Insanity and Other Gods & Monsters
Insanity and Other Gods & Monsters

Insanity and Other Gods & Monsters

Insanity and Other Gods & Monsters

www … What’s with Words?

A word is dead when it is said
Some say.
I say it just begins to live
That day.

Nineteenth-century American poet Emily Dickinson wrote this. If eighth-century BC Greek poet Homer were here today, his knee-jerk reaction to this might be, ‘Ochi! (No!) A Word is eternally alive—spoken or unspoken.’

‘Insanity’, for example, is alive and well—look around! But it’s not just a word; it’s not just a condition. It’s not even an it. In Homer’s day, Insanity was a ‘person’.

Back then, all conditions, emotions, actions and qualities were considered the stuff of soul.

The ancients respected these by bringing them to life in their stories: All aspects of our humanness were given their due in personified form as gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, monsters, or a bunch of weird creatures. And all were important. Pain, Hate, Hopelessness, Revenge, Weakness were just as valued as Pleasure, Love, Hope, Forgiveness, Strength. In those days, the ugly aspects weren’t shoved into the backwoods of the psyche and left there to fester like rotting corpses, just as they have been over the centuries.

But RIP? Hardly. They can erupt from the depths into open war during meditation.

Monsters Don’t Sleep Under the Bed. They Live & Breathe Inside Your Head*

The Law of Attraction states that what you focus on will grow. True. ‘Think Positive’ and ‘Transcend the mind’. Sound advice. So why even consider giving the dark aspects any attention at all?

It’s about equal rights. All people have the same rights, even the ‘peoples’ of the psyche. Let them be heard (at least by us, safely), then they don’t have to find ways to express through other avenues—through our organ systems or through immoral behaviours. Better to own our Insanity than have it own us.

One way Insanity owns and drives us is through our pursuit of perfection. The idea that we are made in the image of God has us striving for the impossible ideal, which degrades the not-so-perfectness of our dark depths. In the face of this push for purity, the many gods populating ancient mythology got bad press. Understandable. They were divine but they also displayed the worst of human traits. False gods, though? Ochi! Many facets of the human psyche = many gods.

It’s Just Child’s Play, Really

As little children, we kind of made like the ancients. We uninhibitedly displayed soul (a hissy fit in the middle of a supermarket was explained away: ‘Oh, she’s going through the Terrible Twos’). And everything came to life! That adored teddy bear we fed and dragged everywhere was real. He had feelings. And nobody labelled the authors of our books certifiable—an athletic cow hurdled the moon; a dish absconded with a spoon; a teapot identified itself as a teapot and issued ‘how to use me’ instructions.

Personifying things invites a connection with them.

What joy we found in all of this. And frustration. Just like you find in relationships.

Our ancient consciousness was plump and full. Still, acquiring strong morals was important. But when instilling morals entails eliminating the negative or shaming our base feelings and impulses, we lose soul. We stop living the deep life.

Could it be that our children wouldn’t be so afraid of the monsters under the bed if we ourselves weren’t so afraid of the dark?

*Check out ‘Sleeping with the Enemy? (Why It’s Worth it.)’:

List of Comments


  1. Paula, I have to say that I loved everything you wrote about Gods, Monsters, etc. Of course we are so afraid of the dark because as children we had monsters under our beds!!! and so it goes on…. I hope people read what you have written here, and really take it to heart and pass it along, and perhaps we can slowly learn to truly love the all sides of our souls/psyches.

    • The monsters under our beds are pussy cats compared to the monsters in our heads! So the fear-mongers would have us believe, anyway. But it’s just a means of controlling us. If we look into the dark depths, we might see the truth about these monsters——our so-called (natural) negative emotions, which have assumed monstrous form because they’ve been disavowed and tamped down in and by a culture that wants to perfect us. Daring to plumb the depths might lead to healing. Now that wouldn’t be in the interest of the drug companies or image makers!!
      Thank you for your wise observation, Suzi.

  2. “Better to own our insanity et al than have them own us…” Yes, nothing is more demoralizing than the way society disenfranchises us from our own souls. When the “insanities” become restless, they will make themselves known one way or the other–and we are taught that this should be a source of shame, rather than a testament to the depth and complexity of the human psyche…
    It’s high time to shed light on the “darkness,” before our worst collective fears do, indeed, become self-fulfilled prophecies, at the peril of our very existence.

    • Agree! And demoralising as it is, the irony here is that the practice of disenfranchising us from our own souls was/is a means of moralising us! But even more than demoralising, it’s downright dangerous. We don’t have to look far to find confirmation of this, viz. the worrying state of the world and our health. It may be, though, that it’s all become so volatile because the spiritual movement has stirred the pot, and the collective shit is hitting the fan! Hard to live through, sometimes hard to believe that anything good can come of it. But for those of us whose souls have opened up, there’s no going back (not without suffering, anyway). And … there’s a kind of perverse pleasure in celebrating the worst aspects of ourselves! No?
      Thank you for your sensitive, penetrating and intelligent perspective, Steph.

    • Yes! Everlasting and since time immemorial. Trying to scrub it out because it’s filled with the imperfections of humanness is futile. And unhealthy! Thanks for reading and for commenting 😉

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