See the wounded healer

Imagine the frosty frontier of this milk spattered space
there detritus of an ancient planet lies like ice shards
studding a belted darkness that sling shots comets
into Neptune’s outstretched arms. *

From here I too was flung, erratic escapee
sometime maverick, rolling the heavenly blue
with father Ouranus or carouselling fat, gas Cronus
paternal progenitor when Gaia pulsed a purple plasmic haze

Yet I Chiron, have known earth, felt a mother’s watery embrace
where Aegean seas lapped siren songs in crystal coves
and mountains conjured streams as tip-toe torrents
to nurture all the orchard greens below.

Here fair Phylira birthed and then discarded me
half man, part horse, a god amongst Centaurean herds
confused in nature till Apollo gave me lore of lyre
the healing arts and stoical self mastery.

Daily I’d watch eagles torment hotheaded Prometheus
and my shaman heart burst to see such agony
how freely I relinquished immortality for his release
and breathed relief when Hydra poison brought an end

The wounded healer has no salves for self
so look for me now riding the ram, backwards **
and all you who’ve buried deep their anguish and affliction
prepare to suppurate and seal again before the year is out.

Notes & Links:
* The Kuiper Belt ~ A large ring of icy, primitive objects beyond Neptune. Pluto and Chiron are thought to be Kuiper Belt objects.
Chiron –astronomy – part asteroid, half comet
astrology – retrograde in Aries ~ July 8-Dec 12 2019 **
mythology – centaur son of Kronos/Cronus & the nymph Philyra
The wounded healer – a term coined by Jung after mythological Chiron – i.e. a therapist is compelled to treat patients because of his/her own wounds.
Image edit from Forti’s original “Feast of Centaurs”c.1890s

Joining Sarah and her challenging Poetics prompt: Tears in the rain: Using our senses

17 thoughts on “See the wounded healer

  1. This is a wonderful foray into both mythology and an almost sci-fi feeling… I almost thought space travel first (and still think it could work as such)… making me think of humanity escaping a dying earth.

    1. Chiron placed in the Centaurus constellation after his death – the comet & minor planet bears the name hence the sc fi – took a lot of research!

  2. It’s impossible not to be wow-ed by your writing, Laura. I don’t understand many of the mythological references, but it sounds like an epic hero’s journey that has borne fruit and continues.

    1. Thank you for such uplifting feedback – I love mythology but it is so convoluted – still as Chiron is retrograde at the moment it seemed like an apt topic

  3. A wonderful poetic foray into fantasy and myth, with a hint of metaphysics and Sci-Fi. Your mythological references are fun, and your word play is superb.

  4. First of all, the image of the wounded healer is so powerful for me. I’ve met a few of them. I’m sure I have my own wounds, and I know that some of my wounding experiences have made me a better healer.

    I love the merging of mythology and cosmology here. It’s interesting that we have kept those mythological names. I love the way you’ve drawn parallels between the planets and the gods – and I like the ambiguity of that warm, watery embrace – is it earth herself’s?

    It’s great to see a poem that’s been researched but carries that research so lightly.

    1. Whew! Thank you Sarah – yours was a prompt that stretched me into outer space. Never easy to handle myth though Freud did it well! I stumbled on Jung after Chiron and understand that the wounded healer has developed receptors that can receive the projected pain of others – I know the veracity of this.
      So glad the poem did not sink under the weight of myth and astrology –

  5. Your opening stanza grabbed me and hurtled me into space with you, Laura. I love the use of alliteration in ‘frosty frontier’ and ‘paternal progenitor when Gaia pulsed in a purple plasmic haze’, the nod to Hendrix, and the mythological references used by the ancients in their stargazing. And then I fell back to Earth with you, to ‘a mother’s warm, watery embrace’ and the lapping of siren songs. And the final stanza takes us to the Bible with the reference to ‘Physician, heal thyself’. What a journey!

    1. glad you enjoyed the journey Kim – thank you – agree about the biblical reference which tallies with the mythological one as Chiron was a healer but could not cure himself when the poison tipped arrow wounded him – so he begged to shed his immortality and die and thus was placed in the heavens!

  6. I agree with Bjorn–the combination of the cosmos and myth gives it a timeless quality. I especially like the last stanza. (K)

  7. So much to say about this fabulous piece, I love its modern fresh take on mythology, twining psychotherapy with the cosmos yet written almost classically. You make it so easy to visualise with lines like ‘like ice shards
    studding a belted darkness that sling shots comets
    into Neptune’s outstretched arms.’

  8. thank you Catherine – was very aware that the prompt wanted the senses so tried to make it tangible with visuals and mood and even the more intangible sense of pain, abandonment and empathy

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