Woman in the train of history has been orphaned by the death of this Great Mother, has suffered loss of connection to her own beingness, lack of sense of legitimacy and belonging in the universe or in her own individual life. Woman can draw comfort from an image of the Great Mother reaching out to her to fulfill and to bring to manifest form in her own individual life that of the Archetypal Eternal Feminine. Woman, with the help of the Great Mother, can leave the collective way to find her own individual way, for somewhere deep inside she knows she must leave to become herself. After it is over, one woman, Pat Fleming, speaks with me about the book used for the group, a history of the Elamites, of "how it was before the patriarchal period. And, in fact, shortly before the dream occurred, I had painfully decided that I must leave a conference which had been an important part of my life for more than ten years.
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Woman in the train of history has been orphaned by the death of this Great Mother, has suffered loss of connection to her own beingness, lack of sense of legitimacy and belonging in the universe or in her own individual life. Woman can draw comfort from an image of the Great Mother reaching out to her to fulfill and to bring to manifest form in her own individual life that of the Archetypal Eternal Feminine. Woman, with the help of the Great Mother, can leave the collective way to find her own individual way, for somewhere deep inside she knows she must leave to become herself.
After it is over, one woman, Pat Fleming, speaks with me about the book used for the group, a history of the Elamites, of "how it was before the patriarchal period. And, in fact, shortly before the dream occurred, I had painfully decided that I must leave a conference which had been an important part of my life for more than ten years.
I kiss Sarah, now ninety years old, on the cheek, and kneel down to gather up my books and records. I am in session with a young woman of Middle Eastern heritage, whose father was not only strongly oppressive but used a framework of Freudian psychology and actual accusations of "penis envy" to subdue his daughter. She had struggled, in her work and growth, to reclaim her fine intellect and rational thinking to aid her to fulfill herself as a woman: to have that fine rational thinking function serve her feeling values, rather than to have it dominate them and force her to live out her life either as a power-driven "son" for her father or as a piece of fluff.
At the time of the dream, she was in law school and about to be engaged to the man she loved — one whom her father had disapproved. In the dream setting, the young woman is sitting in the chair across from me.
Standing slightly behind her, in the shadows, is her Middle Eastern grandfather, in his native costume. The air around him is crackling with traditional patriarchal tribal laws, taboos, and mores. It is clear that if he had had his way, neither his granddaughter nor I would be there, certainly not sitting quietly and conferring about her life and how she intended to live it — claiming her own right to direct it. The young woman sits and quietly begins to cry. The grandfather criticizes her tears.
Something of being present in the same room with the two polarities — the young, emerging, feminine feeling side and the old, negating, oppressing, disapproving patriarchal side — fires my passion and crystallizes my words.
It is only when woman can experience her tears in the moment that she can also experience her true, deep feeling values in the moment. It was clear that they had flowed out of my own deepest feeling values — those that I fervently believed in and cared most deeply about.
I was especially touched by the podium scene — as the words "my fellow Americans" were delivered, I had gripped the sides of the lap desk my husband had made for me The dream had reminded me how helpful it is if a woman has support either from an outer man or her own inner masculine side as she brings out her feeling values, For clearly the values of the feminine need to come forth Those values need to come forth, to re-emerge with their ancient feminine strength and passion.
Those values need to come forth and to voice How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you?
A place for you to go A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself A place of women How might your life be different? How it was before Long ago when life was still sacred, in many places on earth, the Goddess was worshipped.
Known by many names in many lands, as Isis, Astarte, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Hathor, temples built in her honour saw to the care of lands and flocks and kept the books and records. The Great Goddess was revered in ceremonies perpetuating the fertility and holiness of the earth. Woman crouched on the ground during the menses in rituals regenerating the earth with the flow of her own blood. The gift of sexual love, most sacred of the gifts bestowed by the Goddess, was celebrated in yearly rites as the high priestess or queen of a region united in love with the yearly consort to honour the Goddess.
Young women, coming of age, spent a night or more in the temple in sexual union with those coming to pay love honour to the Goddess. Through this act of sexual union, a woman became a virgin And, sanctified and empowered unto herself, a woman could empower other women. Woman passed down to woman a sense of herself, of her body, of the mysteries of fecundity and regeneration.
Woman was autonomous, owned property, sat on the councils of elders, served in the courts of law, and passed down the sovereign rule, in many lands, through matrilineal descent. The children born to woman were legitimate and respectable, inheriting her property, name and title, in many places, whether or not she was married. Woman was recognized for her knowledge and sought out for her advice in practical matters. She held jobs alongside men and was valued for her insight and authority in all things seen.
But it was for her insight and authority in things unseen that woman was most valued. Through her feminine rituals, through the sacred act of sexual love, woman came into the direct presence of the Goddess, and through this experience, was opened to her own prophetic and oracular vision. Woman knew the mysteries of life and how to invoke the primal elements of nature, touchable and untouchable. Woman passed down to woman knowledge of the elemental energies in the earth and in herself, and of how to align herself with the eternal flow of those energies, within and without.
Woman passed down to woman a sense of the Goddess, of the Primal Feminine and her belonging within it. Woman passed down to woman a sense of herself as "woman unto herself. Woman passed down to woman a way of being within herself as she carried out her daily tasks in which she related to herself and to the task as sacred and necessary to the completion of the cosmic cycle, to be fulfilled by her, by her alone, again and again. Through that fulfilling, she renewed the earth, blessing the cycles of nature, quietly carving into the stillness of time the steps of her repeated trips for water, her winnowing of the grain, her nurturing of the earth.
Time passed. Things began to change. Laws were introduced taking rights of inheritance away from woman. Control over her property, finances, and legal affairs was given to the men related to her.
Her political and social autonomy was taken, and in some places she was considered property. The most supreme gift of the Goddess was denigrated — sexual love was shamed and reviled.
Her claiming of her sexuality as sacred to herself and to the Goddess was scorned and humiliated. Sexual union, once sacred and ecstatic, became debauchery. The sacred temple rituals, wherein a woman had become holy and free, were condemned as orgiastic and the priestesses as "temple prostitutes.
The serpent, venerable symbol of wisdom and nobility, was denigrated and reviled. This ancient symbol of life was abased as that which tempted Eve, and, through Eve, all of humankind, into sin and death. The wisdom of woman, gained through her identification with her body, with the Goddess, and with the earth, was no longer revered, but ridiculed and rejected. Once honoured as prophetess and seer, woman was now scorned.
Her instincts and intuition, through which she perceived the elemental energies in the cycles of nature and her knowledge of healing, were rebuked and humiliated. Among the last of nations to hold the Goddess in highest reverence and woman in a place of honour was the small land of Elam. Lying in the Zagros Mountains between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Elam was known in the ancient world for the unique respect it gave woman. In Elam, the snake, ancient symbol of the Goddess and feminine wisdom, was represented in bronze-casting and pottery.
The Elamites knew the symbol of the tree of life with its coiling serpent. The fertility symbol of intertwining mating snakes spread through the ancient world. In Elam, the Great Mother was revered as primary deity. Not until the second millennium B. And then, even as the Goddess relinquished ever greater worldly authority to the male gods, the secret rites of Elam remained those of the Goddess, the earth, and the serpent.
In Elam, among the last and alone, the Goddess was revered, woman was honoured, and, through the sacred sexual rites, she tended the elemental energies in the cycles of nature, reconsecrating the Goddess, the earth, and her own body. In Elam, last and alone, woman still passed down to woman entitlement to live her life in devotion to the Goddess and to the feminine within herself.
In Elam, last and alone, woman passed down to woman the sense of living her life each day identifying with the Great Mother, knowing that life was sacred, within and without. And then in Elam, in Elam, also, things began to change, No more could woman hold up her head to revere the Goddess and honour herself. No more could woman hold up her head, No more.
No more. She and I had known one another for half a dozen years through a conference on religion and psychology. Pat was warm and embracing, maternal. A few weeks after she appeared in my dream, her article appeared in Psychological Perspectives. In it she wrote of her loss of, and life-long search for, her mother. In the article Pat traced the steps of her earliest infant experiencing of her loss of the mother and her feelings of emptiness as a child. She wrote of her life-long effort to find a connection to an external mother, and her final hard-won sense of self as her dreams grounded her in a mothering source within herself.
The mother, first representative of the Self to the infant, constellates in the infant what will become the sense of Self within as the child grows. With the birth of that sense of self is born a sense of being seen, recognized, and valued as who one really is.
One is left, abandoned, isolated, without hope of future The child, rather than knowing itself as valued, embraced, and precious, perceives itself as tainted, condemned, sick, shamed, and guilty — eternally unworthy of love. There is a loss of the possibility of being acknowledged as who one most deeply is. If a girl loses her mother and is unable to complete this process, she may live in fantasy, conscious or unconscious, of restoring the original unbroken uruboric connection, the hope of complete unity with the mother.
She may go through life endlessly seeking her mother, involved in ceaseless activity, seeing her image in suitable as well as unsuitable individuals, and seeking from them the love and nurture so deeply longed for. She may give love to many, seeking, appropriately and inappropriately, through her giving of mothering, to ease the pain of her own loss. At worst, she may catch herself compulsively forcefeeding nurture to those who neither need nor want it.
For a daughter, the steps of separating and introjecting are necessary so that she may later reconnect with the mother. This time, it will be no longer in an identification, being "just like mommy," but in real relatedness to the mother as other. Now, the daughter may experience her own equal reality and substance as woman. Now, she may become her own individual woman self with a center, a grace and maturity of her own, not eternally a satellite circling an older, stronger woman. Pat wrote movingly of the comfort she drew from her perception of her search for her mother as that of the daughter Persephone searching for the mother Demeter, even while the mother yearned for and searched for her daughter Just as the daughter needs to mourn and to release the personal mother in order to introject her and come into a new relationship with her, so must women, since the Elamites, mourn and release the Great Mother in order to come to a new relationship and understanding of Her and of themselves as women.
Like Pat, who never had a chance to know her personal mother, woman in the train of history has had little chance to know her collective Great Mother and has longed to regain and know Her.
Circle of Stones : Woman's Journey To Herself
Circle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself
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