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Author Topic: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold  (Read 1056 times)

Altair

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Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« on: February 14, 2012, 12:19:12 pm »
I'm curious how others would interpret the metaphorical meaning behind the following:

In this myth, there's an entrance to an underworld palace; inside the palace lies all the contents of the mind, the unconscious, the realm of thoughts, dreams, and nightmares. The entrance is flanked gigantic snakes, one on each side, that serve as guardians of the threshold. One snake is venomous; the other is not.

A spiritual leader approaches and is felled by the venomous snake before he can enter. Later, a scholar approaches and with her learning recognizes which snake is venomous, thus taking extra pains to avoid its strikes...but she falls prey to the nonvenomous snake. An innocent ultimately defeats both snakes by feeding them rodents; they lie sated and immobile as they digest their food, and she passes unmolested to enter the palace.

What do you think the snakes represent?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Fier

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Re: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 01:15:56 pm »
Quote from: Altair;42717


What do you think the snakes represent?

 
Our own sacred monsters. We can't defeat them. We can only love them, and accept them.

(That doesn't mean we let them run free, though.)

Nachtigall

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Re: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 01:20:43 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;42724
Our own sacred monsters. We can't defeat them. We can only love them, and accept them.

(That doesn't mean we let them run free, though.)

 
And even those that may seem harmless at first can hurt us, if we don't pay enough attention to them and don't "feed" them.

Maps

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Re: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 07:47:10 pm »
Quote from: Altair;42717
What do you think the snakes represent?

 
Personal bias and limited focus-- many spiritual people fail to fully acknowledge reason, and many logical people fail to fully acknowledge the spiritual, each unable to see the whole in their own way. While in reality, this really isn't the case, but in this allegory, the layperson probably represents someone with a truly open mind, taking something at face value instead of approaching it with baggage and heaps of context. Somewhat like a child making more sense than an adult.

Altair

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Re: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 11:42:03 pm »
Quote from: Altair;42717

Thank you all for the excellent feedback. It occurred to me like a thunderbolt the other day that there was more to these snakes than mere generic impediments; that they had a more specific nature than that. (The way Odin's two ravens aren't just generic helpers.) Your thoughts have helped my own take further shape.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 02:10:37 pm by SunflowerP »
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 12:25:22 pm »
Quote from: Maps;42823
Personal bias and limited focus-- many spiritual people fail to fully acknowledge reason, and many logical people fail to fully acknowledge the spiritual, each unable to see the whole in their own way. While in reality, this really isn't the case, but in this allegory, the layperson probably represents someone with a truly open mind, taking something at face value instead of approaching it with baggage and heaps of context. Somewhat like a child making more sense than an adult.

 
What I didn't mention, but you locked right onto, is that inscribed above the entrance to the palace are the words "Enter with an open mind". So in many respects you're dead on.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Annie Roonie

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Re: Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 08:07:29 pm »
Quote from: Altair;42717


What do you think the snakes represent?


I like the way Maps puts it very much.


It reminds me of how best to approach a kid's learning. If I know the kid is a hard case and treat him or her that way only, it is often a miss in getting to the goal of learning. And the same goes for a kid who's regarded as a good student. If my expectations are set already set, I am not seeing the students for who they are in the here and now and thus not best able to see the best solutions for success. If I see them as they are without preset expectations and skewed perceptions, I can better see what they need. I should not be surprised when a supposed baddie wants brain food and I should not expect that the goodie to always behave and neglect their needs thinking they will fend for themselves.

It's a good reminder for me. And it applies to those with special needs as well.

Thank you for the interesting thought provocation.

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