Friday, October 12, 2012

The Tale of the Spider

This spider has been living with us for several months and it's an extraordinary creature. It can spin the most intricate webs, move with astonishing speed and devour quarry many times its size. The spider is very big in symbolism and of course there's is a Greek myth associated with spiders. Arachne was a mortal Lydian girl who, due to her spinning prowess, ran foul of Goddess Athene by impressing the Gods. Annoyed by the Gods' love for mortal women, Athene struck Lydia with her shuttle and the poor girl tried to hang herself. But Athene saved her by turning her into a spider. In consequence she was condemned to dangle forever at the end of a thread. It demonstrates that you shouldn't challenge the Gods. To do so is to reverse the order of things and the punishment is the endless creation of a facsimile of the Heavens. While I was researching spiders, I came across an odd fact. I had wondered whether spiders' webs were made of fractal patterns and found that they were not. However, I discovered that upon the administration of minute doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), spiders can spin a web that includes the repeated detail of fractals! But spiders are often seen negatively, In film noir, the female protagonist is often a spider woman., She portrays a predatory (and duplicitous) image of the female, continually trying to ensnare and devour male prey. And it's something of a pity that come Hallowe'en, spiders will be represented as horrifying. I'll speak up for my spider - she's been performing excellent duties with insects and wasps. She's much admired and in turn shows no fear of me. I guess we agree to co-exist!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

(Bridge over) untroubled water

I decided to remain with water but also look at the structures that accompany it. Here we have piped water and a road going over canal water - and whilst it's not an aqueduct proper, its nonetheless a crossing. Leeson Street also passes over this most symbolic of artifacts. I do like the story of the Devil's Bridges which are most popular in folk tales, especially those of eastern Europe. The Devil builds the bridge as a lure for God and the price he asks is the soul of the first person to cross it. He built it after all, so he is owed something. But he is often tricked himself and seldom gets his due. The passage over the bridge represents a change between two states of being and its narrow passageway  forces a choice between salvation and damnation. I'm not suggesting that Leeson Street's many nightclubs are typical choices, nor that they represent damnation, but some folks may disagree! I do recall a dream of being on a railway bridge in India. Hundreds of people had disembarked from a stalled train and the bridge was in danger of giving way. I searched in vain for a person of authority and found one, resplendent in a smart guard's uniform. So clearly my psyche pointed to my need to find an authority - something outside of myself -  to resolve a difficult choice. In psychotherapy we often find clients looking for someone else to make a choice for them. But you have to cross the bridge on your own, you have to take yourself with you and and you can't keep returning to make another attempt!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Artificial Falls

I seem to have a thing about water at present. Perhaps I am drawn to artificial urban water. This is about the nicest waterfall you can encounter within and around Dublin, but it's totally constructed and "unnatural". Yet the roar of the water as it drops is satisfying and we can all relax in the knowledge that it's the same water being pumped around and around. It has energy nonetheless and in the onset of winter we could all use some of that automatic repetitive force. In a natural environment, a waterfall would gradually wear away the surrounding rocks and in the prescientific mind this amounted to dissolving of matter. Of course, the continual pounding of dropping water doesn't "dissolve" rock - but there is inevitably a kind of union between water and earth. The waterfall is composed of a steady, never-ending flow. If we visit these falls and then return some time later, the water will continue to look pretty much the same and so will the rocks. Yet in the interim the water does, without interruption, force its will on the rocks below. The traditional explanation for waterfalls in dreams is one of purification, but I feel it is more about duration and the inexorable passage of life. Perhaps the dreamer feels worn out by time.