Prima Materia Sapienta

“……a new image of the God/Goddess yearns to be found within ourselves. The ‘kingdom’ is first within. It is manifested through body and mind. We are moving beyond an ego consciousness not only to an integration of body and mind but to a transcendence of the body/mind split, to a new level of consciousness based on the dance between soul and spirit.

The soul embodied in matter, manifested in the Goddess as container and transformer, will take us beyond dualism, beyond the defensive splits within our psyche if we open up to her energy within us. She faces us with our greatest fear and by showing us the treasure hidden away within it, she takes us to a place where love is born. Love is the true antithesis of fear. It expands where fear constricts. It embraces where fear repels…..

…..The Black Goddess, who emerged in history centuries ago, was exiled into the unconscious. Will it be any different this time? Perhaps not by choice but by necessity, we will recognise and honor her. Without the recognition of the cycle of life-death-rebirth there can be no transformation, no true progression grounded in nature for the human species. In the transition from the Great Mother to the Great Goddess, the possibility of transformation in rebirth began. The choas that she embodies is a shattering of rigid categories. If we enter into it, that chaos can resurrect us into a higher wisdom, rooted in the wisdom of the creative process. The chaos that we fear is the very thing that can set us free. To refuse to enter into Kali’s dance of creation and destruction is to get stuck in a one-sided view of reality that can bring anarchy – destruction without creation. Armed with a new understanding of the nature of reality itself, we may now be able to embrace the Goddess energy that is necessary if we are to move forward in our evolution.”

Marion Woodman & Elinor Dickson: ‘Dancing in the Flames – the Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness’; Shambala Publications, 1996

11 Replies to “Prima Materia Sapienta”

  1. Love the image. I do, however, disagree with the idea we are to “transcend the body/mind split.” That “split” is, in and of itself, a conceptual construct of the western brain, so the desire for its transcendence also comes from that same brain. That is a distinction from integrated mind.

    And, we are born into physical bodies for a reason. The heart of the tao is NOT to make a big mush of things. It’s the law of nature. If you throw all your seeds in the garden into the same mound, nothing will grow. Boundaries lead to bountifulness.

    First tenet of the Tao is “to honor the yang, but stick to the yin.” In other words, it is to understand and honor both of these things in their purest forms. The art of the integrated human is to feel into the very subtle contours, margins and moments of change and exchange between them. This is a real, material world practice and it separates the Flatlanders from the 3-dimensional visionaries. We are both bounded by flesh and unlimited in spirit. We cannot “transcend” those facts. The paradox is being able to hold the both/and consciousness, not erase them.

    People who have a superficial grasp of the tao are the book learners. People who understand the heart of it are those who have actually done the physical practice of the taoist meditative, medicinal and martial aspects of it – for many years. Each move in the tai chi is distinct – one expresses a move to the fullest extent of its being and then feels into its transition point. Movement follows stillness follows movement unto infinity. In much the same way that inhalation and exhalation are, in fact, two distinct phases of the same activity – breathing. But you cannot inhale and exhale at the same time (even circular breathing cannot do this, though it is a wonderful exercise in attempting to plumb its depths). The transition point between the inhalation and exhalation is found, as in hindu practice, by pausing at the bottom and the top of that cycle. In those still points can we come to know the dynamics and beauties of the subtleties of each, distinct and separate, yet bound together and harmonizing one another into the manifestation of what we call life.

    I always enjoy your pieces.

    1. good to hear from you Amelia……too often the hegemonic of western psychology gets the better of its champions and I am in total agreement with your critique – I agree too with your distinction between integration and ‘transcendance’ – ironically, in fact, the latter is an idea that has become insidiously augmented with the borrowing within the west of eastern hermeneutics, a dialectic that has its roots in (amongst others) Buddhist philosophy in which ‘liberation’ is sought through realisation of the Mind, that is to say supre-mental consciousness, as the fundamental nature of reality – this suits the western ‘purpose’ well, but, it also betrays its own pathology of ‘illusion’ – the problem here has arisen in that the western mind has predominantly ‘translated’, rather than integrated – so, I welcome your insights with this in mind as well – one of the main reasons for posting here with a focus on these archetypes across a broader base is to raise
      the question(s) – I am happy that you take up the challenge……the artwork is equally after this aim, often says what cannot be ‘said’

      I have serious doubts about the ability of western psychology to ‘fully’ address its own condition, and here Einstein’s infamous quote about problem solving (requiring a different mindset to the one that gave rise to the problem in the first place) also comes to mind – and, I am not in complete agreement with Marion Woodman, or, for that matter any advocate of symbology reliant upon an overly and fundamentally ‘psychological’ approach – tho, as is so often the case, she does so from within the same paradigm that has given rise to its manifestation, what I do feel Marion is advocating is a naturally occuring answer to the dominance of the split – this in fact may be the main reason she uses this symbol of the Dark Goddess – not for everyone to agree with, she has based this to a significant extent upon her findings in her (western) practice, on the apparent emergent presence of this archetype within the dreams of her analysands – it is
      an archetype that I have encountered myself in the dreamworlds, manifesting a visceral and sentient power, however, while I recognise the energy, I prefer not interpret it through this symbol alone – and, here is another facet of the problem – while within western traditions in particular the Dark Goddess has some correspondence with Yin, She is not equivalent – one of the advantages of the Yin-Yang symbol is that it not only adequately symbolises the fundamental dualism, it does so as a unity, integrated, and even more importantly, interpenetrative – the symbol has an holistic balance and dynamism that is fundamentally lost, or at least submerged, to the western dominant mindset – the irony, for me at least, is that the Dark Goddess remains uncomplimented – western psychology has fragmented Yin and Yang and the remaining fragments available to this consciousness do not balance…..yet

      thinking on your breathing anology, each outbreath is also an inbreath ‘in the world’, just as each inbreath is an exhalation from the world – our symbiotic relationship with the natural world, as much as between spirit and body, is bound up in this, trees in particular offering a powerful symbol of how the breathing analogy works literally for us – as a diviner, as much as a healer, my own practice is co-operative with this fundamental understanding – yin and yang within the symbol containing the seed of each other, the world cannot continue to develop along Yang lines without the Yin seed becoming activated – one cannot exist without the other – I also strongly advocate the reality of both spirit and body, interpenetrative and integrated, am at odds with the polarising insistance upon ‘the Light’ that characterises so much of the current ‘new consciousness’ movement, ‘new-age’ thinking etc – such thinking is not only to further polarise, but, promotes ‘transcendance’ above integration and denies the current opportunity, this profound moment of spiritual alchemy in which we can, as you say, “come to know the dynamics and beauties of the subtleties of each, distinct and separate, yet bound together and harmonizing one another into the manifestation of what we call life.”

      btw, I also am enjoying your posts at Sistertongue, looking forward to the next part of ‘Demeter’s Love’ and recommend your current article to all readers here….

      1. Thanks for the very thoughtful response. I love forums where the exchange of different points of view, as well as expansion on shared ones, is part of the process. To me, this forms the foundation of creative exchange – a thrilling relationship in my own little world.
        Western psychology cannot, as you point out, find its way out of its own pathological framework. It’s purpose, as so vividly documented in that bizarre tome, The DMS-IV, is to fragment and divide the human internal mandala into a set of diagnosable and treatable states of being. Jung was on the right path, one which upholds the idea of that mandala and sought to integrate its different aspects, binding them into a working, dynamic and creative process of living. I call it “controlled and aware Multiple Personality Disorder.”
        Part II of Demeter’s Love is up and I very much appreciate your support of my work. I enjoy and recommend yours as well.

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