Hettienne Ma

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Living by Grace

In The way of the heart on August 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

Most people start the journey towards awakening to their true selves in an attempt to escape their current state of mind or to heal the body. In the beginning various tools are applied, such as affirmations, releasing techniques and various other modalities, but then eventually, the truth dawns, that actually you are only re-arranging the furniture! Carlos Castanedas said that when you wake up and you realise you are in the house of the mind, do not waste time exploring the various rooms, get out of there as fast as you can! Well, that is one approach. But ultimately, we are walking between worlds and we have to learn to live with the tension of the opposites. This constitutes the middle road – that of living by Grace. (This was discussed in more detail in my previous blog Freedom through Love)

The ego or man-made mind, is the only thing that stands between you and the direct experience of God. In order to live by Grace and to live in freedom, you need to let go of your need to suffer and to receive Love in every breathing moment! I agree that when you first read this sentence, you tend to react, what utter nonsense, who chooses to suffer willingly and knowingly? But the mind, through its conditioning and its ‘learning’ chooses suffering most of the time.
It revels in its own sense of suffering. The mind identifies with the story of ‘me’ and ‘me’ cannot exist without the story! Thus it is easy to become so enmeshed in the story that it becomes your identity and all of who you think you are. When in actual fact, you are not the story and you need to remember who you are.
The truth is that you are never separated from God. Your True Self is the one behind the web of the mind. Your mind is your active opponent when it engages in self-rejection, self-deprecation, criticism of the self, breaking down your self-esteem and filling you with thoughts of not being good enough, not lovable, and so on. So now you are probably thinking to yourself, well, I know that is the problem; how do I change it?
First of all, change your belief system. At first you may need blind faith. Blind faith in an ever loving Presence that has never abandoned you and has never rejected you. Accept that you in fact do not know the true nature of the divine Presence. All that you think you know about it, you have acquired through the perception of your experiences and thus your conditioning. The mind wants to keep you safe and protected against re-experiencing any painful feelings. Thus it contracts and armours itself and does whatever it takes to keep you from revealing yourself, or from taking any emotional risks. But when you apply the mind in its higher function of self-enquiry and you follow the bread crumb trail back to the origin of the thought and the belief system, you will find that your mind’s reasoning is absolutely crazy! There is no logic and no rationale. It is a story woven and fabricated by your mind and it will most probably not even make sense to anybody else. So this is where Carlos Castanedas’ statement makes so much sense. Why do you want to spend time unravelling the many, many stories that your mind created? It is so much simpler to merely jump from the plane, knowing that you carry a parachute and free float down to a new reality.
Obviously this is not as easy as I make it sound, but with consistent effort this is well within your reach. At first it is difficult to do as you now have to break a life long habit. A habit of being angry, or feeling justified in your behaviour, or feeling sorry for yourself. Although these habits seemingly give you power and often has become the driving force and motivator in your life, they do not serve you – in fact they are your master and you serve them – thus, you are not free to reach your fullest potential, nor are you free to be happy, just for the sake of being happy.
The mind will have you know that as long as you are an imperfect human being, you cannot Realise your Oneness with what Is. But this is not true. You are both a human being and at one with God. No-one can really define the terms awakening, enlightenment and Self-Realisation, Christ Consciousness and so on. As long as you tie yourself to a belief system or a tradition or a religion, you are tied to certain requirements for awakening or enlightenment, but ultimately, this is a process of becoming less of you and more of You! And you are the only one who knows your inner world and who knows God Within. Everyone else can only know God in their own way. So the moment you rely on others’ words or experiences, you are separating yourself from true knowing and you will also doubt and discount your direct spiritual experiences.
All disease of the body is created by the mind, ultimately. This is a tough one to assimilate and swallow, but your thoughts, your belief systems, your incessant prayers are creating your body. This does not mean that you must overcome all disease and that unless you do so you are not perfect or ‘good enough’ to know God. That is exactly the nature of the thoughts of the mind that drives you toward the notion that you have to heal your life. You do not have to heal your body, nor your life. You need to desire God and only God and everything else will be taken care of.
What does it mean to ‘desire God’? It means that you accept that there is a Principle of Love – complete, unconditional and infinite Love. That this Love Principle is Perfection and that its power is omnipotent and omnipresent. You accept that ultimately your will is God’s Will and God’s Will is your will and that God’s Will is only Love. So, I suppose you have to believe that your mind is not in control, it has never been in control and that personal willpower will not get you what you want!! And then by implication, this means that ‘your will’ is not the personal will of the mind. And mostly, we only get to this point in our consciousness and awareness, through hardship and suffering, and often through disease of the body! So we have gone full circle, back to disease of the body.
You can choose to look at disease or challenges in your life as signs of ‘not doing it right’ or ‘not being aligned’, or whatever terminology the mind choooses to use. OR you can look at it from the perspective of LOVE, and that is that All Is As It Should Be at all times. You may not understand, you may not be able to see the bigger picture, but knowledge of God and the true nature of Love, will set you free to accept and surrender at all times. And through acceptance and surrender, the resistance dissolves and thus the mental pattern that created the disease in the first place.
Many alternative therapies do work for a while. I suppose they satisfy the mind that believes that it needs to understand, before it can surrender and let go. But in my personal experiences and in healing experiences with many others that I have worked with over the years, true breakthrough has always taken place when the person has accepted that no matter of self-improvement is going to fix the problem.
You see, you do not need self-improvement. You are innately whole. You entered this world in absolute innocence and wholeness. And then the journey started. And the pain that you felt, was the pain of believing you are separate from God, that you had been abandoned by God. And these feelings were created because this world cannot validate your Christ Self. So, when you looked into the eyes of another, you could not see your True Self reflected back at you. Nowhere could you see evidence of your innocence and your purity. Your True Self was rejected in experiences with others. When you revealed your exuberance, your absolute Self-absorbed happiness and joy, it was labelled as inappropriate; your pleasure in the beingness of your physical body may have been called perverse. In many different ways, your Being were rejected. And this is the truth for all human beings, in varying degrees.
When you find someone that you resonate with, your experience is always one of ‘he/she gets me’, they understand me, they ‘see’ me. But sooner or later, this is no longer true and problems start in the relationship. Do not look for acceptance in the eyes of another. As you are learn that you are so much more than your story and so much more than others’ reflections, and you start to gain this conviction, you become the Grace.
Once you realise this, you can start the journey of true acceptance and surrender : accept that you will never understand all they whys and wherefores; accept that you cannot know God with your mind and surrender to Grace. Living by Grace enables you to live in joy and total freedom despite the ‘story’ and the mind’s attempts at keeping you tied to your story.

Freedom through Love

In The way of the heart on August 30, 2010 at 6:15 am

Surrrendering to God (the Unknown and Unknowable) requires an unwavering faith and trust in the Absolute Goodness of God.

Surrender is the key to unveiling the Truth of Oneness, so why would the mind not allow you to surrender instantly? The obvious answer is ‘fear’, but then, fear of what? Fear of God. The fear of God is implicit in the creation of a seemingly separate human mind – one that has its own personal perceptions based on personal experience. Therefore a very valid point of view, seen from the mind’s perspective, to not willingly surrender to that which is Unknown and Unknowable – would you not agree?
The mind cannot know God and that is where the problem lies. As long as you rely on your mind and its perceptions based on its own limited belief systems, you will not even be able to contemplate the nature of God. The direct experience of God will give you the taste of what you are seeking – it will satisfy the yearning of your heart and the longing of your soul. You will not be able to explain God in words or concepts and this is because God is not an idea! God IS. God IS at all times, whether you are consciously aware of this or not. God IS.
And the paradox is that the more you empty your mind, in order to step into the IS, the more you will get to know your mind and the less attached you will become to its content and belief systems.
How do you empty your mind and start this journey on a daily basis? There are various forms of meditation, but it is not necessary to move into an ashram, or to withdraw from life and to acquire vast meditation skills. In fact, when you do any of the above, you are creating another belief system and really, to know God, you have to step into a life ‘beyond belief’. You have to let go of all belief systems, so be conscious of which new belief systems you are creating.
It can be as simple as becoming aware of each and every moment. Take fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes at night (before sleep) and sit with your breath. In this time, focus on the in and out breath. No pranayama, no manipulation of the breath, just a rythmic breath. As you breath in and out, be present and be aware, be willing to BE WITH the breath, and to be with yourself and thus to be with God. Yes, to be with God! as you, without judgement, without the need to improve yourself, without goals, without striving, just BE. It is said that God is closer than your own breath. In the Hindu tradition, the God Shiva (Siva) is an anagram of Vasi (breath) – surely you can see that there is a message here. God is not a separate entity ‘out there’; neither is God a being, limited to duality and good and bad. God IS. And only you can know God, by knowing yourself.
As you become conscious of the moment, you will become conscious of certain thoughts and feelings. Do not fight these. Do not engage these. These are all part of the ‘story’; the story that you wrote and continue to write about yourself. Let them arise to the surface of the mind like bubbles and let them be. ‘This too shall pass’. It may take a while to trust the process, but eventually the clouds will start to clear. You may not have any immediate insights, but you will notice new feelings, a new sense of lightness, a more positive outlook, and so on.
The truth is that you are not separate from God. God is both within and without. God is everything. Even by using the word God I am projecting a series of beliefs and adjectives in your mind, but to communicate, we need words. You can replace the word ‘god’ with Love, or Peace, or Christ, or Goddess, or Light. Most of these have already been claimed by spiritual and religious traditions, so once again, you are limiting your knowledge of the Divine. So there is only one way, and that is to go beyond – to go beyond the mind.
In The Cloud of Unknowing, a work by an unknown Christian monk, he says that the mind creates the Cloud of Unknowing, which obscures the knowledge of God and in order to clear this cloud, you have to put everything else into the Cloud of Forgetting.
This is a wonderfully simple analogy for exactly how I am with and know the Self.
The mind likes to and wants to understand and interpret, in order to organise, structure and mainly to control. The mind believes that when things are not going according to its plans and goals and expectations, that it is doing something wrong. You, as servant to the mind, then start to ‘do’ in order to bring seeming order back to the chaos. But chaos is needed to create, so unless, you can allow the chaos, you can not live a creative life, and your inner world will become a wasteland. You will feel trapped by external routines and seemingly limited choices. As long you try to interpret and understand, you are analysing and ‘filing’ and adding to the ‘story’. You always have a choice whether you look at a glass as half-full or half empty. You have the same power when it comes to writing your story. You can have exactly the same childhood as someone else, but based on your perception, your personality, your expectations, you will write a different story about your life and more importantly, about yourself, than someone else. But eventually, you only become a character in this story, and you are written by the story line that you set in motion a long time ago. Your choices become limited, your reactions become predictable and the people that you attract in your life, are all seemingly the same character, just in different dress-up every time. These characters are usually the Big Bad Wolf, or the Evil Stepmother or the jealous Ugly Stepsister or the Fisher King and so on.
So, how to change the story? How to undo the storyboard and how to step off the page? Through surrender.
Surrender does not mean that you just ‘give up’ and become downtrodden and despondent and despaired – well, sometimes it does. But not for this exercise.
To understand the meaning of surrender in this context, please visualise a triangle. See the one leg of the triangle in the ‘negative’ and the other leg of the triangle in the ‘positive’ and then see the apex of the triangle in the centre, high above it all. The apex of the triangle I like to call ‘High Thinking’ (the Absolute, Union, Unity Consciousness, at-one with God). All three points of the triangle is ‘true’ for you, the human being. You are standing with two legs in duality and your Soul is in God. If you keep your head in God as well, whilst going about your daily life, in full acceptance of everything as IS, you are living in surrender. And then you are holding the golden key to Self-Realisation.
Remember, life is energy before it is matter. So make sure that whatever you are giving energy to, really matters.
Thoughts and emotions are prayers, sent without end, setting your intent and ‘want’ to your Higher Self.
So, place your story and all its characters, into the cloud of forgetfullness. Leave it behind. Let it go. Over and over. Put down that heavy suitcase, throw out the baggage, and walk away, mentally and emotionally and step into Freedom. All of this is possible through Love.
This will mean that you suspend all judgement. When something happens to you, you step into the witness, into the apex of the triangle and you observe yourself. You observe your reactions, the feelings of pain and hurt, or anger and explosiveness. You do not have to fight or resist these feelings. You accept them. It is our resistance to our feelings that cause the suffering. Suffering is on-going pain and repression. When you allow yourself to feel the pain, the be at the centre of the feelings, without resistance and without fear, they will dissolve. Like mist in front of the Sun! You will most probably not be able to stay in the witness in the beginning, but you can go back to your High Throne in the Sun. When you become aware that you are fully engaged in flurry and intensity of the feelings, then you can return to the apex of the triangle, without judgement of self. When you release all judgement of the self that is still in the thick of the duality, compassion will enter its space.
The first time true acceptance and compassion floods your heart and being, it washes your mind of the fog and a sweetness, such as only known in love at first sight, enters your being. This absolute sweetness is Love, God, and ultimately your True Self. Once you have known this sweetness, this incredibly tender, absolute Love, you will want more and more. And your subconscious will find the way to deliver more to you!
Remember, through surrender, you are activating the principle of Love. The Principle of Love, is God, the Soul, Christ Consciousness, Guru (disspeller of darkness). The Principle of Love is intelligent and its goal and ultimate destiny is your Self-Realisation! It wants you to wake up from the nightmare and to participate fully in this Experience. Once Love has been activated, It will take control as much as you can allow. It will become your Guru, your Guru, your Lover, your Beloved and your divine Parent and It will bring you exactly what you need at all times.
So do not put off surrender. Take the risk. It is said that when you jump off the cliff, thousands of angels will be there to provide wings for your flight. Step into Freedom, over and over, and eventually you will remember and it will be a constant state of Love!
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Her Call

In The way of the heart on August 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm


‘How might your life have been different, if, deep within,

you carried an image of the Great Mother,

and, when things seemed very, very bad, you could imagine

that you were sitting in the lap of the Goddess,

held tightly …

embraced, at last.

And, that you could hear Her saying to you,

“I love you ….

I love you and I need you to bring forth your self”.’

Erich Neumann, The Great Mother


“It was a dark night. A blood red full moon was hanging in the sky. We were standing on a beach, waves gently lapping in the background. I was one of a circle of 12, maybe 13 women. We were all dressed in black and a sense of awe and reverence washed over me. I felt spellbound and hardly dared to breathe. The old woman stirred the dark liquid in the ‘cauldron’ in front of her and she filled a huge round goblet with a deep dark red fluid. She held the glass high and the light of the moon reflected off the sides. She handed the glass to the woman in front of her, who took it with both hands. As she threw her head back, I could see the clear shape of her taut throat and as the liquid flowed down her throat, I became a part of her memory and her story. This happened with each and everyone of the women in front of me – as she drank the liquid, I became one with her, I merged with her memories and our stories were joined. I was the last one in the circle, being the youngest, and as the old woman handed me the goblet, she said to me : Drink the Poison and Find the Cure!’.

I was thirteen years old and lying on my bed with the yellow flower wallpaper next to me. I opened my eyes and returned from this vision. I had no idea what it meant, but from that day, it became my vision and purpose. And slowly, as I returned to the Otherworld, over and over, the answers were given to me and I was guided to the next step.

I shared this vision of mine at the International Goddess Conference that I hosted in South Africa in 2008, believing that this was the culmination of Her Call to me. Little did I know that the journey up till then was only Her preparation of the Way of what is still to come!

So walk with me as I start with the story nine years ago:

For many years I was happy to teach from many different spiritual writings, such as A Course in Miracles, the Gnostic scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita and so on. The deeper I entrenched myself into meditation and other spiritual practices, the more I discovered a gaping contradiction and inner conflict within myself.

In my practical work as a spiritual healer and alternative practitioner, working mainly with women, I found this same inner conflict reflected back at me. We, especially as Western women, living in our current, modern world, had at this stage of our journey, not had the luxury or privilege of asserting ourselves emotionally and spiritually. Nor have we had the privilege of having been received by the world as having the right to assert ourselves spiritually and emotionally.

And here we are, now embarked on a spiritual path which once again, is demanding of us to suppress and repress and to let go of this assertiveness. We are being asked to put others first and ourselves, as women, last. We are being asked to let go of our undeveloped ego and already non-existent personal boundaries.

On the one hand, I felt compelled to embrace these spiritual teachings as they somehow seem to resonate in my memory banks, but on the other hand, I found myself counselling women to do exactly the opposite!!

Time and time again, I found myself advising women to claim their lives back. To put themselves first and foremost, to become strong and selfish parents to their inner children, to fight for what rightfully belongs to them. As my inspired words became more and feminist in nature and virtually the opposite of what I, up till then believed, and were desperately trying to practise, I started to glimpse the incredible conflict within my psyche and entire being. It felt as though I was embattled between that which I have been ‘taught’ for lifetimes and that which naturally arises within my feminine self.

I tried to digest and assimilate these teachings as they flowed from my deepest awareness and understanding. It was as though these concepts were an organic part of myself as a woman. I tried my utmost to reconcile these powerful living concepts with the mental understanding of the spiritual path that I believed I followed.

But the conflict worsened as I observed women’s psyches and inner worlds flowering and blossoming into healthy bodies and clarity of purpose and sense of self, as they applied these inspired teachings that I shared with them. At a deeper level, a more subtle and more powerful conflict was raging. Not allowing myself to pay attention to this subtle war raging in my own subconscious, I was urged from within to undertake a sabbatical from my wisdom and healing school and to undertake a journey into the unknown depths of my feminine soul.

And so started my descent, and like Inanna, I shed the seven layers symbolically through the next seven years of abstinence of teaching, counselling, healing and writing.

I finally listened to the urge to pick up a paint brush and a canvas and the images were born through me – I was possessed by the daimon of Her Voice – the images that were crafted by my hand were all of Mother Mary. I was never raised Catholic and had no real knowledge of Mother Mary as an image or as the Divine Feminine. Within two weeks four images of her stared back at me, Mary the Queen, Mary as the Lady of Grace, Mary as the Moon, Mary as the Gnostic Sophia, then followed Mary Magdalene and more and more.

I felt an intense call to undertake a pilgrimage to get to know Mary better and through many signs I was led to the sanctuary of Archangel Michael for his festival in the ancient village of Monte Sant’Angelo in Italy.

I travelled to the sanctuary of St Michael, San Michelle and during my travels in Italy, I found the soothing re-assurance in the image of the grieving blessed Mary and the suffering St Clare of Assisi. I found a deep sense of reassurance and hope in the images of these suffering women, not realizing that the anguish and suffering of my own feminine self found a sense of acknowledgement and acceptance in these images reflected at me. That deepest, unspoken, unacknowledged, repressed feminine self, found solace in the stories of these female Catholic saints and mystics. She found a new sense of hope of having found a voice, of being acknowledged and recognised as Sacred.

She had given the Call and it was up to me to answer.

And thus started the resurrection of my own feminine divine self.

more to follow ……………..

The Emergence of Goddess

In The way of the heart on August 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

The Re-emergence of Goddess

The Goddess is awakening; She is returning to our consciousness from her state of exile and banishment to the unconscious. This is to be seen in the awareness of the ecological plight of our planet. There is a surge of feminine consciousness and awareness in the popular media – always a good barometer of the mass consciousness. However, She demands more than the mere awareness, the reference to Goddess every now and again or the inclusion of the word Goddess when referring to the Universal Divine.

The exiled Goddess, for the past two thousand years frozen in the image of the suffering Mary, Mother of God, carried the suffering and redemption of modern woman’s quest for wholeness of the conscious feminine. The Lady of the Moon was holding the archetypal image of a feminine deity for those who struggled to identify with and relate to a masculine god in the traditional male monotheism or to the image of the Masculine Spirit God in the mystery traditions without the receptive container of the healed feminine.

The embodiment of the Goddess is a wholly conscious feminine path to be undertaken by women at this stage in our development. This is a path to wholeness of the feminine consciousness embodied by women. The old paradigm has served its purpose. We had fallen asleep and we had forgotten the Goddess. She has not forgotten us and She is stirring in our consciousness and she is demanding that those who hear the call, answer and start the work.

The Call of the Goddess comes in various guises. If you have lived a life unconsciously of the feminine, which, by the way, you were meant to, as we have been under the spell of the sleeping Goddess, Her call usually becomes insistent in the lives of patriarchal women, caught up in their own idealized animus. The animus dominated life is one that excludes the celebration of feminine rites, the celebrationary rite of the onset of your menses, the understanding of the sacredness of your body, the knowledge that you are in control of your body and only you have the right of ownership of your own body, the cognizance of the lunar cycles in your body and psyche.

It is also the life that strives for perfection, that exudes dynamic behaviour through self-discipline, control and willpower over the natural world and her own natural self. She sends the Crone, the Goddess of Death, Destruction and Chaos to wake us up. You can expect to see the hand of the Crone in your life in the guise of burn-out, chronic fatigue syndrome or some immune system breakdown or overload. She carries many labels, but is currently prone to ones such as Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, Epstein-Barr virus, osteo-arthritis, allergies to certain foods, obesity, fybromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, to name but a few. She also arrives, cloaked in personal traumatic losses in your own life; the loss of an idealised self, an idealised image, the loss of a marriage or a career or a devotive relationship. The important thing is to recognize that She is calling your name.

Women have been living in a patriarchal, male dominated society for the past ten thousand years. During this time, the conscious feminine has been reviled, rejected, cursed, suppressed and oppressed.

Woman has learnt to do the same to their inner feminine. As women, we learnt that being too emotional is not acceptable; you are allowed to express your emotions appropriately, yes, and in the right place and the right time, preferably while you are with your female friends behind closed doors, never in public. please. Our exuberant joy are judged as being mere frivolous, our wild, womanly lust and desires are demeaned as mere sluttishness. We learnt to split out feminine self into female and male. We learnt and taught ourselves to project those ugly ‘male’ qualities onto the men and have been successful in crippling many men emotionally and psychically. We project our cruelty, our need for power and dominance, our anger onto men with the physical phallic power, thus robbing ourselves of our feminine wholeness. We bury our Crone, wise self in the image of the Wicked Witch. We scare our children and our inner child with the fear of the Devouring Mother, devoid of the context of her true power and wholeness.

The complete, whole conscious feminine, contains the Virgin, Mother and Crone. She does indeed devour you, the masked self, but in order to give birth to the true you. When we never experience death, it forever locks us into the fear of its power. Only when one has experienced the power of dying to the old and being born to the new, can you trust Her process in your life.

Our society is designed to never let you die. We are promised eternal beauty and youth, eternal sexual prowess and performance, eternal material gain. The Virgin woman is idealized according to the male fantasy. Her image is used in all images of perfect health and beauty. Perfect health is idealized and you are led to believe that you should never get ill. You should always look thirty years old and should you get ill, there are many manuals that will explain to you that you are responsible for your own illness. Everything in nature changes, dies and transforms. The Goddess holds us and the earth in her perfect cycle of change and transformation.

The Mother gets revered once again as a queen of domesticity, devoid of her sexual and creative powers. These are assigned to the Virgin, created in the image of the idealized animus. The Mother should be devoted to her children, her house and supporting her husband. She is taught by society to carry the emotions of her husband. She loses two thirds of her conscious feminine self. The man in the marriage has been taught to split off his own feminine self and to project the feminine behaviour onto women or homosexual men. Thus the Madonna/whore split. Once his sexual partner no longer looks like the idealized Virgin and she has given birth to his children, he treats her like his own mother. This is not merely the case for one or two men, this takes place in generations of humanity. As long as the Mother Within and her devouring, death power is feared, the personal or projected Mother will be feared and mothers will be vilified for carrying the burden of this projection. Husbands, school teachers, coaches, are regularly heard to say ‘just do not get on the wrong side of the child’s mother, she will kill you’ vilifying the passion of the mother and turning it into a negative death clutch of over-protection and holding on. As a mother, she is not allowed certain behaviour, she is not allowed to express her creative self, as this will empower her and encourage empowered behaviour in the children which in turn will lead to upheaval and lack of obedience in the school class room.

Women are locked into the pain of waiting to be mothered by their animus orientated mothers. But an even more profound suffering is experienced when these women realize that they rejected their own personal mothers for being the weaker sex. Stifling and disempowering is the complexes that hold us locked into being our father’s daughters striving for acceptance and doing our utmost to fit in and be accepted in the male world based on male principles.

The conscious feminine way of being, doing and experiencing is a complete feminine experience. The masculine is not experienced in the traditionally viewed way of the masculine. It may still use the same descriptions, such as creative, active, phallic, progressive, but it feels different, it looks different, it is She in all her terrible and beautiful feminine power. As long as you interpret, perceive and try to understand from your animus, your dominant, distorted masculine side, you will not experience. It is only through embodiment of your conscious feminine that you will heal.

In order for the receptive container of the healed feminine to be created and strengthened we need to reclaim our feminine selves. We need to hold, embrace and nurture our wounded and broken parts and celebrate our innate mothering selves. We need to reclaim our sexual and juicy creative power, our wild womanly ways and our bodily knowing! Awaken your desires, they are guidance from your Heart. Start expressing yourself, pick up a paintbrush, put on music and move your hips!

The role of the Goddess Archetype in Spirituality, Psychology and Relating

In The way of the heart on August 11, 2010 at 7:00 am


The ancient god and goddess mythologies form a crucial part of our collective archetypal unconscious. Within each and every man and woman the gods and goddesses are acting out their archetypal roles. By understanding which goddesses you are keeping alive, you are closer to understanding your own psyche.

These goddesses also exist in our energy fields. They have huge fields of energetic power and control in both the astral, psychic and spiritual realms. We are not dancing alone! Who are your dancing partners?

By identifying your governing archetypes (in the goddesses in this instance) you are in a position to identify compelling behaviour and feeling patterns. Through the study of the inner goddesses you can empower yourself through the power of acceptance, awareness, observation and SURRENDER!

The various goddesses are aspects of the Supreme Mother Goddess. These aspects and goddesses have the power to heal or to disrupt.

Several of these goddesses underlie a woman’s behaviour and psychological style. Men too, are influenced by the goddess types. The goddesses reflect feminine energies in the male psyche, although men usually experience them as being more external to themselves in the shape of women they are attracted to or else have strong reactions to.

Men also experience the goddesses projected onto the women around them, as indeed, the world is a mirror to us all.

All of men’s relationships with women are determined by one or more of the goddess energies and their particular archetypal energies.

One can assume that a certain predisposition to specific archetypes are brought into existence at birth. One is born into a karmic life stream; into a body and personality type which genetically and psychically are already programmed with the lineage of seven generations. From there on you are imprinted and conditioned by those around you, observing and experiencing all through your own personal lens and filter. Therefore pecific goddesses will be awakened and cultivated at various stages in one’s life.

Every archetype has its pros and cons or negatives or positives, depending on its reason for being in your consciousness. For instance, the price for living a protective goddess might be the loss of vulnerability and intimacy. It is theproverbial ‘pact with the devil’* that is made – ‘I scratch your back and you scratch my back’ said tongue-in-cheek, but be aware of the price that you will be paying. Usually, when the crisis occurs in one’s own life and journey, you realise that the price exacted by ‘her’ is too high, and then the journey of transformation starts, as you overcome the belief system, the conditioned fear, the fight or flight response, etc etc.

In some instances you might need to cultivate a certain goddess and in another you would have to let go of a goddess. Your responsibility is to become aware of which goddess/es are currently living in your psyche; decide whether she still serves her purpose; decide whether she is now bringing more harm than healing and then to make the choice as to let her go or to invite her sister into your psyche.

Cultivating a goddess into your consciousness or letting one go from your mode of behaviour and perceptions is not always a simple and straightforward task, but more likely one that will call for great determination and perseverance.

There are three categories of goddesses: virgin, vulnerable and alchemical.

All the goddesses are potential patterns in the psyches of all women, yet in each individual woman some of these patterns are activated/developed and others are not. The ones that are developed become your personal archetypal patterns.

Women are born with an inherent disposition towards certain archetypes – these are then either activated or suppressed, depending on the influential factors., i.e.

Family environment:

The expectations of the child’s family support some goddesses and suppress others. If a family disapproves of a girl’s inherent goddess, she may learn not to act her natural self and her self-esteem will suffer.

Hormonal changes:

activate certain goddesses in a woman’s life and cycle. Pregnancy is a major factor in activating Demeter.

Different stages of life will also activate certain goddesses.

The Vulnerable Goddesses:

Hera, Demeter and Persephone

These represent the traditional female roles of wife, mother and daughter. These are the relationship oriented goddesses, whose identity depends on having a significant relationship. These three suffered rape, abduction, domination and humiliation by male gods. Each experienced powerlessness.

Hera responded with rage and jealousy;

Demeter and Persephone responded with depression.

The Virgin Goddesses:

Artemis, Athena and Hestia

These represent the independent, active, non-relationship aspects of women’s psychology.

Artemis and Athena are outward focused, achievement-oriented

Hestia is inwardly focused.

These three represent inner drives in women to develop talents, pursue interests, solve problems, compete with others, express themselves articulately in words or through art forms, or lead contemplative lives.

The virgin is that part of a woman that is untouched by her need for the validation of a man; that part that exists wholly independent from a man.

The Alchemical Goddess:

Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. She has the power to transform patterns and behaviour in your life. Often this process turns your life completely upside down as you find yourself acting in completely uncharacteristic ways. Her energy leads you into a gentler and freer space, but not without its turmoil and often, social disapproval. Aphrodite will challenge you into your deepest feminine space of sensuality and beauty.

Which Goddess?

The different goddesses (aspects of a woman’s psyche) will vie for dominance. Some will dominate the woman to such an extent that other valuable goddesses will never be allowed a turn to come to the fore.

When a woman allows others to decide for her what attributes are more valuable, she will never discover her own potential or true nature.

One needs a well-developed sense of self in order to assess the goddesses. It is to take them all into consideration when a decision has to be made. It is not to view the situation and reactions in an emotional light, but to be able to weigh up the pros and cons and then to decide which one will serve the best.

As long as one reacts unconsciously and subconsciously in an certain addictive pattern of behaviour, you are allowing the goddess to control you.

You need to become aware of which goddesses have been activated in you;

Assess which goddesses have been suppressed;

Decide which ones you would like to activate and/or cultivate in order to serve your goal and personal mission.

It is necessary for the self to rule : as long as the ego just goes along with whichever goddess rules for the day or moment, you are in the grip of an unconscious or out of control pattern of behaviour.

The other extreme is when too many goddesses are present and trying to dominate – this results in feelings of chaos and confusion. You end up feeling overwhelmed and might move into panic, flight or freeze up and do nothing.

As long as the ego is biased and insists on repressing some of the goddesses, tension and conflict in the inner self will remain. This can lead to acting out (binging, etc.) in order to relieve some of the tension. As long as this is unconscious behaviour, you will tend to ‘forget’ appointments, ‘forget’ promises and undertakings, sabotage yourself, miss opportunities, become sick in order to avoid confrontation, etc.

Say, Demeter in you, promised to do something for someone and Artemis resents this dependency, Artemis will conveniently forget to fulfill the promise. As you disapprove of artemis and her independence subconsciously, and you have always repressed Artemis, you are unaware of these feelings, and you are completely in the dark and innocent , of having forgotten the promise.

Psychosomatic illnesses are symptoms of repressed goddesses. The independent Athena, who never asks for help and never seems to need anybody, may develop asthma attacks. This is the only way her ego can allow dependent Persephone to get some maternal nurturing.

Moods can also reflect suppressed goddesses.

Often one behaves like two different people and the shifts in one’s personality can lead to confusion.

When one goddess dominates, a woman will be consistently introverted or extraverted. However, when two or more goddesses dominate, this will not be the case.

Awareness brings empowerment

Once you become aware of the goddess archetypes within, through observing yourself, you can learn to listen to the voices within. You can distinguish between who is speaking and become aware of the goddess influencing you in that situation. When they represent conflicting aspects of yourself that you must resolve, you can tune into the needs and concerns of each goddess, and then decide for yourself what is most important.

When some of the goddesses are only known through moods, tantrums and addictions, you will need to spend time discovering who they are.

‘Once a woman can tune in to the different parts of herself and can listen, observe, or feel her differing priorities and competing loyalties, she can then sort them out and measure their importance to her. She then can make conscious choices: when conflicts arise, she decides what priorities to place above others, and what course of action she will take. As a result, her decisions resolve inner conflicts instead of instigating internal wars.’ – Jean Bolen.

The wounded Goddess in us

The religious, patriarchal ‘father image’ has distorted and tyrannized our view of women. This single archetype has been completely distorted and has led to betrayal and abandonment of the ‘mother’, both human and divine. The goddess wounds started more than four thousand years ago when the patriarchal cultures began forcefully taking control from the matriarchal cultures. The evolution of Greek myth and religion is very different to that of Christianity and Judaism with their one father God. The Greek religion retained both father and mother divinities but it is obvious that they struggled with the opposites of these archetypes – the polarity of the yin and yang, the mother and father, the masculine and feminine.

……. more on the patriarch to follow.

* devil and devi seem very close in language – is this one of the ways in which devi become demonised?

Goddess in our Modern World

In The way of the heart on August 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

The modern day woman is faced with incredible challenges of re-discovering the Goddess within. Finding the goddess within really means to uncover your true authentic feminine self, as well as finding your inner male. A huge challenge in any age and society, but particularly emerging now. Women have been subjected to and battled against a patriarchal society based on masculine, materialistic values for at least the past two thousand years. Many experts quote four thousand years and up to ten thousand years!

Very few women regard themselves or their lives in mythical terms. In our modern rational age these myths have been relegated to the world of fantasy and they have been devalued as mere stories.

The ancient myths, be it Greco-Roman, Celtic, Arthurian or from any ancient cultures, all share gods, goddesses and themes. In Pagan times these myths were seen as sacred stories and today (post Jung) they can be regarded as archetypal stories, depicting humanity’s psychological world. Myths are in fact sacred mirrors reflecting our soul journeys, acting as guides for the inner soul world.

With the onset of patriarchy the goddesses in the Greco-Roman pantheon were toppled and replaced with male gods. The powerful attributes of the Goddesses were all integrated into and claimed by the male gods, leaving pale versions of the original Goddesses behind.

All the great mythical tales and even the fairy tales (a powerful mirror and guide of our society’s and our inner lives) are told from the male point of view. It is always the knights and princes setting out on exciting adventures, and who meet the challenges. The women are mainly depicted as either helpless princesses locked up in castles, or awful hags or wicked stepmothers.

But in this lies an important clue and key for modern women. It is to accept and understand that a woman’s journey is indeed different to that of a man. The man already contains the masculine and he has to move inward toward freeing his princess or goddess which symbolize our loving, compassionate self. The woman, on the other hand, has to set herself free from the imprisoning tower and move outward. She has to uncover her passion, her fire and her inner strength, without turning into the wicked stepmother or old hag.

In our modern western patriarchal society women have been conditioned and trained to emulate men and male desires. Women have learnt that the power lies in the hands of the powerful male and in order to share in the power, they need to surrender to male values.

This is exactly the conundrum of the modern woman : she no longer knows what she desires, nor does she believe that her true feminine self has value. When you are not in touch with your true desires and the desire of your soul, you cannot find your passion and inner fire. Women are then forced to act from an assumed masculine self, from a false self or it has also been called a false ego-animus.

Modern women do not want to ‘burn the bra’ of the feminist movement in the Sixties, but she does want to be treated as an equal and respected for her intellectual abilities as well. The danger for the modern woman is that the true feminine aspects of herself might get lost in the process of ‘proving herself equal’.

The goddess always appear in her triple self in myths and fairytales. She has three aspects Maiden, Mother and Crone. All three of these roles are honoured in women and in their lives from a feminine perspective. The Maiden is the so-called virgin, a woman onto herself. This does not mean that she is sexually a virgin, but that she is independent and free from a false ego personality. The Mother is the mother of the family, the community and nature and the Crone is the Wise Old Woman who is revered in her old age for her wisdom, her grey hair and her knowledge of the ways of life.

All of the goddess myths are still relevant today. Their stories are still our stories, their joys and sorrows the same as ours.

A very relevant goddess today is the maiden Athena. She is the daughter born from the head of her father, Zeus. She was born fully grown and dressed in full armour. Being born from her father, depicts our patriarchal society based on male, materialistic values. Her maturity at birth and also the fact that she is wearing armour, shows that she did not have the luxury of a childhood. It also points to her control over her emotional nature, something which has traditionally been classified as hysterical and messy. She truly depicts the emotional pain of modern women, conditioned and raised in a patriarchal world that does not value the feminine psyche.

A mother goddess would be Gaia, the Greek goddess for Mother Earth. Our ecological and environmental condition clearly shows the lack of respect and reverence for this goddess.

Modern women need to incorporate her passion, her desire, her need to find her authentic self and her soul. In other words, women need to find the goddess within. These myths are larger than life stories which can guide us to find our true selves.

She is facing the challenge of finding balance in all her selves and in her many faceted roles. Many women are balancing a career with a home life. Others are journeying towards speaking their truth, experiencing their emotions, while staying in a successful relationship at the same time. The Triple Goddess Bridgid from the Celtic mythical tales, encompasses all these roles. She is a Fire goddess, symbolizing the rolling green hills of the Celtic world. She is maiden, mother and crone. She is fierce and protective, she is patron of healing, fertility, midwives, art, poetry and blacksmithing. She is also goddess of war and she lights the fires in the hearth. She therefore balances both masculine and feminine, a true ideal for women.

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