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IN MEMORIAM: Worshipping Illusions: An Interview with Marion Woodman


Marion Woodman (1928-2018) has left us a wealthy legacy of fabric for these seeking understanding female psychology…

the soul of the acutely aware female, and the religious and psychological roots of habit. Jungian analyst, worldwide instructor and workshop chief, and writer with greater than half one million books in print together with Habit to Perfection, The Pregnant Virgin, The Ravaged Bridegroom; Leaving My Father’s Home; and, with Robert Bly, The Maiden King, she has explored in her BodySoul Rhythms intensives find out how to deliver us into our our bodies by way of voice, motion, dance, breath-work, and yoga, grounding her educating in dreamwork and the psychology of Carl Jung. Extra info is out there at
—Patty de Llosa

Within the Summer time of 1987, Parabola sat down for an trade with Marion Woodman for our difficulty on habit.

Marion Woodman was educated as an analyst on the Jung Institute in Zurich and has been working towards in Toronto for the final seven years. She lectures extensively in america and Canada and is in nice demand as a pacesetter of seminars and conferences. After spending even a quick time together with her, there isn’t any mistaking why: her heat and openness are instantly partaking.

Woodman has labored with many individuals who wrestle with addictions of all types, and her intuitive empathy is knowledgeable by the conviction that their wrestle is primarily a wrestle to develop into extra acutely aware and extra free. She is the writer of three books on the psychology and attitudes of girls in the present day: The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter: Anorexia Nervosa and the Repressed Femi­9 (1980), Habit to Perfection: The Nonetheless Unravished Bride (1982), and The Pregnant Virgin: A Strategy of Psychological Transformation (1985).

—Lorraine Kisly

Marion Woodman photograhed by Vernessa Foelix

Marion Woodman photograhed by Vernessa Foelix

PARABOLA: The title of considered one of your books, Habit to Perfection, raises a terrific many questions. I’m wondering in the event you might clarify a bit of about what that title means.

MARION WOODMAN: Nicely, it is available in half from the state of affairs during which mother and father have an idea of what the right baby can be—good athlete, good scholar, when 100 % achievement is the objective. The mother and father are trapped by this excellent, and their entire life is centered round efficiency. The kid then learns methods to carry out and has an idealized imaginative and prescient of what she or he ought to be. Something that doesn’t slot in with that splendid needs to be pushed again, needs to be annihilated, actually. Consequently, no matter is human within the baby, no matter is “soiled”—sexuality, and the plain, unusual world of the physique—the kid experiences as not a part of the right best. Spontaneity—simply the pure anger or pure pleasure even, or the pure love of rocks and dirt—is blocked, and the kid will get the thought on some degree that she or he is unlovable. “Whoever I’m within the actuality of my being is just not lovable,” the kid concludes.

Pure being is repressed, and efficiency turns into every thing. In any given state of affairs an individual topic to this repression will work out whom to please after which carry out as a way to please that individual, and their very own actuality isn’t current within the efficiency. Individuals start to reside for a really perfect—there’s nothing else to reside for. However in case you are dwelling for a really perfect, and driving your self as onerous as you possibly can to be good—at your job or as a mom or as the right spouse—you lose the pure, sluggish rhythm of life. There’s only a dashing, making an attempt to achieve the perfect. The slower tempo of the beat of the earth, the state the place you merely are, is forgotten.

P: It was forgotten way back, actually.
MW: Way back. The mother and father have forgotten it, and the grandparents have forgotten it. It’s a cultural state of affairs. In its worst type, it’s what occurred in Nazi Germany. They sought to create a race of supermen, they usually have been guided by a super of this type. Something that didn’t slot in with that inflexible idea was killed. I’m now within the place to listen to the goals of individuals affected by subjection to this type of very best, and their goals are filled with Nazi focus camps. They’re dwelling their lives in a Nazi focus camp. In these goals, troopers are killing all the ladies, child women are being raped, animals and ladies are having their limbs torn off. You see, the intuition is being distorted as nicely.

Within the female aspect of our being is a a lot slower, much less rational aspect, an element that strikes in a way more spontaneous, pure, and receptive method, an element that accepts life as it’s with out judgment.

For me, perfection is a patriarchal phrase that splits all the things into contraries: black or white. You’re then dwelling in fixed battle, and integration is just not potential. Even the language is cut up, in order that I discover individuals who can’t endure phrases akin to masculine and female. They go right into a rage on the phrase masculine, or a phrase like penetration, or phrases like phallic thrust, as a result of they’ve been so outraged by what they name “the masculine precept.” I don’t name it the masculine precept; I name it the facility precept—that’s what it truly is. However definitely, within the patriarchy of the enterprise world and in lots of houses, what’s working is energy—”You be like I would like you to be,” and “I really like you a lot that I do know precisely what you should be,” and “You’ll do it, or I can’t settle for you. I’ll reject you.” And so individuals are dwelling in terror of rejection.

P: It results in compulsive conduct, after which the fury on the denial of most of themselves is projected again out onto their mother and father?
MW: Or on to males, or on to the tradition. Individuals consider the tradition as being violent—they’ve an awesome worry of violence, however the violence is inside as properly. They’re afraid of what would occur in the event that they let that rage out. They really feel they might truly destroy different individuals in the event that they did, in order that they need to maintain it down.

P: Is the basis of this example a psychological one? It appears to return from an concept within the thoughts that compels individuals to stay in response to a sure image of themselves.
MW: It’s a picture of what life must be however isn’t. So it’s worship of an phantasm. It merely shouldn’t be actual. You’ll be able to see that with an anorexic, for instance. She has a picture of what her physique must be, and she or he treats herself as a Nazi officer would have handled her in a focus camp. She kills her femininity so as to pressure herself right into a inflexible best, which is delusion.

P: The taking in of this very best from the surface is so damaging to the person—and but it’s taken in and embraced with gusto. Why can we embrace it if it’s so self-destructive and causes a lot struggling?
MW: In case you are raised in a house that’s based mostly on the facility precept, that’s the one actuality you already know. You haven’t any different world to guage by. Afraid of being left alone, the one actuality you perceive is agreeable different individuals, and you’ve got inside your self no particular person standpoint. You don’t even know such a factor exists—that’s the tragedy. And then you definitely deal with different individuals the best way you have been handled, so that you increase your youngsters the identical means. You already know it’s all flawed that primarily you aren’t completely happy, however you haven’t any different mannequin for actuality, so the sample is repeated.

P: Is there anybody who is admittedly free from this? It doesn’t matter what, the mother or father will all the time have some concept of what the kid should be like.
MW: Properly, I’m positive there are some mother and father who can love the kid for who the kid is.

P: They must be mother and father who’ve to start with been capable of love themselves.
MW: That’s proper. That’s the place it begins. It’s a must to forgive your self first for being human, as a result of to be human is to have plenty of faults; so you need to forgive, after which the love flows in.

P: That’s fascinating as a result of our subsequent situation is entitled “Forgiveness.”
MW: It’s the essential phrase. In case you are introduced up on beliefs however know you might have human failings and unacceptable qualities, it’s a must to forgive your self for being human, and it’s by way of this forgiveness that you simply forgive others. However that’s so troublesome to do in our society, as a result of we aren’t being beloved for ourselves so we cover our worst faults.

Even in evaluation, we’ll disguise our worst faults, and if we start to sense that we’re being beloved, even with all our ugliness and darkness, there’s an immense worry and resistance, as a result of we really feel weak, and abruptly the phrase belief begins to return in. And we’re scared of belief; we’re terrified to make ourselves weak. So the transfer into forgiveness is an immense leap. Individuals will transfer to some extent of belief, after which the unconscious response is one in every of terror, as a result of they’re broad open, they are often struck down. So then you need to wait. And there’s one other opening to extra love, after which once more the fear is available in. And it’s the physique that’s terrified. Many individuals start to understand at that time that their physique was rejected. In the event that they interact in depth therapeutic massage or inside work within the physique, the agony of the physique begins to return up.

P: I’m making an attempt to envisage this course of happening outdoors of study. Might it?
MW: Positive.

P: In a relationship with somebody? So typically the state of affairs is unconscious; how do you start to make clear it?
MW: Most of the letters that I obtain are from people who find themselves not in evaluation, however they are saying “Thank God for this mild on what I’m making an attempt to do. I might by no means see the which means of what I used to be making an attempt to do, however now I feel I’ve some concept.” They’re starting to comprehend that they reside making an attempt to please others. They’re making an attempt to begin to stay from who they’re, what their wants are, what their actual fears are, what their actual feelings locked of their muscular tissues are. They’re making an attempt to expertise themselves as physique and soul, in order that others should reply to them in their very own actuality. And that takes love. You could not like what the individual is saying to you in any respect, notably if in case you have considered them in a sure method and hastily they begin saying issues they by no means stated of their lives earlier than. If, for instance, they begin expressing rage or contempt, it may be very threatening. However I feel that’s the place it begins. The individual acts increasingly from his or her personal particular person standpoint. Now that standpoint will change continuously. Progressively you grow to be acutely aware of the feelings within the physique supporting what you’re saying, and also you expertise them as having substance. As an alternative of simply talking from the neck up, you uncover what’s within the physique. It appears lots of people are minimize off on the neck, in order that they speak from the top. In the meantime, one thing utterly totally different might be happening under the neck. There’s an actual cut up inside.

P: What you’ve referred to as “internal civil warfare. ”
MW: Internal civil conflict. And that’s why so many individuals attempt to drown themselves within the habit. As quickly as the craze begins to return up, they begin consuming or consuming or spending cash, or they flip to intercourse or an obsessive relationship. Or playing, or TV. Something that may block out consciousness. The addictive substance acts as a soporific, and progressively they sink into unconsciousness.

From my viewpoint, in every case it’s a must to attempt to determine what the addictive substance means symbolically. In any other case, it can maintain an virtually spiritual significance. Now that most individuals shouldn’t have a spiritual focus, the spiritual focus will go on to one thing materials. They could assume it’s meals they need, for instance, as a result of they expertise themselves as ravenous. Nicely, the soul is ravenous; it’s true, as a result of it’s not being acknowledged, and it’s being regularly starved. They then attempt to feed it with meals, which often symbolizes the loving mom who can settle for them as they’re.

P: And also you see totally different substances as having totally different symbols? Alcohol?
MW: Spirit, the eager for the sunshine; whereas meals grounds you, places you again within the physique, alcohol will take you out into the sunshine. I feel the constructive aspect of habit is that many addicts are profoundly spiritual individuals. They’ve immense power, and they don’t seem to be glad with the world as it’s. They assume it’s a dreadfully merciless, ruthless place, they usually need which means of their lives.

P: So maybe they really feel the necessity extra acutely than others.
MW: As a result of they’ve such a driving power. They usually need a god. Now they’d by no means say that, however they need one thing greater than the bread-and-butter world. If that’s all there’s, it’s meaningless. If life is nothing greater than pushed work, for instance, it isn’t value dwelling. The alcohol takes them out of the mundane world, briefly—after which, in fact, finally it takes them into unconsciousness.

P: It has all the time appeared to me that habit had the weather of each avoidance and substitution.
MW: Sure. The avoidance can be the avoidance of the internal civil struggle, and it’s additionally an avoidance of actuality. Actuality is just too painful if the underside line is that I’m not lovable, that I shall be rejected if I’m who I’m. That’s an unbearably painful recognition.

P: However totally different from the necessity for an additional degree that you simply simply spoke of.
MW: Sure. One aspect of it’s worry. The opposite aspect is that I’m in search of a deeper actuality.

P: In your guide you write that many individuals are pushed to habit as a result of “there isn’t a collective container for his or her pure religious wants.”
MW: It was there within the church, for instance, the place individuals would enter into the sacred world, give up to it, depart the sacred world, and take that power again to the profane world. However that they had one thing to take with them; that they had a which means. Their struggling was given which means. You’ll be able to’t reside with meaningless struggling. So you’ve avoidance—addicts don’t reside within the here-and-now. They’re all the time going to cease consuming subsequent Monday, or they’re going to cease consuming subsequent Monday, however in the meantime eat as a lot as they will between now and Monday. Every part goes to be all proper sooner or later … however right here and now? They’re by no means the place they’re; they’re all the time operating, or dreaming concerning the fantastic previous, or the fantastic future. So they’re by no means within the physique. The physique lives within the current. The physique exists proper now. However an addict isn’t within the physique, so the physique suffers. Uninhabited. And there’s the place that horrible sense of hunger comes from.

Photograph of Marion Woodman by Cristina Sitja Rubio

Photograph of Marion Woodman by Cristina Sitja Rubio

P: The truth that the entire tradition is in an addictive state pursuits me when it comes to this lack of which means. It’s as if there’s a elementary human want for which means that may be as robust as instinctive wants. What might meet that want for many who are alienated from the normal church buildings?
MW: Properly, I feel there are two issues right here. Should you think about the uninhabited physique as type of an empty gap, you see individuals attempt to fill it in several methods. However the soul within the physique is left empty. My reply to that’s that the actual meals of the soul is metaphor. The entire world of goals is a metaphorical, symbolic one. Faith is predicated on image. Artwork, music, poetry, the entire artistic world—the world of the soul—is predicated on it.

P: So there’s a school inside that understands this world—that lives on it, actually.
MW: It lives on it—it’s as essential as meals. We merely should have entry to that symbolic realm, as a result of we aren’t animals solely, and we aren’t gods, solely. By some means there needs to be a bridge between the animal and the divine inside, and that’s the image. Youngsters perceive this. They love fairy tales, for instance. However in our tradition, these are taken away from them very early on. The world of the creativeness is repressed, and the soul is left crying.

P: There is a gigantic worth to pay to maintain all of that down.
MW: It gained’t be held down. Ultimately you’ll be confronted with nightmare. Ultimately it is going to come up. Or it’ll take a perverse route and say “Give me spirit,” and as an alternative of understanding this symbolically, individuals interpret it concretely: they usually begin to drink alcohol, which is a concretization of that longing.

P: There’s one thing very hopeful in it once you take a look at it that method!
MW: I like working with addicts, as a result of they’re determined they usually know there’s something actually flawed. Plenty of them want they have been lifeless. They’re on a self-destructive course, they usually comprehend it. The world as it’s is insupportable, and their lives are insupportable, as a result of they aren’t actually dwelling their very own lives.

P: It looks like greater than an issue to “repair.” It appears to have a really artistic facet.
MW: It does. Demise and resurrection. They usually do undergo the demise. What I see in a broader sense is that the female precept, which for hundreds of years has been so denied in our tradition, is forcing its method, her means, again in once more. In the event you’re an addict, you’ve got to return to phrases with the female precept. You’ve acquired to really feel that sluggish rhythm—the rhythm of the earth is sluggish—you need to really feel that slowing down, it’s a must to quiet the soul, and you must give up, as a result of ultimately it’s a must to face the very fact that you’re not God and you can’t management your life.

P: One thing has to give up; one thing has to let go and quit.
MW: Energy.

P: Now, in most of us who’re power-possessed, the instincts ruled by our female aspect are fairly primitive. No matter is repressed in childhood shouldn’t be very developed. So it comes out in very violent methods—at first, or perpetually?
MW: At first it’ll come out in very primitive methods, very difficult methods, and you will discover your self appearing like a three-year-old: “These are my rights.” People who find themselves looking for themselves can have very dangerous manners. In the event that they have been of their well mannered persona, they might by no means act that approach. When that little woman begins to return out, she is wild. However she has to return out.

P: So the female isn’t just the sluggish benevolent rhythms of the earth—there’s additionally the darkish aspect of the female.
MW: The darkish aspect of the female is vicious; it’s a killer.

P: The devouring mom, Kali …
MW: Sure. Males are afraid of her—and so are ladies. And that aspect comes up—that’s what’s so difficult about it—that aspect comes up together with the loving, Nice Mom. Should you’re trapped in Kali, you’re actually paralyzed. You get up within the morning, and your physique simply doesn’t need to transfer. Right here we’ve got the Medusa that turns individuals to stone. In the event that they attempt to do something artistic they turn into frozen. Or petrified. And that’s actual. For a lot of people who find themselves making an attempt to do one thing from themselves for the primary time of their life, as quickly as that urge is felt they usually actually begin to make a transfer, the darkish mom seems and there’s an immense battle. However it’s a must to simply hold speaking to her, and understand what’s occurring, and never surrender. It takes braveness and power.

P: What’s it in individuals that may face all of these issues? The ego is concerned within the repression. Is it the ego that may see what’s going on? What’s it in us? Clearly we now have the capability to do it.
MW: Sure. It might be ego finally. However most individuals should work very onerous to construct an ego. Most individuals are working on the persona, which is the showpiece, the masquerade. They’re performing—they aren’t in contact with their actual emotions, and in a given state of affairs, they don’t know if they’re indignant or in the event that they need to cry. They’re sad about not with the ability to categorical their feelings and in addition terrified to take action, as a result of expressing them has led to rejection.

P: So the ego is absolutely the car of consciousness?
MW: It’s ego that may acknowledge what the emotions are, what the inside wants are. From a Jungian perspective, the unconscious is an enormous sea the place all of the complexes are simply floating round like onions: mom, father, hero, younger youngster. On the underside is the collective unconscious, on the higher aspect is the collective on the planet, and on the coronary heart of all this there’s a pinpoint referred to as the ego, which is making an attempt to filter what’s coming by means of from the unconscious whereas on the similar time making an attempt to cope with the collective. The ego is a filter system that pertains to all of actuality. However contemplating the immense buffeting that it’s getting from each the unconscious and consciousness, it has a troublesome job. It takes lots of endurance to construct a robust ego. However the stronger the ego is and the extra versatile it’s, the extra it may possibly permit to return by means of from the unconscious—and that’s the place the actual knowledge is. However ego is partly within the unconscious and partly in consciousness. It tells us what’s actual and what’s not actual. When you didn’t have an ego, you may assume you have been Christ, for instance. If the place of the ego is taken over, one turns into possessed.

Truly that’s what occurs in an addictive state—you turn into possessed, and the ego just isn’t robust sufficient to stop this from occurring, although you understand you’re destroying your self. There isn’t enough ego power to withstand. So the complicated takes over. However even there, it could possibly be that the complicated is appearing out of a eager for the sunshine, or consciousness. As a matter of reality, I see the repression of the female precept as the most important drawback on the planet, and because the planet has develop into a worldwide village, energy alone simply isn’t going to work any extra. We’ll destroy ourselves. So I’ve sufficient religion to consider that the female is forcing her means into consciousness via these addictions. It modifications lives, and it might change the entire tradition.

P: We have been simply speaking about how there are two features of this female drive, constructive and adverse.
MW: Once I’m speaking concerning the female, I’m not speaking a few mom precept. Definitely the Nice Goddess is part of this archetype—she is matter, the physique. However symbolically the mom precept is predicated on a full breast giving to a hungry youngster. The mom has to offer, and the kid has to take. And this expertise, too, can develop into contaminated by the facility precept. Many youngsters fall into an immense guilt, as a result of they don’t need to take. But when the mom has recognized with the mom precept, the kid has to take from her, or else, who’s she? The female precept, nevertheless, is just not restricted to that.

P: What you simply described is a distortion of the female?
MW: Properly, it’s unconscious. No mom would admit she is working on an influence precept when she’s giving milk to her child. And on the one hand she isn’t, she’s nourishing. But when the stage is reached the place the kid not wants her and says “Look, I don’t need your orange juice,” and the mom is annihilated by that, then energy, or the necessity for management, is concerned. And that causes a distortion of the mother-child relationship, as a result of the kid is trapped in guilt.

Female consciousness rises out of the mom, and you need to be grounded in that, as a result of with out it you’d simply be blown away by spirit. Female consciousness, as I see it, means going into that grounding and recognizing there who you’re as a soul. It has to do with love, with receiving—most of us on this tradition are fearful of receiving. It has to do with surrendering to your personal future, consciously—not simply blindly, however recognizing with full consciousness your strengths, your limitations. It will get into a wider space, as a result of a person’s physique can also be female—all matter is female. We’re speaking a few masculine precept and a female precept—we aren’t speaking about gender. Males are even farther out of their our bodies than ladies, it appears to me. I’ve seen males in physique workshops the place a rest train is being tried, and the lads’s our bodies are so typically terribly inflexible— to the purpose the place they can’t lie flat on the ground, the muscle tissues are simply chronically locked—making an attempt to be good little boys. They will’t let the muscular tissues loosen up. When you consider matter as a facet of the female precept one other dimension is revealed.

P: The masculine precept—or spirit—can’t reside anyplace besides within the physique. It needs to be acquired by one thing.
MW: Precisely—it needs to be acquired. And there’s the place consciousness is available in. You possibly can’t put spirit into dense matter. Matter is darkish; it’s obtuse. There needs to be a consciousness to obtain spirit. The best way I’m understanding it—increasingly from goals—is that consciousness exists in matter, and that consciousness opens to obtain spirit.

P: It develops within the strategy of being open to the materiality of my physique, and feelings, and ideas, and so forth?
MW: By being conscious of it, sure, and in addition by being conscious of the world of image.

Still from Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames

Nonetheless from Marion Woodman: Dancing within the Flames

P: The place did the facility precept come from? Is it a distortion of spirit?
MW: Very distorted—and we’ve got to keep in mind that ladies are trapped on this energy precept simply as a lot as males. Matriarchs are fairly often extra authoritarian than males. What I might say is that within the hero-consciousness of the Greeks, the hero was preventing unconsciousness and making an attempt to get a bit of glimmer of consciousness. For 2 thousand years there was an try and grow to be increasingly more acutely aware, and the hero archetype has dominated—within the Western world, anyway.

P: However you’re not talking of a really developed, full type of consciousness, are you?
MW: Completely not, as a result of it fell underneath the sway of an unconscious want for energy. When it comes to the evolution of our tradition, the worship of goddesses within the prehistoric previous steadily shifted to the worship of gods—a motion from lunar to photo voltaic consciousness. Now what’s occurring is that individuals are acutely aware of the facility of the mom and the daddy complexes, and they’re saying, “Who am I?” We’re shifting into an adolescent interval, abandoning the facility of these two nice archetypes and making an attempt to maneuver into what in a person life seems to be like adolescence; and adolescents are fairly confused. They’re depending on the mother and father, they usually don’t need to be. And we’re trapped by the complexes. We all know what we’re trapped in, and we need to get out. So we hold falling again in, and pulling out. That battle is occurring. It occurs within the particular person as she or he matures, and I see it when it comes to the macrocosm as nicely.

P: So that you see this as a essential level in historical past.
MW: Completely; if we don’t make the important transition into maturity, we might very properly destroy ourselves. We’re adolescents with a hydrogen bomb and with no sense of the love that may use that power creatively. I might say, nevertheless, that the habit retains an individual in contact with the god—what I imply by that is that as in AA, for instance, the very first thing it’s a must to admit is which you could’t management your want for alcohol, and it’s a must to give up to a better energy. On the very level of the vulnerability is the place the give up takes place—that’s the place the god enters. The god is available in by way of the wound. When you’ve ever been an addict, you recognize which you could all the time be an addict once more, so it’s at that time that the power, if opened to, turns into out there many times.

P: One thing has to surrender to ensure that that to return in.
MW: Sure, right here once more we’re again to the thought of consciousness within the physique that has to open to spirit.

P: We spoke of habit, for instance to alcohol, the place the alcohol represents on a low degree the spirit. What occurs when the habit is taken away? The place does it go?
MW: I do assume it’s attainable, with an habit, to start out dwelling your life when it comes to negatives: “I gained’t drink.” And the hazard, with some alcoholics at any fee, is that they get stopped on “I can’t drink.” However you possibly can’t stay your life in these phrases. They’re nonetheless obsessive about alcohol—it’s nonetheless happening. It’s true of any type of addict. Chances are you’ll cease the addictive conduct, however so long as your thoughts is in that rut, it’s nonetheless trapped.

P: So the give up to a “larger energy” must proceed, the openness must proceed past the preliminary part of stopping the addictive conduct.
MW: I feel the members of AA perceive this very nicely—it’s a must to undergo these Twelve Steps. Each addictive individual has to maintain working at it each day. That’s what I imply about habit maintaining you in shut contact with the god. You must watch out to not make one other habit. One wants to carry that container open and stay life wealthy and full.

P: I don’t assume there’s anybody who doesn’t have areas of habit in them.
MW: Definitely most individuals do.

P: If there are, it doesn’t occur by itself, does it?
MW: It doesn’t occur by itself, I agree. And nobody is totally free.

P: Even when they really feel fairly harmless of habit of any variety—even when it’s not overt.
MW: You must continue to grow to the day you die. In any other case you regress. There’s no such factor as stasis.

P: This concept of stasis is among the concepts that has us on this concern. There’s no such factor as stasis, and but there appears to be a tremendously robust want to keep the place one is, and to not transfer. Why?
MW: It’s worry. You see in addicts the compulsion to want to maintain issues fastened. They’re pure lovers of formality. They create their very own rituals, and the habit will happen round that ritual. However it’s a perverted ritual—it carries them into unconsciousness as an alternative of into consciousness. It’s a perverted faith, it truly is. A ritual ought to take you into a wider, richer expertise, and each time you undergo a ritual it is best to contact that deepest, divine a part of your self and open to one thing new. If the ritual leads you into unconsciousness, you regress and grow to be increasingly deeply trapped in rigidity. In case you have no private standpoint and no boundaries, you don’t dare to open.

P: It’s virtually as if there’s an ontological crucial to develop—and in the event you don’t, as you say, there isn’t any standing nonetheless, solely regression.
MW: You slip again otherwise you die.

P: I feel as individuals become old, it begins to turn out to be evident that both they develop into extra developed or they turn out to be caricatures of themselves. Plainly many individuals are affected by a refusal of the truth that they need to develop.
MW: We’re again to the worry of annihilation once more. Individuals are fearful of demise.

P: In order that they’ll commit suicide first.
MW: Sure, they may. It’s true. Life is a collection of deaths and rebirths. You outgrow patterns, you outgrow individuals, you outgrow work. However in case you are frightened and shouldn’t have a versatile character, when it’s a must to face the demise of what you’ve all the time recognized, you’re pitched into terror. That’s the place the habit will actually hit. Some individuals will remedy themselves of an habit, after which ten years later their husband or spouse will die, they usually need to go on to a brand new life and they’re terrified. They should retire, or they need to go to a brand new job, and the worry is available in. Properly, they should let the previous die and transfer into a brand new life, or what can occur is that they flip to the previous habit. And the habit will throw them into unconsciousness. They will’t make the transfer, so they’ll get again into the addictive object or conduct and throw themselves into unconsciousness.

What’s so fascinating about that, is that they’ll so typically repeat their very own delivery sample. By which I imply you can take into consideration demise and rebirth when it comes to a start canal: you’ll say goodbye to the womb and go into a brand new life. When individuals enter that “start canal,” they repeat the unique delivery trauma.

P: That is totally different for various individuals?
MW: Oh, in fact. People who find themselves born untimely will attempt to go forward of themselves: they’ll all the time be two or three steps forward of the place they are surely. Caesarean births are afraid of confrontation, often. They’ve by no means confronted the preliminary wrestle. Individuals whose moms have been drugged are those probably to fall into an habit. They are typically fairly passive—ready for somebody to do one thing at a second of problem. However the worry is the excellent factor—although it may well take any variety of bodily signs.

P: How, in that state of terror, does one maintain oneself open, realizing that its merely one half, not all of you?
MW: It’s essential to understand it’s solely an element. And I feel that most individuals in these start passages do want help. It’s very painful, and a very good good friend, or a number of, can actually assist—although you need to do your personal work alone, too.

P: This is just one a part of actually troublesome and critical work on oneself that should go on. I feel it’s carried on in dwelling spiritual traditions and, in current occasions, partly in evaluation. However evaluation is dear, and many individuals in the present day really feel estranged from faith. How a lot of this critical work can go on outdoors of a construction and with out contact with somebody who is aware of greater than you do, who’s extra developed than you’re? Can an individual on their very own go very far towards this openness? Definitely the world round us doesn’t appear to be of a lot assist.
MW: Have you learnt the story of the hundredth monkey? I can’t inform it to you precisely, however it considerations a state of affairs that was noticed on a gaggle of islands close to Japan the place a couple of monkeys started washing potatoes earlier than consuming them. Whereas the youthful ones shortly took up this follow, the older members turned increasingly frightened and stressed. Ultimately a number of extra started until the “hundredth monkey” began. A kind of crucial degree was achieved, after which, not solely all of the monkeys on that island, however all of the monkeys on the opposite islands, unconnected, began washing their potatoes as nicely.

P: Right here we get into deep water!
MW: It’s a tremendous factor, however when one individual makes the breakthrough, a motion begins in different individuals’s unconscious. I feel that there’s such a factor as a cultural transfer towards consciousness. Definitely when one individual in a room is extra acutely aware, it modifications the consciousness of everybody in that room. And in a household, if one individual is coming into consciousness, everybody within the family goes to be modified.

One thing is occurring on a big scale—there are radical modifications in male-female relationships, and there is a gigantic curiosity in spirit and matter within the fields of science, psychology, and biology. I feel many individuals are doing plenty of internal work; they’re actually making an attempt to know what’s going on inside themselves. Lots of people are utilizing dance to attempt to join with the physique. There’s an curiosity in portray, in creating for your self, in contacting nature. Increasingly individuals are making an attempt to save lots of nature from patriarchal exploitation. I do know many people who find themselves protecting journals. Many individuals are writing down their goals and reconnecting with their internal self. They’re questioning and bringing themselves to consciousness, and regardless of how they’re doing it, they’re contacting that symbolic world. That’s how I see it. And with out that, the addicts are proper, life isn’t value dwelling.


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