Seeing in the Dark
For all the devastation of these dark times, the attacks on women, children, the elderly, immigrants, so many animal species, the land, the ongoing wars and suffering refugees, we are awakening and arising. We have been shocked out of any soothing seduction of apathy or denial by the daily breaking of our hearts. With the force of an earthquake, or a woman laboring in childbirth, we are engaged, we are focused, we are fierce. We are dreaming for the Earth. Our wild feminine power emerging at once with the cries of the sacred planet and all living beings who suffer. From the depths of our wild, wise selves, we are seeing in the dark and bringing our wild medicine to the surface. We are turning what was shameful – our caring hearts, our feminine power – into brave and effective actions, together. Millions of women around the world marched for life this winter wearing pink pussy hats. In this widespread show of humor, of flamboyance, of strength, of pride, women reclaimed a "dirty" word that has long been used to degrade, insult and shame women.
Last week the sun entered Aries marking the beginning of the New Year in the zodiac. Aries energizes leadership, fires up new ideas, ignites action for charting a new course. Venus, sacred to the Goddess of love and beauty in many traditions, is retrograde, gone to the underworld to reclaim – like Inanna – shadow parts of herself which have been repressed and ignored. For women this is often our exiled feminine power. On April 4th, the moon will be in Leo, giving us a few days of added energies for leadership, creativity, passion and dramatic flair. It can support us in our emergent, beautiful feminine power.
This feminine power is buried within all of us. "The one who knows", as Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls her, is breaking through frozen ground like spring grass and blossom as we saw in women's marches and brave actions around the world.
Our deepest sources of creativity and understanding lie out of sight in darkness, in the unconscious. We must learn how to perceive "through the eyes of soul as well as through the eyes of the ego." This dual way of seeing, being, and acting, Dr. Estes explains, is the most direct way to reclaim the gifts and the "healing apothecary" set into each soul at birth. We must learn to see in the dark to mine the raw gems of mystery, dreams, sudden knowings, and the shadows of power as individuals and as society.
Many of the dreams I am hearing, and having myself, take place in group settings – conferences, classes, circles. The purpose generally seems to be some kind of learning, some kind of education. The root of the word educare is to bring forth, to transform. We are carriers and midwives of the new myth. It is a collective dream. Of many ways to dream this dream onward, to strengthen the new Story, I find sharing our dreams, writing and telling story, and encouraging each other to step into the light with what we know, what we see, of "What is To Come" is most powerful. In the following dream, we women in a hostile environment wash off the shame of projections, and find our way to the beauty and joy of community as we reclaim our wild souls, our wisest selves.
Surfing with Flamingos
There are many of us women staying in a hostel. I step into the rustic tin walled shower and find it clogged with black, inky water from the women who have showered before me. I am quite indignant at the poor maintenance of this place. As I shower the water washes black ink off of me as well. Eventually the water runs clear and drains. I see out the window a view of the ocean and go down to the beach for a swim. In the water to my left, a flock of flamingos is surfing a wave to shore, grouped in the curl of the wave.
The dream of a "hostel" where the women must wash off black dye seems to speak to the dark projections of the hostile Masculine which have shamed us and shut us off from the beauty and power of our wild natures. When we wash off these projections and rinse off our shame, we are free to come into the light. Called by the wild wisdom of nature and the vast ocean's creativity and mystery, we find our way to the ocean where the flamingos are surfing. They are a joyful community, a flamboyance of feminine energy and magic, surfing the large waves of change.
Here are some gifts from Flamingo medicine which come from several unique features
~Balance: ~With her long legs, wades in deep water while remaining grounded.
~ Just as Flamingo wades into the muddy waters and stands at the edges of the shoreline to locate and taste shrimp, we find the real nourishment and aliveness for us stands at the shoreline of our souls. These are the thresholds of our most dramatic and challenging changes.
~The upper part of the beak is hooked sharply, almost as if broken. This movable part scoops up mud, forcing it through a comb-like structure (lamellae), retaining what is edible. This distinct ability to eat upside down, filtering food from the mud and silt, speaks to the need for us to learn how to filter our soul lessons and soul nourishment from the emotional waters.
~Radiant, vibrant, graceful, beautiful, elegant, flamingos are a fine example of feminine beauty and magic. Be bold, be brave, show your colors.
~Associated with the Phoenix, flamingos are a sign of rebirth, of resurrection. As a guidance totem and heart healer: Discern what is poisonous or not useful in your life and what can heal your wounds.
~They are shapeshifters, masters of illusion as they stand on one leg, or tuck their heads, and can bend over backwards.
~The flamingo's tongue is unusually large and fleshy for a bird, acting as a powerful pump to pull water backwards and expel through filters. The tongue gives us speech and communication is a gift of Flamingo-the gift of speech. Use your voice!
~This is a 30 million year old species within the crane family, pointing to our ancient power as creators, as artists of life. In spite of the overuse of flamingos as decorative, tacky lawn ornaments, they have power and medicine in two areas vital to us as women:
The creative process.
- Exposes illusions, or makes them
- A shapeshifter
- A Trickster
Because of her pink color, Flamingo is associated with the heart chakra, reminding us what you put into your heart influences your colors. Flamingo is a visionary and draws its power from water, from our emotional life and from the collective unconscious.
O mother of the sea
Lend me a wave that is strong and true
To carry me from this Age which binds me.
I do not need a ship, mother,
But make it a buoyant swell
To bear me up and float me on the sea's dreaming
Then beach me on some lighter shore...
~ Sharon Blackie, "Peregrina"
Dr. Marilyn Steele is a Jungian psychologist, author, speaker, shamanic dreamer and mentor to PrimeTime (50+) women. She works with writers, healers, creatives, consultants, visionary entrepreneurs and transformational leaders who yearn for greater access to their feminine power, their Wild Feminine souls, and a path to bring their wild wisdom into the world.
Her book, The Wild Feminine: Stories to Inspire and Embolden, was released in May 2013 and recently chosen as one of The Spirited Woman Foundation's Top Book Picks. A second book, The Way of the Wild Feminine: New Story of Self, New Map for the World, is forthcoming. Wild Cards is a small deck of poetry quotations illustrated with her painting to inspire women, as the "wild cards" and carriers of the emerging possible story in the world published in 2012.
More information about Dream consultations, Jungian psychotherapy, classes and retreats, visit www.thewildfeminine.com. For every book purchase, $1 is donated to Tree Sisters.