The Beneficent Maleficent

I see the movie Maleficent as an apotheosis of the rising feminine power. I only had the chance to see it yesterday and thought the movie was magnificent. I loved it how Maleficent’s character echoed so many powerful and wrathful mythological goddesses: Lilith, Eris, Hekate, Sekhmet, Kali, Artemis, the Black Madonna, and many others. In The Great Mother, Erich Neumann spoke of Artemis as the goddess of the Outside: of the world that lies outside the mainstream culture and consciousness. In the movie, the world of fairies that Maleficent rules and protects is juxtaposed with the patriarchal kingdom of King Stefan. She is a winged goddess, as many mythological goddesses were (Lilith, Isis and Ishtar all had wings), which suggests, according to Neumann, her capacity for transforming and sublimating the dark root of her powers into “the highest forms of psychic reality.” Her connection to life’s mysterious processes lets her raise that energy from lower to higher chakras but not for a moment does she lose contact with the earth and her own nature. In contrast, the three “good” fairies that are supposed to take care of Princess Aurora in order to protect her from Maleficent’s curse are incapable of protecting her because by professing to be just “good” they have cut off their own shadows, which results in their losing touch with reality and getting disconnected from the dark power of primal instincts. That the good fairies are sadly deluded and have no gravitas at all is one of the most magnificent twists of the tale making it hard to believe it is a Disney movie.

The symbolism of some scenes in the movie was beautifully executed. What stuck in my mind, among many other great scenes, was a mud throwing game. The wet earth is a potent symbol for getting reconnected with our basic humanity, our fertile core emotions, the wet and fertile earth-womb:

“… the early Semitic worshippers of the Great Mother, Aryans were “men of clay” -the meaning of their name-because their bodies came forth from Modir. This meant the root of both “mud” and “mother”; she was the same primal creatress whom the Russians called Moist Mother Earth.”

Barbara G. Walker, “Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”

I also loved all the moments when Maleficent made the characters levitate and hover over the earth, completely in her power, as if hypnotized. Such is the power of gods and goddesses: we are ruled by these archetypes, guided and pushed by them to do that which is necessary and that which is unavoidable. Maleficent means “the one that does evil,” which echoes Mephistopheles, a demon from Goethe’s Faust, who said famously: “I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.The most powerful scene for me was when Maleficent said three powerful words to Stefan right before his demise: “It is over.” That sounded like yet another potent magic spell: patriarchy is over, the feminine will no longer be subjugated. She got her wings back.

Maleficents-Wings

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30 Responses to The Beneficent Maleficent

  1. I haven’t seen this movie, but I like your take on it, about it not being a typical Disney movie, and that it has a strong feminine power rooted in mythological goddesses. Sounds like a deeper story than the usual Disney stuff.

  2. I’ve heard great things about this film. It’s on my list of movies to see, although I may wait until it comes to the $3 theater 😉

  3. renatembell says:

    Enjoyed! I went to see it in 3D, of course. 🙂

  4. “Apotheosis of the rising feminine power” – wow! That’s some strong language! I may have to see it based on that alone!

    I have always found the “Dark” Goddesses to be the most Compassionate.

    Lovely post – xXx Amanda

    • Hi Amanda, I agree about dark goddesses – you put it so beautifully. I was just so emotionally affected by that movie that I just had to use such “strong” language to convey this. Seeing it was cathartic.
      Thank you.

      • Hi Monika, I loved the Greek – made me quite excited to see it! 🙂 Besides, what more can we ask for from a film than catharsis? Hugs, Amanda

        PS. I saw a new word yesterday that reminded me of you and your recent tea post… The word is Yugen – “In the criticism of Japanese waka poetry, it was used to describe the subtle profundity of things that are only vaguely suggested by the poems.” Loved it.

      • Lovely word. It also makes me think of you.

  5. I agree 100%. I loved the movie its awesomeness stayed with me for days. Also a return to the realm of magic, and nature spirits.

  6. herongrace says:

    Agreed. I love your take on this and now I wish I had gone to see it. Especially as I love Angelina Jolie too. I was busy and quickly assumed that it would be a stereotypical Goth movie. Should have known Angelina would have kicked ass and not played a limited dimensional female role.

  7. Yeah I am gonna see it. Who can resist with these rave reviews? I always was on Team Angelina, even when she was using heroin and was wearing vials of blood around her neck. She is a takes no prisoners actress. She is a newer version of feminine. First saw her on a made for TV film on the life of Philly Supermodel Gia. I thought ” Who is this person?” Then she nailed it in ” Girl Interrupted”, another must-see..

    Who would you cast as Monika in a film about your life?

  8. I felt the same way! “In contrast, the three “good” fairies that are supposed to take care of Princess Aurora in order to protect her from Maleficent’s curse are incapable of protecting her because by professing to be just “good” they have cut off their own shadows, which results in their losing touch with reality and getting disconnected from the dark power of primal instincts. That the good fairies are sadly deluded and have no gravitas at all is one of the most magnificent twists of the tale making it hard to believe it is a Disney movie.”
    I don’t know if it is the perpetual underdog in me or what, but I have always loved how “villians” become villians. I have always tried to see the humanity that still is within them, and Disney did a tremendous job at showing the world how things are not always so black and white. The “good” isn’t always as good as we think, and the same goes for the “dark,” the “shadow,” and the “evil” of our psyches.

  9. Pingback: The Beneficent Maleficent | lampmagician

  10. Dear Monika,
    This post was profoundly illuminated for me in the forest today. Your observation that the lightweight powers of the sugary sweet airy fairies have no gravitas in comparison to the eternal divinity of Malificent, with her well-rounded (and well-grounded)
    mature power, suddenly became crystal clear to me on my forest walk…and for that, I deeply thank you.
    Love,
    Amanda

  11. hocuspocus13 says:

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:
    jinxx xoxo

  12. snowfox66 says:

    I have yet to see it. Looking forward to when it comes out in DVD so I can. Unfortunately our LITTLE town was never allowed the movie. 😦

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