“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go.” DH Lawrence
The clearing in the forest is really the ‘philosopher’s Stone’; A condensing and a pulling-together. The focussing lens made manifest.
Yet also, It is the much maligned ‘ego’.
Cursed then, because it has built a citadel for itself. The edge of the clearing is now all-wall. A bustling city has developed, but all the dramas and intrigues of court are self wrought. Echoing reflections, propagate and amplify throughout the crystalline structure.
By day It is kept in full occupation, but at night, from the ‘other side’, impressions of scratching, snuffling and fell voices rattle along the now deserted streets.
The walls sometimes, creak and groan. A painful death awaits, with the fall of a city. But fall it must. The pressure from the forest cannot be held at bay forever.
Which hapless builder would set up his home in the middle of a faerie road?
“Lie close,” Laura said, Pricking up her golden head: “We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits: Who knows upon what soil they fed Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins Hobbling down the glen.
Goblin Market — Christina Rossetti
The ‘ego’, cleared and open, has no fear for the edge of the forest. Lanterns stretch out, beyond the now moss-covered remnants of old stone and foundation. Comings and goings; Heralds with strange stories.
Jo waited. Then they all three slipped down the creaky stairs and out into the moonlit garden. The shadows were very black indeed, just like ink. There was no colour anywhere just the pale, cold moonlight.
They were soon in the Enchanted Wood. But, dear me, it was quite different now! It was simply alive with people and animals! In the very dark parts of the wood little lanterns were hung in rows. In the moonlit parts there were no lanterns, and a great deal of chattering was going on.
Nobody took any notice of the children at all. Nobody seemed surprised to see them. But the children were most astonished at everything!
“There’s a market over there!” whispered Jo to Bessie. “Look! There are necklaces made from painted acorns and brooches made of wild roses!”
But Bessie was looking at something else- a dance going on in the moonlit dell, with fairies and pixies chattering and laughing together. Sometimes, when they were tired of dancing on their feet, partners would fly in the air and dance there in the moonlight.
Fanny was watching some elves growing toadstools. As fast as the toadstools grew, an elf laid a cloth on it and put glasses of lemonade and tiny biscuits there. It was all like a strange dream.
Enid Blyton — The Enchanted Wood
The clearing is ‘the self’. To be lost in the forest is to turn to vapour; A mist that haunts, dreaming of becoming whole again.
Lines of lanterns, scattered breadcrumbs, Ariadne’s thread; All are extensions of the clearing. The forest must be explored, but without return, the fairy gold becomes dust to be scattered to the winds.