Beltane, if celebrated on the lunar-led earth path of the medicine wheel, is tonight.
Ancestors used to celebrate Beltane as the traditional start of summer.
Think fire, passion!! May Day, when maidens danced the Maypoles and the lusty earth was potent with the growing BLOSSOMS that at spring were birthed! When certainly some of those ancestors made love to celebrate the union of romance and marriage, as the union of sun and earth that produced the fertility of crops every year.
What a special time to think of LOVE.
Agape LOVE. Unconditionally altruistic, life giving, accepting. Transformative. Eros love, the craving for union, the longing for self and other as One. DIVINE LOVE.
I start tending my “dark” side at Halloween. On the medicine wheel, I walk an embodied daily understanding of as within, so without, and vice versa. For me, this is the truest way to be in sacred relations to all of life.
What this means is that when the days darken, I tend the season of the dark. I take it as reality that from Fall Equinox onward, and especially when we reach November and the time changes, this is a time when I am closest to my own interior darkness.
Recall (from Wild Women Wisdom, Ovulation and the Active Imagination, Nov 13, 2014) that the psyche projects its earliest understanding of dualistic thinking. Dualism is self and other. Think as well of opposites, mom and dad, good and bad, right and wrong becomes internalized as the right worldview. Good behavior is behavior that gets positive feedback so all else is bad behavior. This becomes an unconscious way we relate to the world!
Dualism is the nature of consciousness. Carl Jung deepened our modern understanding of this by helping us realize that what we are conscious of, our thoughts and feelings that we can see or name, has a compensatory opposite energy too that we can’t or don’t. He called this our shadow.
Basically, what we associate with as bad we will stuff into our shadow, where it dominates the unconscious. In this way, what we don’t work out will get acted out. Or as Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Tonight, and in general what is peaking or being brought to the light right now, is related to your conscious or unconscious experiences from late October onward.
One of the reasons (from Wild Women Wisdom, Wildness on the Full Moon Tide, Jan 5, 2015) women repress their strength or natural association with the realm of the feminine godhead (and therefor with the realm of the collective unconscious) is because we in Western society esteem a male God. Meaning the feminine has been relegated to the shadow.
The feminine, however, was at one time divined among many other aspects through menstrual mysteries.
During the 14th and 15th centuries 9 million women burnt at the stake because of a document known as the malleus maleficarum which associated menstrual mysteries with being a witch (see Shuttle and Redgrove’s (2005) The Wise Wound for more info.)
Inherent feminine wisdom, or the biological fact that we are cyclical and rhythmic just as the moon and the sun, the seasons and the tides, had to be buried deep within the collective psyche. It was demonized or repressed, which means shamed to the extent that rhythmic knowledge of one’s own psyche either as a female, or in regards to anima or feminine instincts, became associated with Satanism!
Lets consider more closely the archetypal mind of the Goddess, or the feminine divine, as a counterpart to the more known and illumined God. The Goddess oversees the realm of dark, night, intuition, death and rebirth (because the female rules the women’s mysteries, of which birth is one) receptivity, and on a more temporal or practical level, emotions, though that is equally an embodied male or animus or egoic part of the process as well (see Ann Ulanov’s interpretation for more on this.)
Bessel van der Kolk is a doctor who coined the term developmental or complex trauma. This is when the nervous system experiences normalized, environmental traumas like untreated substance abuse in the family, domestic violence, or poverty, among other things.
I would like to suggest that the wound of the feminine, or the collective suppressing of the power of the feminine, is an untreated complex trauma in society at large.
In my own experience, healing it means healing the wound of, in Erich Neumann’s words, the patriarchal uroboros in the feminine psyche.
Uroboros is the snake eating its own tail. Think about it. If the feminine’s strength is the darkness, and the darkness is also what’s been demonized both through the repression of feminine instinct as well as as the demonization of dark as wrong or bad, well then. That’s kind of a problem that, like the uroboros, is self-perpetuating.
This Beltane my dear friends, WRITE ON YOUR HEART A COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF TO LOVE YOURSELF WHOLE AGAIN: Shame shames shame. The shame cycle is part of the nebulous core of almost all complex traumas. SHAME SHAMES SHAME. This is the patriarchal uroboros.
Begin within. Healing is about awareness, keeping right relations within by starting to love yourself by being with exactly how you are feeling right now. Healing is about softening, utilizing the Wise self to be with, to accept what is right now. To accept unconditionally gives us the choice to Love. To serve and to create union with the shadowed aspects that the Full moon illumines.
At Beltane, let us align our Wise selves with the sacred heart of Divine Love inside of each of us, and transform shame. Healing is not so much an action plan as a way in which we learn to unconditionally accept and relate to our self.
This be my prayer for us all!
The last thing there is with ease is craziness in this world.
Here in the house of my grandparents where only my mom and dad now live it is dark, far darker than any other place I’ve ever been. That includes both sets of coastal mountain regions where I’ve been lucky enough to stay, over on the upper half of the west coast. Winter comes darker here in this pine-shrouded place mere miles from Ma Atlantic, in a way that’s way darker than anywhere else in my world. It is, this trip, a darkness of peace. So too this wild shining full moon: this bolt of truth-light lit up around the seeds that fell under winter-solstice’s new moon.
Wild-eyed, moony vision, passions elemental in precision, lifeforce stirrings in pine-wind and starlight. Crazyyy. I used to call such potency “Mad-Poet Vision”. Nods to the tribe who hold the line of such teachings: my name or words for this derive from Allen Ginsburg’s studies of poet-ecologist Gary Snyder, who brought the teachings back from the monks in Japan. It is, condensed, what Ginsburg taught eventually as First Thought, Best Thought.
To infiltrate the yak yak of the linear, egoic (or “male” animus mind), we allow the wild stirrings, the deeper impressionistic vibes that are psyche’s messengers to have their way.
We have been programmed, in part from societal conditioning, to believe these are two different energies and that the one that is personally predominant is such according to your gender. In truth they are a continuum of single energy manifested as receptive or active depending on your state of consciousness. Every man is intuitive and receptive and every woman is thought-driven and purposeful, or so do we each have these capacities.
One of the reasons women repress their strength or natural association with the realm of the feminine godhead (and therefor with the realm of the collective unconscious) is because we in Western society esteem a male God. The feminine, however, was at one time divined among many other aspects through menstrual mysteries. During the 14th and 15th centuries 9 million women burnt at the stake because of a document known as the malleus malefic arum which associated menstrual mysteries with being a witch. (see Shuttle and Redgrove’s (2005) The Wise Wound for more info.) Thus inherent feminine wisdom had to be buried deep within the collective psyche, so that it is demonized or repressed and therefor shamed to the extent that rhythmic knowledge of one’s own psyche either as a female, or in regards to anima or feminine instincts, became associated with Satanism!
Diane diPrima, the female contemporary of the above fellows, brought her esoteria more home to her own experience. Also entering the door via studies of Eastern cosmology, diPrima discovered the archetypal mind of the Godess, or the feminine divine. To work more closely with this metaphor, as a counterpart to the more known and illumined God, the Goddess oversees the realm of dark, night, intuition, death and rebirth (because the female rules the women’s mysteries, of which birth is one) receptivity, and on a more temporal or practical level, emotions, though that is equally an embodied male or animus or egoic part of the process as well (see Ann Ulanov’s interpretation for more on this.)
It makes sense that 50’s gnosis would seek Eastern tradition for enlightenment, in that it was an overt response to the subversive tactics of the US Government during the McCarthy era, a time which saw people like Ginsburg and Leroi Jones (who became later known as Amiri Baraka) on trial for obscenity in their poetry. To quote a line of diPrima’s Rant, THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR AGAINST THE IMAGINATION/ALL OTHER WARS ARE SUBSUMED IN IT (sic). To keep a people anesthetized on the illusion of Descartes self-vs other (embodied hate projected outwards) is the best way to keep them from opening the door to explore that our complexes begin, and can be transformed, from within. Eastern tradition introduced these 50’s rebel poets to the concept of non-dualism.
So it is that first thought, best thought was born. Jack Kerouac actually took this concept and re-visioned what the modern novel could be–allowing for a trance-like, ecstatic spiral stream of consciousness to penetrate the tops layers of personality into the more free-associative realms of the deeper psyche. This is first thought, best thought: to follow the flow of the psyche in image, sensation, words, sounds, and to not resist what it arrives with or where it leads. To especially have no plan, but, as in the case of the writer, to be a channel for and follow the words. It is, throughout this act, how the artist speaks for the society by wheeling deeper and deeper into the collective unconsciousness and bringing out more and more to the host of light, or animus/ego-consciousness.
I learned almost all of this information in books, long before I went to an Institution to study it. In fact, I had to skip school this past weekend out of reverence for the holy Poetry first thought best thought mad-eyed seeing in the dark vision. Despite my school’s worldly attempt to foster an environment that esteems Hillman’s non-literalization of the image, the final point is if you study this stuff too much instead of trying to live it–to actively dance the day with the doors of the psyche open and free–you deaden the archetypal mind. You Kill the Soul.
So it is, this moon brings me to mind of the celebration of the Tribe of the Wild-Eyed. Those of us out there being it. Surrendering, again and again, all ideas in favor of the WILD, in favor of the psyche, the inner Nature, the Soul. May the outward full moon light, symbol of consciousness and focus, of male-orientation (the full moon reflects the light of the sun!) which shine-throttled through your personal dark all weekend long and likely stirred the wildinnereyes! Guide you inward and through doing so, help you re-relate. As always my prayers are that you re-relate in gentleness and love. May this moon light be ecstatic vision, may your trust in it be as strong as my reverent love for it. May it guide you ever home.
If there’s anything to learn from diPrima and her tribe, it is that the Wild Eyed Vision, the embodiment of psyche and soul, the interchanging dance of male/female within, can happen no matter who you are.
But let it happen. That’s the work. It takes practice to return. Again, again, again.
May we have no fear of the dark, and not hide the crazy that comes with it, that we’ve all been taught to fear~
Dualistic, or Self Verses Other, Thinking
We got here to this beautiful earth handed down human from human, parent to parent, earth to foot to heart to head, and back again.
We suffer a single wound through which all else arises and which, for centuries, has been largely misunderstood and thus continually misrepresented. This wound is the wound to self or soul. Recognizing it as the blessing through which we are meant to evolve into our real, authentic self is a new way of seeing I encourage!
The psyche projects today its earliest understanding of dualistic thinking. Mom and dad, good and bad, right and wrong becomes internalized as the right worldview. Good behavior is behavior that gets positive feedback so all else is bad behavior. This becomes an unconscious way we relate to the world!
The number one symptom of an individual acting this out is do do do, keep going stay busy and there’s not enough time. To slow down, to live moment to moment, to embody soul feels wrong. Why is that? Because to slow down means sitting still with the internalized belief system that we are actually bad or wrong. Which is human nature. Christian mythology named it original sin.
“Fundamentalisms,” said depth and ecopsychologist Craig Chalquist, “flourish as eradigms end because people caught in and psychologically fused with familiar modes of thought and habit fight to avoid changing them.” He is speaking of the industrial-era, mechanistic belief system that esteems dualism. Dualism underlies what depth, eco-critical feminists like Christine Downing or Susan Rowland called antithetical thinking or binary thinking. This is the idea of self being separate from all other reality, rather than a point of reference amidst an autonomous sphere of which all of life is a part. It sets up all base conflicts in existence, for example: if this is right for me than when you do it differently it must be wrong. Which is the basic drama of childhood: reward for right behavior. Creating an unconscious association of what is wrong…
As societies we create entire social systems out of this misconception. It’s what happens when we cannot see life as a continuum of constant flow and creation, and our role as conscious creator inside of that.
Again, this sort of thinking arises out of our earliest internalizations of opposites, and concretizes around age 2 or 3 when we understand that I and my caregiver are separate, too. Now man against man, man against woman, black against white, rich against poor, man against self thinking sets up. Internalization of getting positive attention from the Other as confirmation for Self as Right sets up a lifelong tension, meant to be the doorway to the authentic self. Jung called this creation of the persona. Taking on the tension of the opposites, doing the work of self verses other, is how to individuate. He said that individuation is our true life’s work. To become who we really are.
Embodying the female menstrual cycle means seeking inward to the autonomous place from which Self arises for confirmation of our Life. The menstrual cycle teaches life embodiment in the series of different energies that rise and fall throughout the month. These phases of female biology move back and forth from being the subject, or in control during ovulation; to being receptive or the object, at the mercy of a larger biology (the right brain) during the second half or post-ovulation. The cycle embodies the deep knowing that we are life-givers, and too experience death or loss as part of the perpetual circle of life. This is supported chemically by the hormones that are released. It is proven that the hemisphere’s of the brain stimulate differently according to where a woman is–hence the energy moves between the lobes of thought driven or creatively intuitive. Women’s biology is equipped to learn inter-lobal being, or heal the damage of the split in the self.
The wound of soul is the wound of being split off from the autonomous, uncalculated depths of wholeness and endless continuum of life.
At ovulation, for women who suffer this soul-split within, it is likely that the old, internalized beliefs about what is right or wrong, what writer Julia Cameron called the Critic, will start to play through her head. This is because the psyche, at ovulation, prepares the body to create new life. So too new ideas are stimulated, new energies that draw us outward in a motivated, excited way…just as the cycle of growth in Nature or the phases of the moon teach. All is connected. But if the psyche, as most if not all do, has that split of internalized good and bad that is not being gently, daily tended and worked out, than ovulation can be a time of unnamed sadness or frustration. It is literally the wound of soul trying to create itself anew but being stopped by the old beliefs that our true inner life and instincts that arise from within are wrong.
I know I am living in an embodied way when what Jung called active imagination, or fresh thoughts, ideas, literal images in my head or energetic new thoughts or words or poems are pulsing during ovulation. I know I am honoring my truth, living my rich life in a present way from day to day. I identify with this knowing as a feeling of being rooted deeply in the relational: when I show up first to myself and it is a buoyant joy to do so. From this joy space I can then use me as witness to see what is going on in psyche. In this way I recognize that from within I am both subject and object. I see myself, and can see that I am doing the seeing. In doing so I have a choice as to how I relate to me, to the “otherness” that I label or experience as good or bad, from within. The choice is showing up with love and gentleness, compassion. Whatever the tapes that play, the feelings or beliefs or thoughts that flow from me and that I judge or repress by not looking at them, judge or repress according to old associations of good or bad. I show up to me and witness this inside, with love and acceptance. This keeps me present throughout the day. This softens the split. This heals. It’s quite simple. I am healing the wound of self/other thinking by choosing to honor and fuse both within. The heart is where this fusion lay.
Active Imagination at ovulation is a powerful archetypal tool. Work with this can open our life to deep psychic mysteries. In my experiences, the symbology at this time, and coming into relationship with it, can introduce us to generational and lineage themes that underlie our entire family pattern. This is a rich and in-depth way to approach our life, our play, our being, our work. Our true self.
Such amazing life this is. So many, many tools and riches. Begin, within!
“Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted,” said Joe Campbell, who was the preminent mythologist upon whose thoughts and ideas the study and practice of depth psychology has evolved. Deprogram yourself, dive within, begin & be wild…
are probably my favorite symbol for what my favorite kooky depth psychologist Michael Elliot might call post-modern post-Hillman moment to moment practice of…frontiering the new…
Lorde, therefor, has everything to do with this bc, haha, on my spontaneous Friday morning dance party I got to work it out to this…
It was All Saint’s Day and Day of the Dead yesterday, All Soul’s Day today, New Moon tonight or Lunar Samhain. I put a quote on WWW’s FB page out of a book called “The Herbal Lore of Wise Women and Wortcunners”. The etymology of the word wortcunner basically means root-knower. The quote was about Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls Day being an acculturated holiday from the old Celts. It’s true, in our ancestral DNA all of us have memories of times when we were connected to the rhythms of the earth, the stars, the waters, the moon. Our ancestors, no matter what the country or tribe, have these indigenous practices and ways in our very cells. In fact, part of the women’s mysteries include the neuro-scientific proof of something called behavioral epigenetics that I encourage doubters to look into. The natural growing seasons of life and death are an inseparable, intrinsic part of who we are. It is our birthright to re-own this knowledge of which we, in actuality, rose up out of the earth as extensions of…
The quote ended with this thought: “The spirits of the dead have become trick-or-treating kiddies and flying witches are but fairy stories…By now, however, folklorists do believe, once again, that witches fly to the moon–that sphere behind the external world of appearances.” Meaning the wise woman or man takes this time, and takes regular time, to quietly and reverently go within. To go deep inside, to her own sphere behind appearances~
Why do I call this a women’s mystery? Because menstrual wisdom, the cycles of life and then quiet reflection and retreat teach us this. The time every month when we shed what is no longer needed, as all of nature does, moves us intuitively through dying to the process of rebirth again and again.
It is an aspect of depth psychology, as well, which is the study of the unconscious. To know the unconscious we pay attention to symbols and images, in waking life and in our dreams. The moon, as noted in the above quote, is the symbol of what is within, as the moon hangs central to the infinite blackness of the night sky. It is a symbol, and as all symbols, holds its own messagry and wisdom that is specific to each and every one of us. Acknowledging this interconnectedness on a night like tonight takes advantage of several layers of meaning. First, the rhythmic oneness of nature of which we all are a part. Second, the symbolic, unique inner experience that each individual is prompted to unlock for his or her self. As within, so without–or to your own self being true. That is a wisdom axiom pointing to the power of your own unconscious and what lies inside. The moon, on this dark night, is the preeminent symbol of this. She is at her stillpoint, her death. Just as All Souls or Day of the Dead symbolically prompts us, we seek inside for the parts of us that have been disowned, repressed, shoved away or too far down. We seek to be honest, gentle, and begin within.
In my own meditation today I was visited by the Goddess Kuan Yin. I earnestly intended the question, what power or energy ought I mediate and pray on this coming season. Kuan Yin came to me in Goddess cards, with the medicine of compassion and mercy and unconditional love for self. She is especially known as a protector of women, which was significant in that my meditation had to do with healing very old, dark wounds to my sexuality and sense of self.
As the sun went down this eve I burnt tea lights in my window, three separate intents for three separate prayers for our world. I continue to burn a pillar candle for my own inner self, an orange candle in reverence of my ancestors and their wisdom, and a candle for the (archetype of) Virgin Mary, whose love and compassion has been a hugely healing force in my psyche this year. I will keep these burning each night til the retrograde has passed. Working with this kind of consciousness, intentionally burning candles for example, sets in our psyche a reverence and awareness that permeates into our everyday.
Happy New Year, all you with Irish blood. Happy Sukkoth, All Souls, and Festivals of Baba Yaga, Inana, and Hecate, to name a few of the many cultural celebrations uniquely honoring the same thing at this time of year. The beginning, from the end.