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Article ID: 6620
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 20th. 2003
The Bard and the Poser
Over the years, I have seen a set of character traits in action which effect our community in ways that are both positive and negative. This archetypal set is:
The Bard and the Poser.
The strength of the Bard is that of brilliant story teller, learned advocate, truthful historian, imaginative teacher, wise counselor and creative artist. From song writers to programmers, within groups and as solitaries, our people use this Companion archetype to create in many ways and forms. Bards inspire others to reach for their fullest potential and they show us how to tap into our creative being.
The Bard archetype is honorable, trustworthy and truthful. This Companion has the necessary talents and skills to perform well on a variety of Life's stages. When in effect, the Bard shows our community to best advantage.
The Shadow Side of the Bard is the Poser, the Con Artist, and the Liar. This Shadow re-writes our personal and collective history so that we always appear to be wiser, kinder and greater than we really are. This part likes to put the blame for our bad behavior on the other person, on circumstance or on the culture at large. It tends to give us far too much credit for what we have accomplished and is not grateful to those who have helped along the way.
Where the Bard sees abundance, the Poser sees lack. Where the Bard offers friendship, the Poser uses people. The Poser is that part that excuses, rationalizes, evades, forgets, and denies.
The Bard takes pride in work well done. This side knows it takes effort, training, practice, polishing, reworking and learning in order to create. The Bard sees both the big picture and the details and knows that life and art are best defined as works in progress. A true Bard is always willing to learn from others who are more skilled and experienced than they are. The Bard is original, the Poser copies. What a Bard creates, a Poser steals.
The Bard strives towards excellence and honors it in others. The Poser is only concerned with showing off. The Poser has an ego like a gouty toe and can only see others as mirrors that reflects their image, thus this archetype's dependence on the opinions of others. The Poser cannot take criticism of any kind, no matter how well informed, positive or helpful it may be. The Poser is full of envy for the skills and the gifts that others possess but is unwilling to do what it takes to obtain those skills or to earn respect. The Bard wants to learn, the Poser wants to appear learned. The Bard knows that it takes hard work to achieve a goal. The Poser wants to wear the laurels before the race even begins. The Bard wishes to earn the respect of peers and is not concerned with the opinions of the crowd. The Poser is more concerned with looking good than in being good.
The Bard knows an essential truth about Earthwise Spirituality. It's this: "If our word is no good in this world, then it is no good in the Other World" (1). The Poser cannot tell the truth without embellishment or lies directly. The Poser re-writes history to make itself look like the hero and it's word cannot be trusted. The Poser has no real power, in either world, as a result.
When a Bard suffers a setback, this part knows that it must learn from mistakes and move forward. The Poser does not know the difference between making a mistake and being a mistake. Rather than learn from mistakes, this part simply tries to hide them. A Poser prefers to stay in a rut and whines to all who will listen. The Bard has learned compassion and moves forward with new strength and wisdom.
Over the years, I've watched our community struggle with the Bard and the Poser as we interact with each other and with the outside world. These two sides come forward most often when we write our history, teach, form Circles or attempt to organize. The Bard brings us together, the Poser tears us apart.
The key to avoiding the Poser lies in being honest about our motives, our abilities and our history. Telling our truth and listening to the truth that others might tell us can both hurt and heal. It's risky, it's humbling and it's very difficult. It can cost us friends and it can mean we have to say "I'm sorry". Not telling our truth or lying to make ourselves look good or to keep those friends, keeps us stuck in a dysfunctional tar pit of resentment, denial and ill feeling. It's much better to deal with the muck and the mess and to pull ourselves free of it while we can.
Remember this: there are always three truths to any conflict: Yours, the other person's and the real deal. You won't get up and out to the greater truth, without knowing the other two. You can try climbing out, using only your truth as a support, but it's like trying to climb a ladder with only one side. Sooner or later, you'll slip and fall back into the muck.
Ultimately, what we learn from telling the truth and acknowledging these archetypes is up to us. Thus the need for a spiritual practice that teaches Consciousness, Choices and Cause and Effect.
A lovely example of this comes to us in Terry Practchett's latest children's book titled Wee Free Men (link). A witch named Miss Tick gives a young girl named Tiffany some free advice:
"Are you listening?"
"Yes," said Tiffany.
"Good. Now... if you trust in yourself."
"and follow your star." Miss Tick went on.
"you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Good-bye."
Wishing us all the courage to look at our Shadow sides and the wisdom to make right choices.
(1) This wisdom comes from a Librarian Bard named Rowan Fairgrove
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