Coinneach Shanks: A Psychotherapist in Dublin, Ireland
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Killiney and the Great Mother
We had expected better weather but resorted to shopping and a picnic lunch in the car. Killiney provides a decent view and a place to stop, so we made a few rolls and looked out at the rain. It looked like a monochrome day, but I hopped out of the car and tried the Pentax Q on a landscape. Now I had resolved that the Pentax Q wasn't great for this kind of shot, but this has a natural look I liked. Killiney Bay is often compared to Sorrento, which is the most awful tosh that does justice to neither. They are quite different and equally beautiful. But in both cases, it's true that the sea does meet the land - and it's a powerful symbolic meeting. The waters were present at earth's beginning and represent the undifferentiated mass. But the earth has a different place in the cosmos as the producer of all living things, The earth is about seeds and ploughing and fertility. The Earth is Gaia and the Great Mother - but I'm reminded of the song The Holy Ground. Both Christans and Jews refer to Palestine as the Holy Land and Plato talked of the Pure Land (The Pure Land School is also an enduring form of Buddhist practice). But the Holy Ground of Irish folk song is thought to be the Cobh red light district to which sailors longed to return. There is a link, as Erich Neumann has pointed out. Behind the archetype of the Great Mother lies many things including sacrifice, sorcery and prostitution. Poseidon, God of the Sea, remained in the hands of his mother, Aphrodite, the sacred prostitute. Unable to break away and fully individuate, he had to do her bidding. Now here's the rub. The sea is also female.