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Anonymous (2013). Gabbeh. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):185-186.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):185-186



I am Gabbeh. I take my name from an Iranian film, a story of a nomadic young woman, haunted by longing for a man who appears as a wolf howling on the horizon of her arid world. The “gabbeh” is the rug she weaves while roaming the desert, aching to move toward the sound of his cry. She weaves and she hopes, the design an elaboration of her desire; the threads are of simple fibers, but the intricate patterns begin to emerge, telling her story. I saw this dreamlike film in the second year of my analysis, during the arid time. In August.

This vast, parched terrain marked a transition for my inner landscape. I was, then, unaware of the life of tiny, undiscovered plants in a desert-scape that hold the essential moisture for living. Two years earlier: I dutifully carried in my first dream, of trudging through a barren tundra. Could life be sustained in as bitter and unforgiving a world as this? Was anything living beneath the drifting snow? If there was nothing, I would starve. Yet I knew no hunger.

In the later Augusts of my long analysis, I spent the month sailing the waters of New England, drifting off to sleep at night on a gently rocking boat in snug anchorages with names like Cuttyhunk, Fogland, and Smuttynose. How did I get here, from the desert? I still listened for his howling—was he the wind that moved me forward, sometimes gracefully, other times ferociously? I often felt him in the watery surround that I moved within, where he was velvety and soothing, but then wild and chaotic. But now my trust in him grew so profound that the fear, the excitement and desire that stirred in my heart became a sweet taste that called “More!” Yes, he was the water that after a long day I'd dive right into, by August turned warm and welcoming to my tired and equally salty body. Buoyant, free of the weight of the land-bound, I knew his presence held me afloat.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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