MELANCHOLY: the exquisite ache of life

Dec 1, 2022

Photo Credit: Elti Meshau via Unsplash

Melancholy evokes images of poets and artists for whom suffering and giftedness go hand in hand. Creative ability as compensation for affliction is depicted in Greek myth by the god Hephaestus. Rejected by his goddess mother and cast out of Olympus, alienated Hephaestus forged magnificent, magical objects for the gods. Such archetypal imagery can inform our understanding of the kind of depression that seems intrinsic but may have roots in early, adverse childhood experiences of emotional deprivation or rejection. Early loss, separation from a primary caregiver, or relational abandonment can have lifelong repercussions. Such disruptive events, though not available to consciousness, nonetheless infuse adult attitudes and attachments. To name the void creates space for mourning and healing, and like Hephaestus, finding the inner fire to forge something new. 

 Here’s the dream we analyze:

“In my dream I am walking, I think toward a house. I’m walking through a wilderness area that has many, like at least 2 dozen, dead rabbits. They are dismembered. And I look at them, but when I do, I feel that I have violated their death. I’m not sure. I know a wolf got them but I never see the wolf. I see one of the rabbit’s faces, and even though it is missing it’s lower half (and is quite bloody), I know its soul is still alive, though its body is dead. I don’t ponder this for very long in the dream. After that, I pass the rabbits, and I’m in the yard of what I think might be my home. But it is flooded – the aftermath of a flood. There is a large (80 foot) oak tree in the middle of the flood waters. Next to it is a tower of toadstools, each growing on top of one another. They are beautiful. They are lime green and white, almost glowing. I never go into the house because I’m amazed by the mushrooms. I take picture after picture of them from various angles.”


Film: Melancholia; Kirsten Dunst, Alexander Skarsgard. https://play.hbomax.com/player/urn:hbo:feature:GYVLQ2wCF_6TDXgEAAACc

Hamlet by William Shakespeare: https://a.co/d/fra9fIM

The Ultimate Rumi Collection. Three books by Coleman Barks, https://a.co/d/c99kiYA


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