The Descent to the Goddess

Do you ever wake up some days and ask yourself, "How did I get here?" Cue "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads. 

This is how I'm feeling lately. 

Except, of course, I can look back and tell you exactly how I got here. 

My new singing bowl, in the key of A, to help open up the third eye chakra and connect to intuition - a key part of the wild woman archetype. 

My new singing bowl, in the key of A, to help open up the third eye chakra and connect to intuition - a key part of the wild woman archetype. 

I can tell you every little seemingly incremental step I took to walk myself right into this mess.

And I went willingly, which is the most frustrating part.

(Also disappointing: I just totally wrote out a beautiful blog post, and then somehow it got deleted. So here's round two.)

Last new moon I set my intentions to be as such: I will connect to and follow my intuition. I am worthy of my deepest desires. I set healthy boundaries, and respect myself by keeping them.

Doing this has been incredibly hard. For the past several years, my boundary skills have been lacking. Or, I would have a boundary, but as soon as anyone else was uncomfortable with it, I moved the line - because, you know, I don't want to make other people uncomfortable.

And I am tired of this.

In Deborah Adele's book, The Yamas and Niyamas, she talks about satya, or truthfulness, and the difference between being "real" and "nice." We (particularly women) are schooled to be nice. Would you rather have your kid grow up smart or kind? And holy midwestern niceness. 

I am so over nice. I have been "nice" forever. I have learned how to take care of other people's feelings, how to make other people feel good, and how to put aside my own needs for others.

And I am over it. I am over other people doing it, too.

Let's all agree to stop going to meetings we don't want to go to and half ass our participation. Let's stop agreeing to go to events when we really don't want to. Let's stop doing nice things for others that comes with some expectation.

In her book, Deborah describes how being "nice" makes you less trustworthy. Maybe you'll disappoint someone by saying "No, I can't attend that meeting" in the immediate future, but in the long term, when you commit to something, they'll know you'll show up fully.

That's what I want.

I want integrity. I want honesty. I want willingness to be real over being nice.

So for a long time, I've been "nice." I've decided that other people's feelings matter more than my feelings, and I'm resentful as a result. And this is my fault, of course. I walked into it. Oh Ganesha, you large elephant with your belly that holds the universe - the creator and destroyer of obstacles. 

I am in what's called "the descent to the goddess." Maureen Murdock crafted "The Heroine's Journey" to describe this process that all women experience, and it goes like this:

  • Separation from the Feminine (patriarchal society, competition, insecurity)
  • Gathering of Male Allies (over-identification with men - fathers, brothers, male friends, etc.)
  • Road of the Dragon (we meet a dragon that hides our own treasure - to find it, we must befriend the dragon and get to our treasure)
  • Illusory success (we receive the treasure)
  • Spiritual death 
  • Initiation into the Descent of Goddess (other people say "she's crazy" "she's diabolical" "she's hysterical" - this is a hard journey, but if you choose to go here, you will know the power that you are)
  • Urgent Yearn for Femininity
  • Merge the Internal Mother/Daughter Split
  • Healing Wounded Masculine (we stop trying to prove, we see how we might be manipulating or abusing our power, there's a move towards humanity)
  • Integration of the Masculine and Feminine

Then, the cycle begins over again. We again are separated from our femininity, and the cycle starts over. It's continual.

The moral? 

We must be willing to go down in order to rise.

We must be willing to go into the underworld, into our darkness, into our rage and our fear and our grief and our failures and find our power. We must unleash the wild woman archetype - the wild and unabashed part of ourselves, the one who has been hidden away and discarded for not being "nice," the one who has been shut off, not because we want to but because we are trained to.

I had no idea that last November, when I set my sankalpa of "Be WILD and UNABASHED" that it would send me on this journey. It has been the most difficult journey of my life. It has been painful, and heart-wrenching, and soul crushing.

But, at the same time, I am so grateful for it.

I know that I am headed in the direction of where I'm meant to go.

I know I am finding my power and working towards a healing, re-integrated sense of my masculine and feminine.

So, to anyone who is also going through some shit, I offer you this:

  • Can you find gratitude for the darkness?
  • Can you find your power, take your lessons, and process it deeply?
  • Can you find the will to stay in the pain - to not run away or suppress yourself, but rather hold your own, hold your boundaries, and be strong?
  • Can you allow to die what must die?

Remember, always, the gift of impermanence. If you are going through shit, find gratitude that it will end. If you are at the peak of your happiness, enjoy it, because it will end. 

We experience our greatest joys, our greatest highs, when we are committed to allowing the lowest lows.