Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Odyssey- Circe: proto-anal and anal deutero pt.1

Continuing to follow the principles of looking for anxiety/fear in relation to forms or instruments of aggression and identification with the father that separates the proto and deutero stages I'm continuing my analysis of the Odyssey.

I divided my crew into two companies, and gave each its own leader; I myself captained one, Eurylokhos the other. Then we shook the lots in a bronze helmet, and the lot that leapt out was that of bold Eurylokhos. So he went on his way, and twenty-two comrades with him; themselves in tears, they left the rest of us weeping too. In the glades they found the palace of Kirke, built of smooth stones on open ground.

I want to point out again that Odysseus begins with many fleets of ships and many men and that throughout the odyssey he continues to lose men. I see this as the natural self-absorption of the child that by drive and drive renunciation forms more complex cognition and demands for glory and harmony. I'll have to put a closer lens to it and see if it's a literal process of splitting throughout.


Outside, there were lions and mountain wolves that she had herself bewitched by giving them magic drugs. The beasts did not set upon my men; they reared up, instead, and fawned on them with their long tails. As dogs will fawn around their master when he comes home from some banquet, because he never fails to bring back for them a morsel or two to appease their craving, so did these lions, these wolves with their powerful claws, circle fawningly round my comrades. The sight of the strange huge creatures dismayed my men, but they went on and paused at the outer doors of the goddess of braided hair. And now they could hear Kirke within, singing with her beautiful voice as she moved to and fro at the wide web that was more than earthly--delicate, gleaming, delectable, as a goddess’ handiwork needs must be--a goddess or a woman, moving to and fro at her wide web and singing a lovely song that the whole floor re-echoes with….

The goddess ushered them in, gave them all seats, high or low, and blended for them a dish of cheese and of barley-meal, of yellow honey and Pramnian wine, all together; but with these good things she mingled pernicious drugs as well, to make them forget their own country utterly. Having given them this and waited for them to have their fill, she struck them suddenly with her wand, then drove them into the sties where she kept her swine. And now the men had the form of swine--the snout and grunt and bristles; only their minds were left unchanged.

I've highlighted the sections with the voice but I don't think they belong in this masculine (SE and OA) reading but rather to the feminine (SA and OE). The voice isn't an object of aggression here. Rather, as with the Oral proto and deutero, there will be a phase specific threat (trapped inside the cave, the hand) with the general castration anxiety coming from the Oedipal or triangular conflict (being eaten).

*a quick note here. I've mentioned it before but the mouth is a form of aggression in many, many phases. The child has coordinated musculature there long before it has the ability to kick or punch.

In the proto-anal the sight that gives the men fear is the strange huge creatures but particularly their claws are noticed. Klein many times has referenced the child's nails and claws as having aggressive significance and I have had a few patients share dreams in which they have scratched others aggressively or been scratched. The second aspect here is that the men are changed into animals and imprisoned or, as Hermes mentions in the next section, "penned". I take this to be a general threat of being controlled. The "mind is unchanged" but the body is restrained. From considering the body to considering the mind, there are many political views, especially anarchism, that protest the government's control. Big Brother, the nanny state, and many other names are given to the central ruling body and more than any particular bill the loss of freedom or slippery slope to its loss is the central talking point. Going back to the body, the show of "force" that occurs in action movies. The way that a person who is shot goes flying back. Conversely, I also think that all the explosions that happen in movies that people simply get up and walk away from without any shrapnel or debris having pierced their flesh is bizarre. Klein notes that missiles are often representatives of feces. The overwhelming strength of the opponent or opponents weapons make one seem a powerless, small, or domesticated animal that's easily beaten by its owner. The language of anality is that one has the shit beat out of them. There's a myth of Hephaestus that I posted long ago that is about his being thrown from Olympus by Hera (Zeus in some versions) that is a good example of this, as well as anal "force".

2. Arrival of the Father imago or Father identification:

And with that I left the ship and shore and took the path upward; but as I traversed those haunted glades, as I came close to Kirke’s house and neared the palace of the enchantress, I was met by golden-wanded Hermes; he seemed a youth in the lovely spring of life, with the first down upon his lip. He seized my hand and spoke thus to me : `Luckless man, why are you walking thus alone over these hills, in country you do not know? Your comrades are yonder in Kirke’s grounds; they are turned to swine, lodged and safely penned in the sites. Is your errand her to rescue them? I warn you, you will never return yourself, you will only be left with the others there. Yet no--I am ready to save you from all hazards, ready to keep you unscathed. Look. Here is a herb of magic virtue; take it and enter Kirke’s house with it; then the day of evil never will touch your head. I will tell you of all her witch’s arts. She will brew a potion for you, but with good things she will mingle drugs as well. Yet even so, she will not be able to enchant you; my gift of the magic herb will thwart her. I will tell you the rest, point by point. When Kirke strikes you with the long wand she has, draw the keen sword from beside your thigh, rush upon her and make as if to kill her. She will shrink, back, and then ask you to lie with her. At this you must let her have her way; she is a goddess; accept her bed, so that she may release your comrades and make you her cherished guest. But first, make her swear the great oath of the Blessed Ones [by the river Styx] to plot no mischief to you thenceforward--if not, while you lie naked there, she may rob you of courage and of manhood.’ So spoke the Radiant One; then gave the magic herb, pulling it from the ground and showing me in what form it grew; its root was black, its flower milk-white.

Hermes arrives as the father imago and offers a way out just as the olive tree offered a way out of the mess with the cyclops. The Golden wand of Hermes is more powerful than the wand of Kirke. It appears that sexual difference isn't registered here in regards to the penis but that it is in regard to more general bodily comportment. As I understand from Kestenberg and Horney, sexual difference in regards to the penis is formalized in the urethral or anal trito stage. The strange thing this deutero stage points to, is that the castration fear of being robbed of one's penis occurs non-universally at the anal deutero stage. In the oral structure of the Polyphemus myth Odysseus is still threatened with being eaten but, by forming a special relation with the cyclops, he is told he will be eaten last. Here he is threatened with being turned into an animal (anal castration anxiety) but because he is favored by the power of Hermes he doesn't succumb, and the next physical threat to fear is that of losing his manhood.

The last sentence of the quotation above references a herb with a black root but which has a white flower. Along with reference to white lilies growing from the blackest mud is a reference feces. Also, beore Kirke gives the potion to Odysseus:
She ushered me in and gave me a tall silver-studded chair to sit in--handsome and cunningly made it was--with a stool beneath it for the feet.
Maybe I'm stretching, but I think this chair to sit in, purely in the image of sitting, is a reference to the toilet. Also, in the Greek Myths the anal deutero would correspond to Typhon or Typhoeus who also has anal references ("blasts of heavenly wind").

Anyway, just as Odysseus blinds Polyphemus before the next act of aggression comes in the reader imagining that Odysseus will be grabbed by him. The parallel here is after avoiding being turned into an animal he follows Hermes advice:

So she spoke, but I drew the keen sword from beside my thigh, rushed at her and made as if to kill her. She shrieked, she slipped underneath my weapon, she clasped my knees and spoke in rapid appealing words: `Who are you, and from where? Where are your city and your parents? It bewilders me that you drank this drug and were not bewitched. 

3. Although the castration is not seen as the hand is, it is referenced again, when Kirke sees Odysseus as unhappy and without appetite: "You should have no doubts; I have sworn the great oath already.’"

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