This is part one of a work that is quickly becoming something large. I am sharing this first part to get your help. I need to know what is unclear here, what Jungian ideas I may need to introduce or explain, and whether or not this is even meaningful to people other than me.
So, I have a favor to ask. If you read this, please leave a comment with your feedback. What questions do you have? What ideas do I need to explain or clarify? And is this useful? Thank you for your awareness and love. Enjoy.
A Myth That Made Me
On a bright Monday afternoon, as I went for a walk to clear my mind, remembering a comment my physical therapist made changed my life.
I was walking around where I work. Well, I was limping around where I work. A few weeks earlier I had tweaked my back trying to impress a gym girl who didn’t notice me. The following day I went to a yoga class and earned myself a spasmed back muscle.
My inability to get out of bed without wincing led me to contact all the body magicians I knew. One of them is a local physical therapist who is the best combination of Western and Eastern medicine. He’s the kind of technically skilled woo only Austin and LSD can produce.
I had seen him the morning of my walking epiphany, and it was a comment he made that served as the floating strand of hair that connected two open wires in my brain that, once connected, sent an explosion of insight throughout my consciousness unlike anything I can remember that didn’t involve psychedelics.
As he was working on my low back, he said:
“Will you do something if I tell you to?”
“Uhh, it depends what it is, but probably.”
“My Ancestors told me to tell you to shave your beard.”
*few seconds of silence*
“...I’m probably not going to do that, but it’s interesting you got that message. I’ll think about it.”
I’m not shaving my beard, but I thought about his comment as I walked around the cement cathedral where I play with symbols all day.
The reason I took that walk is because I had a lot on my mind. Also, I think it’s because I read a Nietzsche quote that day:
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
The purpose of my reflective stroll was to bring some order to my life. I felt overwhelmed. I recently got promoted at work, and I felt (and still feel) like I’m not doing enough. I’d fallen in love with someone who loves me ‘as a friend.’ My back was the weakest and most upset it’s been in nearly 5 years, and, the bow on top was I was beginning to feel my intuition pointing me away from a soul project I’d put over 250 hours into that wasn’t complete — which my ego fucking hated.
But if I’m being real, only one of these really mattered to the single 28 year old that day.
I was trying to wrap my mind around why it seemed my heart demanded my mind and soul kneel while he chased a woman who wasn’t into us (my heart, mind, and soul).
I talk to myself, and for the first 30 minutes of this walk, I talked through my work, relationship, physical, and soul problems. I felt great. I felt like I knew what each of my next steps were, and for the rest of the walk I allowed my mind to wonder.
And it was in this space that I came upon the comment my PT made earlier that day.
Why did his intuition feel the need to say that?
It’s odd what happened in my mind, and I want to do the best I can to explain it accurately.
As I asked the question above, my mind spontaneously jumped to two dreams I had recently. One involved an unconscious teenage male with long blonde hair rising out of the ocean. Another involved a professor trying to teach me the history of Christianity and behind her on a whiteboard was the world DELILAH in all caps.
To keep this brief, I’m a student of what’s called Depth Psychology, and I believe our dreams are trying to communicate with us, and that these two dreams felt like ‘big’ dreams — and they were pointing me towards something significant (I share the exact dreams and my interpretations of them later).
Witnessing my mind making this spontaneous association to these dreams felt like it was my unconscious showing me why the PT’s comment was meaningful. It was a nudge to me to look at these dreams.
My next thought was:
“What is the Samson story?”
I knew there was a story from the Bible about a man who had his hair cut off by a woman named Delilah, but I had never actually read the story.
So, I used the little slot machine we all have in our pocket and looked it up.
A quick Google search showed me this:
Samson was bad with women. He was betrayed by a woman called Delilah, had his hair cut off, lost his superhuman strength, was enslaved in a temple, and eventually prayed his power back and ripped down a column in the temple killing everyone including himself.
(Before I share what happened next, it may be useful to explain a few things. Depth psychology hypothesizes that most of ourselves are unconscious to us, and that there are ‘personalities’ called ‘complexes’ in us that when activated, overtake our consciousness — like when people say “I wasn’t myself” or “I lost it”. Depth psychologists believed mythology’s main characters were examples of these ‘complexes.’ So, one of the ‘holy grails’ of depth psychology is to identify a universal ‘complex’ a group of humans tend to have, then to find the mythological character that matches the personality).
A piece of that story I didn’t know echoed in my mind.
He brought down the temple in his rage.
What is the metaphor we use for the body? A temple.
As I’m limping — I started thinking about the first time I felt ‘betrayed’ by the feminine, and how it led me to start playing basketball, and how over the following 10 years, I used basketball to fucking destroy my body. And I thought about how my recent antics in the gym followed my realizing the woman I was in love with wasn’t feeling me how I was feeling her.
I don’t know if other people experience this, but there are moments in my life where I feel time slows down, I’m sucked more deeply into the present moment, and my senses heighten. I can feel and hear my heart beating, I feel like I can hear the shape of the room, and I can process information faster than normal.
I’m feeling this as I finish reading the Samson myth. Like a calm certainty descending on me from a cloud from God, I know “I have a Samson Complex.”
Instantly I witnessed my mind start putting dozens of memories together. It started linking all my major intimate connections with women together, it began organizing and cataloguing all my physical injuries, and I saw why my heart hijacked my mind to fall in love with this girl I was currently stressing over.
Due to a traumatic experience I had when I was 12, I began to weave the unconscious story “I can’t trust women. My sexuality is shameful. Because your sexuality is a byproduct of your body, and your sexuality is shameful, destroy your body.” And this was the beginning of my Samson Complex.
For years I had studied Jungian psychology — I knew about the collective unconscious, how it sometimes speaks to you in myths you’ve never learned, how we develop complexes in early life to adapt to our situation, and how the goal of the individuation process is to become aware of our complexes and learn to integrate them.
Those were words...and I had just experienced the birthing awareness of my complex.
For the rest of the day I sat in this kind of glow that is hard to describe. I had experienced bringing a complex from the unconscious to the conscious, and now I was going to use all my skills to integrate it.
Since that day I’ve worked on this writing everyday. I know my way of integrating this insight is to write about it in such a way it makes sense to me, but also so it can be a torch in the cave for anyone else who wants to dive down this part of their psyche.
So, in order to integrate this, I am going to share each of my most intense intimate relationships with the feminine, then I will share all the major physical injuries I’ve experienced, and inspect them through the Samson lens.
Then I’m going to give my best description of what the Samson Complex is, and how I am going forward integrating it.
On one level this writing is solely for my soul. I am writing to organize my own psyche, and to help me liberate myself from the control of this complex. But there is a second level here. I am going to share every part of my history that I feel feeds this complex so that you have as many examples as I can offer to help you write your version of this.