Archetypes have been used by psychologists, philosophers and spiritual teachers to understand and make sense of our life experiences, tell our stories, uncover our subconscious realms and ultimately lead us to greater awareness and thus liberation.
As a woman walking the earth at this time of transformation, I – and so many of the sisters I know – are finding ourselves working with three archetypes: the Wise Woman, the Wild Woman, and the Worthy Woman.
I am most familiar and easily sit into Wise Woman. My love for personal growth, flair for poetry, hunger for learning, and profession as a teacher, have enabled me to sit and channel the Wise Woman within me for as long as I can remember. Her ancient wisdom, her ability to connect the dots and dish out the philosophy, her gifts of transmission and healing, her ancient knowledge, have flowed through my hands and veins and voice with grace and abundance. Wise Woman is one of the more comfortable of my guides, who I allow to be present in my life, guide me and shape my reality.
Wild Woman awakened in me when I moved to Thailand at the age of 26 years… it took 26 years for me to realize that there was a wildness in me. Before this time, I assumed ‘wild’ in the sense of adventurous, a party girl and a crazy dancer on the stage. My understanding of my ‘wild’ nature was shaped through a patriarchal lense of my body, how she moved and the reactions her performance received.
At the age of 26, I found myself in the jungles of Thailand, confronted by my fear and terror of the natural world – of the bugs, the trees, the sounds of the night jungle, and the imaged creatures that stirred in the ocean where I dared not wade after sunset. As a city girl, I had been conditioned to believe that nature was unsafe, unsanitary, unpredictable and therefore dangerous. I was taught to wear shoes and gear and hats and bugspray and ti always be prepared for dangers when I walked into nature.
Slowly, I saw myself questioning this conditioning. One moonlit evening, slow and shuddering, I walked into the ocean waters. A few days later, I walked the jungle ‘armed’ with nothing but my water bottle. Some days later still, I took off my shoes and climbed a mountain barefoot, sitting atop its peak. Here, I breathed in the luscious beauty and nourishment of the Earth for the very first time.
Wild Woman has since made a home within me, weaving a tapestry through my veins and awakening my DNA to the raw, resilient, fearless me. She has taught me to dance and swim naked, to howl at the moon, to put feathers in my hair, to roll in the desert sands and down grassy hills. She has empowered me to release my inhibitions and fly past the boundaries of my judgements and limitations. She inspires me to observe the sensations of bugs crawling upon my skin, and play with butterflies at my fingertips.
Wild Woman has sometimes overtaken me, fierce and protective when loved ones are in danger, she has sparked my inner fire that warms my brothers and fanned the flames to defend my sisters. Wild Woman teaches me to hear the sounds of the world, to smell the rain in the air even before it breaks through the sky. She draws the way home in the night sky and bathes me in the moonlight. Her trees hold me as I lean on them to rest, her grass hairs caress me as I stretch upon then, and her beloved creatures snuggle me when I am home alone.
Wild Woman has taught me that nature is my ally, my womb and the one true constant support throughout my existent. She has taught me to trust, to embrace existence and to lean into my interconnection with this mighty earth and her magical galaxies.
Worthy Woman has come in and out of my life since I was young… she and I have had a contentious relationship. We have had our battles, we have worked together, we have been best friends and we have been enemies… and never has She given up on me. I have often turned away from Her when I felt rejected, when someone hit an insecurity, or when I yearned to fit in. In such times, I run from her and to them… those who do not accept me but who I wish would. I try so hard to fit in by being the Good Girl… I, like so many girls and women, dress, act, and talk a certain way, shrink myself down and starve myself thin, pucker my lips, breasts, and butt, shut up, sit down and smile… into the 4 by 4 inch box I go – the only space that society deems me worthy. I have believed this. I have done this. And still sometimes, I shrink into this box…
And each time I do, I have ignored the whispers of Worthy Woman. I have not believed her. I have not trusted her. How could I, when the world I live in and the people who are meant to love me – like my parents or friends or teachers – told me that I was not enough? Not beautiful enough, gentle enough, thin enough, kind enough, pretty enough, smart enough, artistic enough, cool enough, funny enough, sexy enough, talented enough… too much of this… too little of that? That I should be ashamed of myself for thinking these thoughts or speaking those words or acting this way… That I should feel guilty for not being a good little girl?
Worthy Woman and I have wrestled together. We have gotten down into the mud of our suffering and pain, climbed into the swamp of the unconscious shame, and ventured into the oceans of our darkness. All the while, no matter who has left, betrayed and abandoned me, Worthy Woman stands firmly here. She stands beside me, speaking as loud as She can – even when I am wearing sound-blocking headphones. She has walked with me and, by some miracle, continues to walk with me.
Worthy Woman and I are learning from each other still. I am learning to trust that Hers is the voice that looks out for me, that affirms my inherent value, that shows me the truth of my situation; that Hers is the voice that will never lead me astray.
Wise, Wild and Worthy Women live within me and within us all. They echo in our wombs, pound in our hearts and shine in our radiance. With their guidance, we women are re-membering the parts of ourselves we have lost to this mechanical patriarchal system. We are learning to trust their guidance, to hear their whispers, to scream their wishes, to crave their desires and to follow their pleasures. Their courage gives us strength to speak and their fire gives us the power to transform ourselves into magic.
My prayer is that we women remember who we are in each moment. That we lie in the grass, howl to the moon, burn some sage, cry, laugh and follow our innermost burnings. That we hear the voices of these three Women above all other voices. That they give us the courage to speak even when we are afraid. My prayer is that we remember where we have come from, and who we are here to be. That we find our strength in these Women within, who will never stop grounding and rooting us, and rooting for us.
By Deena Dadachanji