Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Insights from Ireland: Cooking Possum Stew May 21, 2013

mother and babyAfter I wrote my associations to the symbols in my Ireland dream, I started on its message. The biggest clues to a dream’s meaning are recent waking life experiences and how you responded to them. I was aware of some issues, thoughts and feelings in the days before the dream, but which were relevant and which were not? In the month since then I’ve pursued several dead ends but feel close to the core now. Here’s how my thinking has evolved.

Act I: It’s obvious that my psyche (mansion) is undergoing some kind of alchemical transformation (golden urn). I get it that my animus envisions a nourishing (dining room) change that would unite the vessel and its contents. But what is the nature of this change? I don’t know.

Act II: I understand that my ego wants to maintain a smooth and shiny persona (pinboard). As a “J” personality type, (see this site for an explanation), I like keeping the outer aspects of my life orderly and organized. But what less-obvious parts of my persona (covered pin holes and scraps of paper) still need work? And why doesn’t X want me to expose them? Is he afraid people will see that he’s/I’m not always smart, confident, in control, or right? Could be. New situations like this do bring out this concern. Maybe he’s my overly self-conscious perfectionist who fears I’ll say or do something thoughtless or annoying?

Act III: Another aspect of my animus (my thinker/spiritual striver/writer?) thinks some valuable old (as in inherited or acquired at an early age) qualities should be openly displayed. This could refer to personality traits that have been helpful in my inner and outer work, and also to the fact that I’m comfortable with aging. But what’s this primitive instinct (possum) hidden beneath the externalities that I don’t want in the house of my psyche? Which of my five instincts—nurturance, activity, reflection, sex or creativity—does it represent?

The mention of the dining room suggests the instinct for nurturance. Physical survival has never been an issue, but what is problematic is my emotional need for approval and security and my resistance to admitting to these needs. This is a root chakra issue that would have begun in my infancy.

possummotherSomeone at the conference noted that possums play dead when they’re frightened; hence, the phrase, “playing possum.” Another said that baby possums cling to the mother’s fur when they ride on her back. These associations felt important then and still do. There’s a frightened young possum in me that didn’t get all the mothering she needed and somehow plays dead as a result. But how does this show up in waking life?

Here’s what was going on with me. We left Orlando on Thursday and arrived at the conference site on Sunday afternoon. The pre-trip packing, airport hassles, flight to Dublin and lack of sleep left me exhausted. Two days of hectic touring in a new city reduced my normally low tolerance for excessive stimulation to zero tolerance for practically everything and everyone! Then we left the Dublin hotel, took a taxi to a meeting point, had a long bus ride to Cromleach Lodge, checked in, unpacked and organized luggage. Then there were 37 new people to meet.

Maybe these things aren’t problematic for some personalities, but for people like me, they’re challenging. Why? Partly because I’m an Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging Type. Partly because I was fully conscious of my feelings and didn’t like them. Stoic as usual, I was doing a pretty good job of containing my emotions (playing dead), (Fred told me later he had no idea how stressed I was), but, perfectionist that I am, I considered them unworthy. Inwardly I was shaming myself and my self-criticism was dragging me down. I couldn’t forgive myself for being human!

Next time, the big “Aha!”

You can find Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon site and at Larson Publications, Inc.


Crumbdungeon or Changing Woman? September 11, 2012

I’m back in Florida now. This summer I didn’t experience much of the peace and solitude I usually get at our mountain cabin. Living amidst that wild beauty was restorative, but this was mostly counteracted by the 10 hours I spent at my computer every day unless Fred, the kids, or guests were there. I love the writing phase of a book, but promoting it is an entirely different matter! Neither my personality nor my brain finds anything fun or easy about that. It didn’t help that my computer skills are rudimentary and our internet service was wonky!

Another thing. After months of obsessing over final edits and revisions, double-checking citations for my sources, answering my publisher’s questions, and attending to numerous other mentally demanding details, by summer’s beginning I was thoroughly out of touch with many realities of daily physical  life. Adjusting to the drastic changes in setting, home, and social responsibilities required skills I hadn’t used in a coon’s age, and sometimes this magnified my usual social and sensory spaciness to embarrassing extents!

Of course, the stress of having to employ my inferior functions day after day was an open invitation to my Shadow! She found these changes in my habitual lifestyle so difficult and frustrating that by mid-August I was resigning myself to the new and decidedly uncomfortable self-image of curmudgeon! Or as my friend Eleanor calls it, crumbdungeon! Naturally, my perfectionist Spiritual Bully was not amused to see this “flaw” in my Persona.

But I learned some very valuable lessons. My difficulties forced me to ask for help more often than usual. And I received it, especially from Fred and two of his office staff in Florida. And when the kids visited, my son cleaned out over 100 items on my computer that were causing unnecessary obstacles. HUGE help! Plus, my publisher’s marketing department knocked itself out on my behalf. These almost daily gifts warmed my heart and took a huge chunk out of my tendency take the blessings of my life for granted.

In short, my “vacation” was unusually challenging but surprisingly gratifying. For example, persisting despite my struggles reactivated some left-brained circuits my brain hasn’t used for far too long. It was eye-opening to see the limitations of my personality type—INFJ on the MBPI—and the perils of obsessing over it. Combine one-sided rigidity with the natural effects of aging and you have a recipe for diminishing mental functioning. You know the saying, “Use it or lose it.” I get that now and I’ll be more proactive about balancing my inner and outer lives from now on.

Launching my new book will offer additional challenges in the coming months. With many more obligations than usual, I’ll need to think farther ahead and plan more carefully if I want to keep doing everything that’s important to me. One of these is publishing two posts a week. Thursday I’ll be presenting for the Literary Sala in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and the following week’s schedule contains four more book-signings. Yikes! This leaves little time for writing.

But I think it’s going to be okay. This summer I also learned that while I can’t always be balanced, flexible, or free from my shadow’s influence, the energy and skills I need to pursue my passions will be there when I need them…as long as I remain healthy, self-aware, and open to redefining myself every day!

You can order Healing the Sacred Divide at or

Here’s a link to the site of the San Miguel Literary Sala for whom I’ll be presenting Thursday evening:

For a neat video of the San Miguel de Allende writer’s conference, click this link: U-TUBE VIDEO


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