The descent in the feminine process~32 Comments
PHOTO: DARA SCULLY
“Depression comes as a gift that stops one from hurrying briskly, confidently into the market. Stops one from rushing to the shopping center to buy one more bargain blouse for an already overcrowded closet. Stops one from emptily mouthing what one no longer believes in anyway.
“Depression stops time… and one settles into one’s own waters as a sailing vessel without wind… without wind… without momentum…and one sinks into one’s depths.
“And somewhere, deep inside, in the beehive tomb, one sits alone… and weeps.
“Depression comes as a gift asking that a woman recognize her own substance and trust it as the quiet, steady voice of her own truth. As she trusts it, hearkens to it, attends as it unfolds, she learns that of herself never allowed to develop when her allegiance was with the collective…”
“Depression serves a woman is it presses down on her, forcing her to leave behind that which was not herself, which had influenced her to live a life alien to her own nature. Her suffering, now substantial, insists that she no longer deny its truth.
“She can no longer ‘keep stiff of her upper lip,’ or ‘pack up her troubles in her old kit bag and smile, smile, smile’ or, as one woman struggling with her weight said, ‘rise above it all.’
“…Depression asks that the attitude towards one’s life be changed, that the source of authority be recognized as no longer outside, but now deeply within, that one relate to each event, task, and moment of one’s life personally, subjectively…”
“Present-day society is afraid of depression. Whatever it resembles – reflection, introversion, a drawing within for quietness – may also be feared.”
“Suffering is feared and the sufferer outcast. Collective attitudes have evolved fostering archetypal masculine doing and achievement values. As woman entered the work realm outside her home, there was little alternative but to adopt those values. There was little recognition that her processes as woman was of a different nature or that doing/achievement values were not complete or valid for her.
“The issue is not whether woman can achieve, but that preoccupation with achievement may deny a descent into her deeper nature which a woman must make to touch her true strength. The masculine must perhaps fly to fulfill a part of its heroic nature. But woman, pressed to fly, may lose herself and be prevented from descending into her depths, prevented from fulfilling her own feminine nature.
“For through her descent, she touches the power of the feminine, the power that comes of being, not doing… the power of wisdom in the face of a very old woman, a face on which one reads, ‘I know what I know.’
“A woman through her descent, touches a deeply feminine authority, as different from the authority of the masculine as is the moon from the sun.
“It is an authority not of abstracted, rational, objective knowledge, but an authority which allows her to speak from her own unique experiencing of life, from her own deepest personal conviction.
“A woman prevented by her own fears or cultural attitudes from making this descent, is left to speak only from her achievement-oriented side rather than from a deeper experiencing of herself as a woman.
“Because present-day society has not understood, has feared the process which woman must undergo to claim her power and wisdom, has recognized only the masculine process, women have been left little alternative but to speak ‘as men…’
“Woman herself has become alienated from her need to sink into herself. She has begun to expect herself to have the energies, emotions, and attitudes of the masculine. It is a tragic token of the lack of recognition of a separate and unique feminine process…”
“A woman could be helped to understand her depression as a passage of initiation to claim her own soul and wisdom to be shared, later, with other women as they prepare for their own passage. She’s is taught, instead, to fear her experience and to loathe herself.”
“…It is this meaning, emerged from her own suffering, that allows a woman to descent, each time anew, into her own depths, to be present to the truth and wisdom lying there. For only by her willing descent can she uncover, again and again, the meaning of her life.
“Can we come to a new understanding of the feminine process toward wholeness? Can we, as women, take it upon ourselves to deepen within ourselves and each other and appreciation of the descent in the feminine process?”
~Judith Duerk from Circle of Stones: Woman’s Journey to Herself
I would like to add that although Judith is speaking exclusively to women and what she calls “the feminine process,” I believe it applies to men as well as it is something that is even more denied in their experience and needs to be encouraged.
Feminine or masculine, yin or yang, exist within each of us and the bigger message should be to acknowledge “the feminine process” in each of us, for this descent is something we must all face as we meet the edges of ourselves to grow.
While tough amidst the breakdown, may we remember that it is truly an initiation and the way to the other side of the old self and old skin and all ways that must be acknowledged, seen, felt and transmuted to be left behind.
Blessings dear sisters~
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