The light filled centre


photo by Sue Vincent

The search had take so long – most of her life really.   Born in tumultuous times to passionate and volatile parents, upheaval and dissonance had been Christine’s story since earliest childhood.   Searching for a some place to call home – some place that offered her a sense of security and stability – had taken her across the globe and deep into the mysteries, legends and stories of other cultures.

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Now, as the years added up and her hair greyed at the temples, Christine retreated behind the closed door of the little flat she rented downtown.    Her forays out were of an essential nature.   Going to work, buying food and supplies, getting out for a walk in nature when she could – these events marked the passage of her days.  Beyond this she did not bother with going out and about as she had once done.   No, she told concerned friends, she was not depressed.   She just needed to be alone for a bit.

Sitting in her flat mulling over her life she came to see that what she was looking for was an inner centredness.   She’d called it a quest for a home and a sense of belonging during those years when she’d looked here, there and everywhere in the outer world but really, what she was looking for was a sense of belonging inside herself – a sense of coming home to herself.   What she was seeking was an inner foundation – a place where she could stand strong and secure within herself regardless of outer events.

Some of the things she’d learnt on her travels assumed a greater significance to her now.  Certain meditations and visualizations carried her into inner realms that nourished and sustained.  Some of the sacred objects she’d crafted in workshops with other women embodied spiritual energies she sought to integrate within herself.   Although the objects – the wands, drums, medicine bundles and spirit dolls – had their origins in other cultures, the women had fashioned their own meanings and contemporary applications into these ancient tools.    Looking at them now as they sat on her altar she saw they were still potent receptacles of ancestral, archetypal and spiritual energies.  These days too she often turned to the spiritual books she’d acquired and, increasingly, the online blogs and websites of contemporary spiritual practitioners.   These sources offered her guidance and reassurance that the inner journey she was undertaking was both profound and necessary.

Using these diverse spiritual tools drawn from many faiths and cultures she shifted through her personal memories and plunged into an investigation of her bloodline inheritances.    As time went by she found too that she began to unpick the cultural stories she’d assumed to be unassailable facts but now saw to be constructs erected to promote conformity to capitalist agendas and limited social structures.

As the months went by Christine began to wrestle some kind of treasure from her inner dross and darkness.   Her state of mind shifted and she began to experience extended periods  where she felt illuminated by an inner lightness of being.   She had occasioned upon these feelings before for brief moments during the drug highs and sexual bliss of youthful experiences then later, in deep mindfulness meditations.    Sometimes at sacred sites or sitting in circle with indigenous teachers similar states of consciousness had uplifted her temporarily.

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Now as her mental and emotional landscape cleared the lightness of being became stronger and more stable.    Uncanny synchronicities and intuitive flashes of understanding occurred more frequently as she began to circle around an inner locus of being that was unassailable and immutable.

It was at this point that Christine realized integrating this new sense of self was, in fact, her life’s work.   Everything of any value flowed from that.     Even while she was still in the process of building this new inner structure she felt she needed to go back out into the world.  While there was a part of her that was quietly appalled by this idea  (some people were so damn scary these days) she came to understand that it was only in interactions with others that she could test her new found way of being.   Any places where she still needed to do some inner work would quickly become apparent that way. On a deeper level there was too the emerging knowing that knowledge gained meant little if it was not applied to real life situations.

photo by Sue Vincent.   prompt: https://scvincent.com/2019/03/28/thursday-photo-prompt-bright-writephoto/

The Green Man

I made another spirit doll this week.   It felt incomplete until I saw Sue Vincent’s  prompt  – https://scvincent.com/2019/03/14/thursday-photo-prompt-sign-writephoto/

Of course!   What my doll needed was a hat.  I made him one from green leather then put him in the fork of a tree to take his photo.

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While I was making this doll I was thinking about the mythical figure of the Green Man.  It is perhaps a sign of our times that the Green Man is coming back into our awareness.  The archetype has particular relevance to men as an alternative to toxic masculinity.

I found a really good explanation of what the Green Man represents for men on https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/meet-green-man-archetype-wild-soul-dg/
“he models a different kind of manhood and strength, one that is based on relationship, caring, and true husbandry or stewardship. He gives us a powerful metaphor and depiction of the Sacred Masculine.”

Writing of the relevance of this model of masculine for our times the author describes the Green Man archetype as “a strong and compassionate masculine who respects the hidden laws of nature and interconnected relationship. In a modern incarnation, he stands for environmental awareness and action; he symbolizes cooperation with nature rather than dominion over it for resources, wealth, and power. In a sense, he is the original eco-warrior.”

I really like these ideas but feel the Green Man has a relevance for us all regardless of gender.   We all embody both masculine and feminine qualities to some degree.  On the website https://www.tlc-uu.org/awakening-the-sacred-masculine-introducing-the-green-man/ I read:
“As the Goddess makes her return, we must also resurrect the Green Man so that both feminine and masculine are united in a healthy balance of head and heart, intellect and imagination, intuition and reason, force and flow. Cultivating a healthy sense both of our masculine and feminine sides of ourselves is the only way we will ever be able to usher in an era of new balance so desperately needed in our world today. When a healthy masculinity is established both men and women will rejoice. And so too will animals, plants and future generations. The stakes for establishing a Sacred Marriage of the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine have never been higher. Our survival hangs in the balance.”

The invisible becoming visible

 

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A while ago I made a spirit doll of a female shaman with horns.   This morning she caught my eye as I walked past the shelf she stands on.

Questioning me,
the antlered spirit doll
becomes archetypal

Why has she manifested in my life?

Going online I did some research.   Horned goddesses appeared in several ancient cultures but most, like the Egyptian goddesses Hathor and Isis, had cow horn headdresses.   These days images of magical females with similar horns are turning up in contemporary art and popular culture.   The Disney fairy, Maleficent is one.   Online I read a Jungian analysis of Maleficent.

“So this story of the Sleeping Beauty deals with what happens to our feminine feeling consciousness when it is repressed, ravaged and rejected by both our society and our own ego-consciousness.  When we reject this feeling and imaginative aspect of life, it gets twisted and becomes the negative mother—the witch who wants to kill us or curse us.  And we are left cursed with our masculine, left-brain thinking that cuts off our feminine wings and power, grounding us in a masculine reality that hates and fears the Divine Feminine’s beauty, freedom and power.   

But the negative mother doesn’t just make our lives miserable: she pushes us to become more conscious. Her curse ultimately becomes a blessing, since it makes each of us face our fate and live our purpose.  That’s the purpose of archetypal stories—they show us a path to travel that will bring us to greater consciousness.”  emerging archetypal themes

Maleficent is the 13th fairy – the forgotten one.   She represents the connection of women to nature.   In our patriarchal cultural this connection has been ignored – it has become invisible.

Re-appearing now
rewriting Sleeping Beauty
– magical healing

Maleficent is healed by love and the natural world around her is restored to health.    In this way the movie becomes a metaphor for reclaiming our forgotten relationship with nature – a sacred relationship of interconnectedness.

Ancient stories 
of goddesses and fairies
finding new forms

As fascinating as these ideas are they still don’t answer my question as to why the doll I made has antlers.    Following link after link online I eventually found an article about the deer goddesses and female shamans  deer mother  While I am familiar with the ancient horned god, Cernunnos, I didn’t know that there is archaeological evidence of horned females deities and shamanic figures that date to neolithic times.

Landesmuseum Halle (artist reconstruction of neolithic headdress found in Germany – image source here

These ancient female shaman are associated with the deer and reindeer of the far north.  Their sacred significance was about connection to the tree of life, motherhood, fertility, birth and rebirth

Returning to us
images of the sacred
spirit of nature

 

prompt:  Today’s d’verse prompt gave me a way into writing about something that’s been on my mind all morning.  https://dversepoets.com/2019/02/05/poetics-invisible/  My response stretches the idea of poetry and of haibun  so I hope that’s ok with Merrill – the creator of the prompt (and with the rest of the poets who write for d’verse).

 

Forgotten stories, forgotten voices

On my way to finding new stories and speculative fiction I take a look back at an old forgotten tale.

Zeus, the ancient Greek god that ruled Olympus was a jealous old man.  Mention of his name still strikes a chord with many though mostly the stories of his exploits are now forgotten.   These days he is remembered as a legendary character, a frozen relic from another time and place.

One story about Zeus has all but vanished from our trove of myths and legends.  That story is the complicated relationship between Zeus and his first wife, Metis (pronounced Meetus).

Metis was one of the original Greek gods and goddesses, the Titans.  Chronus, the father of Zeus was also a Titan.  When his wife Rhea gave birth to a son Cronus feared that the child would overthrow him.   To prevent this he swallowed all five of his children.    When Rhea gave birth to another child she saved him from this fate by hiding him in cave.   That child was Zeus.

When Zeus grew up he did indeed seek to throw his father.  Metis helped him in this.  She concocted a drink which caused Cronus to regurgitate the children he had swallowed.   By this time they too were adult.   Two of them, Poseidon and Hades, helped Zeus overthrow their father.   Zeus then killed him.

Soon afterwards Zeus and Metis got together and Metis became pregnant.   Fearful his children might eventually seek to overthrow him Zeus tricked Metis into shapeshifting into a fly.    He then swallowed her.

As an archetype Metis represents those parts of ourselves that have been swallowed up by the culture we live in.   Perhaps it is that you are a person who has sacrificed a career to raise your children and are now unemployed and unemployable.   Perhaps you are a person who supported your partner as they climbed the career ladder only to have them leave you without ever acknowledging your contribution to their success.   Perhaps you are a person – male, female or agender – who’s voice has been silenced because of race, class, disability or gender bias.

Perhaps there is some other reason why you feel you feel your voice has been swallowed for Metis represents a type of intelligence that is often overlooked or discounted.   We live in a culture where rational, logic, scientific thinking is given preference.   Metis intelligence is intuitive, subtle and resourceful.   This type of intelligence is often dismissed as unscientific and illogical.

The ability of Metis to shapeshift can be seen as a metaphor for that kind of street wise cunning and ability to strategize quickly that can get you out of a sticky situation.   The shapeshifting ability can also be seen as the capacity for metamorphosis.  By thinking things through on a deep level and calling on the practical skills we have learnt through experience we can figure out how to move forward.   We find ways to adapt and respond to changing conditions by calling on our under-developed abilities and resources.

In these difficult times where so many of the old ways that have underpinned our culture are beginning to crack and crumble under the weight of their own deceptions Metis intelligence offers a way forward.  Quick, intuitive thinking that utilizes practical wisdom gained through experience may just be the thing that saves us – individually and collectively.

prompt:  https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/01/01/new-feature-speculative-fiction-writing-prompt/