Yoko Ono And The Men Who Influenced Her
Review by R.E. Prindle
Clayson, Alan: Woman: The Incredible Life Of Yoko Ono, Chrome Dreams, 2004.
Yoko Ono involved herself with several of the most influential men in the arts during the sixties, seventies and eighties of the twentieth century. She drew her inspiration from them patterning her own efforts after them. At the same time she was one of the leading feminists of the day having her share in shaping and furthering the movement. The mantra was female liberation, equality between men and women. In fact women were equal to men in the West but only by acknowledging the biological differences between men and women. The fact is the differences are real and not social constructs as women would have us believe. The fact is women are women and men are men. So, in seeking ‘female liberation’ feminists were seeking much more than ‘equality’ however the term may be defined.
The fact is that in the Ages old war between the sexes feminists are seeking to restore the Matriarchy and destroy the Patriarchy. That is why many men favor feminism, they prefer the Matriarchy. Thus the feminists are atavistic. Yoko and her cohorts wished, in her words, to restore ‘heart’ as she viewed the Matriarchy and eliminate ‘reason’ as she viewed quite rightly the basis of Patriarchalism. Nevermind that bilogical science has invalidated the concepts of Matriarachy and Patriarchy. This is a post Matriarchy and Patriarchy world.
Circa -2000 in the West men revolted against the mind stifling Matriarchy and the vaginal swamp of the ‘heart’ seeking to establish
the authority of the infinite power of the mind of Zeus on ethereal Olympus. This is the story of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and the Greek myths in general recording the struggle.
The Western male was able to impose the ascendency of reason over the heart for 3000 years until the disestablishment of the old order by science about mid-nineteenth century. The center could not hold during this period of extreme change as W.B. Yeats put it as the rearrangement of the intellectual order moved into the twentieth century.
Yoko Ono sought with her feminist fellows to return to the biological innocence of 2000 BC. She herself had no talent. Filled with audacity she pitted her ‘heart’ against the reason of John Cage, Andy Warhol and John Lennon. I’m sure she had a mentor for her so-called performance art but I am as yet unaware of who he may be. Perhaps Maciunas and the Fluxus group.
Thus her first manifestation as an artist was based on the musical ideas of John Cage while her artistic efforts were at least based in the avant garde ideas of the Fluxus group. Her first assault on the NYC art world failed so in 1961 she returned in defeat to Japan. When she returned to NYC in 1964 she found an entirely different art scene. On the musical side the focus was on Bobby Dylan and the Beatles while on the artistic side Andy Warhol and his Factory had destroyed the Abstract Expressionists and the old avant garde. Dylan, the Beatles and Warhol had in fact usurped the avant garde which now had little meaning. From my point of view held at the time the avant garde had ceased to exist. Of course I didn’t understand exactly why or how.
From 1964 when Yoko returned to NYC until 1966 when she left for London I’m sure Yoko was at a loss. She developed her silly
notion of Bagism at this time even having a black bag on a stand in Max’s Kansas City that some one or ones were supposed to slide into. This seems to have been thought a lame idea at the time as it seems now.
At this time while retaining allegiance to John Cage’s musical ideas she was falling under the influence of Andy Warhol’s artistic notions. Warhol’s intent had been to destroy the idea of ‘fine art’. In this he pretty well succeeded. As Yoko expressed it you didn’t need any talent to be an artist. She seems to demonstrate this notion in her own artistic efforts. Warhol had also redefined the notion of film with his static studies. He then sought to combine his film ideas with live music, probably in competition with Bob Dylan who was also attempting to move in that direction. Warhol adopted Lou Reed and his band the Velvet Underground as the Factory house band while creating a multi-media show called the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, innovative for its time. Thus a concert at his hall, the Dom, was an ‘experience.’
While Yoko makes no mention about how this, actually, incredible development affected her there can be no doubt that she was well aware of Dylan, the Beatles and the Warhol Experience and was affected by it. Indeed, the first manifestation was the making of her Warhol style films such as Bottoms.
The second manifestation was her removal to London to seduce either Lennon or McCartney of the Beatles, thus in the manner of Warhol’s adoption of the Velvet Underground she sought to co-opt the Beatles, the premier rock group in the world. Real chutzpah and more than one upping Warhol. I think it would be nonsense to think she had any other goal in mind.
She undoubteldy learned that Paul McCartney was actively involved with John Dunbar and his Indica Gallery that opened in 1965.
Some say she first set her sights on McCartney but the more vulnerable Lennon showed up and the Spider Woman spread her web.
She was still married to her second husband, Tony Cox, but, regardless of what she says she very aggressively pursued, or attacked, Lennon. Lennon was emotionally under water unable to handle his success while drugging himself out of his mind. He was unwillingly married to his wife Cynthia. It appears that he married Cynthia out of duty when she became pregnant. He doesn’t seem to have been happy in his virtue. Yoko had no difficulty in capturing his affections.
Now, just as Warhol had adopted the Velvets and imposed his female singer, Nico, on the band Yoko sought to imp[ose herself on the Beatles through Lennon. At this time she was still musically completely in thrall to John Cage understanding nothing about Rock music. She and Lennon had made a ridiculous LP called Two Virgins in 1968. She combined her cagian screechings while using an avant garde 'performance' notion of the couple posing nude on the cover; full frontal on the obverse, full posterior on the reverse. As no store would carry the cover the couple reverted to Yoko's idea of Bagism placing the cover inside a plain manila envelope or bag. While it didn't sell the record this form of Bagism was actually a successful artistic statement. The nude cover given an outer garment so to speak.
Well, the public was prepared to forgive the Beatles anything but the other three Beatles weren't prepared to forgive Yoko for forcing herself on them thus she broke up the most successful act of the sixties. Still, she had succeeded according to her wildest dream. Lennon and his wonderful reputation and fortune were hers. She had gone from a neglected, nondescript 'performance' artist to center stage, not on her own womanly talents but by attaching herself to a talented man. Yoko's 'heart' was useless without the male intellect. Yoko was now the most influencial feminist in the world. She knew what to do with that.
After several 'performance' acts such as the 'Bed In For Peace' the couple left England to return to the place Yoko wished to subjugate artistically, New York City. She had raised herself to a par with Andy Warhol. She now had to meld her musical and artistic goals through Lennon and Warhol.
On the musical side she began to develop her rock n' roll skills under the tutelage of Lennon. While not abandoning the avant garde notions of John Cage she now emasculated her husband. Always semi-delusional or perhaps completely so, she fantasized that she was not only equal to Lennon in skill and popularity but superior to him. She imagined herself more popular than Lennon. Thus one has such travesties as the LP Double Fantasy. It was only after Lennon's death that she was forced to recognize than Lennon's fans did not appreciate her efforts. So she failed as a musician.
She quickly tired of being Mrs. Lennon. Thus she and Lennon separated for eighteen months or so during the years 1973-75. She then realized that her financial well being and musical acceptance depended on Lennon. In 1975 she called him back resuming their relationship until his death in 1980. But, things had changed.
She began to adopt Warhol's life style on her return to NYC. While she propagated the notion that she was some sort of business whiz Iam having difficulties discovering any such skills. It appears that with the enormous income of Lennon she emulated Warhol in
spending her way to prosperity.
She was in a position to not only match Warhol’s spending but exceeding it by many times. Through the seventies and eighties Warhol came into his own as an artist while reaping a fortune doing portraits. There appears to have been no effort on his part to invest in income producing vehicles. Rather he bought stuff. He purchased buildings in NYC and elsewhere while acquring undeveloped acreage in places like Aspen. He shopped nearly every day buying antiques from furniture to objets d’ art by the bushel almost as though he were trying to excel the incredible W.R. Hearst.
He usually didn’t even look at the stuff once he bought it merely filling rooms with his shopping bags. At his death all this junk was auctioned off for 25 million dollars, a nice appreciation in value.
Yoko followed the exact pattern buying apartments and houses as well as an extensive dairy farm with a herd of prize cows. She not only had but has five apartments in her principal dwelling, the Dakota apartment building and many other houses scattered around.
Like Warhol the Dakota apartments are stuffed with junk. Valuable, but, you know, stuff. She bought at good prices. Her extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities was mostly purchased before a steep rise in value.
Like the Rothschilds of old Yoko didn’t do all her own shopping but employed agents to search things out. Chief among these was an associate of Warhol’s, Sam Green, and an Hungarian immigrant by the name of Sam Havadtoy.
There should be no surprise then that she now has an extensive collection of Warhol’s artwork as well as his portraits of Lennon. The Warhols would have been purchased for form 25 to 50K while now being listed on her assets at tens of millions. She also has been said to have a good collection of Magrittes as well as one assumes other artists. So, much of her net worth is tied up in artwork purchased through Sam Green.
Sam Havadtoy was an antiques dealer as well as an interior designer. He appears to have been a somewhat shady character. It is very difficult to find much about him, however there is a sharp portrait available from the notorious A.J. Weberman ( http://www.acid-trip.org/lennon/ )
…(the Lennons) hired a sleazy Eastern European bisexual to renovate the pad. (Dakota) I had heard of this dude, whose name escapes me, from an asswipe named BRUCE KIRSH, who worked for him. KIRSH told me that the dude, who worked for the King of Morocco, would form a dummy renovation company, hire employees like Kirsch who were willing to work under false names, then, when it came time to pay taxes, everyone would disappear. I learned of him long before he was hired by John and Yoko, and I was taken aback when Yoko took up with him after John’s death.
I know that Weberman is not particularly well thought of by fandom but this is because of his harassment of Dylan who did, after all, misrepresent himself to the revolutionaries like Weberman. A.J. himself is an intelligent observer who was wading through it when it was deep. I do believe he knows what he’s talking about although his interpretations of Dylan’s lyrics seem absurd.
I would have to question Yoko’s judgment in taking him in. Both he and Sam Green were candidates as successors to Lennon with
whom she consorted in front of Lennon before he died while Yoko chose Havadtoy as his successor the day he died.
Perhaps she selected Havadtoy over Green because he was more rough trade. With Lennon while managing to reconcile revolution with peace and love with Havadtoy she discarded peace and love in favor of strong arm methods against her former employee Fred Seaman when it was totally unnecessary.
Havadtoy was living in a homosexual arrangement with his business partner when Yoko beckoned him to switch to her. Apparently an able switch hitter he was lured by the money to this much older woman. The arrangement did last for twenty years before Havadtoy removed to his native Hungary taking a nice cash settlement and several of the Warhols.
Thus, just as Warhol had his live-in homosexual arrangement so after Lennon’s death Yoko adopted the exact arrrangement. Today she apparently lives alone, a seventy-eight year old woman.
After Lennon’s death there was an accession of from 30 million to a possible 100 million dollars as their last album, Double Fantasy, sold into the millions while the rest of Lennon’s catalog and one assumes the Beatles’ catalog was reinvigorated while all things Lennon sold. This is, of course, no reflection on Yoko but the inevitable result with intellectual properties when the maker dies.
Post-Lennon, then, Yoko realized that her recording and art careers were nil. Heart without intellect is worthless. She then became the caretaker of the Lennon legacy. His recordings, of course, continued to sell, but even his artwork eclipsed that of Yoko. So she suffered the humiliation of being a mere appendage to a man. The feminine dismal swamp was eclipsed by the Olympian heights of the male intellect. As in ancient times the God had trumped the Goddess. And yet as with Hera and Zeus the Goddess gets her way. Yoko came up with the money and goods while Lennon’s spirit was wafted into the stratosphere.
As any reader of mythology knows Hera ruled the Lernean swamps of Argolis while Zeus ruled the gods on ethereal Olympus. Thus one has the symbolism of the biological difference between the male and female.
In ancient times the female had her share in magic. She knew herbs and plants, was familiar with poisons and cures as with the arch witch of the ancient world, Medea. The reputation of the female witch even as a consort of Satan persisted down through medieval and post-medieval times, indeed, even up to the dawn of the scientific enlightenment. One would have thought that magic and witchery were a thing of the past in the 1960s and yet Yoko embodied the whole female swamp mentality.
She established something called the Spirit Foundation attributing the direction to Lennon who in fact knew nothing of these matters but followed her lead. The Spirit Foundation celebrated the ancient art of the Shaman or witch doctor. Shamanism itself even preceded the Matriarchal swamps of Argolis. It was a rich repository of magical tradition. Further the Foundation was feminist in that it was dedicated to preserving the magical traditions of the women of the Pacific islands still living in such archaic societies. The wealth generated by the male intellect was appropriated by the female vagina or ‘heart.’
In her own life and that of Lennon’s Yoko was addicted to a variety of magical practices- astrology, numerology, Tarot readings, and indeed she traveled to the Caribbean to sell her soul to Satan through the offices of a female curandera. Her Tarot reader, John Green, was a priest in the shamanistic, magical, Yoruban African cult of Santeria.
Her feminism was more a magical effort to restory Matriarchal supremacy over the Patriarchy thus reversing the Patriarchal victory of three thousand years previously. Indeed, what has been called the movement for female equality is nothing more than a covert campaign to restore the Matriarchy.
Thus while Yoko o9riginatd nothing she usurped the abilities of the reason of men- Cage, Warhol, Lennon and male magicians such as John Green. Indeed the Trojan War itself was a war of men in service of women.
In her associations with men she preferrred to deal with emasculated types such as homosexuals like Cage, Warhol, Sam Green and Sam Havadtoy. Lennon claimed to have always been dependent of women for comfort and guidance while Yoko caught him at his most confused and vulnerable.
While she received direction from Cage and Warhol she was able to manipulate Lennon out of his talent somewhat as Vivian did that of Merlin of the Arthurian saga. When Vivian had usurped Merlin’s magical knowledge she buried him deep much as Lennon was put out of the way. Yoko then appropriated his wealth and residual income after his death. It was this constant inflow of cash that allowed her to propagate the notion that she was a financial genius.
Then as the female of the ‘heart’ or vaginal swamp she managed and appropriated the reason of Olympus through Cage, Warhol and Lennon. What she got from Havadtoy other than brute strength is not clear to me.
As such Yoko is Woman. In her case a seeming reversion to the archetypal Shaman of the most ancient times.
July 9, 2008
Men Like Gods
Tarzan Pays Homage To Heracles
First published in the online Magazine: ERBzine
The Golden Age of Strongmen had captured the imagination of the world between 1890 and 1910….Into the 1920s the strongman continued as a living wonder and inspiring vision that could be had for the modest price of admission
-Ed Spielman: The Mighty Atom:
The Life And Times Of Joseph L. Greenstein
When I was a child and youth in the 1940s and ’50s the legendary strongmen of the turn of the twentieth century were, if no longer living, living legends. At least one, Bernarr Madfadden, the father of American bodybuilding, was still going strong.
The most legendary of the strongmen was Frederick Mueller who was known professionally as the Great Sandow.
In his heyday Sandow was so strong that he was capable of ‘exploding’ or breaking the ‘Test Your Strength’ machines in the arcades of Vienna, Austria. There were so many broken machines that it was thought a vandal was destroying them but when apprehended it was discovered that Sandow was not only testing his own strength but the strength of the machines. He flippantly suggested that they be made of better materials.
On stage as Spielman relates, Sandow, who was trained as a turner, could do a back somersault over a chair with a thirty-five pound dumbbell in each hand. He could do a one arm chin-up with the grip of any of his fingers of either hand, including his thumbs.
He could…wait a minute! I’ve heard something like that before. Oh yea, I remember now. In Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan And The Lion Man he has Tarzan leap up to seize stakes pointing down from a ten foot high wall, then draw himself straight up until his torso was above the stakes, then roll over the top defeating the purpose of the stakes. Was he thinking of the Great Sandow when he wrote that?
I think he was.
Burroughs was a fan of boxing and a great admirer of the strongmen of the Golden Age, although he didn’t like the bulky physiques. He repeatedly denounces the physical build of the Strongmen in preference for Tarzan’s ‘smooth rippling muscles.’ In my day the bodybuilders were ridiculed as being ‘muscle bound.’ But the ladies panted when they said it. Tarzan is as strong or stronger than the strongmen but sleek.
Next one asks is there any place that it can be shown that Burroughs ever saw Sandow? yes, and where else? The Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. The Expo was a life changing experience for 17 year-old Ed Burroughs. Bill Hillman of ERBzine has written a wonderful series on the influence of the Fair on young Burroughs.
The influence of the Fair was as moving for the rest of America and the World as it was on Our Man. There apparently has never been so influential a World’s Fair as that of Chicago of 1893.
One of the best attended features of the Fair was put on by the Great Sandow. Bodybuilding had already gotten started in England. Sandow was a student of the innovative Professor Attila in London. He came to the attention of Florenz Ziegfeld while performing in New York. Ziegfeld brought him to Chicago for the Expo. Sandow was a sensation.
He created quite a stir at the fair. Not only did Burroughs see him there but so did a man named Bernarr Macfadden. At the time he was known as Bernard McFadden but he chose Bernarr because it sounded more like a lion’s roar and Macfadden because he thought it looked more distinguished in print. As a result of seeing Sandow Macfadden became the father of bodybuilding and the health movement in the United States. John Dos Passos spoofs him in Vol. III, The Big Money, of the his USA Trilogy.
Macfadden was the discoverer of isometric exercises, which his student, Charles Atlas, renamed Dynamic Tension and made a fortune.
Unless I’m mistaken Macfadden would cross ERB’s path sometime between 1908 to 1912.
Sandow made bodybuilding a rage after the Fair while Macfadden organized the sport around his magazine ‘Physical Culture’ which he began publishing in the wake of the Fair. Sandow also opened the way for a number of strongmen to build careers on their physiques.
They all passed through Chicago. How many of them ERB paid the modest price of admissio to see we can’t know, but as he always speaks of the strongmen in the plural one assumes that he saw several.
Anyone who has watched the Strongest Men In The World competition on cable TV will understand how impressive both the feats and the physiques of these men were.
In ERB’s day a man called Warren Travis Lincoln could lift a platform that held twenty-five men with his back. That was a weight of about 4200 pounds.
G.W. Rolandow could stack three decks of playing cards and tear them in two. One assumes that was before they were plastic coated.
Emil Knaucke who weighed in at five hundred pounds, a spectacle in itself, could hold a car above his head with one hand. Spielman doesn’t specify make or model.
Louis Cyr, one of the most famous strongmen, could restrain a team of horses on either side at the same time. Really spectacular stuff.
A man like Arthur Saxon of the Saxons was considered to be the strongest man in the world. He could do a bent press of nearly five hundred pounds. As in the photo, in the bent press a lifter raised a barbell above his head with one hand in a bent posture then raised another weight with his other hand.
Eighteen ninety to nineteen-ten were formative years for ERB. He would have from fifteen to thirty-five so that when he saw Sandow in ’93 at seventeen he was at a most impressionable age.
ERB turned 40 in 1915 and 50 in 1925.
By the twenties vitamins and food supplements had been discovered and were being developed for commercial use. Vitamins were still novel when I was kid in the late forties. Not everyone knew of their value as late as then.
The Great Sandow, Louis Cyr, and a trio of German strongmen called the Saxons were all naturally strong but by the 20s it was possible to build muscular Adonae from the scratch of a 98 lb. weakling. With vitamins, food supplements and a rigorous regimen for bodybuilding a normal body could be turned into as mammoth a specimen as Tarzan, as witness Arnold Schwarzenegger and his contemporaries who emerged from New York City gyms in the 1960s.
In point of fact you didn’t even need all that gym equipment. If you followed the body building plan of the most famous Adonis of the 40s and 50s, Charles Atlas, all you needed were your own opposed muscles.
Atlas took Macfadden’s isometric exercises and called them the more commercial sounding Dynamic Tension. By pitting one muscle against its opposite fantastic results could be achieved.
Charles Atlas, who changed his name from Angelo Siciliano, was voted the world’s most perfectly developed man in 1922 by his mentor, Macfadden and Physical Culture magazine.
Angelo, born in 1894 in Acri, Sicily came to the US in 1904, thus he would have been 18 in 1922, 18 in 1912.
Siciliano actually had been a 98 lb. weaking who had sand kicked in his face by a bully. His girl friend actually did walk away from him. Siciliano then built himself up into what I’ve always considered to be the image of Tarzan and changed his name to Charles Atlas.
I was not as successful with the Dynamic Tension plan Chuck sold me in the 50s but then I didn’t try that hard and I couldn’t afford the food supplements which are indispensable. Nevertheless it had become possible to turn out ‘Men Like Gods’ on an assembly line basis.
It is more than likely that Burroughs was very familiar with the bodybuilding or fitness program of Macfadden. That photo of him flexing his muscles on the dock at Coldwater is that of a man who has been working out. I can’t beleive that a man who was interested in magazines as Burroughs was couldn’t be familiar with Physical Culture Magazine. Not only would he have the living memory of the Great Sandow in his mind from the Expo but Bernarr Macfadden had moved his headquarters from Battle Creek to Chicago in 1908. He had a very prosperous looking facility.
During these years from 1899 when ERB was bashed in the head in Toronto to 1910 at least, he complainedof excruciating headaches that began when he got up in the morning and lasted through half the day. These would have been very enervating affecting his ability to work. In The Girl From Farris’s he has his hero Ogden Secor suffering from the same headaches going from doctor to doctor ‘tinkering with his skull’ in hopes of finding relief. The doctors could do nothing for Secor so he undertook a fitness regime which eased his situation. So must have ERB.
Once again, the picture of ERB standing with his legs apart flexing his muscles on the dock at Coldwater in 1916 shows that he was either proud of a moderate physique or he was trying to develop those ‘rippling’ muscles like Tarzan and Charles Atlas.
At fifty in 1925 ERB probably thought himself beyond the age when he could develop his physique into a semblance of his creation, Tarzan. Ten or twenty years younger and you might have seen Burroughs as another Charles Atlas or Tarzan.
There is every reason to believe that sometime between 1908 and 1912 he developed an interest in Macfadden’s program.
When he sat down to begin his Tarzan series at the end of 1911, Burroughs’ mind must have been filled with the feats of Sandow and the other strongmen. Anent this, Tarzan’s leopard skin loin cloth was borrowed from the strongmen. Leopard skin shorts were de riguer for the bodybuilding crowd.
Of course the role models for these strongmen were Samson and Heracles. The latter is better known in his Roman usage as Hercules. For the purposes of this essay I will refer to him as Heracles in hs Greek manifestation.
Especially in his original manifestation Heracles was a Sun god as the companion of the Earth Mother, Hera. When the Patriarchal system was imposed on the Matriarchy Hera was wed to Zeus while her former consort, Heracles- The Glory Of Hera- was demoted to the role of Holy Fool and the strngest man in the world.
ERB often refers to Tarzan as a Jungle God and a latter day Hercules. Burroughs had a good Greek and Latin education so one might asume that he had some familiarity with the cycle of myths devoted to the feats and tribulations of that ancient type of all strongmen, Heracles.
In fact, without stretching the point unduly, one can posit a relationship between the Pelasgian Sun God, Heracles and the Flaming God of Opar and through them to Tarzan; they can be construed as one.
Whether ERB was conscious of what he had done in conflating the three cannot be determined for sure but as he was manipulating valid historical data why shouldn’t he have been conscious of what he was doing? The Aztec ritual of tearing the heart out to offer to the sun god is implicit in scenes where Tarzan lies across the sacrificial block, pardon me, altar. The annual sacrifice of the queen’s consort is implicit once again as La raises the sacrificial knife. A blatant resemblance to Cybele and Attis.
While the subconsious is always important it is the conscious mind that organizes, plots and writes. As a writer I may have subconscious motives which may emerge but assembling and organizing my material is a conscious intellectual act. It is axiomatic that one cannot write what one does not know.
One of the great mysteries of mythological studies has been the relationship of Heracles to his namesake the former Matriarchal Earth Goddess, Hera. I noted just previously, during the matriarchy as the Sun, Heracles would have been appropriately called ‘The Glory Of Hera’ or of the Earth. The same notion can be applied to Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology. For instance, as David Adams points out somewhere, the lion is a symbol of both the sun and the matriarchy. It is a fact that the body of the Sphinx at Memphis is older than the head. The head of the original has been replaced by that of a man. It therefore follows that the Sphinx was carved during the Matriarchy having either a lion’s or a woman’s head. After the succession of the Patriarchy the head was changed to reflect the New Order.
In the Greek Oedipus myth the Theban Sphinx was still represented as the original matriarchal symbol of a lion with a woman’s head. Woman-lion/sun/Heracles. The answer to her riddle after which she committed suicide was ‘man’ which denied the Matriarchy, hence she had to kill herself as the Patriarchy thus symbolically replaced the Matriarchy. Apply that to the Egyptian Sphinx and the change of heads.
Now, the original Egyptian Sphinx was exactly the same as the Theban Sphinx: a woman’s head on a lion’s body. the Sphinx is positioned to be looking due East at sunrise in the Age Of Leo. Thus, perhap, the secret of the Sphinx is simply that as Mother Earth she sat waiting for her consort Heracles (or his Egypian counterpart) to appear on the horizon each morning.
The notion has simplicity to recommend it.
As we all know, Oparians were a group of Atlanteans isolated from the main body when mythical Atlantis broke apart and sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The worship of the Flaming God was inherited from the parent civilization by Opar.
Thus whether Burroughs knew what he was doing or not he always gets the sequence of events right.
Without getting into any discussion of if, where or when Atlantis may have existed, let me say, neverttheless, that all the evidence points to a predecessor civilization anterior to Crete, Pelasgian Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia in much the same way Atlantis preceded Opar.
The predecessor civilization must have existed in the Mediterranean Basin during the last ice age when ocean levels, scientists tell us, were several hundred feet lower than they are today. There are evidences of quarrying several hundred feet below sea level on the flanks of the island of Malta for instance. Given this as a fact, then when the ice melted and the waters rose during the Great Flood to their present levels any society or civilization that existed in the Mediterranean Basin was forced to move to higher ground which is to say above the present sea level.
One thing is certain, if the Basin was habitable it was inhabited.
The disruption caused a long dark age from which mankind only slowly recovered. At the same time these relatively highly developed people moving into less developed savage societies had a fertilizing influence introducing more sophisticated ideas and methods such as agriculture.
Lower Egypt, one of Two Lands, was obviously settled by the displaced Libyan dynasty. After centuries of warfare the Upper Egyptians succeeded in conquering Lower Egypt uniting the Two Lands. The Third Dynasty was a Libyan Dynasty so that the warfare was translated from an external one to an internal one in which the Libyans defeated the Upper Egyptians. During the Libyan Dynasty the great pyramids were built reflecting in some way the the flooded predecessor civilization.
So Crete and Pelasgian Greece received survivors also. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia attribute their civilization to the advice of Oannes, John in English, who came from the sea.
Often ignored by classical scholars but obviously part of this great Mediterranean culture is ancient Spain. Now, Spain has one of the great traditions of the worship of Heracles as a Sun god. This tradition preceded and was uninfluenced by any Patriarchal tradition from Greece. In point of fact the Patriarchal Heracles went West to annex the Spanish traditions to the Patriarchal cause. In the process he rounded up the cattle of the Sun i.e. the Matriarachal Heracles to bring back to Greece. Throughout history, including modern Africa, lifting another man’s cattle transferred his authority to oneself. See the great cattle raid of Cooley in Irish mythology. It therefore follows that the Greek Patriarchal myths of Heracles are built on an earlier Matriarchal mythological cycle while being perverted or converted to Patriarchal needs.
Heracles was originally a sun god. He was the original of the Flaming God. I can’t say Burroughs knew this either consciously or subconsciously, however as we will see there is substantial evidence to indicate that he was consciously manipulating the material.
The city of Seville in Spain is built over a Sun Temple in which Heracles was the sun deity. This site beneath Seville can still be vistited today. Assuming that the history of the Spanish Heracles developed independently of the Greek Heracles which after all is a Greek interpretation of a Pelasgian god then it follows that the two traditions must have come from a common source. That source cannot have been other than the ante-deluvian civilization of the Mediterranean Basin.
It follows then that whatever names they were known by in this anterior civilization Hera was the Great Mother Goddess while her ‘Glory’ Heracles must be no other than the Flaming God, the Sun. What else could the ‘Glory’ of the Earth Mother be?
Thus when the Great Flood, which must be the same as that spoken of by the Sumerians who would have gotten the story from Oannes, destroyed the civilization of the Mediterranean Basin the inhabitants fled to the former highlands surrounding them taking their traditions with them. The Spanish Heracles was yet identical to the Pelasgian and Cretan models which later became variant.
When the Greeks entered Pelasgia at the beginning of the Arien Age, the Zodiac dates back to the anterior civilization, they found this remnant of the ante-deluvian civilization with immemorial religious traditions occupying the land. As the Arien Age began a great shift in the mental and social organization of man progressed in its evoltuion. The shift was from a Matriarchal consciousness to a Patriarchal consciousness. In other words, the God replaced the Goddess as the most important sex. Fecundation became more important than actual reproduction.
This meant that all the divine myths had to have all the sexual relationships reversed so that the God took precedence over the goddess. Hera could no longer be allowed to have a male god as her subordinate ‘Glory’, the roles had to be reversed. Hera would have to become the dependent of Zeus.
Homer’s Iliad is one key in the story of this reversal.
As Hera was unwillingly made subordinate to her Lord and Master, Zeus, Heracles had to be appropriated by the God. The Patriarchy then turned Heracles into a scourge of Hera and she his enemy in ridicule of the previous dispensation. Kind of a Burroughsian style sly joke.
The meaning of the name Heracles as the glory of Hera was thus lost. Heracles lost his identification with the Sun becoming a buffoon as the greatest of men; a physical giant of somewhat dim intelligence. Hera’s glory was turned into a laughing stock but still a good sort of fellow who could aspire to godhood at death.
In the Patriarchal myths Heracles destroyed various Matriarchal cult centers such as the Hydra at Lerna, the Stymphalian Swamps, the Stag of Artemis, the Nemean Lion and others. His cycle of adventures was involved in replacing the Matriarchal with the Patriarchal sarcastic ‘Glory’ of Hera.
To make a feeble Patriarchal attempt at accounting for the meaning of Heracles’ name Homer tells the following story in book XIX of the Iliad. Zeus, influenced by the goddess Folly, announced to the assembled Gods on Olympus that before the day was out a descendant of his lineage would be born to a mortal woman who would be the greatest man in the world.
Hera, who hated the infidelities of Zeus, heard his proclamation with scorn. She knew her husband but too well. She knew he referred to Alcmene who was bearing Heracles but she also knew that a son was to be born to the wife of Sthenelus who was only seven months pregnant. Sthenelus was of the lineage of Zeus.
Hera rushed off to visit Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to ask her to hasten the birth of Eurytheus while delaying that of Heracles. The former having been born first became the greatest monarch of the age after the Patriarchal fashion but by Matriarchal means.
Hastening back to Alcmene Eileithyia uncrossed her legs allowing Heracles to be the younger son of Zeus born on that day. While Heracles was the bravest and strongest of men he was nevertheless compelled by Hera’s resourcefulness and prompt action to be subservient to Eurystheus. Thus the will of Zeus which could not be averted was perverted by Hera to thwart the Big Guy’s will.
Heracles was still the strongest man alive but he was subordinate to the will of Hera through Eurystheus, portrayed as one of th weakest and most cowardly men of his time hiding behind his mother’s skirts but by the grace of Hera and the matriarchy, the greatest ruler.
Zeus, appalled by his lapse of judgment threw Folly off Olympus from which she is still banned.
In that sardonic manner Homer explained the meaning of Heracles as the glory of Hera. She had used him to Ace Zeus. Heracles had been stripped of his role as the glorious Sun companion of Hera. He comes down to us as the strongest man who ever lived. In the Roman nomenclature of Hercules he became the role model of every strong man who ever lifted a dumbbell. Yet they all wore leopard skin shorts, the leopard being a symbol of the Matriarchy. You can’t fool Mother Nature.
To Burroughs who was a student of Greek mythology the great strongmen of the Golden Age must have appeared as men like gods. Their feats of strength, their marvelous physiques, were so far beyond the abilities of ordinary men that they must have seemed to be in a class by themselves far above mortal men.
In that sense Tarzan is the greatest of the strongmen, above Sandow, Arthur Saxon and even Heracles.
Heracles himself had been demoted to a mere mortal although his legend was so great that he was allowed immortality by the Patriarchy after his mortal death. Unwilling to grant him too much credit he was allowed to be the doorman of Olympus. He held this position throughout the Arien Age being replaced by St. Peter in the New Dispensation of the Piscean Age.
Burroughs, familiar with the mythic cycle of Heracles, however he understood it, plays with both identities of Heracles in the person of Tarzan at Opar. He also brings in a number of elements from H. Rider Haggard’s novel She. There can be no doubt of the influence of Haggard. Burroughs even names his heroine La which is what ‘She’ is designated as in French translations of Haggard’s novel. The palance of Opar is also based to some extent on the labyrinthine caves of She.
There are many literary influences for the creation of Tarzan not least of which are the real life H.M. Stanley and Haggard’s fictional heroes Sir Henry Curtis and Allan Quatermain. I would now like to direct attention to a third, that of the heor of She, Leo Vincey.
If one closely examines Vincey it will be discovered that he too was a Sun King whose death had been caused in an earlier incarnation by She. The cartouche which contains the name of Leo’s distant Egyptian ancestor was translated as ‘The Royal Son Of Ra’ or son of the Sun as in Egyptian mythology Ra is the sun.
Leo also translates from the Latin as Lion so we have the Son of the Sun who also is a Lion Man which is how Burroughs refers to Tarzan in ‘The Invincible’ and undoubtedly as how he always thought of his creation.
Haggard translates Vincey as the Avenger. Tarzan is the ‘Avenger’ or guard of Africa. Haggard describes Vincey as almost inhumanly beautiful while Tarzan is the most handsome man in the world not unlike Charles Atlas.
Haggard’s She is indescribably old kept forever youthful by having bathed in the fire of eternal youth. Hera was also eternally youthful and a virgin queen. She restored her youth and virginity by bathing annually in a holy spring. Hera’s bath obviously refers to the Spring rains which inundated Mother Earth just prior to vegetation springing forth in virgin birth. After the summer heat the vegetation dies down and Earthy Hera becomes barren once more to await her bath and return to virginity.
So a connection can be made between Sun>Heracles>Vincey>Tarzan and Mother Nature>Hera>She>La.
Burroughs La was neither ancient nor immortal in the personal sense although she was the latest in an immortal line of Priestesses. She is a priestess of the Sun or Ra, The Flaming God.
Haggard’s Leo Vincey was the direct descendant of Kallikrates She’s great love of two millennia past. She, or Alyesha, to use her name, had killed Kallicrates in a rage. Kallikrate’s descendants were sworn to avenge the murder. Thus Vincey travels from England to far off Africa to locate this fabulous woman.
Kallikrates was the love of Alyesha’s very long life. When she recognizes Leo Vincey as her lost lost love she saves his life while offering him eternal youth if he will only bathe in the flames of eternal life. He hesitates to do so. To encourage him Alyesha steps once again into the flames which was a serious miscalculation. She crumbled to dust. Thus while Leo Vincey doesn’t actually avenge the death of Kallikrates she is nevertheless his victim.
Tarzan while actually born in Africa was conceived in England so he made the trip to Opar from England although he is ignorant of La. When Tarzan is captured in Opar he is laid on the altar of the Flaming God, La with the sacrifical knife raised, looks down on this Jungle God, this man like a god, and falls in love. Thus we have a replay of the She-Kallikrates situation.
Unable to take Tarzan’s life, La releases him begging him for his love. Alyesha’s full title was She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed in the Matriarchal sense. The old conflict arises, Tarzan is more on the Patriarchal side, he has his moly in the waistband of his loin cloth, monagamous we are led to believe, happily married, so the Lion Man Sun King declines the honor of being mated to La>Hera. He asserts his Patriarchal prerogative to disobey although he always has a soft spot in his heart for La.
In a fairly masterful way ERB conflates the legend of Heracles, the fiction of H. Rider Haggard and the incredible strongmen of the Golden Age and his own little bit to write a charming and beautiful story which is fairly simple on the surface but one which becomes immensely rich with a deeper understanding of the sources.
Ernest Hemmingway once said that before one sat down to write one should have ten time the information in your possession as you put on paper else the story will seem shallow and contrived. It would seem that the sources upon which Burroughs was drawing, from the bodybuilding strongmen of his day to the legendary cycle of Heracles to the adventures of H.M. Stanley and the fiction of H. Rider Haggard might well fulfill Hemingway’s dictum.
When one searches for the sources of Burroughs one finds layer after layer of golden riches while discovering that in fact ERB did indeed create a man like a god- Tarzan The Magnificent.
This is a quote taken from Bonzo Dog’s song Mr. Apollo. I don’t know whether the reader is familiar with the Bonzos but they were one of my favorites. Several glorious LPs. Neil Innes came from them as well as the great but tragic Viv Stanshall. Leave those drugs alone, boys.
Follow Mr. Apollo,
Everybody knows a healthy body
Makes a healthy mind.
Follow Mr. Apollo,
He’s the strongest man the world has ever seen.
If you take his courses
He’ll make you big and rough.
And you can kick the sand right back in their faces.
A few years ago I was a four stone apology-
Today, I am two separate…Gorillas.
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Long may they wave.
A Mother’s Eyes
Cow Eyed Hera And Edgar Allan Poe
Stories under consideration:
Berenice March 1835
Morella April 1835
Fall Of The House Of Usher 1839
William Wilson 1840
…Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is not the loftiest intelligence- whether much that is glorious- whether all that is profound- does not spring from disease of thought- from MOODS of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect…In their visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill…to find that they have been on the verge of the great secret.
Sonnet- To My Mother
Because I feel that, in the heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’,
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you,
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you,
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
For mother- my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself, but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.
As we study Poe keep in mind Dali’s picture: The Temptation Of St. Anthony. Keep those symbols in the forefront of your mind.
Edgar Allan Poe is a classic study on the effect of abandonment by the mother on the psyche, specifically affecting the brain stem as part of Structural Psychology. Poe exhibits the classic symptoms of the eyes, the horse and the female substitute for the Mother as well as adding several other twists due to his extremely analytical mind.
As the opening quote from his story Eleonora indicates Poe understood that he was quite mad. Although he was able to describe quite clearly in symbolical language the source of his madness his intelligence was unable to sift below the psychological barriers which would have cleared his mind of his madness.
In five really remarkable stories with extreme clarity he delineates his problem. They are the first story he wrote, Metzengerstein of 1832, Berenice of March 1835, Morella of April 1835, Ligeia of 1838 and Eleonora of 1842.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher and William Wilson demonstrate his inability to deal with the problem adequately. Under stress his personality begins to disintegrate.
Poe lived a short life of forty years from 1809 to 1849. His first story, Metzengerstein, was written when he was only twenty-three. It would have been interesting if he had lived long enough to consolidate his stories into at least one full length novel, other than Arthur Gordon Pym.
His own mother died in 1811 when he was only two. Thus the connection between his and his mother’s eyes was disrupted very early. He was then adopted by a Mrs. John Allan for whom he had the greatest respect and love. Mrs. Allan died February 28, 1829 when Poe was twenty years old. The horror of the death of this second mother festered in his mind for three years until his feelings began to find expression for him in 1832 with Metzengerstein.
The woman he refers to in his rather confused poem- Sonnet- To My Mother- was the mother of his wife Virginia, a Mrs. Clemm. This poem was written shortly before his own death two years after the death of his wife Virginia in 1847. As the poem says, Mrs. Clemm, his mother-in-law filled ‘his heart of hearts’ where Death had placed her when her daughter Virginia died.
Clearly Poe was having mother figure after mother figure taken from him by death. His response apart from his literary outpourings was to drug and drink himself to death in 1849 two years after Virginia’s demise.
The Mother Archetype is truly a very powerful figure. In giving the figure prime importance Sigmund Freud was absolutely correct. What does that Mother figure mean to a man?
In ancient Greece the Great Mother goddess was ofter referred to by Homer as ‘Cow-eyed’ Hera. This image has been difficult for subsequent generations to understand. Many current translators of the Iliad drop ‘cow eyed’ in favor of euphemisms they can understand. If we would understand Homer this is a very serious mistake. Hera as the Great Mother is associated with the cow for good reason.
Whether she was ‘cow-eyed’ before she caught Zeus philandering with Io is unclear. Caught in the act Zeus attempted evasion by turning Io into a cow. Hera retaliated by having Io tormented by a vicious gad-fly. The gad-fly drove Io in the form of a cow from Greece to India to Egypt. In Egypt Io was transformed back into human shape as the goddess Isis. Formerly the Egyptians had depicted Earth and Sky, or the sources of plenty, in the form of a woman arching over with her feet on one horizon and her fingers on the other. After Io was introduced to Egypt the image of the woman was replaced by that of the cow.
In nearly every country Io visited the cow has been considered a sacred animal. Whether in India, Egypt or the cattle raising tribes of Africa the cow was never killed. This miraculous animal was so beneficial live that its life became sacred. The cow was not only wealth but a symbol of wealth. One imagines that the first coin might have been called the ‘cow.’
Cattle lifting or rustling has been a way of life since perhaps the time of Io if she represents when the cow was domesticated. To lift a man’s cattle was to strip him of all social significance while making the lifter significant in his place.
Thus in Greek Mythology and history men and gods are stripped of significance by the lifting of their cattle. When the god Hermes was born his first act was to lift the cattle of Apollo thus assimilating himself with that god. Apollo tracked Hermes down but was so pleased with the little trickster that they established an accord, became blood brothers so to speak. Both sides of the coin.
In the Odyssey the Cattle Of The Sun were inviolable. Odysseus incurred the wrath of the Sun when his men after having been warned not to, killed a single cow. As the Sun sees all from his heavenly abode retaliation was quick and sure. Obviously that was a reason the Sun’s cattle were inviolable.
The story of the lifting of Geryon’s cattle by Heracles is also significant. In former times before the advent of the Patriarchy Heracles as Hera’s consort had been the Sun God. When the Patriarchy replaced the Matriarchy Hera was assigned to Zeus while Heracles was demoted to a human and made an enemy of Hera.
Now, prior to the end of the Ice Age before the Mediterranean Basin was flooded, Hera and Heracles, by whatever names they were then known, must have been the chief gods of the pre-flood peoples of the Mediterranean. Thus two cults of Heracles grew up as the Western Mediterranean became separated from the Eastern Mediterrean in the post-flood Basin. One cult in the East in Greece and the Levant and another in the West of Spain.
The two cults must have come in conflict as the Greeks colonised Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Marseilles and the northern Spanish Coast around Barcelona. It became necessary for the Spanish cult to be suppressed or co-opted in favor of the Greeks. Thus, in myth the Greek Heracles is sent West to lift the cattle of the Spanish Heracles or Geryon. Relieved of his cattle the Spanish Heracles became a non-entity while all the glory accrued to the Greek Heracles.
Such was the poltical and social significance of cows.
The economic importance of cattle was equally great which, of course, led to their social importance. Cows produced offspring. Fifty percent bulls and fifty percent cows. So one’s social importance increased every Spring if you could hold onto your cattle. The bulls being superfluous in large numbers, there being no reason to waste valuable feed on them, were used as sacrifices in the ancient Mediterranean. The gods were given the bones and fat while the flesh was consumed by the human votaries of the holocaust. Thus cows, without killing them, provided an abundance of meat. They also provided milk and its various by-products including butter and cheese. The African tribes bled their cattle to acquire nourishment from the blood so it is not unlikely that the Greeks and others did the same. The Africans never did figure out butter and cheese.
The cow being female was naturally related to the Mother Archetype. Hence we have ‘cow-eyed’ Hera. The mother is to her son, like a cow to mankind, a source of superabundance or should be. She sacrifices her own happiness, or should, to supply all his needs, she feeds him from her own body. She psychologically nourishes him with the love pouring from her eyes. It seems to be a fact that the longer a son nurses from his mother the better his chances for success in life are. Sons who nurse for two years or more are assured of the best chances.
Thus to be abandoned by your mother, death being a form of abandonment, is the greatest tragedy that can befall a son.
In Poe’s case he was abandoned by his mothers, once at two and once at twenty and by his wife-mother surrogate at forty-seven. The unconscious strain was simply too much for him so he drank and drugged himself to death succeeding in 1849 at the age of forty.
Fortunately he recorded all the classic symptoms plus some in his series of magnificent short stories. They are or should be a treasure trove for the analyst.
As noted above, when his adoptive mother died in 1829 his reaction was intense. Poe began his inquiry into his anguish in a raging examination of the effect on his Ego or Animus in Metzengerstein. The story culminates in the destruction of Metzengerstein’s house or castle by fire. Fire is a purifying agent. The house is a psychological symbol for the self just as a room in the house is a symbol for the mind. As his house was being consumed the smoke gathered above to form the shape of– a horse. Thus as with Aldous Huxley and my other examples the mother is related in the male to the horse and more especially the eyes. It is not improbable that if Hera had come into existence after the introduction of the horse into Greece that she would have been known as horse-eyed Hera. As it was Athene who may have been a Patriarchal attempt at superseding Hera was depicted on occasion theriomorphically with a horse’s head and hence horse’s eyes.
I can’t say for certain, as I am not a clinical psychologist, but I am reasonably sure this symbolism is not true for the female although the female retains a need for the masculinity expressed by the strength, force and grace of the male horse. This need was transferred from the bull. As women their symbolism is probably relative to the cow as in ‘cow-eyed’ Hera.
Indeed, many men derogatively refer to women as cows. To do so may refer to a hatred of women and mothers in these men. The significance of all this symbolism has been ignored far too long.
Poe knew he was distaught or mad. Madness may indeed be a road to intelligence or self-discovery. Duller intelligences are usually quite satisfied, seeing no reason to question or investigate. Another madman, the poet and singer Roger Miller, put it as that he had too much water for his land. In other words his intelligence was bubbling out all over the place drowning his land or stability. When land and water are in balance in Miller’s scheme one has normality. When land is more prevalent than water one has a desert and a pretty nasty fellow. According to Miller too much water made one hep while a balance of land and water made one square. His moral was that squares made the world go round.
He was certainly correct. Stolidity leads to solidity. Society needs a solid basis to exist as a beneficial organism. The mad, bad or sad in the proper proportions either leaven society or destroy it as at present when the Bohemian and Libertine influence is so dominant. The influence of all three has to be controlled or monitored or their intrinsic evil destroys any equitable basis for society.
But to return to an analysis of Poe’s stories.
Oppressed by his psyche the dam began to burst shortly after the death of Poe’s adoptive mother. First his own mother died when he was two and then his adoptive mother when he was twenty. The effect on his psyche must have been unbearable to cause such a violent irruption as Metzengerstein when he was twenty-three.
The story of Metzengerstein centers around what appears to be a flesh eating horse. There is only a brief significant mention of the horse’s teeth as the horse pictured on a tapestry in the attic or mind turned to look at M. with a baleful eye.
The same horse is then given to him by his grooms who capture it fleeing from the burning stables of M.’s rival Berlifitzing. They claim the horse is M.’s even though it was seen coming out of the burning stables and is branded with this rival’s initials W.V.B. in a rather unusual place for a horse, the forehead. No missing that brand, sort of reminds you of a wedding ring.
Now, the horse with eyes and teeth is part of the Structural Psychology located in the brain stem. This one represents his dead adoptive mother. Poe had become estranged from his adoptive father, John Allan after receiving marked benefits from him as a child. The cause of the disruption is attributed to drinking and gambling but the literary evidence of Metzengerstein would indicate an intense sexual rivalry.
B. is the older man as was Allan. M. had just come of age following a course of action not too different from Poe’s. The horse, representing Poe’s adoptive mother, has B.’s brand on her. Or in other words the horse represents Mrs. Allan, B.’s wife. Disregarding all the evidence to the contrary M. is given the horse as belonging to him. Seems fairly clear on the surface of it.
She is a difficult flesh eating horse of firery temperament which only M. can ride. As Mrs. Allan was no relationship to Poe there can be no question of incest so that he could ‘ride’ or have sex with Mrs. Allan without incestuous guilt. In fact M. frequently rides off on her into the forest at night. Night is the usual time for love making while the forest is a symbol for the lost soul who cannot find his way.
The tapestry on which the horse is pictured is located in a very large room at the top of M.’s castle or house. Psychologically the house represents the self. The room represents one’s mind. The tapestry functions as memory.
Having left on a night ride of some duration into the forest, as M.’s servants are anxiously awaiting his return M.’s house or castle myteriously bursts into flame. This must represent the death of Mrs. Allan or Poe’s being caught by Mr. Allan in flagrante dilecto. The horse returns at a mad gallop out of control bearing a screaming M. to rush straight into the burning house, up the stairs to the upper chamber and one assumes onto the tapestry. Then in a supernatural manner the violence of the flames subsides while the rising smoke forms the image of– a horse.
Forgive me for saying so if you are a Poe fan but the story qua story is stupid. Only as an allegory of Poe’s relationship to the Allans does it make sense, specifically the relationship of the Mother Archetype with the Son.
Metzengerstein was merely the first bursting of the dam; the next four stories on our list named for women develop the horror of Poe’s fixation on the Mother Figure. Let me say here that I do not believe that Poe’s adoption of the name of Allan refers in any way to John Allan; it is rather in memory and tribute to Mrs. Allan. The death of Mrs. Allan seared Poe’s mind. The trauma was so intense that his mind did become rather disordered.
Those teeth, those teeth which got such a brief mention in Metzengerstein form the focal point of his next story dealing with his horrible fixation. As with Huxley those teeth could bite you.
Berenice is the story of the teeth of the flesh eating mare. In the story, in an abortive attempt to exorcise the demon of Mrs. Allan, Poe abandons the omniscient observer of M. for the first person. Berenice and Morella are now written in the first person. They are attempts to violently dispose of the horrifying losses of his Mother Figure. Always an astute psychologist Poe now creates an image of monomania. He knows he is quite distraught, men have called mad. The mania is centered around the teeth so briefly mentioned in Metzengerstein. All Poe can think about now is those teeth.
As noted in Huxley, the Mother Figure is always exempt from retribution so that one’s obsession is transferred to another woman usually a beloved but not necessarily.
Most of the violent so-called crimes against women by men can be traced directly to the man’s relationship with his mother. In other words, crimes are not against women per se but against mother surrogates. One has to look behind the symbolic victim to the source of the discomfort. The hand that rocks the cradle is at fault.
Ted Bundy, all the various stranglers and mutilators, Richard Speck, they are all retaliating the crimes of their mothers against them on other women. Bundy is an exceptionally interesting case when viewed from this perspective. His symbolism is quite astonishing.
Extreme violence is only an extreme response to what the perpetrator considers an extreme crime against himself. One may assume that the way a man treats his wife or lovers is a reflection on the way he interprets his mother treated him.
The drive and push since the turn of the nineteenth century for the destruction of the family by Reds, Communists and Fellow Travelers can have only the most dire consequences. One can hardly consider the Reds well intentioned in their obtuseness. One might begin by examining their relationships to their mothers. In disrupting the eye to eye relationship of the infant with his mother they are in essence condemning the world to a reign of terror, and against women, unparelleled since the beginning of time.
On the score of rejection and abandonment one can only shudder at what the results of these idiotic infant day care centers the Reds favor will be.
A woman’s preoccupation with sex condemns her offspring.
One has to assume from Poe’s writing that he found his relationship with his adoptive mother of the most troubling nature. Whether he actually had sexual relations with her or only fantasized them the result is the same.
As I say, in attempting to exorcise or control her memory he concentrated on the man eating quality of her teeth. In the story Berenice the narrator becomes quite conscious of what he is doing.
In a fugue state he attacks the living Berenice restraining her in some way while he pulls every tooth from her screaming terror stricken head and then buries her alive keeping the teeth as souvenirs. When he is discovered coated in mud after having buried her he is horrified at this evidence that proves his guilt of which he is unaware.
This, shall we say, is psychotic behavior.
Poe may have fantasized the whole incident but one wonders if somewhere he had not actually committed such a crime burying the woman’s body where it wouldn’t be retrieved. One has visions of Ted Bundy.
Imagine if Ted Bundy had written a series of ‘imaginative’ stories centered around his murders or if Richard Speck had written a novel about the murder of those nurses. Could the descriptions of the killings have been more realistic or chilling than Berenice?
Then turning quickly from the writing of Berenice Poe promptly followed with his story of yet another woman, Morella. Probably emotionally drained from the excessive violence of Berenice Poe is more subdued in Morella as he struggles to bring his agony under control. In Morella he is attached to a woman who he does not kill by burying alive. Instead Morella sickens and dies from neglect as the first person narrator subtly spurns her. Thus if he couldn’t defang and bury his mother alive from which she would only return to haunt him perhaps he could just sort of forget her. Really?
Morella is determined that he will not rid himself of her so easily. On her deathbed she gives birth to a daughter who is in reality herself. The narrator cannot help loving and devoting himself to this child although he never gives her a name. Still, necessity compels him when she is fourteen to have her baptized. Asked for the name compulsion makes him whisper the name ‘Morella.’ The child answers, ‘I am here’ and expires. Upon taking the child to the tomb to be buried beside its mother he finds the tomb empty. He just can’t pull those teeth.
It was some three years after Berenice and Morella in 1838 that he returns to the theme in Ligeia. Here he tries to marry once again. The dominant theme of Ligeia is her eyes. A subordinate theme is her teeth. Once again after expatiating on Ligeia’s eyes for some two or three pages Ligeia sickens and dies but she warns that she will not go quietly into the beyond but that she intends to will herself back into life. Ye gods. Poe’s mother fixation does torment him. Why don’t you read Poes’ Sonnet- To My Mother again.
The first person narrator remarries but his memories of Ligeia remain so prominent that he disgusts his new wife. She in turn sickens and dies, in fact, she is murdered by Ligeia from beyond the grave in a supernatural manner. By some process of metempsychosis Ligeia as a mature woman gains possession of the corpse. The narrator is able to recognize the revivified body as Ligeia from her eyes and teeth. Definitely brain stem stuff.
Now, up to this point Poe is dealing with this intense stress in his own persona. This is an intolerable situation that cannot go on. Thus his ego or Animus splits in two as he creates a doppelganger who can deal more directly with the problem while he watches. In other words he remains himself as the narrator while creating a Ted Bundy like double.
In 1839 he wrote ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher’
While being more comfortable for himself, Poe’s personality enters a critical stage. The narrator visits the doppelganger, Roderick Usher, and his sister in their castle which is quite reminiscent of the castle of Metzengerstein.
During his stay Usher’s sister sickens and is thought to be dead. She is sealed in a coffin. The narrator helps Usher carry the coffin to a cell at the bottom of the castle. At this point Poe has passed the responsibility from himself to his doppelganger a la Bundy or Speck. Unlike Berenice in which the narrator personally tore out Bernice’s teeth while burying her alive the crime is now performed, albeit unintentionally, by a split off personality. Poe in essence watches deeds performed by someone else relieving him of guilt although in this instance he participates in carrying the coffin to the cell.
Significantly the cell is directly beneath his own chamber in the castle, from which cell he hears mysterious sounds as though the sister were stirring in her coffin. The two rooms answer to the brain and brainstem so that he is still unable to escape the specter of the Mother Figure.
Eventually the sister frees herself going to the same room in which Usher and the narrator are chatting. They are naturally together as dopplegangers must be. Usher throws open the door to discover his sister covered in blood. To his and the narrator’s horror they discover that they have buried her alive. She collapses on Usher and they both fall down dead.
There is a correspondence here with Poe’s poem The Raven in which he hears a tapping on the door. Opening the door he finds no one there. The tapping transfers to his window. When the narrator opens the window the Raven enters to sit on a bust of Athene above his chamber door. Athene in one guise is the goddess of wisdom, her bird is the owl, so the Raven, an omen of death, replaces wisdom as the symbol of Athene. When the narrator leaves through that door he passes to the Land Of No Return.
As the narrator leaves the house or Usher, once again representing himself, great rents appear in the stone walls. The house collapses just as the castle of Metzengerstein burned to the ground. Perhaps Poe thinks he has solved his problem by dissociation but he is still not dealing directly with it. By killing off his doppelganger, Usher, and his sister he still has only an ineffective solution.
However he has now moved from intense first hand suffering to a suffering once removed in the creation of a doppelganger. He may believe that in killing the doppelganger as well as the Mother Figure he has disposed of his problem but once again he is deceived.
In William Wilson that directly followed Usher in 1840 the doppelganger has truly become an alternate persona. To punish himself for his inability to resolve the Mother Figure dilemma the double goes around defeating Wilson in all his criminal schemes. In the story the narrator leads a life of crime while the doppelganger functions as his conscience.
In a rather silly ending Wilson confronts himself in a duel realizing that it is he himself who is hurting himself. Thus he kills not only his doppelganger but himself. On the streets of Baltimore.
This theme was examined well in the movie: Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me. Certainly Poe in his own life, this man of talent, is botching his own career. This of course begs the question would he have had the talent if he hadn’t been mad? If he had been one of Roger Miller’s squares who make the world go round no more notice would have been taken of him than any other square, whose name is Legion.
From Wilson, Poe moves to the last of his woman stories, Eleonora of 1842, only seven years from his death.
In this story his demon seems to be laid to rest as Eleonora finally gives her consent for the narrator to marry. One imagines that Poe’s union with Virginia receives the blessing of the Mother Figure. The question is why would she? What ulterior motive does Poe have? This brings us back to Poe’s Sonnet- To My Mother. Looked at closely this poem is evidence of a seriously deranged mind. This is not a poem to Poe’s mother or even Mrs. Allan.
‘My mother- my own mother’, he says, ‘who died early, was but the mother of myself; but you (Mrs. Clemm) are mother to the one I loved so dearly, and thus are dearer than the mother I knew…’ He mentions his own mother who died early while one presumes that Mrs. Allan was the mother he knew. Both previous mothers are now dismissed in favor of his mother-in-law because of what must have been a mother surrogate in his beloved Virginia.
Now, what Virginia has in common with Morella and Ligeia is that she is sickly and dies while his beloved mother-in-law, who is more than a mother to him, whatever that might mean, is healthy and lives. Even then she is Poe’s ‘heart of hearts’ where DEATH installed her in setting Virginia’s SPIRIT free. No real murder in Poe’s mind. He rationalizes Virginia’s murder as that her soul was set free.
Can one find any similarities with Morella and Ligeia?
The appearance is that he married Virginia to obtain a mother. This may have been the only way he could assuage the pain in his brainstem caused by the loss of the mother he didn’t know and the mother he knew.
Now, Poe’s personality split back in 1839 or, at least, Usher was the first record of it. One imagines that Virginia was superfluous and possibly an impediment to enjoying his relationship with this latter day mother who Poe says is dearer than the mother he knew by that infinity with which ‘my wife was dearer to my soul than its own soul-life.’ Was his real mother his soul-life? If so that is quite some distance between the mother he knew, Mrs. Allan, Virginia, Mrs. Clemm and his own mother or soul-life. Certainly his deeply proclaimed affection for Mrs. Clemm was of very recent origin. Why this intense depth of affection so quickly? Thus when Eleonora released him to be married the conclusion is that Virginia replaced his real mother in his brainstem. She became a surrogate mother who had to die so he could resume a relationship with a true mother figure. Very possibly a sexual one or an attempted sexual one.
Once again, it is absolutely forbidden for a man to avenge himself on his mother’s person. Impossible in this case since Poe’s own mother died when he was two and the mother he knew when he was twenty. Nevertheless Hera’s great cow-eyes have seared his soul. His mother’s eyes appear again in the face of Ligeia and hence Virginia.
A person may not be able to recall infantile impressions or memories clearly but they survive in Structural Psychology or what Jung called the ‘collective unconscious.’ As the infant mind has no way to put the experience into words or clear images the adult transforms them into metaphors which control his life but against which he has no defence as he cannot ‘remember’ in the sense of recalling them.
Poe could not punish his mother but he could select a mother surrogate and punish her while transferring his affections to the mother of she who was dearer to his soul than its own soul-life. All of Poe’s fictional heroines sickened and died except Berenice who the narrator actually mutilated and buried alive.
Poe himself had created a persona which would never murder a wife but he had also created a double who would and did inadvertantly in the character of Roderick Usher. Certainly Poe’s doppelganger was capable of doing what he could voyeuristically observe but still feel free of participation and, hence, guilt.
Which brings to mind the ‘Mystery Of Marie Roget’. Just as Ted Bundy rigidly created an amiable trustworthy everyday persona to live his life and a doppelganger who avenged himself on his mother by killing girl substitutes it is possible, I don’t say that it is so, that Poe himself killed Mary Rogers and possibly some others.
It may have been a display of his genius in demonstrating that Mary Rogers was killed by a single person rather than a gang but on the other hand he created a doppelganger of Mary Rogers in the character of Marie Roget to demonstrate his reasoning. Perhaps he was so clever because he had actually committed the murder. It is not impossible that Poe split off a doppelganger of Mary Rogers in Marie Roget who was killed by Poe’s own doppelganger while Poe killed Mary Rogers.
That was a pretty neat trick for a deranged mind. He not only demonstrated a murder, he did it but no one caught on. Compare the idea behind the Purloined Letter.
There can be little question that Poe suffered severely in his Structural Psychology which was reflected in his personal psychology.
Here we may raise the question of what effect the balance of Menos and Ate has on a man’s actions. There must obviously be degrees of imbalance. For people like Huxley, Poe, Freud, Jung, Polarion and myself there is the creative outlet of Menos. Those like Ted Bundy and Richard Speck have insufficient Menos but are all Ate. Without a creative outlet they may be condemned to commit murders to express their anguish at their treatment by their mothers.
In Huxley’s case he was, on the Menos side, able to express himself in novels thus relieving the pressure while on the Ate side he appears to have become his mother while marrying a woman who would willingly compensate him for his mother’s neglect.
I hesitate to review my own behavior in that respect.
Poe who was much more deeply troubled seems to have had correspondingly greater gifts on the Menos side than Huxley while on the Ate side the pressure appears to have been so intense that he may have resorted to murder of unrelated women while he may surely have caused the death of Virginia by a combination of neglect on the one hand as evidenced by the examples of Morella and Ligeia or even willful poisoning as in the case of Ligeia and the narrator’s wife. The negative actions would have been caused by his doppelganger while Poe himself looked on.
Jung and Freud, who while not abandoned by their mothers had troubled relationships with them, applied the Menos to make significant contributions to the understanding of psychology while their expression of Ate was either minor or extremely well hidden in Jung’s case and not exposed in Freud’s case.
I hope that Polarion and I are making our contribution to psychological understanding while on the Ate side we merely express indifference to externals.
All of us probably are or were introverts.
The solution of the problem is completely out of the hands of men. The solution, if there can be one, rests with The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
End of Cow-Eyed Hera And Edgar Allan Poe. Go to Part IV, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
April 30, 2007
A Mother’s Eyes
The Baby Marie.
Dr. Anton Polarion
Well, yes. What is this Baby Marie you ask. I’m going to tell you even though it’s a story I’m sure you won’t be able to understand. It is perhaps the most real story ever told but it’s reality will probably be too transparent for meager intellects. I almost said, like yours, but I didn’t because I want to retain your sympathy at least to the end of the story; after that you’re on your own and I don’t care.
You think that’s just a little bit too truculent do you? Well, maybe it is but I have my reasons which I am not going to divulge to people like you. Not least is the way I was treated as a child. Not only by strangers like you but by my own mother. I had enough problems with those others all my life. They gave me psychological complexes that it took me a long time to resolve. But then the unkindest cut of all was my mother.
You say, oh pshaw, everyone has those kinds of problems. I’ll grant you that but you’ve got them in spades and haven’t resolved a single one. I’ve got a clean slate having resolved them all. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Well, so maybe everyone does have those sorts of problems, what’s that got to do with me? Let everyone else live their own life; I’ve got me to worry about. Besides if this generalized public you talk about is any kind of example look at the world these mutants have made. I’d laugh if I weren’t terrified.
I’ll take my own problems any day. Besides all my problems, psychological that is, have been solved since the Baby Marie came to live with me. Since then I’ve known only peace. Before the Baby Marie I only had problems with my mother’s memory and my eyes.
Yes, that old fraud Freud was right about one thing. The mother is the most important influence in a man’s life. Yes, I know, I should have said person’s but here’s a fact for you to digest, I’m a man not a woman. Let the little girls work out their own problems with their mothers. All that politically correct crap doesn’t have anything to do with my own mind so leave me alone and let me get on with my story as happened to me. I’m not going to acknowledge any more interruptions.
Speaking of fraud Freud this story doesn’t have much to do with him. All he ever did was take eggs out of other bird’s nests and sit on them himself like he was the one who laid them. If you know your sources you can write the whole substance of Depth Psychology without having to mention his name. It was all there, all the Fraud did was gather it into his own nest. He didn’t even do a good job of that. His notion of the mind is just a big joke.
Well, no matter, you have to start somewhere and Freud did at least succeed in imprinting his ridiculous notions on the mind of more than one generation. He got the ball rolling now we have to get it moving in the right direction.
No, you’re wrong. I’m not writing this from inside an insane asylum. I’m saner than you are or ever will be or even could be. If you must know I write from the lap of comfort with a beautiful sylvan view out of my window. No Landor’s cottage but then that nineteenth century quality of perfection is lost for the next thousand years.
I’d say I’ve got a tall cool one in my hand but since the Baby Marie came to live with me I’ve had no desire to drink. In fact, if I do she’ll leave. I don’t want that.
So, my mother. She rejected and abandoned me when I was five. This is where Freud comes in. Freud didn’t understand how the mind works. More specifically he didn’t know how it was organized. Not his fault really; there wasn’t that much information available at the time. He was only a pioneer. Still, he shouldn’t have let on that he knew more than he did.
Let’s skip this nonsense. Suffice it to say that the brain is divided into right and left lobes and a conscious and subconscious mind. When the brain is presented with a Challenge which it cannot successfully handle the failure becomes a fixation in the subconscious. For every mental fixation there is a physical affect. The mind automatically converts its mental failure into a physical consequence. You see, that’s where the talking cure comes in. When you identify, recognize and express the fixation it and its’ physical affect are exorcised.
Real simple, not as easy as it looks for the central childhood fixation, but simple. The talking cure is one of those eggs Freud plucked from another’s nest; in this case his benefactor and friend, Breuer. Oh well, Breuer didn’t know what to do with it anyway. He could never have hatched that egg if he’d sat on it till he was a hundred or as old as Methuselah or possibly the hills.
Now, you see, these other people gave me a number of Challenges my mind couldn’t resolve and a whole bunch of fixations with detestable physical affects. As the affects all emanate from the mind you may include mental afflictions also.
OK. So I found my fixations and exorcised them. Straightened myself out in body and mind. Got rid of my constipation, post-nasal drip, everything. There were dozens. I felt great afterwards. But after a while you forget how great it is and concentrate on other problems. The amazing thing is after you get rid of the major ones the least significant fixations demand attention thereby assuming a significance they never had. They’re easy to understand and get rid of though. After exorcising the central childhood fixation all the other stuff is an anthill compared to the mountain of the central childhood fixation.
So, now I think I’m home free but then I discover I’ve got another problem. My mother. But she isn’t anywhere in my conscious or sub-conscious mind. So where is she?
I found her way down deep below both the levels of consciousness and subconsciousness. The brain stem. There’s one Freud missed. An obvious one, too. The Brainstem. The first brain in the evolutionary scheme of things. First you have the brain stem then the midbrain and finally the pre-frontal lobe evolves. So then Man can sneer as he looks down on the other vertebrates who have a lot more sense that he does.
Now all we have to do is rise to our scientific knowledge and get rid of that miserable attitude of the bible. There is no longer any reason to enshrine that immature consciousness with its primitive monotheism.
Here’s an obvious thing you probably never thought of before. Since the brain stem came first the sensory organs are associated with it. That’s right. The optic nerves are associated with the brain stem. When you get that REM, Rapid Eye Movement, when you’re dreaming? That comes from the brain stem.
What’s as old as the brain stem? Yo’ mama.
That’s right. Freud was right on that one. That’s a main reason why your mother is the most important influence in your life. Your mother’s eyes. Never thought of that one, huh? Well, plenty of song writers have. As an infant your mother’s eyes drilling into your own as you looked up from your breast feeding established that connection to the brain stem and your own eyes.
So here’s what I found out. That connection between your mother’s eyes and your own is paramount. When your mother rejects or abandons you that connection between your mother’s eyes and your own is broken. That fires a lightening bolt right through your brain stem down below the subconscious part of the mind. At some time in your life you’re going to have trouble with your eyes.
The circumstances of the break will dictate the nature of your problem. If a scientific survey were conducted some sort of general rules could be drawn up. Heck, someone could catalog fixations and their affects. They will be the same with everyone. Nobody’s that unique. The exact form may vary but the affect will be same. We’re closer to mental health than most people think. It’s just that you people prefer to be crazy.
My mother remarried and reclaimed me when I was ten so I didn’t have any real trouble with my eyes until I was after forty. I’m younger than that now but that needs no explanation. I’ll die soon anyway.
I had to have these operations on my eyes a few years ago. I thought I would have to go blind. While I was waiting I read Sybille Bedford’s biography of Aldous Huxley. He was rejected and abandoned by his mother also, she died when he was fourteen. Then his eye problems started when he was sixteen. I realized immediately that my eye problems were connected to my mother too.
My problem was that I knew my subconscious had been cleared out long before so that my problem with my mother couldn’t be in my subconscious.
The answer was revealed as answers of that type are, in one’s dreams.
I dreamt that I went down to the deepest spot known to man and there I knelt before a well. The well was dry; there was no water in it. It might be romantic to say I filled it with my tears but that’s not what happened. You know, science fails when you refuse to observe its tenets. That’s one of the big things wrong with world now, you want override obvious truths for emotional reasons. Think about it.
Since I had identified the ‘fixation’ and expressed it, by all the rules of Depth Psychology it should have disappeared, but it didn’t. The brain stem is different than the upper brain. Returning to the surface by the way I came I woke up.
Now I did have a dilemma. I thought I had the solution to my problem but I didn’t know how to apply it.
For a couple months I could only worry about it. Which is to say that by applying auto-suggestion I hoped to have my mind show me the answer. Naturally, it did.
The Baby Marie came to me. The Baby Marie is real but she’s just not flesh and blood. She came to me as all balms do, in dreams. I almost didn’t recognize her. It was close. I might have lost her with terrible consequences for myself.
I was at a party, in my dream, strange enough in itself as I never go to parties, wouldn’t know how to act at one; didn’t know how to act at this one. Fact is for some reason I never get invited. Who’d want to go anyway? There was much hilarity and boisterousness, two qualities I lack. I began to wonder why I went. Then a man, who while he may have been an alter ego, I still don’t know, asked me to come into the other room where they were delivering a Baby Marie for me.
I’d never heard of Baby Maries so I was really annoyed; so annoyed that I could hardly relate to the situation.
This dream is related to another dream I had once and is actually a fulfillment but why interrupt this story. If you want I can send you the other one, just ask. Well, they brought in this big barrel or keg. The barrel came apart in the middle so the upper part was slid aside. I have never seen a stranger sight. The barrel was half filled with the clearest water you ever saw. Sight for the blind you might say. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Floating, not so much in, but under the water was the head of a little infant with these large loving eyes that met mine.
I can tell you I was nonplused. ‘What’s this?’ I asked truculently enough. ‘It’s for you. We got this Baby Marie for you.’ Said my alter ego in his Hawaiian shirt. ‘It’s a Baby Marie.’
I was disgusted. The idea, putting a baby in a barrel of water and shipping it from god knows where. The poor thing would drown, should have already drowned. I almost missed my connection over past grievances and meaningless technicalities. Then I realized that if the Baby Marie was still alive she must be floating in living water. That must be why she hadn’t drowned. I knew the value of living water if I didn’t understand the importance of a Baby Marie.
More for the sake of the living water than the Baby Marie I accepted the gift. The water and the Baby Marie were then poured into the dry well in my brain stem down below where the sea monsters go. The eyes of the Baby Marie which were so loving replaced those of my mother who had rejected me. The connection was restored.
Unable to reach the problem through conscious Depth Psychology my mind had nevertheless found a way to resolve the dilemma. Or, perhaps problems of the brain stem function independently of the methods of Depth Psychology.
That’s how the Baby Marie came to live me completely changing my life. That’s why I don’t and won’t drink alcohol again.
The details of the dream are not clear to me but perhaps this crowd of people at the party are the people who laid my central childhood fixation on me and are offering me compensation for their crime. I certainly can’t be sure.
I suppose it right to speculate some on who or what the Baby Marie might be. Since she is a construction of my own mind that may not be as hard as it may seem.
Obviously with the Baby Marie I am born again. In fact, I had been reading Jung and I was struck by his analysis of the bapismal font and the idea of the infant being born again in that holy or living water.
I had also read of a dream of Bob Hunter’s, the song writer for the Grateful Dead, you know. He had a recurrent dream that terrified him for days after. In his dream he went down to the lowest place in the world where he stood before a black muddy river. I had no trouble recognizing this river as a symbol for his relationship with his mother. I also knew that it would take more than a box of rain to unsully those waters, but if he knew how to use the box of rain it would be a good start especially if the rain was living water. You see, he had the problem and the solution in his mind all along.
Last and perhaps most important is a song that had been playing in my memory for over fifty years. It was a song about a man trying to reach a person over the phone known only as Marie.
He knows neither her phone number nor her address. He pleads desperately with the operator to help him get in touch with his Marie. The operator cannot help him even though the man explains quite explicitly that Marie lives only half a mile from the Mississippi Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee. As it turned out Marie was merely an infant.
I had fixated on Marie, the Mississippi Bridge, the Mississippi River and Memphis, Tennessee all my life without realizing why. Why I should have done so is not clear to me. How I might have associated my unrealized problem with an inexplicable answer is a mystery of the mind, yet both problem and answer were ever present in my mind just as they were in Bob Hunter’s.
It took several decades to cross that bridge over the river but at last I have gotten in touch with my Marie.
This is a true story. You may believe it or not as you choose, but if you heed it you will find it a major contribution to the understanding of human psychology as well as your own.
That’s all I have to say. I bid you goodnight. Don’t call me, I’ll call you. Don’t wait up.
Dr. Polarion can be cantankerous at times. Don’t let his attitude in this relation fool you. He’s actually a nice guy, not as cranky as he allowed himself to sound. He’s a pretty deep psychologist, kind of look through and behind his narration. I mean, you know, he’s got literary ambitions. Wants to be another Freud. Get the Nobel prize for literature.
As a more gradual transition to Part III let me lead you through the art gallery of the mind to the Salvador Dali Room. Over on this wall here, look at this picture called ‘The Temptation Of Saint Anthony.’ This was done in 1946. I’m not sure of Dali’s sources. For all I know he may have been reading Poe.
Look down here in the corner at the naked Saint Anthony recoiling on the ground from the horse figure, holding out his cross to exorcise the demon. See that skull of death on the ground between his legs. Look at the rearing mare or the Mother Archetype, you can tell it’s a mare, look back between the legs, look at those horse shoes all askew on those enormous front feet. See those teeth showing between the parted lips, look on these baleful eyes. What could be more clear?
Then see, coming behind the Mare are the pack elephants of memory on their precarious spindly legs. Memory is like that but the bulk of the elephants is such that you know the memories must be important. The first bears a female figure on the pedestal. The Mother Archetype. See her holding up her breasts like some antique figure of Mother Earth promising all and delivering nothing. Give her a baby, that ‘s all she wants.
Behind her comes a symbol I can’t really understand. Perhaps a triangular cenotaph. I don’t know what Dali means.
Finally comes the elephant bearing the house or symbol of the self. Now, let us turn to Part III, ‘Cow Eyed Hera And Edgar Allan Poe.’
April 27, 2007
A Mother’s Eyes
Part I: The Remarkable Case Of Aldous Huxley’s Eyes 30 pages
Part II: The Baby Marie: 10 pages
Part III: Cow Eyed Hera And Edgar Allan Poe: 21 pages
Part IV: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle: 9 pages
The Remarkable Case Of Aldous Huxley’s Eyes
This essay will deal with certain unconscious relationships between the Indo-European male and the Mother Archetype. This essay is retricted to the Indo-European sub-species because the author is not convinced that all Homo Sapiens sub-species are identical in intellectual makeup nor are they subjected to the same cultural influences which would produce a uniform effect across all sub-species of mankind. What Jung calls the Collective Unconscious of Man does not use the same symbolism in every period of time, every place and with all sub-species. While the Horse will be a central focus of the Indo-European after minus 2000, for instance, prior to its introduction to the Middle East the beast could not have figured in the Collective Unconscious of either the Indo-Europeans or Semitic Mesopotamians. Thus the Black, Semitic and Mongolid sub-species may be subject to the same relationship with the Mother Archetype but may express the same issue in different symbolism.
The female of the Indo-European or other sub-species is structurally different from the male hence subject to different responses to the same issue in different symbolism. I will touch on that briefly in Part IV.
Further, one ought not to confuse the role of female with the role of mother. The female is a different person until she becomes a mother. Once a mother her response to the role will depend on female societal desires which will control her attitude to motherhood. The intelligence and intellectuality of the female person is in conflict with the Structural Psychology of the Mother. Not all females are intellectually adapted to become mothers although most do become mothers.
The topic will be approached from the point of view of Depth Psychology based more on the approach of Carl G. Jung than that of Sigmund Freud. Freud’s approach was based on the personal psychology of the upper brain while Jung approached the subject more from a Special angle hence his notion of the Collective Unconscious with a universal heritable symbolism regardless of education or sub-species.
Because he was dealing with a more homogeneous population unlike the heterogeneous population of the United States he was able to believe that all people are subjected to identical influences even though he had the obvious sub-special differences of the Jewish Semitics before him.
There can of course be no such thing as a collective mind hence no Collective Unconscious. Neither can this Collective Unconscious be inherited. There can only be a shared sub-special understanding of phenomena. This shared understanding will express itself in certain common symbols induced by a universal field of education depending on one’s level of consciousness.
Specifically I wish to examine the relationship between the mother and the eyes of the Indo-European male as well as the mother’s identification with the Horse by the male. All three are intimately related.
The difference between Jung’s Collective Unconscious and the individual unconscious or, rather, sub-conscious, is that Jung without having actually differentiated the two was referring to Structural Psychology by his notion of the Collective Unconscious.
Before the human organism can be subject to personal psychology there must first be an organism. The construction of that organism will then determine its psychological potential.
Thus while all the higher vertebrates share the same Structural Psychology the addition of the upper brain separates man from the beasts while causing a conflict between the Structural Psychology and Personal or Intellectual Pyschology.
While a human entity appears to be an organic whole it is actually a construction of component parts. The nature of those parts determine the psychological potential of the completed construction.
Not enough attention has been paid to how a human is constructed or the signficance of that construction. The basic organism seems to be taken for granted.
The human is a combination of two different components which are then integrated. On the one hand there is the passive ovum which is provided by the female of the species; on the other hand is the active sperm provided by the male. Passivity and activity are important and should not be passed over lightly. The ovum provides one half of the structural elements as well as all the mitochondrial DNA. These are significant facts and not merely incidental.
The ovum is always female or an X chromosome. Thus the male always has this female X chromosome component which Jung and Freud using the imperfect data of their time referred to as a man’s ‘feminine side.’ Jung called it the Anima in the male, the corresponding role in the female the Animus.
The presence of an X chromosome in the male in no way affects his sexual identity as a male. It is not a cause of homosexuality or effeminacy. Using the imperfect data of his time Jung acted on the notion that sexuality was caused by a ‘preponderance’ of male or female genes. This would of course distort his vision of sexuality creating non-existent possibilities.
An unfertilized ovum is, of course, of no value. The male provides the fertilizing element in the form of the sperm. The sperm contains the other half of the structure which when joined with the ovum completes the structure.
The sperm can be either X or y. There must be a difference in nature between the ovate and spermatic X chromosomes. If X the completed structure is a female. But the spermatic X contributes the gene pool of the mother of the male which is part of the Anima so that the female has two female components. Without the X chromosome the male could not provide X sperm.
It must also be true that the spermatic side of the female provides a set of genes received from the father while the ovate side provides a set of genes from the mother, so that not all of the female’s ovum are the same.
In the case of either an X or y sperm the ovate or female mitochondrial DNA is always and solely the source of mitochondrial DNA in the resulting construction whether male or female. The Spermatic mitochondrial DNA is always expelled from the united ovum.
Thus the Mother Archetype establishes itself in a much more intimate connection with the male than the Father Archetype. This is a physiological fact with real consequences and not a matter for sexual pride.
When the ovate and spermatic parts combine the ovate X chromosome assumes the left side of the structure while the spermatic X or y forms the right.
Many organs which can function independently are therefore duplicated such as kidneys, lungs, gonads or ovaries. Those which can only function as a unit are formed of two separate lobes which are seamed such as the heart, liver, penis or clitoris.
Now, this may be controversial but the gonads or ovaries, the spinal cords and brain from an integrated unit like the power train of the automobile. All three are parts of consciousness.
The ends of the spinal cords, it follows that one each must be provided by the ovum and sperm, anchored in the gonads or ovaries intertwine up the spine until they cross over at the brain stem so that the passive ovate left side of the body becomes the passive right side of the brain while the active spermatic right side of the body crosses over to become the active left side of the brain.
The two cords, spermatic and ovate anchored in the gonads or ovaries pass up the spine to emerge from the brain stem as ‘loose wires.’ To give them a name we will use Jung’s terminology but assert that male and female have both an Animus and Anima rather than as Jung has it, the male an Anima and the female an Animus.
Now, as man evolved he began with what is referred to as the serpent’s brain or the brain stem followed by mid- brain, parietal lobes, upper brain and pre-frontal lobe.
Thus structurally to the point of the brain stem all vertebrates function more or less identically. By which I mean to say that to that point the psychology of say, sub-species five of the lion is identical to man. If this isn’t true than evolution is bunk.
Of necessity the optical nerves are associated with this very primitive organ of the brain stem. This fact must have some relation to the association of the Mother with the eyes.
Such a psychological association must operate independently of personal psychology as Structural Psychology or, as Jung would have it, the Collective Unconscious.
There are then tree levels of consciousness: the autonomic system, the brain stem and the upper brain.
In fact the as the brain stem is not intellectual as in personal psychology, it may function independently of the upper brain and require a different technique for therapy.
At any rate the symbolism Jung discusses is related to Structural Psychology and not the neuroses and psychoses of personal psychology.
When the male Indo-European experiences rejection or abandonment by the mother this rejection may be evidenced by eye problems associated with a horse symbolism.
Having laid the frame for my discussion I wish to begin with the case of Aldous Huxley, his relationship to his mother and his celebrated eye problems. Aldous Huxley is, of course, the important literary figure who wrote ‘Brave New World’, ‘Eyeless In Gaza’, ‘Point Counter Point’ and other intriguing and important novels.
All his adult life from the age of sixteen on Huxley endured terrible problems with his eyes. He was frequently able to improve his vision remarkably only to suffer setbacks. He first suffered maternal rejection when his mother opened a girl’s school relegating Huxley to an inferior status in both his and her eyes to her female students. This alone had a permanent effect on his character and his adult relationship with women. Then, when Huxley was fourteen his mother died abandoning him completely as it were.
No matter how natural or unavoidable death may be, those affected are under no obligation to react rationally. While on a conscious or even sub-conscious level Huxley seemed to handle his mother’s death well he was devastated on the structural level. First rejected and then abandoned by his mother, Huxley, at the age of sixteen was attacked in his eyes. Actually the reaction could have been predicted although how and when would have had to await manifestation.
Huxley developed an inflammation of the cornea called Keratitis Punctata. Thus his reaction to his mother’s rejection and abandonment was of the most serious sort. In the days before modern medicine he would have successfully blinded himself in both eyes. Given the medicine of the day he might have been cured with minimal or no loss of vision. As it was he was misdiagnosed allowing the disease to take almost full course. By the time he was treated he had lost his vision in his right or ovate eye while being as good as blind in his left or spermatic eye.
The nature of Keratitis Punctata is such that it damages or scars the surface of the cornea while the internal functions of the eye remain intact. The effect of the scar tissue allowed his vision to fluctuate.
I think that if a survey were taken it would be found that the right or ovate eye is always affected the worst. This would strengthen my contention that certain eye problems are due to relationships with the mother or ovate side.
It may be argued that Keratitis Punctata is a physical problem and not subject to psycho-somatic influence. It is my contention that Huxley’s psyche in search of a satisfactory ailment subconsciously sought the affliction out.
Over the years Huxley was able by an act of will to improve his vision dramatically but he always suffered relapses as his structural need for the infirmity overcame his conscious will. While had he been diagnosed and treated promptly he would not have lost his vision still his Structural need was such that he would have had a continuing series of eye problems over his lifetime.
Medical science poses problems to psychotic needs by being able to overcome psych-somatic reactions; the sub-conscious must search for new ways to gratify its need for affliction.
I too suffered abandonment by my mother beginning when I was five and ending when I was ten when she remarried. I was first put into two foster homes and then placed in an orphanage. The orphanage was critical. While I had very acute vision until I was forty a variety of eye problems have plagued me since.
While all the problems were quite natural therefore seeming to be of a strictly physical nature yet I had been plagued by fears of going blind since I was ten when my mother remarried. I therefore left myself open to attack in the appropriate time and place. Finally at sixty-four I had a cataract operation on my right or ovate eye followed by one on the left. I realized the psycho-somaic source of the problem while I was reading Sybille Bedford’s biography of Aldous Huxley.
Prompted by the reading I had a dream of a horse. This is the only horse dream I can remember ever having.
The horse clearly represented my mother staring at me with large guilty eyes not unlike the description of the Greek goddess Hera who was styled ‘cow-eyed.’
Sometime in the near past, two or more years ago, I had seen a TV show about a horse trainer who I can remember only by the name of the Horse Whisperer. He had developed a new technique of gentling a horse rather than breaking it. In my dream I was using his technique to gentle a mare. She seemed to want to be affectionate to me but I kept pushing her away or she shied away in my attempt to gentle her.
By that time I had already developed my ideas of Structural Psychology. I had also integrated my personality clearing all fixations from my subconscious. As I expressed it then, all the way down to my brain stem. Now I realized I was dealing with the brain stem itself having spoken more truly than I knew.
While I had made progress in rectifying my Animus I cannot say for certain that the process was complete. In all probability I have reconciled my Anima and Animus. I have never had trouble with my Anima although my Animus was seriously blunted as a child affecting my ability to express my manhood.
However, contrary to Depth Pschology, having recognized and spoken this apparent fixation caused by my mother’s abandonment the fixation did not respond by immediately being exorcised as had my fixations of the upper brain. Thus the problem of Structural traumas obviously requires a different technique for treatment.
The appearance of a horse figure in my dream was startling to me. I have never liked horses. All my life I have had an irrational hatred of them even to the point of verbally abusing them at sight.
Aldous Huxley, characteristically of the trauma, expressed his own reaction through horse imagery. Huxley wrote his first novel ‘Crome Yellow’ in 1921 followed by ‘Antic Hay’ in 1923 and ‘Those Barren Leaves’ in 1925. Those three novels lead up to 1928′s ‘Point Counter Point’ in which his problem with his mother finds expression in varied symbolism. In this last novel Huxley portrays himself in the character of Philip Quarles. He has a wife, Elinor, as a mother substitute and a son called signficantly, Little Phil, in other words a doppelganger.
In the novel Quarles has a limp rather than bad eyes. Huxley, through Quarles, expresses his mother’s abandonment and his attack of Kertitis Punctata this way:
‘…Philip…was remembering that immense black horse kicking, plunging, TEETH bared and ears laid back; and how it suddenly leaped forward, dragging the carter along with it: and the rumble of the wheels; and ‘Aie!’ his own screams; and how he shrank back against the steep bank, how he tried to climb, slipped, fell; and the appalling rush and trampling of the giant; and ‘Aie, aie!’ the huge shape between him and the sun, the great hoofs and suddenly an annihilating pain.’
Note expecially the teeth which will appear more prominently in Part III.
This very vivid picture is done so well that one might actually believe such an event really occurred. It didn’t. Here Huxley transforms his mother into a huge black horse. The steep bank I interpret as the brain stem which appeared in my own imagery as a deep dry well. There was a huge shape between Huxley/Quarles and the sun which must represent both the loss of his mother, when the sun went out of his life, and the onset of Kerititis Punctata.
In the novel Quarles had his leg crushed by the cart but in this version it is not clear where he received the injury while it was definitely caused by the huge black horse. There was only the annihilating pain. One assumes that the pain was the loss of Huxley’s mother.
Huxley gives his hurt a full scale treatment here. Quarles and his wife live in a mews in London. A mews is a converted stable. Horses had formerly been kept there. Now the ‘huge machines’ or cars of a hundred horse power or more are kept there. The arch at the end of the mews through which the horses were led stands as a constant reminder to Huxley/Quarles of his tragedy.
Not content to retell his own pain, Huxley then goes on to punish his mother in his imagination as he feels she punished him by dying. Remember a man in Huxley’s situation uses a woman as a surrogate to avenge himself on his mother who is beyond retaliation. In ‘Point Counter Point’ Quarles’ mother is still alive. It is she who has care of Little Phil when he is stricken with meningitis so the guilt remains with her.
On the eve of the meningitis attack Elinor Quarles, Little Phil’s mother, was about to commence a dalliance with another man. Quarles’ mother’s telegram reached Elinor in time to prevent her beginning the affair. Elinor believes that Little Phil’s meningitis was caused by her intended infidelity and suffers accordingly.
Elinor’s intended infidelity corresponds with Huxley’s mother’s betrayal of her love for him by relegating him to a secondary role while she lavished attention on her girl students.
Huxley’s descriptions of Little Phil’s suffering are quite gruesome.
‘…she found the child already awake. One eyeball was wide open and the eye, all pupil, was looking straight up at the ceiling; the other was half shut in a permanent wink that imparted to the thin and shrunken little face an expression of ghastly facetiousness.
‘He can’t open it,’ the nurse explained. ‘It’s paralyzed.”
Thus the crux of Point Counter Point is the punishment of Elinor Quarles qua Huxley’s mother for the crime of rejecting him in favor of her female students and later dying. Huxley quite rightly associates eye disease with his mother through his wifely surrogate and the symbol of the giant black horse with giant hooves and teeth bared rearing in the brain stem. He obviously had no clear idea of what this imagery meant to him personally. No doors of perception were opened for him there.
While this horse imagery is clear in ‘Point Counter Point’ Bedford also quotes Huxley as noting emphatically the remarkable deeds of horses in Homer’s Iliad. I think the horse symbol is replaced in a man’s active life by his relationship with women.
I now intend to devote a few pages to the relationship of mothers and women to horses and eyes in Greek mythology leading back to the present time.
My two lines of argument will concentrate on the nature of the God of Waters, Poseidon and the relationship of that greatest of all mama’s boys, Achilles, with his mother, the sea nymph, Thetis.
I follow the Jungian concept of attempting to penetrate the symbolism by this narrative of action.
In the divine dispensation of spoils in Greek mythology the preeminent god, Zeus, was awarded the sky, Poseidon preeminence in the oceans and rivers, Hades possession of the underworld. Obviously Hades got skunked which made him a sour sort of guy.
The surface of Mother Earth was common to all three.
The significant fact here is that the three gods are male while the Earth named Ge, Gaia or Demeter was female. Thus you have three men with equal claims to the same woman, Mother Earth.
In ancient Greek sourcs as well as in Biblical story Man realized that there was a time before consciousness. Thus the story of the creation of the universe is less a story of creation than one of the crystallization of consciousness.
In the creation myth all objective reality is confused; all is seen as one. In other words, there was only an animal consciousness. Then a divine wind blows across the plane of consciousness separating the upper and lower spheres; the conscious and subconscious. Thus the upper sphere of consciousness became heaven and was allotted to the mind of infinite power, Zeus. The subconscious was given to the Father of Waters, Poseidon while the underworld of the brain stem went to Hades. The plane of consciousness was shared by mankind and the gods. This is as it should be.
Poseidon’s dominion is the seas, oceans and rivers. The waters of oblivion are associated with the subconscious and irrational which is to say the female or matriarchal consciousness. The subconscious and irrational are therefore equated with the matriarchal order. Thus Poseidon, who must actually predate Zeus as a carryover from the Matriarchal consciousness has relations with a number of domineering women who are very hard on men.
The question of why Poseidon is also closely related to horses is very difficult to answer, especially as Poseidon was early on the scene while horses arrived later. I offer only a working hypothesis.
It has been suggested that the rollers of the sea are reminiscent of horses’ heads. It has also been suggested that rivers as they dash down mountain slopes and race to the sea are quite similar to the flight of the horse. There may be truth in both suggestions as when the horse arrived it had to be associated with some god; in association with Poseidon that may possibly explain how horses came to be associated with the Mother Archetype. Their association with the Mother can only have begun after the Indo-Europeans brought horses to the Aegean world which was after the year minus 2000.
Of the mean flesh eating mares or mothers with whom Poseidon is associated it is only necessary to give two examples. The most important of the two by far is the Medusa and her Gorgon sisters, the other is the enchantress, Circe.
The Medusa is a very important study. She apparently dates back to an early period of the Matriarchate. While in the Patriarchic myth of Perseus and the Gorgon she is a hideous evil witch whose mere glance can turn a man to stone there is evidence to point to a time before the rise of the Patriarchate when she was a belle ideal; a tower of strength. Shields with the Medusa head continued to be used in classical times as a magical charm to repel the enemy. The snakes which form her hair were once a symbol of her authority rather than hideous emblems of hatred. She was then one of Poseidon’s wives or , more probably, he was her consort.
When the Patriarchate displaced the Matriarchate Perseus was chosen to destroy the Medusa or, in other words, the symbol of the Matriarchate. This he did by decapitation. Decapitation or the separation of the head from the body is a powerful symbol in itself which should have destroyed the Medusa’s power to lithicize men with her EYES. Even in death, which is to say after the power of the Matriarchate was broken, the mere sight of her now dead eyes continued to turn men to stone.
The myth of Perseus is a keystone story that tells of the birth of the new order of the Patriarchate. When the old order of the Matriachate was beheaded a remarkable thing happened; two beings that correspond to the male Anima and Animus emerged from her neck or, shall we say, brain stem.
The Animus of the liberated Patriarchate was represented by the Golden Knight named Chrysaor. As the Animus he had no concrete identity. He represented the mind of infinite power and rationality possessed by Zeus and shared by men but not by women. He consequently fades from view.
The Anima that sprang from Medusa’s severed brain stem was the great winged horse or mare, Pegasus. The great mare allowed man’s imagination to soar as though godlike, above the earth’s plane that was the dominion of the Matriarchate.
Further having now passed through the dawn of consciousness as represented by the creation myth the male had now reached the level of consciousness where he could begin to attack and destroy his subconscious demons. Thus Perseus finds the maiden Andromeda chained to a rock awaiting destruction by the monster of the sea depths of the subconscious.
Soaring above the Leviathan on his Anima, Pegasus, in the conscious sphere, Perseus is able to destroy the monster of the subconscious and liberate Andromeda, or the female, from destruction by the subconscious. In his arms, under his protection Andromeda, or the female, was freed from animalism. She too was released to find her full potential under men’s guidance and protection.
As decapitation wasn’t totally effective there was more than one way to handle the attempted suppression of the Matriarchate. It has been truly said that you can kill men but you can’t kill ideas. Perhaps because of the Iliad with its gathering of the tribes at Troy one thinks of Greek mythology as an indissoluble whole. This is not the case. There are many strands and traditions to Greek mythology.
It is highly probable that when the Greeks invaded the Peninsula that their route bypassed Athens which was shielded from above by the Boeotian Semites. Thus the Greeks were shunted West where they fell on the Pelopponesus bypassing Attica.
While the Athenians avoided military invasion they were yet unable to resist the Patriarchal tide.
The myth of Perseus and the Gorgon which belongs to the Argive or Pelopponesian cycle gives only one view of the suppression of the Matriarchate. That was how it happened West of Attica. In Athens itself the transition from the Matriarchate to the Patriarchate was more evolutionary. This would be the result of being bypassed by the Greek invasion.
Perseus on his way back to Argos from Palestine gave the Medusa’s head to Athene who then wore it as an emblem on her bosom. This would be another way of saying that Perseus influenced the Athenians to convert to Patriarchalism.
I would suggest that, even though the Iliad lists a contingent of Athenian ships present at Troy, there were no Athenians there. As the Greek heroes for the most part are from the Pelopponese or other Greek locations and the quarrel is between them and Troy while none of the Greek heroes was Athenian. I would suggest that the Athenian contingent is an interpolation. Agamemnon and the Argives as invaders would have had no influence over non-Greek Athens such as they had over Odysseus in Ithaca.
The Athenians always claimed to be an autocthonous people, that is that they sprang from the soil or, in other words, were there before the Greek invasion. Of necessity that would mean that they were not Greek per se.
Their early heroes are half snake, half human, which I understand to mean that on the one hand as snakes emerge from the soil the Athenians were autocthonous; on the other hand that they were half Matriarchal and half Patriarchal. In other words, there was an evolutionary transition. This idea is borne out by subsequent Athenian mythology.
If this is true then it must follow that the gods of Athens had formerly been Medusa and Poseidon- the Queen and her consort.
Imagine Perseus handing the head of Medusa to Athene. Athene must have neutralized the power of Medusa because as of the handing of the head to Athene it was still capable of turning men to stone at a glance. As Athene’s emblem displayed on her breast where all men must see it, it could no longer do so.
As the Athenians told the story of the suppression of the Matriarchate, Zeus swallowed a matriarchal goddess known as Metis. This is a normal method of disposing of one’s enemies. As the Africans down to the present day say when they intend to destroy an enemy- We will eat you up.
When you eat someone up you obtain their qualities. Metis was the goddess of Wisdom. Whether she was one of the Gorgons I don’t believe is recorded but I suspect so. Perseus and the more primitive Argives believed that destruction was simply a matter of cutting off a head, the Gordian knot approach. The Athenians thought differently.
Having eaten up the Matriarchy Zeus found that it gave him a serious case of indigestion. His eyes were bigger than his stomach. The Matriarchy would not stay suppressed.
As it was necessary that some other expedient be employed the Matriarchy was allowed to exist but only as subordinate to the Patriarchy. While not abolished, the Patriarchy attempted to reform it in an acceptable way. The attempt was made to replace the uncontrollable Matriarchal figures as represented by Ares and Aphrodite with a more rational goddess embracing both.
Thus the indigestion of Zeus gave him a headache. In other words, he had to give the problem some serious thought. He had an idea, as why wouldn’t the mind of infinite power have an idea. He transformed the old wild undisciplined Matriarchal god and goddess into the superbly rational and controlled Athene. Her idea formed in the Patriarchal brain then sprang fully formed and armed from Zeus’ forehead. Actually she didn’t spring but was chiseled out by Hermes and Hephaestus who are both gods of resource.
Thus when Perseus handed the head of Medusa to Athene he was passing the torch for the application of Patriarchy in Athens. The destruction of Poseidon’s consort in Athens left that god without a female counterpart and that’s the way he stays throughout the Patriarchate. Athene was a chaste virgin who would have nothing to do with men. As a goddess with a technological sideline she came into conflict with the Matriarchal technological god Hephaestus. He attempted to rape her or in other words reimpose an aspect of the matriarchy on her which she successfully resisted. Instead he spurted on her leg in a pre-mature ejaculation which she, as the goddess of weaving, wiped off with a piece of wool.
Unable to seduce Athene and reestablish his supremacy in Athens on his part, Poseidon then had a contest with Athene to see who should be the tutelary deity of Athens. In other words, should Athens be Patriarchally or Matriarchally inclined. Should it be named Athens or Poseidonia?
Poseidon peformed the seemingly impossible task of making water spring from the rocky high crown of the Acropolis. Athene countered by making an olive tree grow on Rocky Top.
The Athenians opted for the olive tree but it was not a clean cut victory for the modified Patriarchy. The Athenians ever after nurtured several snakes on the Acropolis along with both the olive tree and Poseidon’s spring. Thus the Matriarchal past was not forgotten.
Further Athene retained some attributes of the Matriarchy. She was sometimes theriomorphically represented with a horse’s head while her attribute of the owl is represented in statuary and she is referred to as owl eyed, undoubtedly a reference to the wise Metis. A snake was also shown coiled on the ground in the shelter of Athene’s shield as she leaned on it.
In point of fact all Greek heroes were symbolically horse headed by virtue of the horse hair crests on their helmets. They were always under the protection of the Mother Archetype while sharing in the qualities of her symbol the horse.
The wearing of lion and leopard skins is also an aspect of theriomorphism. Obviously one hopes to share in the prowess of the lion or leopard by wearing its skin. Thus Heracles armored himself in the skin of the Nemean Lion which, in itself, was a symbol of the Matriarchy.
I hope this exposition established the nature of the relationship between the Mother, horse, eyes and the brain stem to the Son in ancient Greek thought. These are not irrelevant details of myths but important symbols when understood in the Jungian sense. The Ancients were not just amusing themselves with strange tales. The message for the initiate is different for that of the hoi polloi.
The myth of Circe explains what happened under the Matriarchate when men allowed themselves to be dominated by their carnal desires. It is only when one controls one’s sexual needs that one escapes domination by the female to dominate the female. In that way one rises from the level of the beast to that of a man. Nor is this ‘repression’ in the Freudian sense.
Before attacking the issue of Achilles and Thetis let me point out the significance of Oedipus. Oedipus was abandoned as an infant by his mother Queen Jocasta of Thebes. On his way to Thebes as a young man he was jostled out of the road by a chariot and a team of horses. Enraged he killed the driver who he later learned was his father. By killing this man, who was king of Thebes, he made the widowed queen his wife. He then learned that she was his mother. Horrified at the thought of having married his mother he gouged his EYES out using the clasp of a woman’s dress. Thus one has son, mother’s abandonment, horses and eyes.
Achilles, on the contrary, had an excellent relationship with his mother, too good. He remained tied to her apron strings all his short life.
His mother, Thetis, is one of the more interesting mythological characters. Zeus had it mind to make Thetis his own but backed away when he learned that she would bear a son who would be greater than his father. No god would then touch her so she was married to the mortal, Peleus, to whom she bore Achilles.
Thetis and Peleus lived apart. As she was a Nereid or sea nymph, closely related to Poseidon or the subconscious, she lived at the bottom of the sea whence she always made sure that Achilles had a superior team of horses, fabulous armor and an incredible shield. Thus while Achilles was a formidable warrior his success depended as much on his doting mother as it did his own prowess.
It was fated that Achilles could have a short life if sought glory on the field of battle or a long life as sort of an effeminate mama’s boy. You see, the relationship to the mother. This was his and his mother’s dilemma in the Iliad.
To protect her boy as long as she could Thetis had him reared among the girls in the girl’s quarters in girl’s clothes. He was so good at female impersonation that when the Greeks sought him out to serve in the war it was impossible to identify this giant amongst men among the girls.
Think about this.
Still it was reputed that he was a mighty warrior who was destined to defeat the Trojans. He should have had such a physique that he stood out head and shoulders above the girls.
When the Trojan War began his mother desperately wanted to keep him out of harm’s way among the girls. Odysseus, surnamed the Wily, smoked him out by raising an alarm. While the girls ran screaming Achilles true to his heroic nature seized his arms to meet the threat thus betraying his identity. Abandoning his transvestism Achilles is conscripted into Agamemnon’s Folly.
Quite frankly the Greeks have been coerced into a war for the sole benefit of the Brothers Atrides. What did Achilles care if Paris abducted Menelaus’ wife. She went with him willingly anyway. Menelaus behaved like a fool in leaving the guest Paris in his house with Helen while he left on a business trip. Would you do that? I wouldn’t.
Nevertheless Agamemnon was the sole representative of Zeus on Earth; he ruled by divine right. Zeus had given him the nod to assure victory. In point of fact he couldn’t lose. One wonders what would have happened if he had refused to help himself. How would Zeus have affected victory as the gods help only those who help themselves?
Homer in his brilliance depicts a very detailed picture of this society. Agamemnon is especially suited to command although he is not the greatest of the heroes nor a totally admirable man. In fact, his pettiness injures Achilles to the point where the latter must make a retort.
Achilles’ first thought is to take arms against the slings and arrows of outrageous Agamemnon but Athene counsels him to suffer that particular sea of troubles in his mind. Achilles heeds her advice and goes into a pout befitting this greatest of mama’s boys. He self-centeredly withdraws himself and his troops from the war.
This act is very serious as he is the greatest of all Greek warriors while it is a known fact that the Greek’s can’t win without him. Now, Achilles has some serious mental problems. After his alter ego, Patroclus, is killed Achilles opines:
…O Zeus and Athena and Apollo
If only death would take every Trojan
And all the Achaeans except for us two,
So we alone might win that Sacred City…
That’s a prayer he hopes will be anwered. In his anger and spite he even wants his own side to be defeated and destroyed so long as he and his friend alone find salvation in that Sacred City. The City Of God?
After being robbed of his prize by Agamemnon he goes to the seashore to summon his mom from the deeps. Arising from the sea of the subconscious she comes to him. The result of this interview between a doting mother and a spoiled rotten son defies all concepts of morality both in Achilles’ request and his mother’s response.
Achilles asks his mother to intervene for him with Zeus to cause the slaughter of the Greeks until they are fighting the Trojans among their ships in the camp. There is nothing that Thetis won’t do for her boy no matter how criminal. She is willing that the Greeks be destroyed if that is what her son wants. Thetis and Ma Barker would have gotten along just fine.
Not only did Zeus have a soft spot for Thetis but in a past time when the gods rebelled and had overpowered Zeus in an attempt to depose him Thetis had come to his rescue. Zeus owed her one.
Zeus and the gods are away in Ethiopia for twelve days but she promises her son to visit him him as soon as he returns. On his return she implored Zeus by grasping his knees with her left arm, Homer is explicit, thereby immobilizing him with her feminine side, with her right hand she grasps his chin arresting his attention. She implores him to smite the Greeks unto death to appease her son’s sense of affront.
Understand the enormity of Achilles’ request to his mother. She does not reprove him in the least instead she rushes off to Zeus for his complicity which Zeus in his profundity of mind grants.
Nor is this an easy thing to fit into his schedule. He has already given the nod to Agamemnon which must be fulfulled while he can refuse nothing to his Grecophile daughter Athene and also while he is being badgered by his wife Hera to favor the Greeks.
In the face of all these conflicting demands even though he has given the nod of victory to Agamemnon and once his nod has been given his decision cannot be altered he agrees to at least hurt the Greeks for the benefit of Thetis’ son with no possible reward for himself from Thetis as her sexual favors would cost him Olympus. Now you know what a mind of infinite power is capable of.
Zeus then unleashes Hector and his Trojans until they breach the Greek walls firing a number of ships.
Still unrelenting, Achilles refuses to help but does allow his faggot, Patroclus, to don his armor frightening the Trojans into thinking Achilles has entered the fray. Patroclus exceeds his authority being killed by Hector who appropriates the splendid armor of Achilles as well as those great horses.
Now horseless, armorless, shieldless and friendless, in other words completely defenseless and emasculated, Achilles runs once again to mom. Mama is always there for her boy. Now, for those of us whose moms have not always been there for us this is a cause of deep envy and anguish. She promises to have the technological god, Hephaestus, make him a new shield and armor to be ready the NEXT DAY. Even Hephaestus is not too busy for this paragon of mothers; he sets aside all else and gets down to it. You see what a good relationship between mother and son is worth.
Aldous Huxley thought about such matters deeply. He never consciously associated his mother with his eyes although his attachment was such that he said that if you wanted to know how polite educated people of his mother’s time spoke his speech was a living example. In other words he thought that he emulated his mother down to her speech patterns. In essence he had become his mother.
He had been unable to penetrate his ‘unconscious’ but he had studied the subject carefully. Sybille Bedford quotes his thoughts on the unconscious in which Huxley says that, obviously, Freud did not invent psychology or even the ‘unconscious.’ Huxley discusses a book by one F.W.H. Myers who laid out a theory of the unconscious in a book titled ‘Human Personality’ in 1886.
Myers dealth with the Homeric concepts of the unconscious qualities of Ate and Menos. Ate was the destructive or dark side or the unconscious while Menos was the creative or positive side.
Freud appropriated the concept of the unconscious but only the dark or destructive aspect appealed to him so he went no further than that.
Obviously Huxley realized subconsciously that with his mother’s eyes he was in a constant struggle between Ate and Menos, darkness and light.
It has always troubled me as to why Hephaestus, or Menos, was married to Aphrodite, or Ate and why the goddess of love and god of technology should live at the bottom of the sea.
If you remember Aphrodite arose from the sea as a sea foam riding on the half shell. Obviously love has all the substance of foam while seeing only one half of the truth. This is a form of Ate.
She and her husband live at the bottom of the sea because they represent Ate and Menos which reside in the subconscious.
Aphrodite as Ate is so thoughtless and self-indulgent that she causes pain to everyone in her willfulness. Hephaestus was not too pleased to be awarded Aphrodite as his wife by the council of the gods. No sooner were the two married than, while Hephaestus was off on business, Aphrodite invited her natural complementary aspect of the subconscious Ate, Ares, to bed.
Aphrodite and Ares are the two parts of destructive Ate. When they are caught by Hephaestus in union they form the ‘beast with two backs’ or, in other words, they hatched from the same egg. As unreasoning hatred and love they are Ate in its complete form or aspect of the subconscious that Freud chose to exploit with much less subtlety.
Hephaestos is Menos, the god of invention and technology, also seems to send his good ideas up from the subconscious. Ideas just seem to occur to us. Hephaestus as Menos therefore resides at the bottom of the sea where he is in close contact with the Mother Archetype in the brain stem in union with Aphrodite and Ares as Ate.
It should be remembered that the mother of Hephaestus is Hera who give birth to him parthenogenously. Hephaestus has no connection with the Father Archetype. In fact, he was thrown out of heaven by Zeus. Thus Achilles’ mother is able to obtain from him whatever she wishes at a moment’s notice.
Being in close contact with the Father of Waters, Poseidon, Thetis is able to procure the finest horses for her boy. Achilles has a team that is the envy of both Greece and Troy. It goes without saying that he has no trouble with his eyes.
The imagery of mother, horse and eyes has persisted in the Indo-European male down to the present. Let us give two examples here with more to follow in Parts III and IV. Bear in mind that the imagery is subconscious so that it is not necessary for an author to knowingly select his imagery.
In Rudyard Kipling’s novel ‘The Light That Failed; the hero, Dick, was an orphan who was placed in a foster home with an orphan girl, Maisie. There were very close as children, one might say that she became Dick’s mother surrogate, but they became separated going about their careers apart.
They met again as adults in London where Dick has his attachment to Maisie renewed although in an irrational manner while she only reluctantly acknowledges him ultimately rejecting his attentions at which point Dick loses his sight.
Kipling doesn’t make the connection between mother’s abandonment, Maisie’s rejection and Dick’s eyes but it must be there in his subconscious.
Dick, a war correspondent, returns to a war in the Sudan as a blind newspaper correspondent. Traveling through hostile territory, just as he reaches the safety of the British camp he is shot dead off, not a horse, but a camel.
The second example is the play and movie Equus by Peter Shaffer. I saw only the movie. The plot centers around the psycho-analysis of the male figure. The story concerns a stable boy who blinds the mares under his care by slicing their eyes. Whether based on a true analysis or not Shaffer has a very confused presentation of his ideas which he probaby does not understand.
As the protagonist is a stable boy it follows that he was drawn subconsciously to the job to be around horses indicating a weak mother relationship. That he sought a job in a stable to be around horses is a subconscious indication of his pain. We have seen what a doting mother, Thetis did for her boy Achilles and conversely what happened to Oedipus.
The mother substitute appears in a girl who seduces him in full sight of the horses. Unable to perform sexually in full sight of the horses, or Mother Archetype, he revenges himself on his mother by blinding the horses.
It is only speculation but I infer that the stable boy had been rejected, abandoned psychologically or both by his mother causing a deep abiding anger. It is forbidden to retaliate one’s rage on the mother so he vented his anger on both a young woman and the mother symbol, the horse. He disappointed the girl while putting out the horse’s eyes.
The flesh eating mares of Greek mythology is a difficult image to understand but perhaps they represent filiophagus mothers who victimize their sons knowingly or unknowingly. The opposite of Thetis.
The subsequent relationship of the rejected or abandoned son to women is important. In the stable boy’s case he was impotent with women. Dick needed to affirm his relationship to a childhood mother surrogate to avoid the consequences of abandonment. In Huxley’s case he was very fortunate in recognizing a woman who would serve him as he felt his mother should have served him and in finding a woman who realized the exact need for unconditional love of a man in her own makeup.
One hesitates to say that Huxley created conditions by which his wife would predecease him but she did. After a marriage of nearly forty years Huxley quickly married a self-sufficient woman while apprearing to be relieved at the loss of his mother surrogate.
I hope I have made the connection between mothers, horses and eyes clearly. As the problem is not in the upper brain but the brain stem the fixation cannot be voided by the normal means of identification and expression.
In my own case in attempting to resolve the matter I have taken the approach of trying to reconcile my mother’s actions with my feelings about it but I haven’t been too successful.
Obviously the primitive brain stem presents different obstacles than the mid-, upper and pre-frontal brain.
End of Part I. Go to Part II, The Baby Marie.