blue Monkey

The Galactic Calendar orients around 20 different archetypal principals. Each archetype offers myriad invitations into personal inquiry and practice. I’d like to explore living examples of the archetypes in action, through this series of blogs entitled, 20 Archetypes, 20 Invitations. Welcome to Blog 1, In Reverence of Blue Monkey.

Blue Monkey is archetype 11 of 20 in the Galactic Calendar, (also referred to as tribe 11).

Blue Monkey represents the divine child. Blue Monkey is the magic ambassador of playfulness and the mystical trickster. When Blue Monkey comes into our field via the time codes of the Galactic Calendar, we are invited to look through eyes of wonder, to unleash the vibrant life force of our imagination and to turn our serious, linear certainties into flexible, dancing possibilities.

I had the privilege of bearing witness to the Blue Monkey in action every week for three years when I was a part time dance teacher at a local elementary school.

Let me set the scene:

Classes took place in a big, open gym. During the first half of class we focused on the technique and during the second half, we investigated improvisational movement.

Music burst out of the soundsystem. Large groups of children coiled their bodies around rhythm and explored the limitless menagerie of movement creatures that stalked their wild, wide imaginations. The inhibition that fueled their wonder was something I revered. It allowed them to be risk taking. It allowed them to discover essential truths and ancient myths through the vehicle of their bodies.

We were big fans of a particular improvisational movement game I made up, that we came to refer to as the Tell Me A Story game. It was simple in concept and profound in practice. I’d put on a song, give them a prompt and ask them to tell me a story using only their movement. I’d begin with prompts like, “Tell me the story of planting a garden. Tell me the story of why the sun sets. Tell me the story of your favorite pet.”

They’d throw themselves head first into each exercise. They wanted nothing more than opportunities to tell stories kinesthetically.

We’d soon enter more complex and layered story scenarios. Things like, “Tell me the story of loneliness.”

I remember one child going to the corner of the room, sitting down and tilting his head toward the floor. Another child crawled on his hands and knees toward his friend and reached out for her. A third child laid down on the ground and looked up at the ceiling as if the ceiling were a universe of endless stars.

It always quaked me - their willingness to tap into their own human vulnerability and the collective vulnerability of their parents, their siblings, their teachers, the world.

We then delved into magical realism story territory. Things like, “Tell me the story of when rainbow warriors ruled the earth and the moon was made of dolphins.”

It was abstract, but they were fully able to inhabit abstract places. They were not worried how other students did it. They were curious about the interpretations of their peers, but they didn’t look to their peers to set the template. They trusted their own imagination. They trusted their own creative instinct - limitlessly.

Why, as we grow, do we disconnect from the medicine of our divine, inner child? Why do we block an untamed trust in the wisdom of our non-linear instincts? Why do we stop harvesting the beauty of a flexible mind?

Because society values clear divisions between children and adults.

Because we become wounded and afraid.

Because we do not want to be rejected.

We’d often end with the prompt, “Tell me the story of how to save the planet.”

I asked this question because I was investigating the deeper meaning of salvation. I was seeking illumination in the wise movements of my students.

In dark times, when I disavow my sense of wonder and magic, when I enter into an underworld in which everything appears hopeless and terrifying, I reach into my memory for these dancing moments.

One girl gathered a circle of her friends and they all linked hands.

A boy smoothed his palms over the ground with loving attention.

Two children jumped up and down as they faced each other and giggled.

A student cradled something invisible and hummed softly to himself.

Two kids slammed their bodies into the mat against the wall, over and over and over.

Truths that allude our serious, adult examinations of the planet, they surface like sacred shadows on the water through courageous play.

I believe the power of the Blue Monkey archetype lies in our ability to dissolve rigidity and apply the medicine of magical thinking. To access our unruly, creative potential we must relinquish that which divides our world into yes and no, good and bad, this or that. We must be uninhibited in the exploration of our imagination. We must be ceaselessly dedicated to the delight of the task at hand.

Exceedingly present. Righteously mischievous. Wondrously enraptured.

We must be our first self again.

The self we knew before our dancing was shamed into stillness.

The self we knew before we feared exclusion.

The self we knew when community was foundational, hearts were trusting and imaginations were free. ​

Blue Monkey arrives to remind us that children live very close to the memory of their origin. They instinctively locate the clearest path to revelation.

May we watch closely. May we joyfully follow their lead.

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