Something happened to me after my last post. Something clicked. I’ve got to chuckle because, after all this time—after having ceased exploring my femininity many months ago and setting my sights on what I considered vastly different horizons—I find myself here. Writing a post titled, “Of the Sacred Feminine.” It’s funny how projects like this one come full circle.
Because it all happened quite by accident. I was having fun with some ideas. Trying to fuse Jung, Horney, May, and countless other psychologists/philosophers/poets who I’ve read and re-read over the past serval months, looking for some semblance of order in that wild tide of information. Something to frame it, reign it all in. And as far as I’m concerned, the a-ha moment came the second a voice in the back of my mind suggested I “buy new makeup” in order to begin the rather arduous process of internal self-transformation. To become a new woman. (To be clear, I don’t really want to be a “new” or radically “different” woman. I’ve come too far for that.) But, I learned something about myself in that moment. Something I’d been chasing, or circumambulating, for months. For a year. For almost two full years since I’ve started The Used Life. That little voice is everything.
Indeed, it’s one thing for me to contemplate my femininity, another for me to take the initiative to write about it with the intent of dignifying, or re-creating, it, and it is quite remarkably another for me to honor it. All different layers of experience and meaning. Depth. I tried the goddess angle, thinking I might find an icon or a figure that would open my eyes to the sacred feminine within. And I failed miserably. I was unable to develop a strong affinity for any of those images or myths. They don’t feel like me. But I finally realized that was never what I needed to learn. I didn’t need to look outside. I needed to learn how to experience myself. Because the feminine within me becomes sacred the moment I honor it.
How strange and wonderful it is to finally understand this. Wonderful to experience it. Strange because it all seemed to happen coincidentally. Because I chose to respect one haphazard thought about my girlishness. My knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss it and move on in another, decidedly more rational, direction. But my intuition signaled it was important, and I listened. And I am proud of that. I consider it a kind of achievement, actually, a milestone, in my inner work. Because it resulted in what feels like a radically new form of self-discovery. My inner life becomes sacred when I honor it.
I am enjoying Jung and attribute some of these developments to my reading of both his autobiography and The Red Book. (Jung and Kerényi’s The Science of Mythology is next.) As with the feminine, I am beginning to understand that myths and archetypes need not be “seen” as Jung “saw” Elijah and Salome in his dreams and reflections. But they are experienced. A realization I came to myself this afternoon, as I composed a short summary of Seven Road for a word-art-themed exhibition in which T. Blake and I are hoping to participate next month. And I never know where to begin when describing my own work. I found myself writing the following:
“Seven Road” is a narrative poem that represents a collaborative effort between anonymous poet, TheUsedLife, and the artist, T. Blake. Told from the perspective of a woman who has been swept away on a magic carpet ride with an archetypal “wise old man” who bestows on her the wisdom of the ages, the work represents a fusion of philosophy, psychology, alchemy, and music. The poem consists of a total of five sections and five images. To learn more, visit theusedlife.com.
I could think of no better way to describe the prophet, or sage, in “Seven Road” than as a wise old man. And, yet I only conjured an image of him in my imagination. He didn’t come to me in a dream or a vision. That is, it was instinctual for me to use a magical, or mystical, older man as the purveyor of wisdom. That is always my first impulse. Because a wise old man is the metaphor that most accurately describes my inner experience when creating a work like that one. An otherwise ineffable experience. And it is never a woman (I only made the speaker in White Apple a woman for the sake of variety.). Always an older man full of pixy dust, wisdom, and occasionally a bit of booze.
Perhaps I should have titled this post, “Of the Sacred Feminine and Other Things.” But, alas, I’ve said all I can think to say. Now, I’ve got a great deal more reading to do and some new—or, rather, old—records that require listening.