The Rose and the Sword

Nanette V. Hucknall and Dr. Judith Bach

We all have feminine and masculine energies. The trick is to find a harmonious balance.

The Rose and the Sword offers a unique combination of fiction and self-development which invites the reader to enter a realm of modern and fantasy tales that stimulate both mind and feelings. Each tale addresses different aspects of the feminine and masculine energies that exist beyond gender and sexual identity. At the end of each story is a psychological commentary that provides a deeper understanding of the chapter’s subject, plus an insightful exercise to help integrate the energies highlighted in the chapter.

This practical guide to balancing masculine and feminine energies will lead you to more fulfilling relationships and satisfying life choices.

A US Review Recommended Book of the Year!


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  • RECOMMENDED by the US Review

    Barbara Bamberger Scott (verified owner)

    The underlying message of this book is that the integration of the positive masculine and feminine must begin first in each of us as individuals and then spread outward into our relationships and social structures.”
    The Rose and the Sword takes the unique approach of using fantasy tales as parables in the production of a self-help guide. Bach and Hucknall present four archetypal characters: Sophia and William (positive feminine and masculine energies) and Lillith and Ruel (their opposites), placing them in a series of stories designed to emphasize how our dual natures can be used to our benefit, or detriment. Lillith and Ruel are insensitive, urging others to avoid pain and seek pleasure, while William and Sophia embody calm wisdom and the ability to defer gratification in favor of peace-making and rational choices. The stories become more complicated and didactic as the book progresses. Combining psychoanalytic techniques with mythic figures and symbolic storytelling, the duo present scenarios designed to demonstrate to the reader/seeker/patient that gaining awareness of and control over our psychological energies—attaining balance between our masculine and feminine selves—can lead to more harmonious relationships and satisfying life choices.

    Psychotherapist, artist and writer Judith Bach joins forces with Nanette Hucknall, fellow psychotherapist and cofounder and president of The Center for Peace through Culture to promote, in an organized text, an essential therapeutic message: better understanding of how our energies operate and intermingle can change negative behaviors, resulting in fewer conflicts of motive and intent. A commentary section is included at the end of each parable, for context and elucidation. The authors allow the reader to gauge their own perceptions and reactions to the stories provided, by providing exercises appearing at the end of each chapter.

    The Rose and the Sword provides a window to a better understanding of our nature and ourselves. It could be useful in group settings among those interested in psychology linked to archetypes, myth and symbolism.


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Chaoter 1 Tend the Light

One of the positive qualities of the feminine energy is beauty—beauty in all its forms. The experience of beauty opens one’s heart, and also changes relationships.

People often think of beauty in a superficial way and fail to appreciate its impact on their lives. The sheer number of people who frequent art museums is always striking: although some may be drawn to one particular artist, or are knowledgeable about art in an intellectual sense, it is essentially the beauty that draws them in; beauty is the magnet.

A similar experience can occur through all arts: listening to a concert, watching a dance, absorbing a great piece of writing—all forms of artistic beauty can touch our hearts, as can nature. Why are we so drawn to beautiful sunsets and sunrises? When nature paints glorious images on the canvas of the sky, are we not reborn in some way?

The following tale illustrates the transformative power of beauty:

Robert sat at his desk with the bile of anger rising in him. He fantasized about charging into his boss’s office in the executive wing, slamming his resignation down on the desk and yelling, “I quit!” at that bland, expressionless face. Ah, that would get a rise out of him, wouldn’t it?

He sighed, and stared down at the shoppers going in and out of the store. Viewed from the top floor they looked like little robots dodging toy cars in the street. It was drizzling. Spring was refusing to come this year; maybe he’d feel better when it warmed up. He shivered, and tried to shake off his bleak mood.

Lately, he always felt either angry or listless. At least when he was angry he had some energy. Every morning the corridor leading to his corner office seemed to stretch endlessly into a gray void. He recalled earlier days, bouncing down that corridor full of life and enthusiasm.

Robert was a manager at Sykes Department Store. He’d started working there at the age of twenty-four. How ambitious he’d been back then, hoping eventually to take over a whole floor, or, who knows, even become a vice-president! He was a good salesman and had achieved his present position fairly quickly, but then everything stopped. He was aware of the “glass ceiling” in the corporate world, which keeps women from being promoted to top positions, and he realized he’d bumped into his own. For the last ten years he had felt stalled in his life.

Oh, well, he comforted himself yet again. At least if I stay long enough I’ll have a pension and there will be enough money for the family to live comfortably. The store was very solid and offered great stock bonuses. When he retired he and Arlene would be well off enough to travel as much as they wanted. He grinned as he heard his grandson Johnny’s voice chant out, “Bo-ring!” It was the boy’s current refrain about the state of his adolescent world. He hoped Johnny would never end up like him. Now there’s a depressing thought!

Robert managed the household goods department. In the early days, all department managers reported directly to the president, but since the store had grown, with branches all over the country, a layer of vice-presidents was created, and all managers now reported to them. So, although he’d started as a sales clerk and worked his way up to manager, he now felt he was moving down in the hierarchy. He hardly saw the president on a day-to-day basis anymore. His job had become lackluster. What made things worse, he thought, pounding his fist tiredly on his desk, was that whenever a vacancy for vice-president came up, everyone around him was promoted, not him. It seemed as if a stream of younger and less experienced people was passing him by. Let’s face it. I’m thoroughly stuck! It wasn’t that he hadn’t said anything. He’d asked the big boss about it several times, but he always got the same answer: a big wink, a smile, a pat on the back, and a “Your department is doing so well that we can’t afford to take a chance on someone else!”

At first he was flattered, but then he wondered what was really going on. Some years back he even went on a job search. His resume was excellent, but no company could pay him what he was making at Sykes with the raises and bonuses that had built up over the years.

He began to think about his young assistant, Ruel. Ambitious, energetic and, let’s face it, pushy. He knew the younger man was after his job. He sighed wearily. Well, that was me, too. I used to have that kind of energy. All I thought about was getting ahead, and look at me now! I’m getting nowhere. For all I know, he’ll end up with my job, and I’ll be out on the street.

He plunged into his work, checking inventory, meeting with the sales staff, his usual routine. By 11 o’clock he was already thinking about lunch and watching the infuriatingly slow minutes crawl by. He recalled how he used to feel at school watching the clock. It felt the same way. Has nothing changed? Is this what life is all about? For the first time he understood why people killed themselves. Not that I would ever do that. He believed there must be something he could do to make life more interesting, more challenging! I can do this job with my eyes closed, he thought dismally.

At noon, he heaved a sigh and arranged his sandwich and newspaper on his desk. The street below was packed with cars that were barely moving. It was much too rainy to eat in the park today. Sometimes a colleague would join him down there, and they would talk about everything except work. That was a rule they’d set up many years ago, to have the freedom of the hour to relax.

Today, he read the paper with little energy. After a few minutes he put it down. Josie needs talking to. What a bother. She gets defensive every time I try to tell her something. Why can’t Arlene do it for a change?

Josie was their late-life surprise. The other children were all married, but she was only sixteen, and a handful, wanting her own way and not listening to sensible advice. He sighed. I guess I should be happy. At least she’s not on drugs.

As he was munching his sandwich there was a knock on the door. Before he could respond, his assistant, Ruel, rushed in, shouting, “Come on, hurry! We just caught someone shoplifting.”

Not again, he thought, annoyed at the intrusion and Ruel’s attitude of self-importance. Good-looking and full of himself too. If he didn’t watch out, he’d walk in one day and find Ruel at his desk. He stood up wearily to deal with the thief. His department had been hit more than usual recently after putting in some expensive knickknack items and toiletries. Kids, it’s always kids! He followed the younger man to the security office, where the guard was hovering over a well-dressed elderly woman who was sitting very upright in her chair.

“What’s going on?” Robert asked the guard. He then turned to Ruel and said, “Alright, you can go. I’ll take care of this.”

The younger man frowned and started to protest but then left reluctantly.

“Caught her red-handed putting this in her purse.”

The guard held up a 10-inch tall statue of a woman reclining on a bed made out of a shell.

Robert sat down opposite the woman. She was wearing an expensive-looking grey silk suit and a pearl necklace that gave her a final touch of elegance. Her white hair was pulled back into a French knot, and she was holding a large black shopping bag tightly in her hands. She looked very poised and calm. Only the twitching of her hands on the clasp of her bag betrayed her anxiety.

“Did you call the police?” he asked the guard.

“Right away. They’ll be here shortly.”

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