Joseph Campbell wrote the following referring to the Hero’s Journey:
“Women don't need to make the journey. In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there. All she has to do is realise that she's the place that people are trying to get to.”
I have spent a great deal of time sitting with those words, at first glance, they seem to empower somehow - As if, we as women are all inherently “there” already or that the spiritual presence and awareness of the Feminine results in “the woman is there” but every time I read it, it brings up this little tingle at the base of my spine, right in my Root. And I remember all the many books I’ve read, especially those written by spiritually inclined men from the early 1900s and often up until today, and this tingling simply won’t let me go.
The theme that runs through all of these books, that causes this tingle at the base of my spine is not some sort of obvious misogyny, instead, it’s a deeply unspoken, unnamed disconnection from the Feminine. She is there but like a spectre. Not a real thing, not flesh and bone, no, she is some sort of ethereal presence, the woman in her place, just quietly in the corner, looking pretty and supportive or if she’s given any power it is Medusa-esque and foreboding, like the siren luring men to their death, just like Joseph Campbell states, “In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there.”
That is how the Feminine appears to the masculine and to this whole consensus reality, isn’t it? She is just there. But not really. Not in the way the masculine is THERE, fully present, blood and bones, deep in the experience and fullness of life. The Feminine, the woman, is just the floaty thing that doesn’t even realise that she’s there, and “All she has to do is realise that she's the place that people are trying to get to.”
Yeah…. No…. Sorry.
As a woman, you don’t just have to wake up and realise you are there because you’re most likely not, we’re not. We are not magical, ethereal, floaty things come to show the way or lure anyone to their demise for that matter. We are Blood and Bone! We, too, need to make a journey, a Heroines Journey, and no, it is perhaps not one a man could ever comprehend, at least not in the social structures of the last 6 thousand years.
So although I do believe that Mr Campbell was a brilliant man and that his interpretation of the male/masculine Hero’s Journey is absolute genius - as far as I can understand a male journey; when it comes to the journey of the Feminine, it is not something a man can speak to, nor should he attempt to in my humble opinion.
So let us speak to it from a Feminine perspective, I believe we are all seeking this journey, we find it in our own ways, some make a life’s work out of it, and others simply walk it quietly or even unknowingly, how ever you are doing it, there is work to be done, there are skins to be shed, and there is a journey to be made. Part of the reason I created the Alchemy Sacred Feminine Activation course was to better understand my own Heroine’s journey and find ways to navigate and access it more consciously.
For me, that journey begins in my Root and with the Wild Woman, and I have found that Maureen Murdocks’ Heroine’s Journey template overlays and resonates well with my own understanding and experience. According to Maureen, the journey begins with the “Separation from the Feminine” - in this article, I will give my own interpretation of what that means and how I have worked to reconcile or unify that separation through reconnecting and remembering the Wild Woman archetype and working to balance and heal my Root centre or base chakra.
We do not know who we are - We are a species with amnesia, we have forgotten where we came from and let’s face it, we have no bloody clue where we’re heading. Our social structures have confined us into untenable roles at best and downright destructive ones at worst. So how do we navigate our way out of this lunacy, how do we plot a course back to ourselves and perhaps the smallest nugget of remembering our true power and purpose?
For me, it begins with bare feet on the ground, bare belly on the Earth, and bare body in the water. It begins with a quiet moment, a prayer - not one to some sky daddy, no, a prayer to the Earth, to the roots of the trees, to the wind in the leaves and the sacred waters, to the mud and blood of my own being intertwined with the Earth beneath and within me. It begins with listening and understanding that if I stop and connect with the ground beneath my feet, I can be supported. I can be held and whole.
When I sit with the Earth, with Pachamama in these quiet prayers or meditations, if you prefer that word, with my ears and my entire body listening and receptive, in this Feminine, embodied way, something shifts inside me, and I am able to connect to something deeper and much more profound. Something rooted, primal and nurturing.
It is in these moments of unity and clarity that I am so unwaveringly aware that the biggest misconception when attempting to access or embody the Wild Woman is the belief that she is volatile or unpredictable, this is not only a false narrative but one that is perpetuated by a wounded interpretation of her essence.
The Wild Woman is not volatile, she is Free! She is the embodiment of freedom, and freedom requires the deepest, most consistent, committed practices and work of all.
Freedom requires us to relinquish our addiction to fear and the commitment to a deep, cultivated and anchored sense of safety - if we are not safe, we cannot be free. This safety requires an even deeper understanding and conscious practice of integrity and authenticity, as well as a deep knowing that nothing that is real can be threatened and all that is unreal is temporary.
So, in essence, what the Wild Woman asks of us is to anchor so deeply into our Roots, into our most authentic expression of being into the essence of the Feminine, that no-thing and no-one can render us unsteady or unsafe. Her essence requires quite the opposite of volatility.
Fearless freedom and safety are consistent - fear and insecurity are volatile and unpredictable.
Part of our separation from the Feminine occurs because we are taught and entrained to believe that the Feminine is volatile and unpredictable, we are taught to fear the Feminine because the social structures of a patriarchal (wounded masculine & wounded feminine) system fear the Feminine. Not because she is volatile and unpredictable but because She is powerful, intuitive, grounded and primally creative and resourceful in her true essence she is fearless and therefore she is free.
As such, we have further been taught to fear the Wild Woman, we have been entrained to be wary of the witch, of the free woman, of Lilith, Baba Yaga, La Loba and their likes, of the Old woman in the woods, of the parts of ourselves that don’t fit the nice neat narrative of the good girl, the maiden (all too often in distress) or the doting, self-sacrificing mother. As women, we are expected to live like air plants, our roots torn from the Earth, we must float ungrounded and unnourished, always just a little too weak to fend for ourselves, always just a little too isolated to truly feel connected.
This is where the Wild Woman comes in, she guides us back, she shows us how to descend down into the Earth, into the Womb of our Great Mother and to connect with the parts of ourselves that still remember that we are not only Free but that we are Sacred, that the Feminine is the primary creative force, the breath before the voice, the stillness before the sound. The Wild Women call us back to this primal re-unification to heal the divide within our souls that occurs when the Feminine is separated from Source - cleaved the Sacred, from the Mother.
Embodiment of the Wild Woman is an act of rebellion but not an act of recklessness, quite the opposite, I find it helpful to list her attributes and then commit to embodying these attributes - I don’t always succeed, but the intention goes a long way.
Attributes of the Wild Woman:
Deep connection and respect for the Earth.
In search of peace - understanding that peace brings safety and safety brings freedom.
Appreciation of beauty - a commitment to a life of aesthetic appreciation and pleasure.
Commitment to walking the Beauty Way.
Integrity & Authenticity.
Willingness to change, shed our skin, die, and be reborn many times over.
Consciously practising discernment as opposed to judgment.
Release of the feminine martyr identities - releasing attachment to suffering.
Commitment to the rightful reclamation of Sacred Feminine Rites and Practises.
A commitment to taking up space, whether internally or externally, reclamation of the right to be.
Lovingly facing the shadow of fear and releasing addiction to fear states.
Over the years, I have found ways to connect with these attributes. I do so energetically, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. I sit with the Wild Women and listen to their guidance, Lilith teaches me how to trust myself and not be swayed by others’ stories or interpretations of my being or path. She teaches me fearless joyful independence and gentle connection to the sources that feed my soul as opposed to those that seek to feed upon it. She teaches me that nothing that can be threatened is real.
La Loba sings over my broken body when I am tired, and the struggle to simply exist in this wounded masculine fever-dream of society feels simply too much, too present and too overwhelming. She sings me back to life, picks me apart, cleans my bones and rearranges them in a new way so that I may try again, may dance and sing and laugh again. She teaches me how to rearrange myself, like a sand painting, creating a new pattern and clearing out all the parts that are no longer necessary or useful.
Baba Yaga invites me into her dark little house in the woods, her ancient body bent and contorted, but her eyes as bright as shining stars full of wisdom and mischief as she enthrals me. I watch her shapeshift, one moment young and vital and terrifyingly beautiful, the next a soft and gently rooted mother and then back again into the wise old crone, constantly shifting back and forth, able to anchor into one or all three if she chose to do so, her Feminine wisdom and magic, the things she teaches me lives in me, in my blood and bones as they do in all women - when we choose to listen, learn and remember.
I lay my bare body on the Earth, I let the river, the ocean and the rain wash the sorrow and the shame from my skin, I ask the wind to brush the lies and confusion from my hair, I slow myself to meet the pace of Pachamama, I pour all my pain and suffering, all the stories and traumas I carry into her, and she receives it, all of it, out of all this heavy energy she makes a compost for my being, she transmutes and transforms and brings it all back to me as new life, this Sacred Feminine Alchemy of taking suffering and turning it into Medicine - what magnificent magic we weave - we are bringers of life, all is born from and through the Feminine.
I sit quietly with Mama Cacao, I drink her in and sing to her, she laughs at me, at my silly worries and my guarded little heart - She bares her ample breasts and shows me her Heart, it is massive, so big it engulfs the entire universe, every time it beats it sends a shock wave through my being, every time I feel her Heartbeat, mine gets a little kick, like a cosmic defibrillator, her Heart ignites my own, she makes me stronger, she anchors me deeper, she plants me firmly in the ground Rooted with an open Heart.
I encourage you to seek out and find your own Wild Women, find the ones who come to you when you are on your knees, when fear or insecurity has buckled you, or you simply don’t know what you are doing or why. Seek them out, they live within you, they are full of wisdom and whimsy, and you will never regret building a relationship with the Wild Woman within you. Let her guide you back into your Roots, let her show you where your fertile ground is so you can plant yourself there.
Some practical tools to use to create and open the channel to your Wild Woman and the unification of the Feminine:
Shadow Work / Self Enquiry
Introspection into our beliefs around our right to be, have and take up space.
Introspection into our own and our familial, cultural and social victim mentality.
Introspection into our beliefs about our familial, cultural and social environment and how these affect the above.
Introspection into our beliefs and behaviour towards our bodies and connecting with our physicality.
Introspection into our relationship with money and physical abundance.
Introspection into our relationship with the Feminine.
Introspection into our fears, beliefs, behaviours and expression of both wounded feminine and wounded masculine attributes and how these separate us from our Sacred Feminine and Masculine and create a disturbance in our Root Centre.
Spend time barefoot on the earth.
Get your hands dirty, whether in the gardening, creating or cooking nourishing earthy foods.
Spend time in nature and bring nature into your home with plants, flowers, herbs etc
Use tactile, sensory practices to be present in your body.
Touch your body and your loved ones lovingly and with appreciation.
Move your body in ways that feel supportive, grounding and liberating.
Have a picnic or eat in nature or outside as often as possible.
Engage in practices and awareness of your nervous system - educate yourself on your nervous system and learn techniques to understand what state it is in and how to regulate it.
Bring awareness to how much time you spend in your head (mind) and out of your body. How does this affect your ability to manifest and affect change or get things done in your physical world? Basically, how long is that to-do list in your head, and how much are you procrastinating.
How much are you feeding your fears? How addicted are you to the rush of your fear states and having them triggered, and where do you seek out these triggers? How do these states create an imbalance and trigger old patterns of behaviour and dysfunction?
Connect with your Root centre (base chakra), drop into this space in your body, and feel what it is trying to show or tell you.
Listen to what your Root is telling you.
Meditate on your connection to the Wild Woman within and the guides and ancestors that can help you establish this connection - listen to them.
Meditate on the Earth and connect with Pachamama both physically and energetically.
Use visualisation practices and meditations to access your Roots and create a balanced and healthy relationship and environment within your Root Centre.
I hope these words help open a little door within you, that they encourage you to reach a hand inwards or even outwards to ask for help, balance and connection to your Wild Woman and your Roots because, like a plant, we too can only grow strong and powerful if our roots are healthy, nourished and supported.