Everything has changed. My relationships with women friends and family especially have all changed. I have had the codependent socks knocked off me. I, who never even knew what the term codependence meant.
What does codependence have to do with the chrysalis and the tunnels of light? What’s happening to me?
I can feel the tide pulling me out, the fear simultaneously rising. I can feel my resistance. I do not want to get pulled in and under.
Deb and Dorothy are going to a party. I do not have a dress to wear. Deb offers me one; it does not fit! It is late, time to go. I realize I do not need to go; it is not where I need to be.
I go back to my room. It reminds me of a monk’s cell, like the ones I saw in Florence with thick stone walls, a solid door and a tiny window. I am a little scared of being in the room. I think, There is no alternate way out of this room. I go into the room and sit down on the bed. It is quiet and peaceful.
When I go to this room I sink into myself more deeply. The world recedes. It is like being in the tunnels with the Man. It is like being in the sarcophagus with my friend as the pupa in the chrysalis.
Marc and I go to a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard. It is a social occasion, festive and celebratory and, well, a party. In the past my social self would rise up, compulsively, almost as if it was my single-handed responsibility to make the party successful.
I noticed afterwards how I do not do that reflexively the way I did in the past. Being adept socially is also a gift of mine. That is vastly different from being social out of a compensation for shame. I can choose to be gracious and include everyone at the table. I can be deep in my monk’s chamber and be gracious at a wedding and have fun and dance a lot.
While Marc and I tear up the rug dancing, an older conservative-looking woman in a yellow outfit shyly approaches us. She wants to join in with our dancing. She takes the step toward us and we say, “Come on in.” Her smile lights up the room. I see the girl in her smile. She loves being included in our joy. She comes alive dancing.
I am with my soldiers, the commanding officer. We each have to move down stairs, moving from one level to another. Each time a person descends, there is a chance they will be the one to be shot and killed. Not everyone is shot, but every person is at risk. I feel absolute terror for my death and for my people.
My part in a codependent culture: If I can save or protect you, then I do not have to feel the terror and grief of having lost everyone I loved. If I can bring you along with me, then I do not have to be the girl who never had a father’s protective love.
When I take on the saving of others’ lives, I act from the false father in me, which is the goat, who is overly responsible, burdened, pressured and above all, separate and alone. The lie of the goat pathology is that there is no one, no Father, no greater force behind me, at my back.
I am kneeling before a wise, kind old father who loves and knows me. I hold his hands and weep for the death of my father, the father I never had who never knew me.
I am in the chrysalis in a sarcophagus, in the underground tunnels. I am changing, shedding the goat, the false masculine. I am in a process. I feel glimpses of who I might be without this shell. The process is painful. I shed. I hold on. I surrender.
Goat fights back. I feel the pain of no support, no father, going it alone all my life. I feel the reality of the love of the Man in the tunnels, the Father with his kind face, a partner in the world who truly loves and totally supports me. I soften. In the chrysalis, I am soft and mushy, unformed.
The hard goat shell is outmoded, hurtful to me and others.
I am becoming soft, mushy-heart girl. The butterfly girl emerging from the chrysalis is the autonomous me.
I follow a man down through tunnels of light into deep catacombs. He leads me and my friend Karla to a stone sarcophagus. Inside is a sticky pupa. Karla goes into the gooey substance and I follow her.
If I had any lingering doubts about the deep alchemical nature of this work, they are vanquished. This work is about alchemy, transformation on a cellular level, actual alteration of the inherited RNA. It is about real change on the deepest level if we are willing to let go and fall into the deepest caverns of our hearts and souls.
In the depths and mystery of the tunnels, the soul moves freely back and forth in time. In the tunnels, there is no time. The self of the present life can line up with the soul who moves freely.
Within the pupa, metamorphosis can happen. All that is not to become butterfly must be exposed and excreted out of the psyche so that the butterfly can manifest. The butterfly is free of the knowledge of the past.
As long as there is a reaction to trauma, there is an attachment to the pathology of protection. Why die the way we are, attached to the remnants of trauma, when the new life awaits us, through the “cut” of our deepest ravine, through the ancient hurts and horrors? It is perhaps not the feelings we dread but the exquisite sensuality of the child soul self, freed from the bonds of that past horror. Perhaps it is about living in great joy.
In the first year of being with Marc, I worked to see where I was stuck in old patterns of codependence, especially with members of my family and women friends. I had to let go of being “all things to all people,” a strategy to keep me from feeling my autonomy and tumbling deeper into relationship with Animus, the wild man who lives in the tunnels of light and love.
The codependence was not protecting me from pain or loss or terror; it saved me from greater fulfillment of my passion, it kept me from stepping toward my red ruby self, my own wild essence, the girl, who runs through meadows with exuberant dogs, who laughs till she falls to the floor, who dyes her dog’s white fur green, who does not care about what people think of her, who accepts criticism and disapproval as part of the pirate life.
For a good girl, nice upper-middle-class, comme il faut, bred-to-marry-well-and-do-the-right-thing girl, the pirate’s life means living outside society’s standards of the norm. It means saying the difficult thing to a friend, not rescuing my son from his gloom, standing up when I have a bolt of energy rip through my body when I smell a rat in a meeting, and speaking up even when I do not have a rational explanation at hand. It means trusting the sensuality of the soul self that lives in my very human and female body. It means letting my mind follow the promptings of my heart, felt deep within my chest cavity.
Dreams like pearls
In the catacombs of light and love with the Man.
In the sarcophagus as a pupa in a chrysalis.
Blinding light, love and healing.
I am climbing up a hill with a woman who is carrying a tiny baby. At the top of the hill, a woman comments on the baby, asking a foolish question. We carry on inside a large house in which many people are busy with healing and dreams. Marc is meeting with a small group including Deb and others about a project. There is a feeling of excitement in the air, a sense of engaged energy, like bees in a beehive.
All of a sudden, I am surrounded by a brilliant light. I cannot see anything else but the light. I feel blinded and it scares me. I scramble to find my sunglasses. I can’t find them anywhere. I stop. I stop looking. I stop running from this light. I stop struggling. I surrender.
Through the blinding light I find myself in a different plane of consciousness. Marc and I are working with a man. The session feels more like a hands-on healing. Marc and I, along with the man’s wife, surround him. We enclose him with our bodies. Before our eyes he shrinks and becomes a tiny baby. We fold around him in love.
When you have been drenched in love, you know what love is. My dreams come to remind me of what I knew.
In this dream, I am pierced by light which is love, Divine love, God’s love, his love, her love . . . extraordinary love.
This is the love and light down in the tunnels of the catacombs. This is the consciousness of love. This is what I was scared of. I was scared of the love. I remember it.
When I follow the Man into the tunnels, I am actually returning to what I knew, sometime, somewhere. Real love. A field of consciousness both dazzling and blinding. The chrysalis dream was the beginning of an initiation into a new level of consciousness. I merged with the sticky pupa of the chrysalis. I changed.
I wrestled with the goat in me who wants to be in charge, worry and stay aloof. She did not want to die in me. I struggled between haughty goat control and liquid chrysalis love girl wanting to emerge. Another layer of pathology loses ground.
Soft, strong girl in me surfaces. Tears melt goat; grief dissolves old, protective walls.
Why do I fear the love? What happened to me in another time and place that makes me want to flee this love like honey?
I am seeing down the tunnel of time, the continuum, or pipeline between worlds, eras, cultures, lifetimes. I see a clear pathway. . . . . . the soul, my soul knows neither time nor space. . . . . . the soul moves along the pathway, backwards and forwards. . .
We are going to France in September to the land where Mary may have lived, with the child she may have conceived with the man Jesus. What if it is true that Mary herself was the grail, the vessel, for the blood of their union? What if Mary was an enlightened woman who shared a vision with an enlightened man and together they agreed to step into an historical time and place to bring an embodied, sensual form to a pole of consciousness we might call the Christos, the light, the love into a dark, distorted world of corruption and lies? What if the tunnels of light and love bend back in time from now to then?
What if we all are vessels? What if the light and love is the Christos available to every woman or man willing to look at every aspect of their darkness to become vessels for this consciousness? What will we find in France? What if what we fear most is the pole of love that is eternal? What do I fear? How much love can I bear?
What is changing?
Who will I become?
What will it mean to emerge from the chrysalis?
In the early stages of the work, many of the psychological issues that arise from dreams can be traced back to the dreamer’s family of origin or to childhood. It all goes back to this life. But when we have worked through this material and we face the Animus with all of His love and the dream does not have our father or mother, does not have the rapist or molester, and we are still terrified, then it raises the question of past life issues – regressive work.
This is the place where the love triggers something beyond this life. If we are still struggling with issues around women or men that are traced back to our parents, then the dreams bring these issues. When we know about these issues, even if there are residual issues, the fear that comes with the Animus without any story can take us to the next step: the deeper unconscious where there are deeper memories of trauma.
When we go to shame in response, the regression stops. When we have shame, we are generally avoiding. If the shame comes when we feel fear of the Animus, for example, without any story, then we are avoiding the fear. It is a convenient way to stop the fear, to stop the vertical descent into past lives.
When we are ready to go into regressive work, generally speaking, we have reached a point in our work with the Animus where we experience and feel the love. When we have the love, we have a partner in the descent. The Animus can now journey with us in the descent to past lives because we know His love, whereas before He could not. We must work the material of this life first because if He tried to journey with us before we were done with our childhood/adult issues, it would create shame, anger or an incredible reaction that would prevent Him from getting close to us.
But as we work the feelings of pain and fear, the deeper pain from previous incarnations can emerge. He can then work with us; He can then help us. We cannot go into the deeper material without His help.
When we feel fear in the face of the Animus’ love, it is more terrifying because we usually have not experienced the level of intensity that regressive work provokes. As we regress, the intensity of the feeling becomes purer because it goes back to where it started. The further the dreams take us back, the purer the feelings because we move toward where the feelings first happened.
The feelings that arise relate less and less to what happened in this lifetime because they happened before. Unless we have had terribly violent childhoods, the feelings relate to something that happened that was more violent than what happened in this lifetime. Our issues in the present life often hold the place for what happened in a previous life. They are almost like reminders.
When we project the regressive feelings onto certain issues in our lives, this serves to make the issues seem bigger. In this way, children in a family experience the same parents in different ways.
For example, in my family, I felt tremendous reactions to my father. I felt he was abusive, whereas my two sisters did not. This makes sense for I now know of my trauma with authority from my previous life. I projected that being with my father was like the Inquisitional authority killing me. My father held that place for me, but he was not the Catholic Church of the 1200s. He was certainly not the enemy. He was just a strict, stern father. I probably made him worse than he was.
Now I have an easier time around forgiveness with my father because I know he was not responsible for what happened to me before. As these feelings have been healed in me, I have had less and less charge around my father being so terrible to me. It has given me space to love him and to forgive him for what he did do.
In order to descend, we need not just all of the important, supportive, potent energies that we have learned to feel, not just His love, but also all of the work that we have done to this point. If we are still damaged, then we will project it onto our current lives. We must heal our issues from our current lives in order to take the next step.
Ultimately, we get to the core of the pain from the life in which it happened, and we work through those memories through the dreams. Once the healing and the alchemy begin around this process, our souls can be reborn and our suffering mitigated, made smaller. It can be healed.
The power of the girl, the boy that God created in each of us can then grow in us. We may still have pain that comes from love, compassion, yearning, need, loss, but we will no longer have the trauma pain that is laced with fear and terrible horror.
In the place of the horror is where He is. He will stand with us – and in this place our souls can come back from the great losses.
Going from the goat to the Labrador puppy in one year . . .
......feeling a little disoriented
........uncertain and insecure about who I am
.........do not know who I am as puppy
...........do not recognize myself
.............I am in an altered state all day long seeing clients and teaching…….
We are moving toward going to France, preparing flights and cars. Not knowing what we are moving toward.
Who am I as the puppy standing awkwardly with the Man in my dream?
New frontier in myself.
No known coordinates.
Just a brand new puppy, curious to leave the old house and strike out into the unknown, into adventures ahead.
I am going to the Man as the curious, roly-poly puppy.
As I write, I move into a new body of being. The writing helps me to incarnate into the puppy. I feel more grounded in the altered state. I do not need to eat an English muffin after all.
Trusting the process to take me through. The act of writing brings me in. Deeper into puppy essence. Sniff, lick, roll, tumble. Puppy born out of devastation. New life.
We are at the Pitcher Inn. It is fall.
We are standing on the stone bridge before dinner at dusk, slow stream falling below us. It is an awkward five minutes, only the second time we have gone away together.
Marc fell off the ledge in Boston. He became the boy waiting for the girl.
He knew there was more of us, of me. We are growing together, but something is not yet grounded.
That night, after dinner, at the Pitcher Inn, I allow the girl to come through, at the end of the day. In bed. Marc sees her in my eyes.
That night, Marc dreams about the dog with the same eyes as the girl.
That night, I dream of the girl coming out of the basement.
“Those are the girl’s eyes,” Marc says to me, “the eyes of the girl in the dream, coming out of the basement.”
I do not run away from that moment. I stay. I open. All the way back and down, down, down. Remembering.
He knows, I know the truth of the girl coming out through me. We are together in a new way from that point.
We return to the moment we once knew. When we were the boy and the girl, together.
The First Date, Boston, Massachusetts
Our first date. We drove from Vermont to Boston, to a room at the Marriott Inn on the ocean. I thought, Wouldn’t it be great to go to the Aquarium? Wouldn’t it be great to go to a musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons?
What was I thinking? An overnight? A king-sized bed? I was not thinking.
It was the first date with a person I had always loved, even though I did not know this at the time. A lifetime of suppressed soul’s knowing of a past relationship with Christa.
I would not say that I was not prepared for this first date. Decades of dreamwork, even early LSD experiences, had all brought me to this moment, at the Marriott Inn by the ocean, where I could just fall.
All I knew as we drove to Boston was that I felt an incredible push to be with this woman. It had nothing to do with sex, nothing to do with anything I had ever known. It was some new, gorgeous, delicious truth and a feeling of wanting it now.
We did make love very soon after we landed in Boston. It felt rushed and hurried as if the sex was not the point.
Where was the passion? I felt disjointed. But then I stood up and fell down . . .
. . . into . . . a well . . . a cavern . . . a crevasse, something dark and deep.
I fell and there was no bottom, just floating vulnerability.
Here was the person I always knew, but I now was living something, feeling something with her without knowing what it all was. It did not fit with my knowledge of myself. I had never felt this way with anyone. I was lost from myself. I only knew that I knew her in a way I had never let myself acknowledge – and my sense of identity was ripped, burned away from me in a pain I had not yet felt.
Christa seemed distant and not ready for such an openness. I did not know what to do. She could not reciprocate, and I also knew that I could not have reciprocated either even if she had. I just felt naked, powerless and dedicated to an us that had not yet formed. It takes two to have an us. I guess what I had was just a lust: lost + us . . . lost from us, lust.
The Pitcher Inn, Warren, Vermont
Christa and I were standing on the bridge in Warren, Vermont. It had been several months since our first date, and while we were together, even living together now, there was still no “us.”
She had been moving between wanting me to not wanting me to wanting me again. She understood this ambivalence and called it the goat, playfully sprouting horns on her head, butting up against me with her make-believe hooves. She knew her struggle.
I had been patient and never stopped falling. We were on the bridge, waiting for our room at the Pitcher Inn to be ready. I was feeling uncertain and vulnerable, and she was being goaty.
I thought: Could this be it? Is this all there is? What is it that I expect her to be for me? I was beginning to doubt my own vulnerability. I thought maybe I should climb out of this well and be a man, or the man I was, or thought I was, or thought I should be again, or maybe I could make it up in a different way? Find out how to please a woman. But I was still vulnerable and I knew something had to happen and even that it would.
And indeed it did that night.
Throughout the several months of being together, we had had a very schizoid relationship. At times, Christa would open like a flower and be so vulnerable, and we would connect, like she was falling too. But then it would be different, and the separation would reappear between us. She was not working through her trauma work at this point. She was working at finding her girl and exposing that soul self with me.
The Animus empowered me with patience and a libido that was not sexual but more girl-like. Holding and loving her was the orgasm. All this was new. Like most men, I would feel the urge to get it on and “get off.” Now “getting off” was anticlimactic and never relieved me of the hurt and yearning that burned in my heart for her.
It was as if my libido would only come through my heart. My sex drive remained weak and did nothing to satisfy the yearning of my heart. I wanted something more with her. I enjoyed those moments when our hearts came together, when our souls touched in a love that was unknown to me, at least in memory, although it was familiar.
After our awkwardness on the bridge, now in our room, the moment arrived. In almost disbelief, I saw her eyes change. It was one of those moments when we were very close but I had not yet seen the girl. In the past, when she was soft, she looked different – but this was different still. The eyes were from another time. They were dark, like one grand spiral going in with immense sadness and knowing of us. The eyes wanted to pull me in. I resisted. They wanted me to know about the past. They wanted to wake both of us up. I told Christa this. She, too, could feel it. But then I was not sure. The eyes went away. Christa returned and I was not sure.
I fell asleep and I had this dream:
A dog comes to me, jumping joyfully, and pushes its head right in my face. I can see the girl’s eyes in its head.
I woke up with a start and knew I was right – something was happening. I told Christa the dream and went back to sleep.
Then Christa woke up with this dream:
I am on my mother’s land near the old rundown house. I catch a glimpse of a wild teenaged girl running through the long grass of the meadow. I look down into the basement of the little house. I see canvas upon canvas of large paintings. I realize the paintings belong to the girl. This creative girl, stuck in the basement, is now free.
This confirmed for her the truth that her girl was back and wanted out. We were both dedicated to following this path to more self-discovery and eventually to the unfolding of both of our traumas and the life we had shared together and would share again, once we were healed.
What was different now, what was changed forever, was that we knew and felt the truth of what we truly were. Never again did I feel isolated from Christa, and for her part, she began to forswear all other identities that she had lost herself in.
I have to say I have never met such an extraordinary individual. I have worked with many thousands of clients, but I never suspected anyone could engage the work with such immediacy. That immediacy could only come from relationship, her willingness to change and to confront her patterns, looking always first to see where her edges are rather than worrying about my issues.
This unique work requires much of us. We must suspend judgments of the other who may have wronged us, for the sake of dealing with our own deeper unconscious feelings that are triggered and for the possibility of being opened up. These possibilities are available if only we do not react, if only we hold on to the consummate idea that these feelings have always been there regardless of what triggered them in the first place.
To do all of this in the midst of an intense relationship and not blame the other for the feelings that exist and need expression is a gift and is difficult to do. To even be open and invite the other to fail and cause harm, using it as an opportunity to look at ourselves and feel into the depths of past hurts in order to stop time, as it were, so as to drop into the abyss of the Archetypal World that waits for us, that offers healing.
To allow the relationship to create the heat, the razor-sharp cutting of old relational patterns and reactions, choosing to not react but to drop into that cut and to send it backwards in time to the primary wound that leads us back to the trauma of a past life.
This is the work that we did, starting in Boston, which opened up the girl at the Pitcher Inn.
If everything we do is to compensate for the love that we do not have from God – even the good things we do – then we are basically using everyone by making them into God. We need them to be what we need them to be, making them into the love we do not get from the inside. We want to get the love we are missing on the inside from the outside. Rock stars want people to applaud, writers want people to buy their books, caregivers want the ones they care for to be grateful.
If we are triggered by trauma, we may want the opposite – to be rejected in order to affirm our reality.
Everything becomes a way of maintaining our past experiences – from the people we choose to the jobs we take, everything is conditioned by an agenda to perpetuate what we have already experienced and what we already know.
And so, there is no healing in the world. Instead, it is all contrived to make us feel better. Those who have trauma try breaking old patterns through counseling techniques that make them feel better. This may be helpful, of course, but in reality, they are still not connected to the Divine in themselves. What they are really doing is playing up against others who are successfully able to prove that they are wonderful by being counselors.
Some people become counselors because they want to be good, because, unconsciously, they want the transference from their clients, because they want the support of the people they are helping. They learn to use success to replace God. And we make them into gods.
Where are the people who stand in relationship with God, who can be teachers, who can be true healers? Dreams confront the issues and anything that stands in the way of the Divine love, whether it is dysfunctional behavior or loving behavior. Both are the same – and that is the challenge.
In general, in the world of psychology and counseling, these issues are not seen for what they are. Most counselors want success through their ability to help others or deliver a message. The only way to know what is truly happening with a client, though, is to look at the dreams.
Either we fulfill the trauma by recreating the trauma of rejection, or we compensate for the trauma by getting people to love us. In neither case are we going through the trauma. It is all exterior managing and controlling, compensating for the trauma that everyone has, that sometimes is not even from this lifetime.
Many ask, Why do bad things happen to good people? Rather, why not ask, Why do bad things happen to people who stand with God? But that is not what is being said. When we say good people, we mean someone like the woman who caretakes everyone to the point that she does not see that her husband is having an affair. Or she does see it, but she is such a “good” person that she puts up with it. But really, she is not willing to face into her real desire, her real truth.
We make choices that perpetuate our traumas because we are afraid to face into our fear. But bad things happen to us when we are with God, too – things such as the Inquisition. But this is different because if we stand with God, it is still okay. We still have the love. Good things and bad things come all the time, but if we stand with God, none of it is an issue. If we have worked through our traumas, our pains, our fears, then the good or bad things do not trigger us. It is just life, with all of its ups and downs. Disappointments and positives things are irrelevant because we are always in the love.
When we are in the love, we are not bumping up against our traumas – we are just free. That is one of the goals: to be free of trauma and the events that led up to trauma.
How do we get down that deep? This is where the child is. The child is on the other side of trauma and remembers everything that ever happened. We are on this side of trauma, avoiding it and not understanding anything that happened, even though the trauma repeats itself over and over again. Even with people who are successful in the world – if the surface is scratched, there is a lot of dysfunction. Appearances can be very deceiving.
If we step too far into the unconscious without understanding or without archetypal support, we may turn to clinical psychology for help. Instead of support for stepping into the unconscious, we may be put on drugs or told that we are insane. The ones who want to help us may actually completely destroy an opening to what is not an illness at all, but simply the dreams moving into our conscious state prematurely. Perhaps we have the capacity to move beyond our condition and the neurotic reality that we all share, the reality of the loss of song, the loss of soul.
Clinical psychologists, without even knowing it, can be like demons that guard the gates to the unconscious.
The dreams want to bring us into that psychotic world, into the true inner reality. We sit in a clinical reality believing that if we do not manage our reality, if we do not create a “good,” neurotic way of perceiving ourselves, rather than being in our soul selves, then we will be sick.
So, we fear going into a psychotic state.
This is the work of the dream: to bring us to our souls through the unconscious. People who appear to be sick are just people who have not had the support to help them understand how their unconscious is working.
There are people, of course, who are so torn up in their psyches that they exhibit psychosis in a way that may be difficult to work. For these kinds of people, this way of working with dreams may not help. R. D. Laing, however, who worked with schizophrenics, claimed that most schizophrenics are normal except that they are deeper in their unconscious than the rest of us.
Some people are healthy enough to react to the dysfunction by having deep feelings that are antagonistic to the neurotic acceptance of the suffering around them. There is usually one person in a family system who goes crazy or goes traveling or leaves in some way. They are the ones who are called crazy, but they are actually the ones who cannot fit into the way the neurosis manifests itself in the world.
In the forty years I have worked this work with clients, delving into the unconscious through the dreams, no one has ever gone crazy. Or, if they went “crazy,” it was because they were divinely inspired by their unconscious to give them the capacity to live at another level of consciousness.
Who we are under the surface, in the unconscious, has far more knowing than the ego. The ego runs the show, either in a neurotic state of functionality or dysfunctionality, whatever the case may be.
One of the goals of this work is to create the capacity to die to self so that we can live in our unconscious in a way that manifests the true self.
Obviously, there is a period in the process in which we do not know who we are. Who we thought we are is gone, and who we truly are is different and new. A clinician may diagnose a person in this part of the process of individuation as schizophrenic, when really it is a place the dreams have led him or her into. If we are not guided by the dreams and we fall into this state, it can be dangerous.
Of course, there is mental illness that is profound and beyond anything this work can touch. But how many people have been falsely diagnosed? How many people could have been helped, through the dream process, by understanding that the things happening to them were actually normal from the standpoint of the healing and healthfulness inherent in the psyche through every dream?
Unfortunately, most of us are too neurotic to understand that we need to be driven “crazy.” We do not want this. Our egos want us to hold on to our stories so we can stay with what we know instead of letting go.
When we do let go, we fall into the Divine soul that exists in all of us. This soul carries all the feelings of every trauma, of everything that ever happened. It also carries the primary memory of the love of the Divine as well as the capability to be loved and supported.
When we lose our connection with our suffering, we also lose our connection with the remembrance of eternity. Feeling deep in eternity is remembrance of the Divine.
We all have memories. Ultimately, we all come from God, so we must have the ultimate memory of being loved.
There is a saying that all learning is remembering the past. Learning about ourselves is remembering the past, remembering what we once knew, what we once felt. To be felt and remembered again.
When we descend, we often assume that something terrible is going to happen because somewhere in the past it did happen.
In the myth of Persephone, the cultural view is that Persephone was stolen from her mother and raped. But, in this work, at the bottom of the descent, when the earth cracks open and we fall into that crack, the Animus, who is Hades in the myth, is waiting for us.
The myth of Persephone from the traditional view reflects our belief about maternal love – that it can conquer trauma and it can conquer the bad man who wants to harm us. But if we know only this love of the mother, we will never know the love of the Animus. In our trauma, we often cling to the mother in order to avoid the trauma.
This is how the dark mother manipulates us, especially in dreams. She uses our fear of something terrible happening and our desire for safety as a way to trick us into not descending into the trauma and therefore keeps us from descending into the love.
When we play this dynamic out in the world, looking to another to keep us safe from feeling our trauma, we create a dilemma. On one hand, we want the support, but on the other, we can end up hating the other for taking care of us. We know we are not being ourselves; we are not in our souls.
It is the polarity of staying away from real feelings.
This is why Persephone is one of the very few figures in Greek mythology that is archetypal. Most of the others are pathological. Persephone descends in spite of her mother. She goes down to discover who this man is for herself rather than staying forever the virgin daughter to her mother.
When she becomes Hades’ wife, the wife of the Animus, Persephone takes on a completely different role, which is illustrated in the story of Psyche and Cupid.
In this story, Aphrodite is jealous of Psyche’s beauty and sends her son Cupid to kill her. Instead, he falls in love with her. To make her his, Cupid orders her parents to have her left on a mountain to be killed by a monster. Instead, he has her taken to a palace where he comes to her at night, but she is never allowed to look at him. When Psyche’s sisters visit and, filled with jealousy, trick her into looking at her husband, Cupid leaves her. Psyche then sets out to find him, eventually begging Aphrodite to help her. Aphrodite, still jealous, gives her impossible tasks to perform, with the intention of having her die. The final task is to go to the Underworld to take some of Persephone’s beauty.
When Psyche finds her way to Persephone in the Underworld, Persephone first offers her the chair of forgetfulness. It is an amazing moment in the story, for she is really offering Psyche the chance to forget the need to please the dark mother, to forget the need to find the husband who abandoned her, to forget her need for revenge on her sisters. To forget, in other words, about what it is to live in the world.
But Psyche does not accept the offer. She refuses the chair, choosing to please the dark mother, choosing to live in the upper world. In the end, she becomes a goddess, never to descend into the Underworld again.
Persephone is the part of the soul that seeks God even though it means facing into trauma. Psyche is the part that is addicted to the abuse of the dark mother because she does not want to face her pain. Persephone leaves the mother, whereas Psyche does not. It is terrifying to leave the mother.
The Animus stands where our trauma is; this is why we are afraid of His love This is why we react to Him. We do not want His love because the love invites us to go into the trauma.
Need and want are different. Need comes from the soul child. Want comes from the hole, the lack that wants to be filled by the mother’s love, projected out into the world: “Save me; be my mother.” Need and want become confused with each other.
There is a clue to discern the difference: need is accompanied by fear and vulnerability; with want, the fear is missing. Want is a way around the fear. Want manipulates and controls to get what it wants, false comfort. Want masks real need, the need of the soul to be free. When the soul is free, a person is in a state of surrender to the Divine. People who want try to manipulate and control to have their want met by others. The soul self does not manipulate others. The soul self is open and alive and vulnerable to the Divine.
The issues of real need versus false want can look complicated to the person whose libidinal drives were thwarted, or not met by the mother. It can look like real need to want people in a certain way, to fill the hole of no mother love and attention.
I am in my new red sports car. I am heading to New York City. I am excited to go to Bubby’s Restaurant in Tribeca for breakfast. I get scared. George, a man I know, is around, and I enlist him to come with me. I want him to come to make it safe.
George loses the car in a closed parking lot. I end up trailing around a college campus picking up other people who seemingly want a ride in my little two-seater. It goes on and on. I get fed up. Then I notice a penis inside me. A young teenage girl leaves. She has had it with this crazy Friday night on campus. I get it and leave with her. It is time to get the car and get out of Dodge.
In the dream, I ask George to come with me so that I do not have to feel the intensity of hitting the road in my racy red car. The car, in this dream, is all about my passion, intensity, excitement. On the campus, I am separated from my car, picking up other people, and I notice the penis. It is like I am “fucked” when I am away from the car.
The girl’s need, my real need, is to leave and hit the road, to go toward what is exciting and alive and unknown. I feel the energy of fear in moving forward, claiming her need as my own, opening the door, getting in, powering up the engine and pushing down on the gas pedal.
I am scared – the clue to real need. The real need of the girl in me is to hit the open road, to say Yes! to my desire and libido and not care about who is coming or not coming, who is judging or not judging. The girl does not care. She wants to move forward in me. She wants me to give up every vestige of caretaking others as a way of avoiding her need and mine for surrender and satisfaction and fulfillment of my purpose with the Divine.
I have been feeling the fear of getting in the red car and leaving. We watched Mel Gibson’s movie Apocalypto, which includes the devastation of a village. I felt my fear of the horror and violence. The film is all about the father’s message to the son: Face into your fear and let it be changed in you; do not allow the fear to stop you. The fear does not stop the son from moving forward. In the face of fear, move forward.
I am the caregiver of an old lady with dementia. I do not want to be looking after her. When I am truly fed up of taking care of the brain dead lady, I take her to the other women nearby. One of them comments on how well she is, how good a job I am doing looking after her. I start crying.
What am I crying for? Is it the part of me who always looked after my mother in the desperate hope that she would love me? Or, is it the girl in me who feels the pain when I get stuck looking after the brain dead mother – the girl who really, really wants me to get in the red car and go, into more of the life that is waiting for me, challenges and all?
How much longer, girl wonders, are you going to waste time tending to this dead mother? In me she lives as a false responsibility for the needs of others. When I get pulled in by the tentacles of another’s false need, I hurt the girl who wants to be free. Love does not equal this responsibility.
When I look to others, my family, my children, women friends – anyone – to be my mother and fill the hole and manipulate them into “loving” me, then I am not the soul girl in her need. When I fall prey to the dark mother in another trying to hook me into their false need, I am lost to my soul. This is the core of codependence: filling the hole with false comfort fueled by false wanting instead of staying with raw, vulnerable fear of the unknown into which flows untold strength, potency, grace and love.
This is a clearing process around my issue of codependence that I have been in since Marc and I got together.
It feels good to bust the lie of codependence, a step further and deeper. I feel myself move past the block to moving into the fear passage . . . inside the corridor, I feel energy and drive. VRRRoOOOOOmmMMMM! I hit the gas pedal and leave the brain dead bitch behind.