Journal — January 3, 2017 — love
Tomorrow I’m going to have lunch with one of the wise women of my village, because I want help making a plan for my love life.I’m very pleased that I’ve orchestrated my life in such a way that things like this can be true.
This is already a couple years overdue. The first time I visited Tamera was in July 2014, and I came back to stay in April 2015. Between those two datesTo be really exact: I started to write books on 2014-11-27, and I started TLILT itself on 2014-12-07. I finished the first draft on 2015-02-16, and the first edition, after editing and layout and everything you need for an actual hard copy of a book, on 2015-03-25. I wrote a book called Their Love Is Like This, because of certain life-altering events that took place during the nine weeks of my original visit. I still haven’t fully processed that time, and the ghosts of it continue to haunt me to this day.
What happened is that I had my first and second face-to-face encounters with living, breathing anima figures.For clarity: I’m not completely sure that what I’m talking about is what Jung meant by “anima”. What I mean by “anima figure” is “one who bears the image of another’s dream woman”. It’s not that some people are anima/animus figures and some aren’t. We all are, most likely, but not without outside observers who experience us as such. It’s the same as being an authority figure. You are it if, and only if, someone sees you as it. Up until then I’d only met them in dreams and fantasies, or seen them incongruously walking the streets of cities and the aisles of stores. All of a sudden, I found myself in a situation where the full dynamic beautiful power of the deep layers of the soul was visible in immediate waking reality.
I can say I fell in love. I don’t, in general, because romanticism ruined loveSomeone finally made a five-minute YouTube video succinctly explaining what I’ve been trying to say since childhood. Thank you, Alain de Botton! and I don’t want to lead anyone to think I have romantic notions about what love means.
The problem is, I did not then, and I still do not now, know what love means. That is to say, I don’t know what I should do about it.
I love someone. Great! Now what?
I wrote Their Love Is Like This for three reasons:
- To gain a better understanding of the archetypes, particularly the ones that were suddenly so important in my life.
- To find out how much I can write in how short a time.Answer: 57,843 words in the first 20 days, and 131,901 after 100. I had an image of myself as a prolific writer, although I had no tangible evidence of it before. I noticed that the first anima figure was a voracious reader, and that made me curious: am I symmetric? It turns out I am, which I think is pretty cool.
- To give my mind something to obsess on, other than the woman who inspired the writing to begin with.
I was successful with all of this, but I didn’t learn anything about what I should do. If you read TLILT hoping to develop a healthier picture of love, you have a really tough job ahead of you. I had very little control over how the narrative progressed, because I was just letting the archetypes play as they will, and I was constantly fascinated and horrified at the madness that would unfold. This is the psychic underground of humanity? No wonder we’re in such a mess!
With everything I do in life, I’m trying to build up a culture that makes sense. I don’t know of any culture in history, living or dead, that had a sensible idea of how to deal with the phenomenon of love.The culture of Tamera is actually the best I know, but it isn’t good enough. It’s less a holistic system that naturally brings about good outcomes for those living in it, and more a disorganized bag of good ideas that you may or may not be smart enough to apply in the appropriate situations. I can’t simply copy what someone else did, in this case.
Plus, just to make sure I was really lost, I’ve never heard of someone else who saw the anima in anything resembling the way I do.This came as a big surprise to me. A lot of mysterious things in my life retroactively made a kind of sense. I have a love affair with chaos. Of course I do! I can say, without spoiling anything: in Their Love Is Like This, my anima figure is Tiamat. I was abruptly faced with the need to navigate a social situation that I had no experience in, and simultaneously a spiritual challenge that didn’t look anything like anything I’ve ever read about.
I needed an anima strategy: a general concept of how to respond in a situation like this. I need that as much now as I did then, and I hope the talk tomorrow will help.