December 29

“Do not follow the path of the hypotenuse”

After more than five decades of working with dreams, I find that more and more dreams are “voice” dreams, that is, without any imagery, only an auditory voice, most often male, but female too. These dreams are often oracular in nature and feeling, with the expression not to be doubted–even if it is not immediately understood. Sometimes, the voice content takes on the character of a simple instruction: “Look for three pennies in the gutter.” I do not ignore voice dreams and make every effort to listen and attend to these instantiations of what feels like wisdom quite beyond any sense of my consciousness. So I look out for the pennies in the gutter. I do not find them in a gutter but in a rain puddle outside the stairs leading into a local drug store. Three bright and shiny pennies. In a future post I’ll comment more on the significance of such synchronicity and why synchronicities are “paths.”

A rather gruff voice announces, “Do not follow the path of the hypotenuse.” When I wrote the dream down, I also drew a right triangle. I looked at the hypotenuse and noted that it is the shortest distance between the two extreme points, or, as is usually said, the longest side of a right triangle. I see two paths: the hypotenuse path and the “angle” path as two ways to reach the “end” point. I spontaneously think of the hypotenuse path as “cutting corners,” as it would be traversing the straight and narrow. Bachelard’s delicious reverie on corners comes to mind, as does my own writing on the goddess of corners: Angerona. She is also the goddess of silence and the suffering of silence. I explored many aspects of Angerona in my essay, “Psyche in Hiding,” which is available in Words As Eggs. Her etymology derives from angles. To “be cornered” gives us a sense of why the path of suffering is rejected in favor of the straight and narrow. But fate always finds a way to corner us, and now, even our whole species is cornered, and faced with the suffering of extinction. Who wants to go there? But for me, if I follow the oracular voice, I must go there, I must not cut corners, must reject the straight and narrow, and seek out some way to “be with” what now seems an inevitability.

Angerona’s statue is hidden away in the Sacellum Volupiae, the Roman Sanctuary of Pleasure. How does one find pleasure in suffering? This seems related to my dream of celebrating the final Raganrök. These could be interpreted as pathological tendencies, but I think something deeper is at work: a true facing of what’s coming. In the next post I’ll take this up more directly.