PeaceBang And the Blue Lady
PeaceBang is depressed tonight.
No unusual reasons. Stress for congregants in extremis, sadness over the news of a metastisized cancer, awaiting the medical explanation for one young man's calamitous drop in white blood cells, beloveds who are in transition and would so much rather not be, rage at the vile iniquities of the "Bush Crime Family," knowing I won't be seeing my pals at GA this year, the heat (which finally broke this afternoon), the dog that didn't get adopted, an old chum's cheerful inquisition as to why I haven't had a date in a year, and a sick feeling that my beloved alma mater is on a very bad course for the future (at least so far as it concerns nurturing the health of the ordained ministry. Yes, that's a call to organize. Write me off-line if you like. Call me Rev. Deep Throat. I have dish).
But thanks to a Jungian author named Lyn Cowan, PeaceBang knows that she is once again visiting with Lady Melancholy and that there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, there is nothing wrong with her consistently overly-sensitive, death-conscious, melancholic character. Unlike depression, which stifles the imaginal world and muffles creative potential, melancholy brings us more deeply into it. Melancholia is not a disease, but is a temperament that has gone completely out of favor in our manic, modern American culture, and is misunderstood, feared and unappreciated.
I'm not saying it's a bag of adorable floppy monkeys to be a melancholic, I'm just saying it's not necessarily a pathology. It's a typology.
If you are a melancholic or love someone who is, or if you work with the soul in your profession, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It does employ the rather cheezy convention of having several chapters "spoken" by Dame Melancholy herself (or her friend, a melancholic English curate), but even those chapters are very worthy.
"Until the mid-19th century, melancholy was imagined as an affliction from the gods, a madness characteristic of genius, and a difficult temperament. At the height of the Renaissance, it was imagined in personified form as a majestic female figure; artists and poets looked to her as their Muse. But, in the 20th century, melancholy all but disappeared from the professional imagination, to be replaced by the diagnostic categories of depression."
By the way, Tom Cruise can go fffffffffffffffuuuu....lop on a pile of monkeys for saying all that incredibly inane, inaccurate stuff about Jung's involvement with the Nazis and for suggesting that Brooke Shields is a weak, misled moron for using medications to help her manage her post-partum depression. What a blithering idiot, as my father used to say.
[Oh my heavens. I hear cars honking and hundreds of teenagers screaming out on Main Street. It couldn't be the last day of school? Not at 8 pm? It couldn't be a football victory. What is it? Graduation was weeks ago. Michael Jackson's
verdict? A really good episode of "Scrubs?" What?]