Coinneach Shanks: A Psychotherapist in Dublin, Ireland
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Dalkey - the Enchanted Island
This is Dalkey Island. It's about 15 kilometers from Dublin's centre and it's quite the most interesting place on this coast. The picture was taken from Killiney but I'd rather have taken it from the rather lovely Victorian hotel that used to overlook the island. I regularly took guests there, but unfortunately it was demolished to make way for a foreboding concrete apartment complex that Stalin would have admired. It's difficult to find a photograph of that old hotel and it's almost like it never existed. Fortunately no one wants to develop the enchanted island! In symbolic terms, islands have clarity and lack ambiguity. Islands are a place of mystery and often in the old myths they could only be reached at the end of an arduous voyage. We often imagine the desert island as a seductive, idyllic place, but it's no joke if you're marooned there. No matter how nice the island is, after a while the mystery begins to pall. The isolation of the island is attractive though. Psychoanalysis concentrates on islands as places of withdrawal - the island is both a spiritual retreat and a sanctuary. So here we can find refuge from the unconscious just as the rocks provide a barrier against the ocean. So if you dream of an island, you may be defending against something powerful in your unconscious. You may need time to retreat and consider, because the ego defence is there for a reason. You can consciously will a refuge from the waves for a while - but it's temporary, because you can't (or shouldn't) stay there for ever.