“The risk-taking leap into the void is a theme common to many heroines who, through a whole lot of trouble, work, and grace participate in the creation of Eros [feeling] bridges between the old and the new, transforming the cosmology. Legends and fairy tales weave these patterns of the maiden able to take the risk necessary to transform culture.” ~Jungian Analyst Monika Wikman
Whereas hero myths emphasize ascending to the heights as the proper guide to a successful life, heroine myths often employ the theme of descent. These symbolize two different ego orientations: toward the outer world of physical reality or toward the inner world of our soul’s reality.
Every young ego’s deepest desire is to prove itself worthy by attaining success in the outer world, and unless it is denied this path for some reason, this is the one it will inevitably choose. Most families encourage the outer way because it is the universally sanctioned model for the first half of life. Even the East with its five-thousand-year tradition of inner exploration knows that young egos need to find safety, develop their skills, and establish intimate relationships before they’re ready to wholeheartedly pursue the inward path. Since this is the standard, usually only the most sensitive and introverted of souls, or those with the deepest pain or strongest spiritual longing, risk leaping into the inner darkness.
“It is the honing of the longing for the divine that reaches for the living water beneath the surface of our lives. It teaches us how to tend the living spring, to differentiate and live in such a way that sweet healing water arises from within. And when the water becomes muddy and troubled, the water also can become clear and healing again as we take the directive of the spirit of the spring. Often in individuation, tremendous refinement of love is required over the course of our lives.” ~Monika Wikman
The inward path has a different set of rules and it takes time and experience to learn them. Because this way is far less well-understood in the West, and because it requires detaching from the spirit of the times, it inevitably entails confusion, conflict, self-doubt, pain and suffering. What will happen if we leave the safe familiar way? Will we be punished? Will anyone still love us? Yet, diving into the depths in search of We-Know-Not-What, is our hope of satisfying our spiritual yearnings.
“Without a growing process of experience and differentiation, we risk lapsing into a dumb animalhood in which either the inner music of the soul may be so repressed that it seems nonexistent or a substitute may take its place in the form of regressive or sappy derivatives. It requires tremendous patience, honesty, and cultivating an ear to hear the complexity of what is constellating. There is a time to leap and a time not to leap, and these are completely individual fates and responsibilities.” ~Monika Wikman
The risk-taking leap is a leap into Love. Eros. Feeling. Every religious tradition says this is the Sacred Mystery. And if we relentlessly pursue it, we can incarnate it in ourselves. For the soul that yearns to transform culture, nothing else will do but learning to love ourselves, our work, others, the world, and otherness of every kind, including life itself.
Why is it usually a maiden who leaps into the void? Because our feminine sides live for relatedness and love. Without it we risk living without passion and meaning. No one can give us these gifts for they dwell in us. It’s that simple, really. We can nurture what awakens our passion, or we can wither. And we get to choose.
Quotes from Monika Wikman. Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness.
You can find Jean Raffa’s Healing the Sacred Divide here or at Larson Publications, Inc.
Mandorla Consciousness: Part II
There is a time for everything. The dualism that gave rise to our evolving ego and developing Christ potential has become our worst enemy: the anti- Christ. And as long as we repress unwanted parts of ourselves and project them onto others—whether these be our compulsive instincts, dangerous emotions, or frightening aspects of our masculine and feminine sides—we will struggle through the darkness of confusion and the world will be a dangerous place.
Thank you Jean…I can relate to everything you’re saying. I am just wrapping up a two month volunteer journey to Africa. It has been an incredible voyage inside and out. Perhaps you or your readers would be interested http://www.servingothersblog.com
Thanks again for your wise words, as always….
Hi Johathan. After checking out your excellent blog I understand how you can relate. I love the symbolism of you being a bridge between such stark opposites as Canada and Mozambique! And your awareness that this journey was as much about focusing on the inward reality as the external illusion. Thanks for writing, and blessings on your journey within. Jeanie
beautiful and inspiring. thanks Jean
Thank you for the kind words, Ky! Blessings…
I really feel what you are saying with this. I’m not a woman but this makes me think of my partner. She is a highly sensitive person and introverted intuitive type, who, like me, has struggled her entire life to find out where she belongs and to struggle for self-acceptance when her whole life was filled with lack of parental attunement, respect and understanding for who she is. Her difficulty in adapting to the demands of life has been her greatest struggle and we have really helped each other become more conscious of the accumulated cultural and familial complexes that stop us from honouring and paying serious attention to who we are and what we really want in life.
Sometimes it is hard to handle how much the people in life who have the most potential for love get completely destroyed or denigrated for who they are. It’s very painful for me to fathom how people could not see my partner’s value and worth and I feel that your post pays tribute to these sorts of people.
Extrinsic motivation and material success have never meant anything to her, right from when she was a child. She always comments on how she’d love to live in a tribe and be one with nature. What I once thought were cute fantasies, turned into a deeper understanding of her life long, irrational knowledge of what would make her more whole. It took me a while to figure out the significance of these images that she possesses. Like me, she seems to have an irrational “conviction” or “grasp” of specific energy filled images that would ultimately lead her to a sense of wholeness. I know most people struggle knowing what they really want but it seems that me and her never really have that problem- it’s getting there that’s most of the struggle.
Random: Jean, I’d be interested in your thoughts on how parenting and children implicate on a person’s psychological development. It’s something me and my partner are entering into together and I’ve been looking for Jungian/analytical perspectives on the maternal and paternal area of life but it seems quite hard to find anything about it. I hope you don’t it rude for asking, it’s just a suggestion, as I know I, and others, would find a lot of value in your thoughts. Thanks, Larry
Yes, it is very painful not to be known, accepted and loved for who we are. You and your partner are lucky to have found each other as people who know how this feels and want to support the development of each other’s true selves.
Parenting has a huge impact on psychological development: on the way you see yourself, on how you perceive others, on your God-image (if you have one), on your unconscious attitudes and emotions, on your sense of worth, on your sense of well-being, on your willingness and ability to accept your self and respond openly and authentically to others…….. and much more. I have a couple of chapters in Healing the Sacred Divide that describe the impact my parents had on me that might be of help. There’s also a book by the Jungian analyst James Hollis called On This Journey we Call Our LIfe that might be of help. Finally, there are books about healing the inner child that you might look for on Amazon that might be of help. By the way, I don’t think it’s rude of you to ask. I’m very happy to be of help. That’s pretty much the motivation behind this blog.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments. Sending blessings to you and your partner on your inner journeys.