The Food of the Soul
"The dread and resistance every natural human being experiences when it comes to delving too deeply into himself is, at bottom, the fear of the journey to Hades."
C. G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works, v.12, p. 439
"So let us ask, 'if the content of a dream is a representation of a fulfilled wish', (On Dreams, Sigmund Freud, p.61), then precisely what fulfills the instinctual wish? The dream-work itself can be our only answer: the images made in dreams fulfill the desire of instinct. Narcissus' desire was fulfilled by the image of body experienced in reflection. It wanted nothing else...
...We can put Freud's theory in the the language of Plato's Cratylus (403-04): 'What keeps soul in the underworld?,' asks Socrates. ('What keeps the psyche asleep?,' asks Freud.) Answer: Desire (Wishes); the soul wishes to stay there, for it finds satisfaction there. What satisfies the desire? (What fulfills the wishes?) Answer: the benefactory intelligence of Hades (404a), 'his knowledge of all noble things' from which his name itself derives (eidenai). That is, Hades has a hidden connection with eidos and eidolon, the archetypal intelligence given in images. Hence what fulfills our deepest wish is Hades, in whose dreams is the intelligence of archetypal ideas; and we must sleep in order to see these ideas. It is these images, these visible ideas, that fulfill the desire of the soul, feeding it with intelligence as it sinks into the night, or as the romantic Von Baader put it: 'Images do the soul good! They are its true food.'
The best food are the images of myth. This premise, that the psyche, and psychology, is best satisfied by myth, we find first of all in Freud's style of using old myths and rewriting them into new myths. We find the same premise theoretically expressed by Jung and, of course, before either of them, by the romantics. They especially recognized the analogies between myth and dream. Already von Schubert (1814) drew precise parallels between the symbolic imagery of the dream and that of the Dionysus cult and the Eleusinian mysteries."
James Hillman, The Dream and the Underworld, pp.120-121
...the archetypal intelligence given in images...
I read this passage this morning having awoken from a night of heady dreaming, a notable occurrence of which was the emergence of a kind of dog-weasel bursting out from the hitherto tranquil garden lawn which then went on to literally dog me for the rest of the night (and now it seems). The passage above leads me to connect it with the preface I have written for the Heveningham Hall 2015 book. I have just delivered the twenty seven books in the edition a couple of days ago.
Here is an excerpt from the preface...
"In the centre of Heveningham Hall’s recently completed east wing ceiling is a circular painting. The painting depicts a woman, her face in profile, seated within a woodland clearing. She wears her hair up and her tunic off the shoulder. To her right side is a pedestal ornamented with winged lions at its edges. On top of the pedestal is an elegant Ionic capital upon which four books are placed. Some scrolls are set down by the side of her feet. A lute rests against her. Her left leg crosses her right and her bare foot sits upon an unmapped globe. In her lap is a palette with a paintbrush and a palette knife.
These iconic symbols of architecture, the written word, visual art, music and geography suggest that the portrait is of a creator of civilisation. A small solitary plant, surging upwards through dry ground near her feet, represents the creative force and energy of nature as a sacred gift beyond human understanding and capability. Evenly distributed around this central painting are sixteen small plasterwork roundels containing putti; spritely little mediators between the human and divine realms. Within the circumference of the outer circle, beyond the putti of the central circle, sixteen lunettes depict a range of agricultural scenes. These include shepherding, tilling, seeding, tending and enjoyment of the fruits of harvest. This symbolic rendering, whereby the divine radiates from the centre to the periphery where mankind resides, suggests that the central figure of this redolent space is Demeter.
The ancient Greeks worshipped Demeter as the goddess of agriculture and sacred law. Festivals held annually throughout ancient Greece brought married women together over three days to venerate the laws given by her for the fruitful and sustainable working of the land. Demeter was also the central figure worshipped in the Eleusinian Mysteries. These were a set of secretive ceremonies and initiations, held in early Spring and late Autumn, that were performed each year for around two millennia at Eleusis in West Attica. At the core of these ceremonies was the myth in which Persephone, goddess of vegetation and daughter of Demeter, returns to her mother each year from her six month captivity by Hades in the underworld. The ancient Greeks saw this myth as manifested annually by the cycle of growth and decay in plant life.
The rich and fundamental areas of life over which the goddess Demeter presides provide the foundation upon which civilisation is created; hence the articles she is depicted with in the portrait. Sickles and scythes feature in six of sixteen lunettes surrounding the central painting. The sickle is the symbol of Demeter’s father, Kronos, who was Father Time to the ancients. In myth Kronos used a sickle not simply as an agricultural tool but also as an unsavoury weapon with which he castrated his father, Uranus. The two winged lions seen on the pedestal are associated with Demeter’s mother, Rhea, whose celestial chariot was pulled by such beasts. Rhea was both sister and wife of Kronos and the daughter of Uranus, Father Sky, and Gaia, Mother Earth. The ceiling upon which this painting of Demeter is placed calls to mind the sky in both its tone and its position high above the viewer. The ceiling can be seen as a plane that looks upon Earth from above as we, from below, look upwards, orientated in our imagination toward the cosmos."
Cameron Maynard, Heveningham Hall 2015, p.5
"Although the dream itself is unconcerned with waking-life (Freud, Collected Papers 5, p.150), the dream-work, as a satisfaction of instinct, will have its effect on waking-life, even if indirectly and without benefit of the connections to life made by ego counseling based on dreams. How do such effects come about, if not by direct advice extracted from the dream?
From the comparison of dreams with myth, healing cult, and religious mysteries, we can understand that changes take place in participants even without direct interpretive intervention. It is not what is said about the dream after the dream, but the experience of the dream after the dream. A dream compared with a mystery suggests that the dream is effective as long as it remains alive."
James Hillman, The Dream and the Underworld, p.122