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Our monthly stories are productions looking to connect people to the magic of stories.

We create supplementary reading lists as a way to give you an insight into the inspirations and thinking behind our monthly stories. These reading lists share music, ideas, events and research that connect to our stories.



Rasa → Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green


Archetype → Ruler


In local lore, the talipot palm is the monarch of the plant world. It dwarfs everything in its vicinity with enormous leaves bringing birds, beasts and even humans looking to the talipot for shelter. The flowering of the talipot is something of a phenomenon—a point of transcendence from impressive to incredible. The talipot flower is the largest in the world, made up of over twenty million minuscule flowers. It shoots up at the sky from the tree’s pinnacle, drawing comparisons to thunderbolts and flaming crowns by artists and poets. The talipot bears only one flower, taking over sixty years to mature. Its multimillion seeds, each carrying the genetic code of the talipot's biological mission, are dispersed into the surroundings. Following this spectacular unfolding, the talipot dies, having completed its task. But, its seeds live on, carrying new possibilities for life to take shape.

This month, we bring you the Ruler archetype and the wonder rasa. Like the talipot, the Ruler archetype stands for the ability to influence, germinate the world with its will and offer stability and shelter under its ambit.

May 2023

  • 2019, The good ruler. Prof. Maxwell A. Cameron, Philosophy Now: The idea that rulers must be wiser and more virtuous than ordinary citizens is alien to our understanding of politics. We do not regard elected officials as exemplary citizens. Let’s question why politics and leadership has become so debased in our view.

  • 1924, The Gregarious Flowering of the Talipot Palm, Corypha umbraculifera, at Peradeniya, Ceylon. William Seifriz. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 51: The flowering of the talipot palm is one of the rare examples of gregarious flowering where plants of similar age tend to flower at the same time despite their geographical location. Botanists who recorded this phenomenon of synchronicity in the early twentieth century studied the talipot palms at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya.

  • What would the sound that captures the emotional composition of the ruler sound like? This selection of music with a strong sense of order gives us an idea of sounds that signify the ruler archetype. With defined and intentional sounds, they bring in distinctly calculated rhythms:

  1. 2020, Versions. Moderat. Monkeytown Records.

  2. 2019, Acid rain. Lorn, The maze to nowhere. BMI Broadcast Music Inc.

  3. 2019, Rolling Back feat. Madeline Kenney. Motsa. Petricolour.

  4. 2016, Petrichor feat. Sophie Lindinger. Motsa. Peteicolour.

  5. 2016, Je t'aime. Romare, Love songs; part two. Ninja Tune.

  6. 2015, York (original mix). Christian Löffler, York. 2020vision.

  • 2015, High fidelity mixtape rules. Marjolinjn2. Youtube: Making great mixtapes is not about how legendary each song is, but about knowing who you are making it for and what you want to bring out for them.

  • 2007, The Devil Wears Prada (film adaptation). David Frankel, Wendy Finerman, and Aline Brosh McKenna based off Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel. Miranda Priestly, a powerful fashion magazine editor, embodies the ruler archetype as a formidable woman at the top, who plays by her own rules and nothing else.

  • For people with the ability to observe life and its patterns, the temptation to set rules and systems is natural. This selection of systems, rules and guides for living are by some the world’s sharpest minds as authors, anthropologists, and psychologists.

  1. 2018, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Jordan Peterson. Random House Canada, Penguin Allen Lane UK: A story-based, stern yet entertaining self-help manual laying out a set of simple rules to become more disciplined, behave better, act with integrity, and balance lives while enjoying them.

  2. 2018, Revisionist History; Malcolm Gladwell’s 12 Rules for Life. Season 3. Malcolm Gladwell.Pushkin: Crucial life lessons from the end of hockey games, Idris Elba, and some Wall Street guys with a lot of time on their hands. Revisionist History wades into the crowded self-help marketplace, with some help from a band of math whizzes and Hollywood screenwriters.

  • 2020, Toshio Shibata - capturing light. Eihwaz. Youtube: Toshio Shibata is a Japanese photographer known for his large-format photographs of large-scale works of civil engineering in unpopulated landscapes. His photographs achieve a unique harmony by focusing on the interweaving of natural forces with man-made structures, identifying the line between opposing sides. Shibata's work blends landscape painting with documentary realism, allowing it to move beyond mere description to something greater.

  • Retrieved 2023, May 31. The history of law. Wikipedia: The evolution of law as systems of rule keeping. Understanding legal institutions as complex systems of rules, players and symbols and how these elements interact with society to change, adapt, resist or promote certain aspects of humanity.


Archetype → Ruler

Rasa → Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow +

Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green



If you’ve ever doubted the sun, you need to wake up in the night when the stars are still alive.

You need to walk out into the dark; naked, alone, cold.

You need to see Venus and Mars aligned in the sky; love and war brewing.

You need to shiver and feel the gravity of it all.

You need to wait.

You need to wait alone.

You need to wait with no reward.

You need to let the ocean soak your feet and steal the last bit of your warmth.

You need to weep, if you must.

You need to hold the fort if you must.

You need to wait again.

You need to move beyond shame—and stand like a soldier.

Then you’ll see.

You’ll see that the night is not really a black steel face, but a blue watercolour painting.

Then you’ll see that glow in the sky.

And even before it comes, you’ll know that nothing else will be left after it comes. That it was always going to be this way.

That the beauty of Venus and the might of Mars will all get burnt away.

—with the shadows, the cold, the night and the storm in your mind.

Everything will burn.

You will burn.

You need to burn.

So, burn.



You need to remember your mother and burn.

You need to pray you have a drop of merciful wetness left and burn.

You need to let the sun seep into every crevice and every secret you hold and burn.

You need to lay down, pinned to the ground by the light, and burn.

You need to sweat your questions out through the pores and burn.

You need to stare blindly into its face and burn.

Until it all fades away.

And you’re probably dead anyway.

Is there a pain in burning, if you allow it?

Do you really need to know anything, at all?

Now that everything that there is,

is standing around looking at you—while you lay spreadeagled in the light

and all of you are known—let them probe.

Then, you return.

And, in a strange turn of events,

the light will turn to liquid awakening in your eyes.

The sun will bow, and hand a whole day to you with a smile.

Just like that.

Then you realize that you’ve been reborn

in the empire of the sun.


Now, you’ll never doubt the sun again.

Read the previous story

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The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

Whether they’re for our client brands or subscribers, the character voices in our stories are always created using a few carefully chosen storytelling tools. One of these tools includes the teachings of Carl Jung. The ‘archetypes’—which we often talk about whenever we get into the details of our creative process—are prototypes or models of the human mind. According to Jung, they’re primitive patterns derived from our collective consciousness of the human experience. Carl Jung’s work has developed further now, giving rise to the twelve storytelling archetypes that we use in our work. We use these Jungian archetypes in our storytelling as a tool to quickly model and project reasonably complex brand personas or story characters.

Among these archetypes is the Ruler. This archetype is quite common among businesses that we create stories for. Particularly in South Asia where we’re based, there are many brands that value being ‘the first’, ‘the only’, ‘the most awarded’ etc. This desire to be number one is at the heart of the Ruler archetype.

Rulers desire to bring order into the world; their strategy for this is by taking charge and influencing order and success as they see it. The Ruler archetype values authority, responsibility, and influence.

When this archetype is at its best, it takes ownership to bring order and fairness to its realm—whether this is a business, the family or a community. Personas with a dominant Ruler archetype don’t shy away from responsibilities that may overwhelm others. The Ruler archetype is confident, and commanding authority comes naturally to it. When working with businesses that embody the Ruler archetype in their persona, we create stories that bring out these strengths. We design these stories to demonstrate how a Ruler-dominant brand is responsible, widely respected, a patron for certain circles, and a true authority in what it does.

In commercial storytelling we don’t usually create stories about the weaknesses of archetypes; but, when we’re creating fictional stories for our story subscription, shadow rulers become interesting characters to construct. In fact, the shadow side of the ruler archetype became the sole premise for one Public Works monthly story, capturing the beginnings of a person’s intoxication with power.

We see shadow rulers everywhere in real life too; as puppet politicians facilitating by-proxy rule of unpopular forces, tyrant presidents intolerant of criticism, monarchs holding onto destructive power structures to benefit their families—leaders who forget that the point of their power is to serve the people who bestow it. This happens when the ruler’s relationship to power becomes corrupt; it blinds them from seeing how power can only really be sustained when a ruler surrenders to it.

Both in its good side and the shadow, the Ruler archetype is always connected to power and how the person chooses to use it; whether they want to wield power to influence greater good or for selfish interests.

When we work with businesses that want to position themselves as authorities, we help shape their communications based on how they use their power; telling stories of how the brand influences positive outcomes in their domain by taking initiative and being responsible. The stories we create for them consider important differentiators— like whether the business is an active leader that takes charge, or a supporting patron linking networks and influencing others’ success. Such subtleties go a long way in establishing an honest brand identity. As storytellers, we use the ruler archetype in our creative expressions to build stories about good leaders and empowering patrons as much as through tyrants and puppets, to draw out insights that help our subscribers form new views of people in relation to power.

Read this story that we created for one of our client brands that embody the light side of the ruler archetype.

This story about a shadow ruler is a fictional piece created for our monthly story subscription readers.

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