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Thursday, 3 September 2009



Asperatus cloud: Over Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

"Distortion," "tortured," "torment" -- these words refer to the twisted nature of the psyche, its complexity, which Jung placed at the fundament of psychic life. Our complexes are a twisting-together of opposites. Etymologically, "twist," "wrestle," "wreath" and the "writhing" of our torment belong together. We are twisted in nature because soul is by nature and of necessity in a tortuous condition. We cannot be explained, nor can we be straightened out.
-- James Hillman, The Myth of Analysis (1972)

Psyche asks why love's so dark
after making love to the river
all night long
as if she understood the wind and the rain


There where no language ever yet was known
to read across Time's face
from right to left the Chinese conception of fate


Loss of soul control coordinates (guidance systems)


The continuous twistings of threads
on the night of the soothsaying dream
wherein no business is done no lies are told


"Nobody can know everything" he said
"not even the best of the diviners"


The tortured memoria


Even the most beautiful parachutes
travel away from heaven as they move through the sky

Asperatus cloud: Over East Central Illinois. US

Asperatus clouds, Burnie, Australia: photo by Gary McArthur, 2009
Asperatus clouds, Illinois: photo by Martha Tenney, 2009


Pinkerbell said...

"We cannot be explained, nor can we be straightened out." - this is soothing to the soul who thinks that everything will be alright again if they could only exorcise themselves of their demons, but who also fears that without their demons they will cease to be themselves. You can keep your demons, it's part of being human. right?

"no business is done no lies are told" - so true! What was Mark Twain's quote about lying? Something like "If you tell no lies you'll never need to remember anything" - that was something I clutched on to today as I dealt with the fallout of some recent personal honesty.

The last part is soothing, it made me think about how beautiful objects stay in tact even if you can't see them and reminded me of this poem:

Parable of immortality ( A ship leaves . . . )
by Henry Van Dyke - 1852 - 1933

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!'

~otto~ said...

What a gem:

Even the most beautiful parachutes
travel away from heaven as they move through the sky

TC said...


Thank you for this lovely and timely comment.

Yes, difficult as it may sometimes be, I think it's probably best that we try to accept ourselves as we are, understand that other people are as they are, and not attempt to conform either in our views of ourselves or our views of others to any normative definitions. Remembering that normal comes from norma, a word that in Latin meant a measuring tool, like a T-square, for making rectilinear measurements. But our souls do not have straight lines and right angles, they are tangled places, with unpredictable bends and twists and curves, thickets and clearings, stoppages and flows.

What happens in our dreams may seem strange, outlandish, unruly, gross, rude, etc. to our daytime selves, which are always trying to abide by the chimerical rules of the Normals. But then what if our dream selves actually come closer to resembling our "true" selves? Would not then the doings of our daytime selves seem to those truer nighttime selves petty, narrow, tame, repressed, unimaginative, boring?

About your outbreak of honesty, good for you.

The Van Dyke poem is interesting. I know he's doing a parable of the Soul, but this could apply to the whole larger question of the Eye of the Beholder:

"Her diminished size is in me, not in her "


Thanks about the parachutes. Maybe those two lines ARE the poem.

phaneronoemikon said...

We just watched a new documentary on louise bourgeois and her tapestry twisting stuff inspired my wife to do a series of twisted fabric beads.

i mentioned this to alan sondheim
and he said:

The twist is not a knot, but at least among the humanities, indecipher- able! Otherwise there would be nothing left for us to do!

I thought that was kind of funny!

If you would ever like to come to the wryting-L list, I'm sure everyone there would absolutely love to see you there!

TC said...


The indecipherability of the twisted remains their secret weapon, the way a cat hisses when it's got its back to the wall. (Mwow, I'm twisted, don't feck wit me!) They cannot be explained, nor can they be straightened out.

Agamememnon cynically resisted the twisted sayings of the diviners, and look where that got him.

The most beautiful parachutes travel away from heaven even faster if they are not open.

Twisting of the guidestrings probably doesn't help much either.

About wryting-L, I fruitlessly searched all your blogs for a hint of it, not that the search wasn't Bliss itself. You'll find that I may appear to have volunteered, but then again, I'm still in the dark, like Nemo and his bees.

phaneronoemikon said...

try this:

It is a cool book.

wait jic

The Secret Middle Ages: Discovering the Real Medieval World
by Malcolm Jones

Anonymous said...

It is so curious to think about the word "torment". There is a cognate in Spanish (tormenta) which means "thunderstorm". No wonder it is the very nature of our souls to be in a tortuous condition...

The poem words are flowing like the river involved in it. As I read it, I hear the wind blowing nad the raindrops dancing on the water surface, just like it is right now on my tin roof.

Mariana Soffer said...

Very nice post, I love dark things. I think that twisting is now evolving into tweeting which is a more actualized concept which means the same.

Take care TC

TC said...

What would we do without the darkness to soothe our souls and allow us to follow their twists and turns?

"Psychopathological distortion is the primary condition given with our complexity," writes James Hillman, "the crowning wreath of thorns or laurel garland we wear always on the tortuous path through the labyrinth that has no exit. For, as Jung said, the complexes are life itself; to be rid of them is to be rid of life."

So this is the condition of things with us...

Lucy, I see that the tormented clouds have produced fresh life in the dancing of the raindrops on the lake in your new post, a lovely image of calm within the turbulence of the storm.

Anonymous said...

The raindrops' singing has a much stronger power than the storm sometimes =)

Pinkerbell said...

Tom you said my comment was timely but this post has proved perfectly-timed for me this weekend. When someone who I confided in tried to hurt me by calling me "twisted" (amongst other nastier things) instead of taking it to heart I remembered what you said here. We're all twisted and perfect in our imperfections. Her words have bounced off me in a way which they would not have done if I had not been here and read this. It seems fated that exactly the same word was used!

I cannot express enough thanks to you.