Richard Donner's 1985 film LadyHawke speaks to this theme of the degrading of love and the violence and separation it causes before we can achieve the ultimate re-union of Love. Patriarchy has not been kind to Love, giving it hypocritical lip service, but degrading and prostituting it to serve the needs of the system rather than the flowering of the individual soul. We cannot grow into our wholeness without learning the lessons of love. It's part of our DNA, and the most beautiful gift of Spirit in our sojourn here on Earth.
The ways of love are many. They include the ways we connect through the heart to children, parents, siblings, family, friends, lovers, communities, the world, art, ideas, Nature, visions, stories. Love fills us with pleasure and pain in equal measure, but always teaches us lessons. So never let a chance to love slip you by! There's always a gift and a sacrifice involved. So let's see how these themes play out in our tale of cursed lovers.
LadyHawke is a story of two lovers who are cursed by a powerful bishop because the woman, Isabeau, does not love him, but loves Navarre, the captain of the guard of Aquila. The curse the bishop casts is heartbreaking: by day, Isabeau is a hawk and at night she resumes her human shape; Navarre keeps his human form by day and at night he becomes a wolf. They are cursed to be separated forever. Then one day, a young thief becomes Navarre's companion and their fate starts to change. Gaston becomes their go-between, bringing them hope in their darkness. And with the help of the priest who unknowingly betrayed their love, a way out of the curse is found. During a solar eclipse, a day without night and a night without day, a time between times, they can both stand before the bishop and break the curse. It is during solar eclipses that old patterns of behavior and thought can be broken, and psychic structures hidden in the unconscious can take on new life. LadyHawke is a reminder that the cosmos supports love and can break the spell old ideas and beliefs hold over us that no longer serve life.
LadyHawke is a magical story about the Mind's ability to overcome the ancient "curse' of our religious beliefs and the ultimate triumph of Love. There are four main characters that drive the story: the Bishop who curses, the lovers who bear the curse, and the trickster who comes along and changes their story. While dogma has cursed lovers with separation and denial, the fresh, original Mind/Heart brings them together again.
The Dogma of Disconnection
The Church as embodied by the Bishop (a wonderfully evil John Wood) is hypocritical, refined, all-powerful, lustful and authoritarian, vindictive and cowardly. He represents the dogma of both church and state, the dominator mentality that believes it has a divine right to whatever it wants. This Bishop thinks he loves Isabeau, but when she refuses his love for another's, he would rather see her dead or cursed than to see her be happy with someone else. This is the selfishness of dominator love -- the beloved becomes a possession. To oppose the Bishop's will is to court disaster, for he is willing to use all the power at his disposal to keep the lovers apart; he's even willing to use the sinful (for his Church) tool of magic to achieve his revenge. However, when he curses the lovers to take on the form of animals, Nature herself ultimately opens the door to the possibility of breaking the curse.
In the same vein, this month's Gemini solar eclipse opens the door to our own transformation. The solar eclipse blocks our ego consciousness (sun), so new archetypal possibilities (moon) can take root within our psyches. One task all of us share for this lifetime is to break the chains of violence and possessiveness that is patriarchy's response to sexuality and love. Heal your own inner Lover by breaking the old spell at the eclipse.
The Trickster Mind
Opposing the Bishop/Church is our little thief, Phillipe Gaston, aka the Mouse (a delightful Matthew Broderick). Over against official dogma is set the inquisitive and questing mind that nothing can imprison. This young man embodies the qualities of Hermes the Thief, the ancient messenger god who, under his guise of Mercury, rules over Gemini. Gaston frequently talks with God, using Him as therapist and spiritual director, promising to change his ways as he escapes through a drainpipe from the inescapable prison of Aquila or when he sees something his rational mind can't comprehend. Uniting both common sense and spiritual insight is the goal of the Gemini mind. Gaston's communication with Spirit takes a turn when he meets the monk Imperius, the priest who foolishly told the Bishop of the lovers' intentions. The guilt of having been the cause of the curse drives Imperius to find a way to break it. When the lovers refuse to believe the traitor priest, Gaston takes up his cause and uses Imperius' knowledge to help them break the curse.