from Hall, Noor. The Moon & the Virgin: Reflections on the Archetypal Feminine. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.
Section headings are mine, for ease of reading.
The drawing I have in mind is a series of circles representing stages of feminine development that are entered into, fully lived, and broken out of like eggs. There are three to start with: first, the perfect, all-embracing circle of mother containment that shelters a child in darkness and warmth. Next to it there is a second, somewhat ominous circle wrapped round with a snake that arches back to break into the mother circle as if to draw out the contents of the egg. This is the circle of the father that draws a girl into the world. The first circle is a form of self-conservation. The second is a form of invasion and self-surrender. The third circle is the one the woman draws around herself. It is a circle of self-realization that brushes up against the snake-entwined realm of the father as if it were still attracted to it and not quite able to spin on its own axis without the additional magnetic surge of positive and repellent contact. In this chapter I will try to describe the compelling nature of these highly charged points fo contact, where the girl's life intersects the masculine principle which pulls her toward surrender and realization. The experience of self-surrender, which Artemis, the original "conservationist," does not know, characterizes the psychic life of the hetaira (companion), the "father's daughter," whose surrender is inevitably to relationship.
Woman's original experience of herself in relationship to a mother is one of identity, a continuation of the blood bond of pregnancy. Unlike boys, who come to recognize themselves as "other," girls' discovery of self begins with a recognition of at-one-ness or sameness with motherliness, the source of life and protection. A girl's containment in this stage of identification with the female group (herself, her mother, her sisters) is often accompanied by the rejection of males, who are "different," so that is is only with the eventual intrusion of the alien masculine that this stage of containment-in-the-mother is broken. The depth psychologist's term for this is the "invasion of the paternal uroboros," the world-encircling snake.
Norse mythology tells how the giants threw the venomous world serpent to the edge of the earth, where it became the sea, completely encircling the earth like the snake ring, called "uroboros" in alchemical tradition, that holds its tail in its mouth. Because of the open feminine mouth and the phallic tip of tail and the miraculous way it sloughs its skin in yearly regeneration, the uroboric snake is an enchanting creature containing all possibilities of male and female, beginning and end, life and death. Old European cartographers used to put a snake biting its tail in the corner of the map to mark the place where the unknown began, where the sea stretched into an unbroken horizon. They knew that Mother Earth was round and that endlessly rocking movement of tidewaters meant that waves touching the shore would circle the earth to touch it again. (Some Mediterranean people called the ocean the "swift queen ever-turning back on herself.") "Uroboros," when used symbolically to represent a stage of child consciousness, is that quality of being cosmically "held" or protected within a magic circle that one is little capable of cracking until a door is opened from the outside, or until one sees something that forces a new way of thinking--one that urges breakthrough.
For a girl, the completely other being is a boy--or the masculine principle. The original protected stage, experienced as one of psychic unity (one we look back upon as the experience of childlike wholeness) is broken into by the emergence of the archetype of the Great Father and his emissaries. Fairy tales usually depict this event in the coming of the king's son, the prince who represents the father.
In the story of Rapunzel, the girl is kept in prolonged mother captivity until the king's son comes by and happens to witness her predicament. The tower with no door and only one high window is the embrace of the enchanting witch mother who isolates the girl from the world. "Rapunzel" is another word for "rampion," a tuberous salad vegetable that was stolen from the witch's garden at the beginning of the story. Rapunzel's mother, who had long been barren, yearned for it during her pregnancy (perhaps it was used magically at some point in history to promote conception) and made her terrified husband steal it for her.
One day, as he climbed down the garden wall, the fearful enchantress was waiting for him: "How can you dare, " she said with an angry look, "descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!" "Ah," he answered, "let mercy take the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some to eat." Then the enchantress allowed her angers to be softened and said to him: "If the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a mother." The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the woman was brought to childbed the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her. She would have her rampion back.
This is a way of saying that it is the archetypal Mother rather than the personal mother who holds a girl in the uroboric circle of the tower. (Frequently, when it is time to start leaving their mothers in a psychic sense, children will dream of their personal mothers as terrible witches--this compels a certain distancing that might not otherwise occur.) Rapunzel's golden hair grew and grew and grew so long and strong that she could wrap it around a hook outside the little window and drop it to the ground to make a braided ladder for the witch. It happened that the king's son, hiding in the surrounding thistle, figured out the riddle of the girl's inaccessibility by watching the witch mother calling out and climbing up. He then broke the mother hold on the girl by going up to her at twilight, for she had never before set eyes on a man, but he spoke to her so kindly that she lost her fear and surrendered her hand and then herself.
The story does not, however, end here. Hair, as time and custom testify, is a symbol for the soul because it grows out of the head--the place of consciousness. It grows again after it is cut and even continues growing after a person dies. Initiation rites usually include some form of hair cutting or alteration to symbolize a new orientation of the psyche. Rapunzel's hair had grown so long that it must have been time for a change--time to start another phase of life. Some of the stories say she was twelve when put into the tower and that the prince came a year of two later, which would mark the age of puberty with typical unconscious accuracy. The witch mother discovers the long-feared invasion of the male because the innocent girl asks why it is so much harder to pull the prince up by her hair than the old mother! She furiously cuts off the beautiful hair and takes Rapunzel away to an even lonelier desert. Meanwhile, the prince has fallen from the tower, been blinded by thorns in the thicket, and has set out wandering in search of his bride. Eventually they are reunited: her tears of joy heal his eyes and twins are born to them out of the barren desert and the cycle of containment and breakthrough can start once more.
The terror and fascination of this first encounter with the opposing masculine principle has the effect of seizing the feminine--an overwhelming effect that later becomes part of her sexuality. But at this stage the feeling of enrapture (rapt, rape), being swept off one's feet, is what comes to youth as a spiritual experience. You might not recall a hand literally seizing you in the dark woods at night, but you might remember an awakening to a kind of intoxication mixed with awe or fear at the possibilities ahead--a sudden enthusiasm, which means having been seized by the god within. Dreamers at this stage are often overcome by animals (gods in disguise): a bull, a rambunctious goat, a great snake, or a bird...
This element of woman's being carried away both spiritually and sexually is the main motif in Euripides's play The Bacchae. In this play the masculine principle is embodied in the divine form of Dionysus: god of wine, women, and song, the 'god-who-comes." He comes into town and calls women away from their daily work at the looms to join him for a spell of mad dancing in the hills. The Bacchae, also known as maenads--mad minions of the moon--were periodically inspired to these wild orgiastic revels to the horror of men. One of the few persons who understood was the aged Tiresias, who had been both male and female. The domesticated woman was taken over by a frenzied awakening to a dreadful part of herself. She nursed wild creatures instead of her own children, and tore animals apart with her bare hands to fashion the fur pelts she word in the hills.
This is an extreme example of the attraction to the irrupting archetype of the spirit father. It often takes a more pious form, as in a girl's dedication to God the father in the transcendent religious realm, or to an inspiring teacher in the realm of the intellect. It is evident also in a girl's experience of being drawn to priests, poets, and artists--creative men who represent the spiritual father. This stage is both marvelously creative and extremely dangerous because of the possibility of fixation--of becoming stuck in the generative father ground. A girl who becomes so rooted is called the puella aeterna, the eternal daughter, who lives within the thrall of the father, until the hero comes (either a real person or her own other side) to rescue her to consciousness.
Page Smith, who wrote Daughters of the Promised Land, makes us well aware of the benefits that come from a good father-daughter relationship in his discussion of the great women in American history. he notes a trend in this direction during the Protestant Reformation when fathers took direct responsibility for the education of their daughters:
They had to be taught to read in order to enjoy the benefits of the Scriptures; when salvation might depend on literacy, education took on a new urgency. Fathers and daughters thus entered into a novel relationship out of which daughters acquired a new sense of personal dignity and worth. They were no longer simply dutiful and self-effacing servants of their masters, fathers, or husbands, they were the children of God, precious in his eyes and filled with heretofore undisclosed or barely hinted at potential.
Because girls were important for some reason other than marriage and childbearing, other kinds of attention could be freely turned on them. (Jonathan Edwards, the renowned preacher, had ten children, eight of them girls, to whom he gave tireless educational direction.)
Such intense and helpful relationships with fathers can free women to relate to men in highly charged fields of interest: emotional and practical and spiritual and intellectual. But if--as not infrequently happens--the natural undercurrent of attraction in the father-daughter relationship get turned around on itself and goes unadmitted, an eroticism can develop that will hurt a girl as much as the encouraging attentive love helps her. A girl learns about her effect on men at a very young age and often discovers that daughterly talent of attracting a man's most creative aspects. It is a mermaid's2 legacy, actually: once the male has drawn up to her rock side she turns the mirror toward him so that he sees himself excited or inspired.
The hetaira is a woman of this type, who can, depending upon her own strength (strength in this instance means knowing herself as hetaira), either play the role of awakening psychic life in a friend or companion or play the role of temptress and lure the other away from realistic adaptation to the world3. She either enhances her partner's perception of himself or herself by exciting the psyche to new insights or she imprisons another by convincing him or her of some illusory talent, or latent potential, which would lead to losing a sense of what is and is not real about oneself. Circe, the sorceress in the Odyssey, was a hetaira who transformed her lovers into beasts. Seen psychologically, this would mean that through knowing her, their dark or unpresentable shadow sides emerged with such violence or passion that it overwhelmed them. (This might also mean that in Homer's time men whose ugly sides showed were called "pigs.")
The Handless Maiden
It is easy for the hetaira to become inflated with her own powers--to live beyond her station, or to suffer from "loss of earth" with her feet off the ground and her head in the clouds. In the story of "The Handless Maiden" a fairy tale which I want to give you in entirety4, the maiden--a puella eterna--is so dedicated to her father that she loses not her footing or her roots but her hands, her very grasp of reality...
This story is like a two-sided mirror--it can be looked at as the story of a man who mistreats his anima and the circuitous route toward reestablishing that sacred marriage, or it can be looked at from the point of view of a maiden who sacrifices her own development because of her devotion to the father. This latter side seems to best capture the fairy tale's images. The girl suffers because the father is willing to sacrifice his soul to the devil for money. He has become "poorer by degrees" until he has nothing left but the mill and the blossoming apple tree, which, it turns out, is synonymous with the blossoming girl. Economic values have taken priority over personal values--the mill stands before the tree--so that the miller's capacity for loving his daughter has degenerated into his willing substitution of her to save himself. "The Devil take her" is his unconscious attitude.
A girl who has not been given her father's attention (who has not felt his love for life over and above his desire for wealth or concern for his work) may have a void created in her, a vacancy that tends to fill up with obsessive, devilish impulses. These are then acted upon in order to get the father's attention or else kept completely out of touch by the girl's assumption of piety. She retreats into a melancholy passivity in the complete avoidance of the life of the spirit. This is the choice of the duty-bound girl in the story. She has her hands cut off, thus giving up any control she may have had and giving in to the feeling that she can't "handle things" anymore. Even the Devil is kept away by her purity. She is untouched and incapable of touching--there is not soul there for the Devil to take.
At this point, the father attempts to recognize the girl. But it is too late and, she suspects, insincere. She must leave the circle of parental containment and move on to the next circle of containment in the embrace of the spiritual father represented by the watery circle (moat) around the palace. She arrives there hungry, with her arms tied behind her back. She has accepted her fate but found no solution to the problem of being out of touch. Marriage is only a temporary solution. The king loves her and makes her a pair of silver hands. (Silver is a feminine metal, the color of the new moon, recipient of other planetary influences, symbol of new birth and purity. It has the magical quality of keeping away evil. It is cold, distancing, reflective.) But her marriage can only restore part of what had been lost. She still has to get her hands out of her father's hands to learn not only who she is as true wife to the king but who she is as a whole woman aware of herself as "rich in sorrows."
In Knowing Woman, Irene de Castillejo describes the animus (in negative form) as capable of disastrously cutting off a woman's participation in life. It often gives one the feeling of being separated, tortured, unable to go on. At these times, the animus may take on the frightening countenance of the father who would sever his daughter's connections with the outside world. The violence done to her drives the handless maiden into nature, or into a deep introversion in the forest-- "the place of unconventional inner life." She retreats into her own loneliness with Sorrow, the child of her marriage. It is a painful place of separation but at least here she can live freely apart from her father's (and the collective) opinions about who she is and how she should behave.
It is as this point that many women who are terrified of being alone reject the angel's invitation to solitary retreat and go out instead into the streets again (or back home), seeking people and ways to fill the awful emptiness. This way, the work of finding your own law or the entrace to your own "cave of inner being" (literally, an ethic) is put off. Turning away from the world to discover whether you are really alive is unquestionably painful. But it is in the conscious acceptance of loneliness--when there is nothing else to do--that at natural process of healing occurs.5
There are many versions of the "The Handless Maiden" but the maiden's regaining of the ability to touch others or to be in touch with the world is always a natural (and, therefore, miraculous) healing. Once it happens that the maiden's hands are regenerated when she puts her arms around a tree. Another time she is told to reach into the water for her lost child--and her hands grow back as she does it. Often the period of handlessness lasts many years. This is the hardest part: just waiting. Letting things come of their own accord, or grow in their own time, often looks and feels like complete stagnation.6 But angels come out of those still depths. Having gone into introversion and living through her time of incubation, the woman gains a sense of strength and spirit which enables her to participate again in the world of men and children. As Jung put it: a part of life was lost but the meaning has been saved.
Weaving a cocoon out of the substance of one's own life is the necessary prerequisite for the emergence of psyche: in withdrawing we prepare a way out. Any of the feminine types on the structural poles can go through this experience of withdrawal in service of the emergence of self, but it is the hetaira who would be thrown into this experience as a result of her dedication to the father.
The hetaira more frequently become the "mistress" of the extramarital companion than the wife and mother. Her closeness to that forest realm of unconventional inner life calls her onto a path of emotional wanderings an tentative attachments. Marriage for this type of woman--who values personal relationships over any kind of tie to a family or profession--would look like the marriage of the goddess Aphrodite, one which, because of her energy and unending variety of desires, permitted her freedom to explore numerous relationships with gods and mortals. She also had the tendency to make her children into secret lovers and to look for her father in the men she desired.
Aphrodite's origin is a remarkable story of a father-daughter relationship. It happened that Uranos, or Sky, came, "longing for love," to lie once again over wide-bosomed Earth. She was groaning already under the affliction of his habitually stuffing the children deep back into her after they were born. His refusal to let their children see the light of day finally incensed her into action: she brought for iron, fashioned a sickle out of it, and asked for help from any of the many children. No one answered except Cronos (who later became the father of Zeus); he took the weapon in hand, crept up on his father where he lay, castrated him, and threw his members into the sea. Up from his members sprang the foam-born love goddess, Aphrodite. Since she despised marriage it became her duty among gods and men to make-love or re-member.
So the lovely pale maiden who steps lightly from her shell boat onto the flowerly isle in Botticelli's famous painting is the transformed phallus of the father. She is the cut-off fruit of his manhood. Robert Graves points out an ancient Hittite parallel to this story: Kumarby bites off the phallus of the god Anu, swallows the seed, and then spits some of it upon a mountain--thus giving birth to a new goddess. The "springing up" of these goddesses and the self-willed movement characteristic of Aphrodite's nighttime liaisons are both masculine, or attributes of the phallus itself. The gravity-defying, spontaneously generating member rises of its own accord like the sea swell in response to the call of its daughter, Desire. Desire in one sense means "to regret the absence of" --this must be the father's sense of it--and in another sense it means "away from a star," de sidere. Aphrodite's star is, of course, Venus, the wishing star of morning and evening that rises so close to the crescent moon. From the maiden's point of view, then she has been cut off from the father and seeks always to close the distance between heavenly and earthly bodies. She herself is the connection, the power to make the wish come true, the body of water touching shore to shore, the movement of desire from quiver to heart. She is as much the arrow of Eros as she was the once virile shaft of the father.
It seems the goddesses were always discussing their "offices" with their fathers. An office was like a charge, a public duty to perform as emissary, missionary, or emission of the father.
In a patriarchate we are born form our fathers at a much later stage than from our mothers, when we have reached the "age of discretion" or when we are capable of certain kinds of thinking. It remains true for everyone that birth from the mother is the first, indisputable "fact" of experience. We see her and feel her as basic matter, shelterer, nourisher, the place and house of generation. But the recognition of fatherhood takes an abstract thought, a leap of faith. Bachofen describes the distance of father conception: as begetter, the father belongs to the offspring only through the mediation of the mother; he stands in no visible relation to the child and thus always appears the remoter potency. We are bound to the father by an invisible thread in contrast to the flesh and blood umbilical cord of pregnancy. "Seeing" the father's connection to his children, recognizing the reality of the invisible, or accepting the unknown behind the known signals the birth of spirit, of metaphor, of the capacity for creative thought. This may be clearer in the context of Athene's birth from the head of Zeus than in the birth of Aphrodite. But Athene's story is told by the next generation of the gods and represents a "higher" masculine conception--a birth from the upper head as opposed to a birth from the lower head ("As above, so below...").
... We move from the circle of mother containment to the circle of father containment, to break out again into the circle of potential self-realization. We leave home to find it. Just as every maiden who leaves her mother is Persephone, every girl who leaves her father is Aphrodite--out to seek what she can find across the sea. Persephone's split is healed when she herself becomes a mother. Becoming your father, or Aphrodite's cure, would mean becoming self-generating, father to your own experience, capable of independent thought and action, especially in the realms of love.
Aphrodite's father-give "office' is sexuality. She is feminine sexuality (whether married, unmarried, widow, nymph, or crone) and feminine sensuousness, which can take many forms to heighten self-awareness and awareness of others. Smiles, loveliness, stately carriage, cheerful songs, the beauty of bodies, the joy of love, laughter, and the taming of wild animals (she mates the lion with the lamb)--these are all in her province. Her capacity to delight is countered by her tendency to lead astray. She has this dual potency--to bestow sight and to blind, both in the service of love. When someone is awakened by love, they see things within and without as if for the first time. Aphrodite teaches the secrets of the heart. She shows the value of spontaneous feeling and opens an undisclosed cache of creativity and imagination in both lover and loved. Gary Snyder, in a poem called "Wave," written to his wife, catches this hetaira aspect of the goddess in midair:
Ah, trembling spreading radiating wyf
catch me and fling me wide
to the dancing grain of things
of my mind!
The Wise and Foolish Hetaira
The flights of the hetaira, full of great swoops and soarings--fluctuations according to the mood of relationship--gain their momentum, not from winged promises of love that the betrothed make to each other, but from the sense of search and freedom that compels her. Olive Schreiner, in her book Dreams, envisions it this way:
I saw a woman sleeping. In her sleep she dreamt Life stood before her and held in each hand a gift--in the one Love, and in the other Freedom. And she said to the woman, "Choose!"
And the woman waited long: and she said, "Freedom!" And Life said, "Thou has well chosen. If thou hadst said 'love,' I would have given thee what thou didst ask for; and I would have gone from thee and returned no more. Now the day will come when I shall return. In that day I shall bear both gifts in one hand."
The wise hetaira takes the relationship between love and freedom into account. She is the woman who would rather struggle to keep her loves unbound by convention.
The other side of the wise hetaira is the foolish virgin who lives in the thrall of a daemonic freedom: she belongs to no man because she still belongs to the father; her sacrifices are for him as idol and ideal. She is free to be cared for by many people but rarely free enough to make a room of her own. In this sense she never grows up; she remains the puella aeterna7, the girl or princess incapable of commitment because she does not know her own mind and heart. Her development is sacrificed in her dedication to the other: either to the man who cuts off her hands and would keep her at home, or to the father phallus that urges her constantly to express a sexual freedom that stunts her physically. No matter how fecund or promiscuous, a woman remains uncreative until she arouses Eros in herself. (In the tale of Psyche's Lamp, Eros, the winged companion-son of Aphrodite, represents the capacity for relationship over and above the sexual union.) The fate of the hetaira as seductress is to remain enchained or encircled by her dependence upon admiration. Of course she admires others but there is a self-enhancing purpose in it.
The hetaira does not respect social roles, nor does her erotic energy respect the categories of wife, husband, teacher, servant, son, and so on. Consequently, she generates great excitement, and fear as well. Her tendency, which is often unconscious and then all the more compelling, is to break up any institutional form of relationship. Where there is such a pattern, her nature is at work: when the girl falls in love with the priest (or nun), analysand with analyst, or student with professor, when a woman finds herself always moving into situations where marriage is disrupted or simply where friendships are treasured--that in itself can be quite disruptive in our couple-insulated society. Her attention releases contradictory tides of insight, creativity, compassion, jealousy, impotence, and sometimes death. Since she is not emerging with a restricted persona like "mistress" or "concubine" anymore, her energy flows across boundaries, and where it meets people who have not reshaped themselves to receive it, her energy can break them. Awareness has this advantage: choice of channel. The hetaira is often unaware of the emotional recesses her words, her work, and/or her presence can reach. As awakener of desire, she has a countertendency to leave a wake of resignation and despair.
Transitions from circle to circle or movement between ways of being can occur at any age. Vestal virgins, who were the sacred girls chosen in ancient Rome to be hetairae within the sacred precinct of the goddess, could make a choice around the age of forty: in mid-life (in those days perhaps it was late in life) they could choose to remain in the temple and so instruct the younger virgin keepers of the fire, or they could leave and go to life of the world. Yeats has written of the moon, "Before the full it sought itself and afterwards the world." But the hetaira would probably stay. So-called realistic adaptation to the world is not interesting. She would rather bear the pain of her pole than the pain of wife and mother.
The Hetaira in Modern Western Society
When Toni Wolff wrote her essay in 1932 on the structural poles, she said that our time seems to place emphasis on the Mother and Amazon. The Hetaira and Medial women were held in greater esteem in the Middle Ages and perhaps during the Renaissance. Once again it looks as if the part, or pole, that is repressed returns with great unwelcome force and confusion8. Few are the mothers or elders who have taught us the ways of the hetaira, or to value her consciously. Nonetheless, as tired masks and roles fall away, it may be that "she of the sea," the love goddess who can be educated or drawn to the work of relationship, is floating up to disembark again on our culture.
A certain negative cultural exploitation of this emergent aspect of feminine consciousness is visible now in the human potential movement, where the mermaid's mirror, rather than Psyche's lamp, seems to be the favored instrument of perception. Taking up Psyche's lamp means the beginning of a long and lonely journey relived at rare points by communion with the gods and the utter absorption of having to complete nearly impossible tasks. The mermaid, on the other hand, is more magical, more "tricky"; the work of her mirror is instantaneous. She entices one to acquire a new self-image by staring into other people's eyes, touching fingertips, intoning group mantras, playing mind games, exercising the left side of one's brain, clarifying values, and so on. Unfortunately, the mermaid has a tail sunk deep into the unconscious. Beneath the surface of her gift-bestowing water-mirror there stretches a vast, not yet human, unevolved, insidiously seductive realm. In fairy tales the tragedy often incurred by taking up with a mermaid is the loss of one's childhood--and the child everywhere represents human potential.
The danger of the shallow emphasis is that hte hetaira nature will not evolve into the fullness of relationship of which it is capable. Although hetaira came to mean royal concubine or privileged prostitute, it actually means comrade or companion. A mermaid is incapable of being a companion--she is only an apparent companion in the moment of mutual inspiration, which does not see below the surface. The mermaid, like the puella aeterna, is either sad because she knows that the source of her allure will keep her from being truly recognized or she is frightened because she feels deeply resistant to looking into her own nature. It takes great courage for a woman to begin to pull her "fish nature" up into the air where it can be seen. This would mean revealing the coldness concealed beneath her charm. Or the selfishness behind her apparent ability to please everybody. When a woman can too easily change her hue, her costume, her face value to suite the desires of an onlooker, she comes to experience herself as "slippery" and utterly unembraceable9. If she can tolerate turning the depth-revealing mirror toward herself she may be able to break the enchantment. (Having to be enchanting can be a terrible curse. To be <em>glamorous</em> means to act in a witch-like manner, to "bewitch.") The hetairic aspect of the feminine principle remains immature until surrender becomes possible: not the surrender of the first stage to an intruding masculine principle, but a surrender to the full impact of unrealized self. The puella aeterna grows up when she takes hold of herself; this occurs when she is excited by her own latent possibility without having to rely on the gaze of father or lover to move her. She is, paradoxically, then capable of companionship. Having once taken hold of herself, she is able to give herself completely to the work of relationship.
This is especially the case young in life. The flow toward world blocked by a father fixation can be freed by showing a girl the values specific to the feminine, or by redirecting the father-held energy into a love relationship. But later in life, as Amy Allenby points out in her essay on the father archetypes, "the situation is different and demands a different solution. In the second half of life...liberation from the past is not enough; a solution can only come through the experience and acceptance of the problem of opposites." Jung called this element that comes into play later in life the "transcendent function." It takes one outside the confining patterns of social self-expression into an inner realm where symbols of the heights and depths actively weld together fragments of conscious and unconscious experience. Tensions between known and unknown, conscious and unconscious, energy and content are overcome or transcended by the fabrication of a new image or value that unites what was broken and scattered. "Collect the fragments of the splintered glass, " H.D. instructs:
and of your fire and breath,
melt down and integrate,
opal, onyx, obsidian,
now scattered in the shards
men tread upon.
Escape Into Work
For the older woman it was not relationship to another person that became her primary focus but rather relationship to work--"to the impersonal sphere of matter," represented by clay, paints, and brushes, the material of an artist. The hetaira often turns this way. her relationship to an actual father is transformed into a relationship to the "genius" of her work, a transcendent spirit that inspires her in much the way the muse inspires the man. There are those for whom these necessities come together--where the search for meaning involves the complete surrender to an "other" power or person. Hunger for essential work and vital relationship meld.
Two women whose spirits were melded by these necessities, for whom love and work became inseparable, Lou Andreas-Salome and H.D., were both imprinted by the archetypes of the father. Lou Andreas-Salome, psychoanalyst and companion of Freud, Rilke, and Nietzsche, married a man who was her teacher, never slept with him, and used their "arrangement" as a base for extraordinary ventures into the realms of eros and intellect. And H. D., who describes herself as unable to work unless in love, was engaged to Ezra Pound at one time, eventually married Richard Aldington "for convenience," and then left him to live with a woman named Bryher, who was also a writer. Listen to the voice of a hetaira who was "not cheated," as Jung said, "out of a late blossoming."
Why did you come
to trouble my decline?
I am old (I was old till you came);
the reddest rose unfolds,
(which is ridiculous
in this time, this place,
even slightly scandalous),
the reddest rose unfolds;
(nobody can stop that,
no immanent threat from the air, not even the weather,
blighting our summer fruit),
the reddest rose unfolds,
(they've got to take that into account).
--H.D., "Red Rose and a Beggar"10
Being reborn by falling in love with someone who shares your life's vocation is a hetaeric expression of life at any age. This particular orientation toward seeking companionship in the search for meaning ("the long search and the meager lamp"0 was given impetus in H.D.'s case by the energy it took to break away from those original uroboric circles of mother and father containment. "What is this mother-father to tear at our entrails? what is this unsatisfied duality?" she asked...
The father she left, Charles Doolittle, brilliant mathematician and astronomer, was replaced in part by another more brilliant, more famous father-professor, her analyst, Sigmund Freud.
H.D. came to Freud after a period of visionary wandering. She had been but off from a reality that she wanted to touch again. Like all the maidens in the tales told here, being cut off--and its other face, breaking away--are essential parts of her narrative. Rapunzel's hair was cut off. She and Deirdre both were cut off from the possibility of relationship with men. The pious maiden's hands were cut off. Aphrodite was literally cut off from the body of her father. Each maiden psyche in turn is then set upon a path of wandering--in desert, forest sea--out of which it emerges open to love, and in H.D.'s case reborn to work. The purpose of the <em>puella's</em> long way around is reconnection with a father principle: he who once blocked her way becomes a source of energy and inspiration. All wandering is (in this case) back to the father. Her search is for her own roots in the invisible and leads her back the way the river runs...out to sea to meet her father.
1 I don't remember what was supposed to go here.
2 Mermaids Are Interesting
3 I've always said that I saw myself as a facilitator. My dream was not to be famous, but to be friends with famous people. I've often been friends, a truthteller sort of, with a certain kind of "popular girl."
4 I'm not typing the whole thing, so check out what Wikipedia has to say.
5 Why I will have to go back to Spain
6 For example, after years of so much happening, this time feels stagnant and plodding, but I can see so much solid difference in myself.
7 FUCK and a little more about puella aeterna
8 Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, etc. What about Lindsay Lohan "going gay"?
9 My image of myself as being one of those jelly toys.