In the Name of Sophia

In the Name of Sophia - Part One

“Today I saw her. Today I saw her with my eyes, My queen, all bathed in radiance, Rejoicing, my heart stopped beating. This happened at the golden light of dawn, A miracle divine. All earthly desire vanished, Seeing her alone, her alone, only her.”  ~  Vladimir Solovyov

As it’s been more than two years since I wrote my essay and poem on the Divine Hermaphrodite, I thought it time to become more acquainted with Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, in a similar way, for new life is calling. “In the Name of Sophia” series will be posted in three parts, the first two parts will be written in essay form and the third will be presented in the form of a long prose poem, hopefully all in a language that reaches the heart. Also, five years later, I felt it time to update you on my Animus Diet, but first, Sophia.

Sophia is known worldwide, perhaps beyond the Milky Way, not only for Her Divine Wisdom but for having a two-fold or even manifold nature with perfectly balanced aspects. Some call Her Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, the Feminine Face of God, others call Her God. She has many Divine names including Queen of Heaven and Mother of the Universe but today I will be focussing on Her unified masculine and feminine aspects and understanding my growing attraction towards androgyny, meeting at the still point in myself and others.

A Love Poem to Androgyny

Let’s start with my attraction. In a nutshell if I can’t tell what biological sex someone is, I’m instantly drawn and not in a sexual way. Something deeper takes hold, triggering a strong inner reaction, and like a moth to a flame I go, or more the case, I watch them from a distance. It’s always been this way, even as a young child. I couldn’t explain it further until I became a student of Carl Jung and learnt about his archetypal Animus and Anima, basically a person’s masculine and feminine sides, that I began to see things differently.

Chronologically, my attraction to double-gendered looking alchemists began way back in childhood, as explored in The Divine Hermaphrodite, although when I first started my Animus Diet I did notice that I was even more drawn to them than usual. To begin with I thought that my fascination with androgynous looking souls was down to my own LGBTQ+ identity, being an openly lesbian woman and part of the rainbow so to speak. But no, it turns out that this attraction of mine has been for something different, which has taken me by surprise!

I see that I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back to January 2016 when I first realised that my Animus was rather overweight in comparison to my slim inner woman, my Anima. Initially a diet of sorts was needed in order to balance out these archetypal aspects, before I could meet with the Divine Hermaphrodite to learn about androgyny and the Goddess Sophia Herself. Conceived and carried in darkness the seeds of my Animus Diet are still weaving my future into being. If you’re new to my poetry and Jungian thought blog, your can find out more about these archetypal adventures in my Animus Diet essays so do take a look at my Jungian Archives.

Fortunately there’s a plethora of YouTube videos and essays/articles online about the lives of androgynous and gender non-conforming souls. I’ve listened to many people talk and write about transitioning their gender, others choosing to de-transition, and others who choose to accept themselves exactly as they are and everything, and I do mean everything, in-between. What was true and what was not? This was a question I asked myself many times. In pure synchronicity, as soon as my Animus Diet began, my therapy practice started to quickly fill up with androgynous, transgender and gender non-conforming souls. I’ll write more about this later!

And if you’ve ever wondered what you would look like as your opposite gender, why not download Face App. When I tried it out, I was left speechless by a younger looking image of my father staring back at me. My wife uploaded the app too for fun and it turned out that she looked uncannily like one of her brothers, almost his twin! What’s interesting is that this app comes with an option of dialling across gender ranges so you can see yourself at different points on a continuum. Alas, I don’t have a photograph of my ex-husband on my phone because that would’ve been interesting to see him pictured as feminine. The aging choices were fun too!

Ring out the Old, Ring in the New!

In my life so far I’ve had two long relationships, both of whom I married, the first with a man and the second with a woman, with a few shorter ones in-between. And here now in my second marriage, I feel as though I’m entering a third one with my wife, a kind of alchemical, Sophian one. There’s a curious story about our wedding rings, which I hadn’t connected to my Sophian journey until writing this essay, about how we changed not only our wedding rings, several times, but metals too.

Five years ago just before I started the Animus Diet, I’d put on ten pounds in weight and in doing so outgrew my (already snug) white gold wedding ring. It was so disappointing that I couldn’t get it enlarged either, in case the centre diamond popped out. Change was in the air for sure and for ages I wore a lovely silver ring in its place until two years ago, around the time I wrote the Divine Hermaphrodite essay and poem, my wife, whilst on holiday, bought me a new (and this time) plain silver wedding band.

The timing was incredible, when I think about it today, because no sooner had I got my new ring than my wife lost hers in the middle of a pine forest. A needle in a haystack comes to mind! Alas, we would have to wait until we were visiting Cumbria again to buy another. For the next two years she wore my old ring (which was so loose it could literally fall off her finger) until I bought her a new one from the same Lake District jewellers! That’s another story in itself, as due to the pandemic the shop was closed for months, then she ordered the wrong size and had to send it back before a second ring eventually arrived, finally fitting her perfectly!

Hmm, rings I realise were definitely the back story to my Animus Diet and as a huge Tolkien fan, I did laugh afterwards as throughout those years we must have watched the entire six film series not once but twice … so that’s twelve films about rings and still the proverbial penny didn’t drop! Until it did. And so our rings have changed several times until we each found the “one ring” which feels not only literally but symbolically important. This is in contrast to my first marriage where I wore a rose gold band throughout, a Victorian antique, which, if I think about it now, had originally been somebody else’s ring and marriage, never really belonging to me.

And so I’m left wondering today if my second marriage is an opportunity to encounter and embrace the divine image of Sophia, as we transition from gold to silver, from diamonds to bands, from the wrong size to the right size?  When I look at older couples, that may be the case, as many seem happy to leave traditional roles behind and enjoy, for example, cooking, gardening or DIY for the first time in their relationship. In my own life Sophia has certainly been an energy I’ve grown into. Perhaps the psychological and spiritual purpose of marriage or relationship, irrelevant of a person’s gender or sexuality, is to help each other re-attain this original androgynous state and regain our lost connection to Sophia.

The Poetry of Psychology

Let me begin with one definition of psychotherapy that I have always related to and which is integral to my practice – that is “to listen to and attend to the soul.” Bearing this in mind let’s return to my clients! In the last five years I’ve worked with 11 clients all of whom have self-identified as either transgender, bi-gender, genderqueer and/or non-binary (outside the male/female gender binary). Only a small number I know, but after 20+ years of working as a psychotherapist these clients, who are supposed to (in theory) represent only a tiny proportion of the population, all arrived in the last five years, with the first arriving the same week as I posted Part One of my Animus Diet. I have to say that it’s been a joy, a challenge and an education to work with the many clients who so generously shared their stories.

If relevant and clients were receptive, I would introduce my Jungian lens into the work, sharing insights gained from my Animus Diet and Divine Hermaphrodite studies, in order to further explore the archetypal wars within and help to bring the client’s Anima and Animus into a new harmonic relationship. It’s important to add that not all of these clients came to therapy to explore their gender identity. However, if this was the case, please know that we never strove for a 50/50 masculine/feminine ratio but where balance felt right for each individual. Sometimes that would be 70/30, other times 40/60, while others would fluctuate along the continuum with all kinds of levels of androgyny in-between.

Why is the continuum important? Well everyone is different and one size doesn’t fit all. Balance doesn’t mean that both sides have to be balanced out, they don’t have to be equal. We have a choice on which side to express dominantly (or not) in our lives, for none of us were born with this division in ourselves, it only developed as we grew. However, one thing I’ve witnessed time and time again is that by playing with one’s gender expression (i.e. appearance) something from within is always drawn out. In my work with this group of clients I encourage them to get curious about their archetypal Animus and Anima to help them better solve the mystery of themselves.

Interestingly, as I introduced the idea of having a two-fold or manifold nature, one client decided that any further transitioning was no longer necessary and an extraordinary year-long transformation began to take place, leaving my client with considerably less gender and body dsyphoria. An incredible journey of love and healing! Please note that a client doesn’t need to identify as LGBTQ+ for the Animus/Anima Diet to have an effect, because each of us has a masculine and a feminine side whether we use both sides or not. The danger of not balancing these aspects can be illustrated using the analogy that the longer anything remains caged, the more savage it becomes.

A short note to therapists. One exercise greatly enjoyed by many is when I ask clients to draw, paint or create a collage of what they think and feel their Anima and Animus looks like. The results often prompt in-depth conversations. Towards the end of therapy I repeat this exercise in order to explore changes made, above and below. I have to say that working with these archetypes has revolutionised my practice for individuals and couples alike. Sophia is not only the alchemist’s gold but the therapist’s gold too! At the end of this essay, I’ll repost links to previous essays in this Jungian orientated series which you may find useful.

More Than the Eye Can See

With Sophia there’s always more than the eye can see, as, although I choose to present a feminine looking appearance and use the pronouns “she” and “her”, I know there’s more to me than my outer presentation alone. It’s not a problem in my life but it could have become one if I decided that my whole identity was hinged on gender alone and not my psychological and spiritual identity. “Desperately Seeking Sophia” I realise has been what I’ve been searching for all of my life, through all my transitions.

How I feel today is natural. I think it’s natural for many of us who couldn’t put into words, whilst growing up, that they too knew they were both masculine and feminine. I no longer feel like the “weird kid”, different and outside the group. I didn’t choose a poet’s or a psychotherapist’s life, they chose me, for vocation, I believe, is the summons of the soul. I didn’t choose to be attracted to women, I was born that way. Nor did I choose to spiritually and psychologically transition my gender, I just followed my soul’s urgent calling. Again, Sophia chose me, however, the truth of this choice has only revealed itself to me in recent years through my Jungian studies and research.

I don’t think my story’s played out yet as I’m still living in the middle of the tension of so many opposites, in a position that doesn’t hold the answers, but thankfully allows space for the questions. And for me to sit with those questions. I feel that the last five years have been the most important years of my life so far. Perhaps this is the life’s work that I will be mining until my physical death and, whether I want to write this new book or not, sharing my personal story and Jungian adventures feels important and necessary somehow.

Growing up I remember being powerfully drawn to the deep poetry of Sylvia Plath who, I realise all these decades later, aspired to achieve a poetic voice that embodied characteristics of both genders simultaneously. For me her androgynous imagination united and transformed each gender, thus creating rich verses of androgynous wholeness, which spoke to both my head and heart! The modern-day poet Kae Tempest, whose work I greatly admire, writes in a similar androgynous style. Within each of these poets’ works I sense them striving to re-create a wholeness in which I find many deep soulful connections. My soul sings, “this poet knows … they really know!”

Finally, let me return to the image at the top of this article where twenty years ago a beautiful statue of the Goddess Sophia (Sveta Sofia) was erected in Sofia, Bulgaria, standing in the spot once occupied by a statue of Vladimir Lenin. Many may interpret this as being the feminine usurping the masculine, however, to me the message seems to be one of change in our world, where the crown, owl and wreath bearing Mother of the Universe with perfectly balanced aspects has returned. Her statue serves as a symbol of my deepest desire to reconcile and unite with my own inner Sophia and, in doing so, rediscover something that was hidden in plain sight all along. I see Her symbolism as our inheritance and love – Her center is everywhere, Her circumference is nowhere.

Until the next time … as there is no end of Sophian things left to explore!

Wishing you all Bright Blessings as we move towards the Spring Equinox! As the old pagan chant goes: “Equal day and equal night, first the dark and then the light.” May you find balance in all things! Love and light, Deborah.

In the Name of Sophia - Part One

© Deborah Gregory 2021. This essay forms part of a much longer series which includes my four part Animus Diet and Divine Hermaphrodite essays and poems which are presently being gathered to create a new book later this year – Jungian Archives

Image credit: Google Images – The Statue of “Sveta Sofia” is a monumental sculpture in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo of daffs, my own.

26 thoughts on “In the Name of Sophia

  1. This is fascinating, Deborah. Thank you so much for introducing me to Sophia in this way. Your experiences and thoughts provide a vivid demonstration of how this works.

    I share your ideal of a male/female balance that fluctuates. I imagine a world where we all strive to strike a specific range, and shudder. Your theory that we don’t even keep the same proportions of Animus to Anima resonates with my own experiences of balancing eternal tom-boy tendencies with feminine interests, something that has been criticized, by some, at times. I see that for some that can seem threatening, but I love that it is becoming part of wider conversations now. I very much look forward to seeing where you take us in the next stage of this essay, and how the poem will fit.

    1. Thank you so much Cath for your visit and interest in my archetypal Jungian work! I do enjoy sharing my personal stories and experiences so your reply greatly encourages me to continue doing so.

      As I’m writing … Margaret Atwood’s phenomenal novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” comes to mind with its grand themes of gender, power and identity, where everyone seems fixed on every continuum, let alone gender, whether one is an Aunt, Handmaid, Martha, Wife or Jezebel. The same, I felt, could be said for Atwood’s male characters in the book too, in their respective roles. Thankfully, love, solace and humanity help to weave their way in-between these hard, fixed places and help open up wider conversations with gender.

      And so it is too with Carl Jung’s archetypal Animus and Anima, basically our masculine and feminine sides, I feel! They fluctuate, and yet to say so feels like profanation at times. I believe that we all inhabit a unique place on the gender continuum, one that naturally fluctuates at different ages and stages of a person’s life. I look forward to exploring more in my second essay and the long prose poem I propose to write, which could include, by the time I finish the book, a few more of my Sophian poems. Love and light, Deborah. 🙂

  2. Stunningly poetic. Informative, intriguing, inspiring.

    An essay that took me by the hand and led me from despair to hope. A fabulous new way of looking at gender and Sophia’s place in the world.

    Wish I could read it again for the first time. Thank you for sharing your words and wisdom.

    1. Oh, sending you deep gratitude Bookworm for your stunning review! I’m overjoyed that you’ve enjoyed it and thank you again for sharing it on FB too! I’m so looking forward to writing the next part in the coming weeks. If you would like to read the whole series I’ve left links at the end of this essay which should take you back to the Animus Diet where this Jungian themed journey of love first began in January 2016. Love and light, Deborah.

  3. Dear Deborah – what a wonderfully rich essay! I have read it through several times and each time I glean new gems of insight and self-understanding – thank you!

    I can really relate to the “weird kid” scenario. For me I was happy in myself and my appearance as a girl who liked to be active and creative. I played football and tennis with the boys and hung out with our gang of boys and girls at our den in the woods, dressing in jeans and t-shirts. Then in my second year at senior school I was spotted by two girls from my peer group, who laughed at how I looked, calling me a tomboy. I was devastated that this would go round the all-girls school and immediately started to change the way I dressed and even who I mixed with. I see that as the turning point where I started trying to conform to how others wanted me to look and be – something that continued for many years in a commercial career where I tried to be a woman getting on in a primarily masculine industry.

    Fortunately for me at the same time as my meeting with those girls, David Bowie came onto the scene. He became a hero for me and, whilst my own inner struggles with conforming were going on, he symbolised that balance that you describe so well. Interestingly enough I have always found myself more attracted to men with a slightly stronger feminine side rather than an overly masculine one and women who have a slightly stronger masculine side e.g. Annie Lennox rather than ultra-feminine women.

    And so, since midlife and starting a new career and family life, I have slowly re-balanced and accepted my own androgyny, to the point that now I really don’t care what people think about my appearance or my sexuality. I have found a balance where I can just be me; probably a 60/40 balance at the moment suits me just fine. And spookily enough that’s the sort of balance I would say the likes of Bowie and Lennox have! Yet I am sure it will change again for me as I age as it has done for them over their careers.

    Just an aside – I read in the comments that Jung felt that trees were symbols of the androgynous self. Fascinating – I was born and brought up in a city yet I found solace and peace amongst the trees in the limited green space we had. That love of trees has stayed with me all of my life and now I am very fortunate to have access to woods where I can connect with tree energy regularly.

    I haven’t even mentioned Sophia – haha, such a good name don’t you think!! In all seriousness, I really do hope that this does become a time of her influence. Our world is out of balance in so many ways and connecting to her wisdom could bring reconciliation and unity across the planet on so many levels.

    Thank you again Deborah, for baring your soul – this is a magnificent essay that whilst answering so many questions asks so many more. Wishing you too bright blessings for the upcoming Spring Equinox – catkins abound, celandines are in full flower and the blossom of blackthorn is ready to burst from its buds signaling brighter days ahead. Sophia

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for your wonderful review of my essay! Allowing ourselves to be our true selves as teenagers must be (universally) impossible as when we even start to act or dress a little bit differently we inevitably send ripples through our peer groups and that fear of rejection I’m sure creates many a mask and persona to hide behind. Not many I feel would have been strong or confident enough back in the 70s/80s to choose to be the “weird one” or “the lesbian” as it was for me growing up in a rural village … certainly not me!

      Yes, David Bowie and Annie Lennox are perfect examples of what that beautiful union of the opposites could look like, with both masculine and feminine aspects fully integrated … well more integrated than most! Ha-Ha! I do remember the first time I watched Bowie on Top of The Pops (and who can forget those gorgeous Pan’s People dancers either!) and thought he really was an alien who had just landed from Mars! Theirs was a heady mix indeed! Nodding my head re attraction to those masculine women and feminine men.

      It’s funny isn’t it … when I think about my own masculine and feminine aspects I can see that I’ve jumped around quite a bit on the continuum, sometimes for shorter periods and sometimes for longer ones but as I age I do find myself inching closer and closer towards androgyny. This feels just natural and almost settling I want to say. Hmm, perhaps I will write more about this in Part Two. I didn’t appreciate Bowie’s genius until my forties and despite missing out on his early music, poetry; I soon caught up and became a huge fan!

      It’s funny that you should mention trees because if ever I was to have a tattoo (I don’t have any) a “tree” is the one that I would have, with its roots, trunk and leaves and all, as above, so below. Yes, Sophia, such a wonderful name! Thank you Sophia for sharing your stories, insights and experiences. Ha-Ha! On a serious note, I do feel like it is Her time, as the idea of each of us having a masculine and feminine side is becoming more accepted now and from this we all move forward. Oh, Spring is certainly in the air! Love and light, Deborah.

      1. Hmmm you’ve sparked another thought here – when I was 16 the Punk movement started and I plunged in and fully embraced the non-gender defining clothes and attitudes. On reflection that was probably me expressing my true self in a way that was safe – for quite a few years on I made sure I dressed very differently in my social life to the power suit type of persona I then assumed in the crazy 80’s.

        So much to think on here – I’m sure your essay will spark many more insights for your readers! Looking forward to part two!

        1. I agree … there’s more than a Sophian connection between what happened to you growing up with those two girls, your adoration of David Bowie and later decision to immerse yourself in the Punk Movement and who’s to say that those 80s power suits for women were not also an unconscious collective attempt to integrate the masculine and feminine aspects attempt … Ha-ha! especially when I think about those huge shoulder pads! Hmm, lots for me to ponder on re gender expression. x

  4. Dear Deborah,

    I love this essay so much. You’ve done an excellent job of mining the richness of the Goddess’s depths and applying the wisdom you’ve uncovered to your life. This is what self-reflection and inner work are all about: guiding each individual to their personal truths so they can blossom into their fullest selves. You, your blog, and your poetry are the best model of that I’ve seen on the internet.

    Everything about Sophia calls me as well, and has ever since I discovered her through Marion Woodman, like many others. She made her first appearance in my writing in my 1994 book, Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine through Jungian Dream Work. There I wrote about a dream I had that I titled “Acquiring the Courage to Be Real” in which a beautiful woman with black hair appeared in a doorway surrounded by light. Your gorgeous image of Sophia here reminds me of her. Given the full context of that dream, I associated her with Sophia, whom I thought of as Shekinah, the feminine aspect of God, the wisdom of the understanding heart, and the feminine half of the Self.

    In that book I also shared a few dream images of trees, which Jung thought of as symbols of the androgynous self. In my exploration of that concept, I found Jungian analyst June Singer’s wonderful book, Androgyny: The Opposites Within, to be especially fruitful. Another influential book from that time (late 1980’s early 90s) that I loved was John A. Sanford’s The Invisible Partners.

    The last dream I shared in Dream Theatres was titled “The Inner Androgyne.” In it, I am accepting the blossoming of the inner androgyne, whose name is Cirlot (the author of a symbol book I use.) In the dream I whimsically wondered, “Should that be Sirlot for the masculine part and Herlot for the feminine?”

    Like you, I found my Jungian research and dreams to be enormously reassuring. Until that time I only identified with my feminine side and never considered having a masculine side. Once I accepted that idea, I could see signs of it, especially in my youthful tomboyism, and in the part of me that resented the role discrimination that said I couldn’t be a hero like The Lone Ranger because girls are victims, not heroes.

    As a girl hated the stereotypes that were trying to imprison my soul into tight, neat categories. After a while I realized they limited males too, as well as anyone who identifies anywhere between these gender extremes: 80/20, 70/30, 60/40, 50/50? Who cares? This was my inspiration for The Soul’s Twins, which is about creating partnerships between our inner opposites.

    So, as you see, I am 100 percent behind you, my dear friend. Let us continue our explorations in the name of Sophia, for there is no end of Sophian things in us yet to be discovered.

    Love, Jeanie

    1. Wow! Thank you so much Jeanie for such a numinous and luminous reply! I’m deeply honoured. Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been energetically drawn to self-reflection and inner work for decades now through the Ariadian labyrinth of life. I think this is why I resonated so deeply with your post earlier this week … as “Imagination” has certainly been the “Star” in my own constellation. Following the summons of my soul, by way of working both as a psychotherapist and writing as a poet, I’m sure this is allowing me to follow Ariadne’s thread through life’s twists and turns in order to find wisdom, depth and meaning in life.

      Sophia, where shall I begin? Well, if you haven’t already listened to Robert A. Powell’s incredible nine hour “Sophia Teachings” audio tapes by Sounds True, recorded around 1999, I would strongly urge you to do so. I found them during my winter hibernation and delved into them in the pregnant darkness of the Jungian rabbit hole I had taken myself down. I’ve put a link in my reply to Anna, alongside a Jungian page that you might also appreciate, if you haven’t already come across these links. I haven’t read June Singer or John Sanford’s books yet but will now be adding them to my ever growing book wish list!

      Oh my Goddess! Now I need to read “Dream Theatres of the Soul” because I want to know more about your mystical Sophia dream! Have you posted something about this dream on your website? If not, a future post maybe? Hmm, I’m pretty sure that Sophia has entered several poems of mine by using another of the Gods and Goddesses names! Many years ago I undertook a healing experience known as “The Journey” (by Brandon Bays) where I realise today, Sophia Herself became momentarily visible during one process … head to toe, in shimmering gold … where wordlessness descended until this very moment. Ha-Ha! Herlot & Sirlot! Indeed.

      How I need to read and bathe in Marion Woodman’s soul again and again! In fact I feel like a huge reading splurge coming on myself which will start with your latest book “The Soul’s Twins” this weekend. Actually, here in the UK it’s Mothering Sunday this weekend and I realise in light of our conversation I shall I need to lay a space for the Great Mother at my table! If you’ve got my first collection “A Liberated Sheep in a Post Shepherd World” you’ll come across a poem titled “Her Table” … hmm, now I’m wondering if this is what I was doing then, writing a love poem to Her! I shall have to dig it out and have a re-read.

      I think when viewed through Sophian and Jungian eyes, (the Sacred Marriage, Hieros Gamos) another veil can fall away from your Lone Ranger dream. This is the beauty of inner work isn’t it … as decades later, deeper and deeper meanings reveal themselves, much like Chinese boxes, there’s another box within, and so the mystical game goes on. Creating partnerships between our inner opposites! Yes, yes, yes, In a nutshell, this is it! The joy of engaging with my own inner partners (Anima & Animus) has been liberating as I find my own unique balance, above and below. It’s been such a revelation to me just like your wonderful and generous friendship continues to be. Love and light, Deborah.

  5. Finally, I’ve found some stressless time to read your essay, and I am much surprised to read so much of you. It gives me so wonderful feeling as I read this. I feel that I’m jumping from one word to another, just like a tiny butterfly, to read some note of a song to play, a beautiful song.

    I totally agree with this: that the balance between our Anima and Animus doesn’t have to be necessarily 50/50. It is changing permanently, and it’s good so! We just have to observe these oscillations.

    I am looking at you now, not only as a friend but also as a teacher. And what I read today is the extent of learning of your extensive teaching. I thank you so much, my dear Deborah. Love and Light.

    PS: It is the third time that I try to post my comment!!

    1. Thank you so much Aladin for your wonderful response to my latest post! Let me start with apologies for the badly behaving captcha code today. It’s also been messing up my replies and its only by refreshing the page before commenting and using the Ctrl button + (a lower case) v that have I been able to post any reply at all. Deep sigh! It does this from time to time and is a prize pain in the ….! If it happens again just email me and I’ll try and post your reply from the back end of my blog. Thankfully it was third time lucky today!

      It’s a long read I know but hopefully worth it my dear friend! Following my Animus Diet and Divine Hermaphrodite studies, androgyny seemed like the natural path for me to explore next. One that I’ve been wanting to do all of my life I think but didn’t know where to start until I began working with the archetypes and unpacking my own hermaphrodite themed dreams. I agree, we’re all somewhere different on the continuum. Love and light, Deborah.

  6. Thank you for baring your soul, and bearing it Deborah! Many years ago, about 35, the woman with whom I studied, said she was going to be doing her thesis on Androgyny, a word with which I was not really familiar. But she explained it to me and I was very taken with this. It made sense to me. She went on to train as a Jungian Analyst. I remember her very fondly. She made contact sometime last year … I hope we make face to face contact sometime soon.

    David Bowie comes to mind ..

    I’ve just pulled out ‘Sophia Goddess of Wisdom – The Divine Feminine – From Black Goddess to World Soul’ : Caitlin Matthews inscripted by me 9th July 2001. It was a book we studied in that particular group I was in. I’m getting distracted by seeing the marks and notes I’ve made.

    O what a task it is to remove the veils or masks we wear. But what a journey it is!

    Son David and his wife Jüte are here for a little while (a happy and unexpected surprise) and for me to witness their interactions is such a joy, to see their respectful, kind and caring ways with each other. Each delighting in the others individualities. Davey forceful, Jüte sweetly feminine, each learning from the other ..

    Your story of rings reminds me of my own story of rings but this will be on hold for now ..
    So, to Sophia, Her centre is everywhere, Her circumference is nowhere.

    Beautiful post Deborah, thank you. Love, Susan

    1. Thank you so much Susan for your beautiful, kind-hearted reply! As we both know, working at depth requires much baring (and bearing, I love that!) and stripping away of old beliefs and who we once thought we were, before hopefully, being reborn from the womb of the Great Mother Herself … where all meet the Divine Eye, the Eye of the Soul.

      Last year I spent weeks, if not months, in “the belly of the whale” before descending a “long, dark rabbit hole”. Both journeys were deep descents into the pregnant darkness with loyalty to my inner vision being tested at every twist and turn … yet thankfully holding strong! David Bowie indeed, he personifies androgyny. My soul loves him so much!

      Androgyny feels like the natural path for me to take as I make my way through life’s Ariadian labyrinth, following the goddesses’ red thread until I find the center of my own heart. Did your friend publish her thesis on androgyny? I’d be very interested to read it. I haven’t read Caitlin Mathews Sophia book yet but you’ve piqued my interest … do you recommend it? Oh yes, what a task … but what a journey indeed!

      It’s lovely to hear that you have David and Jüte staying with you at the moment! They sound positively joyful to be around. David’s music in particular fills me with so much joy and laughter especially during lockdown last year. His “Cher” parody “Do You Believe …” was my favourite and whenever I’m feeling glum I search it out on YouTube!

      Well, I’m looking forward to hearing your own wedding “ring” story in due course. It was only when I started writing this piece that I realised that rings were definitely the back story to my Animus Diet all along. Until we meet on the page and screen again my dear friend! Sending you much love and light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

  7. Deborah, much like your previous Animus Diet and Divine Hermaphrodite posts this is extraordinary work! I shall need to read this piece several times in order to fully grasp the wisdom and insights you freely offer the readers. You really are in a class of your own!!

    As you explore ways in which to find balance between our masculine and feminine sides, I can’t help but wonder how you strike the balance between being a psychotherapist and a poet. Can you say a little more….

    In conclusion can I order a book in advance please? Thank you for being open and brave. Like Elaine, I imagine you’re a wonderful therapist to your clients. Will you update your Animus Diet in the next part?? All the best, Anna – Sophia’s newest torch bearer.

    1. Thank you so much Anna for your wonderful reply! Let me start at the end by saying yes, I’ll definitely be updating my Animus Diet in Part Two as I felt 2.5k words was long enough to read in one sitting alone. I’m not even sure if the second part will be as long as this … we’ll have to wait and see where Sophia leads me next … my Sophian torch bearer!

      Hmm, now there’s a question?! The short answer and bridge between being a poet and a therapist is “Soul” The long answer is worthy of an essay itself and one day I hope to write more about this. I’m a therapist who brings the creative arts into her practice, with poetry being a regular favourite with my clients for even short poems offer profound healing.

      I hope to release this book later this year but first there’s Sophia to explore. Usually what I do is write something, put it away in a dark drawer and then later dust it off, reread, add new insights and tweak a bit before pressing the green button. I love being a therapist and have learnt the hard way in finding balance in this role too. Believe me when I say … that my clients are incredibly brave, I learn so much from them. Love and light, Deborah.

      1. Thank you. Soul, of course. Now there’s a paper I would love to read.

        Where can I find out more about the Goddess Sophia. I’m intrigued to know more.

        Podcasts are my preferred choice, any ideas??..

        1. There’s this amazing nine hour audio by Robert A. Powell which I listened to whilst down in my Jungian rabbit hole. It overflows with beautiful mythology, meditations and poems on the Goddess Sophia and you can Download for free! https://sophiafoundation.org/the-sophia-teachings/

          Alternatively, I found the Jungian genealogy page by Iona Miller really helpful. It’s filled with sacred scripts, wonderful stories and amazing images of Sophia. I go there often! If anything else comes to mind, especially podcasts I’ll let you know. https://jungiangenealogy.weebly.com/sophia.html

          Apologies to my readers this morning, the WordPress catcha code seems to be playing up … again! I find refreshing the page before commenting helps me best.

            1. Good idea! I often listen to a podcast when I’m out and about … I hasten to add, when walking, not jogging! 🙂

  8. Dearest Deborah,

    I hardly know where to begin and will read this piece many times. I’ve struggled physically all winter with Meniere’s Disease symptoms and it exploded on me on March 7, at 4 am, Vic’s 80th birthday and I couldn’t walk, but fell–flopped like a rag doll. My little dog Disco was so concerned and licked me repeatedly to make sure all was well. I scared her. I scared myself. I’ve had this before, but not for about 5 years, so something is up. I took extra medication (reduced again now) and will keep that medication on the table next to my bed with my cell phone because a dear friend with a strong masculine side said she would keep her phone on her bedside so I can call her if this happens again, even at 3 am. It was her idea and I accepted.

    A few days before this experience, I had a dream about teaching a group of women strength training. (I taught strength training for many years to women, but have backed off because of imbalance.) There is no objective reason to back off and the dream has as much to do with my feminine psyche as with my body, so I’m ready to focus on the Goddess Pose. I’ll also honor that in the dream, my students weren’t quite ready to learn that pose.

    As soon as you mention Sophia, I think of Marion Woodman who opened and closed every workshop with prayers to Sophia. This was her Goddess connection and I’m grateful she shared it. I also think about the masculine-feminine balance within me as I’ve had to take much masculine energy back into myself without Vic’s presence. And finally, I think of how I chose a silver ring for my wedding in 1968–an $8.00 ring from the Middle East with a biblical verse that says, “He is my beloved, and I am his” written in Hebrew script from the Song of Solomon.

    About 18 months after Vic died, I felt the need to take the ring off that I’d worn for 42 years, so did that with lots of ritual and grief. The ring now is on my altar, hanging on the arm of a dancing Ganesh. I will polish the tarnished silver today.

    There is so much more to think about and say about my own balance between masculine and feminine, but I’ll let this stew and see what comes up. Thank you for honesty, wisdom, depth, and love. It must be a gift to have you as a therapist. Today I talked to my Jungian dream therapist about the dream of strengthening the feminine. It was so helpful. With love, gratitude, and opening to the new life and light of spring, Elaine

    1. Dearest Elaine,

      Thank you so much my dear friend for commenting on my latest post! It’s a long read and one that has taken several weeks to write after finally emerging from my Jungian rabbit hole so I fully appreciate all your generous attention and gift of words today … especially when I read how very unwell you’ve been of late!

      I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling this winter, especially last weekend with Meniere’s symptoms returning. As you hadn’t mentioned it for ages I was hoping they had gone for good. Aww, bless Disco with her fussing ways over you! It’s reassuring to hear that you have a friend to call in case you need immediate help.

      Above and below, your dream seems to be guiding you towards strengthening your feminine aspects, a Sophian approach if ever I heard one … as the Anima and Animus, those archetypal opposites, are integrated within. Collectively, I’m positive this is what women need to do, men too with their feminine sides.

      I checked out the Goddess Pose, wow fierce! Decreasing the distance between psyche and body has been one of my goals on the Animus Diet as I realised years ago the body cannot be ignored on the path to individuation. Similar to the Fool’s Journey, I wish to come home to my body … for nothing feels right until body and soul rejoin!

      Interestingly, prior to writing this post I read “Dancing At The Still Point: Marion Woodman, SOPHIA, and Me – A Friendship Remembered” a brilliant book by Elinor Dickson. I’m a huge Marion Woodman fan and have at least ten of her sacred books now. Oh, I wish I could’ve attended her workshops … with you!

      Ah, so we both have silver wedding rings! I love what you wrote about the biblical inscription inside your ring and that you keep it on your altar. Like Sophia, I see my wedding ring as a wheel of rotating light! And I love that you knew it would’ve been Vic’s 80th birthday this week.

      Enjoy the bubbling and let me know if more comes up! In recent weeks I’ve found that I’m fast becoming a torch bearer of Sophia! Thank you so much for your loving friendship and wise counsel! I was terrified of baring my soul to the world but how else could I part the Red Sea and reach the Promised Land.

      Love and light, Deborah.

      1. With Sophia leading the way, my body has risen out of the Meniere’s Disease meltdown. It was a response to the covid vaccine–and it turns out dizziness and vertigo are common responses and many of the vaccine responses are the same as Meniere’s responses. I struggle enough with equilibrium and feared I was returning to the days of Meniere’s “drop attacks.” I had to take Valium a few days, sleep a lot, and wait it out. I’m now back to my normal medicine dose taken for balance and taking long walks in the woods again. A friend said when I told her about Disco licking me on every uncovered surface–arms, face, and legs, “You must have hated that.” I actually loved her sweet concern and she helped me wake up to what was happening and take care of myself on hands and knees. She seemed so relieved when I made it back to bed and so was I, but it took a few days to feels sure that this was a vaccine response and not my future condition. Whew! I’m OK. Sending you love and good health.

        1. Oh my Goddess! I’m most happy Elaine to know that your health has greatly improved and those dreaded Meniere like symptoms were only temporary and have now disappeared. And I loved reading about Disco’s sweet concern too! They know don’t they, our beloved animal companions, they just know.

          My wife also suffered a strong reaction to the vaccine, where she fell ill with continual headaches, nausea and stomach issues for three days. Me, I had my 1st vaccination two days ago and weirdly find myself with a spring in my step and full of energy … our vaccine reactions were like chalk & cheese!

          Sending love and light across the oceans and oaks between us my dear friend, Deborah.

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