Eros and Thanatos

I. The Way of the West

“… each organism only lives through contact with other matter, assimilation, and contact with other life, which means assimilation of new vibrations, non-material. Each individual organism is vivified by intimate contact with fellow organisms: up to a certain point.

So man. He breathes the air into him, he swallows food and water. But more than this. He takes into him the life of his fellow men, with whom he comes into contact, and he gives back life to them. This contact draws nearer and nearer, as the intimacy increases. When it is a whole contact, we call it love. Men live by food, but die if they eat too much. Men live by love, but die, or cause death, if they love too much.

There are two loves: sacred and profane, spiritual and sensual.

In sensual love, it is the two blood-systems, the man’s and the woman’s, which sweep up into pure contact, and almost fuse. Almost mingle. Never quite. There is always the finest imaginable wall between the two blood-waves, through which pass unknown vibrations, forces, but through which the blood itself must never break, or it means bleeding.

In spiritual love, the contact is purely nervous. The nerves in the lovers are set vibrating in unison like two instruments. The pitch can rise higher and higher. But carry this too far, and the nerves begin to break, to bleed, as it were, and a form of death sets in.

But as a matter of fact this glowing unison is only a temporary thing, because the first law of life is that each organism is isolate in itself, it must return to its own isolation.

Yet man has tried the glow of unison, called love, and he likes it. It gives him his highest gratification. He wants it. He wants it all the time. He wants it and he will have it. He doesn’t want to return to his own isolation. Or if he must, it is only as a prowling beast returns to its lair to rest and set out again.”

D.H. Lawrence, “Edgar Allan Poe”


Edward Munch, “Vampire”

II. The Way of the East

“Black Coat holds the skull-cup

containing the life-blood of the ego and

the chopping-knife which destroys all

hindrances. The cut-off heads worn as a

garland around his neck signify the conquest

of all enlightened mental functions.

When he appears in union sitting with

his consort Radiant Goddess , it denotes the

highest level of insight. They then ride an

indestructible mule through oceans of

blood. In her four hands, Radiant Goddess

holds a mirror showing the world, a

diamond dagger … cutting

the disturbing feelings, a trident showing

her awakened inner energies and a snake-

lasso with which she catches all disturbing


Invocation of the Protector Black Coat: Diamond Way Buddhism


III. The Way of Poetry

SACRIFICE, by Reiner Maria Rilke

Translated by Edward Snow

“How my body blooms from every vein

more fragrantly, since I first saw you;

look, I walk slimmer now and so much straighter,

and you only wait -: who are you then?

See: I feel how I’m moving away,

how I’m shedding my old life, leaf by leaf.

Only your smile stands like pure stars

over you and, soon now, over me.

Everything that from my childhood years

still floats namelessly and gleams like water:

I will christen it yours on the altar,

which your hair has set on fire

and your breasts have gently wreathed.”


Raffaele Monti, “Vestal Virgin”

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17 Responses to Eros and Thanatos

  1. augustmacgregor says:

    I remember learning about Freud saying that eros and thanatos are two powerful drives within us, and your post wonderfully expands these beyond Freud for me. Thanks for expanding my horizons. :). That’s a fantastic poem by Rilke, and I loved that last paragraph in the excerpt from Lawrence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “And the will therein lieth which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will with its vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things by nature of its intentness. Man doth not yield himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will.”
    ( Joseph Glanvill )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lampmagician says:

    Reblogged this on lampmagician and commented:
    There are two loves: sacred and profane, spiritual and sensual.


  4. Pingback: Eros and Thanatos | lampmagician

  5. Huge synchronicity with this post and the book I am reading this day. The book is Surrealism and the Occult; Shamanism, Magic, Alchemy, and the Birth of an Artistic Movement by Nadia Choucha. I often have synchronicity with your posts and have profound respect for your blog in general. Thank you!!!


    • I have just looked this book up and now I want it! Looks spectacular, indeed.
      Thank you very much for visiting and leaving a comment. I have looked at your website and I think we really resonate on many levels.


  6. Such good prose! Great soul-selection!


  7. Beautiful dovetailing of words and images. Sometimes I ‘feel’ your posts more than ‘comprehend’ the thought behind them and that feels okay to me. Although I know there is very deep thought that goes into this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. BLaine Robert Parker says:

    Reblogged this on D. Blaine's Space.


  9. Aquileana says:

    Excellent post … I particularly liked the invocation related to the way of Poetry…
    Eros and Thanatos are opposites forces but related one to the other in a sort a dialectic way…
    Balance resulting of the battle between them is the optimal this ideal state.
    I can’t avoid thinking about Heraclitus who believed in some kind of unity of opposites.
    Two eloquent fragments by him in this sense are:
    “What opposes unites, and the finest attunement stems from things bearing in opposite directions, and all things come about by strife”. (Fragment DK22b8).
    “The path up and down is one and the same”. (Fragment DK22b60).
    Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to you, Aquileana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Aquileana
      Thank you so much for such an inspiring comment, especially the quotes by Heraclitus are amazing. I think opposites are my chief fascination, or among my chief fascinations at least. I always see the opposite – that is how my mind operates.
      All the best

      Liked by 1 person

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