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Two myths emerge from human memory to arrest universal attention.  We want to know the story of where we came from and the story of where we are going.  When we witness a child befriend a serpent, when sudden beauty overwhelms us, when we are rescued from danger, when we watch those we love decline, when we are profoundly challenged or traumatized, when we study newly discovered human fossil remains, we return to these two stories. The earliest stories of human life told by indigenous groups stalked my dreams during my teaching experiences in Chile. I was most influenced by the tao-like nature of the ancient Babylonian story of the sea serpent, Tiamat, slain by her heroic offspring, Marduk. The story pairs opposites in conflict: the emperor-god Marduk and the primordial sea procreator, watery Tiamat.  In this account the procreator is successfully challenged by its creatures. The violence characterizing this myth contrasts with the later story of moral judgment prominent in the garden setting of the biblical account in the book of Genesis. In a garden, the humans, Adam and Eve, fall to the serpent’s temptation.

The Biblical account of creation is the story of the temptation to disobey the one who held unilateral power over the garden’s inhabitants. The Babylonian tale better dramatizes the reality of a battle between opponents and that moment when the future depends upon the outcome of a struggle for power between two beings formerly in a relationship of begetter and begotten.  The subsequent rise of city states and nation states and political systems engaged my imagination as I read of the cosmic sky battle between the earth goddess and the sky warrior and I thought of the ziggurat temples rising into the heavens to honor Marduk. I felt the contrast with the much earlier stories of the beginning, versions more revealing of what the indigenous groups might call the Dreamtime, tales told thousands upon thousands of years preceding the Bronze Age, tales of evolution less constructed by a battle between opponents. I was more drawn to relationship than to the exercise of power.  I realized that my work as a marriage counselor disposed me to dread the Judge Judy sessions in which a couple wanted me to settle right and wrong in an effort to establish a relationship.

Allowing myself to experience in reverie my first memories of contact with the organizations inviting me to Chile, that is Con-spirando and Capacitar, I attempted a meditative calm and noticed outside my window a mother turkey on the hillside.  She was followed by her six chicks.  I recalled the Native belief in animal powers and in the turkey’s significance as a sign of the spirit’s presence in the mystical generosity of love.  I allowed for the possibility that this was a synchronous moment.  I remembered that the earliest divine images in the caves were of animals.

After Madonna Kohlbenschlag’s sudden death, looking for some way to continue her work with the School just initiated in Chile, Margaret O’Rourke offered an idea: there is a psychological instrument, a Q sort, an instrument measuring identification with the deep feminine forms in Toni Wolff’s schema.  Perhaps we could use it?  --for Madonna had made expert use of Wolff’s forms to express women’s potential.  And so I was invited to work with South American women early in 2001.  Like the Mama turkey on my hillside, I began an experience of what Toni Wolff called the central feminine archetype: Mother Earth teaming with endless possibilities, an image of nature’s generation of life forms and a spatial image of the universe. I came to administer an instrument and discovered a way to explore an adult development schema based on cosmic relatedness.  For eight years women from Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia used popular education methods, ritual, formal teaching, conversation, reflection, and a blind draw technique to elicit responses to diverse feminine images.

The images arose from cultures subject to social evolution and social roles in turn long subject to domination systems.  Insofar as the images were adaptations to male perceptions, the women tackled the task familiar to 20th century thinkers as the heurmenutics of suspicion.  What historical and cultural dictates separated Baubo, Demeter, Eva Peron, the Black Mother, the Mapuche healers, the Kogi Mamas from the energy they found in their own life experiences?  How did Inanna’s descent mirror their own split from the Sisters of the Below?  How could they reconcile belly, legs, hearts and minds?  Could they name the power divides, the abandonments?

Alienation from the body was understood to include alienation from the cultivated garden, from the animal world, from the customs and acute sensory awareness of the early people, from the reality of free expression, and from the power to heal.  Coatlicue and Queztacoatl and Tara provided images of relationship with nature and an inexplicable identification with the energy to oppose and outwit violence in their everyday life.  These women ran AIDS clinics, worked to change birthing customs in hospitals, taught literacy and administered Gender Studies programs, lived with the poor, comforted trauma victims, opposed the devastation of rubber plantation burning, organized the indigenous to obtain water rights.  Many of them were worn from political strife, had experienced political exile, lost family contact and family members. Still they were community women: office workers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, nuns, psychologists, community organizers, churchwomen, belly dancers, theologians, employed by the United Nations, worldwide ecumenical organizations, Fullbright scholars. While they lived the experiences of violent separation, the women more typically expressed the ultimate goal of evolution: communion.

Aware that we were using an early twentieth century aristocratic European woman’s psychological design, I allowed its full expression of four forms to prove themselves: the Mother, the Amazon, the Hetaira, the Medium. And beyond the forms was the archetype: Mother Earth containing all possibilities.  Toni Wolff envisioned new forms emerging and while she used familiar classical literary forms to express each energetic possibility, these would necessarily be attached to living cultures and subject to reexamination.  After eight years of careful experiences with each of the forms in their myriad expressions, it occurred to me that Wolff’s use of Jung’s fourness pattern might be in a process of dynamic recasting.

While the two personal forms, the mother and the hetaira, were not described as wives, in everyday life the social reality of marriage, the status of a wife, the presence of the mistress and the assumption of heterosexuality as an expression of complementarity, is evident.  Clear that a woman could be a mother but not identify principally with the mother form or could identify with the mother form and not be a physical mother, Wolff distinguished between social roles and the relational identification. However, in recognizing the hetaira as a separate form, Wolff split the hetairan energy away from the mother energy in a way possibly related to societies in which the roles are divided by male perceptions and regulations or by a rigid social system in place to inhibit women’s sexual freedom. Both Wolff’s schema and the women using it in the School easily identified Hetairan energy as the life force of free expression, the psyche’s movement toward the desired object.  All life forms share in this basic necessity: the interest that fires the tissues. 

If Hetairan energy is intrinsic to all relational energy, are the other three forms also subject to an analysis of their inherent nature, based on the School’s repeated and rigorous experiences?  I believe that the other three do represent distinguishable relational forms, validly differentiated expressions of intimacy.  It is possible to reason that, with reference to Jung’s ubiquitous fourness mandala patterns, there are three directions which have a profound and strange-attractor relation to the fourth position which is vital to each of the other positions.  In our School experiences, one other study underlines this possibility.

The work of Jeannine Davis-Kimball in the late twentieth century, particularly her digs in Eurasia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, uncovered the historical validity of warrior women who lived in the area of the Ukraine in some proximity to Greek colonies. In Bronze Age nomadic societies there were three social roles for women.  These roles contributed to the life of their societies: hearth-mistress, warrior and priestess.  Similarly, in the School’s experiences, women could identify primarily if not entirely with the leadership of the Amazons, or with the nurturing orientation of the Mothers, or with the wisdom and psychic healing abilities of the Medium--as the characteristic relational experience of their lives. While it is also true that many identified primarily with Hetairan energy, it is possible that one’s psychological need for free expression struggles for integration in every form whether flowing from the Amazon’s independence, the Medium’s esoteric and revolutionary insights, or the Mother’s earthy creativity.

These speculations concerning social standing within a relational community were enhanced by findings in a 2009 workshop with Chilean men considering the male equivalents of the female relational forms: the Father, the Warrior, the Youth and the Sage.  In an experience with image identification based on a blind draw technique, one image emerged which caused me to again consider the earliest stories and findings which describe human social roles.  The question I brought to my work with these Chilean men was whether we could find a parallel to the central archetypal form containing femininity.  An exceptional percentage of the men drew a warrior image of a temple guardian.  Could the Guardian be the containing central archetype for masculinity?

It is known not only from observing the behavior of gorillas but other species as well, that the male typically protects the female and the newborn and that the species’ survival depends upon such protection during characteristically vulnerable periods.  Since during the earliest history of our well-forested planet most adult women would be either lactating or gestating for a significant portion of their adult lives, males would be put to the task of guaranteeing species’ survival from another perspective. The Guardian is a cross-cultural phenomena often found at the threshold of temples as a sign of the presence of the sacred within. As an aspect of Father, Warrior and Sage, aspects of the archetypal image of the Guardian may be freshly relevant at this time in response to the universal fear of threats of nuclear devastation. Perhaps this is the School’s finding in its study of a schema of relatedness.

Meeting with men to consider relationality led me to wonder if these social forms expressing real connection validate Carl Jung’s emphasis on the reconciliation of opposites within and the gender politics or the social approvals involved.  Who is the man who is an earth mother or the woman who is a guardian warrior? In South America I experienced some women as unwilling to detach the warrior/amazon courage from contemporary military practices in which weapons of mass destruction and the threat of total nuclear devastation are realized. In North America, Phyllis Sherlock and I, as developers of the male Q Sort measuring preference among Wolff’s forms, experienced the greatest psychometric challenge in validating the warrior image as able to be measured psychologically. 

Whether identifying with a male or female expression of a relational form, there is usually not only a personal response to a description of one’s identity, there is also an ethical dimension, an inclusion of both negative and positive possibilities for integration of the form of relatedness.  Some women found difficulty in identifying with the amazon who signified only an aggressive masculine advance as some men found the youth an identification with irresponsibility and immaturity.  Some women refused identification with the medium form despite its obvious relevance for them because of the opposition of the Catholic Church to the role of healers in the country villages.  Stereotyping allows inhibition of ethical maturity but it also reflects historical conditions threatening free expression. 

Perhaps the containing transpersonal wisdom of the Guardian is relevant at this time.  Perhaps the hetairan energy of life giving companionship is absent from the practice of modern day warfare. Perhaps we lack the desire to form community. Perhaps these questions, arising from the School’s use of a schema of relatedness, are contributions to a dialogue dealing with the consequences of inhibiting relationship.

The story of the Chilean School recalls for me another memory.  Many years ago I was invited by Emory Sekequatewa to a Hopi corn dance.  When, in the last of the ceremonies, the dancers emerged from the kiva representing Mother Earth, mud hens dancing in their priestly task, tossed treats to us, the watchers.  The kachinas were manifesting the generosity of the creator.  Both in receiving their gifts and in experiencing their careful observance of traditional mystical beliefs, I recognized the Hopi vision of a protective and instructive iconography of the spirit world. The Hopi world was not distant from my ordinary professional preoccupations and I sensed a crossover.  As teaching and counseling involve both impersonal adult development theory uncovering personal suffering within actual relationships, the School’s stories of the origins and the destiny of relational beings held our interest and we made many crossovers.  Telling this story of the School of Ecofeminist and Ethics is also a crossover.

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