In fairy tales, we find several persistent characters, such as the witch, the giant, and the dragon, that, on the surface, play the role of a villain. In these stories of Deep Time, however, when we learn to commune with the tales from our dreaming awareness, these characters are revealed to be playing the role of the forces of initiation. In other story forms, witches, giants, and dragons may be our friends and allies. But in most cases, in the fairy tales of Deep Time, their appearance signals a powerful, adversarial force that arises within us and will either mature or destroy us. They are the skin-in-the-game forces of soul awakening.
Big Issues of Soul
The Giant, as its name implies, is a massive being, a gigantic energy. It is an unavoidable and overwhelming presence that threatens to crush us underfoot. It stomps into our story, like a sudden storm rolling in and tossing, or threatening to toss, our world about. A massive pressure sets upon us, such as “huge” situations that give us neither a way to get around them nor a straightforward means to deal with them directly. It is also a bumbling force, dumb if you will, hungry and dumb. It comes smashing in without recognizing our tiny presence nor for the damage it can cause, eating its way through the tale and our energy. This is not a power we can deal with on its terms.
We know the giant has us cornered because we become one. We begin stomping around on things, verbally if not physically. We say knee-jerk, explosive things intended to smash those around us and devour those who oppose us. We phrase things using “giant” words such as “you always…” and “you never…” Even if we do these things with a calm voice and composed demeanor, the energy of the words contains our giant appendages looking to crush any reply. As the giant takes over more energy, we seek to devour anything we can find. We try to occupy all the space with our growing sense of incensed immensity.
To face the giant requires the rooted intelligence of the soul. If we try and fight the giant, it devours us (we become a giant). If we try and trick our way out of it, while that is closer to what will work, it will only perpetuate the challenge. Trying to outsmart the giant doesn’t work because the giant, while dumb, is still clever enough to see through common trickery. We see this in our current social media conversation on all sides as we try to sound smarter (be bigger) than the other giants, smashing each other with ever bigger clubs made of biased research and persnickety details delivered with snide self-assurance and a reckless self-praising sparkle in our eyes. No one ever really wins. They just get hungrier.
The Map Is The Treasure
The trick is to understand the giant and then use that understanding to navigate the encounter. For instance, when the giant proclaims, “I will eat you,” the soulful person must be quick, not on their toes but in their rooted reply. Instead of attempting to avoid or retort (both forms of denial), if the soul can instead bring a coherent question to the reply, we are getting somewhere. “Do you want to eat me specifically, or are you just hungry?” This opens a door in the situation that, though not the way out, indicates the way through. When done well, deep listening and subtle questioning of the giant follows, which leads to the possibility of an empowering resolution, one careful step at a time.
At first, the giant seems to be guarding a hoard of gold, which we think we want, but it is actually guarding a map. As we follow these soulful moves, we begin to discern an approach to the big energies in life that not only helps us to survive the encounters but shows us how to yield power from them. It is not a finished map that the giant is guarding, and it requires us to discern and draw it. Each move the giant is coaxing from us is a move that teaches us not only how to deal with the current situation but also principles at play that can guide us through other circumstances. This is not an instant kind of change or victory but a slow cooking, as in an alchemical process that, when we learn to undertake it skillfully, begins to yield the gold we can become.