The Many Faces of Eros
(This article is an excerpt from lesson five in my Deconstructing the Myth of Soulmate class. I’ll be running it again in May 2020 during Venus’ retrograde through Gemini.)
It wouldn’t be quite right if we didn’t talk at least briefly about eros and erotic energy in a course about soulmates. So let’s do that now.
Many times we think of erotic energy explicitly in terms of sex.
But, you see…
Eros was the son of Chaos and Aphrodite. He was the Greek God of sexuality, yes…
but also of friendship…and community…
We often think of erotic energy as something sexual. But really, it symbolized desire AND love. General interpersonal vitality. There are different forms of Eros.
Erotic is not just a synonym for sexual. It refers to an energy that brings us together — in so many different ways! It refers to connections between people who mean something to one another — in so many different ways!
It’s what animates our connections and gives them soul. It’s what brings us together (Eros is the Greek version of Cupid) and charges the interpersonal field of connection.
In his book The Love Cure, which is all about the use of erotic transference in a therapeutic setting, John Haule says:
I would like to argue that ‘the erotic’ refers to the energy of an interpersonal field when a sense of we-ness comes forcefully to presence and that ‘the sexual’ involves our impulse to embody that we-ness in a genital manner.”
Erotic energy is the energy that compels us to continue seeking connection — it’s what makes things interesting enough that we’re like, “Oh, hey, yes! I want to discover more about this human!” It might be a sexual connection, but it’s also the energy that keeps us coming back to a therapist or astrologer or a friendship or creative collaboration.
Erotic energy is also what causes and supports the dissolution of the ego. When we come into contact with another, in whatever form, we are changed. To be in love or friendship is to be contained by something that dissolves who we think we are and creates a new identity.
Erotic energy can be a totally chaotic thing, as we see in the myth of Skeleton Woman [if you aren’t familiar with this myth, please see the version found in Women Who Run With the Wolves. It’s amazing]. But it can also be a vital part of a container that promotes secure and stable positive change. It’s where we become receptive to another person, and therefore vulnerable.
Sex and Eros do in fact go together. But sometimes, when erotic energy enters the picture, sex can be used as a way to diffuse and therefore avoid a deepening connection. It can discharge energy. Two people sense that something major could change based on their connection, and that they could perhaps change in some deep and abiding ways…
…and go straight for the carnal, sexual connection, which feels like bonding but actually maybe ensures they will not go deep into the underworld together, because it is a defense mechanism.
Chemistry is a complicated thing, friends.
But let’s bring it back to the myth of Inanna one more time. When Inanna returns to the surface, she has lost her agreeableness. She’s lost the part of her that is able to contort and avoid who she truly is. She no longer depends on her husband, Dumuzi, or anyone, for validation or to tell her who to be. She’s faced herself, and her darker half, and is ready to meet her husband on the throne of equality. This demands that she is able to speak her truth rather than remain in shadows of compliance.
Erotic energy is the energy that can hold space for that level of revelation and true exchange.
Although, to be fair, Dumuzi is scared to death of Inanna. He kinda dies, actually. And Inanna feels real, real bad about it. But then she transforms even more, coming closer back to center and rebalancing.
Sometimes relationships cannot hold when one person is doing the work of facing themselves and reclaiming their projections and the other is not. Because rather than a relationship built on the roles people play for each other, it becomes a container in which each individual is becoming more of who they are. That’s scary for some people.
Especially in a culture where relationship ending tends to mean failure, rather than an opportunity to intentionally let go of and release something that’s served a vital purpose for a time and now needs to morph into something else.
Inanna’s story is about regeneration and change. It’s about remembering that there is an arc to every story, and that our goal is to come back into greater harmony with power. To come back into the power…of the heart. To relate from a place of core power where we understand relationships based on equality are in our best interests.
In order to rise up, we have to go down into the underworld and discover the things that have been hidden and then bring them back up for reintegration so that what has been hidden becomes the treasure.
That’s what this class has been about.
So what’s your treasure?