The Death and Transformation of the Monkey King: An Alchemical Fairytale

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Ann McCoy is a New York artist who studied alchemy in Zurich for 25 years...
An Alchemical Fairytale
Venue: 
KHOJ Studios, New Delhi
Date: 
Friday, 30 September 2005
Participants: 
Ann McCoy

Ann McCoy is a New York artist who studied alchemy in Zurich for 25 years with Jung’s main assistant C. A. Meier. Her work deals with mythology, depth psychology, comparative religion, and the dream world.

Her exhibition at KHOJ represented a radical departure from her past work. Disturbed by the current policies of the Bush administration with the war in Iraq and the environmental devastation that is occurring, this exhibition was dedicated to her brother Dr. Michael McCoy D.V.M. who spent thirty years making the Tijuana Estuary wetlands preserve. This wetlands preserve is being destroyed by the Bush administration to mount a fence along the Mexican border.

The Death and Transformation of the Monkey King: An Alchemical Fairytale

Part I

The Birth of the Monkey King in the Kingdom of Black Essence.

The land of the Monkey King was once inhabited by the People of the Magic Pipe. They worshiped the buffalo whose herds numbered in the thousands. They honoured the buffalo with songs and dances, and asked for the buffalo's help, cooperation, and forgiveness, during the hunt. The buffalo sacrificed one of their members when the tribe needed food. The people of the Magic Pipe never killed without hunger or crossed a boundary of killing an extra animal. The White Buffalo carried the soul of the people of the land. One day dark clouds covered the land and white men in boats with guns and their armies slaughtered the People of the Magic Pipe. They built a great iron snake to take them to the west. The white men stood on the back of the iron snake and shot the millions of buffalo and left them to rot in the sun in great piles. No buffalo were left except a few who escaped to the north. When the buffalo was driven from the land, a dark demon entered the kingdom.

The white men did not know that to kill too many animals goes against nature's greatest taboo. The White Buffalo Woman wept and wrapped the souls of the dead in a buffalo robe. The white men did not know that the White Buffalo Woman, who lives in the sky, is the keeper of the land. The rulers and the white people began to need more and more of everything, bigger fields, more cattle to kill, more firewood. Cattle were butchered at the rate of three per second. The white men grew fatter and fatter. Banquets were held and the excess food fell from the table. Their hunger could never be satisfied. The quest for more gold, more grain, more carriages, and more warehouses, became an obsession. The poor in the land became invisible; they no longer mattered. The few remaining People of the Magic Pipe starved on small reservations with no buffalo, prisoners in their own land.

The Monkey king was born into a wealthy, sinister household. His father, a past Minister of Secrets, had been a former king. They were merchants of death, making a fortune from guns and bombs, and the black essence. This black essence powered the kingdom. Soldiers died to procure it in faraway lands. Large iron birds drew the black essence from the ground. The mother of the Monkey King was the evil queen Barbara. She said the poor deserved their lot. She did not want to spoil her beautiful mind with thoughts of dead soldiers. Poor soldiers fought in her son's place because he was afraid of battle. Barbara ruled the Monkey King and he remained a child, behaving like a child. Barbara stole his heart and ate it, and put a coal in its place. Queen Barbara taught the Monkey King to steal from the poor and give the money to their friends the arms merchants and sellers of the black essence. The Monkey King was surrounded by Tin Ministers. These ministers were made of tin, a base metal, and had no hearts. Their sole purpose was to conquer foreign land to steal the black essence and sell arms. Any country that refused was occupied. By the time the Monkey King was placed on the throne by his father's judges, 177 countries were occupied. People said the kingdom of the Monkey King most resembled ancient Rome. Arrogance going before a fall since ancient times; the sages were alarmed. Rome fell.

Using a pack of lies, The Monkey King invaded Mesopotamia to steal black essence. He dropped firebombs killing thousands of women and children. His own soldiers also died. Like his own mother he could not look at the dead, especially his own dead soldiers. He could only dress up in uniforms, and play pretend warrior like a child landing on ships. He was too afraid to speak to the mother of a dead soldier who camped out at his gates, asking him for what noble cause had her son died. In the land the people were sad and had no dreams to comfort them. The White Buffalo Woman watched from a hole in the sky and wept. The ice and snow began to melt and the land became hotter and hotter. Storms and floods came washing away poor black people in the lowlands. The Monkey King retreated to his palace and played farmer and rode his bike from room to room like a spoiled child as people died. He lost all contact with his people, isolated in his protective bubble.

The Monkey King had been given a very, very special mirror by his ministers, which allowed him to see himself as Jesus. He looked in the mirror day and night and saw himself as perfect and good. What he did not know was that the world saw his shadow, that part of himself he did not acknowledge, like a dark twin. All women, all men and all nations possess a Shadow. The Monkey King's shadow was seen by the world, they saw him as the devil himself. The world tired of his arrogance, name-calling, greed and quest for the black essence. Each of us must see our shadow, that part of ourselves we do not claim. The more we ignore it, the more others see it. Only a person or a nation who owns and deals with their shadow can move forward in a positive way.

Part II

The Death and Dismemberment of the Monkey King.

This process began with Osiris in Egypt, and the Aztecs and was known in every land in ancient times. The king represents the ruling principle in the land. When the land becomes sick and fallow, the king must die. He is usually buried in the fields to insure a good harvest, and then his son (the new order) comes to the throne. This allows for a renewal in the land. For the king and the land are linked. Both must be renewed. This is a very difficult process. The Alexandrian Alchemists understood this problem well, and created the best recipe for this task. The king was placed on a rack and the black bile was sweated out along with his greed, and arrogance. Many times he would be boiled and roasted crying out at each step.

Then the King was chopped up like Osiris and the pieces were ground up in a mortar with a pestle. These pieces were bleached and ground into a finer powder, and made into a dough king. He was made into a cake and was baked. In the oven first he became black, then white then red. This process is circular and was repeated many times. This process, takes place in the dreams of all men and women, the inner and outer merge. As the dough king baked he was sprinkled with the green powder of Osiris. Osiris the green god, the god of vegetation, must live in a king to connect him to all plant and animal life. For Osiris was also worshiped as the great Apis Bull. Every year each Egyptian made a mud form of Osiris containing wheat seeds, which sprouted when watered, ushering in another cycle of agricultural renewal.

Part III

The Introduction of the Anima, the feminine soul.

In the land of the Monkey King the Nature Goddess had been forgotten. She and White Buffalo Woman watch over all animals and plants. She also presides over the inner life, the life of the soul. She guides those who follow her footsteps through the darkness.

The alchemists called her Nature and she presided over their arts. All men and all nations need her to navigate the darkness. The king must marry also her if he is to rule wisely. First he must seek her in the depths of the earth and then be united with her in the heavens realms.

Part IV

The Birth of the New King Hall of the Elders, Saints, Gods, Animal Spirits and Elders.

The marriage of the reconstituted King to the Nature Goddess produces the birth of a new king in a golden egg. A tiny piece of this egg can be found in all men, and women. Some call it the divine, the Self, Atman, the eternal spark. This is no ordinary egg and must be attended by all men as well as the heavenly hosts. To hatch such an egg requires constant attendance. We know the Jinas and Elders by their goodness, non-violence, wisdom, and kind deeds. They represent our highest possibilities. We strive to mirror them on earth; we bow down low to them. In this realm also live the sacred animals. They are our guides and connect us to the Gods. To hatch this egg requires the breath of all, even the most common folk. For the egg to hatch, all must breath in unison and offer up prayers of love, forgiveness, and gratitude, and respect all the different gods and goddesses and their points of view and traditions. Anakantaved.Ann McCoy

Oct. 28th 2005