Coinneach Shanks: A Psychotherapist in Dublin, Ireland
Friday, April 17, 2015
If you want to get ahead - get a hat
I always liked this kind of hat. The fellow wearing it is in a museum and I thought he would be happier with a ruddy glow because he seems like an outdoor sort. The hat is a headdress and to some extend shares symbolism with hair. It's the topmost adorning feature and a sign of authority. A hat is also like a crown and a tricorn hat even more so. So the hat also denotes power. Hats have a powerful iconography. The importance of the hat in movie Westerns cannot be over estimated. That is usually a black hat or a white hat, often worn with a correspondingly coloured horse. It connotes a position in the narrative of opposites - good and evil. To wear a different hat is to assume a different role but to change your hat is an altogether more serious business. Jung points out that this involves changing your ideas, your outlook on the world. Gustav Meyrink's novel "The Golem" is a Jewish tale of the Prague ghetto. The unnamed hero borrows a hat belonging to one Athanasius Pernath and is plunged into his head and body. The Golem is a Biblical creature rather like Frankenstein's monster and there are mystical Jewish texts that offer instructions on how to make one. Hasidic folklore suggests a Golem can be made to serve the purposes of its creator, but the most important thing is the fashioning of the head. In "Waiting for Godot", the hat is all about identity. "Give him his hat, he can't think without his hat." And when the characters speak as one, they all take off their hats. If you dream about a hat, it may represent a concern about identity, role and authority. Are you taking off the hat or putting it on?