Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Seeing Through a New Lens: Part I October 25, 2016

I thought of this favorite coffee mug when I remembered my story about Ken.

I thought of this favorite coffee mug when I remembered my story about Ken.

This morning I awoke from a dream in which a woman calls me on the phone to tell me about an idea she has. “It’s erotic,” she says almost apologetically.”That’s okay,” I say, “I’ve been thinking about that lately.”

It’s true. Recently, a heightened awareness of the joys of physical life has reminded me of Jungian analyst Marion Woodman’s desiderata: ‘the eroticization of all life.’ By this she means experiencing and being grateful for the sacred energy which activates nature, our bodies and our psyches; creates and maintains the ongoing birth/death/rebirth cycle of life; and can fill our time on Earth with enthusiasm, creativity, meaning and passion. Libido, chi, Eros, God, and kundalini are some of the names we give it, but to me it’s all the same thing.

The woman on the phone continues, “Get a lens. A good one.” I imagine a big camera lens. “Take it with you. Listen to people’s stories. We don’t need more theory. We need to see real lives, hear real stories, like the one about the woman in Palestine protesting the war.” I imagine writing a new book of stories told by women from around the world. I could illustrate them with images captured with my new lens.

The dream stayed with me while I ate breakfast, read the latest news about the election, and prepared for the day. Should I take it literally? Was my anima suggesting the theme for a new book? Meanwhile I was also wondering about the theme for this blog post. Last night’s dream? Suddenly a memory of a painful incident in my teen-aged years came to mind. I had written about it in The Bridge to Wholeness, so it would be easy to rewrite here. Bingo! I had my theme. So here’s that story inside this story.

When I grew up the rules for girls were clear. Women wishing to be acceptable to mainstream society were limited to three roles:  lily-white virgin, supportive wife, and devoted mother. Any other way of being feminine was suspect, and women who stepped too far out of these prescriptions would be punished by self-righteous advocates of patriarchy. I had three experiences with this kind of prejudice during my teen-age years and they all did exactly what they were meant to do:  keep me fearful of, and submissive to, men.

The first occurred in the 6th grade shortly after my father died. I was home alone after school when a man called and asked for my mother. When I said she wasn’t home he told me in vulgar, sexually explicit terms what he was going to do to me. Then he said, “I’ll be right over.” I ran to a neighbor’s house and stayed until my mother came home. I never slept easily in that house again.

The second experience involved another phone call. The summer before tenth grade a friend was at my house when the phone rang.  It was a boy who wanted to talk and flirt but wouldn’t tell me his name. The memory of the obscene call was still fresh, and I told my friend I didn’t want to talk to him. A bold and sassy girl who had no fear of boys, she happily took the phone and continued talking as if she were me. At first this was fun but when her voice took on a disturbing sensuous quality I asked her to stop. Keeping the phone away from me and covering the receiver so he wouldn’t hear me, she continued the conversation. When she hung up, she refused to tell me what he said, and soon I dismissed the incident as harmless.

Weeks later I went to my first high school dance wearing a new white dress. Before long, the shy wallflower I had been through junior high was dancing with a boy. During a break he led me to a group of boys he knew. Among them was a boy I’ll call Ken who had a crush on me in the fifth grade. When we were learning folk dances he asked me to be his partner several times, but being loyal and shy, I never danced with anyone but Jimmy, my friend and neighbor from across the street.

This is the dress from my story. Here I'm wearing it again to the senior prom.

This is the dress from my story. Here I am two years later wearing it to the senior prom.

The boy I’d been dancing with said hello to Ken, then moved on to talk to the next boy. Face to face with Ken, I smiled and said, “Hi.” With a cold, venomous stare he spat out a single word: “Pig!”

I stared at him in shocked bewilderment. When I could get away without being noticed, I hurried to the ladies’ room where I locked myself into a stall and sobbed until the dance was over. I never wore that dress again without feeling dirty and ashamed. Perhaps you already know why Ken said that, but it took me 30 years to realize he was the anonymous boy on the phone.

Two years later my story took another turn. I’ll tell it next time. Meanwhile, perhaps you’d be willing to share a similar story. I can assure you I’ll listen.

We don’t need more theory. We need to see the world through a new lens. We need healing stories, like the video I saw on Facebook yesterday of Jewish and Palestinian women singing and dancing together in the streets to protest the war between their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.

 Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

To Be or Not To Be a Zombie: Part I January 29, 2013

dinosaursA life that is being truly lived is constantly burning away the veils of illusion, gradually revealing the essence of who we are.” ~Marion Woodman

The key is to stay awake, to listen to what comes into consciousness and to open to it.” ~Monika Wikman

Whether we grow or wither in this encounter depends on whether we cling to our ego’s rigid standpoint, or whether we choose to trust the Self and leap into the unknown.” ~Monika Wikman

These quotes summarize what I think two recent dreams want me to know. In this and the next post I’ll share them and tell you what I’m learning.

Dream #4400: X Wants Me to Meet a Man Who Speaks About Consciousness
I’m pleased to see my friend, X, at a gathering. She looks lovely in a black and white patterned dress. She tells me about a man who speaks about consciousness. She wants me to hear him so we go to his presentation. Afterwards I introduce myself and tell him I’m thrilled to meet someone else who addresses this important topic.

Associations: X is a waking-life friend who represents my light shadow. I admire her self-confidence, down-to-earth good sense, communication and mothering skills, creative abilities, poise and naturalness. She’s attractive, yet doesn’t define herself by her looks. She’s sociable enough to attend functions when necessary, but at heart she’s a homebody who’d usually rather be doing her own thing.

I suspect her appearance in this dream was triggered in part by my recent post about the light shadow. After 24 years of dreamwork I’m pretty good at accepting my dark shadow, although I tend to dwell on it too much. I suppose that’s my ego’s way of punishing itself for its pride, the dark shadow of forced humility. Ouch!  So being honest about what I like about X feels good.  Knowing and enjoying our strengths is not vain, proud, self-congratulatory or self-indulgent.  And accepting our weaknesses doesn’t make us weak or unduly flawed.

Do you see how this works? I’m burning away some illusions. I’ve learned I’m not perfect but I’m not awful either. I’m comfortable wearing black and white at the same time, and this makes me more open to what enters my consciousness.

But the black and white dress also highlights a basic difference between X and me. Whereas I’m an Intuitive, she’s a Sensation Type who focuses on basic information about everyday life. As far as I know, she’s never been very interested in inner life matters like interpreting information, finding meaning, or becoming more conscious.  So why would she know about a man who speaks about consciousness? And why would she take me to meet him?

This oddity is a clue to the dream’s meaning.  Jung said the ego has to go through the shadow to meet our contra-sexual opposite (anima or animus) who is, in turn, the gatekeeper to the Self.  My light shadow wanted to connect me with an animus image.  Why? Because his very vocation is a message for me from the Self.  This man physically goes out into the world to teach about consciousness, and I think this is a suggestion for me to consider doing more of this myself!

Here’s the big question this dream poses for me: Will I wither by clinging to my ego’s preference to work from home or will I trust the Self and leap into the sensate world I prefer to avoid? More next time.

My newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at this Amazon link or at Larson Publications, Inc.

Cartoon used with permission of Ryan North at www.qwantz.com.

 

The Re-Union of Mind and Matter March 8, 2011

The concept of the Kundalini serpent’s transforming evolutionary energy is based on the experiences of countless Spirit Warriors from many religious traditions including Taoism, Hinduism, Sufism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Hermeticism. Although its existence has not been confirmed to the satisfaction of mainstream Western science, (nor has the existence of God, for that matter), it is nonetheless a useful explanation for many otherwise unexplainable and seemingly unrelated phenomena: for example, the effectiveness of acupuncture, the unusual experiences and abilities of some spirit persons, and even the “missing link” that separates primitive hominids from today’s Homo Sapiens.

The intuitive understanding is that evolution in consciousness and spirituality is not solely the result of mental striving, but of cooperative interactions between mental and physical energies. The Kundalini life force, a combination of both, moves through seven chakras (the number varies in different traditions) or invisible focal points in the body which are connected by channels. The invisibility of these entities does not disprove their existence: think of electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves, microwaves, X-rays and gamma rays.

Each chakra represents the confluence of a specific mode of physical and psychological energy. The three lower ones — Earth, Sexual, and Power — govern the basic needs for survival, procreation and will. The upper four — Heart, Communication, Intuition, and Crown — influence more advanced psychological and spiritual activity. The Crown is our connection to sacred Unified Consciousness, and the Heart is the centerpoint, or bridge, which connects and integrates the upper and lower chakras by means of empathy, understanding and compassion.

I’m no expert in these matters but I’ve read that in the majority of people the lower chakras are activated first and the Crown and Heart Chakras are usually the last to be completed. However, in extremely cerebral and spiritually oriented people, it is possible for the upper chakras to be awakened before the lower ones. In either case, no one gets from zero to one hundred in an instant! Evolutionary growth is a slow process, not a quick-fix product.

Thus, someone with a partial Kundalini awakening can acquire great compassion and intuition and still experience difficulty with intimate relationships because of unhealed issues concerning family of origin, sexuality, or power. Another could be a brilliant communicator but out of touch with physical realities like nurturing the body or monitoring what energizes the body and what depletes it.

The point is not literal belief in Kundalini energy and the chakras, but whether or not these symbols give spiritual meaning to personal experience and promote soul-making. Although this is what religions are supposed to do, there came a time when my religion no longer did this for me. But experiencing the reality that “masculine” mind and spirit have no priority over “feminine” physical sensation and emotion was a major breakthrough that got me growing again.

By reuniting our minds and bodies, Serpent Mother returns us to the magical childhood mystery of living in the here and now, but with an important difference.  This time we know the place for the first time and experience appreciation and gratitude for what Jungian analyst Marion Woodman calls “the eroticization of all of life.”

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

 

Healing Wounded Masculine and Feminine Energy: Part I September 21, 2010

In response to my post, “Breaking Through to the One Thing,” Annette asked how to heal the masculine energy in women and feminine energy in men. This is a great question and a very welcome one. I’ve been wanting to deal with the “How-To’s” for a while now. So in this and the next post I’ll be presenting my “prescription” for healing and empowering the soul.

The short answer is inner work. Don’t let the word “work” put you off. Healing the psyche is not mindless hard labor that saps your energy for a meager payoff, but a work of love that gets progressively easier and more rewarding. Why? Because it fills us with well-being to transcend our ignorance and grow in consciousness. This is our job, the hero’s journey, our magnum opus.

The process is essentially the same for both genders and applies to all aspects of the psyche. This is because every psyche is fueled by two streams of energy.  We think of one as masculine and the other as feminine. Every psychological quality, action, or way of perceiving of which we are capable belongs to one or the other of these categories. (Remember, this is not about gender stereotypes, roles, or sexuality, but psycho-spiritual functioning.) When both streams are allowed to flow freely and spontaneously, unimpeded by mental or physical blockages, our bodies and minds function at optimum levels.

The long answer is that there are four steps to inner work. While I could write a book about each step, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to read it here. So I’ll keep it short and simple.

Step #1: Set Your Intention. Healing begins when you make a conscious choice to take your inner discomfort seriously and take action to overcome your resistance, laziness, apathy, and inertia. The greatest obstacle is fear. Most of us are very intimidated by the idea of discovering something disagreeable about ourselves and it takes an unusually strong and healthy ego to delve deeply into the unconscious. But if you remember that giving in to your fear will only perpetuate your suffering and keep you from bringing out your best, you can acquire the courage and self-discipline to stand up, step out, and show up with a warrior’s “Just do it” determination.

But what action will you be taking? What will you be showing up for? Essentially the same things you would do to heal a physical dis-ease: Take your medicine, exercise, and diet.

Step #2. Take Your Medicine. The medicine that heals souls is self-knowledge. To acquire it you need to seek help and do your homework. People who have been on the path for many years know what you’re going through. They can help you pinpoint problems and suggest treatments. Don’t overlook this step. Surrender is part of the solution. If studying with a mentor, enrolling in classes, attending workshops, or getting counseling is out of the question because of time or money restraints, then find a study partner or start a study group and read. Read. Read!

My favorite early author/mentors were Jungians Robert A. Johnson (Inner Work, He, She, and We),   John Sanford (The Invisible Partners and The Kingdom Within), and Marion Woodman (The Ravaged Bridegroom, The Pregnant Virgin, Addiction to Perfection). I highly recommend these brilliant writers whose healing wisdom comes from years of personal experience. Their works contain extraordinary gems of wisdom and I encourage anyone who’s interested to check them out. Meanwhile, stay tuned for steps #3 and #4.

Healing the Sacred Divide can be found here at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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