Sansaku: A Shift in Context
Robert Johnson used the myth of Psyche and Eros for his book on feminine psychology, which he called She. I just pulled it off the shelf and turned to the image I was writing about yesterday.
“It has been said that Psyche is the first mortal who ever looked at a god in his true splendor and lived to tell the tale. This is the heart of our story; a mortal fell in love with a god and stayed true to her humanity and faithful to her love. The sublime ending of the story is a direct result of Psyche being true to herself and to her love.”
Most of us, when we first fell under the spell of deep erotic love and had our initiatory experience in bed world, saw the god or goddess in his or her splendor. I know I did, and it changed me forever.
We’d hitched to our friend’s house in Colorado Springs. She lived on Cheyenne Mountain above the Broadmoor. Her last name was Lovejoy, no shit, and I thought it a very good omen.
I saw the goddess that night, and vowed to serve her. But I didn’t know much about the archetypal realm or love. I had no idea the goddess wasn’t the woman, which is what got Psyche in trouble in the first place. People were worshipping her and not Aphrodite.
The gods are jealous gods, ask Yahweh, and never underestimate a goddess. She puts Psyche to the test. “Do you really love? We’ll see.” This is when the work on consciousness begins. And what takes pages in a sacred story, takes lifetimes in mundane reality.
Psychology has long struggled with the seeming stability of personality traits and behavior, which can prove highly resistant to change; and, the sudden shifts and definitive changes that come with slightly different contexts.
The girls at Timberline used to complain about their boyfriends. “When we’re alone in bed world, he’s completely loving. But get him around his friends, and he’s a total asshole. What’s that about?”
Bed is one of those contexts that makes a difference, and so is a herd of adolescent males. And if something is context sensitive, even the smallest of changes can result in a completely different set of behaviors. It’s one of the secrets most therapists learn early in their careers.
And I’m about to make a change in context.
I’ve been writing a story about love and consciousness for years. It has a very different context, and I’ve never taken the time to weave it together. It’s scattered sansaku style in notebooks and journals.
One of the tasks Psyche is asked to perform, and there are four of them, is to sort and separate a chaotic pile of seeds. She’s given a day to do this. It’s obviously symbolic and seeds are one of those big-time symbols. So is sorting, selecting, and separating. We must choose.
And I have a big pile of words, sentences, and pages I need to sort through and separate. So far, I’ve only thrown them on the compost pile. It’s time to spade them into earth and sees what grows. That’s how I’ll sort and separate them.
It begins with a place and the very first vision I had. There are two sensuous hills, twin buttes, and from a distance they look much larger than they are. Most people are disappointed and speed on past, hardly slowing to notice the girl.