Brought to your knees

In Dreamwork, Symbolic life by veronicaLeave a Comment

Image: Umberto Boccioni, 'Kneeling allegorical figure'

Image: Umberto Boccioni, ‘Kneeling allegorical figure’

Kneeling is an image and act of submission, respect, humility, reverence and obedience to a higher authority, a definite position of worship.

This may mean recognition and acceptance of the higher authority, the act of a slave, of a warrior, or of a religious person, to name a few.

To be brought to your knees has connotations of forcing the submissive position due to rebellion, pride or disbelief.

Knees carry  up to 8 times our bodily weight and bear the pressure that result when walking, running, jumping, stooping, kneeling, all movements in space that involve the whole Body.

They bend and straighten, and even rotate slightly. This they do through a complicated system that includes two joints that unite bones and muscles through tendons, ligaments, cartilages, and the knee cap… like a hinge.


The inner structure of the knee – the power of articulation

And like hinges they need to stabilize movement, be elastic, good connectors, and properly oiled, which they do with the synovial fluid, collagen and elastin.

The knees then evoke our vital energy, running, jumping, or simply working and walking.  Tired or exhausted, our strength has left the knees, we lay down to rest.

Exhaustion and tiredness connect with sweat and tears of toil or pain and grief, just as it connects with the love fluids and its toils.

This last connection is also supported by the etymology of the word, knee root *g(e)neu, that brings with it words like genuine and generation and related words.  Euripides even refers to the knees as ‘generative members’.  In some way they were seen as seat of paternity, of life and generative power.

When my knees hurt or are swollen I wonder about excesses or fears, fear to start a new path or a new step of the journey, fear to give birth to that which is already in the brink of coming out – through the knee, psychic movement…  am I indefatigable and should let others do…  or is that I am amiss with an authority forced on me, or is it one that I don’t want to recognize?

… am I slaving when I shouldn’t or should I obey…  am I being flexible or rigid..  am I going to fast or too slow…  am I being submissive without complaint or recalcitrant…  is it with others, or among different aspects of my self…?


Image: Egon Schiele, 'Kneeling figures parallelogram' (1913)

Image: Egon Schiele, ‘Kneeling figures parallelogram’ (1913)

This is the psychologically imaginative aspect of my knees – the idea that my psychological life moves out from a sense of knee weakness and imagines the  knee as goading my psychic life into action.

Body imaginings take the organ and its symptom not in its weakness or pain, but as objects that force reflection, puzzling around, impelling psychic life towards awareness, consciousness, emotions, feelings, a factor in life that has not been acknowledged and remains buried in the body, the body in pain, inflamed or swollen, attacked by antagonistic forces that are forcing me into awareness.

The body makes special demands upon interests and attentions, not only to body’s reality, but of my imaginings.  We share the same space and tend to each other, in kind and grace.  Body and this the organ that forces on my attention has its own language, its own dialect, a language that I attempt to learn.  Afflicted it gains all my attention, inflamed I wonder what is the heat, the redness that wants to come out and give warmth to my psychic life, my emotional life, is it rage or love, what passion?

Why do I need excesses, why should I fear?  Who am I not loving or not expressing what I feel?  Why do I need to be, a warrior or a slave, to worship or revere?

Always back to the knee, my knee who has its history and its story, the grounding of my imaginings… when did it begin, what was happening at the time, who were there at that first pain, when I didn’t realize what I had to do, of were afraid to do… the Rosetta stone of my knees…

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