Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Mothering New Life April 29, 2014

Most of us are familiar with the religious practices of prayer, fasting, good works, scripture study, service, regular attendance, tithing, and so on. While their merits cannot be denied, unfortunately traditional religious practices do not automatically lead to lasting healthy changes in personality, behavior, relationships or quality of life. Nor do they signify spiritual maturity.

In contrast, regular practices that connect our inner and outer lives and have self-discovery as their goal bring about positive growth in every area of our lives. Some examples are meditation, active imagination, psychological studies, creative expression, symbol work, dreamwork, body work, breath work, art, depth analysis, remything our lives to honor the feminine unconscious, journaling, and ritual.

Knowing this, many religious groups today sponsor ongoing dream groups.  I have discussed the value of dreams and conducted dream workshops for Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Unitarian Universalists. Jeremy Taylor, a Unitarian Universalist minister, has written books about understanding dreams from a psychological perspective. And John Sanford, author of Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language, was both a Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest.  These religious leaders understand that the aims of religion are compatible with those of psychology.  They know that we need not fear our dreams, for they come to bring compassion, healing and wholeness.  Aren’t these the goals of every authentic religion?

For many years I helped the Rev. Greer McBryde, an Episcopal priest, work with her dreams. Like many intelligent and ambitious women, over time she had developed a more conscious and accepting relationship with her masculine side than her feminine. But when she began to experience health problems and have disturbing dreams that seemed to warn of disastrous consequences if she continued to pursue her single-minded Warrior attitude and lifestyle, she realized she needed to give more time to her Mother. So she took an early retirement to rest, rediscover her center, and devote her energies to her relationships with herself and her family. Some time later she sent me this dream:

I am having a baby and the full-term child is born.  It is a big baby with a full head of hair and eyes wide open.  It is full of energy and ready for life.  A nurse takes the baby from my body to clean her.  When she hands the baby back to me she is small, hairless, and very delicate with almost transparent skin.  She is so small that she fits in the palms of my hands.

Greer says of her dream, “I believe that I have given birth to a new me, and it was time for that to happen (the baby is full term).  This was not premature nor was the child in any way not ready for life.  When my nurse (the part of me that is a caretaker) returned her to me, I saw and felt how small and fragile this new life really was.  I would have to handle her very carefully and nurture her with gentleness.  That new life has been put into hands that are capable of allowing her to grow.”

As Mother’s Day approaches, Greer’s dream reminds me that tending new life, whether in the form of personal growth or societal reforms, is the province of our feminine, nurturing sides.  Everyone has one.  Yet many seemingly mature  religious and political leaders are still so deeply suspicious of femininity and their own feminine sides that they would rather perpetuate blatantly dysfunctional masculine attitudes than support the fragile feminine growth that is full of energy and ready for life in ourselves and the world.

Fortunately, Dream Mother’s nightly guidance is available to all.  Each of us can, like Greer, learn how to listen,  receive, and mother new feminine life in gentle hands that are capable of allowing her to grow.

Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Diesel Ebooks .

 

Nature’s Promise of New Life April 3, 2012

Happy April everyone!  I hope it’s pleasant where you are. We’re having some beautiful spring weather in Florida. It’s by far my favorite time of year. The temperature is mild. The bald cypress trees are sprouting new growth. The confederate jasmine perfumes our neighborhood with its outrageously lovely fragrance. Rose buds unfold after their long confinement. And like a sleepy mother bear, I grumpily begin my slow crawl out of a peaceful hibernation.

Throughout March the birds were unusually active and vocal. An especially intense bird I used to think was a bittern but now know is a red tailed hawk  has been screeching anxiously in the trees across the canal every day from dawn until dusk. He has a megaphone voice and it’s not easy to concentrate in the midst of that cacophony!  Apparently this is his subtle way of advertising for a mate. I guess he found one because I haven’t heard from him in a few days, thank goodness! I imagine he’s found the girl of his dreams and his beak is now otherwise occupied in picking up moss and twigs for their love nest.

I’ve been experiencing similar issues. In the past month I’ve been compelled to leave my cozy winter routine behind and juggle a challenging final round of tasks in preparation for my new book. I was talking about it with my publisher today and he reminded me of an astrological event I’ve been hearing about. I don’t know much about these things, but I’m told Mercury is in retrograde, and when this happens it creates problems with communication.

Sure enough, in the week when the sunspots were particularly bad, both computers acted up with technical problems, and last week my e-mail provider stopped working off and on for a couple of days. This at a time when my communication needs were far more pressing than normal! At times like this one is tempted to ask, “Why me?” Fortunately I’ve had the presence of mind not to take the planetary alignment personally!

I’m happy to report that despite the universe’s interference, as of this month this new baby of mine is in the “final trimester”and all is progressing normally. We’ll have some advance copies ready for the New York Book Expo in June and the projections point to an official July birth! What with the fourth of July fireworks and my granddaughter’s first double-digit birthday, I’ll have a lot to celebrate then.

I’m noticing a related spiritual theme here: the universal problem of stretching ourselves to satisfy our drive for species-preparation and powerful need for love, the ensuing communication glitches and chaos that accompany busy preparations for birth, and the joyous celebration of new life that follows. No wonder Easter occurs this time of year. I mean nobody really knows when the events that led up to Christianity’s birth actually occurred, right?  For all we know it could have been late August.  But no! Every soul knows that wouldn’t feel right or meaningful to anyone.

No matter how hard we may try, there is simply no way to separate Nature’s cycles from our own. The human animal is intimately tied to the physical world in every way. There’s an inherent congruence between every cycle and every form of life: mental and physical, psychological and spiritual, planet and solar system, self and other. Moreover, as I wrote to a reader who commented today in response to my post about the symbolic meaning of trees, every aspect of Nature has a lesson for us if we look for it. Our world shows us where we are and what’s coming next all the time. Today I’m feeling especially grateful for her promise of new life.

 

Mothering New Life July 12, 2011

Most of us are familiar with the religious practices of prayer, fasting, good works, scripture study, service to others, regular church attendance, tithing, and so on. While their merits cannot be denied, unfortunately they do not automatically lead to lasting healthy changes in personality, behavior, or relationships. In contrast, spiritual practices based on self-discovery — such as meditation, active imagination, creative expression, symbol work, dreamwork, body work, breath work, art, depth analysis, remything our lives to honor the feminine unconscious, journaling, and ritual — bring so many personal insights that they cannot help but lead to transforming new life.

Knowing this, many religious groups today sponsor ongoing dream groups. I myself have conducted workshops for Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Methodists. Jeremy Taylor, a Unitarian Universalist minister, has written books about understanding dreams from a psychological perspective. And John Sanford, author of Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language, was both a Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest. Such churches and religious leaders recognize that the aims of religion are compatible with those of psychology.  They understand that we need not fear our dreams, for they come to bring healing and wholeness.

For many years I helped the Rev. Greer McBryde, an Episcopal priest, work with her dreams. Like many intelligent and ambitious women, over time she had developed a more conscious and accepting relationship with her masculine archetypes than her feminine. But when she began to experience health problems and have disturbing dreams that seemed to warn of disastrous consequences if she continued to pursue her single-minded Warrior attitude and lifestyle, she realized she needed to give more time to her Earth Mother. So she took an early retirement to rest, rediscover her center, and devote her energies to her relationships with herself and her family. Some time later she sent me this dream:

I am having a baby and the full-term child is born.  It is a big baby with a full head of hair and eyes wide open.  It is full of energy and ready for life.  A nurse takes the baby from my body to clean her.  When she hands the baby back to me she is small, hairless, and very delicate with almost transparent skin.  She is so small that she fits in the palms of my hands.

Greer says of her dream, “I believe that I have given birth to a new me, and it was time for that to happen (the baby is full term).  This was not premature nor was the child in any way not ready for life.  When my nurse (the part of me that is a caretaker) returned her to me, I saw and felt how small and fragile this new life really was.  I would have to handle her very carefully and nurture her with gentleness.  That new life has been put into hands that are capable of allowing her to grow.”

Tending new life is the province of our feminine sides.  Everyone has one. This is why some men are very mothering as are many women who have never physically birthed a child. But in today’s world many healthy aspects of Queen, Earth Mother, Wisewoman and Beloved are unconscious and undeveloped in males and females alike. As a result, even some very well-intended religious organizations don’t know how to nurture new life in individuals.  Fortunately, Dream Mother speaks to us nightly and each of us can, like Greer, learn how to listen. I wonder… could Greer’s new baby girl have signaled the birth of a new aspect of Earth Mother into her conscious life?

 

 
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