Read the notes on The Outlaw. Then in your own time, reflect on your own life story with the Outlaw, how this archetype shows up in others around you, and dive into the Journalling Questions for deeper insight.
When emotions, blockages or inspiration relative to this archetype surface, take these to the mat to work through, via a relevant Approaching the Body practice.
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Pirate, Bandit, Fugitive, Cowboy, Gangster, Rebel, Iconoclast — even the Artist or Político in Exile, the Spiritual Rebel-Rouser and many Underground Cliques — all belong to the deeper category of the Outlaw.
The Outlaw is the classic ‘bad-boy’ in several different shades. Whereas the Explorer turns from society through philosophical curiosity and a heart-felt yearning, the Outlaw usually turns away through anger or persecution. This equips his physical being with a greater power than the Explorer possesses. And with it, greater libido and greature allure.
It seems that the more well-behaved and responsible we are, the more we yearn for the Outlaw.
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1. In its Healthy form, the Outlaw uses his own body as a moral compass, feels where boundaries are encroached upon, and ties emotional awareness and critical thinking together to clarify his ethical position. The Healthy Outlaw will then take a social stand, and choose integrity over conformity and selling out. You can therefore trust a Healthy Outlaw’s word. He is willing to live with the consequences of speaking/living his truth.
Core Desire: Autonomy, independence, justice. Or… revenge and revolution.
2. Associations… Living beyond the reach of law and civilisation: on the road, in the mountains, jungles, or at sea. Nomads. Hell’s Angels. Robbery-at-gunpoint. Wanted dead or alive. A gruff, masculine and expatriated world. Underground, nighttime, seedy districts, broken glass and booze. Since the ‘law’ owns the narrative, we’re shown a dark alternative to civic life, but rarely the interior of an Outlaw’s world. Hence the danger/mystique.
Goal: Freedom to be. Or… to destroy what is not working (for the Outlaw or the society)
3. Material, Energetic, Spiritual. Materially, the Outlaw lives where police influence wanes, happy to break societal law to make ends meet. Or, lives within society as a misfit. Energetically, an Outlaw might challenge consensus in an academic or political realm, becoming intellectual anathema to the established ‘law’, and later (potentially) facing exile, the Gulag (or today: be cancelled). Spiritually? Transgressive tantric practice breaks down internal rigidity; monks and cave-dwellers often exempt from social law.
Call to Being: Feeling powerless, angry, mistreated, under siege.
4. Shadow. When healthier forms of the Outlaw are blocked, some will over-indulge in this new identity, outlawing ‘normies’ from their tribe and succumbing to an exile that grows with time. One-up-manship, moral superiority, aggression. Entrenchment in one’s view (without seeing other perspectives); fuelling hatred wars; lack of self-inquiry, never growing out of a teenage hatred, non-forgiveness, pinning all blame on ‘the man’, ‘the system’, the ‘illuminati’, etc. Outlaw-as-parody Or, collapse of one’s power to group-think, group-influence, or social codes they don’t agree with because a) they don’t find a moral position upon, or b) they don’t take a stand. The Collapsed Outlaw loses his power (emasculation; perennially punched in the solar plexus), thus putting responsibility for his life and his fate onto others (passive-aggressive hatred of government, employers, parents, feminists, etc). Or, lives asleep. Never questions the dynamics of power or morality in this world. Or, felt ostracised since young, and takes this as a permanent identity, rejecting himself from a society he might otherwise wish to belong to. Shame. Unworthiness. Undeserving. Poverty/minority mentality.
Core Fear: Being powerless, trivialized, inconsequential. Compensation: Emotional and psychological armour. Intimidation.
5. How to Balance & Unblock the Outlaw: Bring charge into and out of the body through breathwork and movement and (sometimes) resistance or martial training. Explore anger, hatred, contempt and disgust… and particularly the vulnerability beneath. The wisdom that lives in the centre of your emotions can shed new light in moral contemplation and bring a shift in temperament: turning revenge, collapse or spite-based Outlaw-ism into benevolent and revolutionary acts.
Essence: The essence of the Outlaw is a fight. No matter the numbers or the odds, the Outlaw will take a stand to protect his autonomy and morality. While conflict might mean danger, solitude, or death, conscious conflict is a rapid path to transformation, integration, and contribution. In times of moral upheaval, anyone might find themselves unexpectedly in the position of Outlaw.
Unveiling: when a man sits with his difficult emotions and life dilemmas, he’s faced with taking responsibility for his choices. This is the birthplace of conviction.
6. Important figures within this archetype: Jesus. Che Guevara. Dante Alighieri. Iron John. Lenin, Trotsky. Blackbeard. Robin Hood. Malcolm X. Jack the Ripper. Bin Laden & ISIS. FARC. Pop Culture? Rappers. Cryptocurrency. The cigarette. Lover-Outlaw?80s Rock.
Gift: Outrageousness, radical freedom, vitality.
Razor’s Edge: 1) His anger gives his body charge, making him quick to conflict but also to polarity. The romance-novel dilemma — will he open past his defences and self-sufficiency, and trust the love of chosen ones?2) Criminality vs Transformation (as in the case of Bitcoin, the Suffragettes or the early Christians): what might be illegal today becomes a sacred paradigm tomorrow.
What is the law anyway? Government or Spiritual law? Tyrannical or Ethical law?
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Do you want the specific practices that will have you embody the Healthy Outlaw for yourself?
Would you like to continue with the ‘Inner Work’, the Journalling Questions, and the rest of the esoteric guided instructions… that will have you embody your unique version of this archetype?