A month ago, we began a journey towards wholeness by confronting the depths of their psyches. Through calm reflection and meditation, we have explored the Bargains-we-have-made-Without-Knowing, the “devil’s bargains” of both the physical and mental abusive predators in our lives. The people who have misused and taken advantage of our time, energy, and love. We then descended further on our journey, following in the steps of the Handless Maiden, and realized what we have cut from our lives, and also what needed to be cut in the Stage of Dismemberment.
At a fundamental level we all crave connection and healing.
We all have been through incredible trauma, no matter how old or young we all are, we are connected by our human suffering of the heart, mind, and soul. We all make mistakes Beloveds, and we all must learn from them. We all fall victim as prey for selfish people who will take advantage of us, no matter how wise we may be, we all still sometimes fall for their charm. But we don’t have to be victims forever, we have found that we are not only our dis-ease, we are not only the memory of the pain we have suffered; but we are the summation of all our experiences, the “good” and the “bad”, and like the “good,” the unpleasant happens for a reason. Now though, we strive to experience something a bit more, something a bit more deep and personal.
We learned incredible things about our selves, and we made the first steps on a 7-Part Healing Meditation practice based on Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ work in her soul-opening book Women Who Run With the Wolves, and the story of the Handless Maiden.
And now, we begin the next step.
So, welcome to Part-3, the Third Stage of Endurance –
If you havn’t already done so, or would like to refresh your memory, please read the full short story HERE: http://completehealthcircle.com/2014/07/21/new-moon-blessings-of-the-first-stage-of-endurance/
In the story, after the Handless Maiden loses her hands, much against her father’s hopes, she leaves home to go forth and depend on fate. At daybreak, with her arms wrapped in clean gauze, she walks away from the home she has only known- she walks away from her life as she once knew it.
Along her way she becomes disheveled and animal-like again. Late at night, starving, she comes to an orchard in which all the pears are numbered. A spirit drains the moat around the orchard, and while the mystified gardener watches, she eats the pear that offers itself to her.
“Initiation is the process by which we turn from our natural inclination to remain unconscious and decide that, whatever it takes- suffering, striving, enduring- we will pursue conscious union with the deeper mind, the wild Self. In the tale, the mother and father attempt to draw the maiden back into an unconscious state: “Ah, stay here with us, you are injured, but we can make you forget.” Will she, now that she has defeated the Devil, rest on her laurels so to speak? Will she retire, handless, injured, to the recesses of the psyche where she can be taken care of for the rest of her life by just drifting along and doing what she is told?”
Would you and Will you? I hope not…
I hope that you would do what the Maiden does, and begins to wander. To begin to wander into your deeper realms of spirit, and “not withdraw like an acid-scarred beauty into a dim room forever.” The maiden said to herself, “I will dress, psychically medicate myself as best I can, and descend another stone staircase to an even deeper realm of the psyche.” The maiden’s instinctual nature says no to the old dominant part of the psyche that offers to keep her safe and hidden. She says no, and decides that she must strive to live fully awake no matter what!”
This is where the maiden becomes a wanderer, and this in and of itself is a resurrection into a new life, and a death in the old. To wander is a very good choice.
“[People] in this stage often begin to feel both desperate and adamant to go on this inward journey, no matter what. And so they do, as they leave one life for another, or one stage of life for another, or sometimes even one lover for no lover than themselves. Progressing from adolescence to young adulthood, or from married to spinster, or from mid-age to older, crossing over the crone line, setting out wounded but with one’s own new value system- that is death and resurgence. Leaving a relationship or the home of one’s parents, leaving behind outmoded values, becoming one’s own person, and sometimes, driving deep into the wildlands because one just must, all these are the fortune of the descent.”
Does this sound familiar? Are you or another loved one doing just this? Are they embracing the power of their own spirit and leaving? To find something? To wander and discover the things about themselves that will change their life path forever? If so, do not try to stop them. If so, do not try to stop yourself. Don’t come up with reasons to not go and discover. You owe yourself at least that.
“So off we go down into a different light, under a different sky, with unfamiliar ground beneath our boots. And yet we go vulnerably, for we have no grasping, no holding on to, no clinging to, no knowing- for we have no hands. The mother and father- the collective and ego aspects of the psyche- no longer have the power they once had.”
They have tried to keep their little girl safe and hidden, to hide her: the physical manifestation of their mistakes, to keep her away from the knowing, to keep up their appearances, to save face, to not have her acknowledge what truly has happened: that she was to blame, that she followed what they said and did not flee before it was too late, that she failed. But how could she not? She didn’t know any better. We cannot blame ourselves, or the Maiden, for this. How could we? But we also can’t deny that it happened. Because it did. We cannot embrace the appearance, mask, or guise that we are okay, that everything is alright, that nothing happened… Because we aren’t okay. We aren’t alright. Because something did happen! And we cannot allow ourselves to wall up our hearts, our minds, or our bodies to hide from it.
“Destiny draws her (and us) to live as a wanderer. In this sense, her mother and father die, and her new parents are the wind and the road. The archetype of the wanderer cause another to emerge: the lone wolf, or the outsider. She, or He, is outside the seemingly happy families of the villages, outside the warm room and out in the cold; that is her life now. This becomes the living metaphor for women and men on the journey. We begin somehow not to feel a part of the life that carnivals about us. The calliope seems far away, the barkers, the hucksters, the whole magnificent circus of outer life wobbles and then falls to dust as we descend farther into the underworld. Here, the old night religion again comes up from the road to meet us. While the old tale of Hades grabbing off Persephone to the underworld is a fine drama, far older stories from the matria-centered religions, such as those about Ishtar and Inanna, point toward a definite “yearning to love” bond between the maiden and the king in the underworld. In these old relgious versions, the maiden need not be seized and dragged into the underworld by some dark God. The maiden knows she must go, know it is part of divine rite. Although she may be fearful, she wants to go meet her king, her bridegroom in the underworld, from the beginning. Making her descent in her own way, she is transformed there, learns deep knowing there, and ascends again to the outer world.”
And this is what will do in meditation. We will descend into our underworlds, our inner depths of our psyche and discover our own pear orchard and eat. We will eat of the fruit of knowledge. We will eat of the fruit of our own labour and suffering. We will taste the sweet victory of finding what we have always been looking for. We will then go out and LIVE OUR LIVES. We will wander yes, but we will not me AIMLESS. We will find trust and faith again in the Universe to guide us. We will find trust and faith in our own core power of intuition to guide us. We may be different now. We may look different. Our energy has changed. We may not “care so much for things of the world” any longer. Our thirst for materialism has waned. We have found that pretty things tend to come with a much higher price. Sometimes too high a price. We may seem unkempt and wildly, but our “beauty shines regardless. We have renewed and begun a new relationship with the Self. We have gone through incredible alchemy: the stages of nigredo, rubedo, and albedo. The black and dark dissolving stage, the red and sacrificial stage, and the white and resurgent stage. Our old self is gone, and the deep self, the naked self, is the powerful wanderer.”
“Now, we like the maiden, are not only taggard, but hungry. We kneel before an orchard as though it is an altar- and it is- the altar of the wild underground Gods. As we descend to the primary nature, the old, automatic ways of nourishing ourselves are eliminated. Things of the world that used to be food for us lose their taste. Our goals no longer excite us. Our achievements no longer hold interest. Everywhere we look in the topside world, there is no food for us. So, it is one of the purest miracles of the psyche that when we are so defenseless help comes, and right on time.
The maiden is visited by an emissary of the soul, the spirit in white,” and so shall we in our own time. This spirit, be it an actual spirit guide or a physical person, place, or perhaps even just an idea; “removes the barriers to her being nourished. It empties the moat and leads us and the maiden, to true real soul food. This spirit has good sense, and assists the maiden so she does not “fall into the phantasmagoria of the unconscious, so that she does not lose herself.”
This orchard, this place of adventure of the soul, is a double of the topside world. “Difficult things may occur here, but their meaning and the learning they provide are different from those in the topside world. In the topside, all is interpreted in the light of simple gains and losses. In the underworld, in this orchard, all is interpreted in the light of the mysteries of true sight, right action, and the development of becoming a person of intense inner strength and knowing.” This is the path we are leading with this 7-Part Healing meditation. But we simply cannot just meditate, no. We must do the work. We must experience life. We must go through all the steps and processes in our own good time, but we mustn’t be lazy or put it off because we become comfortable in any given stage. You shouldn’t hit the pause button on your life just because it becomes more tolerable or convenient. You have to want it. You have to have the guts to do it. We must have the patience and the endurance to “go on toward our knowing destiny.”
Here is a promise: “the descent will nourish even though it is dark, even though one feels one has lost one’s way.
Even in the midst of not knowing, not seeing, “wandering blind,” there is a “Something,” an inordinately present “Someone” who keeps pace. We go left, it goes left. We go right, it follows close behind, bearing us up, making a way for us.”
Now we are in another nigredo of wandering, another black or dark dissolving stage of not knowing what will become of us, and yet in this very raggedy condition we are brought to sup on the Tree of Life. To eat of the Tree in the land of the dead is an ancient impregnation metaphor. In the land of the dead, it was believed a soul could invest itself in a fruit, or any edible thing, so that its future mother would eat it, and the soul hidden within the fruit would begin its regeneration in her flesh. So here, at the almost midway point, through the pear, we are being given the body of the Wild Mother, we are eating that which we will ourselves become.”
I know this sounds a tad morbid or weird, but it is a beautiful metaphor. The underworld may be dark, but it does not have to be scary. The underworld is only a metaphor for the beautiful depths our psyches. And you know what beloveds, our depths may be dark, but they are filled with stars. We have been taught since we were children to ignore our wildish natures and spirits. We have been taught to be silent and hidden. We have been systematically told to not look within, to keep things hidden there and to never let them out. I say, “no more.” Because we are what we eat, and if we eat from the fruit spirit of knowledge and self power, then soon, we will become a powerful and strong and beautiful source for healing, growth, and transformation that we never thought in our wildest dreams would be a reality. We are reclaiming ourselves Beloveds. We are on the descent journey into a world where we have been cut off from since birth. We are on the journey towards home, towards the home of our power, our light, and our peace.
So let us meditate, and begin this next step towards a more whole, and healthy, and healing, and conscious, and aware, divine human being.
Join us, where ever you are. Awake or asleep. Read this and reflect. Monday, August 25th 2014 at 11pm EST.