Let’s imagine you are that lovely butterfly just emerging from the chrysalis which housed you while you made the transformation from a gluttonous caterpillar munching on leaves into the now fluttering beauty getting ready to lightly land on lovely, fragrant blossoms and sip their sweet nectars. You’re probably noticing that a few things have changed in your anatomy and physiology that will take some getting used to. For instance, instead of having strong mandibles, or mouth and jaws, for voraciously chomping on leaves of trees and plants, you now are equipped with a slender tube called a proboscis through which you will suck in the fluids necessary to keep you fed and hydrated. Because the butterfly’s owner’s manual was encoded in the DNA, instinct will probably kick in with your need for fuel and you’ll be off to the right flower, triggering your proboscis to unfurl and begin sucking up the sweet liquid. Oh, and of course, the wings! No longer needing to slowly move your bulky form from leaf to leaf, you now have strong wings attached to your back which allow you to rise above and see the world from a different perspective.
Yes, much like the newly emergent butterfly, your postmenopausal status gives you a new perspective about your body and outlook on life. But unlike the butterfly, you can incorporate freewill into your flight pattern and visit worlds and realms that feel right for you.
I wrote earlier when I started my journey into the writing of this blog: Alpine Lady began many decades ago as ideas scribbled on bits and slips of paper or whatever could hold a few words that would eventually jar my memory to an event or an idea passing through my mind at the time. Some words and webbings were momentary impressions, others were more like journal accounts or diary entries. For some reason I kept them all secured in notebooks, file folders, boxes and art books that preserved those moments representing the evolution of my life’s journey. This journey encompasses a very eclectic life spent in the more natural environments of North Idaho, Alaska, New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington State. From childhood poems, to what it’s like to live in a sod house on the tundra of Alaska, to operating alternative schools with curriculums based on the natural world, to learning how to process herbal medicines, to running youth library programs or presentations at Fairy Congress, the reader will find a treasure house of experience and I will be well-rewarded with witnessing a life of service.
Like any art form where the beginning strokes of learning to play an instrument or paint a scene are clumsy and unmetered, more discord than harmony, my writing snippets didn’t strike a form until well after I took everything out of hiding and began seeing the connections. Piecing together all the entries, quotes, one-liners, philosophical meanderings, etc., I began to see threads of commonality weaving throughout the pages and if I began connecting and embellishing them, they would form a tapestry of recipes, prose, poetry, photographs, homeschooling ideas, faery lore, observations of the natural world, etc., that could be entertaining as well as a resource for the curious.
When I looked at this description after I’d posted it, I understood that my life encompassed not only the life cycle of a butterfly engaged in her journey, but also it followed the archetypical Sacred or Divine Feminine stages so eloquently written about by Jean Shinoda Bolen in her books about the goddess archetypes. I was not introduced to these books until I was a mature woman but realized the value immediately in visiting the forms in order to understand what other women around the world throughout history have experienced in their lives that reflected the same stages only with different personas and descriptions. It seems we all pass through them in our journey as the feminine form of the Divine, the Sacred. It’s a shared sisterhood of growth.
Perhaps now would be a good time to sit with a recapitulation of your life, reflecting again on what it took to get you to where you currently reside physically and emotionally. Perhaps the journals, bits and snippets of paper you’ve saved, collages, scrapbooks, photographs, collections, musical pages, memories, etc. can be incorporated into this deliberation on your life. And once they’re actively before you and/or within you, see what the threads are that connect them all together. Begin thinking about them in more detail, savoring the ones you wish to keep, honoring and tossing the ones you no longer have a use for but recognize they have served a greater purpose, perhaps a glimpse into the more shadowed side of your life’s purpose.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with a few books and websites to consider which may illuminate your journey as you admire your collections and begin seeing your purpose in this lifetime.
A PDF: Sacred Wisdom: http://veronicagodeanu.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/archetypesfree.pdf
Crones Don’t Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen (2003)
Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives by Jean Shinoda Bolen (March, 2, 2004)
Goddesses in Older Women: Archtypes in Women over Fifty by Jean Shinoda Bolen (2001)
Gods in Everyman by Jean Shinoda Bolen (March 5, 1990)
The Mothers of Change by Anastacia J. Nutt (2009)
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