Monday, May 03, 2010
In the summer of l972 I met the goddess. In a bookstore in Boulder, Colorado. I randomly took down a volume from the shelf, opened it, and she leapt forth to claim me. The book contained many illustrations, depicting her as she had presented herself in many cultures, in many forms through the ages. They spoke to me on a deep level, and I knew that I was hers.
The book was called “The Great Mother,” by Alfred Neumann, a longtime student of Jung. Later, when I examined it more closely and from a greater distance in time, I discovered that it did in fact betray a patriarchal bias, clearly an account from a male, academic perspective, whose primary purpose was to tie in the goddess and her ancient lore with certain psychological premises.
But for the moment, I was oblivious to these intents, and was, rather, grateful for the bounty that had been given.
I went on to discover other emerging texts of the era: Merlin Stone’s groundbreaking “When God Was a Woman” (extremely unorthodox for the time); Joseph Campbell’s account of the mother cults of Europe and the Middle East in the “Masks of God;” and retellings of various myths pertaining to female deities found in prior eras in Europe and the Mediterranean basin.
Central to all of these was the great goddess Isis, whose journey to locate and reassemble the scattered parts of her dismembered husband Osiris became a central narrative of society for hundreds of years.
Death, dismemberment, rebirth--what else is there? It is the paradigm for all life, reenacted again and again, as we are each, in our turn, demolished and reconstructed, disassembled and recreated into new forms, with new talents, new perspectives, strengthened capacity to enter the arriving phase of our lives.
Kundalini is such a shattering force. It is the goddess in her purest, least adulterated form, the raw energy of the divine, destroying all that we have thought of as self, and recasting us into a new and transformed state.
And so it is that Isis/Osiris still operate in our lives, old formula given new meaning, ancient wisdom recast as we move into the ever shifting patterns from which we construct what we name as our identity.
(Note: The myth of the goddess Isis and her husband Osiris (ancient Egypt) recounts the story of how Osiris was tricked and killed by his brother Set. Set then dismembered Osiris and scattered his parts across the land. Isis, in sorrow, traveled over the countryside, ultimately finding the lost remains and reassembling them into a new body. However, one part was missing--the phallus. So she crafted a wooden substitute and with the aid of this produced a son, Horus, who bore a falcon's head on his human body.)
April 25, 2010
(Picture from Wikipedia)