It was a somewhat bizarre day of serpents and swans, spirals and snails, of goddesses, princesses and birds, of Tinkerbell and Wendy, of women pouring abundant water from urns as the source of the water that had so many people laughing and splashing around in the glorious sunshine of a hot summer’s day. It was also a day that had a more serious note; one which had “grand finale” written all over it as so many layers of multi-dimensional experience converged into a single point and that point was me…experiencing it all, healing it all. This day meant business…and “business”was dressed up as fairyland.
The goddess silenced – putting this healing into context
I had been following the path of the mythical goddess, the archetype and historical persona of Elen for days…was deep into my reading, my exploring of all the motifs that she draws together, so many of which feel like versions of me; the maker of pathways, the protectress, a beacon of white light, wearer of green, connected to the earth and to Cygnus (the swans that I seem to work with almost every day now), walker of forests with her dog companion and always close to deer (I had chanced upon three young deer on the common that very morning and stood watching them grazing in the sunshine, quite undisturbed by my presence). Often confused thematically with the goddess Diana (who also wandered the forest talking to animals, accompanied by a dog), I sense Elen was the uniquely British permeation of that sacred female energy, the Britannia of our cultural roots, the guardian of these heart-lands that are my very own love and, above all, sovereignty personified…yes, prepared to share her “seat” with the divine equal who was prepared to meet her half way in a sacred union within this domain she calls home but not ever prepared to be dominated or made small by a man. Could all have been about me; it all felt like me…this is my world dressed up as the stuff of goddess-legends and, in recognising this, I tuned into an archetype I was playing out; that so many of us are working with and get to use as part of our personal journey of healing.
Beneath the pathways she created, so they say, lies a seam of gold – literal or otherwise. When they built the original St Paul’s Cathedral, not London’s mighty bell-domb of masculine authority but its predecessor destroyed in the great fire, they built it on top of a temple dedicated to Elen in her antlered form (and its new name would have been like a steel-toed kick in her face because St Paul was on a mission to eradicate the widespread “cult” of the goddess Diana in all its versions, absorbing her into the Christian idea of Mary so that she could be reined in). Indeed, St Paul’s Cathedral gave the nod to its pre-existing deer-culture for many years after it was built, played out in various rituals incorporating the sacrifice of does and bucks and the wearing of antlers on so-called holy days; a hark back to that earlier permeation yet conveniently forgetting why the deer were considered so important in this place.
You could say, the female aspect at the heart of this growing city was quashed by this great heavy construct of bricks and mortar; the new religious tradition that had “landed” on top of it and so it was from the centre of this cultural bullseye outwards. London’s history is quite riddled with the relentless blanking-out of sacred femininity (I’ve written before about the sacred River Fleet, submerged beneath the ground until it became as one with the sewers) and my own ever-increasing impulse to go there felt like ‘work’ I was being called to do; that ‘work’ being simply that I walk those ancient pathways, making the connections, shedding light on it all as my own version of ‘Helen of the ways’…a modern-day version who makes pathway connections though words and ideas. Who is this goddess, you might ask; what has she to do with me? Well, if you’re female then she’s you and she’s me, her story is ours and I’ll show you how closely if you follow this weaving thread.
When I was last in London we had stayed overlooking Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens on the join between the two, marked by the Long Water and the Serpentine. I had fully expected to be called to visit the Serpentine during that stay because I was intrigued by the name and the context for its creation, remembering how the stories of city rivers often enact the sacred feminine’s own story so well. Once served by the Westbourne river which formed 11 natural pools where the park now is, the river was initially damned (you could say, the first subtle stage of “controlling it”) to create a decorative lake in a royal park but, as with the River Fleet, the water ceased to flow when the river became polluted by ever-increasing industrialisation and so the lake is now fed by three boreholes…another case of man’s interference resulting in the sacred feminine ceasing to “flow”. Something about its name, in that context, reminded me of how I feel about serpents; yes, they are a permeation of primal energy made manifest (think serpent leylines such as the Michael and Mary line) and yet sometimes that energy gets abused, distorted and turned inwards against ourselves in ways that feel manipulated, stagnant and cut off from source; just as kundalini energy gets corked-up and stifled in our own energy field, manifesting as the health issues that so many women experience from their middle years onwards, especially if they are harbouring old, unreconciled wounds from the past. I suspected this, now, manmade water feature was overdue for its own deep healing and was curious to experience it. However, all our timings for walking in the park that morning worked against us and I left the Serpentine behind, feeling like I had so much unfinished business…or maybe it just wasn’t time for me to go there yet.
The personal perspective – how we work with these themes
In the meantime, since around the time of my solar return on 1 May, I had become preoccupied with how there is such a trend of the sacred feminine being stamped on, snuffed out, shut down and taken off-line just as soon her light starts to shine the brightness or reach its highest ascent like the sun at midsummer. Don’t we see this pattern such a lot in the lives of ordinary women, knowing that so many more instances of it go unnoticed behind closed doors, in the shadows and in places where nobody cares to look. Suddenly I was feeling this theme coming at me from all angles, from the ancient-legendary “myths” of goddess-culture and how all that got blanked-out by the “new” religions that took over, to the current social context behind the He for She generation of girls campaigning their indignant way back into fairness and acknowledgement, to my own deepest-darkest “story” (one I thought I had put to bed long-ago…) coming right back up to the surface again in a way that made me realise there was going to be no messing around this time, it was here to be healed now.
It suddenly seemed important to notice the degree to which my very best time of the year, my birthday month, my solar return (“best” in terms of my physical health, my confidence and my most fundamental awareness of who I am and what I am capable of ) was typically followed by a rapid descent into quite a different feeling as though all that vital, optimistic electricity-charge that had been building up in me through May was suddenly switched off or like my candle, if not quite going out, certainly flickered. I recognised that, while the pattern of this has softened as a result of doing so much work around consciousness, healthy lifestyle and my core belief systems, it was still there in as a sort of shadow feeling, mostly playing out in the most bizarre stuck-points of my health and an inexplicable low-point in my confidence. Why would mid summer (which is most seasonally favourable for me in every logical way) knock me off my perch?
Of course, I didn’t really need to ask – it was the perpetual elephant in the room…and while there was no emotional charge in that “thing” anymore, I knew it was still there; had perhaps assumed that it would never completely go. That thing that I still carried in me like a dark seed was the most traumatic event of my life yet one that (right on theme) shut me down just as I was getting started on life at the tender age of 24.
Having been a shy, mousy-haired, geeky kind a girl, it had taken me until then to start to really blossom…and I was. From feeling plump and more than a little bit invisible, oh-so painfully shy, I was now leggy and slim, had long blond hair and (finally) knew what to wear, had learned how to make the most of my most querky traits, to make people laugh and at ease, to be engaging and fun, assertive and strong. I finally believed in myself and knew what I was worth, was doing well at work, had a nice place to live, was in the process of ending that dead-duck relationship that had been a millstone for two long years and was finally prepared to go it alone rather than compromise in a relationship anymore. You could say, I was just starting to come out of my shell…
It was coming up to mid June so I was still in the energy of “my” birthday time of the year, it was lovely weather, I had friends and a busy social life, had been out with one of them to a very powerful hub on a leyline (I know that now, had no idea then) that very day and was meeting more friends later. All dressed in white because I could against my tan, with a long green pendant that I had just made that very morning, constructed of a metal spiral gravity-suspending this startling green orb around my neck (how do I still remember this…I have never forgotten), I headed out to the pub where I bumped into two old friends not seen for a very long time; guys from uni that I knew really well and trusted like brothers. They looked surprised at the “new” thriving me…I know they could feel how vibrant I was on the inside, it helped ignite all of our moods, it was such a good evening, we went dancing, they walked me home where I felt so trusting and relaxed that I fell asleep on my own beanbag listening to music, thinking nothing of it…and that’s when my light was snuffed out!
Only one of them was there when I woke up feeling the dead weight of him; the one I had trusted like my own flesh-and-blood for as long as I could remember and it was as if it never even occurred to him that what he had just done on an impulse, when I was unconscious and unconsenting, was so utterly wrong (and how interesting how much I still squirm to find the right words to use). What was startling was how he played it down as though it was all perfectly normal although you could tell he was really nervous and then he was gone before I could break the mute silence I felt trapped in; like someone had taken away all the power of my voice.
Like countless other females, I internalised a distorted interpretation of what had just happened for years afterwards, telling myself it must have been my fault, I must have caused some sort of misunderstanding to play out; how quickly I offered to take the “rap” for this thing and then hated myself for doing that, for reacting to situations and things people said for years afterwards yet unable to express why they bothered me; working hard to push myself to relinquish feeling so locked-up about things, always demanding more from myself, when really I deserved infinite love, patience and compassion from everyone around me, including myself. When it happened, I confided in only the most minuscule handful of friends and regretted most of those confidences almost immediately so I learned to draw the pain of this inwards, to make it something I had to woman up to on my own. One of my deepest sadnesses was that, within three years, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died within the year; I was aware of this unspoken thing acting like a wedge between us as I normally confided in her about everything and the fact that, suddenly, I felt like I couldn’t tell her how I was feeling affected our relationship in ways she could never quite pinpoint but which hurt us both in her precious last years.
So, this is how we turn the serpent upon ourselves, cutting off the very flow of our own energy which, by rights, should be free to rise up in us and through the very uniqueness of us, unhindered and freely expressing all that we are as it passed through all the multicoloured layers of our energy field (not least the heart). Fuelled by our own unique spark, our creativity and our capacity to love and to trust, this energy spiral of ourselves should be able to rise out of us and to continue spiralling out into the world as a contagious force of enthusiasm for life, infecting others with a vibration that ignites and connects us into complex patterns of interactions that inspire and make wonderful things happen. Isn’t this what I had been doing; so, how had it all backfired?
When we abruptly stop trusting, stop feeling safe, we cut off that spiral and lock it down into a hastily-built “safe” inside of ourselves, turning off all our lights to give the impression that nobody is at home. I came to associate “what happened” with the very fact I had dared to light up in the first place; dared to shine my fullest light in the windows of myself, to be welcoming and to give of myself unreservedly, to show my true colours, to dress and express as I see fit, to be all that I Am in embodied form and to show that unfiltered self to others on the understanding that they would meet me half way, not attack and invade me. It felt like a cursory tale, a warning shot and I was holding my breathe beneath the parapet now; it took me a long time to come out again.
When this kind of thing happens, we draw the now stiffled energy of all that we are inwards like a serpent bent back on itself, cutting it off at the point where it meets the world until it becomes the self-applied viper bite to our own flesh, doing the dirty work for the one who initiated the harm. This continues until we see the process for what it is and take the decision to reverse it and this reversal can be long and hard or it (I hope, increasingly) can be as quick and easy as we choose, especially as we join forces in exposing what is happening and draw light upon all of it, including this deadly trait of self-blame and of long-perpetuated silence that is the emotional suicide of countless women. Joining our stories, joining our voices seems to help…not to revel in the horror of it but to get more quickly to the light. Part of the reason why I was so determined to remain mute for so long was that a still very determined part of me refused to have my pristine life sullied by this thing, to have to live my life on its terms, wearing it in such a way that others would regard me as a victim; and I deeply honour that part of myself now, am so glad she did it this way which worked for me (and this is not everybody’s journey). Now, in a different place, I feel strong enough to wear this…not as a daily badge of honour but something that I quietly put out here, for others to trip upon should they need to.
In my silence, I was taken inwards and, sometimes, that journey inwards can be the very healing process that is most called for, reacquainting us with the inner spiral that leads to a reconnection with deepest intuition. Reaquaintance with my own deepest, most cosmically-connected intuition and knowing of other realities has been my own saving grace, holding a place for me outside of duality or pain or anything needing to be done, fought or wrestled with…a space of absolute stillness in the midst of anything creating waves on the water around me (for which the swan has served as my most consistent emblem). More recently, I have coughed up the energetic fur-ball that had long choked up the throat chakra that hesitated to speak these truths to the world because of the intense vulnerability this brought up in me, knowing (as I do) that when we continue to hold our silence on these uncomfortable things, we only feed them…and that is where I, clearly, am right now. One the most powerful things I have come to know as my truth – we heal through the simplest of things, not through these most complex processes that modern culture loves to devise. We do it our biggest healing by walking a path, shining a light in dark corners, saying the truth of things (softly) as we see them…this is all it really takes to heal.
When we continue to harbour old wounds, even as an energetic charge devoid of any current emotion, they remain in the body and so often become the malignant conditions that manifest as serious health conditions, often after menopause has tried to take us through its healing fires and yet we still stubbornly refuse to relinquish this old buried thing locked into our cells. Women have been entrained to think “hot flushes” are wrong, something to be suppressed through medication but, really, they are own own kundalini fires seeking to break through and heal the very blockages of pain and restriction we have long harboured in our bodies…and the more we have tucked away in there, the more fire that is called for. Menopause is an opportunity to shine light at what comes up for us; to see what still needs healing and to dare to go there, knowing the powers of transformation are always on our side when we work with what the body throws up for our attention.
The ink blot that this thing felt like on my dazzling-white life, 24 years ago (interestingly, exactly half my lifetime ago this coming month) became the mental torture of many months and then the internalised wound of many decades because, long after I told myself I was over it, it played out in the seasonal cues of that time of the year. Every shortest June night followed by earliest sunrise, I took my cues from the particular quality of the light, the scent of warm garden, the eerie screech of swifts on the wing and, just as seeds take their cue from the warmth of the sun as to when to germinate in the dark soil, this thing rebirthed in me; only this was a malevolent growth that rose up to wrap around my heart. Had I but known, back then, that the swift as a totem signifies the beginning of a very long journey, the need to be prepared for a long migratory trek to another promised land but with the potential for many hardships along the way then perhaps I would have taken heart. Back then, I felt I was going nowhere anymore and the sense of having to carry this heavy thing with me, regardless, was overwhelming. We all need to know this; we are always on a journey somewhere…even when we feel stuck or can’t see or even imagine that horizon beyond the hill. Every pathway we take, however unchosen it may seem, has only our journey in mind and I see that now with such incredible clarity that I long to shed light on it for all.
What I find I want to point out is that everything we choose to store within ourselves, thinking “out of sight, out of mind” as we do so, continues to hold an energetic charge which acts to attract “like to like” of that initial thing…so my Junes became a time of heightened self-sabotage, of behaviours playing out in myself that I found astounding and disappointing, a time when I would very likely end all that was going well in my life rather than risk that it might turn around and end me. It became a time when I was least likely to believe in myself or to say “yes” rather than “no”. I made patently awful relationship decisions at that time of year, from the very first anniversary when I went back to the boyfriend I had been in the process of cutting free from when this thing happened, ultimately marrying him and putting up with years of unhappiness because I thought of myself as “damaged goods”. I learned to drink far too much over those summer evenings, not seeing how each hangover-effect was playing out as yet another reminder in my cells of that very thing that I was trying so hard not to remember as it took me back through those same cues in my body that I associated with that morning. Of course, each layer of June disaster compressed and compounded until I hardly knew what was at its source anymore; though, as I have unpeeled all of those layers, of course, I find that original event grinning toothily in the labyrinth at its very bottom.
What I am left with now, is “simply” the downturn in my yearly health cycle that so often marks the end of all the steady improvements I have usually made in springtime, playing out as an inexplicable landslide of symptoms as soon as the summer solstice had passed in mid June.
Over the past couple of years, the revival of self-love has been the biggest mobiliser of all the physical processes of healing, bar none, as it has proved quite core to my body’s ability to rewrite the ending to all my old “stories” and let them go out of my cells. While symptoms remain, I know there must be an area of old trauma that still seeks my attention and here it is. Right at the core of me, for years after this thing happened, there was still a fundamental lack of self-forgiveness; and the biggest reason I wasn’t forgiving was that I knew I wasn’t standing by myself over this huge thing, was not being “on my own side” about it or allowing that I was wronged and had not courted or caused this horrible turn of events. I could say it wasn’t my fault until I was blue in the face but until I was prepared to speak out on my own behalf, to stop stifling the urge to tell this part of my story rather than hiding it furtively away, choosing a pristine version of my life to one that felt too shameful to own, my actions were belying the solidarity to self that I professed to be acting upon. There seems no other answer to this conundrum but to accept that while I remain silent about it, this thing still has the upper hand over me; my elusive healing in a nutshell.
When all this came up for me again, last week in a dream, it was like part of me was expecting its knock on the door, had already seen the part in the script where it came back to claim its final healing, just like this. There have been no emotions engaged in reliving this, just quiet curiosity and a pragmatic understanding of what needs to be done now, which is quite simple compared to what I have already been through. Part of it feels like a need to recognise the broader, contextual significance of what I had been through – as a woman, at this time in our history, having collectively gone through this kind of trauma again and again now – and then to speak out about it as part of contributing to that collective healing and the beginning of a sea change around the relationship between the sexes. We need to shine the light of awareness in all the corners, speak out about our hurts, teach our daughters to expect far more than this, create an infrastructure of support without the cultural stigma, teach our young men to respect the women in their lives from their families spiralling outwards then create a world where it is considered normal for women to be in their power and to express themselves, to wear what they want, explore who they are and just be all that they are without fear of criticism, belittlement, sanctions, repercussion or attack. This is quite enough to utterly transform the world for all of us, if we let it take seed and start to grow in the fertile ground of these times; then, together, we get to hold one unified chalice high as the new world we just created and to see how our new creations blossom before our very eyes, as the reinvented world of our children and grandchildren.
As my impassioned views on this rise up like a flame that is no longer destructive but enlightening, energising I appreciate how important all of this has been, how transformative for me; how it has been the very thing I have been working on, perhaps my very reason to be here in this life at this very time because this blight on my life was an archetypal thing that has been happening to women across all of recent history and my take on it is a small thing contributing to a big difference that is being effected by so many of us, together. It has utterly informed and transformed the way that I have parented my daughter to young-adulthood in a way that will feed into her children and beyond. Then, my attraction to the theme of the divine feminine has been rising in me like an dancing flame for many months now and never more strongly than during the kundalini fires of this last eighteen months, which have brought to the surface so much of the bottom-layer of “sludge” that is now fully prepared to transmute, through the fires of myself, into so much wisdom and greater understanding of themes that are so much broader than my commonplace story of personal anguish. I speak in a multi-lifetime sense when I say this because so much that has come up to be worked on has been thematic across whole handfuls of timelines and so, as healing has taken place, I have felt the same release cascade down across all those timelines in a way that is quite tangible to me.
In this lifetime, perhaps part of this sense of halting the old train and stepping off it to where I could see what had been going on much more clearly is as a result of stopping drinking alcohol for the past five months, a habit which, looking back, seemed to contain a mini-death, an echo of defeat, in every sip. Alcohol had never felt like “my friend”; certainly not since that night. Perhaps, by stopping the chemical process that had become more toxic to me than I fully understood, I had ceased playing the old chord of despair in my cells that translated the surrendered feeling of “drink” into a feeling of being undone and defeated, of having let myself down, taken myself off guard, submitted myself to harm, not been my own best guardian (the list of self-blame goes on and on) and, in doing so, had allowed a new light of day to rise over my horizon and to stay there, swelling its new clarity across the whole of my inner landscape.
Because when these things have happened to us, often at a point when we should be on top of the world, women have learned to internalise this message like a lethal shard carried within us from that day onwards; a pierce through the heart with a needle delivering information. Its as though a rebuke has been delivered, a “lesson” to teach us we have overstepped over some sort of line that was meant to hold us in place. That injection unravels its dose of information like a series of codes into our cells and these establish a fearful mantra that we promptly adhere to, believing it will serve as a safeguard to prevent this “bad” thing ever happening to us again. We even agree to turn down our own light so as not to be seen where we are now hiding. Many years later, whilst we may look like we are enjoying a perfectly ordinary, accomplished and fulfilling life doing whatever we are doing (and I know I have tended to give that impression…), we know there is always a part of us that remains switched down to its lowest setting, that is not shining at its absolute brightest, that is compromised and cowering. In short, we have been reprogrammed to live in accordance with an inner glass-ceiling.
The encoding that unravels from these “life lessons” sounds a lot like these: “stop doing that”, “put that light out”, “don’t allow yourself to be seen”, “how dare you be so audacious”, “stop expecting so much”, “you don’t deserve that”, “you’re making a fool out of yourself”, “it will all end badly”, “you’re drawing attention to yourself”, “its your fault”…on and on. Once we have been through the kind of event that trims our wings like this (and most women do…our culture makes sure of that) we are made to feel ridiculous, small, fearful, doubtful and afraid by our own inner fear-monger unless, of course, we realise this is an implant waiting to be shown the light of day.
Healing at last – a walk in the park
So, already, I could tell this was all coming up for a grand finale though I hardly knew how it would play out; yet it didn’t surprise me that I was suddenly heading back into London where I have done so much of my metaphysical healing before, working with symbols built into the landscape of how we have culturally played out some of these very themes that could otherwise feel so uniquely personal, so “I’m the only one going through this”. The ordinary landscape of our world is such a powerful way to realise that we are going through all of it, together, as a culture and a planet full of people – absolutely no one is in isolation in their pain, however real that may seem.
The cue that something interesting, possibly important, was about to happen was the suddenness of this turn of events and all the synchronicity occurring around it as I hadn’t been expecting to go to London this week or even this month but then I had a notification on Facebook that someone had ‘liked’ something I posted two years ago, about the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (a painter of other dimensions – so very on topic) who asked that her work not be released until at least twenty years after her death in 1944 as she felt that the world was not yet ready to “hear” what she had to say. This prompted me to wonder why there had been a sudden interest in something I had written so long ago…and, in a round about way, drew my attention to the fact that there is a current exhibition of Hilma’s work in London…at the Serpentine Gallery, finishing in just a few days; I was just on time. The synchronicity of being called back to that very spot where I felt like I had unfinished business, and by a painter of multi-dimensions that had left such a mark on me, a native of a country I am travelling to very soon (and whose work is rarely on display) was all too much and suddenly I was rearranging my diary and jumping on that train to London dressed, interestingly (on impulse), in white again though I would never ordinarily wear something so pristine in the grimy city…yet it felt important.
Amazingly, this was the first time I had been deep into Kensington Park, following the route from the Italian Gardens along the Long Water to the Lido on the Serpentine, where I had my lunch at a water-side table, and then on to the Serpentine Gallery. Every step of the walk, on this gloriously hot May day, felt paved with gold and I honestly felt like Elen wending a new route across a metaphysical landscape of such personal relevance that it was almost comical. Starting from Buckhill Lodge (a definite wink from Elen), I beelined the irresistible goddesses pouring glistening water from urns into the Long Water, enacting their role as guardians of the source of all rivers, making me feel somewhat better about this disconnected, non-flowing “river”; perhaps it was doing better than I had imagined. Carved swans on urns were everywhere around that waters edge, as were the living variety; I took dozens of close-up shots of preening swans, so utterly relaxed were they in spite of people all around them – a message for me? I watched green parrots landing on tourists hands, watched a blackbird at such close proximity that I could see his throat vibrating in song. Audacious starlings joined me at my table, twice, that day even helping themselves to food; in fact, feathered audacity was everywhere like a long-running sub-plot. The snoozy Egyptian geese on the pathways were as though oblivious to joggers, pram-pushers, bikers, picnickers, tourists and so many besuited people on lunch break while the ganders honked territorially, noisily, for no apparent reason. All of this human life was teaming along the pathways, managing somehow to weave around each other with such synergy, such easy flow that not a beat nor a footing was missed; like one of those speed-shots of the most dynamic patterns in nature, an interwoven mesh of brightly coloured energy made manifest before the eyes.
I found the Peter Pan statue that I had hoped to visit in January, adorned with those old-style ideal females of an all-male world: Tinkerbell (a pretty fairy with no capacity to speak) and Wendy (mother figure – the only girl allowed into the boy-idyll of Neverland) and had to smile at the obvious stereotypes. Peter was atop his lofty pinnacle blowing his horn while Wendy, down below, was looking preoccupied as though left in charge of rounding up so many lost boys but then, in another wink from Elen, I noticed the statue had been unveiled on 1st May – my birthday and Beltane, a date I have come to associate with the goddess energy – and, suddenly, it was like we were having a laugh together at such old-fangled gender commentary; so quaint, so done with.
Near the base of the statue, I picked out a spiral-shelled snail carved amongst rabbits and mice and, yes, in this bizarre pocket of London with its tame birds and squirrels everywhere, it really felt as though the city had been transformed into Disneyland or, perhaps, the echo of a world where green-goddesses used to tread softly with their woodland companions…a far more passive reality that has been or could be again? Passing one of the more pompous statues created (its plaque said) to represent “the restless physical impulse to seek the still unachieved in the domain of material things”, the horse’s wild-eyed rider surveying the horizon for the next big territory to conquer…more, always seeking more… I felt like hollaing up at him “Hey you, chill out…why not get off your horse and give him a rest, lie down on the grass and have an ice-cream”. That, after all, was what most people were doing here; the whole world around me had become so suddenly relaxed in the a-typical heat that it was hard to imagine there was anything else but chilling-out and laughter going on in this whole, usually, stressed-out and siren-blaring city.
The exhibition was all I had expected and more and there were (why was I surprised) distinct echoes of all my current themes, including opportunistic serpents peering over the shoulder of men and women as they tried to work together to realise a less dualistic reality (also, a man cradling that dualistic reality in a protective container which seems to be all he has eyes for while a woman stands listening to intuition through a spiral shell held against her ear). Another serpent held the artist’s symbols for “male (yellow)” and “female (blue)” like coloured eggs in its mouth as though to say “I still have you both in my power, just as long as you both continue to regard each other in this dualistic, oppositional way” (my understanding of serpent earth energies being that they amplify whatever energetic “theme” we bring to the table). Black and white swans more gracefully played out this gender meeting point, yin and yang style, in a dance across the canvas. Then the endless DNA spirals (that are my own mental visual of evolution, creativity and the meeting of dimensions) travelling through the lower-dimensional layers of monotone then through the fragmented rainbow colours of third-dimension, softening in the heart-space beyond that and graduating towards purest gold at the highest levels. So much of this collection of work spoke of human potential as a spiralling thing which, in the artist’s depictions of childhood and youth, are represented as a canvas teeming with colourful spirals alongside symbols to do with growth and flowing but which, through their absence in her depiction of old age, suggest that we end up cutting ourselves off from source, gradually boxing ourselves into a blandly organised world of what we think we know as we reach our later years…or is this the “reality” we now get to evolve past?
Thinking back to that spiral-shelled snail that I kept seeing today, it occurred to me that in being forced to “draw back into my own shell” as I had, all those years ago, I had been put in touch with my own intuition far more surely than if I had continued my outwards expansion and lived more “in” the world. I’m not condoning what happened to me but by extracting the evolutionary process that came out of it, I know I have struck pure gold.
After all that, I debated whether I still had it in me to walk over all the way over to Kensington Palace (‘Diana’s having been firmly on my mind since I first started to concoct this trip; after all one of them got married in the site of the temple of the other and both of them had their candle blown out…). The palace in the park had always seemed a bit like a gilded bird-cage that they kept her in after they clipped her wings; I never got the impression she was happy there and suspect she was just about to flee that pretty prison, to claim some genuine peace and happiness for herself when she died. Somehow, it was as though I was walking a non-negotiable triangle across the landscape and I had to complete the journey so to the Palace I went, seeking a cup of tea.
When I ducked my head into the ticket area and the stairwell leading into the main part of the house, it left me cold; I knew I would rather be in the gardens. Passing the gift shop, I wondered what Diana would make of all the commercialism around her early demise; so many ‘I’m a princess” t-shirts and a cultivated air of goddess-worship built around a whole industry to her name. Somehow I knew she would have mostly appreciated the Diana Memorial Fountain stuffed to capacity with families getting to paddle in all that water; yes, I could sense her watching that scene, finding some long sought after peace by those sparkly cascades, much more so than hanging around the palace walls that had held her in. She initiated and healed more than she ever knew in her lifetime; a goddess archetype realised in the flesh so that people could activate the same qualities in themselves…
Just spending time in the courtyard garden at Kensington Palace, walking the path through topiary to overlook the pond bordered by gloriously clashing purple and fuscia-coloured flowers, was quite enough for me; in that spot, overlooking the serene water of a tranquil garden, something released in me like a spring and I knew that it was all done now. I could start heading home.
Perhaps in this (not so short, but there was really no condensing it…) post I’ve succeeded in making my healing process seem really easy, light-hearted…a walk in the park..but it really wasn’t. Just typing it up for two days, considering what and how to share it, whether to press “publish”, has triggered me enormously, bringing up more acute pain in my body than I’ve had for a very long time, especially on waking from those nights filled with the continuous deep healing that our dream-process picks up the mantle of. Before going to bed last night, I was almost ready to delete the whole post…what was I so afraid would happen to me if I went ahead with it?
Working with symbols in the landscape as a mechanism for healing may seem a bizarre thing to do but, for me, it came as an intuitive practice long ago; something I was doing before I even realised that I was doing it. I see now how it has familiarised me with the ropes of working with a symbolic landscape that is not unlike how certain indigenous folk or those going on a shamanic initiation journey work with the synchronicities and totems of the landscape to access other dimensions, allowing those dimensions to speak and to throw up to the surface what is most relevant and useful to connect with across so-called time. I feel sure its not dissimilar to how Hilma af Klint experienced the information that she then worked so hard to convey with her paint. It allows me to go very deep into myself; that is, to weave my “normal” three dimensional experience with aspects of the unseen realms – the multi-lifetime, shared-cultural, DNA encoded wounds of myself and others – in order to do some of the deepest healing of all.
The “information” that came to me through the walk in that park was far more complex and personal than I could possibly share here and continued to “unpack” after my visit; is still unpacking. One of the biggest waves of insight came to me immediately on waking, two days afterwards, when a whole layer of “Peter Pan & Wendy” significance rose to the surface of my consciousness. The relationship I had previously had with the other party in this situation had its own complexities, being one that had begun six years earlier with him having an on-and-off relationship with my room mate at the time, as well as becoming an extremely intimate, if platonic, friend of mine with. It became one of those bizarrely asexual man-woman relationships where I could finish his sentences and was the first to jump to it when he needed a friend without becoming a romantic one. In other words, it is fair to say that I became a Wendy to his Peter; he a “lost boy” seeking never to grow up and me fulfilling some sort of mother-role to his needs. On the back of this, I newly recognise how I (so frustratingly) fulfilled this “Wendy” role in several of my intimate relationships with men during my twenties, not least for my first husband who primarily sought a mother-figure over and above a true soul-mate or romantic partner. I can go as far as newly recognising that this model for relating to men was something I learned from my mother, my most resounding example being how my mother doted upon my brother who, in return, was rather flippant and depreciating of her. This role-model “taught” me to accept a similar arrangement in my own interactions with the opposite sex, for whom I so quickly slipped into this housekeepery, nurturey role…never realising, at the time, how this excluded me from realising any kind of sexual or romantic fulfilment within these relationships. It also set me up for accepting copious amounts of belittlement, disrespect and generally poor treatment without complaint…as I had witnessed my mother do.
Was it a coincidence that the very first book-without-many-pictures that I read as a child was “Peter Pan”; the first movie I was taken to see at the cinema also “Peter Pan” and that my father built me a brick Wendy House in the garden, in which I played out many of my solitary childhood games involving tea-parties for toys and playing “house” in scenes of re-enacted domestic contentment. These cultural role-models “get in deep” when they come at us from all sides; and how this one came to impact the course of my life! If I had been living out some sort of Wendy archetype to this guy’s Peter then part of the confusion that night was that I was, very clearly, Wendy no more….perhaps I even had a little Tinkerbell sparkle about me (and Peter treated her pretty abysmally, flippantly, she was very quickly forgotten…); in short, the rules had completely altered and neither of us was in possession of the map any more. Do I even need to hint at any possibility of that other stereotype, the Oedipus complex, playing out here. I’m not excusing the liberty he took but we, perhaps, underestimate the degree to which we build our lives based on sexual stereotypes delivered by cultural reference points and then flounder into a state of utter disorientation when those stereotypes, like the very map to our existence, are whipped away (which is why forging paths into all-new territory, even when very necessary, is so powerfully resisted).
The extent to which we have become entrenched in our cultural blueprint of what our genders are apparently “all about”, how they interact with each other and play a part in the world, is vastly underestimated as we are all programmed according to it from birth; in fact, we hardly know who we are without it. Therefore, I suspect it is only going to become more confusing during this time of transition, if only briefly, as we step into (I envision) a world operating without such culturally bolstered stereotypes and start to meet each other honestly, openly, through unfiltered heart-connection, right in the middle. To achieve this, we are going to have to get a huge number of people – very quickly – up to speed and the internet, and campaigns such as He for She, will play a massively significant part (as will the conscious parenting of our children). It is all entirely achievable; my husband and I are modelling this meet in the middle dynamic so much our friends comment on it (for us, its the new normal). As a major world-evolution, it all starts at the grassroots of our own personal relationships, around our own fireplaces and in the schools and workplaces. However daunting, even traumatic, the prospect of making such fundamental changes to our culture seem (involving stepping off the very edge of the map into territory that has, quite literally, never been explored before), it is a transition that we absolutely have to go through if we are to heal the gender stand-off of this world.
Is it weird to talk about art in this context or is this exactly what art is “for”, what Hilma af Klint was talking about when she felt the world wasn’t yet ready for what she had to share; because, to be ready you need to be open to approaching art from the non academic point of view but, rather, as an activation. When art delivers exactly the set of symbols that we “need” at a particular juncture in our own personal journey, that’s how art activates us across time and space and this is how I have always come to art, side-stepping the urge to intellectualise it with so much “it means this”, “no, it means that” hot air. What I saw in that gallery activated me plenty and I know just how timely that all was for me; it all goes far beyond anything intellectual.
Why, I have asked myself countless thousands of times, could I not have got over this brief act of abuse sooner, easier, swifter without all the decades of malignant pain; after all, I wasn’t “hurt” as such, it was not a “violent” or “angry” act and, at least, devoid of the shock factor of being delivered by a complete stranger…in fact, the familiarity of the person involved is the thing that most prevented me from reporting it or even taking it seriously, to myself, until it felt too late, too ridiculous to speak out about any more, In fact, isn’t it that very possibility for their to be hesitation – a moment of asking “was this really a crime against me” (because our culture can be so noncommittal about it) – that ensures abuse within families or communities, within institutions, churches and schools go unreported every single day; so isn’t this the very first thing that we need to eradicate by educating everybody as to where the borderline of “non-consensual act” is positioned. By feeling that I had to ask this of myself, I became my own neysayer, the disbelieving interviewer that I imagined anyone I told would automatically be. Now that I fully understand all that this one “small” event came to represent to me; not least, that my world was not safe and that I was not supported in it, I see now how it acted as the giant lynchpin to all the utter, slowly occurring, fragmentation that played out across the whole of the next decade of my life…only for me have to set about build myself back together, anew.
What I have come to realise, as I have familiarised myself more with the multi-dimensional, multi-lifetime aspects of memory and experience, is that this single act “plugged in” to countless other memories of this kind of “act” having occurred to me…and then it awoke and reignited all the pain of all those many experiences…for we have all been through them before, we all carry the trauma of them encoded in our own DNA, regardless of our gender. Most of us manage to leave such trauma dormant in our current life-experience (though perhaps we experience a ghost of it from time to time when we read or see something on the news and wonder why it affects us so acutely). It manages to stay asleep in our cells for long periods of time…unless, of course, it happens to us again which is why repeat lifelines of similar experiences build up layers of pain that accumulate under related themes, forming vast reservoirs of similar sensations and responses, all of which information serves to activate one timeline after another across a multi-dimensional cross-hatch of Who We Are as awareness. As such, we become the compounded living-trauma of a long series of abuses on a particular theme when we keep experiencing lifelines that repeat similar circumstances, over and over again. We also compound the experience of situations that deliver us joy so that we learn to recognise, and know how to gravitate towards, those kinds of experiences again, getting better and better at this thing called “living” in a way that becomes our highest evolution. And, yes, we choose our particular lives, we direct all of this from a “higher” level…this is what I believe.
So, why would we chose another lifetime with the same old trauma “in it” that we’ve been through before, knowing that we are going to experience it all over again? In my opinion, certainly in my case, in order to heal it…to make this the grand finale, the one lifetime where I drew together all of the themes, the layers of understanding, the old gender-based and cultural wounds, the defunct historical context of what we have more recently been through, the fullest recollection of the “lost” aspect of the divine feminine that I could muster across all my multi-lifetime experiences and then a clear understanding of how to resuscitate her as a living reality in this newly awakening world. I chose this life so I could add all of these ingredients into one huge melting pot of experience…and to heal it all by seeing and acknowledging it all and, yes at some level, forgiving it all ready to move on. I did it in order to say at the end of it “I believe we can do better than that, we can work together to create something far different for our world now” – and so we can.