My mother and I were out having a Friday afternoon cocktail when she told me that when she was a teenager she once ran in front of a car in an attempt to kill herself. This began a bigger discussion about her relationship with her mother. After the incident (which was set off by my grandmother’s propensity for wicked tongue lashing and public humiliation of her daughter) my mother put herself in the hospital for a “respite.” This got me thinking more deeply about the many hospitalizations and illnesses that my mother has had through her life. That her body and mind it seems have suffered some long lasting and, perhaps for her irreversible emotional traumas which have settled in her body in the form of MS. And yet, through all the extreme stress and sorrow she has endured, she has remained incredibly strong in her passion for life, her will to live, even as she now resides in a nursing home.
But what really broke my heart on that Friday happy hour was the sorrow my mother expressed about how her mother essentially punished and denigrated her for her intellectual and creative gifts. Who she was, was not allowed to flourish. My mother was super smart, and a talented actress and singer through high school. She still recites some of the dramatic monologues she performed. I believe the jealousy, anger, and often cruelty that mother’s foist onto their daughters, or women to women in all combinations of affiliations, can be traced to the deep generational and cultural wounding that is a by-product of patriarchy. Feminist philosopher Mary Daly has researched and written extensively about a phenomena of patriarchy she calls, the token torturers; women who carry out and perform upon other females (and males) the male designed rites and rituals of patriarchy.
Daly states that woman to woman rage is often misplaced anger; women angry at the wrong thing, the wrong person but fearful or unable to access the source when inside of male dominant systems of power and control. Anger stuffed and restricted will eventually erupt as rage, flood one’s environment, cause illness, mental and physical. Erasure and silencing of women’s quintessence, our unique creative beingness takes place through the shunning, stunting, shaming of girls/women’s intellectual and creative contributions. These subtle and overt forms of female humiliation; encouraging masochism through the self-destructive messaging in the oh-so-sexy soft/hard pop-media pornification is now accepted by most as just standard gender socializing procedures. My grandmother too was filled with a sense of her own oppression, her own self-loathing, and confusion fed by a war culture that demands a distinct loyalty and compliance to codes of behavior for women (and men.) What isn’t understood, what doesn’t get healed, most often gets passed on.
I am in the midst of a personal crisis which involves two of my closest female family members. Two weeks before Christmas I experienced a totally unexpected public humiliation and verbal assault by a much loved family member. It was like being in a collision, with the jolt and aftershock lasting for weeks. The hope I had for a resolution, for a civil process only led to more unimaginable consequences. I’ve experienced rage, numbness, hopelessness, sorrow, and deep grief. And I realize the situation is far bigger, far more complex than can be understood by my rational mind or even emotional body. There are elements of the Persephone/Ceres myth tied in with this wounding between us which is generational and cultural. I am making a passage through this oceanic terrain, with no certainty of outcome. What I am certain of is that it will be transformational.
We are in eclipse season, with a total solar eclipse happening on March 8/9. There is a deep, mythic story of love, disillusionment, loss, and ultimately healing unfolding in this eclipse, and the lunar eclipse which follows on March 23rd. With Chiron, the wound/wounded healer conjuncting the South Node of the Moon, (the past, the generational line, the old library of memories) and Ceres, (the mother/daughter, grandmother/granddaughter, aunt/niece, sister/sister) all lined up in this stellium of mutable (changing) Pisces, the narrative seems pretty clear. We are in the midst of complex, crumbling, generational flooding (Pisces) particularly as it relates to the wounds, memories, history between women, particularly those of our blood line. Where there’s floods there’s mud, so events (if they haven’t already gotten so) can be extensive, muddy, messy. There is a bridge to be crossed here. We are in the rapids and the Great Mother will have her way, and will guide us, if we do our work, into the headwaters of our most vibrant creative selves.
It is wise counsel to slow down, allow the feelings, emotions, memories to be carried up into your full consciousness; let them pass through the heart for remembrance, gratitude, and release. There is something, someone leaving, and something, someone returning. That someone most likely is, if you allow it, your most original, most brilliant, most beloved Sacred Self who is asking now to be retrieved and resurrected from where she has been hiding.