Burying the Too-Good Mother


June whisking up some self-loathing for the rest of us.

I was raised in the South.  My mother was completely in love with American Camelot, so my brother and I were named after Jackie O and JFK.  The programming to be the perfect, June Cleaver, mom was baked in with a fried onion crust in lovely Cornel servingware. My mom so wanted to be June– but found the weight of being a single mom in the 70s to heavy for June’s apron strings and high-heeled vacuuming.  I’m becoming increasingly convinced that her inability to let June go fueled her alcoholism and many other (self)sabotaging behaviors.

In preparing for the upcoming e-course on using archetypes for emotional alchemy,Getting to Know YOU, I’ve been doing some work around the Too-Good mother that dies at the beginning of Vasilissa.  Many feminists have bemoaned how the mother is always dead before the curtain goes up in so many folk tales, and it can look pretty misogynistic if you don’t understand the deeper meaning…  Read more


Abraham’s Path: The Ambiguous Way


Abraham’s Path: The Ambiguous Way. Join us 6/12/14 http://www.facebook.com/events/403867586418328

Working closely with Baba Yaga lately, ambiguity has been one of the central themes.  I was thrilled at the release of Maleficent, and seeing an ambiguous female character portrayed sympathetically is huge, I tell you, HUGE.  Ambiguity is something that is central to the Wise Woman tradition and all of the Life/Death/Life goddesses (who are the most powerful).  Yet its something that women, caught in the crossfires of Maddona/Whore syndrome, have had little societal support to step in to.

In thinking about this, I’ve turned to the stories that brought me to the ball to begin with:  those of the Abrahamic tradition.  The story of Abraham is a story of ambiguity, questioning, and uncertainty.  How very odd that the traditions that followed are now so marked by black & white thinking and claims to certainty.  I think its time to look at these stories again and work from there.

I’ve republished one of my first blogs from 2009:

“Abraham’s relationship to God is marked by great sacrifices: to ask a tribal desert-dweller to leave their family and society is worse than death. Indeed, what makes Abraham’s story so relevant to our lives today is that even now we still find this to be a terribly frightening prospect. We define ourselves by our families, our culture, our geography, our language, our food, the religious practice we were raised with… Abraham left all of these things and embarked on a unique path. He would not lose that rugged individualism and continued to live and act in ways that were far from the societal norms, but were in alignment with the convictions of his heart, and his relationship with his Creator. Abraham shows us that questioning does not necessarily mean the dissection and death of faith, but is rather the basis and edification of True faith.”

Read the full blog post on The Deeper Marriage.


What Happens When Women See Their Vaginas For The First Time


See on Scoop.itLove Your Body

How does an adult woman go her entire life without seeing her vagina?

Well, that’s largely a technical issue — but the more interesting question might be why, as YouTuber Davey Wavey discovered when he posted an ad on Craigslist seeking women wh…

Jacqueline Freeman‘s insight:

Loving our bodies is a powerful way to transform our past and claim our future.  How can you love something you don’t know? 

See on www.huffingtonpost.com

Mommy Really Loves you A Lot


See on Scoop.itVasilissa: Connecting to Intuition & Standing in Power

Mommy really loves you a lot, except when she can’t

Jacqueline Freeman‘s insight:

Working on my workshop around the Too-Good Mother today and ran into this.  I’d been focusing on the way the Too-Good Mother worries about everything.  All the time. And what a wing-clipper it is for her.  Love Dr. Almond’s take on the ambivalence of the Too-Good Mother.  This makes Vasilissa’s journey through the forest and her task of separating this from that at Baba Yaga’s that much more powerful!

See on www.psychologytoday.com

The Wild Woman Within


I’ve been working with the story of Vasilissa for almost two years now.  I’ve never worked with a story that long before, and its been an amazing journey.  Its one thing to know in my head that every character in a story represents a different aspect of ourselves, its another thing to experience it fully.  Over the past two years, I have been the step-sisters gripped by jealousy and suspicion when I was focusing on others’ work rather than my own.  Lord knows I can identify with the father who ignores what he’s being called to see and instead focuses only on the words that sound so nice.  I have been the scared child wandering in the forest, I have faced fierce, wild, power and held my own.  I worked for Baba Yaga, the Old Wild Mother who lives deep in the forest, by going to the river and examining the patterns of the persona, by sweeping the floors of my psyche to keep them clear of clutter, but it wasn’t until last week that I actually found her inside of me.

I had been reflecting on Baba Yaga.  On her house deep in the woods, far away from the structures and planning of the city, far away from the rules of civilization.  The forest stands for our subconscious world or unconscious world in folk/fairy tales.

Why is she so frightening to us?  Why is she so frightening to me?

I closed my eyes and dove inside of me.  I went swimming looking for the place in me that is far removed from society and its rules.  Appetites emerged as a door.  In the story of Vasilissa, Baba Yaga has a fierce and ravenous appetite.  You wonder if she will eat you up- consume you completely and still want more.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book Women Who Run with Wolves, attributes Baba Yaga’s appetites with her need for creative activity, her desire for Life, for living fully.  The pot of ideas should always be simmering on the stove to make sure there’s something to feed her when she gets home.

Indeed, many of the appetites that we fear- food, sex, belonging- will become unhealthy when we’re not feeding those creative fires.  When I did the evening program for the Am I Hungry? retreat, I came home with a sign I’d made during the day program for my refrigerator door that reads: “If I’m not hungry, what I *need* isn’t in here.”   It is a call to travel the dusky forest path to Baba Yaga’s hut and see what she’s cooking for her nourishment.

What is it that I *really* need?  Forget what society says I should or shouldn’t need.  Forget what others may say.  Drop the story about what it means that I want this or want that– let alone need.  Just drop in and listen earnestly.  Listen as a witness. Listen to understand.  Listen with compassion.  This is the only way I can find myself.  The only way I can even approach authenticity, let alone live there.

This is what Baba Yaga calls us to do.  This is where she draws her power from.  And it scares us silly.  Especially in women.

I swam deeper inside of me to find her.  To the places in me that I push down and away.  The parts of me that I want to tame.  The parts of me that I’m afraid of.  The parts of me I’m scared will take me over if I even admit that they’re there.  The part of me that yearns, longs, open-mouthed and gutterally. That rages and rattles my cage.  The part of me that won’t scrub out.  That pushes back.

I found her in my hips.

Georgia O’Keefe’s “Pelvis with Moon” has long been one of my favorites, and not only helped me finish my 1/2 marathon training, but be able to stay at my mother’s deathbed. Have I told you that story?

My most womanly part.  The part that won’t fit in “boyfriend jeans”.  That stretches any shirt cut too narrowly.  The part of me that I catch myself clenching a thousand times a day.  The part of me that has been so wretchedly violated.  The part of me that ushered my son into the world.  The part of me that keeps the rhythm.  My seat.  My frame. My physical foundation.

In the story of Vasilissa, Baba Yaga’s house is surrounded by a fence made of bones.  There are skulls atop the bones that light up when the sun goes down, making her yard as bright as day.  The skulls stand for the wisdom of the ancients, of our ancestors.

Lamarck’s theory about parents passing on adaptations through the genes, as well as more recent studies are demonstrating that we really do inherit our ancestors’ wisdom, stories, and even hang-ups.  I am struck with the realization that those that have gone before me live within me.  Their knowledge and stories are in my bones.  The root chakra or tribal chakra, is located at the base of the spine, sheltered by the hips, and connects us to our tribe, to the earth.  When there are imbalances, they often manifest as issues around physical and financial security.  When I’m working with clients that have difficulty connecting with their feelings- particularly uncomfortable ones- I teach them to ground themselves, to breathe into the root chakra and sink in their hips, connect to how the hips support them, then connect to the earth supporting the floor beneath them, and the earth supporting their body in so many ways, which supports their life in so many ways.

Baba Yaga’s house is on chicken-legs, and it dances and twirls around–so full of life, it is.  I see my hips as her bone-surrounded yard, and feel the lightness of my legs and body spinning and twirling around when I’m at my best.  In many tales, Baba Yaga’s house has an elusive door.  Those not invited would walk around and around the house and not find it.  It only appeared when she called it.  What a marvelous metaphor for sexual agency!  It certainly speaks to our ability to close ourselves off to unwelcome visitors.  One thing that I’ve learned in my healing journey is that no matter what the situation is, it impacts us the way we allow it to.  As children, our thinking is so limited, so we’re much more vulnerable, but as adults, we decide who we let in, and who we don’t.  We decide how we are influenced, and what we’ll do with those influences.  The door only appears when we call it.

We deny this agency, then we fear our appetites.  We view ourselves as victims in our own bodies.  Is the prevalence of domestic violence- where we are victims in our own homes- a reflection of this? Recovering from DV certainly requires that we claim our agency over our lives, and that begins with how we view and relate to our bodies, our emotions, our drives and our appetites.

Claiming our purpose and passion in life does the same.  Indeed, in the work I do to help people discover their passion, much of it is following appetites.  What can’t they get enough of?  What have they tried to move away from and can’t?  What things do they love that society or their family has told them they should shew or avoid? What do they love that they’ve pushed away because it rails against societal views of what it means to be a woman?  Or because pursuing it would mean laying down ideas of being “nice” or conforming in other ways?

How does it call them to move away from society and its rules?  To heed the winds that brush through the forest trees deep in their subconscious? To go find Baba Yaga’s house and learn to feed her to satisfaction?


Snot-filled docu binge affirms life’s purpose.


Today is my first day back in the office after more than a week of being sick.  My head was so chock-full-o-snot it felt like something was trying to press its way out of me.  There wasn’t enough room in my head for my bones and my face. The snot in my ears had a heartbeat.  I rubbed all the skin off my nose–even using the lotion tissues!  I know I’m not alone- from flu to allergies, those of us that went through a very mild winter are now paying for it in the ooze coming from our face.

Its easy to think that we don’t have time to be sick.  Our cultural tendency is to take some OTC and blaze through.  Its why we’re seeing such vicious bugs these days.  We ignore the body’s healing process.  We plow over it.  We dump antibiotics on it.  Its clearly not working for us.

Athena’s birth- in full armor, of course-gave Zeus *quite* the headache. Click on the pic to read more about how she came in to this world and decide if this is an adequate metaphor for my week on the couch.

So when I got sick, I listened.  I stopped. I let it run its course, and played cheerleader to my body’s battle with whatever was rattling through my lungs and making my head feel like it was going to split open.  Is this how Zeus felt before he birthed Athena?

diagram of sinuses

It kinda looks like a butterfly. A mucus butterfly…

The body is amazing in the tactics that it uses to get us to behave.  I could barely move.  My body was using all of my energy to heal.  That meant no energy left for me to sit up, or even hold my head up.  For the first two days, even keeping my eyes open was work.   Its not that I slept when I closed them… I just couldn’t keep them open.  I’d try to watch something on Netflix, but would have to pause anything I started within 20 minutes to rest my eyes.

I rubbed doTERRA Breathe all over my face every couple of hours.  The peppermint in that would cool my face down a bit- such a relief!  I rubbed eucalyptus oil on my chest to open up my chest and make my cough productive.  I took doTERRA On Guard capsules.  I drank a gallon of OJ a day.  It amazed me how I could be rubbing oil on my face all day, and it still feel so dry and crackle-y.

It was miserable.

By the 3rd day, I could finally watch a full documentary before I’d need to close my eyes and/or take a nap.

We actually have a TV in the house now.  No reception- we’re using it as a monitor.  I can’t stand commercials.  They make me edgy.  The being edgy makes me disconnect.  I have a hard time finishing a show that has commercials.  I just can’t do it. I’ll end up reading something on my phone that I know I can finish without being forced to emotionally disconnect or be exploited, so that’s what I end up doing.

Quetzalcoatl, the winged serpent

Quetzalcoatl is the winged serpent that brought music to earth from the sun, according to Latin legends.

The TV got moved over while J’s parents were in town.  They’ve got a van, so J and my son moved J’s enormous TV over.  Its like this black hole in the middle of the living room.  It makes you scared to even walk over to that part of the room for fear you’ll fall in to it.  I want to cover it with a cloth when we’re not watching it.  I’d bought a turquoise sheer that I’ll be doing some kind of sparkly creature that you can’t tell if it has scales or feathers or whether its flying or swimming.  Sequins and possibly feathers will be involved.  The plan is to eventually paint the wall behind like the sky.  Its a loft wall and scaffolds will be required, so it may not happen for a while.  I also want to paint a huge tree with swirling branches on that wall and hang art work from its branches.  I don’t know when it will happen, but it will.

Puppet theatre castle

If you must watch the news, do it safely: enshroud your screen to make it look like a puppet theatre.

I found some garden hangers that I’ll use as curtain rod brackets that will hold the curtain rod out far enough to get it in front of the screen.  I moved the top of the castle (I have a castle–a pink castle– as my entertainment center.  Are you surprised?) above the screen today.  Once the curtain is hung, its going to look like a huge, fabulous, puppet theatre.  Its the only way I could handle having a large-screen TV in the house.  J thinks its a fantastic idea.

I love this guy.


Where was I?  Oh yeah, documentaries.

We don’t watch that much, so we’ve hardly even explored all that Netflix has to offer, and have done almost nothing with my Amazon Prime membership.  More than a week on the couch, and I’m now quite familiar with both.  I watched a few documentaries on the Dalai Lama.  I love his laugh.  It reminds me of J’s dad.  10 Questions for the Dalai Lama was quite interesting as it had some historical background on the conflict with China and Tibet.  Apparently, the Chinese saw the philosopher-king-type government of Tibet as elitist, and viewed themselves as liberating the Tibetan people and bringing them in to modernity.   Watching it, I couldn’t help but think of the wars we’ve fought using the same sort of language.  I guess all around the world and throughout time, folks don’t interpret being (forcibly) brought into modernity as very liberating.  Why are we so afraid of moving forward?

I watched a film that Deepak Chopra’s son made about him and his experience of him as a father vs. how the world sees him.  Very human.  I love films like that.  It makes me wonder how my son would portray me were he to do the same. All of us are made up of so many quirks and contradictions, but oh how it can sting when we’re confronted with them!  I want to at least know mine.  I don’t know what I can really do about them, but I’d like to at least have them in the realm of conscious incompetence. 😉

Speaking of bringing things out from behind the veil, I watched a film about Mary Magdalene on Netflix.  I’m so glad that she’s emerging from the shadows.  It brings a balance to Christianity that hasn’t been there since the Inquisition essentially wiped out all the different sects of Gnostics.  Catholicism, with its rituals and saints, has a bit more balance than Protestantism, though the general misogyny of the institution keeps the scales tipped rather than balanced.  Ritual is the feminine aspect of religion.  Ritual grounds us.  It connects us to time and space.  It connects us to ourselves and each other via our bodies.  Protestantism dropped ritual and focused on the Word- making the Protestant practice very heavy on Father Sky, and ignoring (let’s face it, denigrating) Mother Earth.  When we consider this, its really no big surprise that Industrialism–and the raping of the environment that goes with it–was born in Protestant countries and carried around the globe from there.

Getting into my Amazon Prime account, I saw a film called Mythic Journeys.  If you’re a Joseph Campbell fan, this film is for you.  If you love stories, this film is for you.  If you’re a human that struggles and wonders how in the world you’re supposed to know what to do next when what you’ve always done doesn’t work anymore, this film is for you.  Its so beautifully aligned with the work that I do.  Watching it was very affirming- I could just feel all the good vibes pulsing through my cells and helping my body heal.  We are wired to learn and connect with stories, but as they said in the film, we’ve devalued Story and relegated it to the children’s room like an old piece of furniture.

I feel very passionately about reviving story and educating people on how they work.  According to Jung’s work, there is a part of us- the collective unconscious- that understands what all the symbols, archetype, and storylines mean.  We deny this and watch the spiritual/mental/emotional equivalent of the worst MSG-laden junk food, then wonder why we’ve lost our optimism, can’t connect to ourselves and others, have lost our passion, and feel unable to pull ourselves out of toxic patterns…  What we watch and listen to impacts us on a very deep level.  Not being conscious of what it means gives those toxic messages even deeper access to us because we’re not filtering at all.

Hungry for Change poster

Hungry for change not only with food, but how we see our bodies.

I watched Hungry for Change.  As I was watching it, I understood why so many people had asked me if I’d seen it when I spoke to them about the work that I do.  From the trailers and ads, I thought it would be another film about food that sought to spur people to activism around the food and diet industry.  It has elements of that, but it also covered our relationship with our bodies in a way I haven’t seen in the other films on food I’ve watched.  Really understanding how our bodies work and moving from the assumption that it is our ally and not our enemy is key to having a healthy body as well as the foundation for our relationships to ourselves and others.   So much of the dialogue around health and our bodies in our culture is adversarial.  Our body is our enemy.  We don’t trust it.  Its working against us.  We plan, plot and scheme to trick it, get around it, push it down, suck it up, and punish it when it doesn’t conform to our ideals.  When this is the way that we work with ourselves, its no small wonder that our divorce rates are now pushing 70% in America, for how we treat ourselves is how we will treat others.

There was a part towards the end that burst me in to tears.  Jon Gabriel is talking about the ways that the body tries to take care of us and how our stress can trigger these “fat programs”.  “We think that the body is sabotaging us or working against us, but in reality, the body is saying “How do I protect this person who’s so scared?””

For whatever reason, it struck me deeply.  I had to pause the film and just cry for a while.

A little later, someone was talking about how we equate love with safety and safety with love. Our national obsession with security certainly falls into this– we think guns or more stringent laws or surveillance will make us feel safe, but I’ve long said that what we really need to be truly safe is deeper connections to our loved ones and neighbors.  A community that supports us.  A sense of purpose.  Jon Gabriel’s method seems to really tap into this equating safety with love.  He calls us to see the ways our body is trying to make us feel safe. I love that he’s approaching the body from the assumption that it loves us and wants to take care of us.  Its only from this perspective that we’ll be able to actually understand it well enough to work with it to achieve health.

I want to hold a screening of this and talk more with folks about their relationships with their bodies.  If you’re in the Valley area, sign up for my newsletter to find out when & where and join us!

I emerged from my sick bed with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor.  I also decided that I’ve got to start running my business my way, instead of trying to do what the lists and the programs and the gurus say I’m supposed to do.  I think we’re shifting now.  Folks keep waiting for things to go “back to normal”, but that place doesn’t exist anymore.  Its our job now to define the new “normal”.  I will forge it from the heart.  From a place of authenticity and alignment. From a place that looks to build the future rather than just the bottom line.  How could you shift your life into the same place? Let’s walk together…




A Letter From The Love You Haven’t Met Yet


See on Scoop.itPowerful Partnering with MBTI

I made eyes at you once on the subway. I saw you across the room at a party. I swiped you right on Tinder. But it’s not our time yet. And I know you’re wondering why….

Jacqueline Freeman‘s insight:


I love helping clients realize, then work through, their own list.  What’s on yours?

See on www.huffingtonpost.com