My last three posts were about the psychological underpinnings of the upcoming U.S. election. In keeping with the purpose of Matrignosis, (mother-knowing), I’ve focused on the feminine principle and the importance of activating it in ourselves and society as a healthy corrective to the excesses of patriarchy. As you read this revised post which originally appeared here a year and a half ago, I hope you will examine yourself and the candidates with the aid of your right brain’s symbolic language for insights that might aid America’s advance in that direction.
A while back I wrote about a very damaging manifestation of the feminine principle sometimes called the Death Mother or Evil Queen. Often clothed in black, this force in us represents parts of our feminine sides that have been so devalued, wounded and abused by patriarchal excesses that they are repressed into the dark, unconscious regions of our psyches. There they become twisted, cold, vengeful and self-destructive.
In this post I want to bring some balance to our understanding of the feminine principle by addressing some of its positive qualities. But first, a few relevant words about alchemy and Greek mythology.
Dismissed by some left-brained literalists as pseudo-science, alchemy was, in fact, like mythology, a profoundly wise symbol system that sought to heal humanity’s dangerous tendency toward obsessive one-sidedness. Employing both languages of the brain, logic and imagination, its practitioners described their work as a lengthy process of refining and uniting the King (the masculine principle symbolized by the fiery gold light of the sun), and the Queen (the feminine principle represented by the silvery watery light of the moon) in a Sacred Marriage.
The result of their union was the creation of a rare and precious form of new life called the Philosopher’s Stone. This symbolized the fullest and maturest wisdom and consciousness of which humanity is capable. Unfortunately, we are still so far from this goal that it would be laughable were it not so depressing.
In ancient Greece the feminine principle was celebrated in three aspects of Goddess. These can be represented by colors. The Maiden (green), Mother (red), and Crone (gray or black), represented the mysterious circle of life–birth, maturity, death and regeneration–celebrated in Lunar Mythology. These were the dominant themes of humanity’s spirituality until the sun god’s Solar Mythology about the battle between good and evil replaced it. Today, many students of psychology, anthropology, religion, spirituality, myth and alchemy personify a missing fourth aspect between the Mother and Crone as the fully empowered Queen. I associate her with the color silver.
In the outer world of work, the Silver Queen is the most visible manifestation of healthy feminine authority. We see her in socially aware leaders and authorities of all kinds; for example, enterprising founders of innovative business practices that weaken the stranglehold of one-sided logic and linearity, or bold and balanced, firm and fair champions of nurturing change in any group, movement, or organization.
Individuals (male or female) with well-developed Queen energy can be effective within the confines of the kingly Solar Mythology that still dominates our culture. However, they do not imitate, limit themselves to, or promote obsessively one-sided patriarchal values. Instead, they consistently facilitate the re-emergence of the Silver Queen’s Lunar values.
My description of these values and how they manifest in people is based on Dr. Carl Jung’s observation, borne out in traditional literature throughout history, that the feminine foundation of the psyche–aka Sophia, Anima or Soul–is the source of our nourishing and transforming energies. It is only when we disown these energies that she turns her dark face to us in the form of Death Mother.
THE SIX C’S OF THE SILVER QUEEN
As Carer, she is there for her true self and others: she feels, gives, listens, encourages, intuits, confronts, affirms. When necessary and appropriate, she sacrifices.
As Container she holds and tolerates tension, conflicts, suffering, uncertainty and change without breaking or giving up.
As Connecter she mentors, guides and networks with other people and respects other perspectives.
As Communicator she speaks her truths, listens to others’ truths, and seeks to integrate otherness.
As Cooperator she shares her knowledge and authority without greed, prejudice, envy, abuse, or expectation of reward.
As Changer she trusts the transformative process and flows with evolutionary energy.
Reblogged this on lampmagician.
Many thanks for your support.
Well done. Thank you, once again for bringing reason to things I sense but cannot describe.
You’re welcome, Cindy. Pulling threads of reason and clarity out of the tangle of our culture’s unconscious relationship to the feminine archetype, then weaving them into a coherent fabric for all to see: this is my passion, Cindy, and has been ever since I discovered Jungian psychology 27 years ago. I can’t believe my good fortune to have been born at a time when the internet would make it possible for me to share what I’m learning with so many people. Thank you for letting me know it’s been helpful to you.
Thank you, Jean, for keeping this important dialogue going, passionately and persuasively. There is a conference this weekend in CT called SEEING RED that will explore a creative re-visioning of feminine identity and its expression in contemporary culture. You can register to hear the opening address for free through Depth Alliance at this address:
You’re most welcome. And thank you for bringing this important conference to our awareness, Diane. I’ll be checking it out and urge interested readers to do the same. The Depth Psychology Alliance’s presentations are of the highest quality.
Your illumination of the dangers of a repressed feminine in contrast to the radiant strength of hieros gamos, the balanced marriage between the masculine and feminine within our selves and our culture, is beautifully expressed.
Thank you, Sally. As you know it’s a very real potential within us that must be understood and activated before lasting peace and healing can occur.
Thank you Jeanie – those 6 C’s of the Silver Queen – would that they were imprinted in our DNA! I remember this post from a long while ago and loving it then; but reading it again in a different context – your upcoming election – makes it freshly relevant again. May the nourishing and transforming energies always be available to us all – they are there, waiting to be found.
I loved your snap shot of Alchemy and Mythology … so simply, succinctly, beautifully expressed thank you …
I love this: “those 6 C’s of the Silver Queen – would that they were imprinted in our DNA” ……and I would add, taught in our families and schools!!! You know, as I think about this, in the sense that we all inherit the same psychological potential, I suppose they actually are imprinted in our DNA. It’s just that collective consciousness as a whole hasn’t fully integrated them to the point that most of us actually live this way in daily life. So many damaging stereotypes and cultural wounds stand in their way….. As you wisely say, “they are there, waiting to be found.”
Thank you for your affirming words. They mean so much.
Yes now that you say – of course they’re imprinted!
I knew what you meant, of course. It’s an apt metaphor for feelings you and I share and I easily could have said the same. I just used it to underscore the importance of doing our inner work—a theme of great importance to me. 🙂
Lovely, Jean. I have been looking for and reflecting on leadership manifestations of the feminine principle in our lives. Your 6 sums it up so well. A big mahalo (thanks) and warm aloha.
Hi Fran. I’m glad this suits your purposes so well! I think the “sharing her knowledge and authority” aspect of the Cooperator is especially important, and a huge contrast to many traditional leaders higher up the rungs of patriarchal ladders who want to keep their secrets and turf to themselves. I guess they’re afraid that if they mentor others and allow them to know what they know and do what they do, the others will take advantage and take over. This comes from patriarchy’s shadow which has a mentality of “scarcity,” and can’t trust that abundance comes when we are all allowed to become and give our best. Very sad. Fear doesn’t realize that things don’t have to be that way!
Great insight, I love the rhythm and metaphor. Of the “C’s”, Change is the most needed. We have been swamped by brutal global wars for 15 years. It is high time for change. Jean, think back to 1969 and recall Kubrick’s “2001 A Space Odyssey” and optimism, futurism…what happened? The actual 2001 is a sad one. Let’s strive for the better. Love, Cicero
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you, Cicero. I appreciate your input. Yes, change is essential. The current political race in the U.S. brings that reality into high relief. Both candidates have the potential to lead us into a new era that will differ from traditional America in many ways. For me, the question is not “Will they inspire change?” but “What kind of changes do we want to see in our country?” I’m with you. Let’s strive for the better: the ones that introduce caring and listening and working for the disenfranchised. The ones that serve everyone, not just those at the top of the heap. Love, Jeanie
Dear Jean, the posts before this have put into words something of my response to your words. I feel as if I have lurched into the Crone phase (I’m 70) without understanding the Queen phase. Suddenly, my world view has shifted. Your energy, courage and wisdom (s) arrived here in the Southern Hemisphere as a blessing. It was as if Sophia visited me here in my study. With Gratefulness, Catherine
Oh, Catherine. Your kind, generous-spirited words come when they are needed and have made my day. I feel like Sophia has visited me here at my desk too. This morning I was feeling discouraged and wondered if I have the “energy, courage and wisdom” to persevere with this blog. But you inspire me to keep going. I’m deeply honored to have inspired a change in your world view and deeply grateful that you took the time to tell me. Love, Jeanie
Thanks for sharing your vision on the Goddess. Like Catherine, Ii have never experienced the Queen in myself. When I, at one point in time said (like a Queen would do) to a female friend that she should stop complaining about her partner because she would never break off the relationship, she was very angry with me. Lots of women feel bonded when they share stories about how they are victims. Stepping out of it, in a powerful position, that is in my eyes the behaviour of a Queen. We, women, should be able to communicate our truths, in a respectful way to each other, without being misunderstood, or interpreted as being hostile. In your book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, you talk about how you told the truth about a bathing suit of a girl (if I remember correctly) and got advice from your parents not to say those things. And of course, you always have to be careful with the tone of voice and your intention when you speak your truth.
Yes, there’s a thin boundary between positive and negative Queen energy and we are the only ones who can know our true motivations for speaking our “truths.” Before doing so we can ask ourselves these questions: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Then face the answers honestly. I see the Silver Queen as one who is strong enough to tolerate these potentially painful ongoing dialogues with herself and to act accordingly. Thank you for writing Suzanne. It’s good to hear from you. Jeanie
By the way, in the story from my book you refer to, it was the other way around. My parents told me I should notice her and consider her feelings, so I did, but in doing so, told a lie, saying I liked her bathing suit when I didn’t really. I suppose you’d say that the moral to that story is that while they wanted me to learn to care about others, as a true Queen would, I made up a story to make the girl feel good without the consciousness to realize that wasn’t true ‘caring’; it was just well-intentioned but unauthentic pretending and pleasing. Learning to tell the difference between the two so that I can assume my own authority instead of mindless conforming to what people think I ‘should’ say and do has been a major issue for my Queen. 🙂
Another wonderful piece to continue or perhaps cap your recent series. I love your list of lunar powers in the Silver Queen. I also understand the need for the powers of the Evil Queen (Repressed Feminine) to stand up against the destruction of nature, children, women, and life itself by a haughty solar perspective. Recent news makes it even more essential that we become conscious of our hidden attitudes toward the feminine. We dismiss and allow too much. I’m grateful you were able to get all these out before the big storm and the aftermath. Be well, be safe, and may power be restored soon.
“We dismiss and allow to much!” And have been for too long! Perfect. A Silver Queen doesn’t do that. We need many more of them to draw the lines and speak up, and soon. My sense is that our upcoming presidential race is doing us a service in bringing our attention to the importance of this.
On another note, my internet connection was just restored an hour or so ago, so I’m “back in the saddle again!” Yippee yai kai yay! (As they used to say in the old Roy Rogers movies!)