I grew up in a religious world that spoke to very specific behavior – that which was considered “good” vs. “bad.” “Right” vs. “wrong.” “Dark” vs. “light.” Even, “pure” vs. “sinful.” And though I don’t agree with such language or doctrine any longer, its insipid presence remains nearly woven into my DNA. I feel trapped. In addition,
I feel far from God.
Is it possible that the reason we struggle so to understand and experience the Divine in any form is because we have everything upside down and backwards; because we’ve become bound in structures of language and morés of culture that keep us that way?
We are trapped – and told it’s where we belong. Encaged. Encased. Domesticated. Silenced. Whether through religion or other societal norms, we are behind bars. Is it any wonder we feel far from a God that ostensibly promises freedom and life?
The Wild Woman: Untamed. Unorthodox. Unpredictable. Alive. Voracious. Passionate. Risky, even risque. A visionary. An oracle. Healthy. Strong. Thunderous.
She is ideas, feelings, urges, and memory. She has been lost and half forgotten for a long, long time. She is the source, the light, the night, the dark, and daybreak. She is the smell of good mud and the back leg of the fox. The birds which tell us secrets belong to her. She is the voice that says, ‘This way, this way.’ ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves
The “Godly” Woman: Tame. Sedate. Safe. Demure. Meek. Humble. Restrained. Submissive. Quiet. A follower. A whisper. A support. Conservative. Pure. Sinless. Good.
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. ~ 1 Timothy 2: 12-15
Vast and harsh generalizations. A tough and highly-controversial series of verses. I admit to both. But bear with me.
These particular voices of my religion (long-dismissed, but no less vocal) tell me that “righteous” behavior means deferring to the wisdom of others, the voice of others, the power of others (most often men). These voices of my religion tell me to dismiss my own voice, my own intuition, my own deep knowing. Such “messaging” is surely untrustworthy and too self-focused to be relied upon. It is not reasonable to desire, to want more, to name harm, to speak up. I need to accept my circumstances, sit down, and stay quiet. Perseverance is godly. Patience is beautiful. And quiet acceptance moves me ever-closer to sainthood.
I woke up this morning considering that perhaps these voices have been the evil ones – the ones that have done everything in their power to keep me from God, not draw me closer. These voices have done everything possible to keep me tame. That is highly problematic when desirous of relationship with God, because
God is not tame.
What if we understood the voice of God to actually be that deep and endless invitation within to wildness, abandon, and preternatural ways of being? What if we claimed and even flaunted our wildness as the true, unbreakable, and DNA-like thread that connects us to God – not our restraint, propriety, or silence?
For a woman to draw close to God, to the Divine, she must be invited, wooed, and seduced into her most wild nature. There – and only there – will she hear the voice that offers her freedom, life, power, and strength. This is the voice of goodness and beauty, not evil and ugliness. This is the voice of God.
To adjoin the instinctual nature does not mean to come undone, change everything from left to right, from black to white, to move the east to west, to act crazy our out of control. It does not mean to lose one’s primary socializations, or to become less human. It means quite the opposite. The wild nature has a vast integrity to it.
It means to establish territory, to find one’s pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one’s behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into ones’ cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as possible. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves
Integrity. Dignity. Unsilenced. Untamed. This is a woman after God’s own heart; a woman who hears and knows the Divine without question, second-guessing, or insipid, misguided conscience. This is you. This is me. We recognize our bars – and those of all women – to be straight from the pit of hell. We stand – upright and regal – like the goddesses we are. Unfettered and free.
As close to God as our warm and wild breath.