Some parting thoughts about 2009 and recent reading material
I’ve been making my way through Jean Shinoda-Bolen’s book Crossing to Avalon. It’s been on my shelf for a long time, and it seemed like a good thing to read after finishing up Scot McKnight’s The Real Mary, a book written to clarify Mary for evangelical Christians who might not have a proper appreciation for her and who are down right distressed by her appparent near deification by the Catholic church.
I’m a Marian, even though the story of the virgin birth smacks of patriarchy to me, and the docile Mary image we have been left with grates on my nerves, things McKnight’s book actually does a pretty good job of dispelling. Could God have made a virgin birth if he wanted to? Yeah, I suppose he could, but why would he? Sex and sexuality aren’t the dirty thing Augustine supposed them to be. I find it far more likely that Joseph was Jesus father, in as much as I’m also not uncomfortable with the idea that Yeshua had brothers and sisters born of Mary’s body. If Christ was to be human, it seems just as logical to me that he was truly human, and infused with divnity through God’s will. But anyway, I digress.
Shinoda-Bolen’s book is a book about the Goddess and the Grail Quest. It has some pretty interesting parallels for the Goddess and various Christian sacred sites, where the Goddess was transformed into Mary, just as Marion Zimmer-Bradley pointed out in her fictional work on the Arthurian legend from the femine perspective, The Mists of Avalon. This book moved me so strongly when I read it as a very young woman. I have always identified strongly with Celtic mysticism. My cross of choice has been a celtic one, and Shinoda-Bolen talks about the circle in the cross being a femine symbol – an encorporation of the Goddess aspect into Celtic Christianity. Within that, my Marian affinity seems to make strong sense when I think about it. The Docile Mary – not so much. The Mother Mary, I identify with strongly, and when I pray for intercession through Mary, I know the power of a mother to a child, and the love for a mother for a child. My mom used to talk about feeling drawn to Mary, because, when you are hurting, who else do you turn to but mother? Shinoda-Bolen spends a good deal of time in this book developing the ideology behind that strong mother archetype.
You may notice that I have changed my blog header. The image is of Persephone and Demeter – Maiden and Mother. This past year, I have suffered pain and loss, rage, guilt and grief. I’ve done more to uncover certain aspects of my darker side then I’ve ever done before. I’m moving from identifying with the Maiden to a stronger deeper identification with the Mother. I can create and I can destroy. Creation I’m comfortable with – destruction – as a capacity in myself, not so much.
I still have NO idea what to do with these uncovered dark aspects of myself. They make me squirm and sometime they make me loathe myself. I’ve unwittingly launched myself into a deep dark night of the soul. I can no longer pretend to be the virtuous innocent girl I tried to portray myself as – I’m apparently far more complicated than that. I’m as capable of hurting others as I am of being hurt. I’m not perfect. I’m sometimes selfish, self-centered, malicious, jealous and self-serving. Despite a lifetime of shoving all that down, it seems, it’s all still there anyway.
However, the uncovering of a thing is a long far way from actually living with it in any amount of comfort. Hence, my dark night. I don’t know who I am anymore. I can’t go back, and I have no earthly idea of how to move forward.
I suppose the simple answer to that is one step at a time.
I’m in the forest. I’ve been Perceval the fool, I think sometimes. But on I keep moving. One day at a time.