Coming Home to Feminine Spirituality

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Mandala“For some she came in a dream. For others in words as clear as a bell: it is time, I am here. She may come in a whisper so loud she can deafen you or a shout so quiet you strain to hear. She may appear in the waves or the face of the moon, in a red goddess or a crow.” ― Lucy H. Pearce, Burning Woman

Dear friends. Due to an increased interest in my last two posts, both of which were related to aspects of the divine feminine, I’m reposting the first post of this blog, born 12 years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

I understand that an emerging name for blog is lifestream. This seems very fitting. It reminds me of one of the two most important dreams of my life. This one came in January of 1989.

I had been teaching at a local university for ten years and was growing increasingly dissatisfied. The previous year I had discovered Carl Jung, joined a Jungian study group, and embarked on a program of serious self-examination and dreamwork. The insights I was gaining gave me the courage to consider giving up teaching to do something I really loved, but this was a very difficult step for me. Then I had this BIG dream.

Dream #155:”Going Against the Current.”

I’m walking downstream in a wide, rushing river beside a rocky bank. People are shooting by on rafts and I wonder how they keep from bashing themselves against the rocks. I don’t want to go the way any more so I decide to go back upstream. I walk in water up to my chin. The rough bottom slows my progress. I reach up and hold onto some thin, flimsy branches hanging out over the water. This helps a little until the branches disappear. Then I have to go on unaided.  

As I near the last turn, suddenly there are thousands of people in front of me, all heading downstream. I’m in the midst of them, tryng to make my way back upstream to the place I’m supposed to be – my base camp. Friendly people press in on every side. Sometimes I gently touch a head or shoulder to propel myself forward. 

At the mouth of the river I put my hands together in front of me and gently part the people as I continue walking. This reminds them of Moses parting the Red Sea and they smile indulgently. Then I’m far out in the ocean treading water. I’m tired and afraid. Will I make it? 

Suddenly a younger, blond-haired woman is in front of me, only her head showing above the gentle waves. “That was smart of you,” she says softly. I know she’s strong and rested and will support me if I need to float for a while. Together we head slowly to my base, a place I’ve never been but know to be my destination.

For me, walking through the rushing river represented the swift passage of time in my life’s journey. For most of my life I had been going downstream in the direction of least resistance, believing what I was told to believe, doing what was expected of me, and ignoring some deep, unfulfilled yearnings.

But my dream confirmed that the time had come to discover and honor my individuality. Like the children of Israel when they crossed the Red Sea, I was leaving my slavish allegiance to the collective behind. These spiritual symbols showed me that I was being initiated by the Absolute (the ocean) and led to my true Self by my inner soul guide, (the blond woman who symbolized the feminine side of the Self).

I cannot overstate the importance of this dream. I knew “I” didn’t create it;  it came from a source of wisdom deep within me. I think of this inner wisdom as Sophia, the Divine Mother. Dream Mother is the name I’ve given to the part of her that comes to me in dreams. Because I had the courage to listen to her and change the direction of my life, I soon discovered my true passions, writing and the search for self-knowledge, and they have made all the difference.

“Do whatever your heart truly desires. But at the same time carefully assess the possible repercussions of your choices. If your heart and mind are convinced, go ahead. Don’t worry about what people will say. Cause it’s you, not them, who has to live with it. Most importantly, never be afraid to swim against the current”. ~ Actor, Director, Writer and Dreamer Poonam Sahasrabuddhe

With the guidance of Sophia’s feminine wisdom I’ve decided to take my newest plunge: lifestreaming on the internet. I hope you’ll find something in the outpourings from my base camp that will help you, too, move in the direction of home.

Has the sacred feminine ever come to you in a dream or waking life experience? How did you respond?

Image credits: divine-feminine-cathedral-series-charlotte-backman.jpg. Countercurrent by Milies Johnston. With HUGE thanks to Deborah Gregory for finding this image for me.

Paper and E-book versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. The Wilbur Award-winning Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

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Comments

32 Responses

  1. Fabulous. I really enjoyed the sharing of your dream and the interpretation. Keep up the good work.

  2. I, too, have had such dreams and changed directions in my life because of them. I value the power of the unconscious as apparently you do also. The image you used is lovely and calls to me, although the one I just completed for myself last summer is the green one. The year before that, the yellow one. My daughter comes from Berkeley each summer and we choose and create one of the symbols from a book she brings.
    I love your sharing of this material and look forward to receiving more.

  3. How wonderful. I look forward to charting a course to new experiences with you. You enrich my life through your aspirations and I will continue to enjoy reading your work.

  4. What a pleasure to read your exquisite writing again and to learn of this powerful dream. I know you say I dream, but I honestly only remember one profound one and a few late -for- the- exam ones. You are blessed and wonderful to share with the non-dreamers. xxxB

  5. This is truly wonderful reading and so insightful. I am delighted that you have started this blog. I look forward to reading your blogs and cherish your pearls of wisdom.
    You are a talented writer and person.

  6. Jeanie…Brilliant!! I am so excited about your blog launch and am forwarding it to all the women in my life whom I love and know will benefit and grow with your words of wisdom. Your writing is precious to read…you are a blessing in my life! 🙂

  7. Jeanne,
    Your blog is a wonderful addition to your body of “work”! I shall look forward to reading your entries. It is no accident that you have found your path nor that I have encountered you and your path as I traveled mine! Thanks for sharing your innermost Self so that others can benefit from your experiences.
    To be continued…
    Namaste,
    HH

  8. Your expression through writing is truly your gift! Thank you for sharing it with us. I look forward to reading more.

  9. Welcome to the blogosphere, Jeanie! This is an intriguing first post and I look forward to seeing where you go from here with this. And I hope we hear from you often!

  10. Jeanie, as always, you’ve touched a place deep inside of me. One of my favorite learnings is depicted by a fish jumping upstream to the caption, “Sometimes it takes a great deal of effort to realize that life is supposed to be effortless.” Thank you for the gentle reminder and for sharing your extraordinary gifts of feminine spirituality and awareness through this new channel. More! More!

  11. Jean Raffa,
    Thank you for bringing this material out in the open for us all to consider…..such archetypal images, they resonate, ringing deeply familiar…..
    This is what the internet is best for! Heart-to-heart, mind-to-mind, communion…..
    Appreciatively,
    William

  12. Jeanie, this is really great! I look forward to reading this one in much more detail and many others in the near future. Dreams are such a part of who we are and yet most of us don’t understand what they mean in our lives. Thanks for sharing some of your vast wealth of knowledge on this subject. Thanks, Bob

  13. Jeanie,
    I don’t know yet why I “found” you and your writing when I did, but whatever the reason, I am sure we will know it one of these days! Everything you write seems to resonate with me and my spiritual growth. I found this to be true with Dream Theatres of the Soul initially and see that same wisdom in your blogs.
    Keep on writing and let me know where all this is taking you! I will do the same. To be continued…
    Namaste,
    HH

    1. Thank you, Helen,
      It is a source of great joy and a real privilege to be able to connect with people like you just by being who I have to be and doing what I have to do. Who knew the payoff for going against the current would be so wonderful? I certainly didn’t.
      Jeanie

  14. Jeanie,
    Yes, I believe in synchronicity. I have been thirsting for a way to connect with others in a Jungian understanding of spirituality,for I had hit a dry spell in the last few years. Yesterday my Yoga friend, Helen, told me of your blog and after reading your most recent entry, I wanted to start at the beginning. So here in the middle of May I respond to your March entry, which I found most compelling. I believe water dreams are particularly significant, especially those deep oceanic ones. Thank you for sharing yours and your beautiful interpretation.
    I was in a dream group for a couple years that in its beginning was a powerful workshop. Several of us had been to Journey into Wholeness and wanted to continue our explorations. However, after several years it gradually morphed into a reading group and I found myself pulling away.
    I’ve not yet read all your entries and do not have time this morn, but have you considered forming an online dream workshop and do you think it would work? I find insights from others who are grounded in the journey so helpful.
    Again, thank you for stepping forth in this new endeavor,
    Namaste,
    Sallu

    1. Hi Sally,
      I’m so glad you found me. We Jungian dreamers need each other so much, especially when traveling through the desert: you’re in a dry spell, I’m on my way to Santa Fe! Another lovely synchronicity.
      I’m a Journey Into Wholeness alumna as well. Another thing we have in common. Those conferences were some of the most significant learning experiences of my life. Because of them I joined a Centerpoint group and began concentrated dreamwork. My Centerpoint group continued meeting for about 12 years, but it, too, gradually lost its juice!
      The idea of an online dream group is very intriguing, although now that I’m writing two posts a week for my blog, I’m not altogether sure the time is right for me. I suppose it would depend on when, how long, and how often. It’s definitely something to consider.
      Thank you so much for your response. Interacting with readers is my favorite part of this. I hope you’ll visit back often and give me your feedback.
      Sending bucketsfull of moisture your way….
      Jeanie

  15. Ah, jeanie, you lucky one.
    You are probably already in Santa Fe. Such a magical place. My son lives in new Mexico and had a wonderful friend in Santa Fe, more my age than his, who was a Jungian astrologer. She was a fabulous friend to him, who he lost several years ago when she died of cancer. But I believe such authentic friendships live on and feed one’s soul even when the body is gone.
    I understand your concern about the time commitment to an online dream group. But please do keep the idea on the back burner. I am not sure it is a good idea, but finding kindred souls, grounded in a Jungian approach, who want to explore the subtarrean world of our existence in a trusting, intelligent way is a challenge. And, I have found that without such a connection , I rock along in a bit of a dither. That is why I am so delighted to find you and Matrignosis. Your honesty and insights are a gift.
    Enjoy the great food and incredible art and atmoshpere of SF.
    Yours,
    Sally
    Enjoy Santa Fe

    1. Thanks, Sally,
      Santa Fe was awesome, a gem of a town. Yesterday we moved on to visit dear friends in Angel Fire, a gorgeous ski resort 25 miles away from Taos with blotches of snow still dotting the ground in shady places, and peaceful herds of elk grazing beside the roads.
      I agree with your observation about the ongoing value of such authentic friendships; your son is lucky to have participated in one.
      I will keep the idea of an online dream group in mind; meanwhile, let’s both be on the lookout for others who might be interested. Dream work is by far my favorite mode of underground exploration; it definitely keeps me feeling connected and stable.
      Blessings your way,
      Jeanie

  16. Oh, my gosh….my son lives in Angel Fire, truly a small spot of heaven that feeds the soul. Enjoy.
    Sally

  17. Sally,
    There really is some extraordinary synchronicity going on between us isn’t there? Loved angel Fire! Rafting on the Colorado river today. Love, Jeanie

  18. Wonderful to read this Jeanie and the comments from 12 years ago – in itself a meaningful number. PLEASE keep your blog going – rich nourishment for the soul. Love, Susan

    1. Thank you, Susan. My energy and motivation seem to be returning during this phase of “Shifting from Role to Soul.” Perhaps you recognize that phrase as the subtitle of Jungian Analyst Connie Zweig’s new book: The Inner Work of Age. Was it you who recommended it to me? Or perhaps it was Deborah. Someone here did. Anyway, it has been helpful, and right now I intend to keep this blog going indefinitely. It may not be as regular as it once was….I can’t believe I wrote two posts a week for 5 or 6 years!….but I feel the need to keep sharing old and new thoughts for as long as I can. It’s an important part of my particular journey and I know it will be especially so if I don’t write another book. That’s still up in the air. We’ll see. I hope your problems with your ankle and its related issues are resolving themselves satisfactorily. Love, Jeanie

  19. This is a wonderful Jeanie, thank you so much for reposting as it’s my first read! Like Susan, I really enjoyed reading the comments too. What an incredible dream, it reminds me of a painting I saw once of a girl swimming upstream, while everyone else was going the other way. I’m so glad you took the plunge and started your blog, it’s been a treasure chest for me for many years now. Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Dear Deborah, I enjoyed rereading the comments too. This blog and the nourishing friends I’ve found through it has been an important part of my life. I’d sure love to see that painting you mention. Swimming upstream has been an extraordinary blessing in my life that has strengthened my soul’s muscles in unexpected ways! Now that’s an interesting thought: my physical muscles abating as my soul muscles expand! I hope that keeps happening….. Thank you for the soul nourishment you regularly bring to me here. Love, Jeanie

      1. Oh, I’m very excited to share Jeanie that I’ve found the title of the painting I mentioned above, its title is, “Countercurrent” by the artist Miles Johnston. When you first see it, you might recognise it, as you’re a huge lover of surrealist art too! Well, I absolutely loved Connie’s last book and will reread it again and again, much like your last two books, as it’s the best book on ageing through a Jungian lens that I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across! I did all of her writing exercises too but loved exploring the shadow life review best. I must’ve filled up half a notebook with quotes, ideas, reflections, etc from this amazing book.

        Yes, yes, yes! I want to shout, “as our physical muscles abate, our soul muscles expand! That’s such a brilliant insight, thank you so much for sharing this wise, intuitive koan too. I’m so deeply grateful for your blog and the wisdom and insights you so willingly share. What a rich journey it must’ve been for you these past twelve years. Deep gratitude. Love and light, Deborah.

        1. So it WAS you who introduced me to this book! Thank you so much. I’ve read a couple of her earlier ones but not this one. I’m reading it now.

          Yay! I’m so excited too that you found the title of the painting! I love it! As you can see, I immediately added it to this post when I found it! You’re the best!

          Thank you so much for your diligent research and suggestions! You have definitely enriched my journey over the years. Love, Jeanie

  20. To all readers: Some of my responses to everyone who commented on this post years ago are still here, but for some reason, most of my original responses are now lost somewhere in WordPress World. It just happened today. Sorry. Be assured I did respond to all of you at the time you wrote. It’s important to me that you know this. I wish you could all read my comments now. Love to you all. Jeanie

  21. Your beautiful dream of long ago encourages me in my dream work. You have always done that for me, Jeanie.

  22. Thank you, dear Joan. I’m honored by your trust. Little did I know then how long the journey would take. I’m still on it and realize now that it takes a lifetime, perhaps several, for a soul to find its way home!❤️😘

  23. I’m late again, and it seems you don’t have time to look at your comments anymore! Well, maybe I’ll get lucky this time. I always have your back and thank you always and forever for your wisdom. 🙏💖

  24. I always have time to respond to your comments, my friend! If I have missed one of yours, I’m so sorry. Maybe my comment page hasn’t been working? Anyway, I got this one! And thank you. 🙂

    1. I received an email notice of your blog post and wrote the following comment. Your site wouldn’t let me post it. It said I had to log in first. I didn’t know where or how to log in so I’m posting it here in hopes you’ll see it.

      What a great story! How wise you and Al were to figure out your own way to end your addiction, a way that not only worked, but nurtured your creative souls at the same time. I just read today that Marion Woodman said that hopelessness, addictions, and the wish for death are sure signs of the influence of the Death Mother, an archetype is becoming more and more powerful and present in today’s soulless world. You found the perfect solution. And look how creative you are now with your wonderful blog! Like Elaine, I haven’t been receiving your posts lately, but I did get this one, thank goodness! I enjoyed it very much.

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