Marion Woodman


Canadian Mythopoetic Author, Jungian Analyst

Author Quotes

Power in the sense of controlling somebody else is different from personal presence. That kind of power?patriarchal power?does not value other people. What I strive for instead is empowerment.

The more you work with your dreams and your unconscious, and honor it, the more you understand it and it understands you. When you develop a relationship with your psyche this way, you begin to carry that energy into life and your relationships.

Rage and bitterness do not foster femininity. They harden the heart and make the body sick.

The mystery of God touches us -- or does not -- in the smallest details: giving a strawberry, with love; receiving a touch, with love; sharing the snapdragon red of an autumn sunset, with love.

Serious drinkers are like serious eaters or serious non-eaters. They are like serious drug-addicts. Their addiction holds a spell over them which acts as some powerful secret at the center of everything they do. The serious eater listens to others talking of diets, Weight Watchers, exercises; she hears them excitedly comparing pounds lost, pounds gained. She hears them encouraging each other, joking, consoling. She is not one of them. She knows the diets better than they do; she knows Weight Watchers is useless for her; she knows her life is on some Almighty Scale that she has to step on alone. She is in some covenant with food ? a covenant which she probably does not understand, but which nevertheless exerts some magical, compelling power over her. She hates it; she loves it; she keeps her covenant silent.

The puella mother who has never taken up residence in her own body, and therefore fears her own chthonic nature, is not going to experience pregnancy as a quiet meditation with her unborn child, nor birth as a joyful bonding experience. Although she may go through the motions of natural childbirth, the psyche/soma split in her is so deep that physical bonding between her and her baby daughter does not take place. Her child lives with a profound sense of despair, a despair which becomes conscious if in later years she does active imagination with her body and releases waves of grief and terror that resonate with the initial, primal rejection... The body that appears in dreams wrapped in fire, encircled by a black snake or encumbered by a fish tail from the waist down, may be holding a death-wish too deep for tears.

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 whole, however, had become more than the sum of its parts. The parts concentrate on the periods in the chrysalis when life as we have known it is over. No longer who we were, we know not who we may become. We experience ourselves as living mush, fearful of the journey down the birth canal. The whole has to do with the process of psychological pregnancy?the virgin forever a virgin, forever pregnant, forever open to possibilities.

Thank you, dear Sophia. From every cell in my broken body, my radiant body, I thank you. I am alive. I am free... to live... to die.

Their [those with eating disorders'] task is to rescue themselves from a drive that is destroying them. Food embodies the false values that their own bodies refuse to assimilate, by which I mean that their bodies become endemic, bloated, allergic, or resort to vomiting the poison out. The unconscious body, and certainly the conscious body, will not tolerate the negative mother.

That business of transformation, suffering happens at a cultural level as well as an individual level. I?m sure you all know individually how the suffering has brought you through to transcendence and to a whole new feeling about soul. At a cultural level a similar thing is going on. As we are losing community, if you think, for example, of the farmers ? I?m sure it?s true in the States as well as in Canada ? they cannot survive. An individual farmer has to look at the big farms coming in. And the big farms can put him out of business. The pig farm comes in and says look, you don?t want to raise ten pigs. Why don?t you just join us and have hundreds of little pigs. And when they get to be ten weeks old, there will be a truck that comes along and they will take them all along to the next person, who will have a different kind of barn, and he will raise them until they?re six months old. And then we?ll move them again. So the farmer never gets to know his pigs. The pig never sees the sunshine. We are creatures of the sun and we are being asked to eat food that never sees the sun? Chickens are in the same situation.

There?s a child that was brought up by a mother, probably father as well, where the feminine was not present. Now, I have to make clear what I mean by feminine in so far as one can make that clear. You have to experience the feminine to understand it. And I know that?s the hardest thing to say because so many people say, 'I don?t know what you?re talking about', and they don?t. And how do you ? how do you talk about something or try to live something that you have not experienced. But let me just try here.

The body is like an elaborate metaphor. One may be able to taste and not swallow, like the anorexic, or to swallow and not integrate, like the bulimic or obese.

Those living the feminine way choose to do something because it?s of genuine worth, and because they love it, and can therefore put their energy into something honestly.

The confusion of spirit and body is quite understandable in a culture where spirit is concretized in magnificent skyscrapers, where cathedrals have become museums for tourists, where woman-flesh-devil are associated, and nature is raped for any deplorable excuse... Dieting with fierce will-power is the masculine route; dieting with love of her own nature is the feminine. Her only real hope is to care for her own body and experience it as the vessel through which her Self may be born.

To love unconditionally requires no contracts, bargains or agreements.

The connection between conscious and unconscious poses particular problems in the dancer because the body is the soul of action.

To me, real power is about presence. It's the energy of knowing that you are who you are, and therefore speaking and acting from your authentic self. It doesn't matter what your work is?if you're a teacher or a nurse or whatever; it is your presence that's the power. It's not power over anybody else. It's just the expression of who you are.

The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living.

Unable to do anything for a month after the ordeal. No more cancer. No more radiation. My doctor pronounced me clear on March 29. Felt the crucifixion this year, and the tomb, and Easter Sunday. Still not sure who has emerged.

The feminine principle attempts to relate. Instead of breaking things off into parts, it says, ?Where are we alike? How can we connect? Where is the love? Can you listen to me? Can you really hear what I am saying? Can you see me? Do you care whether you see me or not??

What meaning does it have if nobody has ever seen you? I tell you the number of people who sit in my office sobbing ? men and women ? saying nobody ever saw me. Nobody ever had time to listen to me. So I am unlovable - the saddest word in the language. I am ? don?t touch me. Sometimes I?ve had a real flood of feeling about somebody, and I think they have had one for me. And I put out my hand and they say, 'Don?t touch me. I?m unlovable.' And they mean it. There is a trauma someplace.

The feminine takes time for spontaneity and slow time, honors inner reality, and gives values to feelings without brutally repressing them as sissy or meaningless.

When I say the feminine, I don't mean gender. I mean the feminine principle that is living?or suppressed?in both men and women. The feminine principle attempts to relate. Instead of breaking things off into parts, it says, Where are we alike? How can we connect? Where is the love? Can you listen to me? Can you really hear what I am saying? Can you see me? Do you care whether you see me or not?

The great work of our time is to bring the feminine into this culture. And it's not an easy path. How does each one of us contribute? Believe it or not, it's done in the most personal ways. Take time to listen to your dreams, to write them down. Take time to recognize that there are things going on within you that need to be felt, or said, or lived, or grieved. Pay attention to these things both in yourself and in the people in your life. Pay attention to the authentic self.

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Canadian Mythopoetic Author, Jungian Analyst