Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tao of the Phoenix & the Dragon

"While Eeyore frets ...

... and Piglet hesitates
... and Rabbit calculates
... and Owl pontificates
...Pooh just is."

That's the Tao of Pooh.

It was required reading for my roommate in college and I wonder if that's where she learned to be clueless. (Probably not.) I'm more of a cross between Eeyore and Piglet myself. In fact, good characters have more than just the one personality trait. (Usually that combination is more interesting than fretting and hesitating.) Matthew Rush argues that Finding Balance in our characters is essential to a successful novel and I agree.

Of course, when you have characters with unique, paranormal or superhuman powers, equilibrium can be harder to come by. Djinn energy can be an unstoppable force so the struggle for balance is a core element of Sybil's character arc. It's difficult for her to acknowledge kundalini/phoenix rising until she learns to manage it with a particular ballast.

In Taoism, the counterweight of the phoenix is the dragon.  Phoenix is female, representing the yin or the empress, and the dragon is male, representing the yang or the emperor.  An excess of one or the other is unwise, while equalization between the two is symbolic of harmonious yin and yang.

As any student of Taoism knows, there is no good or evil, only balance.
Enhanced by Zemanta

10 comments:

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I love finding inspiration for my characters in Taoism, as well as the Tarot and Mythology. I haven't read The Tao of Pooh or The Te of Piglet in years. I should pull them off the shelf and dust them off...

Hope your week is going great!

Jessica Bell said...

Wow. This is a really awesome post. There's a paragrpah in my WIP actually relating to this. I think I posted it on my blog. Must have been before we were following each other ... let me check and I'll direct you to it ... um ... here it is :o)

Jules said...

A cross between Eeyore and Piglet? Well that is a fretting hesitation :) Anyway, I just LOVE pooh and his friends.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Faith said...

I agree with balance! However, I really didn't like the Tao of Pooh... particularly the parts about knowledge being useless and how asking questions (ie. LEARNING things) is a waste of time done only by pompous people to try and show how smart they are. I got very, very angry at that chapter...

But, I definitely agree that balance is very important, in our own lives and in those of our characters! :)

Aleta said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this post. You had me smiling from the start. My Dad calls everyone "Poohbear" from Poo and that describes my Dad. He rarely calculates or hesitates or gets angry. Life seems to wash over him and at the same time, he enjoys life.

Balance is so very important. I'm still learning and trying. Once you get the balance, it's an inner sense of peace.

Clarissa Draper said...

I love learning new things about different cultures and religions, it' helps me understand how the world works. Thank you.

CD

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I enjoyed the Tao of Pooh, though I have to agree with Faith that I feel knowledge and learning deserve more respect than they're given. I guess Owl and Rabbit are out of balance. ;)

I read from 365 Tao every day. Some of the readings are particularly applicable to writers.

LTM said...

supercool--and I think it's interesting that Phoenix is the female and Dragon is the male. Considering Phoenix burns up and is reborn and Dragons breathe fire...

OK. Am I like the last person getting that? LOL! Good stuff, C~ <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting way to look at it. Of course, in real life, most people are neither evil nor good, but a blend.

Missed Periods said...

Interesting. In real life, it's good to be Pooh, but in fiction would make a pretty boring main character. No offense, Pooh.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails