Last week was a difficult week for me. I had been away from a computer over the weekends, but had my journal with me. So, I wrote my blog posting in my journal, expecting to type it up later. Then, I forgot to post it. I discovered it again last night. Is there a place in purgatory for procrastinators? I hadn’t realized that it wasn't online until I began to post my latest entry. So, here it is:
Sunday, February 26th
I’ve been thinking about how the group of people came to meet Dante as described in Canto XXIX. It reminded me of a parade coming to meet a hometown hero as he returned from the war. A good image of this is from the movie “The Majestic” when Jim Carrey arrives in a town resembling a son who died in the war. He had no previous memory and assumed that he was this son. Then I realized, upon closer inspection, how very similar it is. Water from the Lethe rinsed away the horribly thoughts leftover from hell and purgatory before Dante will be allowed into heaven. Jim Carrey’s character had driven a car off a bridge and into a river, wiping away his memory and he approaches the town with a clean slate and more pure character. In Canto XXXI, Dante views the griffon, Jesus, through the eyes of Beatrice because it would be too much for his eyes. This is like praying to Jesus through Mary because it would be too much for humans. Jim Carrey sees the image of the lost war hero through the eyes of the townspeople and the father of the missing son. Maybe I’m stretching it a bit, or perhaps seeing “Bruce Almighty” recently has changed my views a little. Of all the actors in the world, the last one that I would have thought of relating Dante to would have been Jim Carrey.
The transformation of the chariot was a bit overwhelming for me to grasp. It definitely reminded me of the book of Revelation in the Bible. I find it difficult to imagine monsters, giants, and whores among heavenly beings. I realize it’s all symbolic and a message for Dante. I know if it was supposed to be a symbol for me to take back and tell about, I would probably screw it all up and turn it into something that it isn’t. I get the tree of good and evil. The seven headed monster may represent the seven deadly sins, that much I might have understood. But the giant and the harlot confused me. I would have tried to interpret them as man and woman, Adam and Eve, to symbolize the corruption of human beings. But, isn’t that what hell was all about? I might also have viewed them as the marriage of church and state, but which would be which? The church has been called the bride of Christ. But a church as a harlot? I feel like that is blasphemy. What about corrupt churches? I knew of a small church, neighboring my home in OK, which had their few members hold buckets and signs on street corners asking for donations to “Save the Children”. There were no real children in the church, just 12 adults, most of whom were ex-addicts. I asked them once about the reference to children. They said they were children of God. Made sense to me. Then I discovered they were using that money to support the addiction that some of them still had when the head preacher was put in jail. Then one of the younger female members ran away with someone else’s husband. I could see this particular church as a harlot. Like I said, I would probably turn the symbolic message into something that it isn’t.