Before the snow gets washed away

As long as we are determined
to move at our swift, logical pace,
our child remains hidden.
The soul-bird put away in a dark box in childhood
needs time, needs silence
to learn to trust again.

If you see yourself
as no one worth looking at;
if you believe you are
not worth listening to;
if your parents didn’t find
you worth looking at,
worth listening to;
if they told you,
That’s not what you saw,
not what you heard,
not what you think,
you cannot trust yourself,
you are lost.

Don’t look to others to find you,
to love and take care of you now.
You’ll suck them dry.
No one out there is responsible.
Go back and find your soul.

Until the divine parents arrive.
In his eighties, he was my analyst.
I had been in England, seeing him for six months, and was still trying to be efficient.
On Christmas Eve I learned my dog,
who was in Canada, had been killed.
I decided not to waste my evening session talking about my dog.
I arrived as organized as usual.
At the end, he sat quietly, then asked me what was wrong.

Nothing, I said, as I put on my coat.

You have not been here, he said.

I told him my dog was dead.

He wept. Wept over my dog.

Asked me how I could waste Christmas Eve chattering when my soul animal had just died.

Suddenly his weeping made me feel
what I was doing to my soul.
We wept together.
That’s when my analysis began

Loss of soul connection,
loss of connection to our femininity,
may be the real cause of our anguish.
If we have no bridge to the depths that drive us,
our rational attempts to correct our situation are merely Band-aids.

Shame was put upon you.
It is not yours.
Your soul need not be limited by shame.
Our souls cry out from underneath the rubble of our lives, like children who have not known love,
children begging us to say,

You are not alone.
I love you.
In living the abandoned child within herself the woman becomes pregnant with herself.
When we identify with our childish side

we say,
I was always a victim.
I will always be a victim
and it’s all my parents’ fault,
then walk around with a hangdog face the rest of our lives.

When we gather our child into our arms, we say,

My parents were victims of a culture,
as were their parents and their parents.
I shall not be a victim.
I shall take responsibility for my own life.
I shall live creatively.
I shall live now.
The soul may go into hiding,
but it does not die.

The soul is,
present tense,

Dancing in the flames.
Sooner or later we find her.
In dreams, she appears, that child,

(never at the beginning,
never at the beginning—
we would go crazy with grief).

She is starving in a pile of garbage,
in a basement under the basement.
Somebody tried to kill her.
Frightened, she ran downstairs.
She may even accuse you.
She is the age she was when she fled.
And she must be fed.
One hour a day, let her play,
let her sing, let her dance,
let her be with her dreams.
Feed her
She will grow strong and beautiful.

– Marion Woodman, Coming Home To Myself : reflections for nurturing a woman’s body and soul

Commit to your own imperfections

As long as we try to transcend ourselves,

reach for the sky,

pull away from ground and into spirit,

we are heroes carved in stone.

We stand atop the pillar alone

blind to the pigeon’s droppings.

Do not try to transform yourself.

Move into yourself.

Move into your human unsuccess.

Perfection rapes the soul.

I was committed to becoming conscious

as quickly as possible.

Then suddenly, a black hole.


I knew the only solution

was to understand exactly

what was going on.

I read day and night for a week.

Bursting with knowledge,

I leapt into his office.

I knew what was wrong with me

and I knew how to cure it.

I spent the hour elaborating,

weaving profundities.

He wilted in his chair.

The more he wilted,

the faster I talked.

At the end of the hour,

he silently helped me on with my coat

and took me to the elevator.

With a twinkle in his eighty-year-old eyes

he pushed the button.

If I were you, Mrs. Woodman,

I would take my animus for a good drink.

I was so angry I didn’t even take him a muffin.

If we are trying to live by ideals,

we are constantly plagued

by a sense of unreality.

It is easier to try

to be better

than you are

than to be

who you are.

Perfection does not allow for feeling.

Perfection is not interested

in staying in the body.

It wants to fly,

wants ideals,

wants beauty,

wants truth,

wants light,

and you sure don’t get these here.

Perfection massacres the feminine.

Our culture pulses to the pressure of perfection.

To move toward perfection

is to move out of life

or never to enter.

She has foolproof recipes

for everything.

If strictly followed

(and to follow is to follow strictly),

they guarantee success.

Her real world is the world of things,

things that work efficiently.

She is impatient of error,

having no room for it;

there is no need for it.

Anyone learning under her jurisdiction

will be oriented from the start

to objects and goals,

clearly defined.

Her daughter knows herself as a thing,

thinks of herself as an object

designed for high efficiency.

She does not know

her mother’s knowledge

is not wisdom,

is without human meaning,

is without personal love.

Her daughter has no standpoint

of her own.

There is no danger

of her opening

to her own weeping.

There is no danger

of her singing

her own song.

Eventually we have to face the fact

that we are not God.

– Marion Woodman, Coming Home To Myself : reflections for nurturing a woman’s body and soul

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