I have read in a variety of places about how we have lost the ancient feminine knowledge, the initiatory traditions, and instead have stories of women as victims, harlots, or as having naively caused the fall. The suggestion is that we need to figure it all out again for ourselves with only snippets of information here and there to guide us. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
We have been enculturated to read literally. Searching for documents that spell out the old traditions for us like a recipe in a cook book. The feminine does not speak with a literal tongue, but a symbolic one. If what came to us was literal, it probably would not have survived the cultural devaluation of the feminine, and so the search must be through symbolism and there we discover a treasure trove of information.
The Divine Feminine never stopped speaking. She was always finding her way to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. The alchemists hid the truth in the symbolism of their images and wrote nonsense. They knew they were dismissed as crazy and their desire to transform lead into gold was thought to be impossible. It was Jung who discovered the psychological meaning of the alchemical work and their heretical attempts at inner transformation.
Then there are the stories, and poetry, from legends, and myths, to fairy tales, old and new. There’s Arthur and the Round Table who found themselves living in a wasteland. The only way out of their predicament? To find the inner grail castle and drink from that cup. The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Dante’s Inferno, Descent to the Goddess, Apuleius’ story in The Golden Ass of Psyche and Amour, Demeter and Persephone, Isis and Osiris, The Handless Maiden, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Adam and Eve, the Biblical Job, Mary and Jesus, and The Wizard of Oz, to name just a few we are familiar with in the West.
When we read symbolically, tossing out what we have been told about these stories, we discover their deeper meanings. The story of the feminine is embedded within them for those who can perceive it.
The initiatory tradition hasn’t stopped either. We assume, as some scholars suggest, that human beings are in charge of initiations. What if we aren’t? What if the Goddess, like in Amor and Psyche, and many subsequent fairy tales, or Adam and Eve, is initiating us? What if our lives are the initiations? If we stop perceiving life literally, from the personal to the collective, we might realize they are happening to us now.
The princesses in fairy tales aren’t passively waiting for the prince to rescue them, they are doing the hard work. They are courageously facing the inner demons most of us are running away from. What if, every day, from our dreams to our encounters with nature and others, we are being initiated by the Goddess of Love, whether we see it or not? What then?
What if nothing has been lost? If we look at life and literature symbolically, we discover the way is here and always was. Women aren’t being devalued in literature just because that’s what others say. We must discover the truth for ourselves.
Mary Magdalene, we have been told by those in the know, was a prostitute. We can rail against the church or ask, “What does it mean symbolically?” If she has given herself to the physical material world, as almost all of us have, we see her as a symbol of the soul that was co-opted by the world of form. At the end of the story, she sees the truth, essentially is enlightened. She recognizes her soul isn’t the material, which is temporary, but the spiritual, which is eternal. It isn’t a rejection of the world, as some say, but she embraces it, fearlessly and totally. Her soul always had come from spirit, she just didn’t recognize it, until the moment when she encounter’s the “Teacher.” Hmmmm, who might the teacher be?
We only need to open our eyes and ears to a new way of perceiving, and stop accepting literal interpretations. The suggestion that any of it was ever lost would mean that humans are more powerful than the Divine Feminine or Love. Quite frankly, that is impossible.