Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sword and Stone

The legend of the sword and the stone is a well known myth, conjuring up images of King Arthur and Camelot.

The outer meaning is simple: The person who can dislodge the weapon from the rock is preordained to become the ruler of the kingdom. There is apparently a magic spell fusing the sword and stone, and although not based in any real physics, it provides a mysterious beginning to the lore of the round table. Kids love this stuff.

But as always, there is a second meaning when it comes to mythology.

And in this case, the esoteric meaning is profound.

Stone, a very dense substance, is often a symbolic reference to the world and its matter. Limiting and immovable, it is bound to the physical laws such as gravity. It represents the Earth and our mortal bodies.

The sword is spirit and intellect. It cuts through the veil of any false perception and allows us to experience the spiritual aspects of life.

The King is the higher self who realizes the two different aspects of Self.

In a more eastern context, the fusion could be seen as yin and yang.

The fact that the many knights and dukes who feel entitled to the kingship fail to remove the sword despite their utmost physical effort is telling. It is the meek and ego-less boy who manages the feat, and he does so with no strain whatsoever.

A familiar lesson to be sure.

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