I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

Narcissus and Goldmund

Dear Daily Prompt,

I know that I’m a rogue.  You ask for luxury, and I give you a compost heap. You asked whether or not I’m a rock, and I talk about rocks.  You ask for a cause I can throw myself into completely, and I give you a cookie-baking school board member.  So please forgive me.

Today you asked for excitement, and I give you passion.  Well, actually, I give you a book that I’m still pondering that juxtaposes a sensual passionate individual with an analytical disciplined man.

Goldmund is passion.  He is sensuality incarnate.

And Narcissus is disciplined and a thinker.

narcissus and goldmundI’m talking about Hermann Hesse’s book, Narcissus and Goldmund.

There was a part of me that felt almost guilty reading it.  I kept thinking, I don’t think that my evangelical church friends would approve.  I wondered what Pastor J and Pastor K would think.  I don’t think Hermann Hesse is on the approved reading list.  There I go, being a rebel again.

Narcissus and Goldmund is the most thought-provoking book I think I’ve ever read.  Yes, ever.

I know that I will come back to it over and over and over.  Because I’m Narcissus.  I don’t know when I’ve identified so strongly with a character.

And my husband?  He’s also a thinker, but he’s got some Goldmund in him.  The book helps me to understand him.

I especially love one quote near the end, of Narcissus talking with Goldmund.

We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.

Or these words spoken by Narcissus:

Natures of your kind, with strong, delicate senses, the soul-oriented, the dreamers, poets, lovers are almost always superior to us creatures of the mind. You take your being from your mothers. You live fully; you were endowed with your strength of love, the ability to feel. Whereas we creatures of reason, we don’t live fully; we live in an arid land, even though we often seem to guide and rule you. Yours is the plenitude of life, the sap of the fruit, the garden of passion, the beautiful landscape of art. Your home is the earth; ours is the world of ideas. You are in danger of drowning in the world of the senses; ours is the danger of suffocating in an airless world. You are an artist; I am a thinker.

If only I had a little more Goldmund in me, that artistic sense of beauty.

I’m afraid though, that combined with my rogue nature, I would really get into trouble.


3 comments on “Narcissus and Goldmund

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: The Excitement Never Ends | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

  2. Rishal
    September 18, 2013

    I read this book years back and still remember it being impactful at that time. I guess I should revisit the book and refresh the memories 🙂

  3. Jillian
    January 22, 2014

    This was a beautiful post. I stumbled across this page while searching for the second quote by Narcissus, I’m glad I did.

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