“In a vision I saw myself going through a labyrinth … I was scared b/c I knew there was a minotaur at the center, and that I would have to slay it … but when I got there, the minotaur took off his head (which was actually part of a costume), and underneath it was S … she said, “Don’t be afraid of the minotaur … I am the minotaur”
The sense was that part of my reward, when I reached the end of this journey, was to be with S and to “slay” her with love”
I had this report from a young man with an interest in mysticism and Christian religion. A few years ago, his lover “S” died. Since that time he has had the experience of continued communication with her, including visions, telepathic communication, erotic encounters and a profound mystical awakening experience. My informant chooses to remain anonymous, as this relationship violates many taboos, both ecclesiastical and mundane. Yet it has deepened his commitment to helping others, and resulted in a more reverent and open hearted approach to sex and earthly women. As the saying goes, “By their fruits shall ye know them”; but modern civilization doesn’t want to know about the plant that produces this fruit.
Another story of a man in a labyrinth had been on my mind for a couple of weeks when I received the minotaur story, since JF Martel told us of a lucid dream he had on the podcast “Weird Studies” (at 44 minutes in). JF was in a labyrinth (which was inside a hangar) and realized he was being followed by “another me”, singing a strange song about ‘the twinkling of an eye’. JF knew that if he looked at his doppelganger, he would die. The deadly import of the eye recalls Medusa’s myth, where her direct gaze exacts revenge against all men for Poseidon’s awful violence.
Medusa is far from the only Greek woman who catches the eye of a god. One woman’s story in particular lays out a different solution to the problem of boundaries violated. Psyche wrestles in the dark with a fabulous creature, and her world comes tumbling down when she looks upon him, removing his cloak of darkness and discovering his true identity. Contrasting the stories of Medusa and Psyche gives us a bit of insight into how to approach our relationship with the unconscious and provocative ‘others’. Those who come to slay will be turned to stone, but those who love receive an opportunity to integrate the beloved and claim the immortal self.
After many trials, of course. Interestingly, Psyche is only able to ‘pass’ these tests through inspiring the help of others. Lewis Hyde illustrates this type of help and the societal bonds fostered by Eros in “The Gift: The Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property”. I find his take on exchange and the erotic applicable to these relationships between ‘separate’ realms – human / god / alien / the dead / nature spirits / conscious / unconsious / anima / animus.
After relating the above dream and the identity of his pursuer, JF considers James Hillman’s assertion that “your dream self is your dead self”. Or maybe it’s your dead lover. The only way to find out is to look and see.
I would like to mention that my ‘minotaur’ informant has shared a couple of pictures of “S” with me. Her eyes are limpid, beautiful, and have an arrestingly hypnotic quality of utter kindness. She radiates the presence of an initiatrix of the deeper mysteries.
It is the rare society which truly embraces individual connection to the divine. This connection, like romantic love, is too unpredictable and hard to handle. It’s understandable that people who receive mystical initiation from their dead lovers will keep their experiences private. Yet who can resist the power of a myth come to life, these ancient stories of humanity’s encounters with angels and demons playing out in our dreams and private lives?
So these new stories are told, of what the teller saw a few years ago or just last week, and the telling causes ancient tales to vibrate in sympathy once more.