The old ego’s belief in its superiority created, and still supports, patriarchal cultures with their hierarchies of authority. In extreme cases, hierarchies can create a cult of personality surrounding an inflated ego which fought its way to the top believing its powerful position would immunize it from the suffering and failure of those below.
As you read this, I’m enjoying the company of my friend Elaine Mansfield. Many of you will recognize her name from comments she frequently makes here, or from my Facebook page. She flew down from New York to spend a few days with me before she goes on to Tampa where she’ll be presenting a workshop for a small fraction of the half million women who lose spouses each year. While she’s here, we’re planning a new workshop on grief.
Those of us raised as Christians know this holiday is about a lot more than rushing about, partying and shopping, and many of us enjoy warm memories and nostalgic feelings this time of year. But why are the moments of love, joy and peace so difficult to find during the holiday season? Where do the feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, disappointment and depression come from? Why do we keep missing the point of Christmas? How can we recapture it?
Unconscious parts of ourselves acquire negative power because of the well-known psychological law that the longer and harder we repress them, the more energy we give them until they start influencing our behavior in disagreeable ways. They are like sweet little girl dragons which start out innocently enough. If we love them and allow them to come out and play they will grow up to become our friends. But if we ignore them and starve them and keep them cooped up in dark and cramped cages — in much the same way many male-dominated cultures have treated women and their own feminine sides — they grow stronger and angrier every day.
As Joseph Campbell says in Pathways to Bliss, the feminine is the source of the energy and the masculine is its specification in any particular direction. She is the sea of energy out of which creation arises, he is every visible manifestation of that energy. She is the whole; he is a part.
Amidst all the bustle I wonder how many of us actually experience the love, joy and peace that is the promise of Christmas or profoundly connect with its underlying psycho-spiritual meaning. And what is that meaning? To find it we need to use the symbolic language of mythos.
Dreamwork has been my most rewarding and consistent spiritual practice for 22 years. You might not think of dreams as having anything to do with spirituality but they absolutely do. Carl Jung demonstrated this with exquisite beauty in his recently published The Red Book in which he recorded some of his most meaningful waking and sleeping dreams.
…there is hope. Through the centuries the symbol of the third eye has reminded all who care to see that opening our eyes and minds to God the Mother’s symbols, qualities and presence within us and the world can connect us to the fullest wisdom available to human beings.
In Hinduism this shape is called the yoni, a stylized vulva used in religious art and as a maternity charm to celebrate and invoke the Great Mother’s creative, life-giving fertility.
I started blogging almost a year and a half ago. So far I’ve avoided repeating any posts, but recent events in Libya prompt me to reconsider. Originally published on March 12 of this year, this post addresses the traditional interpretation of the hero myth which elevates “masculine” values and represses “feminine” ones. In my next post I will describe other toxic aspects […]