Blood and Milk: Need and the Mysteries of Birth and Initiation
Hello Masked Avengers and Private Dancers,
Out there in the world, everyone hides their mouth behind their masks. It’s the Law. And lawd knows, petty tyrants and bureaucrats love their moments of the illusion of power. You’ll get a mighty fine or beat up by the police who whoosh about to see you’re finished exercising by 09h00, and neighbours are spying on each other. When did we become children in East Berlin, attacking others in our own weaknesses and failures?
Those masks. In Greek theatre, the masks were called the ‘per sona’, the ‘sound came through’ the mask. And the character that was on stage was identified by their mask. Now we look like we are in an operating theatre, with our surgical masks. It’s still a theatre. Who are these characters that we have become? And, is this a tragedy, a comedy, a drama or a farce?
In therapy, when a patient involuntarily covers their mouth while talking, it usually ‘tells’ us that the patient is hiding a truth, or telling half the story, or concealing how they feel, or are ashamed, or fearful to say what is really in their hearts. Should we say that the masked actors out in the world are concealing their fear, ashamed of who they have become, anxious about articulating the violence or helplessness they feel?
Blood and milk. The stuff of birth, where both are present and necessary. Dependent, like an infant, when others must take care of our every need. This is what the moment of initiation feels like. Confused, inauthentic and needy. Unable to find the words, and not yet ready to speak about what matters. And if you cannot surrender gracefully, then the moment is missed. Then the initiation passes overhead like a great stork, flying north for the summer, carrying that new soul to another rooftop.
This inferiority is not ‘the shadow’ of popular psychology. That would be too easy, and also allow us to feel proud at how humble we are. We would rather feel the sting of our defensive arrogance, the horror we have become to ourselves, our blindness when we look deep into the bowl. The unlived parts that are disappointed and stuck, and the unloved ones, including ourselves, when we lacked the courage to say ‘I love you’.