Marion Woodman


Canadian Mythopoetic Author, Jungian Analyst

Author Quotes

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.

Her [an anorexic's] natural bent is towards perfection, purification, aesthetics. Her ideal is to remove all the superficial veils until only essence is left.

Metaphorically, the body becomes a machine to be driven or a garbage dump to be avoided. At the same time, the magnificent Mother in whose womb we live is mindlessly poisoned and raped. Surely, our insane denial has to be perceived and acted upon.

I can tell you that it takes great strength to surrender. You have to know that you are not going to collapse. Instead, you are going to open to a power that you don?t even know, and it is going to come to meet you. In the process of healing, this is one of the huge things that I have discovered. People recognized the energy coming to meet them. When they opened to another energy, a love, a divine love, came through to meet them. That is what is known as grace. We all sing about amazing grace. It is a gift. I think that it comes through the work that we do. For some people, it can come out of the blue, but I know that in my own situation, the grace came through incredible vigilance.

Moreover, perfectionist standards do not allow for failure. They do not even allow for life, and certainly not death.

I can't tell you the number of people?men and women?who have sat in my office sobbing, saying, "Nobody ever saw me. Nobody ever had time to listen. So I am unlovable"?the saddest word in the language. Sometimes I've had a real flood of feeling about somebody, and I put out my hand and they say, "Don't touch me. I'm unlovable. And they mean it. As a child, that person was raised where the feminine was not present. You have to experience the feminine to understand it.

Most people in analysis are there because nobody had time to see them or hear them. They spent their time trying to please somebody else so, so they never found their own values. They never dared to live their own values. And they come to be adults, and you see them sort of trying to, you know, stand straight and walk strong. And all of a sudden it goes out and you say what happened? And they say the old voice came in. You know what the old voice said? What does it say in you? Who do you think you are? Or you?re too big for your britches. When all this airy-fairy flaky stuff is over you?ll come back to yourself. But the person has spent a lifetime trying to be who they are not. And what I?m talking about in the feminine is, 'Who am I?' And God knows that?s hard enough to find out. Where you can sit down with your journal or in a situation you think, if I stay about my integrity, what do I do here. God, you must know this so well in this country. If I stay with my integrity, what do I do here? Who am I? Do I know well enough to speak it? Where in my body ? see, the body is the feminine. Where in my body do I feel the integrity that allows me to come from that place and speak from that place? Do I feel the ripples in my resonators when I speak? I mean that. When I?m really speaking, I resonate, and I can feel it to my feet. And I know I?ve been telling my real truth there. You can know it. If you?re not coming from that reality, where are you coming from? And could you stand up if you were being faced with that? See, here is where I think the real power is. That you can relate to your body. That you can relate to your heart.

I felt his dismissal; I made no response.

Now technology has made us one world. And we haven?t got the slightest idea what to do with it. We don?t know morally what to do. Ethically what to do. Politically impossible. And the dangers are becoming more and more terrifying. And what I?m suggesting to you in that dream of that woman coming in on that wave, it is the feminine principle that can bring a whole different thinking process to the patriarchy, as we have known it. Patriarchy thinking that way cannot work.

A flower won?t open if I yell at it and say Bloom!

I love working with addicts, because I used to be one myself.

Now, about that word authentic. It is related to the word author?and you can think of it as being the author of your own self. When you're living your own reality, you become the sovereign of your own life. You know who you are, you speak what you believe. There's a natural pride that goes with that: This is who I am?take me or leave me. Think of Michelle Obama?she is not afraid of her own strength. And since her strength takes nothing away from anyone else?because it is given with love?she is free to be her authentic self.

A heart that can open so that when you meet another person or you?re talking to a group of farmers who are in despair because they can?t grow anything but grass and they?ve lost their beloved animals, they?ve lost their beloved fields, and they cannot figure out what to do ? what meaning does life have without love?

I mean you can?t have people worshipping God ? and everybody saying they?re worshipping God ? with totally opposing ideas. The feminine principle would attempt to relate. Instead of breaking things off into parts, it would say, 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? Now, these are very, very serious questions. Because the feminine is so difficult, ladies and gentlemen, to talk about the feminine because so few people have experienced it. What I?m talking about here is presence, and relatedness.

Oh, yes, he said. Dreams and all that kind of thing.

Although the patriarchal ego prides itself on being reasonable, the twentieth century has been anything but the Age of Reason. In our collective neurosis, we have raped the earth, disrupted the delicate balance of nature, and created phallic missiles of mass destruction.

I saw pictures on T.V. the other night of Indians in Bolivia raging angry with their pitchforks. They looked like the French revolutionaries going to storm the Bastille. And I couldn?t see what they were so angry about. And as they were marching, more and more joined them. And then they got to the capital, and what they were angry about is they were having to pay for their own water. Some trade law had been passed. They didn?t know anything about it. But they suddenly were asked to pay for their own water. How can you take the heart out of people? Just exactly that way. Don?t recognize them. And eventually?again let me just refer to something I saw on television. It showed the people in the concert hall ? the Russians who are in the theater the night of the Chechnyan rebellion when they came in. And it was a whole ? I don?t know how many of you saw it. It was simply horrific. No feeling at all. And the terrible moment was when they gave up. One of the men who spoke said if you could see some people died a few hours before their body actually fell over, but their heart went out of them. They couldn?t see any hope. And even before the gas was released in the theater, they died. So what I would like to focus on this morning is the loss of the feminine where the heart is no longer recognized. The individuality is no longer realized. The soul is not even thought about. And how that reverberates right through our culture.

Once we get used to listening to our dreams, our whole body responds like a musical instrument.

Ask yourself: As a child, who saw you? Who heard you? Was there anyone with whom you could be totally yourself and to whom you could trust your heart responses and speak your soul responses? Someone who made you think, "Gosh, I am somebody. They're happy that I'm here.

I think that it comes through the work that we do. For some people, it can come out of the blue, but I know that in my own situation, the grace came through incredible vigilance.

Ophelia is a little walking owl, bewitched by her unconscious feminine, her father, and what "they say. She never finds her own voice. She never finds her own body or her own feelings and therefore misses life and love in the here and now. Gradually the waters of the unconscious to which she is "native and induced swallow her.

Dark underbelly to all of this. Sarajevo, where the [Olympic] Games were held in '84, is under threat. The UN and NATO have ordered the Serbs to have their big guns off the surrounding hills by midnight, February 20. All the love that is being manifested in these Games was once manifested in Sarajevo. The cameras pan across the great stadium ? bombed out, an empty shell. [...] Ten years ago, all that glory gleamed in the center of what is now a cemetery for the dead killed in a ferocious attack. What sense does it make?

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Canadian Mythopoetic Author, Jungian Analyst