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Island 13 - Lovers on the Isle of Broken Orbits (from Muse of the Long haul)

Island 13 - Lovers on the Isle of Broken Orbits (from Muse of the Long haul)

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Published by Ian Irvine (Hobson)
This sample chapter from Muse of the Long Haul: Thirty-One Isles of the Creative Imagination by Ian Irvine (Hobson) discusses the impact of various kinds of love relationships on the development of writers, poets and other creative artists. Four ancient stories/poems are used to illustrate the points being made - Marduk and Tiamat, The Song of Songs, Circe and Odysseus and Maeldun's period on the Isle of women. Transpersonal dimensions to the 'love experience' are also discussed and seen as fundamental to genuine love. The chapter also discusses relational and sexual mysticism and alchemy briefly.
This sample chapter from Muse of the Long Haul: Thirty-One Isles of the Creative Imagination by Ian Irvine (Hobson) discusses the impact of various kinds of love relationships on the development of writers, poets and other creative artists. Four ancient stories/poems are used to illustrate the points being made - Marduk and Tiamat, The Song of Songs, Circe and Odysseus and Maeldun's period on the Isle of women. Transpersonal dimensions to the 'love experience' are also discussed and seen as fundamental to genuine love. The chapter also discusses relational and sexual mysticism and alchemy briefly.

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Published by: Ian Irvine (Hobson) on Jun 06, 2013
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09/06/2013

 
Island Thirteen
 – 
Loverson the Isle of BrokenOrbits
(Extract from:
Muse of the Long Haul Thirty-One Isles of the Creative Imagination 
)
Copyright
, Dr Ian Irvine, 2013 all rights reserved. All short extracts from the texts discussed are
acknowledged and used under fair usage related to ‘review’ and theoretical ‘critique’ under international
copyright law.
Images
:
‘The Witch Circe
 
...’
[Changes the Men Accompanying Odysseus into Animals] Allesandro Allori,1580 (mural). Second image:
Marduk slays Tiamat
, circa 2000 BCE photograph by George Lazenby, 2012,(share alike 3.0).
Third image of Charles gumery’s ‘Circe’ (1860) by Jastrow 2007, Share and Share alike.
 Fourth Image: woodcut/eng
raving ‘The Song of Solomon’ (in the public domain).
Publisher
: Mercurius Press, Australia, 2013. NB: This piece is published at Scribd as part of a series drawnfrom the soon to be print published non-fiction book on experiential poetics entitled:
 Muse of the Long Haul:Thirty-One Isles of the Creative Imagination.
 
 
Island Thirteen
 – 
Lovers on the Isle of Broken Orbits
Ah! other thoughts than of my safe return
Employ thee, Goddess, now, who bid’st me pass
 The perilous gulf of Ocean on a raft,That wild expanse terrible, which even shipsPass not, though formed to cleave their way with ease,And joyful in propitious wind from Jove. No
 — 
let me never, in despite of thee,Embark on board a raft, nor till though swear,O Goddess! the inviolable oath,
That future mischief thou intend’st me none.
1
 
The Akkadian creation myth, the
 Enuma-Elish
, hasinterested me since the first time I came across it in
The New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology
back inthe early 1980s. When I first read it I wasuncons
ciously testing out Graves’ thesis regarding the
historic suppression of polytheistic and animisticGoddess traditions prior to the advent of Judaic
monotheism. I suppose I was looking for the ‘original’
mythological break or split in the male psyche thatlaunched the patriarchal age that Graves associatedmost particularly with Axial Age religions.The sheer violence of the
 Enuma-Elish
quickly came to symbolise for me some kind of  primordial rending of the male psyche
 — 
the story of Eve and the Garden of Eden became, to mymind, but a footnote to this earlier psychic catastrophe.The poem celebrated the victory of the Babylonian god Marduk 
 — 
a prototype for many afuture hubristic male warrior deity
 — 
over Tiamat (primordial ocean/Mother Goddess). After adispute between the second generation of gods and the divine couple, Tiamat and Apsu, Apsu ismurdered by the god Ea. Tiamat seeks revenge on Ea and the other gods, but Ea now has a son,Marduk.
Marduk and Tiamat’s armies clash, unfortunately for the planet,
 
Marduk’s army is
victorious. Here is how Dhorme translates the showdown between Marduk and Tiamat:
They marched to war, they drew near to give battle.The Lord spread out his net and caught her in it.The evil wind which followed him, he loosed it in her face.She opened her mouth, Tiamat, to swallow him.He drove in the evil wind so that she could not close her lips.The terrible winds filled her belly. Her heart was seized,She held her mouth wide open.He let fly an arrow, it pierced her belly.Her inner parts he clove, he split her heart.He rendered her powerless and destroyed her life.He felled her body and stood upright on it.
2
 
1
Homer,
The Odyssey
, trans, William Cowper, lines 204-213. J.M. Dent, 1920.
2
Tablet IV, vs. 93-104,
 Enuma Elish
, as translated by Dhorme, and printed in
The New Larousse Encyclopedia of 
 
 
All of this violence is a precursor to Marduk’s creation of the cosmos. The dead mother Goddess,
Tiamat, turns out to be a fairly large corpse and Marduk being a strong fellow splits her gigantic
and fertile body in two producing heaven and earth. In meditating on Tiamat’s corpse Marduk also ‘conceives works of art’! Thereafter he set up the ‘stellar constellations’ and the
varioushomes of the gods. He also gave the sun and moon set paths across the heavens and constructedgates for them to enter and exit through
 — 
in the process fixing the length of the year. Mankindwas next on the list but again something dead and bloody
 — 
the corpse of Kingu, an unfortunateformer ally God of Tiamat
 — 
is used to mould the first man and woman
 — 
here at least theGoddess Aruru gives Marduk a hand.
3
Last to be created are the great rivers, the animals and thevegetation of the world. All in all a fairly grizzly creation story!Marduk 
 — 
associated historically with the rise of the city of Babylon
 — 
makes full use of his victory over Tiamat to increase his power over the other gods. In the ancient tablets thescribes come close to describing him in ways later associated with the god of the Hebrews,Jehovah:Among lords the firstThe Lord of Kings,The shepherd of the gods.According to that old
 Larousse Encyclopedia
 
I purchased back in the early 80s he: ‘absorbed all
the other gods and took over all thei
r various functions and prerogatives.’ Another passage on the
same page describes him as follows:
When he is angered no god can resist his wrath,Before the sharp blade of his sword the gods flee.Terrible master, without rival among the great gods!
 Nothing in history quite precedes this remarkable figure. To my young adult mind he sounded
like the archetypal ‘warrior god’ puffed up with hubris due to his excessive physical strength and
set on dominating all aspects of the creation. The sort of figure who sacks cities, enslaves women
and children and seeks power over every aspect of his subject’s lives— 
not the sort of character who would be particularly sensitive in matters of love, nor the sort of fellow who would treatwomen with much respect and dignity. As far as I was concerned this was precisely the kind of 
masculinity I didn’t want to ‘live’. Unfortunately it is precisely the kind of aggressive,competitive, Social Darwinist masculinity that Western society still sees as ‘heroic’— 
so long asit is found among our 
own soldiers, sporting heroes, etc. To me this paragon of ‘primordial patriarchy’ was a kind of monster that any true ‘man’ should seek to permanently eradicate from
his psyche.Perhaps my young adult perspective represented a gross misreading of the historical andmythological facts. Perhaps I was wrong to jump to the conclusion that the
 Enuma-Elish
 
represented the true ‘Fall’ from paradise, as per a Gravesian interpretation, i.e. into polytheistic
 patriarchy and thereafter into monotheistic patriarchy. Interestingly, Anne Baring and JulesCashford follow a similar reading of the myth:
 Mythology
, p. 53-54. See also commentary in Kramer,
 Mythologies of the Ancient World 
, p120-121.
3
Kramer,
 Mythologies of the Ancient World 
, p121.

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