A Momentous Meetup
If I were writing a book, which I’m not (or am I?) then I’d want to boil down everything I’ve been learning about the Sacred Feminine into something direct, useful, accessible, and easily digestible. (Though it occurs to me that maybe that’s not to be achieved for some topics.) Maybe I’d refer to it as my pilgrimage “takeaways.” I’d be writing for the women who are so very busy, who is drinking from a firehose of information daily unless they’re one of the lucky ones who’ve found a way to turn off the firehose – somehow. (I can do it for about an hour first thing in the morning when I meditate and write morning pages but then I’m jumping in and whoosh – the hose has me – actually it’s not that bad but I think you know what I mean. This is not my mother’s 70s.)
Update on My Pilgrimage
Whatever “this” is – my essay-length or mini-book-length interpretation, I think I’m at the point where I can offer up a summary thought or two – some takeaways. It’s been four months since I stated I was going on a “pilgrimage” to understand what the Sacred Feminine is. Here’s how I’ve introduced my blogs…
If you’ve been following the winding path of my blog and videos starting this January 2023 I’ve declared that I’m on a “stay at home” pilgrimage. I’m studying and learning about the sacred feminine. I’m going to continue with this theme until either the enormity of the task does me in (quite possible) or completely overwhelms me (more than likely!) – or until it leads me to…well, who knows? (This is truly a journey into the unknown.) I’ve invited you to come along. Thank you for being here. I hope we’ll all learn something.
It's not that I feel like I’m done learning, but I’ve just come up against a major event in my pilgrimage journey and it seems a good point to assess where I am and what I might have to offer up to all of you.
or until it leads me to…well, who knows?
Is this a fairy tale?
If this were a fairy tale then I (the heroine) am searching in the wilderness, looking here, looking there. I am unsure of where to go and even what exactly I was looking for, but knowing it was something of value, something that would help the world.
The road is rocky and my feet, are tired, but persevering I put one foot in front of the other (because that’s what heroines do, right?) and then, around the bend, up a little hill, I spot an old and gnarled tree. I stop to rest a bit. Its roots cradle me as I sit down and lean up against its massive trunk. Then I see a hole in the bottom of the trunk, right next to me. I think it’s the perfect size for some forest animal’s home – a raccoon, maybe - or a skunk or porcupine. Then I think I’d better get up as I don’t want to inconvenience whoever lives there or have it inconvenience me – particularly if it is a skunk
But then, (because this is a fairy tale remember) before I can stand up, I see a small, pointed nose poke out of the hole and I’m looking into the beautiful golden eyes of a red fox. She (I just know it’s a she.) has a key in her mouth. She isn’t afraid of me and I’m not of her. She drops the key on the ground next to me, gives me a wink, and then disappears back into her hole.
Yes, definitely this is a fairy tale as we all know foxes don’t wink. (Hmmm, or do they?)
I blink and rub my eyes thinking I must have just fallen asleep. This pilgrimage business is hard work. But then, as I reach down to push myself up from the ground my fingers touch something hard on the ground. Yes, you guessed it…a key.
(Sidenote, here – I believe we’re always being given keys or signs – things that can help direct us on our path. We need to notice and pay attention. No, I don’t think you really will have a fox handing you something but as I rush around “doing” I know I can miss guidance that our very interconnected world is offering me.)
I have been given a key!
Assuredly I’ve been given a key, and in my real life, not in my fairy tale life – but how fun it would be to finish that story (someday, maybe). I spoke about this metaphorical key in my last video. My colleague from the Hudson Institute of Coaching, Blanca Vergara, handed me the key when she invited me to participate in a virtual summit in January of 2022, “From Wounds to Wings” about the rise of the Sacred Feminine. My lecture which was in an interview format with Blanca was about my work with the Heroines Journey how I was teaching women about this great archetype, the Journey of the Hero/Heroine, and how they were actually walking this journey in real life.
One of the other speakers was Anne Baring and as I listened to her I was spellbound. Here is a woman who has studied the Sacred Feminine for most of her lifetime. At the time I knew very little about the Sacred Feminine. But as I listened to Anne talk on the day of the summit, my world got rearranged. (As I look back I feel it was like the same kind of “awakening” moment I had when I was first introduced to Joseph Campbell’s work.)
Anne’s interview that day revealed to me that there was much more to the empowerment of women than had previously been my focus. I encouraged and motivated women to be their authentic selves. That had been my mission for the past twenty years…here was my “why” – because it’s so important for them to be who they really are! They are not here to contort themselves to be what others, what our culture wants them to be (which has been the way – for so many thousands of years.) And our world needs what women have to give, their unique gifts. That has been my “why” I do this work.
But Anne introduced me to another, bigger, more immediate, “why” - what she calls “women’s tremendous cultural task.
Here’s a brief bio of Anne though you’ll find so much about her on her website:
Anne Baring b. 1931. MA Oxon 1951. Ph.D. (Hons) in Wisdom Studies Ubiquity University 2018. Jungian Analyst, author, and co-author of 7 books including, including Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess; Evolution of an Image; with Andrew Harvey, The Mystic Vision and The Divine Feminine; with Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Soul Power: An Agenda for a Conscious Humanity. Also, a book for children, The Birds Who Flew Beyond Time. Her most recent book The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul (2013, updated and reprinted 2020) was awarded the Scientific and Medical Network Book Prize for 2013. The ground of all her work is a deep interest in the spiritual, mythological, shamanic, and artistic traditions of different cultures. Her two websites are devoted to a new vision of reality and the issues facing us at this crucial time of choice.
I was so inspired by her talk (and the lectures of the other participants, Jean Shinoda Bolen was one!) that I ordered her “magnum opus” The Dream of the Cosmos right after the summit. I had ordered The Myth of the Goddess previously, back when I was writing about the hero’s journey and how it differed from the heroine’s journey, and I was looking for feminine story examples. And then…
A year went by
I think you know how that happens, dear Heroine. Life progresses – rapidly. And then just last month I was deciding who I’d invite to be on my Podcast for Real-Life Heroines for this fourth season...
and Anne Baring came to mind.
Immediately the Threshold Guardians surfaced. “She’s too famous. She’ll never say yes. You’re nobody, why would she want to be interviewed by you?” You know them – those pesky limiting thoughts that stand in our way. But…I, again, persevered. (I’m used to those Guardians, those gremlins, those critics that want to keep us back. “Oh, you again? Beat it.” Has become my rote response.) I called my friend, Blanca, and asked if she’d introduce me to Anne in an email. She did and Anne responded right away that she’d be glad to speak with me!
We had our interview last Saturday. She lives in England so we were five hours apart. She is a beautiful lady. She was dressed in blue, with a blue screen behind her. (We noted that blue was the color of the Sacred Feminine…and I told her that I knew from her writings that we shared a love for Chartres Cathedral in France, the stained glass windows of which are a very remarkable “Chartres blue.”)
My podcast with Anne Baring will air sometime in May. I hope you’ll listen. She talked to me about the urgency of women to give voice to the values that we’ve held for thousands of years and not to think they are lesser than the values that have been more highly prioritized in today’s world:
“I want women to be aware of their value. For over thousands and thousands and thousands of years their experience as a wife and a mother…they’re not aware of the importance of that role. This includes women who have never had children, it is in the feminine psyche, that they have these values…And their voice is needed now very, very urgently, that they wake up to who they are.”
I asked her what those values are that we need to bring forward:
“They are primarily love, secondly, compassion, thirdly, justice – justice for themselves as well as for the whole society and for particularly the children who are now born and growing up.”
Maybe you caught the year Anne was born in her bio, 1931. She’s 91. We are twenty years apart. She is as vital, intelligent, clear, wise - an inspiration. What a life! And she’s still living it – to the max! She is writing another book (maybe she said two more books.) I found myself nodding in agreement to (almost) everything she said.
I have found my role model – my Heroine. I’m going to close with this quote from her book, The Dream of the Cosmos:
“What then is woman’s tremendous cultural task? It is nothing less than to free herself from oppression, persecution, and marginalization so that her voice can act as an advocate for a new and better kind of civilization…
…Woman’s own awakening is part of the recovery of the Feminine. It is as if a momentous birth is taking place in the collective psyche of woman. This birth may be experienced as something that is difficult and even dangerous, as well as something exciting and transformative. The planet needs women to challenge the current established political ways and deplorable struggles for power and awaken the human community to a higher destiny and a different goal. It needs women to come out of the dark: to emerge into the light; to become visible and audible; to take the initiative in creating the change they long for.” (pp. 236-237)