One of the greatest disparities of our modern day is the supremely undifferentiated nature of feminine archetypes. By feminine, I, of course, do not refer here to gender. So many depth psychologists are guilty of funneling femininity into the category of women and masculinity into that of men. Instead, we address the feminine characteristics within the psyche as a whole that each individuation would then confront relationship to presenting parts. We are a patriarchal society and have been for thousands of years. This brings more familiarity to the masculine aspects of psyche. We mean both in their strengths and their shadows. We will look to the goddesses of Greek mythology to help further identify our relationships with femininity. Doing so, we may begin to deepen into the distinct characteristics of feminine consciousness.
A Surrender to the Forces at Hand
As psychotherapists of a patriarchal age, often our emphasis is upon the directive, reductive, and corrective experiences of the mind. We analyze, identify, and prescribe our way through architecture and landscapes of the psychological mythos. Often enough, I encounter another maybe even counterintuitive drive in clients. That is, the regressive desire to return to the undifferentiated. We may see hyper-aggressive conquest as the unhealthy fathering standard at its worst. If so, then undifferentiated surrender to the forces at hand is the drive into mother as escape.
A Convenient Catch-All
Since the feminine suffers tremendous unconsciousness in our culture today, one can speculate how mother is a convenient catch-all for the feminine instincts. Whether male or female, we might say that the call to feel, to hold presence, to confront with receptivity the aggressive forces of initiation are all experiences of the feminine that are awash to the mother complex-ridden individual. We could move through these experiences with distinction. However, we may instead seek undifferentiated womb-like surrender. This points to the “momism” of the psyche.
The “Momism” of the Psyche
Rather than to think, to embrace, to transform, instead mothering may replace maturing to the point in which avoidance results. Simply put, mother is not the feminine. Conversely, the feminine is not the mother. To be without relationship, held, suspended is but one of the characteristics of the maturing feminine. The attitude towards ones presenting problems may be one of being overwhelmed, panicked, even avoidant. If so, we no doubt are up against this “momism” of the psyche.
The Womb-Like Disappearance of Consciousness
This week, we will be exploring the role of the mother both as complex and archetype. This will begin our teasing out of the distinctive goddesses. Our goal here is to bring understanding to the phenomenon. It relates to both psychotherapy and our clients while in treatment. What if the regressive drive toward womb – whether through drugs and alcohol, avoidant behaviors, and chaos – were in fact an instinct to enter the feminine principles? What if the unconsciousness of the feminine psyche is what informs this sleighing of the instincts into the womb-like disappearance of consciousness? How do we hide? How do we avoid? What fantasies do escapism bring? Could there be some baby in the bathwater of these instincts? Let’s explore together this week!