Isn’t it interesting that unicorns became a trend among millennials? The usual explanation of this trend is escapism from reality into a fantasy world. This is quite obvious but what if we dig deeper and take a closer look at the story of a unicorn? I think there is a great insight to be found about the condition of our collective psyche.
Unicorns are fantastical and rare creatures that have a long history of representation. Most commonly they are a horse-like beasts with a single horn coming out of their forehead. They are lively creatures, symbol of purity and grace. The horn has a magical healing powers. This super feature turns them into an object of desire for those who want to posses the magic remedy. The vitality of the unicorn is so pure, they are ultimate divinity unpolluted by critical thinking, suspicion or judgement. Unicorns have intemperate nature though, they are so alive that it is difficult to tame the spirit and channel the energy. This hyper activeness of a unicorn can be seen as a sign of anxiety and unsettlement. They can't contain their emotion, it makes them restless. Only a virgin can calm down a unicorn and lure her into sleep. Virgins are seen as harmless, they can’t cause any danger to the unicorn as they are also an object of desire. The vulnerability of each reinforces their trust and understanding between a virgin and a unicorn. They are, in a way, the same. Both have something others want strongly. Both were born into this unwanted gift. Both are always bound to be desired.
For a unicorn, the purity of a virgin is a safe harbour built upon the naïve assumption that she can be trusted. A unicorn sees nothing beyond the chastity that she finds soothing, but everything outside, the real world with good and evil, is not taken into account. The inability to see beyond is used to get unicorns into a trap — hunters used virgins to catch unicorns. The evil has its mechanism of power in place, controlling the virgin and using her as a bait. Once the unicorn is trapped, she feels confused as her map of reality doesn’t align with the actuality of the situation. She gave her trust and it was betrayed. As a result the unicorns turn into anxious creatures unable to give trust and as a result can't find rest in their being. Restlessness comes with burnout, lack of focus, weak concentration and incapacity to connect without being suspicious. Their precious talent, the magic of the omnipotent horn is wasted.
I never thought I would say these words, but I can find myself in the unicorn story. Enthusiastic, vital, powerful but naïve and unable to have a right judgement. Moving from one place to another, trusting whatever comes, seeing the world as a beautiful place where everything operates on kindness and purity. The potency is there but it is obstructed by vulnerability coming from a lack of discernment. My main question is - what does the obsession with unicorns tell us about ourselves? And is it something we can react to as a society? Can we teach our internal unicorn how to trust in a better way so the potential is realised and not buried in anxiety? Is looking at symbols and contemporary archetypes a good way to gain deeper understanding of the collective unconscious? We are showing inner state, which we can’t express through words, through the language of symbols. Indirectly but explicitly asking for attention. If we can use these symbols to diagnose the current condition of our collective soul, perhaps, we can provide ourselves with better care. We can then take best of both worlds to cultivate a discerning unicorn, fearless and full of life while at the same time knowing how to trust better.