Blog Tour for Tuesday, April 9, 2013 April 9, 2013
Hello again. Does it feel weird to get two different posts from me for two days straight? Don’t get used to it. I can’t keep this up forever!
If you haven’t read yesterday’s post yet, I suggest you check it out before you read this one, as it explains why I’m doing things differently this week.
Today, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, I’ll be a guest blogger at Feminism and Religion, hosted by Gina Messina-Dysert. The title of my post is Incarnating the Mystery with Psychological Awareness. Click here for the link. Here’s the address in case there’s a glitch in the system: http://feminismandreligion.com/
Remember, don’t get discouraged if my post isn’t up when you go there. Just try again later. Time zones are obviously an issue so we asked the blog hosts to try to publish by 8 A.M. Eastern Standard Time (US). Some may get an earlier start, however.
Don’t forget about the give-away at my website at http://www.jeanraffa.com. You’ll find an explanation and description of the “prizes” there!
I hope you enjoyed my guest post at Cheryl’s Jung at Heart blog yesterday. If you haven’t stopped by yet, you can probably go today and for several days to come. But if she moves it to the archives, just check the address from yesterday’s post and you’ll still be able to find it. Enjoy.
The Risk-Taking Leap March 15, 2013
“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.
A Thanksgiving Blessing November 23, 2010
Years ago when The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth was first published, I presented several workshops about the differences between the life cycles of men and women. Using the model of the ancient descent myths which preceded hero myths and often featured women whose journeys followed a pattern of sacrifice, suffering, death, and rebirth — for example, the Sumerian myth of Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth — I encouraged participants to reflect on how they had experienced these stages in their own lives.
My purpose was threefold. First, I wanted them to understand the differences between how their feminine and masculine sides experience life, and to know that both are valid and worthy of our attention. Second, I wanted to guide them in an experience of inner work that would expand their self-knowledge. Third, I wanted them to understand the repetitive nature of life’s processes so that they might acquire trust that each ending is also always a hopeful new beginning.
One memory from those workshops stands out from all others. Having experienced a lengthy and painful death-like period in the middle of my life, I was speaking about the hope and gratitude that had followed it when a psychiatrist asked me a question. “I have a client who is a deeply depressed and bitter quadriplegic,” she told us. “He can’t do anything for himself. He will spend the rest of his life this way. He is not religious. What hope can I give him about rebirth? What should he be grateful for?”
The room was silent. My first thoughts were, Who am I to be talking about rebirth when I’ve never had a death experience remotely like the one this man is suffering at this very moment? What kind of hope does he have? I had an answer, but in that moment I couldn’t think how to express it in a way that wouldn’t sound flippant. I was very humbled and remember expressing that feeling, but have no recollection of what else I said. I have carried that question with me ever since and would like to answer it to the best of my ability now, just in case that doctor or patient, or someone like them, might someday find my thoughts helpful.
If you are reading this post on the day of its publication two days before Thanksgiving, I am on a plane headed for Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia, sites of some of the most horrendous killing fields on the planet where vast numbers of human beings suffered and died in ways I cannot imagine or bear to think about. What was left for them to be grateful for in their last moments?
Life. They had Sophia’s sacred spark of Life. Until their last breaths they had traces of sensory awareness, memories, thoughts, feelings. Perhaps they saw the sunlight sparkle on a blade of grass, felt a cool breeze, remembered the taste of chocolate ice cream or the feel of a mother’s tender touch, experienced a rush of love for their lovers, children, or grandchildren.
We have Life. What could be more worthy of thanks? May the miracle of being alive in this precious moment, this perfect Now, give you hope and gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day and in the days to come.