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Reply To: Tossing the Golden Ball,” with mythologist Catherine Svehla, Ph.D.”



I meant to include a link to Perlman’s recitation. So hopefully can do that here.

It would be interesting to hear this in the original language, but I only know a finger full of German words (from Dad’s time stationed overseas during Korea)

Did learn Latin as a kid…so knew a little more of that.

However, when up in NY for dance… to my delight…the old Strand Bookstore held secrets buried on its shelves…including a small book of Rilke poems with both the German and English translation! The book was almost falling apart but I did not care. Treasure! There were a lot of poems about Angels in that book as I recall…and transformation.

So here is the link to Ron Perlman’s recitation of Letter 8 Letters to a Young Poet- Ranier Marie Rilke. Ron Perlman’s recitation of Letter 8 Letters to a Young Poet- Ranier Marie Rilke.

And thank you Catherine for sharing the translation from your papers as well. That is brilliant! Love seeing and reading it!
And I think you are correct, Perlman does “state the essence cleanly.”

When I corrected the part from my memory of “perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest sense something helpless…” to “perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.” It felt different and much deeper and more clear. It took it from a surface view to falling down into that well…

I do love frogs by the way. Just in case have strayed too far from the original focus of your essay.

And I agree completely with you about Campbell emphasizing human consciousness…when so much has been and is being learned about consciousness in animals as well. I’m a little prejudiced from my own experience with loved cats and a 24 year old Quaker parrot…and dogs too…plus I am fascinated by ravens and other Corvids. The Ornithologist and Naturalist Bernd Heinrich in Maine/Vermont has done studies and believes ravens do have consciousness by the way they must deliberate and even “imagine,” to work out problems.
And recently have seen videos where various animals both rescued and wild have responded to people playing music. There is always more to know and how fascinating it would be to see hoe Joe Campbell would navigate that today! Change mind or stay with original themes *grin*

The only reason I went off on this tangent was as soon as you mentioned Rilke…it just took me somewhere else! At least still with some reference to transformation!
I also agree with the paragraph where you mention your work with individuals and the pressure to have a clear direction and make “right” choices. I was lucky to have parents who were educators (Astronomy, Earth Science, Math) but who also encouraged and supported my dreams (dance/poetry/music) and encouraged me to dream. I am very humbly thankful for that!

So what you say rings true about the “essential connection of the soul…” and “not paying attention to what rises up inside.”
Sadly sometimes I think this is a “guilt thing” that happens in society today…where “going in” is deemed a “selfish thing”  rather than an “opening or awakening thing.”

Or listening to that “inner voice,” or “deeper inner nature.” Maybe it’s just me, but it also feels like that pressure to make right choices is held up as the only path to compassion and right action. When sometimes if one goes deep enough or quiets the mind chatter…the compassion is already there? Waiting to be noticed?
So now you have me thinking about the big ol splat of Mr. Frog against the wall and now it feels like an even bigger metaphor…

Both Princess and Frog are trapped. But the splat sets them free…from all the illusions  that were holding them down. Maybe its the illusions going splat even more than Mr. Frog.

And the princess took that initiative when she was pushed.

Of course it does not seem compassionate…or as gentle as the “kiss transformation”

(maybe there is a place for each?)

Maybe the frog knew he might go splat but did not care?

Or is it possible the frog even represented the princesses inner nature?

And she had not been listening to her inner nature because she had to do all the proper princess things? Keeping up appearances. (Yes in some tales she seems spoiled…but maybe she is not happy either?)

So the frog forces the issue…and in the splat version the frog by being annoying to her forces her hand….and in so doing sets her free. In the splat tale even though not as gentle as the kiss tale…I still notice that the frog convinces her to do everything he says until she can’t take it…and voila! Maybe that was the point? Illusions finally broken? Freedom gained.

But with the surface perception of this tale with emphasis of a spoiled princess or brat princess…it would be easy to see how the opposite would be read alas! Too much freedom selfish girl frog is only one who forces her to do as told and she gets married. 

I guess that depends on the reading? Whether the intent of the tale is warning about too much freedom (willful girl with big ego) Or whether one is only seeing the surface and there is something deeper down in that well than just the frog?
That both girl and frog are trapped in spite of all the illusions of her being a selfish princess? And maybe both are unhappy.

Okay you just started me thinking about that splat again. Hehheh.

signing off. ;-)🐸