Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Anubis loses his right knee: A cautionary tale
I have a little plastic figure of Anubis I like to carry around with me. Anubis is the canine-headed god of ancient Egypt who is most closely associated with dreaming and travel between the worlds. He's the one you want with you, in friendly mode, at the gates of the world-behind-the-world. In early Egypt, children were given figures of Anubis as guardians of the night and as encouragement to dream strong.
The fact that my favorite Anubis talisman is just a $5 toy from the children's section of a museum shop tickles me, and brings a warm fuzzy sense of connection with both my Boy Roberts and the big black dog I loved fiercely. When his ears pricked up, he was a dead ringer for Anubis in his full canine form. After he was killed on the road, he returned to me again and again as an impeccable guide, in dreams and visions.
Yesterday, noticing that Anubis was not on my desk, I went looking for him, and found him in the cargo pocket of the shorts I was wearing on a hot day, leading an adventure in "Dreaming Like an Egyptian" at Mosswood Hollow. When I placed the little figure at my right hand, next to my computer keyboard, I noticed that he was missing part of his right leg. It had broken off just above the knee. I felt even more affection for the little figure, remembering a beloved childhood story of a one-legged toy soldier ("The Steadfast Tin Soldier"). I did not dwell for long on the symbolism of the damage to the right leg, around the knee.
In the afternoon, I was lugging a heavy burden down the stairs in my home. Since I suffered a knee injury six years ago, I take stairs very carefully, usually holding on to the railing. But the awkward load I was carrying required both hands. At the top of the lower staircase, I had a sudden, vivid vision of myself falling down the stairs. I brushed this aside, not wanting to step into an anxiety projection.
I made it most of the way down the stairs when I fell, landing heavily on elbows and knees. Blood gushed from my right arm, just below the elbow, but the worst damage was to my right knee. This was the knee that I injured six years ago, when I managed to sever one of the muscles in the quad that holds the kneecap in place. I managed to avoid surgery, but I have needed to be very careful on slopes and stairs, especially going down.
My knee creaked and complained, and was soon swollen to twice its regular size. Several Aleve tablets and icepacks later, the swelling had subsided and I could get around, limping a bit. I reflected on the fact that I was wearing the same Orvis polo shirt I was wearing on the day, six years before, when I first injured my right knee.
I went online in the evening and saw that a friend who has taken my dream teacher training fell down stairs - on her face - about the same time.
I picked up my Anubis figurine and touched the stump of its right leg. There really are things that like to happen together, as the Chinese say.
Limping around the lake in the park with my little dog this morning, I think about lessons to be drawn. My fall down the stairs was eminently avoidable. I paid the price for failing to pay close enough attention to the kind of coincidence the ancients might have seen as a message from the realm of the gods, and then for confusing presentiment (my vision of the fall) with projection.
A jogger passes me on the path around the lake. On the back of her tee-shirt is a spiral that forms a question mark. Another wink from the universe.
To walk the spiral path in life is to notice each time you come to a choice or a situation that resembles one you have encountered before, and then apply what you can learn from the past experience to avoid repeating mistakes. I have seen, again and again, that the secret logic of our lives is revealed through resemblances. Yet I failed to apply the resemblance between Anubis' injury and my already wounded knee. I have experienced presentiment on hundreds of specific occasions, and have learned that my body often reacts to events before the events take place. Yet I brushed aside my vision of the fall.
In the school of life lessons are repeated until we graduate from each class.
For now, the fall day is as crisp as a Mackintosh apple just plucked from the tree. The sun is warm on my face, the breeze is cool in my hair, and my busted knee is working well enough to get me round the lake, though much more slowly than the runner with the spiral question mark.
I'll be on the look out for the next spiral question that is put to me in life class. And I'll keep Anubis, missing his knee and his foreleg, closer to me than ever, to remind me not to fail to apply the logic of resemblances.