This weekend is shaping up to be one of the most potent, multi-disciplinarian and potentially prophetic weekends in quite sometime. It starts off with Friday the 13th. Here is a link to my piece around the significance of this day, especially as it relates to the Knights Templars and Masons. It’s quickly followed by the exact square between Pluto and Saturn as well as the sixth night (Baktun cycle) of The Mayan calendar, as interpreted by Carl Calleman. He has November 15th circled off on his version of the calendar’s interpretation as being a major trigger point, which will basically send us into the linear accelerator of change; The CERN of the collective soul, up through March 8th, 2011, which would then trigger the last 260 day cycle, as Calleman sees it. In essence, we’re about to shoot the rapids of transformation, but that is still almost a week off and we need to revisit an earlier series of posts about the re-calibration and re-balancing of the male/female dynamic.
My last two posts on the subject (here and here) were met with mostly positive response, some criticism and some questions. In the series of comments that followed the two posts, I think we sorted through some of the confusion and grey areas. In this final edition, we’ll look at the male/female dynamic from mytho-poetic perspective, how it relates to the scientific breakdown of the bi-cameral spirit and the impact of people born under the influence of Pluto in Libra.
Robert Johnson wrote a series of short, yet brilliant works on the male/female dynamic from the Jungian perspective. The books, “He,” “She” and “We” look at the archetypal power of relating as a romantic narrative, using the tale of “Tristan” and “Isolde” as the ultimate, tragic model for how we relate as men and women. To understand this, we must have some perspective and insight into the age of romance.
The Birth Of The Courtier
The age of romance took place mostly during the period of the crusades (10-1100’s), when writers like Chretien de Troyes composed tales for ladies of the court. In De Troyes case, it was Marie Of France, Countess of Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitane. He was a courtier and although he is often credited for being the father of the modern novel, it was he and others like him, that titilated and entertained the ladies of the court while their husbands were off slaughtering Saracens in the name of Christ, while plundering the vaults of the holy land, uncovering Solomonic secrets that would allow them to eventually rival the churches power. During this period, when the quote-un-quote “real men” were away, doing “God’s” work, the eunuch’s, monks and poets serviced the ladies of the courts and it is here, where we begin to develop the whole notion or romantic or “courtly love.” It was courtly because it was the upper ranks of the nobility, which had idle time on their hands to create a dream world where love became something of a luxury. The lower classes mind you, were also busy servicing the ladies of the courts as well, but mostly by toiling in fields and farms to provide food or taxes. Let’s just say that their love was far less glamorous and courtship usually centered around heifers and quilts, both literally and figuratively.
The Collective Chemistry Of Love
It’s here, during the season of the poet, the time of the “chanson de amore” that we as a culture spawn not only the ideal of romantic love, but begin to build the individual and collective neural networks and ensuing peptide cocktails that fuel the whole notion of romantic love, because if there is one thing that we’ve learned it’s that love and the act of falling in love is a rush, and it’s a rush of Phenylethylamine and Oxytocin which then floods the body and the endocrine system, stimulating the need for contact, going deeper for more release of Dopamines, and ultimately culminating in the sexual act and thus the continuation of the species. Love and sex had obviously happened before the age of romance, but the chemical release was no doubt different, especially with the huddled masses, which likely evolved a less complicated alignment of receptor sites and neuropeptides, but nonetheless, did the trick. However, these new feelings associated with romance, were far more complex, heightened blasts of brain chemistry, fueled by evocative language and gilded imagery; illuminated manuscripts, lutes and harps, all provided the swooning backdrop for a far more complex assemblage of emotional and hormonal states. It was actually the birth of the rock star as well, as the “trouvère” or “troubadour,” strummed his way into the hearts of maidens noble and fair.
Over time, it became a cultural standard, a model that would be branded into our DNA like a line of code moving forward into the future. Arranged marriages would occur (and still do), from perch of nobility to the ranks of the common man, and yet the idea that the heart, an ideal, an image of divine love descending into the affairs of men and women took on greater and greater power, where it ultimately takes flight in the post-Victorian world. In the 20th century, the ideal of romantic love has become the standard of our experience around the concept of personal love, for better or worse.
Tristan and Isolde, The Romantic Blueprint
The first versions of this love story are told by two different French authors from the latter half of the twelfth century, Thomas and Beroul. The complete works of both men are missing, but enough exists to see two, distinct styles at work. Beroul is much more “realistic” and even brutal while Thomas is more interested in the inner workings of the two characters which is much more in line with the courtly tradition (ironically, De Troyes supposedly wrote his own version, which he alludes to in other works), but it’s the version by Sir Thomas Mallory, written in 1479 that captured the imagination of Europe, especially as it relates to The Arthurian legends. Tristan and Isolde are the precursors to Lancelot and Guinevere.
Tristan as a male archetype sets the bar extremely high. He is all that a woman, enveloped in the ardor of romantic love would want. But he also has a wound that re-occurs throughout the tale, reminiscent of The Fisher King, but it’s only Isolde who can heal his wound. His wound of course is psychic and while he has the outward manifestation of courage and nobility, his would is his vulnerability. In many ways, this also resembles Christ’s wound from the spear of Longinus as well. The wound in many ways also represents the feminine in Tristan and it is only through the loving care of Isolde that it is periodically healed.
One of the key factors in this tale, which brings us back to the brain chemistry of love is a magical love potion. While en route to King Mark’s palace, journeying by sea, Isolde is thirsty and drinks a love potion specifically made for her and her future king, thus ensuring their attraction and happiness. Tristan drinks the potion as well and they fall madly in love at sea, the symbolic representation of the roiling sub-conscious. Tristan and Isolde consumate their chemical longings before they touch land. The potion represents the rush of love, the excitation of brain chemistry in heightened states. In Beroul’s version, the potion wears off after three years and Tristan and Isolde face each other in shame, realizing that they were living in sin.
Robert Johnson explores the male psyche through Tristan in “He” and the female psyche of Isolde in “She.” He deconstructs relationship in general in “We” also based on the tale of the two romantic lovers. In “We” Johnson focuses on the moment when the potion runs out. He likens this to the first ninety days of a relationship when people are in the “oneness” phase, dissolving boundaries and co-mingling psyches. This is the falling in love phase. After ninety days, Johnson says something happens and people begin to disentangle after the effects of the potion dissolve. That’s when the real work in relationship begins. Many trysts never make it past the 90 day mark and if they do, then they are walking through an elaborate hall of mirrors in order to find self and other again.
Saturn In Libra–Sobering Up From The Potion Of Love
In the first two series of these posts I looked at the re-balancing of the male and female, re-claiming their own masculinity and femininity from a new place, one that honors the original, organic, impulse of each sex. Here we’re looking at Saturn in Libra also representing the effects of the potion wearing off on a collective level. The final bloom of romantic love and it’s ideal is falling from love’s nearly barren stem. In some ways, Saturn in Libra, with all of it’s practical and sober realizations regarding relationships will at first cast a cynical glare at the state of relating, especially from those that suffered most, which is the generation of kids that grew up under the shadow of Pluto in Libra. This is “Generation X” or “Ex” as in ex-husband or ex-wife. These kids, now adults went through a period that had the highest divorce rate on the books. Most grew up in single parent households. For them, they saw the love potion evaporate before their very eyes. Now, they’ll revisit those wounds as Saturn touches their natal Pluto(s). It will reanimate their grief and pain and bring their current relationships under greater scrutiny. For the rest of us, dealing with the onset of what is likely oncoming, economic hardship, the lightness of relating and the atmosphere of romance will hold far less sway. Glamor will take a back seat to practicality. In many ways, relationships will return to more pragmatic states under Saturn in Libra and that may not be all that bad. What might have a chance to emerge is something very new, a version of love that’s a distilled synthesis of the dross of romanticism and something that allows us to see one another in a real and authentic light, not because we have given up on the ideal of love, but because the layers of illusion are being stripped away, like old coats of paint, ultimately revealing will be the unvarnished beauty of our souls.