“female deities are metaphors for touching the creative spirit”
On my month-long sabbatical this September, 2018, in France and UK, I was struck by statues of female deities shown here as the Three Graces, on a square in Montpellier, France, and Aphrodite in London, the British Museum. This took me back to Sophia, the goddess of wisdom. She started my work with story and archetypes years ago.
Those of you who have read my books, know my origin story of finding Sophia. I wanted to be a workshop guru and travel the country. At that time my topic was psychoneuroimmunology, or how to increase immune cells through imagery or thinking in pictures. I made up a story to make the unconscious friendly, and the name of the female protagonist just popped into my mind. The name was Sophia. People liked this story of Sophia and Claude, a vegetarian dragon. Sophia was on a search for wisdom which she found with the dragon in the ancient caves of the earth. I decided to find out more about my main character. Years of research ensued. I found out many things. Sophia was based on the Greek word wisdom; she was Jehovah’s mother in some of the stories from Jewish tribes; and she was the creator in the Gnostic Gospels.
Basically, Sophia symbolized spirit in matter, including all matter, rocks, humans, animals. Female deities are about the creation of life. For example, the human spirit is there at the moment a baby emerges from the womb. To me Sophia and other female deities, like the Three Graces or Aphrodite are metaphors for the way to touch the spirit for creativity, healing, insight and most importantly awareness. Instead of overcoming our human nature, Sophia prompts humans to go inside to touch spirit.
What goes around come around. Or what my colleague, now passed, Charlie Seashore said, “We only have one book in us, and we write it over and over.” For me, I might substitute the word story for book. My one story is how to open up a space in the mind for awareness, this requires the release of emotional reactive patterns that usually fill up the mind. Listening to a story relaxes the mind to give space for this release. The storytelling that started with Sophia with nurses in Scottsdale in the early 90s, came back for me in 2018.
This October, I was giving a paper at Wembley Park, London on Indigenous Storytelling for Transformation of Health, Emotions and Spirituality. It brought me back to my Sophia storytelling experience. I have been on a journey for 35 years to develop a practice using natural psychodynamics to helps humans open inside to develop awareness and eventually wisdom. Out of my work with storytelling, I had moved to archetypal identification and visualization since in good stories people visualize the main characters or archetypes. I thought this might be more direct and accelerate the process of creating a spacious mind. However, my years of working with archetypes to help people create that spacious awareness inside might be over. When I try to explain archetypes, some people get it in a profound way, but for many I see faces of confusion. Silly me, maybe I’ve been too abstract or theoretical. It might be time to go back to telling story.