Coinneach Shanks: A Psychotherapist in Dublin, Ireland
Friday, February 3, 2012
Saintly Truth On the Ceiling
This is a decorated ceiling in Castel d'Angelo in Rome and I did like the centrepiece. But again, I couldn't track it down. There was a similar image on the Internet but no further information. This was was the apartment of Pope Paul III but who was the figure in the painting? Again I had to search by describing the image and this has to be the Archangel St Michael. Only he has the boots, wings and unsheathed sword and interestingly he is one of the few saints common to Christians, Jews and Muslims. According to my source, the Lucky Mojo Curio Company, he is the Patron Saint of Policeman and if you boil up some bay leaves and write a careful prayer to St Michael, you will be successful in sports competitions. In one old painting St Michael is depicted with his foot on the throat of a wrongdoer, poised to eliminate him with his sword. Importantly for psychoanalysts the sword often denotes the Word and in Christian philosophy, the sword can mean speech and eloquence, possibly due to the double edge of both sword and tongue. Psychoanalyst Lacan said the only desire of the psychoanalyst may be that the client communicates with him in words. Freud talks of the "sword of speech" and following him, Lacan speaks that "Truth hollows its way into the real, thanks to the dimension of speech." So what is St Michael saying I wonder, up there on the ceiling?