The Eros, the Pathos,
the 'Love-wine' of Pluto

 

 

 

    What is material falls down dead in the earth, as if returning
to its real (till now hidden) owner.
We've come to Pluto's treasury,
his cornucopia, and it is inexhaustible.

    Like the suction of a ship as it's sinking, his cornucopia, a vagina to
the Void, tunnel to which our losses flow...when even "our" refers to
a corporal assumption, some temporary, time-bound custodian... an
identity which too must die, as Pluto receives what is inevitably his,
the whole visible world (and our attachment to it) becoming his
Renewable Resource, winnings that inevitably return to the house.

 

    It's always surprising to hear a god talk.


    "I cannot help my depth, nor would I want to --
but what I want ... is
someone to share it with."
(Maybe I didn't hear him right--maybe he
just gets horny--as it is usually only sudden lust that leads him to
visit the upper air). He has a good set of wheels, and once tried to
impress the Nymph Minthe with his chariot. "Like a little ride, my
dear?"

    And would have seduced her easily had not Persephone gotten wind
of it, and metamorphosed Minthe into sweet smelling mint. He
got turned on to another nymph, too-- Leuce, who was similarly
metamorphosed into the white poplar standing by the pool of
Memory (reminiscent of Narcissus being metamorphosed into the
flower that bears his name beside another strange pool). Pluto is a
powerfully sexual god, but what he loves seems ever to be taken
away from him.

    In this way he is not free of pathos --as it is he who ongoingly
suffers the loss of a wife, even as he receives daily all the husbands
and wives who themselves are losing each other.

    Coming and going, the agony of Pluto is to love what is fated to
disappear.
(How apt that he too suffers the eventual agony, the
pathos of us all). But if Pluto loves what is fated to disappear, he
loves also what will come around again. Perhaps it is the god's boon
to have a long-term, a depth perspective. And so, for all the
orgiastic, "unsocialized" urgency of his need, there is a patience in
Pluto's loving. A patience not unlike the feeding rhythm of a shark, a
patience that has its limits,
and will get what it needs.

 

    Pluto is the solitary being quite content to receive what flows
toward us when we are in our depths. Lying in wait behind deep
rocks, the toothy ling cod darts out to feed; the alchemist in his
laboratory, the deep-image poet at 2 a.m. But this contentment, this
confidence in what arises from our deep places is not a constant, and
there is something even in our depth (or only shortly removed from
it) that isn't the whole story. Even a god has needs.

 

    Plato tells us, and Pluto shows us, it is need that gives birth to eros.
And it is Pluto's need that brings him up for air, coming up like a
volcano. Something seismic, a seizure of longing, brings him to the
surface, to a common ground: where goddesses frolic across a wide
green field. How lovely they are amidst flowers, flowers
everywhere.

    Pluto needs ...needs to annex a portion of this beauty, this
vulnerable, flower-like beauty, and wants to bring it home with him.
He who is strong and solitary finds himself preying (praying?) at the
outskirts of his own geography. He needs what Persephone
represents. Perhaps he needs to find a way of connecting with his
own vulnerability--and so, he marries it.

    He who lives amidst invisibles loves the color that might enter his
life. Finally, the hues of a connection that is personal, the color of
what is so poignantly transient, the color of the flowers rising up
their stems, the color of her pubic hairs, the tint of, the smell of, her
skin.

 

    This field he would deflower--would plough over and over, moist
and rich as any humus, any human--a love so unforgettably...
impossible.

    For what he takes to wife keeps looking back... keeps looking back
for a mother--what no male can give. There was something about
her eyes. That kept looking back, or kept seeing through him in
search of another.

 

    And so, each time, each Spring she'd disappear (from him): the
backward glance--like Lot's wife--turned the flower of his love into
salt, a salt that seemed the crystallization of tears...

 

 

 

*

 

    James Hillman says that "you need a certain masochism, a
masochistic touch in order to deepen--it is a mode of deepening into
one's pain...There's a joy in that hurting because a layer of your
skin's been peeled: you're that much more sensitive." And if we need
a masochistic touch in order to deepen, this "masochistic touch" can
certainly be found in Pluto, who is the god of depth.

    Though the love union of Pluto and Persephone begins with a
rape--which on the surface doesn't suggest any masochism or
sensitivity on the part of Pluto, still, the union is triggered by an
incredibly powerful attraction that Pluto feels for her. Persephone is
the one being desired.
And later, Persephone is the one who controls
(and dashes) Pluto's romantic impulses toward Minthe and Leuce.
Plus it is Persephone who is cyclically leaving the relationship, in
order to return to her mother for nine months of each year.

    So though on the surface Pluto would seem to be equated with
"power," and Persephone with vulnerability and sensitivity, there's
really a lot of power held by Persephone--who can turn Pluto's other
love interests into vegetables, and a lot of "vulnerability" in Pluto.
And as in any relationship, the distancing person, the one who
withdraws, the one who doesn't want to dance (the more schizoid
partner) in some way controls the relationship, and what happens on
their "dance floor."

 

    Thus it suggests that in speaking about the eros of Pluto, and the
eros of the "underworld marriage" that the couple may be
attempting to work something out where there is an imbalance in the
level of attraction, or the level of need. And that the lack of
availability on the part of the beloved only increases the attraction of
the lover, gives it more "depth," gives it more longing, more
sensitivity.

 

    We find this Plutonic kind of eros in all the great love poetry, a
somewhat masochistic flavor of longing for an other who is not quite
available, an other who tends to disappear...Petrarach and Laura,
Dante and Beatrice, the beloveds of the troubadours who were all
married to somebody else. Shams disappearing to Damascus, and later
killed, perhaps by Rumi's own son. Here, the unavailability
of the beloved can not only increase the longing and sensitivity on the
part of the lover, but take it to a dimension of depth in which the love
becomes trans-personalized, spiritualized...

    In this way one's love is being initiated to another plane. The
"masochism" becomes a kind of love wound, an opening in our
psychic skin, a surface that had kept us bounded. But now the
opened wound gives rise to an extra-dimensional, boundless longing
for union
--and from the wound's blood, a kind of alchemical wine,
or "spirit" is distilled.

 

 

***