There are things going on inside of us to be felt or grieved or communicated, things that affect all that we do or think and all that we see or hear. Within us are the nutrients for psycho-spiritual growth and also the poisons for its death.
But the vast majority of people are imprisoned by the rational, concrete patriarchal world and unreceptive to guidance of the inner world. The world that most people live in is a severely contracted, emotionally, and spiritually stunted reality that leaves them unfulfilled and pining away from the promises of their childhood where everything was possible and potential could be experienced as real.
The world of the symbolic, the worlds of myth, fables and dreams can provide doors to what is missing in our lives but the patriarchal system that we have given our practical allegiance to has severed our connection with the imagination, the nurturing, caring, loving and compassionate aspect of the feminine.
“Only the symbolic life can express the needs of the soul”
The dominant masculine thinks concretely and demeans the symbolic world as being silly, touchy-feely, soft-headed, and impractical. Just do as your told, work hard, be practical and it will all work out, only all too often it doesn’t. Oh, we may make a lot of money, drive nice cars, have nice houses, a TV in every bedroom, good schools and summers in the Hamptons and it all looks good and very successful, but inside we’re not happy– it’s one big so-what, one big lie, because now we know this ain’t it. Of course we could reject all that “goodness” as being superficial and posh and live the middle class life of proud struggle, or better yet forsake most everything and live with barely nothing, but that ain’t it either. We don’t feel any more fulfilled with everything or with nothing. Why? Because that’s not where fulfillment lies!
In most of our societies we try to nurture only the material i.e. the ego world. We forget about our core being, our soul. So we try to fill this void with more materiality by reading and memorizing and practicing the aphorisms of our holy books usually without the understanding that their messages are symbolic in nature because it is that that feeds the soul not the literal meaning of words.
Or we turn on the radio or TV and listen to so-called talk shows as though the talking heads of these shows know something we don’t. But they only bring sensations to our banal lives and provide nothing of any meaning to the soul. Other shows provide us with even more sensationalism through murder and violence, promiscuity, and empty, meaningless competitions. They are ego generated and ego directed, bound to the superficial and as Shakespeare would have said, “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
But a few people, alas very few, leave the physical safety of the material patriarchy to search for something deeper, not something different, for that’s only more ego, but something beyond the outer experience of reality, something found only inside ones self.
This is a hard journey fraught with fearsome and difficult trial because in the inner world the concrete language of the outer world is of little to no use. This is because the inner world, the world of the soul, is a symbolic world and speaks in the tongue of the myth, the fairy tale and the dream. It is a world where the feminine rules and can guide one to their real potential. The masculine can only enter if it is willing to share its power with the feminine.
I remember that in graduate school we used to dissect fairy tales as a way of understanding the inner psyche the inner psychology of the mind. I always chose the story of the Wizard of Oz because I felt that its symbolism best reflected my outer journey and the effects that that had on my inner life. You see the four characters, the tin woodsman with no heart (self-compassion), the scarecrow without a brain (doubtful intellectual prowess), the cowardly lion (who could not stand up for himself) and Dorothy Gale who was lost and just wanted to go back home (to the nurturing safety of the inner feminine) were all facets of myself and my own journey through life.
The Great and Wonderful OZ was the hollow promise of the patriarchal society I grew up in that turned out to be a fraud who could give nothing but what you already had had you just looked within. Each of these characters were played by my parents and modeled the way in which I viewed myself. It wasn’t until I told the story as my own that I was able to confront the story and begin to deal with its results.
The Great Oz is the society within which we all live but when we deliberately or accidentally look behind the curtain and discover that it’s all a fraud, it’s all made up, we lose trust in the wisdom we were told was inviolable. I lost trust in my inner OZ for a number of reasons 1) because the father image was weak and 2) the patriarchy of the society never really delivered and still isn’t.
Emotionally abandoned it lead to my trying to find my way home by looking outside myself for something that looked like home. But like Dorothy I couldn’t find my way because I was looking in the wrong place. It was the inner feminine i.e. the Good Mother archetype in the symbolic form of Glinda the Good Witch who was able to guide Dorothy to where she had been all along had she known that she had the power.
Want to go home? What’s your inner fairy tale, the myth that tells your story? What are the symbols of your dreams trying to tell you? You may have been let down by the outer feminine, but she of the inner world can guide you to what you’re missing out here but only if you’ll listen to her and learn to read her message.