who I am
what I am
What is worse
the not knowing
or the knowing
for the knowing brings me
to a terrible choice
Did you forget too
did you not see my longing
the music of the eternal sea
reached my soul
did you not see the waning light in my eyes
the very light that attracted you
reflection of the wildness of my soul
were you content
are you content
just to keep me by your side
and tend the fires of your hearth
Was it a dream
was there a time in another skin
that I was free
to ride the waves
to join the laughter of the waves
and dive deep into
the unknown depths
when the mournful song
from the sea did not threaten
to overwhelm me
with forgotten feelings
a fierce hunger
for something unattainable
I thought it was but
an idle dream
Now that I know
I must choose
how terrible the choice
When I first heard the ancient tale of the Selchie spouse, powerful images filled my consciousness, and I wondered about Selchie Choices. The sea of course represents the unconsciousness in mythological and dream symbology. How appropriate the story of the Selchie for choices we sometimes encounter upon our path.
Choices once seemed so simple to make; so easy to decide what is right and wrong. However, when you know the full implication of where your choice will lead it is no wonder that the Sybil are often described as with “unsmiling lips”. To see beyond the horizon; to see the unfolding patterns throughout time, can be a heavy burden. Each way you turn involve risk and potential loss, and you know that someone will get hurt, and yet you know you must make a choice, for even if you do not make a choice, a choice will be forced upon you and you will not be able to live an authentic life any longer. If up to that point you have lived an authentic life, all your gains will be lost, and the fall will be hard. If you do not choose you will no longer really be alive. Yet, whatever choice you make, you must make it with the full knowledge of giving up a part of yourself. Anyone who consciously strives to live an authentic life will encounter it.
In Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflection”, the last chapter, “Retrospect,” I see a reflection of the Selchie Dilemma.
“ Knowledge of processes in the background early shaped my relationship to the world. Basically, that relationship was the same in my childhood as it is this day. As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible. The loneliness began with the experiences of my early dreams, and reached its climax at the time I was working on the unconsciousness. If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely. But loneliness is not necessarily inimical to companionship, for no one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely man, and companionship, thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others…
“But if a man faced with a conflict of duties undertakes to deal with them absolutely on his own responsibility, and before a judge who sits in judgment on him day and night, he may well find himself in an isolated position. There is now an authentic secret in his life which cannot be discussed – if only because he is involved in an endless inner trial in which he is his own counsel and ruthless examiner, and no secular or spiritual judge can restore his easy sleep. If he were nor already sick to death of the decisions of such judges, he would never have found himself in a conflict. For such a conflict always presupposes a higher sense of responsibility. It is this very quality which keeps its possessor from accepting the decision of a collectivity. In his case the court is transposed to the inner world where the verdict is pronounced behind closed doors.
The man, therefore, who, driven by his daimon, steps beyond the limits of the intermediary stage, truly enters the “untrodden, untreadable regions,” where there are no charted ways and no shelter spreads a protecting roof over his head. ”
The Selchie’s choice represents for me that very aspect, of the ‘daimom’ Jung spoke of, which represents for me personally the passion of my life. Without the driving force of my passion my life looses its meaning and like the Selchie I will slowly close down all my faculties, in order to bear the pain of ignoring the call of my soul. This is why I love Mythos as an expression; it can express multiple layers of perspective at the same time. A single symbol has multiple layers of meaning, from the most mundane, to the most profound of what we can grasp, at a given time.
It is the ‘daimon’ within those of us who strive to live an authentic life that eventually leads us to find our skins, and bring us to soul choices; which we cannot deny.
I see the moon reflecting on the mirror surface of the pool. A ribbon of cloth floats towards me. What bigger piece is it from? I feel its texture with my fingertips, run it across my face to feel what it stirs in my soul. Who was the weaver of the cloth? Who spun the thread, where did the raw material feel the first ray of light to bear forth that, which in the hands of the master spinner and weaver becomes the myth of its origin? From whence this ribbon of cloth? I hold it to my face and fill my breath with its essence. I dive into a crystal clear pool, as if diving into the radiating source of light, so pure. In this source of light I feel myself purified the deeper I swim. I swim until I feel there is no more need for I will never reach the end, I allow myself just to drift, wrapped in peace. Slowly I float back to the surface. I open my eyes; the warm breeze cooling the water drops on my skin.