Sunday, November 11, 2007

The heart of the Song of Songs

We now come to the mysterious heart of the Song of Songs, which seems to represent a mystical dimension. It is night, and the Bride, who is also the Soul or Anima, encounters the Other, who appears in one form like a wild animal. The image seems to be dream like. The bride is on her bed, sleeping. But her heart is awake. The passage reflects Isa. 26. 9:
“My Soul yearns for the in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks thee”
Can we undestand here the psyche’s love for two realities: on the one hand a cosmic world, (symbolized by the Shepherd, and all that he stands for in mythic thought) and on the other hand a metacosmic call (symbolized by the King and his city). The psyche is torn between these two, and experiences a deep sense of guilt. The love for the shepherd here is almost pushed down into the unconscious, for the love of the king is the prime duty of the realized soul. But there is a psychic danger: if the shepherd is forgotten, and sent into the underworld, the whole of creation will suffer, and the fields, vines etc will be destroyed. So, it is vital that the Bride remembers her past love (of her childhood, before her breasts were properly formed) and tries to integrate into her love for the king, this deeper more instinctual love of the wilderness. Hence the repeated warning: “do not awaken my love”…that is do not force the process by cutting off the unconscious world. Be patient, and allow the natural processes of awakening slowly, and in due season, to take place. This is the “wisdom” of the song.

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