The Castle Built on Dead Love

The words in this title came to me like a chill two nights ago. They arrived in a waking dream as I sat in my living room with a fire in the stove warming the house, snowy mountain and stars outside, warmth of home all around. Having turned on the TV to randomly watch something while I sorted through mail, West Side Story was playing. Seeing it for the first time in decades, I realized the multiple references to the Romeo and Juliet story. Plot details and characters from Shakespeare’s play showed up again and again.

The catalogue of mythic stories about the death of love flipped through my brain: Maria and Tony, Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde…  who knows, maybe even Jesus and Mary Magdalene. When the words came into my head, spoken in the same way we hear language in a dream,  I knew “the castle built on dead love” was a reference to my life. This lovely fire, warm home, friendships, career, children – the castle of my life, the words seemed to be saying, is built on dead love.

Two days later I sit down to write about this because I feel I have to. I don’t know what to say except to muse. What could this message want to impart? My personal history of love relationships is harsh, there is truth to that. My first love  at age 14 played out like Romeo and Juliet, forbidden by well-meaning parents, with the tragic death by suicide of that beautiful young man. Later my 20-year marriage died after some tragic shocks. And later again fate disrupted new love.

But since this message came in on the stream of a collective story, West Side Story, a tale that holds such deeply profound cultural resonance, I believe its meaning to be far beyond personal. Why does love in this world have such a difficult time incarnating?

In our calendar year, this is the season of the Herod story from the New Testament. If we were to take the birth date of Jesus literally, sometime around now King Herod was ordering the slaughter of all male babies under two years old after hearing from kings who traveled from the far east about the birth of a new king who would free the people. The eastern kings’ anticipation was based upon prophecies and astrological forecasts. Herod decided to slaughter babies??? So much fear surrounds the arrival of this child who came to be known as the lord of love.

If we look at the mythic dimension of this and all of the stories I mentioned, and see them as a part of our own collective psychological history, what do they reveal to us? How might we think about and assimilate their messages? Could our whole civilization in some sense be described as a castle built on dead love?

On the one hand, at some level I believe most humans instinctively sense that Love is immortal, transcendent, inscendent, the core vibration in universe. But what is it in our physical world that challenges a sustained incarnation of love, that seems to want to kill it before it even fully arrives, or conspires to destroy all faith in it when it does appear? We walk on the bones of so much death and destruction to the simple desire for love.

I find this almost unbearable to consider and to write about, yet the dream seems to insist upon an acknowledgement of it, and my dream last night further drives it home. So I pose the question, is there a new potential, a new possibility for incarnating love in a sustained way that awaits our recognition of it? If there is, I believe the only way to see it is to see clearly the reality we live in order to see through to the next potential.

Maybe the dead bones of lost love have stories to tell. In fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast the whole castle is waiting to be awakened from a long curse of sleep. Possibly our civilization is the same. Maybe the curse can be ended. How do we play our parts?

One Response to “The Castle Built on Dead Love”

  1. Darita-Rose Alden Says:

    One of the few things that helps it all to make sense to me is Robert Johnson’s book “We.” How we have lost touch with the mythic, and take things too literally, men make women carry their anima. And vice versa. And then Ann Ree’s teachings on the genesis levels always inform me. There is a great movie, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, “Holiday,” which is so clearly a clash of genesis levels, and people in families cannot understand each other. ARC said that marriage is a difficult thing in the self-genesis age. And then it’s also a Kali Yuga, and this is a pain system. This perspective helps me to get up every day and take it one day at a time. Sorry about the loss of new love because of fate, I’m truly sorry about this. Then Myss’s idea about the sacred contracts too–this helps. If there is a contract, it will show up. But Johnson needs to be read and understood by everyone in this culture where we romanticize death some, and may enjoy our suffering too much. This is so numinous, this idea of the castle built on dead love. Something to ponder, it’s a powerful image, powerful phrase.

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