Archetypes

What is it about me…

There is a trait that I somehow exude which is extremely consistent and yet baffles me entirely.

People will stop and ask me for directions – where is this, where is that, how do I get here, when does X start, etc. It does not matter where I am, and sometimes even what I’m wearing doesn’t matter.

I’ve had people stop and ask me where things are in Nordstrom, Macy’s, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and every store in between, at concerts, at events, at dog shows, etc. I’ve even been mistaken for representatives from Corporate headquarters on a number of occasions. Boy is that odd when the manager is all kinds of treating me deferentially until I actually have to tell them “you know, I’m not from corporate. I’m just a customer”.

Today, I’m wandering through the courthouse complex in my city, trying to find where the heck I need to go to check in for Jury Duty. As I’m wandering around with what I expect is a “where am I?” look, some ladies stop me and ask where the bathroom is. Not having seen one, I couldn’t tell them. They apologized, as most do when they realize I’m not actually associated with whatever store or facility we happen to be in, and as part of that they tell me that I looked like a lawyer so they thought I knew. A lawyer … wearing jeans? Ooookay.

On the way BACK from check-in where I got reassigned and sent home immediately, I get stopped by another man who asks where he goes for Jury Duty. Well, now I happened to know that answer, and if I know then I’m always happy to tell people. So I gave him directions, he thanked me, and we went on our way.

Typical.

But why? What is it about me that inspires people to think “she knows where this illusive thing I seek is, let’s ask”? I don’t mind, really, I’m just baffled. I don’t mind for several reasons. One reason is it means people think I’m approachable enough to in fact do that. Ok, I can be down with being approachable. It also means that no matter where I am, people think I belong there. From lawyer to sales clerk to event coordinator, apparently I fit the bill. Lastly, it means that something about me says “I have the answer you seek”. Whether I do or not is immaterial. It’s perception. Often, I do have the answer.

If I could figure out exactly what this energy is, perhaps I could use it somehow? Make it an active asset of some sort. I can’t even identify what archetypal pattern it might belong to! The only thing I can think of is that I’ve taken to smiling pleasantly at almost everyone everywhere I go, and I’ve stated in previous social experiment posts I almost ALWAYS get a positive response. Even it’s a confused look with that reverse-chin-nod of greeting. I can almost imagine them thinking “I don’t know you, why are you making eye contact and smiling? Guess I’ll nod in reply.” I wonder if this energy is associated with the current quandary – but being asked things while out started in my teens, looooong before I consciously begin projecting this general pleasantness attitude so I don’t think that’s really the source.

Oddly enough, this never ever EVER translates into anything which could remotely be construed as flirting or even an invitation to engage in any way beyond “where is X”. No guy has ever taken a smile from me while out and about as anything other than “how-do have-a-pleasant-day take-care”. It doesn’t even translate to have actual friends. I’m not approachable enough to ask out, or just chat with, but if you have a question about where something is, then apparently I’m the one ask.

 

About the Featured Image: something fun I found on a skillshare site talking about Photoshop layers. I’m sorry I didn’t get the link. It’s not mine. Do a google search for it and I’m sure you can find it.

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Archetypes

Domination and Alliances

My last post was on the evolution of the relationship between the feminine principle and the dragon archetype, relaying my take that the dragon is a mythical representation of feminine power. This post also mentions something I think is very interesting and appropriate to the discussion – the relationship between the different gender principles and “power”.

The masculine principle, archetypally speaking, generally seeks to dominate the power of others and wield it as they see fit.

In Game of Thrones, the Masters attempted to recapture their power/control over their former slaves. In another part of the story, the magicians sought to capture the baby dragons, to collar and enslave them so they could be milked for their magic. In both examples, while the enslaved may survive it is hardly a beneficial arrangement to the used party.

The feminine principle, archetypally speaking, generally seeks to enter into relationship with others of power and work together to accomplish goals.

In both of the Games of Thrones examples, the attempts at by-force dominance are defeated by the relationship that evolves between Daenarys and her dragons. As mentioned previously, she never attempts to harness them in servitude until their power scares her – even then she doesn’t attempt to dominate their power as much as she tries to bury it (chaining up the female dragons underground in the tunnels). It is only when they are freed to resume their choice of alliance that she regains their allegiance. They remain free though – an arrangement beneficial to both parties.

One of the absolute BEST movies to truly illustrate this clearly and beautifully is the movie Shaolin Soccer. WOW. That movie blew me away!! I recommend everyone see it. Sure it’s subtitled, but more than worth it. The movie is about a soccer team in which all the players keep upping their power – kicking harder and harder until the ball is a rocket which literally crushes all attempts to block it. Goalies are annihilated as they attempt to block these massive kicks: clothes shredded, sonic shockwaves, that sort of thing (featured image). But ultimately the hero of the story chooses a female goalie, much against his and her own initial cultural training. In the final matchup, the kicked ball is surrounding by flames it is moving so fast and with so much power — straight at the goalie. Only she doesn’t confront the power of the ball head on as the previous goalies did – she instead takes its power for herself by redirecting it, using its power to spin it around her body until ultimately she is in total control of it and the ball spins wonderfully balanced on the tip of her finger. It’s a stunningly beautiful scene, and a hilarious movie overall. A true work of genius, and so damn archetypal I keep returning to it over and over again as the best example of the difference between how the masculine and feminine principles approach power.

Both approaches have their benefits and work nicely, but each individually is one-sided, unbalanced. It’s when they work together that a true team is made, and that’s where the whole will finally begin to win.

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Archetypes

Dragons and Power

One of my favorite favorite fantasy critters is the dragon. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern gripped my imagination at the age of 13 and inspired me to write my first novel, unfinished opus that it was. I still spent 10 years with the dragon archetype, dreaming about it and writing. The dragon is still something I adore. I have numerous lego dragons, glass dragons, carved dragons, and painted dragons within my dragon collection. I consider it one of my totem animals, even though technically it’s not “real”. Archetypally speaking, however, it’s very real. It is a very real construct of our collective imagination, common to all of humanity – though each culture has its own spin and version and what it means.

Being a Westerner, I can really only comment with any degree of authority on the dragon’s evolution within my own culture. I was musing while driving, as often is the case, when a visual montage suddenly cascaded through my brain.

It starts off with medieval versions of the story, where dragons hold women hostage and need to be “rescued” by knights. For some reason, these dragons apparently coveted virgins and demanded them in sacrifice. I suppose non-virgins taste gamey? *lol* Culturally speaking, at the time, women had no power of their own. They couldn’t own land, they couldn’t inherit anything, they had no say in governance, educating them was considered a waste of time, and they were bought and sold with dowries and bride prices from owner to owner. In short, they were essentially slaves – though that concept generally gets strongly objected to. In this culture at the time, the dragon was a beast which must be slayed by the righteous man in order to “free” the woman from its dastardly, dangerous, greedy, murderous claws.

This was the prevailing archetype for the dragon for centuries, in this culture at least. Until roughly this century, when it rather abruptly changed – or rather, expanded to included something more.

Enter the Dragonriders of Pern, Puff the Magic Dragon, Dragonsbane, How to Train Your Dragon, the SunRunner series, the Dragon Heart movies, and most recently Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons from Games of Thrones. The archetype has changed dramatically … most notably with respect to its relationship with women. *LOL* Indeed, Maleficient, the dragon shape-shifting Disney witch, went from the ultimate villain to the antihero! A woman of power on two fronts – dragon (physical) and witch (metaphysical). But I think Daenerys is perhaps the highest example of this, where the dragon is the wild, dangerous, human-killing machine but is willingly wielded by the hand and voice of a woman. Virginity has nothing to do with it, unless it means “untouched by man”. I think the dragon is an archetype representing the power of women.

In the old myths, the un-owned-by-man (virgin) woman was dangerous so a man had to kill that part of her in order to lay claim to her. Her power-self had to die in order to be bought and sold without any real say, to be the biddable woman who bought the lie as “the way things are”. Her fire-breathing beastly self, the one part that refused to lie meekly, had to be vanquished. Destroyed. The myths served to help convince women that her own power was dangerous to herself as well as society at large. Indeed, if not slain then the dragon would rain fire down on the entire world and destroy it (Reign of Fire).

But in this century and culture, women are reclaiming their dragons, their power – and by doing so we’re showing the rest of the world that it’s ok to do it too. The dragons are our allies. Dangerous still, but allies. Interestingly, it’s the entire kingdom which benefits when this happens. Daenarys is a nice metaphor for the struggle of the feminine and her claiming of her own power. True she wants her throne back and will go through hell to get it, but not on the backs of slaves. Not at the expense of the helpless who cannot otherwise defend or care for themselves (read “children”). She is courageous, strong, prideful and stubborn, but she is also fair-minded, principled, and tries to be wise. In the Dragonrider’s series, both men and women ride dragons to save the world from an otherwordly threat – but it’s the women riders of the gold dragons who are the matriarchs of the dens. Granted in the story it’s still a male-dominated society and world, but that changes as the story unfolds and the dragons continue to grow in size and power.

Of course this is not universal. There are still dragons which are the bad guys, such as the movie Reign of Fire with Christian Bale. Interestingly, that movie doesn’t really feature an active feminine principle – though we do learn that the first victim of the resurrected dragons is the hero’s own mother. In this case, the dragon is so dangerous and so out-of-control that the first to fall is indeed the feminine principle, and it is up to the masculine principle to then slay the resulting creature and thus save the world.

I will say that a woman’s dragon, her power self, is definitely dangerous … if repressed. If beaten. If maligned and villified. If given no other alternative. When the masculine and feminine are left no recourse but to battle each other to gain any degree of emotional and physical safety, some form of legacy, then yes, the dragon is beyond deadly. It cannot be “tamed” like the old-school cowboy would emotionally break a horse and call that taming. But it can be worked with, allied with – provided its power is respected. Daenarys, again, is the one I look to as the archetypal example of this. Her dragons don’t wear a harness, don’t come when called, aren’t “heeled” by anything except their own choices. When Daenarys attempts to chain them because they begin to prey on humans, that is when her own power begins to slip. The slave-masters regain a foothold, and it is only when the dragons are once again freed to be themselves that her power fully returns.

Oh yes, and I am reminded that the serpent is an ancient and longstanding metaphor for the feminine principle! Dragons are often lumped in with this – the serpent/dragon. This just lends weight to my take on this interpretation of a meaning for dragon. Granted, it is not the only take – being a great symbol, it has many interpretations. Truly though, this is a fascinating example of an archetypal evolution! This could be a folklore thesis, I think.

 

 

Featured Image: The browser crashed after I saved this image and other than the file name of “woman-dragon” I don’t recall where this came from or who it was by. There was no signature that I could see on the original uncropped version either or I would have saved it and moved into the field of view. 😦 Attempts to relocate it have been futile. Let me know and I’ll link to it.

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Archetypes, Personal Growth

Why The Victim, Why NOW?

I’ve been musing on the Victim archetype, considering that it’s pretty much running amok on a cultural level right now. As with most things, there’s a bright side and a dark side. Personally, I call the Victim our “Guardian of Boundaries” and its job as I see it is to warn us of boundary infringements so that we can be conscious of what to do about those infringements. It is a survival archetype, and vital to our ability to navigate through this physical life.

That said, it has a disempowered face and an empowered face. I’m sure there are additional faces but I’ll keep it simple here. On the disempowered side, there is one key characteristic:

  • Blame others because a Victim is NEVER at fault, ever, for anything. If you have the temerity to ever even THINK that a victim had any role to play either before or after the transgression, prepare to be attacked with the standard “how dare you blame the victim” mantra.

But the Victim rarely acts alone. It brings in another survival archetype – the Prostitute, or as I think of it the Guardian of Values. Why do I say that? Because pretty much the next breath after “YOU are to blame” comes “you OWE me”. And that takes me to next key characteristic.

  • Entitled to something as a result – money, recognition, catering, apologies, etc. “You did this to me, so I demand you apologize. And give me this list of demands. Now give me deferential treatment as compensation for my pain. And…” See, the entitlement doesn’t end. As long as the blame is still being thrown and accepted, entitlement remains active and ever greedy. It’s a disempowered attempt to  regain personal power.

Right now, both of these disempowered aspects of the Victim are running riot in our Western society. A perfect example, one of many, is the litigious “I’ll sue you” perspective which is very much a combination of “you’re to blame” and “you owe” rolled into one.

Now these have a place: recognizing the source of the transgression is as important as knowing the value of what has been violated! But the disempowered side does nothing to actually move things forward – rather it continues to look backward and focuses on the actions of the past.

We, culturally speaking, are totally dancing around and reveling in our disempowered Victim … and being very angry doing it. Indeed the anger is often the justification for the continued shadow dancing. Interestingly, it’s no longer just Western culture either. I’m seeing it flare up all over the world, as if our own engagement is encouraging other cultures to do the same.

Why? Why, on a global level, is this part of our journey toward One World Consciousness? Looking over the course of our history for the past 6,000 years, as humanity evolves and goes though some serious growing pains now, what purpose does this current wide-spread engagement of the Victim support?

That is what I have been wondering about. Then it hit me, at least in part.

The role of the Victim is indeed the Guardian of Boundaries. We as a species are lurching our way into a growing awareness that All Is One, but we are also Many. Indeed, we are Many Who Are One. Like cells within a body, the Boundaries of the individual Ones is vital to the integrity of the One! But before we can actually begin the merge, old transgressions much be addressed … and released. The past must be resolved before we can move forward as a whole, and that is what the Victim is attempting to do. Alas, we may be One but we are also terribly, horrible emotionally immature as a species. Without the maturity to own our shit and work together to move forward, we will remain disempowered.

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Archetypes, Personal Growth

Victims Need Saviors

This will likely be unpopular, but it’s been rattling around in my brain so I have to explore it.

Only victims need saviors. I never really understood the whole “save us!” and “saved” thing. It never spoke to me, at all. That approach flat out assumes that I am powerless and merely tossed about by the vicissitudes of a wretched life. In order to embrace the concept that I need a savior of any sort, I first must embrace being a victim … and remain one. I must embrace a lifetime of disempowerment, to be content with what I have been given because it was willed that way.

I was watching “Mad Max: Fury Road” and that scene when one of the War Boys sprays chrome on his mouth, turns to his pals and shouts “witness me” before dramatically leaping to his death in order to take out an enemy combatant (Featured Image) … that was a moment of stark realization for me. That our belief about what is within our power, within our control, is expected of us on a higher level, is awaiting us — all of those things are powerful and I do mean POWERFUL. In the face of a true belief that my glorious death taking out enemies will be rewarded in some way beyond the here/now should be genuinely terrifying to any foe. In that moment, I understood the mindset of suicide bombers.

In Norse faiths, the idea is to live boldly and die well. This approach does not make for a peaceful society. In fact, it encourages fractiousness and constant skirmishes because everyone is trying to secure for themselves this Bold status and the real rewards which lie beyond this ugly and harsh life. Indeed, the Norse rulers of the 1000s actively voted (VOTED! ELECTED! CHOSE!) to turn away from their old ways in favor of Christianity precisely BECAUSE of this radical shift in mindset. Victims are easily controlled because the very premise requires looking to others for leadership, for saving. It says “I am a sheep and I need a shepherd that will protect and guide the flock.” Indeed, the metaphor of the shepherd is a pretty common one, but that flat out calls all followers sheep without explicitly saying “thou art sheep.”

I am not a sheep. I don’t need saving. Witness me.

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Archetypes, Emotions, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth, Spirituality

An Unpopular Cultural Wound

There’s a topic that popped into my head one day while doing my usual “talking to myself” shtick. This time, what came out turned into a rather heated rant revolving around a specific, unaddressed, unacknowledged … actually denied cultural wound. It’s a long standing wound and by this point in time it’s gangrenous and has caused a great deal of harm. It is long past time that someone, somewhere, give this wound a voice. Not to vent or spew poison — but rather with the intention of healing.

Those who’ve read this blog know of my work with familial wounding, and through that alchemizing process I hit upon some pretty nasty cultural wounds which go beyond my family. Most of them are gender related, but not this one. See, a cultural wound affects everyone to some degree who identifies with that particular culture. As to just what a “cultural wound” is, I shall you point you once again to the brilliant work of Robert Ohotto.

In this case, I’m talking about the wounded Southern cultural ego.

What is that wound? Well, it actually revolves around the Civil War and specifically the aftermath. My mom is a huge Civil War buff and I spent my childhood eventually visiting every single major battlefield with the exceptions of Antietam and Shiloh. I’ve been to every major surviving plantation home, from presidents (Hermitage, Monticello, etc) to families (Shirley, Bel Meade, etc). I was steeped in a strongly Confederate-leaning upbringing, and with that I am also very socially liberal. I see no conflict between individual sovereignty and social equality – in fact, they go hand-in-hand.

Despite all this exposure, I always thought “that was over 100 years ago; the issues are long dead”. Then I attended the 150th Battle of Gettysburg re-enactment. The final event was Pickett’s Charge. The two sides then stopped to face each other – Yankee and Confederate. Women walked between the lines carrying wreaths in honor of all the Americans who died during that battle. Then the two sides were supposed to come together and shake hands. What literally blew me away and hit me to my core was watching just how many of the re-enactors turned their backs and walked away … on both sides. The expressions of the men who chose this action were all different levels of furious. It was in that moment that I truly realized … “It’s not over. Not by a long shot.” I then remembered catching my mom once in a rant against Sherman and what an evil bastard he is. IS. She was on a roll, angry and impassioned, and speaking entirely in present tense. Truly, it’s not over for the cultural psyche if those who are plugged into it speak in present terms.

The wounds inflicted in that war were triaged somewhat, then picked at and picked at and picked at before being left to fester. The Reconstruction era was a dark chapter that doesn’t get talked about much, indeed it’s typically glossed over as if “and then we rebuilt yay! koombayah” No. My mom always said that the absolute worst thing that happened to the South other than the war itself was Lincoln’s assassination. Knowing history as I do now, I agree with her completely. My great-grandparents lived in a home built in the 1840s and expanded in the late-1860s and it included traps specifically to defend against Carpetbaggers. That blew me away when I was shown the cubby holes where the family would hide when the looters came. Or the trap door which allowed defenders to drop down on top of anyone at the front door. “Reconstruction” was roughly 40 years of deliberate abuse aimed at punishing the culture which dared to defy the powers that be, and part of that abuse was ensuring blame got heaped aplenty. Scapegoat anyone? Here’s what it goes like:

*cue the music* The North was the righteous hero who fought for the moral cause and won.  They were innocent of any wrong doing. It was those ill-bred, dirty uneducated Southerners who fought to keep slaves. They are bad people and it was all their fault.

*raised eyebrow* Really? How simplistic.

Do you honestly think that brothers would feel so strongly about whether or not rich people could buy other people that they would literally face off to kill each other? Especially for a single statement/issue. It was indeed a war that tore families apart, with the whole “brother against brother” and “father against son” being LITERAL. Not figurative. Literal. And you want to convince me that brothers were willing to kill their brothers over THAT issue? Hell, if you know anything about history you know that the institution of slavery was dying all on its own and rightly so. Rightly so! Hear that — rightly so, but if you think slavery is over then think again — “human trafficking” is just a PC term for “slave trading”. It’s not legally sanctioned here, but we sure do loose a lot of people to slave traders and I’m not about to church it up so we can pretend the gritty truth is less ugly than it is. *clears throat* My apologies for the digression.

So if the Southerners got all the blame for the war and had to accept the moral judgment to boot, what do you think this did? Bear in mind, there was pretty much not a single whole male left after that war, and by “whole” I mean that literally – as in “not missing body parts”. It’s eye opening to read the accounts of the hardships the women faced in that period because SOOOOO many men were missing hands, legs, feet, arms or were otherwise so scarred as to require operating at less than full capacity — if they came home at all. Being a largely agricultural economy at the time, this was beyond devastating. Then the carpetbaggers come in, aiming to pillage and loot the larger wealthy looking homes which were all the support many of these communities had left. There wasn’t much organized opposition to these bands of murderous robbers because … hello! Devastated to begin with. So, in the midst of this poverty hardship and pain, now start with the moralizing and judgments, the scapegoating and the blame throwing, and allow the poverty to go on and on and on. Anger goes somewhere, and who do you think is the unfortunate group to get shit on even more?

If you said the black community, you are indeed correct. Scapegoats for the scapegoats. The saying is “shit rolls downhill” and that definitely includes bearing cultural shadows. Let’s move forward a few decades, a century. The Civil Rights movement comes along, long overdue for sure. Voting rights for blacks. Equal access to amenities and services, education and jobs. HUZZAH! So the cultural wounding for the black Southerner is somewhat being addressed, but in the process now the white Southerner is once again being told “you are bad” and “you are evil” and “you are wrong”. That cultural archetype was angry and wounded to begin with! Let’s let this anger fester for another few generations, with the occasional violent flare-ups but otherwise unaddressed and unacknowledged as a legitimate wound. Now we’ll throw in a black President. I will admit that I was caught up in the “I hate him so virulently that I can’t look at him” emotionality. I actually had to stop and actively look at the “why” before I could unravel the rejection and see its source more than 150 years in the past. Then I was free of that crap and glad for it because that rage wasn’t mine as in me-personally – it was the voice of my cultural wounding. Alas, most people are not self-aware and so never once ask “why am I so unreasonably angry about this??” So after this presidential episode let’s trot out the white guy who says all the “right things” to a group who by now is caught firmly in the activation of a flamingly infected cultural wound.

Given all this, it now makes absolute sense to me where “this” is coming from. Where all the vile rage that I’m hearing pouring from the mouths of people I call friends but I know, KNOW are good people who wouldn’t even think such things on their own.  Aaaah, yes. I see. I understand. I empathize. Now it’s time to heal.

So what happens now? Well, firstly, recognition. The number of people who actually deny that white Southerners have a wound or deserve to have their wounding validated is staggering. Another manifestation of cultural wounding! There’s plenty to go around! And do you know what? Saying “the wounds suffered by the white Southerners deserve to be recognized” does NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT in any way take away, negate or diminish the wounds suffered by the black Southerners. Remember I said that shit rolls downhill? Energetically speaking, the lowest tier is trying to rise up and throw their own shit plus the projected shit they’ve been carrying which is NOT theirs onto another group, and that other group is rejecting the attempt.  I tend to think of societies as interconnected pieces, and if we want to heal one part we have to also heal another as well. That means acknowledging the wounds that are present … without judgment.

This is just as true of the cultural wound inflicted on the Native Americans! As I said, there’s plenty of wounding to go around and acknowledging one group’s wound does not diminish the impact of another group’s wound. I’m not Native, I’m not plugged into the Yankee cultural psyche, etc. But I can still see where the wounds they are dealing with are just as invasive, painful and damaging. It’s not a competition.

I actually think that right now our many and sundry cultural wounds are tap dancing down the center of the street practically begging us to be adult enough to own them. Just look at Trump having even the slightest degree of political success, then toss in the Black Lives Matter movement, the amazing cooperation and unity of the Native Peoples in their fight for control of their land, then the governmental responses across the board to this, and then the women’s march is a cherry on top. Holy shit balls, Batman! Something is energetically afoot and if we as a people don’t stop and ask ourselves “whaaaa?” then we’re going to be in even more trouble. This shit is coming up for a reason. We are being asked to own it and then alchemize it – turn it from led into gold. Heal the many wounds and move through them. Not past them, through them. Each of these groups and cultures has the right to be angry about the wounds suffered. It’s ok to be angry – but it’s the disempowered victim that demands everybody apologize and grovel and cater. Don’t be ‘that guy’. Be adult enough to ask what is your personal relationship to your cultural inheritance (whatever your personal one is) and what can you do to ease the suffering?

 

About the featured image: from the 1981 movie “Heavy Metal”. It’s my answer to the question of: “what happens if we refuse to question the wounds that we carry?”

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Archetypes, Personal Growth, Spirituality

This Is a Spew

Something that I stumbled into is the idea of familial wounding – and of course it was presented by my fav teacher Robert Ohotto. It was almost immediately after hearing of this concept that I ran afoul of it, or rather recognized its operation within my system.

The idea is that children psychically inherit the wounds of their forebears until those wounds are actually managed. When I hear ‘psychic DNA’ I’m picturing a sort of energetic stew pot that all children spend their early years in – now recall that young, teeny kids no older than toddlers don’t really recognize yet they are NOT their parents. It’s not until a kid reaches the age of MINE! that they begin to really formulate this concept. Until then, they are a sponge absorbing everything in their environment and working double time to make sure they fit in so they will survive. So here are toddlers in the emotional energetic stew pot that is their family, then they ‘graduate’ to TV, school, and so on. At each level, the stew pot gets bigger and more ingredients are thrown in.

Alas, some ingredients are toxic, and some are just really harmful. In my experience, it takes to around the age of 30ish before the sense of self is strong enough to actually consciously confront these and actively decide what to do with them. Until, we are living out what we have been raised within and don’t really think about it too much.

In my case, it wasn’t really a conscious awareness of needing to break a pattern, but I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast in order to break a family pattern that I did not want active in my system. That meant having to leave my family behind. All of them. Of course I didn’t abandon them, I still visit and talk but I HAD to get away if I had any chance at breaking this entrenched pattern. And it wasn’t until Ohotto said those words that conscious recognition flooded the system. Like his words broke a dam or something. This first level that I was dealing with was health. Being female, my family very strongly had the notion that it’s romantic to be sickly and weak so a man can be all manly and take care of me. *blink*blink* I had a friend who’s man literally refused to get her heart meds so that she’d get sick and he could play the hero by taking care of her. No, thank you!! Being weak, injured or sickly is also the key to love, because someone has to take care of you. I used to sit and listen to my mother and grandmother literally try to out-compete each other on the “I’m so sick” scale. Holy shit! I finally said to my mom “You guys can compete for who’s the most pathetic, I’ll be over here.” My mother was, not surprisingly, shocked and deeply wounded by this attitude because it invalidated a lifetime of unconscious injury which has led to some serious chronic conditions she has to face now. Again, NO PART OF THAT. I’m sure all this is somewhere or other in this blog already, so I won’t rehash it too much beyond this.

But in the midst of trying to consciously bring all this up and identify where certain parts where active and where they weren’t etc, I ran afoul of another one. Religion.

There’s a question of “how do you identify a familial wound versus a personal one?” Well, that’s pretty much “have you experienced the wound personally?” In my case, I would literally RAGE against organized religion. I had NOTHING good to say about it and what it offered. As far as I was concerned, codified religion was the source of all evil and abuses in this world and it should be eradicated. … Woah, that’s some serious hatin’ and what in my personal life could have possibly given me that much venom? Nothing. My own parents are largely non-religious. Other than “be good to each other” that’s about it. So where was this rage and poison coming from? After talking to family members, I found out real quick that religion has been used as a weapon across multiple generations in my family on all sides in all branches (I’m the genealogist, I got the skinny on this one) and it’s because of this pain and deliberate injury that my parents said “thanks but no thanks” … so processing this wound came down to me.

Oh goodie. That’s 2 family wounds. Oh wait, there’s more. This one was gender based. Now the women in my family are strong, and I don’t mean “will beat you up” but more like “nothing can stop them when they decide to do something”. I got that one. I will smile and nod, pretend to acquiesce to whatever smack is being laid down, and then do whatever I want anyway. My mom, my grandmothers, my great grandmothers. Hell, one great-grandmother successfully raised 3 young children through the Depression years after her deadbeat husband abandoned her. That’s tough. That’s strength right there. And the women in my family have it in spades. So yeah, it really rankled them generation after generation to be told hateful, untrue lies in an effort to preserve a false Social Order, using religion as the bludgeoning device to justify the crap.

Now this is where it segues for me into something much larger – cultural wounding. These are psychic wounds that every person who’s plugged into the culture has to navigate. I once went on a diatribe about the psychic wounds of the Southern ego (especially the Southern Male ego) and through this, I could absolutely understand everything about the rage I’m seeing in my own sub-culture right now. It’s multiple generations of wounding and unprocessed pain from the Civil War. Now there’s PLENTY of unprocessed rage and pain to go around on all sides there in the South, and everyone’s pain is valid in terms of “you have a right to feel the way you do”. But I know that I have a duty to help process it — to lance the festering boil and let the poison out of the system (psyche) so that real healing can actually begin. I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing now — the pustule is near to bursting and it must if we are to move forward. That means seeing it, recognizing it, accepting it’s there, and then dealing with it. Right now it’s unconscious, and therefore reactive.

But the cultural wound that I personally seem to keep coming back to, keep having downloads about is the gender one. Back to my personal story of introduction. I can’t remember exactly what precipitated it, but I was attempting to recognize and process the sheer amount of gender based rage and shame and pain and it was literally making me upset to my stomach and my entire body started to ache. I was thinking it was family only, and when I suddenly realized that what I had tapped into was so much more vast than just my own family that I literally had to vomit. I did vomit until I was dry heaving, and kept trying to vomit. To get it out. As I’m kneeling over the toilet, convulsing to throw up, I’m just marveling that this isn’t just mine, and I can’t try to carry it. I have to let it flow through my system – see it, recognize it, acknowledge it, LET IT GO. It’s too much. It will kill me, and indeed it is killing many women. Why do you think we have such issues with breast cancer?

But the more I work with this idea, this cultural wound, the more I’m seeing how men have also been deeply wounded by the flip side of the coin. That’s a new thought for me. Until recently as far as I was concerned it was as black/white as the religion question, and it’s NOT that simple. There are no “bad people” to blame. What there is is literally THOUSANDS of years of pain, rage, sorrow, shame, grief, and resentment to be acknowledged, and it’s on all sides of the gender equation.

I had a download just last night about the relationship between marriage and the prostitute archetype. What is marriage but a culturally instituted and supported selling of sexual services and fertility to a single john in exchange for money, protection, food and shelter? What’s prostitution if not the same thing but getting rid of the single john and add in a whole mess load of shame, especially on any children who might result. I actually used to discuss this very topic with people when I was in my teens, and I forgot all about it. Being female, I only saw the woman’s side and of course railed against it.

Dowry? Don’t you mean “price tag”? Well at least calling it the “bride price” is a bit more honest about what’s really going on.

What I never saw until recently was just how much men have suffered as well. Putting the entire onus for providing onto his shoulders is a heavy burden, especially when she decides she’s owed that provision. All this does is engender (hah!) resentment on both sides since that decision she’s made is actually a manifestation of resentment. Hell the stories I’m hearing about getting wives to set themselves on fire and other such evils which are coming to my attention from the middle east chill my soul, and it’s thousands of years of resentment and rage at being tasked with something that is not … right. Just as the reason so many women are angry at men and lashing out REACTIVELY is the same one – thousands of years of resentment and rage. There’s plenty to go around! And for every “he did” there is a “she did”. Men tend to respond more physically violently, which a gander at the homicide rates of women killed by the men in their lives should give any sane person nightmares. But women tend to respond more underhandedly, manipulatively, heck — crazily.

Overall, what I want to see with regard to this is more response, less reaction.

The women going into the Texas Assembly dressed in the Handmaid’s Tale cloaks? *groan* I understand the point and agree with it, but this sort of thing is a classic reaction — not a response. The emotional imprint this carried was anger, self-righteousness, indignation, blame. Do any of these invite the opposing side to actually listen? No, they do not. Instead, these emotions being brought to the table evoke only the defensive ones in reaction. They escalate the situation of divisiveness and let’s face it, men are generally more aggressive. They have no problem punching someone in the face to make them shut the hell up. Women don’t do that by that large. Is it in my best interest to provoke an extreme reaction such as passing a “lie to pregnant women” law because are females are really human anyway, or provoke a thoughtful conversation on what’s behind these attitudes? Dude, in conversation, women rule. Talk ladies, talk. And that means being conscious of what’s going on … not just theatrically reacting.

Oh there are so MANY juicy things to tackle here!! Like the division of emotionality. Somewhere along the lines, it was culturally decided women were the emotional ones. So when women get emotional, men roll their eyes and if we’re lucky they stay to comfort. But this means that culturally men aren’t allowed to feel. Men are robbed of this fundamental aspect of being human, and the responsibility for processing their emotions falls to the women in their life. This completely limits the men who fall into this trap, stunting them and cutting them off at the knees in terms of the range of human experience which is open to them.

There’s a scene in Downton Abby that absolutely encapsulated this BEAUTIFULLY. It’s so stereotypical, it plays out over and over and over again in all of the cultures which adhere to this damaging and wrong paradigm.

I would link to a scene of it, but I can’t find it. A maid has given birth to an illegitimate  son of a man who died in WWI. The grandparents are invited to lunch and are surprised with a live toddler grandson from their now-dead son. If you can watch this scene from the perspective of who is free to process emotions and who is not, it becomes a fascinating thing and very well written and acted. The grandfather is enraged, which is the only allowable strong emotion for men, while the grandmother is caught trying placate his anger, placate the people they are visiting, and her manage own desire to just snatch up the only possible vestige of her son – especially when the angry husband is refusing to do so. In the end, he storms out and she’s left to apologize for him before she scurries out after him with a look of intense longing openly on her face as she looks as the baby.

Classic!! And oh so painful to watch from the perspective of seeing a devastatingly broken paradigm being played out. Even the WORD hysterical, which is used to reference a state of being essentially overcome with uncontrollable emotion, literally means “of the womb”. Hello!!

I could go on, and I’ll admit I’m getting excited thinking about this right now, but it’s late and I don’t have the stamina to corral this material right now. I’ll probably break all this down into smaller bite sized chunks later on, but it’s been rattling around in my brain and I have to spew to get at least some of it down. And there’s soooo much more!! You’ll see this again when I have more time to explore the pieces in depth, but know that right now … energetically speaking, we are ALL being asked to lance the festering boils of cultural wounds. We can do this by tackling the issues head on, thoughtfully. How? Feel for those areas where strong emotions want to take over and highjack the system. These are the pressure points that you are plugged into, and these must be handled carefully. Everyone will be plugged into different things – I’m plugged into gender wounds right now, others into race, yet others into religion, etc. But know that not everyone is capable of handling the higher level more abstract archetypal shit. That’s OK. Handle your own shit. Own it, and RESPOND. The goal is to bring people to the table so we can work on a solution together, not drive everyone away. In these deep cultural wounds, no one is right, and no one is wrong. We’re all just hurting. Have compassion for this, and choose to respond.

 

 

About the Featured Image: Found it on a Harry Potter fan site here and then modified it a little bit with new text.

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