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.