As Psyche continues her journey to really grow up (aka her hero's journey), her second task requires that she obtain golden fleece from aggressive, head-butting rams.
Her second task seems just as impossible as the first given the rams could easily trample her. However, the reeds in the field, as did the ants, come to her aid, advising her to wait until sundown. Once the rams disperse, she can safely pick strands of fleece off the brambles.
Psyche’s ability to acquire the golden fleece without being crushed is a metaphor for a every woman’s task of gaining power without losing her innate sense of connectedness and compassion.
Photo courtesy of Peter Crunkhurn
Many women are quite adept at informal power, hence the saying “behind every great man is a great woman.”
But have we learned how to wield formal power? And if we haven't, why not?
Is it because we were taught that feminine girls don't play with power?
There were many times in high school and college when I was relieved to learn that my test scores were lower than my boy friends. I was truly afraid that if I ‘claimed my power', boys wouldn't like me. So, I played dumb.
The stories our society lives by reinforce this notion. Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada can butt heads with the best of the rams, as can Cruella de Vil. They're villainesses, you say? Precisely. You want to be a princess? Me too.
But I also want to grow up — so where is the middle ground? It may be hard to find in film, literature, and even real life.
But to be the hero of our story, do it we must.
How do we wield power differently when we're the ‘power behind the throne' versus ‘the throne'?
For example, how do we wield power with children? Does this power corrupt us?
Can you think of a situation recently in which you didn't ‘claim your power' (read: ‘dare to achieve' in whatever form this may take) because you were afraid of what others would think of you?
What if you cloaked that claim with compassion, using it to be the see-er of others' strengths? Of their magnificence? To inspire them to their best selves?