My Personal River Styx

metamorphosis2

As a visionary artist my paintings are often prophetic.  This one was painting in Ibiza, Spain and at the time I wasn’t sure of its meaning. 4 months after I painted it I began a journey on my personal River Styx that started with a heart attack. (You can read some of my blogs about it here.)

A simple understanding of this painting is that it is Psyche floating in a chrysalis on the River Styx toward the moon.  She moves gracefully over the souls of the dead who lost their lives in the river. I understood the image to mean it is possible to float gracefully over perilous waters when navigating the darkness with light.  The light and dark create balance and she is able to find her way.

In the story of Psyche and Eros she has to complete 4 almost impossible tasks in order to win the favor of the Goddess Aphrodite who was jealous of her and wanted her to die. The last part of the story, in which Psyche has important tasks to fulfill, shows the making of her Self. The third task was to go to the mouth of the River Styx where it entered the underworld and fill a crystal vase with water.  Through death, which is an organic and symbolic part of life, she is born into eternal life by undergoing tests, purifications, death, resurrection, and ascension.

In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George says that Psyche archetype is connected with psychic sensitivity, especially towards the mind and feelings of another, but also with being able to feel and communicate with nature.

The river Styx (“the river of hate”) was the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld. It separates the realm of the living from that of the dead. To touch the water is fatal, yet the Styx is the river of life and psyche is learning that she must meet life patiently and carefully. Mythologically the River Styx is the river of life and death.  Its raging torrents are the source of human creativity and vitality.  It could be seen as a symbol of the collective unconscious.  Psyche’s task is to draw from its plrimordial waters only those energies that are appropriate for her emerging individuality (ego self) symbolised by the crystal goblet.

On her path, Psyche is now integrating the archetypally masculine energies symbolized by the eagle: a solar bird of consciousness. The only way for Psyche to complete the task is to not only listen to her feminine self but also subordenate her self to the masculine spirit of the eagle/Zues. This symbolizes the union of the masculine and feminine and how working together gets the task done.

“Eagles are the opposite energy to the energy carried by the river Styx: thus this labour entails the unification of opposites. In connection with eagle symbolism, Cirlot shares an interesting thought in his Dictionary of Symbols: “… the constellation of the Eagle is placed just above the man carrying the pitcher of Aquarius, who follows the bird’s movement so closely that he seems to be drawn after it by unseen bonds. From this it has been inferred that Aquarius is to be identified with Ganymede, and also with the fact that even the gods themselves need the water of the Uranian forces of life.” The higher Aquarian waters of pure understanding are juxtaposed with the murky, toxic waters of hate flowing in the Styx. Both streams reflect the mysteries of Life and Death, as the whole myth of Eros and Psyche does.”

Zeus’ eagle now comes to Psyche giving her an overview of how to go after what you need, how you avoid the dangers, keep your eye on the prize, and go for it. The eagle takes the crystal goblet. It returns to give Psyche the goblet, now filled with Stygian water that she was to get for task three. One would say that at each step Psyche has learned something new. The eagle, has the ability to see what it wants and plunge from the sky to grab it in its talons. That ability to see the overall picture, to see the forest but not each individual tree, is a way of being in the world.  The masculine focus and action combined with the feminine intuition and creative thinking forms a balanced union of the energies, which helps her complete this difficult task.

In my journey to heal my heart I was very aware of the energies of death, especially after the second heart attack which had a 1% chance of happening.  I felt like I was floating on both the waters of life and the waters of death in a very delicate juxtaposition. My task was also to integrate the masculine and feminine energies within myself so that I could live a balanced and authentic life.

At times when I was focused on the idea that I might die I had to rise above those feelings like and eagle and get a higher prospective otherwise I was overwhelmed with anxiety. My task was healing and anxiety didn’t help me with that task.  I had to draw from the life giving waters remembering that I had the vehicle to float gracefully above that waters of death that seemed to be pulling at me.

There is so much more to that painting and so many more connections that could be made but that is a taste of how I see it as being prophetic for my journey and how the information I get is often ahead of what happens in the physical world.

 

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