The cowboy image is as American as apple pie, or so the saying goes when it comes to the say about what it is and means to be “American.” What this also means reminds us the cowboy myth is our western version of the myth of the hero.
Part Six shows we enter myth through the imaginal person of an historical figure, a figment of imagination, an image, in as much as we are reminded in Part Three that when it comes to the cowboy, “there positively ain’t no sich person!” What we stumble upon and begin to write about in Part One of this essay series the week of October 26, 2006 just prior to the November election is an active mythologem, an image in our national mind.
Picasso, Woman Asleep in Armchair, 1932
Such an image remembered in such a manner is a motif of myth. When a mythologem is at work in an expression, the story told expresses from the in-side’s point of view. Following an image in this manner leads at first —not out into the world to solve its problems, but down and into the interiorization to its archetypal root. That is to say, one seeks an encounter with a root principle. A root principle grounding images within all things is its own first principle, its soul. Before one stands in the world by way of any other “thing” one must have a sense for one’s own obscure brilliance operating within oneself. This brilliance expresses its own pattern, its archon, its soul.
The brilliance takes one elsewhere first. Or should. Here I come face to face with soul itself, what it wants and what it has to say. Soul is a language. And, the way this language speaks draws together to expose what is most hidden from view —which is it self! What is most hidden is most at work. The logos of a hidden language is not primarily a language of meaning anything. It is a language of exposing something…something that is no thing but, soul.
Nature loves to hide. (Heraclitus) It hides soul. And, soul is just as responsive. Soul, in other words, responds to the intelligence of itself and at once, meets its own needs. (Hillman, Dream, 133)
Soul is another kind of say. It seems to say, “is not” in equanimity or deep symmetry, since what is in the making will also make-up an individualized expression at the same time. It is also evident through what is in the making, the whatness the making happens through takes us elsewhere to get to what we need most to make a difference here. Elsewhere is neither living nor dead. Here, man is kindled and put out like a light in the night-time. (Heraclitus Fragment) Or said another way, to be awakened is to be in touch with a sleeper.
As if a life instinct alive in the zone of death, the sleeper as such, therein is eternal. The inner one put out like a light at night glimpses a pattern of the collective and the conscious personality, the world-in-common, the cosmos and the world turned aside in the sleeper dreaming through. The In-sided Man (who is also no man) comes again to the green vein in the blue realm whose root is red; she comes alive in the ink and the story in a story that carries her own shape and all of it like a little word or mere fragment —like an ocean in a drop. Not to mean, but to be, she is a green secret, a speech in life in life’s eternal dying; but, not dead. Alive! And, not death either. She is a new word, a root metaphor.
Since the poetry of every story stories no final image, the root metaphor will, like the gates of Janus in Ovid’s telling, leave meanings and purposes elsewhere. At the gate the opening seems immense. One rides against the boundary. The immensity itself creates terrible fear, for the absence opening down and into space takes up no certain and specific space; it is at root, psychic space. It is where black and white, expansion and shrinkage are moving within unreachables that cannot be had and although not held, touch us and take hold.
In making its own sense the root metaphor expresses ab sense or ab senses. Images express design in hidden inwardness. Inwardness, as if it were something, gives to hidden surfaces depth and these are rent in other shades who feast upon scents that sense a secret life all along in the blood.
Charles Moffat, Lillith Gallery
No ending, in the end, can ever be the last word. That makes the closing of this essay both difficult and not difficult. It is difficult because this is supposed to be a summary including everything, reducing it all down to an essential gist and drawing some kind of conclusion helpful to events here and now.
One consideration the image of the coin with two faces provides however, says the image of the gates of Janus must remain open. I take this openness to mean one must allow the opening. One must allow room enough for what will separate and shatter and what will distinguish and delineate the differences between insides in outsiders and insides in insiders who belong-together here and now the shape of our communal surfaces.
For these surfaces are finally what rend and distinguish apart as well as re-main and open to the revelation of a depth symmetry within the image of the coin that counterbalances opposites or polarities. If closed (split off), the soul-loss in in-sides will in turn and time create insiders and outsiders set against each other and who, in unnerving intensity will continue to make war as a first resort matter to solving terrorism as if it were always unquestionably right.
I must remind, however, Janus is no superficial reflection of mirror symmetries. Nor is Janus a mere abstraction. Its verticality is specifically indicated. It is a door. Like the human body, the vertical axis of Janus extends into the material world. And so the root of divom deus as metaphor proclaims of itself it is a way and a door; an embodied set of psyche-logical experiences come alive and active in the soul-shape of an inner world.
And so, I find it is not difficult to close this essay after all because how to end suggests itself in how this essay begins. Instead of ending here and now with mere words, let me open in primordial time the ending here and now and share through a poem in deep symmetry, something that happened along this way-making neither within nor without; ensouled.
Why not say immensity
why not say
why not say the full
ness of an ab
say to be
and not to be
is not is not
is not and why
©2006 stephanie pope, White Stocking Tales, Green
Author’s Note: *illustrated version of poem
mythopoetry.com hopes you enjoy part seven in this essay series regarding the coin with two faces. Written at the close of 2006 it wishes you, where night in-kindles in the year now spent your own joy, joy. And you, a light unto yourself, before the new year to come, mythopoetry.com wishes you a return that still remembers its way to peace.
Because of the success of this series, mythopoetry.com will repeat the seven-part essay throughout the month of January, 2007. mythopoetry.com will return to publishing new essays in February, 2007. Happy New Year everyone!