Johnson is a Jungian psychologist and his book is all about how the myth of the Holy Grail can be used to explain male psychology. ( Log Out /  In this case, it's two myths and the lesson is about learning to be successful in a mechanized world without losing your anima(feminine,feeling side). This concept of punishment is also seen in Eschenbach's tale where Perceval is told: "your uncle gave you a sword, too, by which you have been granted since your eloquent mouth unfortunately voiced no question there. Symbolically, both the Fisher King and the Handless Maiden reside in each one of us, as either our masculine or feminine shadow. I know that I have a Fisher King wound. Secondly Eschenbach thoroughly describes the nature of the wound. Folklore (Folklore) 100 (1): 25–38: 27. I am in awe of his wisdom. To heal, a woman needs solitude. Who could ask for more? Such is the case right now with our wounded feeling function- our inability to find joy, worth, and meaning in life. Lots of deep ideas to think about. We’d love your help. The wound to The Fisher King, via a spear through his testicles (to the tenderest part of the male anatomy), signifies a wounding to man’s sense of potency and his self-esteem. I am often convinced that if I just searched harder for love, happiness, or God that I will find what I seek. The more seriously wounded father stays in the castle, sustained by the Grail alone, while the more active son can meet with guests and go fishing. There's a lot of overlap between this book and "He" by the same author. The more recent writings have the lance presented in the Fisher King's castle with Christian theology. He is unable to drink from it, though. Robert Johnson's writing style does not grab me but this book was worth reading. A lot of traditions have a name for this wound. This is seen in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. And because I cling to this wound so hard, I make it impossible for others to love and need me. Highly suggested reading for everyone, as it has a lot to say about out culture and society as well as our individual wounds. by HarperOne, The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden: Understanding the Wounded Feeling Function in Masculine and Feminine Psychology. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! We all have something that is broken that we are seeking to fix.

But as it stands, this book is a brisk and engaging read for anyone interested in psychological aspects of folklore. Johnson's analysis of myth as archetype is a necessary read for any lover of stories. The nature of Pellam's sin is not stated explicitly, though he at least tolerates his murderous brother Garlon, who slays knights while under cover of invisibility, apparently at random. Mine is a sense of inadequacy. Does the figure of the Fisher King have anything to do with the fish in the Chinese story? It is even murkier in Malory's work: one passage explicitly identifies them (book XIII, chapter 5), though this is contradicted elsewhere. Stone, Alby (1989). Fish is a symbol for Jesus, since the beginning, the fisher of men, etc. Parzival, unlike its predecessor Perceval, has a definite ending. The tales of the fisher king and the handless maiden have some real power to them, and I think I will be be mulling over the stories for a while. Many in his line are wounded for their failings, and the only two that survive to Arthur's day are the Wounded King, named Pellehan (Pellam of Listeneise in Malory), and the Fisher King, Pelles. The wound is sometimes presented as a punishment, usually for philandering.
Barber, Richard (2004).

The nature of the question differs between Perceval and Parzival, but the central theme is that the Fisher King can be healed only if Percival asks "the question".[4]. A decent analysis of two legends that relies too much on its own premises. Pingback: What I Have Learned in Recovery | Spencer Writes. He may be derived more or less directly from the figure of Brân the Blessed in the Mabinogion. Bryant, D. S. Brewer, Cambridge 1982, reprinted in paperback 1997 New Edition 2006. Many of his books I’ve read multiple times and each time deeper truths are revealed. The Fisher King appears first in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail in the late 12th century, but the character's roots may lie in Celtic mythology. [7] Chretien describes his lance with "marvelous destructive powers", which holds a closer connection to the malignant weapons of Celtic origin. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. [8] In Chretien's Perceval, the lance takes on a dark and almost evil persona[8] and also seems to overshadow the Grail, which if this was a Christian story would be rather odd. Tons of great insight...wish someone would write a book like this in the Christian perspective. Wow. However, the last time I read it, I found it to be more like an introduction to the Jungian perspective on male/ female psychology. I'd recommend this over reading "He" and "She" separately because the female allegory here is much stronger than the one in "She". In later versions, knights travel from many lands to try to heal the Fisher King, but only the chosen can accomplish the feat. I gleaned a few valuable insights about the wounding - and healing - of the masculine/feminine (such as, healing the masculine (within a man or woman) being about "heroic journey", while healing the feminine (in a man or woman) is about "solitude"). Can't wait to read the second section "The Handless Maiden". For example, I struggle with pride because I think if I put on enough of a confident show, people will like me better. King Pelles, grandfather of Galahad, described as "the maimed king". His analysis of the Fisher King feels quite strong, but his take on the Handless Maiden didn't resonate with me. Pelles and his relative Pellehan appear in both the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate cycles, as well as in later works, such as Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (in which Pellehan is called Pellam).

These two fables address men & women and how we can attribute much of the tension between us to the different ways we suffer. It would appear that Malory intended to have one Maimed King, wounded by Balin and suffering until healed by his grandson Galahad, but never managed to successfully reconcile his sources. I just loved this book. I think that we can all benefit from examining our Fisher King wounds, male or female. He asks his followers to sever his head and take it back to Britain, and his head continues talking and keeps them company on their trip. "[13] The sword remains as a plot device to both remind Perceval of how he failed to ask the healing question and as a physical reminder of the existence of "Munsalvaesche" (Eschenbach's name for Corbenic).
great book... short read, but far from easy... i want to read it again and again... very compact if you are willing to pull truth apart enough to digest it. The writing seems at times confusing and surreal, with sporadic assessment of Christianity influence, plus the loose connection between ancient tales and twentieth century syndromes concerning the weakening of man and woman's inner world and psychological health. Here, the "Rich Fisher" is called Bron, a name similar enough to Bran to suggest a relationship, and he is said to be the brother-in-law of Joseph of Arimathea, who had used the Grail to catch Christ's blood before laying him in the tomb. After many years he comes back to his fish friends who ask him if he found it. readers interested in Jungian Psychology, symbols and dreams. Later, Bran wages war on the Irish and is wounded in the foot or leg, and the cauldron is destroyed. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The central question in this book is, "What do the classical tales of the Fisher King and the Handless Maiden pose psychological implications for today's world, and for the gap between masculinity and femininity?". ( Log Out /  Just a coincidence. the ancient tales tend to be brutal and rough.) In Arthurian legend, the Fisher King (French: Roi pêcheur, Welsh: Brenin Pysgotwr), also known as the Wounded King or Maimed King (Roi blessé, in Old French Roi Méhaigié, Welsh: Brenin Clwyfedig), is the last in a long bloodline charged with keeping the Holy Grail. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. 40, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Dogmata, Catastrophe, and the Renaissance of Fantasy in Diana Wynne Jones", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fisher_King&oldid=984984609, Articles lacking in-text citations from March 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, King Pellam, wounded by Balin, as in the Post-Vulgate. I enjoy reading Robert Johnson's interpretation of fables. In the Post-Vulgate cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, the Fisher King's wound was given to him by Sir Balin in the "Dolorous Stroke", when Balin grabs a spear and stabs Pellam in self-defense. ( Log Out /  He writes succinct prose that exposes psychological wounds which are ready for healing. There are slight hints in the early versions that his kingdom and lands suffer as he does, and modern scholars have suggested his impotence affecting the fertility of the land and reducing it to a barren wasteland. In the instance of the Fisher King, the wound negates his ability to honor his sacred charge. If we ask, more than likely, we will see that the answer has been before us all along. He may be derived more or less directly from the figure of Brân the Blessed in the Mabinogion. I seek others’ approval. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. "Bran, Odin, and the Fisher King: Norse Tradition and the Grail Legends." ", Wow. The author introduces the psychological significance of the Fisher King tale and the Handless Maiden story. Brown, Arthur (1910). It brought interesting ideas to and clarified the angst I was seeing in my own and my wife's psychological struggles. Johnson is a Jungian psychologist and his book is all about how the myth of the Holy Grail can be used to explain male psychology. Galahad is raised by his aunt in a convent, and when he is eighteen, comes to King Arthur's court and begins the Grail Quest. The Fisher King's next development occurred around the end of the 13th century in Robert de Boron's Joseph d'Arimathie, the first work to connect the Grail with Jesus.

The Fisher King appears first in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail in the late 12th century, but the character's roots may lie in Celtic mythology. Although some iterations have two kings present, one or both are injured, most commonly in the thigh.


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