In Bodymagining, Symbolic life by veronicaLeave a Comment


My greatest fear is to have scarring from facial burning, recently all of my dreams have ended with that occurring. What does this mean? If anything.

AskV: Scarring is a ritual in many cultures. Facial scarring in particular. I would start researching that.

Scarring in the Ethiopian culture

The message is related to connections from this image which has roots going in many directions.

Scabs beaspeak some kind of rough contact with the world.  They follow wounds, and are the healing of wounds.  As we heal, we slough them off; as such, they are a kind of bodily excrement.  They are also a kind of fruiting, flesh producing flesh out of itself, a strange fruit to be sure, but one that is actually eaten [in this case].

It has been said that Ulysses is the most human of the heroes.  He certainly does not fit with the divine pattern of the puer, or into that of the senex –yet both are present in an array of traits.  What ‘humanizes’ the archetypal configuration is the scar.  

He cannot be only unblemished or bleeding puer.  Nor can he be deformed and crippled senex, for the wound has healed. He has been spared by his thigh from the perfections of archetypal identification.

scar is a blemish, a weakness, and from the outset we meet Ulysses as weak.  He is no usual hero.  The senex qualities of judgment, sobriety, prudence, patience, deviousness, isolation, and suffering are reinforced by yet one more character trait that separates him from the heroes.  He is a man of little power.  He has no massive army like Achilles, Agamemnon and Menelaus; he contributes but one ship.  Nor has he the strength of Ajax and Diomedes.  Often, it seems, he’d rather eat that fight.

The scar by which he is known is the mark of soul in the flesh.  It is the seal of anima, the somaticized psyche.  His flesh has become wound, just as our flesh ‘hurts all over’ when we enter wounded consciousness.  Odysseus, the pained one, is the personification of pathologized consciousness –like Christ in his way, and Dionysos in his.  The scar reminds consciousness of its wobbling uncertainty, the dark vulnerability in the heart of its light.

James Hillman, Puer Papers

This post is also available in: Spanish

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