The Goldberry Psyche

My mind holds the key

My body is a cage//

My body is a cage that keeps me

From dancing with the one I love

But my mind holds the key//

But my mind holds the key

You’re standing next to me

My mind holds the key

Set my spirit free

Set my spirit free

Set my body free

Set my body free

Set my spirit free

Set my body free

– Lyrics from “My Body is Cage,” Arcade Fire (2007)

“Truth is an elusive thing. Weall know the reoccurring experience of a bright moment of simple,

seemingly complete illumination that nevertheless quite soon turns out to be only a provisory

insight, a stopping point, on a long journey towards truth.” 

The story of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, by renowned authorJ. R. R. Tolkien, allows access to transcendent psychological truths at the heart of the human experience, which can illumine the practise of psychology and also make us capable of being more self-aware humans not only of what we want but also of who we are.

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.” (Luke 4:23)

Mind-Cages, Self-Compassion and Liberating Love

In epistemology, Gettier Cases have been used to show that knowledge is more than “justified true belief.” The insight highlights the limitations of having a theory of how we “know we know” anything. But this is surely not ethically a viable place to stay in our mind when we are faced with the inconceivable suffering of the world and our ownlife. This in fact leads us to a compassionate regards to ourselves andothers, which staying simply in epistemological reflection cannot really lead us to. But even this isn’t enough, because we want to share our learning, and. so we become philosophy-educators if we are brave, and wish to teach wisdom (“Philos-love” of “Sophia-wisdom”) but then even this is not enough, because

sharing “knowledge of what do with knowledge”is not actually doing it. So the only thing that can take us more deeply towards what we want to communicate at this depth, is to become “storytellers” i.e. I could tell this story if I wanted someone to gain wisdom about what they should do:

“are you a dead branch, who goes with the river… or are you alive, and struggling against the current and going back the Source even if doing so will likely cost you everything including yourlife.”

Or are you as Tolkien suggests as a great story-teller himself:

“You must choose, Beren, between these two: to relinquish the quest and your oath and seek a life of//

wandering upon the face of the earth;// or to hold to your word and challenge the power of darkness upon

its throne. But on either road I shall go with you, and our doom shall be alike.”

Holding true to your word is what “Logos” identifies in the Greek tradition, as being “possessed by the truth” that goes beyond simply our reasoning, that takes everything that we are into consideration.


/1 s/f




the Word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order, identified in the Gospel ofJohn with

the second person of the Trinity incarnate in Jesus Christ.


(in Jungian psychology) the principle of reason and judgement, associated with the animus.

When we approach the Logos with our whole lives, through our mind that governs our actions, as a Response to the prayer of our soul. Then we reach a sort of mysticism about //what to do next//, which is not a “not knowing” but simply a “not knowing how what we know, could actually come about to be known more.” 

A mystic coming close to the Logos in this way, understands himself to be entering into the Logos’ own story as he pushes his own mind to the limit. This would be, to take a mind-exercise, to be like the

experience of finding out you belong at factually at “home”in an imaginary kingdom where your deepest desires, purified by suffering, have been made into reality; with you entering into it as a King discovering something <<totally new>> but also something that you already “knew”!

Tolkien’s relationship with the Logos reached this sort of mysticism, as he was devoted to St John whoTaught that in the “Beginning was the Word and the Words was with God and the Word was God.”

In loving the Logos, Tolkien made the <<discovery>> of Middle Earth.

Tolkien as a philo-logist (lover of words) was searching for the imprints of the transcendent Logos in the vestigial footprints of oral tradition and literature that pointed the direction to go back to the Source of all Truth.

The <<Goldberry Psyche>> 

The Logos takes us beyond even philosophy in

that its concern is religious (religare — Latin for “binding” or “unifying”)… it is able to hold together all knowledge (epistemology) and wisdom (all that suffering has born fruit to teach us what is most important to know)//and in this way the Logos nourishes the human mind the most. 

The Logos is the

nourishment and healing of the mind and soit is such for psyche-logosists (psychologists) who find the truth. 

Goldberry speaks:

I am a very, very beautiful and powerful woman in a way that I don’t understand myself or what to do.

I am untrained in my own self-knolwedge, so men drown in me at the bottom of the sea, and I find

myself alone. 

They drown themselves in me by trying to impress me with themselves 

but they do not see


 The Real me. 

The Me

that wants to be known,

seen and loved right Now.


alone, I am sad at the bottom of the River.

The arrival of Tom (united to the Logos)

Behold on the distance comes a man who hasgained the self-knowledge that comes from the Logos and

so I go to him and my first attempts are to drown him,

And he tries to sing to me,

 but taken unawares he

falls to the bottom of the water with me:-

And we are drowning,

And it feels like agonising death //

and crushing under crashing, crashing and crashing


Now hedoes something <<new>>,

He takes me home,

as he has a home, 

And <<listens>> to me,

After listening to me,

He goes walking out in the world every day

 And collects me flowers,

The flowers represent his patient

 contemplation of my fertility

His trust is as old as time itself

He sings because he is free

When I marry him he rejoices

And holds my slender middle

But it plays like a fiddle

Because the cost oft hat holding

Is precise as the most precise art of fiddle-playing.

Our Combined Art is innocence;

And it’s an innocence as old as time,

And in that innocence The Ring is a mere “trifle”

I am no longer at the bottom of the sea 

and neither is he, 

in our encountering of each other.

In all this, I will only tell you Mytale, if you LISTEN TO ME.

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