This article is a excerpt from The Gap, a new ebook by psychoanalyst Lou Hagood that he describes as a book on dreams at midlife, centered around a blind seer who does dream play in the Underworld. (RH)
They come to me in dreams. Why I’ve never known. Blind and sexually challenged, I still get the call. Maybe they think I’ve bridged the gap—between the sexes and otherwise. If they only knew what a curse that has been, thanks to the goddess. She meant it as a curse, and it is. The dreamers feel that they are lacking—the gap and all, but believe me they are blessed. If they would just leave it alone, the gap, that is. Play with it like they did as children and later in their dreams. That’s what dreams are–grownup play. And the gap is the playground.
“Ti”, she said, the goddess, that is. “Who gets it off the most, male or female?’
That’s a no-brainer, and I told her, and was blinded for my trouble. The female is made for passion, both sexual and vindictive.
The dreamers believe that blindness creates insight—a feel for the dark, for the gap. I do spend a lot of time in the dark, but my only insight is to trust it. They want answers. “Where did I come from?” “How do I get home?” Heroic questions in the dark.
That Doctor in Vienna made a science of insight, of seeing in the dark. Called it psycho something. In my day we had the tale of Psyche and Eros. Psyche was soul and Eros, desire, same as in Vienna. Eros seduced Psyche in her sleep, like in a dream. The Doctor in Vienna made his reputation with dreams, but he didn’t put much stock in the divine. Our Eros, like my goddess, was divine.
The divine showed up in dreams all the time in my day. We went to sites like Epidaurus to incubate healing dreams from the divine. Our great poet, blind also, sang of divine intervention in the dreams of warriors at Troy. I suppose the Doctor had no place for the divine in his science.
The Doctor in Zurich had more tolerance for the divine. Archetypes he called them, but science had become fuzzy by his time—fuzzy and uncertain. The Doctor in Vienna soon lost patience with the one in Zurich, mostly about the divine, and the psyche has been split ever since. Not our Psyche, their psyche—our Psyche was swept away by the divine.
The gap is more at home with the fuzzy science than that of the Doctor in Vienna. All that uncertainty makes space for play, for dreams. Before science wanted answers, just like the heroes that came to me. Uncertainty makes the gap creative, like our poets song. My heroes learned that in their dreams.
My first hero solved the riddle of the Sphinx, but he came to me for answers. That Doctor in Vienna made a big deal of Rex, that’s what I always called him. The Doctor was hung up on Rex’s desire for his mother. Hell, Rex was stuck with her after getting rid of the Sphinx; his mother was the Sphinx’s priestess, for god’s sake. Priestesses are as much a pain in the ass as goddesses.
Rex could solve the riddle, a universal question; it was the personal that stumped him. His kingdom a wasteland, he came to me to learn his secretes and restore his kingdom. The hubris of the hero! He wanted insight into the dark and came to me, the blind seer.
The Doctor in Vienna based his psycho whatever on seeing in the dark. He used dreams, just as I do, but he finds answers in dreams, I just play with them. I tried to get Rex to play, but he wanted answers. He should have played with his dreams, because the answers drove him to blind himself like the goddess blinded me—a lot more bloody, but the result was the same. So much for insight!
In one of Rex’s dreams he stabs his father with a sword and waits for the old man to die. The reality was different—the old man had hit Rex in his bum foot, a result of the old man’s attempted infanticide long before the parricide. They pass on the road to Thebes, just two travelers doomed to pass each other on the road. Rex was pretty sensitive about the bum foot and lost it, right there on the road to Thebes. Killed the old man in a rage, not cold and calculating like in his dream. The guilt he felt was in the dream, and I tried to get him to play with it, but as I said, he was pretty sensitive. The Doctor in Vienna got worked up about the parricide, but he was pretty sensitive too.
The other one came to me in the underworld, the place of dream. He had laid Troy to waste and was trying to go home. The witch brought him to me, but she’s another story. I spoke to him in dream images, hoping he could play better than Rex. When he got home he had to bury the oar of his sea voyage and tend to his people. I also told him to not harm the livestock of the sun god, but they never listen. He ended up sailing around for years before washing up, naked and alone, on the beach of his island home.
Rex had to wander also, blind, led by his daughter, until he finally found peace. I tried to get my heroes to play with their dreams, and perhaps their wanderings were just that—dream play. Whatever, they were the wiser for it. The Doctor in Vienna found that his psycho journeys took longer than he thought.
The Doctor in Zurich wandered for years in his dreams. After he broke with his professional father, the Doctor in Vienna, a less bloody but just as traumatic act as Rex’s, he descended into the underworld like the hero who came with the witch, and encountered the shades, or archetypes as he called them. So perhaps my heroes wandered in their dreams also; the results were much the same.
So what is real and what’s a dream, what is mortal and what’s divine? Blind and in the dark, it’s all the same to me. It’s all just play. That’s why they keep coming to me for insight, I suppose. The fuzzy scientists with all their uncertainty said that the real emerges from the possible like mist from the sea. Seems like dreams do the same, mortals too—manifestations of the divine.
About the Author
Lou Hagood is a licensed psychoanalyst who does dream play face to face and on the web at www.PlayingWithDreams.blogspot.com. He has also published papers and presented at conferences of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
You can find the Gap on Amazon and wherever else ebooks are available.