Saturday, December 29, 2012

I let a patch of truth develop.

Have you ever read something that leapt off the page and smacked you right between the eyes?  A phrase or a word that spun out and lodged deep inside of you?  

When I stumble upon these sorts of things, they don't read like the words around them.  They leap, dance, dart from the page.  They taste different.

Why is language often such a hindrance when trying to describe something real??
I let a patch of truth develop.
I feel these words viscerally.  Usually when this happens, I stop, dumbfounded, and then read them again several times in quick succession.  This is followed by me pounding the arms of whatever chair I happen to be sitting on and then racing for the nearest sharpie, which I use to write the words on my body.  I don't know why this is my reaction.  It rises unbidden and takes me whole.  I let myself go with it to see where I will be swept.

I went to this magical website today.  It's about silver hair and women.  It gives me hope for humankind. That is where I was found today.  I intend to do a little yoga now, letting this phrase sink into my body.  Thinking, thinking, and breathing them in.
I let a patch of truth develop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Common Threads

Archetypes, according to Jung, are an inherited idea or mode of thought that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual.  Often these surface in dreams or myths.  
I would like to talk (FINALLY!) about some important female archetypes.  Hurray!   These three in particular have cropped up in several of the books that I've been reading.  They seem to be common threads that women who write and think about this sort of thing use to describe our collective experience, or different phases of our lives.  

Each of the following: Maiden, Mother and Crone, seem to have a deep, extended history and meaning into which I have barely tapped.  Behold my limited understanding - the first steps of my exploration.

Crescent Moon:  Maiden.
 ----->  The Maiden is a virgin.  not chaste, but belonging wholly to herself.  Apparently the term "virgin" used to be in reference to a woman who was one unto herself.  I love that.  It turns the word on it's head.  Now, instead of referring to a pure, perfect almost-woman, waiting for a man, it seems strong and independent.  The Maiden is the Wild Child, the Lady of the Woods.  She is free and untamed.  Her color is White.  An example of the Maiden archetype would be the goddess Artemis.  She was the goddess of the hunt.
Full Moon:  Mother
----->  The Mother is mature, sexual, a giver of life, fertility, potency and joy.  Her colors are red, for blood, and green for growth.  She is a Creator and a Sustain-er.  The goddess Demeter is an example of the Mother Archetype.  She is the goddess of the harvest and seen as presiding over the cycle of life and death.  Even women who have never had children experience creativity and a sense of fertility and growth in their lives.  I love that we are not exempt from experiencing this phase of life.    
Look at this Curvy Mother!
Waning or Dark Moon:  Crone
-----> The Crone, or the Old Woman, is "ripe with wisdom."  She has secrets and power.  Her color is black.  Hecate is an example of the Crone archetype.  She was the goddess of crossroads and also became associated with the dead and with sorcery.   She is a pre-Olympian goddess who ruled over the earth, sea and sky.  Hecate helped Demeter find her daughter Persephone and eventually became Persephone's companion to and from Hades each year.  I feel that old women are so under-valued today in our culture.  When I am old, I want to embrace the title "crone."  I want to be wise and full of secrets that I am willing to share. 
Just because I'm old doesn't mean I'm any less bad-ass!
Every woman may identify with each of these archetypes at various times in her life.  For example, at a time of great creativity, you may feel you are a potent, life-giving Mother, regardless of whether or not you've birthed children.  At other times in your life, you may feel wild, untamed and belonging only to yourself.  Or, you may be at a place where you are ripe with wisdom and experience and have learned a few secrets with which to guide others if you so choose.  

I think there is something comforting about this idea that there is a "collective unconscious," or a shared well from which we all draw.  I think that's partly why I love that many women feel a kinship with the moon's waxing and waning.  Our female bodies have natural cycles that mirror those in the natural world around us.  We are tied to something greater by the tides of our bodies.  And beyond the obvious, we have one long cycle in our lives - waxing to full to waning to dark.  And those daily cycles, those human seasons, the tides of living and working.  

So, all of this is still very new to me.  I feel that I have only dipped my toe into the water of this deep pool.  And, to be honest, sometimes I sense that there are parts of this pool that are dark.  And while I no longer believe that all dark is evil, I do feel a need for care.  To measure my steps.  To think and talk, write and test.  But I am so excited to learn and to explore.  I feel grounded in myself and in my discoveries.  It's so good to read and to ask questions, to research and search.  This is only the beginning. 
Now here was I, new-awakened, with my hand stretching out and touching the unknown, the real unknown, the unknown unknown.   -- D. H. Lawrence

Monday, December 10, 2012

Taste the Christmas!

Fact:  the giant sticks of peppermint for 69¢ at the Dollar Tree are REAL PEPPERMINT.  They are delicious and they taste like Christmas.  I see them and I must buy them and then I must eat them.


I am so glad in my heart that the girl main character in Lemony Snickett:  A Series of Unfortunate Events is an inventor.  God bless authors who allow girls to take interest in and have talent with all things mechanical.   The boy is a reader (God bless you again!) and the little sister is a biter.  Brilliant.

Caitlin Moran.  There are apparently two easy questions to ascertain whether one is a feminist.  Put your hand down your pants.

1) Do you have a vagina?
2)  Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you answered yes, congratulations!  You are a feminist.  Of course, you can answer no and still be a feminist.  Many men whom I love cannot honestly say yes to question #1 and yet kindly and wisely treat the women in their lives as fellow human beings.  I think that's what it comes down to, ultimately.  Do you want everyone to be treated as a human being?  Then you are a feminist.

Caitlin Moran.  Her book "How to Be A Woman" made me cry laughing in my kitchen.  Each essay title is a statement capped with an exclamation mark.  I Start Bleeding!  I Encounter Sexism!  I am Fat!

Not only is this woman hysterically funny, she has some wonderfully insightful things to say about being female.  Thank you, dear lady, for advocating for hair down there and burlesque dancing instead of strip clubs and being "human-shaped."  Hear, hear!

Caitlin Moran.  I would like to drink some whiskey with this woman.  And talk about things like this:
Feminism needs Zero Tolerance over baby angst.  In the 21st century, it can't be about who we might make, and what they might do, anymore.  It has to be about who we are and what we're going to do.
While motherhood is an incredible vocation, it has no more inherent worth than a childless woman simply being who she is, to the utmost of her capabilities.  To think otherwise betrays a belief that being a thinking, creative, productive, and fulfilled woman is, somehow, not enough.
This is not of course to say that it isn't a valid choice to have babies.  There is an essay titled "Why You Should Have Children" right before the one titled, "Why You Shouldn't Have Children."  But women who choose to have babies aren't being judged in the same way that women who think they may not want children are looked at or talked to, like, "Ooooh, don't speak too soon," - as if knowing whether or not you're the kind of person who desires to make a whole other human being in your guts, out of sex and food, then base the rest of your life around its welfare, is a breezy, "Hey-whatever" decision.

Yes, I stole that from Caitlin Moran.

Caitlin Moran.  My new imaginary best friend.  We would get on so great in real life, with our inexpensive handbags, whiskey-drinking and strident feminism.