Updated: Nov 1

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Our monthly stories are where we like to play, blurring the lines between commercial and artistic storytelling. This set of stories—the Shadow Series—was created using Carl Jung’s theories that we use frequently to typify and model personalities and voices of brands. But, with the Shadow Series, we took the stories where we don’t usually go in commercial storytelling; this is the vile and beastly side of the archetypes described in Carl Jung’s teachings.

The shadow series is a thirteen-part story sequence where each episode was constructed around a main character embodying the shadow Jungian archetypes. Just as shadows create depth and add dimension to things, we found that the shadow self of characters renders them very real and interesting.

Wherever possible, we tried to connect these archetypal shadows to issues and ideas surrounding us as storytellers, and those influencing the lives of our subscribers—from politics, religion, and mythology to elements of culture and popular social aspirations.


Read the full series and see if you catch the connections between the characters.

  • September 2021: Gunasara Preview coming soon

  • October 2021: Jayantha Archetype: Explorer Rasa: Veeram (heroism)

  • November 2021: Priyani Preview coming soon

  • December 2021: Anura Instead of an extravagant haired girl, there stood two monks. Rasa: Hāsya (comedy)

  • January 2022: Jagath “Did you know he was killed by some very hungry ladies?” Jagath asked, lowering his voice. Archetype: Rasa: Adbūta (wonder), with Hāsya (comedy)

  • February 2022: Ananda If paradise was just another figment in the mind of the perceptor, what was he doing here? Archetype: Innocent Rasa: Shānta (tranquillity), with Adbūtha (wonder)

  • March 2022: Johnny Everything floated free from reason. Johnny held back the urge to laugh. Archetype: Humorist Rasa: Adbūta (wonder), with shānta (tranquillity)

  • April 2022: R.M. R. M. reread his full name undersigning the no-confidence motion to impeach the President. Archetype: Sage Rasa: Adbūta (wonder), with Bhayanaka (terror)

  • May 2022: Siri Why is the President always a clown, a thief, or a psychopath dressed in human skin? Archetype: Caregiver Rasa: Karuna (empathy), with Adbūtha (wonder) and Bhībhatsa (disgust)

  • June 2022: Nicole Nicole seemed almost composed. But, she had a scream welling up inside. Archetype: Creator Rasa: Raudra (fury), with Adbūtha (wonder)

  • July 2022: Kusum “What are we accountants good for?,” Kusum asked. Archetype: Magician Rasa: Karunā (empathy) and adbūtha (wonder)

  • August 2022: Leela You don’t see how they make it about your people vs. my people, to keep us at each other's throats? Archetype: Rebel Rasa: Hāsya (comedy) and adbūtha (wonder)

  • September 2022: Mettananda Mettānanda’s calm and collected outer self tried to quiet his tingling secret-self. Archetype: Ruler Rasa: Bhayānakam (terror) and adbūtha (wonder)


ImageRon Lach

Rasa → Bhayānakam (भयानकं): Horror, terror. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: black, Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow

Archetype → Ruler



Mettānanda heard the eerie sound of the devil bird ringing from the forest as he walked down the monastery veranda bordering the lagoon; Villagers thought the cry of this particular owl—similar to the screams of a person getting strangled—as a sure omen of death. Mettānanda assumed charge of the monastery two days ago when the head monk Gunasāra went missing. He made his way to Gunasāra’s chamber to find the police superintendent's number from the old monk’s phone book.

A secret self inside Mettānanda tingled when entering Gunasāra’s chamber; It was a large space, split into an office, a sleeping area and a bathroom in the back. It was easily three times the size of other monastery chambers. Of course, Mettānanda had been there many times before. But, today it felt different; The air in the room itself felt light and vacant. Mettānanda’s calm and collected outer mind tried to quiet the tingling secret-self; But, as he circled the head monk's messy desk, the secret-self only seemed to draw a strange new charge.

He looked through the desk, eyes and hands peering through the scattered mess of newspapers, cheques, countless hospital bills, blood sugar reports and some foreign currency—probably from someone staying at one of the rentable meditation rooms at the monastery. Mettānanda felt his nerves throb as he started to comprehend the level of disorganization he’d have to untangle when he became the head monk. He cut that thought process short, in respect of the probably-departed.

Mettānanda found the battered phone book and started thumbing it for the Police superintendent’s number. He sat down on the deep black armchair and dialled the number; This was the same chair that Gunasāra got made in secret using the wood of the only ebony tree in the neighboring forest. Mettānanda marvelled at how comfortable it was. As he turned the electric fan on, Mettānanda’s side glance registered a new arrack bottle tucked away in one of the inner shelves of the desk. He didn’t have to hold back the smirk; It was no secret that Gunasāra drank.

Mettānanda drew a long breath to compose himself just in time as the Superintendent answered the phone. Mettānanda explained how the head monk had been missing. It took a lot of effort to maintain his usual calm and assuring voice. “Yes, yes. I’m the acting head monk of the monastery. Anyway, even when head monk Gunasāra was here, he was so busy with things that I took care of most things, no? So, we are okay but thank you Superintendent sir… Okay, see you in a short while. May the Triple Gem bless you,” Mettānanda finished the call.

Even after the superintendent had hung up, Mettānanda remained seated on the ebony chair. He drew another long breath; Another charge of energy crawled up his spine. It felt good to not have Gunasāra’s authority hanging over his head.

Mettānanda tried to arrange the mess on the desk, but inside, his secret self was vibrating with an intensity nearing levity. Realizing that his hands were shaking slightly, Mettānanda shrank at the thought of seeming listless when the superintendent arrived. He pointlessly squeezed his hands into fists. In a rush of desperation, Mettānanda reached for the arrack, cracked it open and drank a few sips. The arrack gave him a sharp and brief composure. Trying to take hold of himself, Mettānanda drank some more. The liquid burnt down his throat and simmered the secret-self awake a little bit more. As Mettānanda organized the head monk's desk to his liking—while sneaking in a few more sips in between—his secret self grew more and more comfortable in his skin.

By the time one of the novice monks had escorted the police superintendent to the office, Mettānanda had managed to finish half the bottle, arrange the desk neatly, and stuff Gunasāra’s hospital bills and reports into a plastic bag.

After a brief, friendly conversation with Mettānanda, the superintendent took the bag of documents and left without making any records, promising to return later with more police officers. He didn’t seem to care for the arrack smell floating in the air currents. But, the novice monk seemed visibly disturbed. He was one of the young ones who liked to follow Mettānanda around.

“What’s that smell?”, the novice asked.

“Don’t act like you don’t know Gunasāra’s drinking habit,” Mettānanda barked.

“But, he hasn't been here for almost two days,” retorted the young one.

Mettānanda considered the novice for a steely second. “Why don’t you come back here first thing tomorrow morning and mop up the floor then?”, he ordered rather than requesting.

The novice looked again at Mettānanda—it was the first time the young monk had glimpsed the thing lurking inside.

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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.

Updated: Oct 15


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 take you behind the story, revealing the process of its making.



Rasa → Bhayānakam (भयानकं): Horror, terror. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: black, Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow





This story was created based on the ruler archetype in the teachings of Carl Gustav Jung. According to his theories, the human mind is not a blank slate at birth (tabula rasa), and instead, inherits biological aspects, fundamental, and unconscious elements of our ancestors. This is where archetypes—proto patterns of the human mind—come in. Among the twelve archetypes of the human mind described by Jung, the ruler is one of the most recognizable and corruptible. The core desire of this archetype is gaining power and exercising control. The Ruler archetype is one of the most dangerous archetypes in its shadow, becoming authoritarian.

In the current socio-political context across the world, and in Sri Lanka where a majority of our subscribers live, we’re witnessing examples of the shadow rulers establishing totalitarian and authoritarian governments leaving little space for public opinion, let alone dissent. Jung’s teaching can help us develop a view of the world and its problems that includes the spiritual, psychological and the cultural.

Parallel to this, we worked with two main aesthetic flavours from the eastern Rasa theory—bhayānakam rasa which brings on moods connecting to terror and the adbūtha rasa evoking the strange and the mysterious. This reading list includes some of the literature, writing, music and films that inspired us in the making of this story.

  • The emotion of terror, or bhayanaka rasa, has its origin in the dominant state of fear. The vibhavas of this state are hideous noises, sights of ghosts, panic, anxiety, staying in an empty house, sight of death, and the captivity of dear ones. The anubhavas of this state are the trembling of the hands and feet, change of colour, and the loss of voice. Its bhavas are paralysis, perspiration, fear, stupefaction, dejection, agitation, restlessness, inactivity, epilepsy, and death.

  • Wood from kaluwara, Diospyros ebenum, or kaggawali, commonly known as Ceylon ebony, is highly valued for its incredibly dense heartwood, which takes at least a hundred and fifty years to mature into its coveted deep black. Kaluwara is a strictly protected species, but this rare wood is still illegally harvested by people and companies of influence.

  • 2002, Female Ruler Archetype of Empress St Helena. Homza Christian,

  • Stanford Experiment; The Stanford prison experiment (SPE) was designed to examine the effects of situational variables on participants' reactions and behaviors in a two-week simulation of a prison environment. Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo led the research team who ran the study in the summer of 1971. What happened when a few normal people were given absolute power and what they did with it. A cautionary true story about the human factor in cultism today.

  • Don Juan Dharmapala or Dom João Dharmapala Peria Bandara (1541 – 27 May 1597) was last king of the Kingdom of Kotte, in Sri Lanka. He is also known as the puppet king of Sri Lanka, controlled by the Portuguese, he once bequeathed his entire realm to the King of Portugal. The Portuguese takeover of Kotte, however, was resisted by the people and would only be completed much later after Dharmapala’s death.

  • There are few who have been stalwarts of Sri Lankan politics in the last half-century quite like the man often referred to as “the fox”. Ranil Wickremesinghe gained the nickname for his apparently wily ability to repeatedly resurrect his political career from the worst failures. Finally, last July, Wickremesinghe achieved what had appeared to be a lifelong political dream: he took the executive office of the president of Sri Lanka without a single vote from his citizens and through a parliamentary secret ballot.

  • The leader who transitions from the shadow to the light side of their archetype understands their role as a compassionate facilitator instead of a tyrant. The Indian emperor Asoka and Paul—a disciple of Jesus Christ, are two charismatic leaders who played historic roles in the rise of their faiths, embodying this transition from the shadow ruler to the more benevolent form of the archetype; This paper—Asoka and Paul: transformations that led to effective leadership—by Cheryl Patton (Eastern University, St Davids, PA, USA) states.

  • 2004, Tarot Cards: An Investigation of their Benefit as a Tool for Self Reflection. Gigi Hofer, Concordia University.

  • The Sri Lankan devil bird: In Sri Lankan folklore, the Devil Bird or Ulama is a creature said to emit bloodcurdling human-sounding shrieks in jungles at night. Its precise identity is still a matter of debate although the spot-bellied eagle-owl matches the profile of Devil Bird to a large extent.

  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil is a 2007 book which includes professor Philip Zimbardo's first detailed, written account of the events surrounding the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) — a prison simulation study which had to be discontinued after only six days due to several distressing outcomes and mental breaks of the participants. The book includes over 30 years of subsequent research into the psychological and social factors which result in immoral acts being committed by otherwise moral people. The book won the American Psychological Association's 2008 William James Book Award.

  • 1991, Administrative Adaptability: The Dutch East India Company and Its Rise to Power. D. Gerstell.

  • Kane's content mainly consists of short films as well as animations that induce terror asan aesthetic flavour. He has made films based on the Backrooms, and animations based on Attack on Titan. More of his work and details reveal Kane’s impressive knack for understanding the emotion of terror.

  • New research digs deeper into the social science behind why power brings out the best in some people and the worst in others

  • The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 historical drama film directed by Kevin Macdonald from a screenplay by Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock. Based on Giles Foden's 1998 novel, it depicts the dictatorship of Ugandan President Idi Amin through the perspective of a fictional Scottish doctor. The film stars Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy in these respective roles, with Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, and Gillian Anderson in supporting roles. The title of the film refers to Amin's claim of being the King of Scotland.

  • Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall


  • Colombo is not Sri Lanka’s capital, but it is the one city that you can’t avoid in matters of gaining access, and sometimes even viewpoints, to the world beyond. Understanding Colombo has much to do with exploring its unshakably commercial soul and origins.

>> Read the previous reading list