Dante was standing near the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge that crosses the Arno River in Florence. Dante saw Beatrice walking up to the bridge. He was just a young man, she even younger, and he was struck in wonder by her vision which contained the whole of eternity for him. It was a vision of completeness.
Dante did not speak to her. He saw her very little in his lifetime. Beatrice died soon after carried off by the plague when she was twenty five years old. Dante was stricken with the loss of his vision. She was the intermediary between his soul and heaven itself. Dante went on to marry, and he and Signora Alighieri raised three children.
Later in life, in Dante’s poem ‘The Divine Comedy’, he begins by saying that he was walking along in the afternoon of life and fell into a deep hole. He was going along pretty well and then suddenly he had a midlife crisis and fell into a deep depression.
In The Divine comedy Dante finds himself in hell, the underworld. Here he encounters Virgil, the ancient Greek poet who guides him through the levels of hell. Virgil represents the intellect. After encountering the ice and fire of Hell and the Devil himself, Virgil and Dante journey through Purgatory toward Heaven which lies at the other side of Hell. In Purgatory Virgil says to Dante, “It is here you work out what is wrong with your life, but I can go with you no further, someone far greater than I will guide you from now on. Beatrice will guide you from here”, the same Beatrice that had opened the vision of Heaven to Dante on the Ponte Vecchio.
Dante’s intellect, Virgil, leaves him. Dante is terrified, Reason has left him, Beatrice the vision of heaven was now to take over. He had no choice but to follow his soul guide.
She takes Dante, as his soul guide through the deeper levels of Purgatory and on to Heaven.
For us all this is an inner journey of wholeness and healing. In Jungian terms ‘individuation’.
Each of us has a double anima/animus, for a man, a radiant feminine vision of tenderness and hope, versus a sexually attractive worldly, bitch, whore. For a woman. A ‘knight in white armour’, or a barbarian. Hence it is likely that one’s soul guide will be, a ‘Beatrice’ for a man, and a ‘Lancelot’ for a woman; for homosexuals one would just change the labels.
When you’re truly ready to listen, Beatrice/Lancelot will appear. Just attend to the moment and ask.
Inner Gold Ch:3 – Robert A Johnson
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