Longing For the Stars

Hans Kaden, "Path of Light," 1943.
Hans Kaden, Path of Light, 1943.

James Hollis, writer and Jungian analyst writes: “…the etymology of the word “desire” derives from the Latin desiderare,” “to long for,” derived from de sidere, “of the stars.” Is this the true place of desire? How often can we take in the immensity and the mystery of the world around us? Ordinarily I find myself stuck in an ongoing and relentless narrative that my mind uses to continually protect who I think I am or aught to be, in other words, the “I, Me, and Mine” storytelling. For the most part, because of all this noise going on, I am not available to that scale of things. Sure, I can think about it, but how do I actually feel that I am part of that grand mystery?

Interestingly, Hollis goes on to say: “Thus, disorders of desire arise from our loss of the stars, namely, some sidereal point from which our course may be derived.” We lose track of ourselves here and now. How do we cultivate healthy desires? Can the mind forfeit its incessant chatter or can we have a question, much like a Zen koan, that is so intriguing that the usual narrative simply loses its attraction. In those rare moments, the mind becomes silent and there is a connection to a quality of stillness that is far removed from any concepts or ideas that I may have, either of myself or even about spiritual practice. Perhaps desire can serve us to have an experience of something beyond ourselves. So returning to the question, what is the proper place of desire, I think there is another hint in the Focus section of the current issue from Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Alixe Matthewreply
October 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

You draw attention to the big question.

If we can truly identify what we deeply desire – not the objects or labels or relationships which point to or obscure it – but the nut itself, well, is it not most likely to be found in the stars?

Luke Stormsreply
October 26, 2010 at 10:18 am

Greetings Alixe,

I agree with you. It is a massive question, and all the better if it is never answered, but remains alive. I am reminded of The Emerald Tablet’s statement: “As above, so below” attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. “Macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as…and so on, ad infinitum.” At the risk of getting all highfalutin and spouting out jabberwocky, we contain the cosmos, so I think it is possible to search from where we are.

Thank you for the comment.


Alixe Matthewreply
October 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Hello Luke,

Yes, quite so. And pushing it further, to the matterless space, the placeless place, asking again – What do I want? … what. do. I. want?

Oh boy, and then … who is asking, … and then …

it’s a fun ride!

Thanks for all you do. Lots to eat at your matterless table.


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.