Monday, June 18, 2012
Wisdom's Daughters: The Conscious Feminine
Wisdom's Daughters: The Conscious Feminine
So what is the role of women, and feminine consciousness, during these chaotic times? What do women have to offer to the 'new world order' that has arisen in the last decades? If we are not to establish it on the basis of the old masculine dominator belief system, what new birth must women mother into being? The image of the Woman Clothed with the Sun is Lady Wisdom, the anima mundi. It has also been attributed to Mary, the World Mother. I believe that it can be attributed to all the faces of the many goddesses from around the world. And I believe that if one woman gave birth to the 'Son of God', then all women have the potential to be the Mother of the Savior. It is this potential that I want to explore.
My dream of the wounded lion, the tidal wave and the voice that spoke to me of a new birth of the Savior has been a guiding light to me through the years. The images created order out of the chaos of my changing life. I go back to these images again and again, and I always find that they have something new to teach me. Soon after that dream, I moved to that town by the sea, and I experienced the ebb and flow of the tides and the moon, and I was called upon to nurture and mother the creative potential of many people there. That's where I learned to become one of Wisdom's Daughters.
Like my dream of giving birth to the Savior, women are dreaming and then manifesting this Wisdom in their lives. The New Feminine is appearing with great power in the dreams of modern women and men. These ancient archetypal images are alive and well and living in the collective unconscious of humanity. They want to incarnate in us and so they come to us through dreams and visions.
The Woman Clothed with the Sun is an image of what Marion Woodman calls Conscious Femininity. She redeems and births a new consciousness on a collective human level. It is an image of Lady Wisdom, a consciousness of human and divine love and will. It is a consciousness of the sacredness of life and of our essential place as stewards of the paradise our Creator has given us. The Earth is also this Woman, and we, Her human children, are embodiments of Her consciousness. She calls upon us to know ourselves, to become conscious of our instincts and emotions, to understand ourselves as earthly beings as well as spiritual beings. It is time to stop rejecting this earthly life out of fear and guilt. It is time to let our knowing support our being.
During the years ahead, we will need to reckon with our collective unconscious, the World Soul, or anima mundi. We need a new story, a bigger cosmology, to help us understand the changes occurring in our world. But we first need to look at the ancient stories and myths that are the formative elements of Western culture. Our whole history calls to us in these stories of the end of an Age. The collective unconscious of our many diverse backgrounds has been chewing on these images and producing many more in an attempt to understand what these times call for. What is the psychic model necessary to take an evolutionary leap in consciousness?
C. G. Jung said that the god-images that have shaped our ancient and modern psyches have been reduced to psychological processes, and we are marked with their spirit. In struggling to attain this new consciousness and our place in the scheme of things, we have to re-examine and re-imagine what our stories and our values are, and live them out in fullness of spirit as responsible adults - freely choosing our life, not moving through it at the mercy of big business, government bureaucracy, religious control and modern media techniques.
The idea of a conscious Earth is not new or even so far-fetched. Most cultures at one time had a reverence for, and the knowledge of, the ways of Nature. The Earth was The Goddess, the great mother of us all. But we seem to have forgotten this, for we have chosen to live in our heads and in our rationality for a long time now. And the Goddess retreated into the Unconscious, and was only remembered by the rejected and the downtrodden. But the extreme degradation of the Earth and of women has finally been recognized, and as our culture began to protect and defend both the Earth and women, the Goddess has returned once more to consciousness and is giving birth to new life, for that is the purpose of the Feminine aspect of Spirit. This time, the return of the Goddess will be as an equal partner to the God, not the ancient Great Mother nor Patriarchal Father, but Christ and Sophia, man and woman, united in partnership.
If we want to see a rebirth of consciousness and of culture, we need women to mother it into being as well as men to father it. Women who are conscious of their own womanly gifts and consciousness, women whose gifts are of life and of the Spirit. Women can give birth to new dimensions of consciousness, ones that are based in the intuitive and imaginative functions of the human psyche. These are the wings of the eagle that the Woman receives in Revelation. The eagle symbolizes the spiritual intellect, and is a symbol for Lady Wisdom. It is an image of the balance of vision and understanding that we all need to attain if we are to do our soul work. Lady Wisdom wants to incarnate in our hearts. We are seeing women everywhere stand up and speak out of our wisdom. For it is time to wed imagination to intellect in a new renaissance of Spirit. To create a truly democratic society, we must recognize and respect the Feminine Spirit as an equal co-creator with the Masculine Spirit.
Because women's experiences differed from men’s, it is important that women define our own understanding of Feminine Spirit. Just as our external characteristics are different and yet complementary, so too our inner knowing, which is honed by differing outer experiences, will be different, but once again, complementary. Therefore, while I speak of women's knowledge, it does not mean that it will be foreign to men, for the feminine soul in men is developing and speaking to them. But this knowledge comes from a vision of the world that springs from feminine consciousness and a woman's experience.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that western women have just recently achieved outer freedoms that were unavailable to our foremothers. And we’re still struggling against a very strong patriarchal bias that wants to dictate our sexual freedom. But women feel the need to ‘be’ ourselves more than men, who have been dominant for so long. Women now have the freedom to challenge patriarchal rules and discover the boundaries of freedom. Since real personal freedom can’t be dictated by law, but only experienced and learned, that is what women are doing – learning to be free in the world and in our relationships.
Women are growing into an independence of mind and spirit that not many women have achieved in the past. On the one hand, we’ve done this through our struggle to receive equal rights in society. Unfortunately, that meant we’ve had to allow ourselves to be molded by the patriarchy’s demands. We have learned how to think rationally, to orient ourselves to business and finance, to live and teach the moral codes of the culture. We have clothed ourselves with the sun of individuality and rational consciousness. But because of our cultural training, we have built up an ego-consciousness that is basically one-sided, like our dependence on masculine, rational left-brain functioning. We have become Father's Daughters.
But being Father’s Daughters doesn’t give us our real freedom. And so many women have gone in search of our freedom by looking within, as well as back to our ancient heritage, to discover the potentials inherent in the feminine aspects of spirit. It is the possibilities that these potentials offer women that can lead to true freedom. As women look to these feminine models, we are re-discovering the goddess images that have been repressed within our psyches. As we remember and reclaim our feminine spiritual heritage, we regain a true knowledge of ourselves as women.