Athelgusa, or, Oneiromancer Solicited

I sat straight up from a nightmare. As an exercise program I cannot give this much recommendation.

I don’t know where I get this stuff. In the dream, I was in my living room looking out at a dusk which could have been early or late; from a van in my driveway were disembarking a posse of women whom I understood to be Greek ecstatic priestesses or possibly goddesses, in town for an annual convention of some kind, intent on combing my house for things that rightfully pertained to the leader of their order, a deity or chief priestess named Athelgusa (she was actually leading the posse, and radiated the ruthless numen of someone that only a fool would fuck with). Frustratingly, this was their second pass in as many years. They had already searched the place last summer, but apparently my father (who’s been dead six years, already) had ratted to them that I might still have something that belonged to them. He was trotting right along beside them, fatuously assuming that I would not mind this intrusion because it was, after all, the right thing to do. I felt apprehensive, invaded, and annoyed all at once, wondering if the damned women would care enough not to let the cats slip out. And why wasn’t everything in my house mine, at this point, anyway?

I’m going to be puzzling over this one for a while. There is no Athelgusa in anyone’s lexicon, but Adalgisa (a name of Lombard provenance) is the name of the lunar priestess in Bellini’s Norma — the younger one who has fallen for Norma’s two-timing Roman lover. It does not seem to have much to do with house searches, and while there’s something lunar about all goddess religion, this crowd seemed disturbingly Dionysiac, grim, and unforgiving all at once.

Nor would my father have known a mystical religion if it hit him in the face with a cricket bat. Repeatedly.

Where is Dr. Jung when you need him?

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4 thoughts on “Athelgusa, or, Oneiromancer Solicited

    • Ah, but then it would be your truth that you found…

      I’m a deeply dyed Jung fan from way back; I liked the way that he insisted dreams and even symptoms were not just personal but universal in meaning; some he counted as prophetic (he once dreamed of Europe awash in a sea of blood, just before the First War) and some as little parables of personal meaning.

      On the fly, I have to think that I’m being told I owe something to the ecstatic goddesses, the ones that insist on shaking up all your well controlled order. That’s not even hard to believe. I run my life with an iron hand and I’m homesick for the feeling I had when I was writing fiction, even though it utterly disrupted my existence and almost burned me out, not to mention I was writing from a broken heart (which was fixed in the process; creation is the best therapy in the world). These days, I just feel burnt and very tired, like someone who’s been pushing a shopping trolley with a locked wheel. I didn’t lose anything I couldn’t afford to lose by throwing myself into writing, but I’m always afraid that I will. (I’ve never understood people like Isaac Asimov who could just sit down on a TV set and write a witty short-short.)

  1. I’ve never seen Athelgusa, but it sounds a lot like Arethusa, who was a mountain-spring nymph, I think?

    (Yes, Wikipedia says she was a nymph, a Nereid, who was turned into a fountain in one of those stories where a virginal nymph turns into something random to escape the attentions of an overly amorous god.)

    • Hello and welcome! (Just looked at your blog. LIKE.)

      We are certainly in common territory with female demiurges here. Also, Arethusa is the name of my alto recorder, but that’s another matter.

      “Athel-” is a Teutonic/Saxon prefix meaning noble which appears in various names, like that of the “Athelwulf” (yup that is the origin of the name) who just about led Germany over the cliff in the mid 1940s. I’m less certain about the -gusa or -gisa suffix.

      But dreams are never singular and these ladies could be several kinds of nymphs at once.

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