Therapeia, October 2017. Preparation notes for students. Some fun links and references of interesting stuff you might not know.
Impossible Loves: Horror, Healing and Hades.
‘The Suffering of Impossible Love’, (Myth of Analysis, p92-107). Impossible love? Is there a ‘possible love’ then?
Horror. ‘We suffer,’ says Jim. ‘The torture of the soul seems unavoidable in every close involvement’. ‘Our myth tells us that psyche suffers from love.. tortured.. awakened through torment into psyche, a torment which.. transforms eros as well’. (p92-94). Yup, sounds familiar.
‘.. yet this suffering is neither blind nor tragic, nor is it endurance.. our tale has something to do with initiation, with changing the structure of consciousness.’ (p95)
Hades. It’s tough, but it works out well in the end, apparently. There is all the ‘mutual torment.. erotic obsession.. sadomasochistic elements… betrayal and separation and also our wrong relation to eros.’ But then, in the end, ‘love – because it finds soul – overcomes compulsion’. (p94-95). Well, that’s good to know.
Aphrodite. A lovely list of love liaisons. Dodgy, dishonest and dirty dealings. A marriage made in hell and consummated in heaven might be better than a marriage made in heaven and consummated in hell.
Desire and the Soul. Eros and Psyche Some hold the view that the Amor and Psyche story only came into being with Apuleius’ tale, in ‘The Golden Ass’. So it’s good to see the figures that predate Apuleius. Eros and Psyche images. Thanks for the efforts here.
Healing. And love keeps us on the right track, which is ‘psychic integration and erotic identity’. It’s here we meet ‘impossible love’, which, ‘through violence and pain’, necessitates a return to the imaginal. Easier said. These struggles ‘one accepts as necessary for the soul’. We get that ‘Eros is born of Chaos’, and if we refuse the chaos, both eros and creativity may be lost. So we should not be aiming for a cure, ‘since these same wounds.. give rise to eros’, and to refuse the wounding ‘removes the possibility of ‘change’ through eros. And this how we find our way to ‘the pothos of the unattainable.’ (p96-100). OK, sorted. And it’s encouraging that ‘change on the psychotic level’ is possible. Whatever that means.
Hurrah. Before we can go forward and explore how ‘the soul’s awakening is a process in beauty’, and how that leads us to Voluptus, pleasure, (p101-107), we will need first to go back:
Hare. In Myth of Analysis, Jim describes ‘the whole’ of love as including himeros, pothos and anteros. So, if my ‘foolish desire’ for you is my himeros, and if ‘it’s not actually about you after all’ is my pothos, then what is my anteros? And if himeros and pothos, are essential in transforming compulsion and making soul, then anteros is probably important as well. So, what is this ‘answering love’?
Anteros. Popularly (and incorrectly) called ‘Eros’ at Piccadilly Circus. ‘Anteros, with which persons usually connect the notion of “Love returned.” But originally Anteros was a being opposed to Eros, and fighting against him. This conflict, however, was also conceived as the rivalry existing between two lovers, and Anteros accordingly punished those who did not return the love of others; so that he is the avenging Eros..’‘
(Eros) does not desire the other person’s welfare or health; it desires the other person. What heals is our need for each other.’ (p88).
Erotes. Three winged love-gods fly across the sea bearing love-gifts – a hare, a wreath and a sash. The names of the gods, Eros, Pothos and Himeros, are inscribed on the vase.
‘Pothos was the god of sexual longing, yearning and desire. He was one of the winged love-gods known as Erotes. Late classical writers describe him as a son of Zephyros (the west wind) and Iris (the rainbow).’ Not our usual archetypal take.
Huh. Some of the terms used in the passages above are: ‘the psyche suffers from love’, ‘love finds soul’, ‘overcome compulsion’, ‘psychic integration’, ‘anima becomes psyche’, ‘desires necessary for transformation’, ‘chaos and creativity’, ‘change through eros’, ‘eros makes soul’, ‘transform eros’ and ‘leads to pothos’. Just thought to mention these. Glad we cleared that up.
‘Alas, what a sweet dream I saw! But now it is gone, and I am left here yet virgin.* All this bridal pomp the misty darkness marshaled for me, all this the envious dawn of day has torn from me and awaking I found not my heart’s desire. Are the very images of Eros and Anteros jealous of me?
I know why angry Eros has left unfulfilled Theseus the deceiver’s promise. He swore his marriage-oath not by Hera, whom they call the Nuptial goddess, but by the immaculate Athena, the goddess who knows nothing of marriage.
Then Bacchus comforted Ariadne, Maiden, why do you sorrow for the deceitful man of Athens? You have Dionysus for your lover, a husband incorruptible for the husband of a day. For you I will make a starry crown, that you may be called the shining bedfellow of crown-loving Dionysus.’
Nonus. Dionysiaca XLVII. 331ff
*According to protocol, a god’s bride must be a virgin. A virgin, in antiquity, does not mean a woman who has not had sex. It means unmarried.
He-She. In Anima, we need to review some earlier discussions on beauty, psyche, eros, love and soul making: Beauty awakens soul, but it is ‘a movement away from Aphrodite, both of Eros and Psyche’. Then we need to understand ‘..though anima is not eros, her first inclination is towards love. So she seduces in order to be turned on.. in order to draw eros down upon her for.. soul-making’. (Anima p31-33)
‘‘For you are wrong, Socrates, in supposing that love is of the beautiful.’
‘What then is it?’
‘It is of engendering and begetting upon the beautiful.’
‘Be it so,’ I said.
‘To be sure it is,’ she went on; ‘and how of engendering? Because this is something ever-existent and immortal in our mortal life. From what has been admitted, we needs must yearn for immortality no less than for good, since love loves good to be one’s own for ever. And hence it necessarily follows that love is of immortality.’’
Plato, The Symposium 206-207
‘So she commands an incredible range of voluptuous imagery in order to draw eros down upon her for what Plato called ‘generation’ or soul-making.’ (Anima p33)
This much we know about Love: there ain’t no cure.