Examining the Breast of the MatterJune 6, 2011
According to Jean Shinoda-Bolin, “In the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche, Psyche’s story is about the growth of the soul that began with her decision to face the truth, and led her to being on her own, challenged to complete tasks that were initially beyond her ability to perform. In the myth, her unseen bridegroom would come to her in the dark of the night and be gone by morning. Metaphorically, she was in an unconscious relationship. Fearing that he could be a monster, Psyche followed her sister’s advice, hid a lamp and a knife, and waited until he had fallen asleep. She needed the lamp to see him, and the knife to cut off his head if indeed her were a monster.”
“These two symbols, the lamp and the knife, are both necessary for a psyche–for a soul–to act decisively when we know the truth. The ‘lamp’ is a symbol of illumination, of consciousness, the means of seeing a situation clearly. The knife, like the sword, is a symbol of decisive action, of the capacity to cut through confusion. The lamp without the knife is not adequate; it is insight into the situation with the capacity to act upon this perception.”
“Myths and symbols are in the language of the soul. A myth helps us to take a situation to heart and know what we must do: if it is to see the truth and act upon it, then the image of Psyche with her sword provides a magic perspective. A symbolic object can then be a talisman that helps us to do what we need to do. Like passing a literal torch, these are rituals that empower us by infusing an act with a deeper meaning. To think and act this way is magical, metaphoric thinking that can call forth the qualities we need from within ourselves and may also tap into sources of help that lie beyond us.” (Jean Shinoda-Bolin).