Speaking in Symbols

Learning the language of the subconcious

Archive for the tag “poetry”

Roads

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler,long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost, 1920

Two Roads Diverged in Yellow Wood by Eric Vondy. Link

Two Roads Diverged in Yellow Wood by Eric Vondy. Link

This poem has been running through my head all day. I saw my therapist this morning, and we talked vocation.  Basically, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. And referring back to the incomparable Mr. Frost, my heart is telling me to forget both roads and a random deer trail. My head doesn’t think this is such a good idea.

In terms of symbolism, roads and crossroads are universal enough that it kinda seems silly to be writing about them. But, this is the imagery that has been following me around today, so here goes.

 Roads and paths are all about movement. It is common for us to speak of our “path in life”. Roads indicate direction in our journeys, be they physical, spiritual or emotional. They also give us a way to gauge our movement.

Roads are indicative of a correct way, a way of safety and security. I love to spend time exploring the desert with my dad. One of the things that he taught me is that all roads go somewhere–even if it’s an old mine or an abandoned shepherds camp. Further, dirt tracks will eventually link on to a graded road, and graded roads lead to blacktop. Once you reach blacktop, finding your way back to civilization is a piece of cake. So it would follow, that in my emotional journey, the best way is to stay on the beaten path.

Except that’s not me.

Copyright 2003, Caroline Myss

Copyright 2003, Caroline Myss

I’ve talked about being a seeker in the past. This part of me wants to forge my own path, to seek vistas and horizons that are not commonly seen. I want to explore freely, and find my own way–and yet I’m scared to do so.

Two roads diverged–one is a safer, but duller path. The other is more exciting, but also more dangerous. And so very rarely are choices between just one or the other.

In The Book of Symbols, “Road” is listed as part of the human world, in the section of movement and expression. “Crossroad” is listed as part of the spirit world, in the section for rituals and symbols.  Crossroads carry a heavier metaphysical weight than simple roads do. Crossroads are by nature liminal, they exists between worlds.  In some traditions, a person can meet the devil at a crossroads to make a deal with him.

Crossroads represent a choice, both in the physical realm and in the spiritual.  These choices are not to be made lightly–as Frost’s traveler says “I doubted if I should ever come back”.

The fear of making a wrong decision is intense. The only thing I know is that not making one will be a worse mistake than choosing the wrong path.

Advertisements

The Sow, the Horse, and the Butterfly, pt 1

During a recent meditative session, I had the image of a sow, a black horse, and a brown butterfly come to mind in succession.  I’ve found all of these images fascinating, though I’ve had a hard time coming up with a connection. Perhaps they are all symbols that I need to consider individually.

For several days now, I have also tried to combine all three images into one big blog post, with little success. I’ve made a decision, then, to write separate posts for each animal.

The Sow

sow1The pig is a creature of extremes. Depending on the culture, the pig is a symbol of wealth, fertility, and abundance, or one of filth, sloth and greed.

The image I saw was one of a sow, a mother pig. As I considered the sow, I think of her motherhood, and the fierce way that she protects her piglets. I have heard of hunters trapped by mother boars who were protecting their piglets.

The dichotomy continues, though. Pigs are omnivores, and  not particularly picky about what they eat. Sows will eat their young during lean times–making the sow the best and worse of mothers.

The sow was sacred to Demeter, the Greek Goddess of fertility, grains, the harvest, and marriage.

The sow differs from the image of the horse and butterfly, in that she is the epitome of domesticity. Her power comes from her staying close to the farm.  She is homely, and unloved.

I have come to love the poem “St Francis and the Sow” By Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: