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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Short History of Vomit: Part 3

A Short History of Vomit: Part 3

 Part 3

How the Ancient and Classical Civilizations deciphered dreams with vomit motifs will probably remain an enigma. Modern dream interpretation,however, is rife with possible explanations for vomit motifs. For example, if vomit is present in your dreams then this could be an insight into your deepest feelings signaling the subconscious need to get rid of something. However, if in your dream you witness a person vomiting, then this might indicate that a relative or a close friend is actually an enemy. Would that be a wretched frenemy or retching kinfolk?

Dreams have always been closely associated with creation myths and the origins of a people. Birth through vomit as a culture is purged into life is a reoccurring theme of particular societies. These cultural groups have exalted vomit beyond the profane and made it a realm of the gods. In Ancient Greek mythology vomit has the distinction of protecting the existence of the some of the major Gods. The story goes, that when Kronos, the youngest of the Titans, revolted against his father, Ouranos, he became the supreme ruler of the cosmos. After his marriage to Rhea, who begat him several Gods, he summarily ate his children. By eating his children Kronos was attempting to bulwark himself against the same trickery he used to usurp his father. This tactic worked until the birth of his last son, Zeus. Rhea, his mother, rushed to hide the child God away on the island of Crete; out of site from his father Kronos. When Zeus felt he was old and capable enough he stood up to his father and compelled him to puke out his siblings Gods: Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon and Hera. More often than not, the denouement of vomit tales is not a joyful birth but an ugly death.

Vomit induced asphyxiation (aspiration pneumonia)is reported by the National Institute of Health to be the cause of death in US of 36,997 people annually as noted on death certificates. The pall of vomit has been cast over pop cultural icons throughout the modern era. Most people might assume that asphyxiation by vomit is the comeuppance of a sybarite's foray into the excesses of humanity like alcohol and drugs. Although this scenario has been the downfall of many hedonistic pop music stars, it will be surprising that it even spills over into the realm of innocuous and unthreatening pop icons. No profession within the pop culture world provokes a “saw that coming” response to a self-indulgent life style like that of the musician.

The pop musician's ethos occupies an artistic landscape of calculated aloof observation and poetic contemplation while simultaneously adhering to a bardic filled life of itinerancy. Rock stars like Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and AC/DC singer Bon Scott were known to be heavy alcohol drinkers. When it was reported that they had vomited in their sleep due to an evening of heavy binging, no one was truly awestruck. Almost a decade earlier, Jimi Hendrix, the legendary rock guitarist, was rushed to hospital after asphyxiating on barbiturate induced vomit. He died shortly after arriving at hospital. As a musician Tommy Dorsey, trombone playing jazz band leader was an atypical vomit victim. According to coroner's records, before retiring for the night, Dorsey had eaten a big meal and then sedated himself with pharmaceutical sleeping pills. His wife recounted that her husband began choking in his sleep, but because of the severe sedating effect of the sleeping pills, she was unable to wake him as he choked to death.

Hopefully it has been made clearer that vomit elicits a duality which is essential to fully appreciating the precariousness of balance within and outside the body.

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