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More or less monthly posts about Transformative Healing Dolls
Healing the Elderly, painting in altered book
Dreaming with Hagitude
As you might know, from reading my earlier posts or following me on Instagram, I have been taking a year-long class with Sharon Blackie, called Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life, based on her book of the same name. The course has been powerful and life-changing. Taking the course is part of the reason why I am slowing down a bit this year with my on-line offers. My focus this year is being back in the studio and doing the inner work that goes along with this year-long class. Yet, still making a few on-line offers, such as the Tending Your Inner Garden class that I will be writing about a bit more this month, as it starts at the end of April.
Reclaiming Elderhood as Women
In the Hagitude class, we are seeking as women to reclaim elderhood, taking it from the negative focus that our culture so often puts on words like hag, crone, and old. We are seeking to reclaim the power and wisdom that originally resided in those words and in the women who embodied them. I don’t like the word patriarchy either, but for better or worse, this is the word that is used to describe those forces that tried and mostly succeeded to destroy and denigrate what it means to be an older woman in our culture.
Baba Yaga/ Mother Earth doll, detail
Understanding Archetypes of Elderhood as Women
This month, we are talking about archetypes of elder women, exploring their meaning and finding our place within the various manifestations of elder woman archetypes. I wanted to share a bit of this exploration with you. First of all, what is an archetype? According to the on-line dictionary, an archetype, “is a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.” An example would be the "mythological archetypes of good and evil."
Some of the archetypes for elder women that have come up so far in the class, and which Sharon Blackie mentions in her book, Hagitude, are:
The Creatrix: old women weaving the world (including the Fates, the Norns, Mother Hulda)
Forces of nature: guardians and protectors of the land (including the Cailleach)
Mentors (including Fairy Godmothers, and Mother Hulda again)
Tricksters and truth-tellers: holding the culture to account (including Cundrie, and other Loathly Ladies)
The Wise Woman: deep vision (including the bean feasa, such as Biddy Early)
The Dangerous Old Woman: carriers of the fire (including Baba Yaga)
Old Bone Mother, or the representation of Death (including the Bean Sí, and other harbingers of death)
There can be resistance to trying to fit ourselves into an Elderhood Archetype
Interestingly, for some women in the class, there is a feeling of resistance to limiting themselves to one or a few elder woman archetypes. And I totally understand that wish to be free, not constrained in any way, especially once having been freed of the bonds of the negative associations to women who are older. I don’t have the same problem myself in discovering which elder woman archetype I resonate with. For me it is more about sorting out which one of many I most connect with. If you have followed me on Instagram or on my website, you will probably recognize several of the above elder women.
Me in my former life as a violist...year 2009
What helps me-Seeing Archetypes as Energy or Harmonics
What helps me to understand my connection to elder woman archetypes is to see them as fluid, changing with time, and also to think of them as energies, or harmonics, that at different times of my life, most fully represent the deepest sense of who I am. To make one analogy…in my former life as an amateur musician, (hopefully music is something I will return to someday soon) we had to think about harmonics, making sure that our instruments were in tune, both within themselves, ie all the strings on my viola had to correspond to each other, but also with each other, as in when I played in an orchestra or a quartet. If an instrument is out of tune with another, not only the notes themselves but also the harmonics would be out of synch, exaggerating the out-of-tune-ness even more. Or vice versa, when we are closely in tune,
I should also define harmonics. The dictionary says, harmonics are, “an overtone accompanying a fundamental tone at a fixed interval, produced by vibration of a string, column of air, etc. in an exact fraction of its length.” And, an overtone “is a one of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental (tone) and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone.” To put it in a way that may be easier to understand, if someone is playing the string on a cello in a room, the string on another cello leaning against the wall in that same room will also vibrate, even if no one is touching it. And not only that note will resonate, but also a whole range of related notes up and down the harmonic scale.
When we talk about being “in tune”
We talk about being “in tune” with ourselves and with one another. When we are in tune with ourselves, we are also in tune with the larger world, with nature and also with the world within. To live fully as women is to live in a way where we resonate with the feminine archetypes, with beings who represent ways of being. It is to resonate with essential qualities that go beyond the surface of our daily existence. Even if we never acknowledge this in our lifetime, we are all living in relationship to something much deeper, to connections we carry deep in our bones. These archetypal beings exist across cultures, holding values and qualities such as power, sovereignty, beauty or compassion. The closer we get to embodying in our daily lives, the qualities that most fit our true purpose in being here, the more we also resonate with those archetypes that reflect those qualities. And these may change over time, throughout our lifetimes. The clearer and more directly we live, the easier it is for the archetype to shine through us.
What does this have to do with the changes of the seasons?
Just a little note about how this all connects to Tending Your Inner Garden, my new on-line offer…
When I look at connecting to archetypes as elder women, it helps to see the ways these connections change and flow throughout the year. Like different harmonics resonating on a cello string, we could deeply resonate with one archetype during a certain time, ie, for me, a fierce and scary but also powerful and wise Baba Yaga. But throughout the year, especially at the changes of seasons, there are different archetypal energies that come up with those changes. For instance, Baba Yaga tends to be connected to the deep, reflective winter season, and then at Imbolc (February 1st, 2nd) a new energy comes into being, the younger Brigid, who can be seen as Baba Yaga’s young counterpart. It helps to navigate these changes visually through a calendar. If this interests you, check out my Tending Your Inner Garden course to find out more.
By the way…
This isn’t for women only…
And this doesn’t have to do with women only. Men also need to connect with their inner feminine archetypes. I recently listened to an interesting podcast in which the man who was being interviewed talked about channeling his own inner feminine and connecting to goddesses. If you are interested in hearing more about him, his name is John David Latta, the link is here (if you follow Spotify) or you can look it up on your own streaming platform. Powerful stuff! On this podcast, which I highly recommend, Psychic Matters, with Ann Theato. The episode I am talking about is Synchronicites of Love with John David Latta, #084, Feb 23, 2023.
I've been making dolls for about ten years now. I believe that dolls serve as representations and reminders of the best part of ourselves. I am excited to share with you here my learnings about new methods and techniques for doll making and healing. So glad you are here!