Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Weekly Free Association : The Abyss

Author: Paulo Coelho

The abyss comes from the Greek word abismos which means something that has no end. In practically all the mythologies there exists a primordial abyss where all undifferentiated things appear, but in a chaotic manner. All cosmologies have then the aim of infusing logos, i.e order into this primordial state of things.

This confused, primordial state very quickly was perceived as a negative manifestation in many cultures. For instance, for the ancient arkadiens, the vengeful mother Tiamat had to be beaten by her sons Marduk that put some order in the universe with his triumph. In psychoanalysis the abyss is also seen and a state of regression where the alienated may disappear into psychosis.

Yet, in the same way that the abyss can be seen as a bottomless pit, it can also be reversed. The up-ward abyss of the skies can also point towards the great mystery of the divine. Master Eckhart speaks of the “ungrund”, the abyss inside each of our hearts where dwells the divine.

Now you take the floor, what do you associate with the abyss?

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