Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Castle, the Unconscious & The Self

Many castles are often stately homes built by rich aristocrats to show off their wealth. This one in Ostia is far from that. Begun in 1483, by the future Pope Julius II, it was the seat of the Papal Custom Houses and regulated excise payments on goods entering the Roman Port of Ostia. It was besieged by the Spanish at the end of the Franco-Spanish War and substantially damaged. A flood ended its prominence in 1557, after which it was used variously for agricultural storage and then a prison. Convicts were conscripted to assist in archaeological excavations in the ancient port and the castle became their prison. In symbolic terms the castle is usually defensive. It’s a fortress and attack is not part of its business. If you dream that you are in castle, it’s just possible you are being defensive about something in your life or feel imprisoned. But there is another interpretation. It might be something about yourself that you are unable to access. This castle is very traditional – it has quite a deep moat. It was difficult to get out, but also extremely difficult to get in. In Kafka’s novel, the Castle, the hero “K” tries to obtain access to authorities in a castle. He is completely unaware of why he has been invited there and the more he tries to reach the castle, the further away the castle appears. K is doomed to wander aimlessly outside rather than inside the castle. It’s all about the seeking after Self, the darkness of the unconscious and our continuing attempts to become aware.