Sunday, July 15, 2012

Earth is Our Vessel of Transformation

The World Mother as the Vessel of Our Spiritual Evolution
            When we accept death as a natural, though unknowable, part of life, and re-unite within our own consciousness the cycle of life and death, we begin to glimpse another aspect of the Earth Mother.  Earth becomes the World Mother and we see her archetypal power as a vessel of life.  The womb and its symbols of cup, vessel or container have always been symbolic of the feminine divinities.  The womb is a woman's center of gravity and as such, needs to be valued and its spiritual power released.  The mystery of having a space within, a space from which new life issues, is a metaphor of the process of transformation.  Feminine wisdom is imparted to us through this image of a vessel.  For example, look at the idea of power.  Women’s wombs are metaphors for the fact that we are all really vessels for power to flow through.  Once we stop trying to 'be powerful' and 'hold onto power' as our old masculine, ego-consciousness desires, and start becoming vessels in which power can manifest, perhaps 'powerful' will really come to mean 'full of power' – creative powers.
            When we live in our mantle of furs like Allerleirauh, we take on the life and powers of our ‘animal’ nature.  We reconnect with our instincts, with our wild natures and with our body, which have been raped, demonized and tamed in the name of the patriarchy.  Ask yourself who are your animal guides? What do they have to teach you?  When you dream of an animal, you are being asked to incorporate that instinct.  Or you might pick an animal card from one of the many decks available to help you work out a problem.  Our animal brothers and sisters have always been teachers.  We’ve forgotten to ask them to teach us about life. Like the animals which gave their skins to Allerleirauh’s mantle, we need to honor and listen to the animal instincts, both within ourselves and in the world.  
We make the choice to live in the vessel of Earth’s instinctual life and evolve our consciousness.   For a Father’s Daughter, living in our mantle of furs isn’t easy.  We like to think and plan.  We don’t readily sit in silence and listen to our instincts or understand what our instincts are trying to tell us.  We have to learn to combine our instinct with our intellect, our senses with our intuitions.  So the hard work of naming these instincts and these feelings teaches us what they are meant for and how to choose to follow them or not.  We have to learn to work with our instincts, not repress them.  We need to understand what our instincts are telling us about our lives so that we can make difficult choices based on our inner wisdom and outer logic.
            As Clarissa Pinkola Estes details in her powerful stories in Women Who Run With the Wolves, women have lost our conscious connection to our wild, wolfish selves, the Wild Woman who is our deepest instinctive self.

Wildlife and the Wild Woman are both endangered species.

Over time, we have seen the feminine instinctive nature looted, driven back, and overbuilt.  For long periods it has been mismanaged like the wildlife and the wildlands.  For several thousand years, as soon and as often as we turn our backs, it is relegated to the poorest land in the psyche.  The spiritual lands of Wild Woman have, throughout history, been plundered or burnt, dens bulldozed, and natural cycles forced into unnatural rhythms to please others.
. . .
Healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion.  Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack.  They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave.
Yet both are hounded, harassed, and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors.  They have been the targets of those who would clean up the wilds as well as the wildish environs of the psyche, extincting the instinctual, and leaving no trace of it behind. 13

            This wild woman archetype is at the root of Allerleirauh’s insistence on wearing the mantle of furs and laboring in it. She knows the psychological truth that it is our wild instinctual nature which has been injured by the Father’s desire to marry her, and which has been injured by her mother’s demand of the king’s promise.  The only way to regain our feminine wisdom and standpoint is to allow the wild energies within us to have their say.  These energies move us to dance, to adorn ourselves with beauty, to take joy in our bodies, to come out and play, activities which until recently were forbidden to women by Western cultural mores and which are still forbidden to women in Islamic countries.  Women are now re-defining ourselves outside the patriarchal conditions that have dominated our self-awareness for millennia.  A rare and talented storyteller, Estes opens up our understanding of the Wild Woman archetype.  Her book is required reading for any wild woman in this stage of transformation.

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