Follow Me on Social Medias
Jung told us that ‘The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man’ and insight into them must be converted into an ethical obligation” (C.G. Jung quoted in Romanyshyn, 2003, p. 334). My sense of ethical responsibility to endure engaging with my dream the Heart of the Inner Chamber and where that leads me binds me to ancestral complexes with roots entwined in the blood of my female ancestors and the men they served and loved (Matus, 2015. Matus, 2022). Their un-reconciled complexes are my psychological inheritance. Since puberty, I have wrestled with bringing greater consciousness to those complexes, searching for the means to reconcile the conflicts contained within, learning how to love amid the chaos they trigger, learning how to understand the meaningfulness of the archetypal elements energizing them. Love and chaos embraced by compassionate equiponderance is what I desire for my children’s and grandchildren’s psychological inheritance, a desire that burden’s my personal psycho-spiritual work if I am not to leave them too great an inheritance of un-reconciled conflicts. My desire threads its way through the fabric of my being informing me of how I am connected to my ancestors unfinished business. It is this, my psychologically complexed legacy that solicits for a compassionate awareness of the despised and repressed feminine imprisoned in the matter of the collective unconsciousness that is so problematically ruled by the unmediated heroic masculine paradigm. It has been my lifetime vocation to solicit for the reclamation of the feminine body and her beauty and blood mysteries; and now to solicit for recognition of her capacity for love that is so powerful it can knit together the decomposed, dismembered hero and resurrect him. So, who are my ancestors that leave me such a legacy.
My ancestors were born on multiple continents and are from several ethnic groups. Through participation in the National Geographic Geographic genome project I discovered that my genetic migratory profile begins in Egypt. I am most attracted by the narrative of my paternal Gypsy heritage and my maternal Mi’kmaq American First Nations culture. It was a Mi’kmaq elder woman who appeared in the first dream I had in analysis; a dream that urged me to attend to women’s blood mysteries and the fecundity of the deepest regions of being. The very first birth I attended as a homebirth midwife was that of a Mi’kmaq woman. The above two events occurred before I knew of my maternal First Nations heritage, which had been a long held shamed –closeted secret. I have been bequeathed a tapestry of my female ancestor’s stories, brilliantly woven with the threads of their joys and passions, their healing skills and love, their unlived imaginations, and unbearable sufferings at the hands of those corrupted by a misogynistic and unmediated phallic masculine mindset. Their stories are known to me because they have told me them, and what I know of them has become an imaginal figure I call Gypsy’s Wife.
Leonard Cohen song The Gypsy’s Wife (Cohen, 2001) seems to be kin. Mostly, Gypsy’s Wife is a conflation of the personalities of my female ancestors and presents herself in active imaginations as the body, soul, spirit, and nourishing blood-matter that feed the field of love and relations between the women and men who struggle to love the “otherness” of each other amid the baffling nature of human being. Gypsy’s Wife is the body that has birthed my lifelong passions, and imaginal work. She is my mentor, guide, grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, healer, nemesis, and mediator for the numinous. She is ever questing to understand love better. She is ever questing to be trusted by the wounded masculine hero who is restored in her embrace. Without respite, the Gypsy’s Wife has urged me through dreams, visions, intuitive whisperings, and body knowing to address the despised feminine as she lives in me and others.
The Gypsy’s Wife speaks for those despised and marginalized gypsy women and men who were deported to Canada in lieu of genocide for a wild land from which to plow a new seed of existence, my paternal grandparents among them. Gypsy’s Wife urges me to value women’s work; to guide women into loving the biological matter of themselves, to bring forth a deeper and more conscious valuing of women’s beauty and blood mysteries; and to re-member the figures of the feminine that dwell in the underworld abandoned amid the chaos of narcissistic and heroic strivings to get above and beyond the grip of nature and the fear of its voluptuous gnosis. She urges me to imagine women’s beauty and blood mysteries, not as shackles to de-potentiate women or as bargaining tools to survive misogynistic and patriarchal projections, but as the mysteries that lead women and men through the chaos into love and a conscious valuing of the power of the feminine. She urges me to speak with a voice that is more than an echo of the Apollonian mind; to reclaim my whorish desires in the temple of my body as sacred hierodule; and to liberate my menstrum from the confines of hysterical Freudian projection and pharmaceutical commodification. The following poem is the voice of my paternal grandmother who survived: birthing eight children in the wilds of the Canadian prairies; survived two cruelty narcissistically wounded husbands; suffered grieving three sons who died from tuberculosis and three who became soul-dead WWII collateral damage; and who managed to keep her hearth fired during eighty-five hungry and bitter-cold winters. She confesses the state of her heart alienated from love, about her mysterious relationship to needlework and the bloodied content of chamber pots:
Why does your coldness toward love erode my heart fibers?
Why do you not suffer like me, exiled to a solitary bed where I await your coming?
Why is my love for you the prison bars that will not allow me freedom from the torment of a hope that one day you will come to me with a whole heart for love?
I am confounded to define the move toward you that will not cause you to lift off in defensive flight evading the very nesting place here in my beating warm-blooded heart-body you say even a whore would give you.
But you will not come down to mingle with this whore’s blood.
Perhaps, the next move is not mine?
Is that why our grandmothers stitched petite-pointe, spun ornate, cotton webs from the tips of crochet hooks, adorned themselves with lace and manners – patterns scribed from fingertips striving to illuminate what their voices were impotent to say against the blustery flight of their man’s phallo-centricity,
While in white enamel chamber pots soaked blood-stained hopes from bleeding wombs and hearts?
(Author’s personal poetry opus, February 1997)
This poem illustrates the complex that binds me to my vocation as midwife-poet-lover-mother-grandmother-psychotherapist, because it contains the troublesome unfinished business of what to do about the wounded and fallen heroic masculine that needs a compassionate, wise, and transformative reception in the arms of the feminine for the benefit of all.
Today we find that the fullness of the feminine is veiled by patriarchal constraints against her emerging with a different perspective. She lies behind a veil of symptoms that plague the female body (PMS, PCOS, infertility, side effects from the use of artificial hormones, psycho-somatic illnesses, auto-immune diseases, cancer of the breast and reproductive organs, depression, and etcetera. She is hidden behind cultural compulsions to commodify and exploit women’s bodies as they inadvertently carry the projections of those who cannot or will not come into conscious relationship with the feminine. She is abandoned, despised, and embedded in the materialism and literalism of the reductive Western Mind. She is the rape victim, the prostitute, the fugitive wife, and the mad women in the attic (Bronte, 1847/1994; Rhys, 1966). She is the sacred and hidden feminine that both women and men seek as antidote to the too active masculine principle that rules us.
As a poet and storyteller, Gypsy’s Wife is alchemist and daughter incarnate of the Sophia-Wisdom of God who through the images unveiled in her stories transforms the matter of her listeners; images that when fired by the heat of her compassion for humanity and reverence of the body become in the hearts of her listeners the lapis – the holy of holies. Gypsies were the first peoples to forge metals and were hired by the Roman Legions to follow along on their conquering quests to provide metallurgy and Ferrier services. They knew about the alchemy of metal and fire long before the Romans. The Gypsy’s Wife is like Black Elk, who when he spoke to his tribe of his visions and dreams, he was healed and his tribe was healed (von Franz, 1980). When she comes forward with what she knows of the mundus imaginalis (Corbin, 1984/1995) she is reborn, but so too are her listeners.