the medicine beast

Here I am writing from a stalled Summer in mid June, grey, damp, cool and humid, moving so slow we may well be going backwards, it’s difficult to tell. A bit like when you’re on a train coasting to stationary, and another train is doing much the same right next to you, with the flicker flicker of windows passing, as if the carriage is being impossibly sucked backwards. It’s a “signal problem on the tracks” Summer, which is quite common for England.

So how to break this spell? Back to writing, and maybe writing backwards the summer will be righted, by the time I’m finished, by sly coincidence.

In May I wrote about a third consciousness, which I termed “mercurial”, which does sound more poetic. It  spans both the lunar and the solar, and transcends them also. But there’s something more.

When we deal with these things that we call “lunar” and “solar” we are engaging with profound states, ways of seeing and ways of being. If they become settled and undisturbed, or closely defended, then they become invisible to us, not “how we are right now”, but “how things are”, how life is. The relation between the lunar and the solar, our relation with the lunar and the solar, is a big question in our lives individually and collectively. The third consciousness, the mercurial, is really of considerable import, because not only can it travel between the two worlds and ways of seeing, but it is something all its own as well. Something in the mercurial is of the nature of individuality itself in a sense.

But here’s the thing. We’re not culturally good at getting beyond basic polarities (actually we’re not that good at getting beyond monoliths). We’re not really that good at honoring real individuality either. Androgynes have their place in style and fashion, in a kinda arrested development, Peter Pan sort of way, but not really beyond that. The tired but endlessly acrimonious “war of the sexes” seems to remain an inherited constant of heterosexual life (as far as I can observe), and however it gets tweaked, we’re all expected to bow to that game when the chips are down, by virtue of having bodies at all, even when we’ve made it plain that we’re not playing. “Choose your side!”, we are admonished, subtly and anything but, from the moment we limp from the womb, and get chosen for. The one glimmer of hope seems to be the painfully slow extension of understanding of gender as something other than biological sex, and lord knows when I say slow, I mean “from my cold, dead hands” slow in terms of a light dawning and being taken seriously. But what the mercurial, androgynous consciousness portends is immense, freeing and blissfully loving. It portends peace.

Let me posit a fourth element though. Something that might bring the angels to earth. Because our androgyne is light, ethereal, quick, youthful, awesomely free and beautiful, somehow aerial even if he, she or it traverses every sphere from the highest to the lowest. And that’s not entirely how our lives are.

We all must come home. We all must grow to maturity, if we are to have any fullness. If we are to transform life, our lives, as a thing of subsisting value, then there needs to be a mortal future for the androgyne, brought back into our bodies. This fourth thing is not spoken of, because it challenges the dogma of what binary gender means to our culture so much. If the androgyne is sylph like, youthful, asexual in characteristic, ethereal, then this fourth state is grown, ripe, full, furry, bisexual if anything (but most essentially just what it is), mature, earthy. If the androgyne is angelic, then this angel is different, a long suffering beast of much enjoyments and many medicines. If the mercurial androgyne is indicative of individuality, then this creature is indicative of the process of individuation.

Peter Pan is easy to put away, and androgynes are gone like the breeze, when they are never allowed to grow up. But the medicine beast is us as we could be in our fullness, Nature given a million crowns, and our earth kissed by the love of heaven. Heaven on earth actually. Everything as it actually is.

This great transformative agent, this magnet of the soul’s libido, it can only make you who you are.

St John the Baptist – Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And the Sun did come out with some blue sky just then, but slyly it’s gone back again.

[14th June 2013 – one word edit done without change of passage meaning.]



  1. Pingback: coupled | Summer Thunder

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