Poseidon statue

The Unpredictable Waters Within

In my years as a clinical therapist and program director, I have encountered many Poseidon problems. Clients express that they feel over-possessed by the unpredictable waters within them, overcome by the surfacing and powerful waves of buried emotions. Why is my anger not going away and why do I sabotage my relationships? Why don’t I feel like I am ever enough? When questions like these arise, we can look to the archetypal figure of Poseidon for further understanding.

More than any other Greek deity, Poseidon shows us the extreme implications of vengeance and emotional intensities. On the one hand, we see a figure who carries our ships across the seas to our destinations. This is to suggest that our emotions are the ebbing, flowing waters that carry our dreams and goals. However, on the other hand, sometimes our emotions get the best of us. The shifting movement of our oceans can possess us for years or even lifetimes. A Poseidon problem resembles temperamental kingship.


Interaction with Other Elements

Poseidon, like the sea itself, ever moves in interaction with the other element. Waters can be stirred, lifted, powerful and unpredictable. As ruler of the seas, Poseidon commands the deep and wide range of our emotional waters. A Poseidon man or Poseidon father can be relentlessly powerful in stormy emotions. At other times he is tranquil, softening edges of hard and rigid surfaces, lapping, soothing, rocking gently those that he loves in his massive embrace.

For example, when our efforts are reliant upon the Poseidon figure, we allow emotions to rule motivations. Of course, this can be quite meaningful. A Poseidon father likely shows great empathy for his children. There is a tremendous amount of passion and squishy moments to be had by watery feelings. But when the king is ruled by the seas of his emotions, his wrath and many unsustainable goals are sentenced to the bottoms of the ocean only to hurl themselves upon the shores soaking the dry land we stand upon.


Our Own Relationship with Emotion

A Poseidon character is the kingly character of the reactive psyche. He is not the rightful ruler of our inner world because he lacks the vantage point of Olympus. Where Zeus may have seen from above with clarity, Poseidon gets salt in his eyes. In fact, Poseidon loses and is humiliated in many instances before Zeus and the other gods. His power cannot win out for the throne. When emotions lead one, there are foreseeable problems. We cannot expect a healthy treatment program if it is so. At least not if we want healthy outcomes for our psychological and spiritual health.

For us today we can look to his nature as a kind of barometer of our own masculine relationship with emotion itself. For example, we may be out of touch with the Poseidon role. That is, we do not rule over emotions with some masculine energy. If so, we may deal with the natural occurrences of water damage. Should we fail to tame or address our waters, perhaps the solid ground in our lives will wash away. We may fail to recognize the Poseidon energy when it swells and thrashes against our boats and shores. It is our destiny, then, to play out his mythology in our lifetime. The trick is to see his role and work with awareness of the seas for to be the sea is to suffer greatly.