A Journey through Dreams to the Feminine
This is a highly provocative and original book about rebirthing the feminine soul through dreams, meditation, prayer and reflection. It is a combination of the experiential and theoretical rooted in both psychological and mythological research while firmly anchored deeply within one woman’s transformational journey. This book is filled with some of the many questions asked by a midlife woman in her search to recover her Self.
How much is Pearl willing to sacrifice in her search to find and heal the inner obstacles to woman’s psychological freedom? For it is said that entry into the underworld, the transformational journey of a soul, demands a very steep price. Learning to work with images, using active imagination and the principles of transpersonal psychology, Pearl grapples with the use of inclusive language, learning that she has grown up steeped in patriarchal religion, language and imagery. She learns she has been betrayed by her own life. Reading extensively only to find that the early church fathers consider women “flawed men,” “evil” and “responsible for the downfall of humanity,” Pearl struggles with the deepest feminist issues. Under the tutelage of wise teachers and many books, she finds that she can stand and speak without anger or tears in the face of the authority of man. She must heal her own molten inner rage.
Images of ancient patriarchal authorities from the textbooks of her many years of education appear in her dreams. She is faced with the fact that her own psyche has been colonized by the patriarchy centuries out of mind!
Now, she must learn about the Truth from within her Self rather than the Truth of Authority. Dreams abound with multiple images from the depth of both her personal unconscious and the even deeper collective unconscious. When leaving New York, one of her guides says clearly, “Pearl, you must deal with your issues of church.” Suddenly, her dream world is flooded by images of ancient goddess religions, the dance of the feminine, the ring and the cosmic egg symbolic of wholeness. Some images, such as the yellow wallpaper, feel like direct comments from psyche on the gaslighting faced by women within patriarchal structures that rely on power, violence and beliefs in woman as “less than.” Progressing through many dreams highlighting the structure of her psyche and aspects of transpersonal psychology, Pearl works to integrate the spiritual and the transcendent aspects of her experience.
This is the story of the greening of the soul in the language of Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and other ancient women mystics. The images are nurturing, frightening and deeply transformative. In her story, Pearl confronts the depths of oppression in a patriarchal church, government and social institutions. This work will appeal to those honest enough to seek to come to terms with their own complicity in the silencing of the Feminine in Western culture. This memoir brings to the surface the rage, anger and ugliness of her own inner world. It is the thesis of this memoir that relationships must come to honour the deep mutuality possible in the depths of the fully awakened person. Authoring Self beckons us to embrace the coming of the Cosmic Mary, the Cosmic Christ Consciousness. This is more than mere words. This is a life in practice. This work honours the beauty and the blackness, the good and the ugly.
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Titles often give readers an impression of what a book will be about. The two words Authoring Self implies creating a new narrative of the self, another story, a re-creation or even rebirth. The book is about the author defining her own story and self amidst other existing mindsets and toxic narratives, held in a society that doesn't support or value women's experiences and stories as much.
The format of the book is similar to the first, the dreams are listed with their dates, along with the author's analyses, thoughts, and personal anecdotes and experiences. I recommend that readers start from the first book of the series to get familiar with the author's style, and this book also references the previous and continues her story from there.
In my opinion, the dreams in this book seem to be more vivid and should I say, more 'powerful' than the ones from the first book. The dreams and their details may seem weird, but below the surface, these symbols actually have a deeper meaning. Some are actually enlightening to the author's experience. They may seem like random images and scenes, but the author's enlightened reading of her own dreams from a personal and mythical lens gives them a higher meaning.
What is remarkable to me is that aside from accepting her femininity, the author also recognizes the importance of the masculine traits of the psyche. I like that she is finding balance, not just on one side.
While the author writes about her own dreams, we can also probably recognize the same images and symbols in our own dreams. This is not a handbook on dream interpretation, but it's interesting to see the process of how the author deciphers them in terms of her own experience. There are also many references to books that guided her, which is sure to be on my 'next reads' pile.
Overall, it is a strong follow-up to the first book. Feminists, dream enthusiasts, educators, and psychologists, and anyone struggling with life and looking for answers might find this book interesting.
In Book Two, Authoring Self, Pearl continues her journey to wholeness. She shares honestly and openly her personal journey of healing, search for self and the world of the feminine. Pearl digs through layers of embedded patriarchy to become her own authority. Her journey speaks to all men and women living in a patriarchal society who have the belief, whether conscious or unconscious, that woman is “less than”.
After reading this fascinating, inspiring and informative book I am left with this thought from Clarissa Pinkole Estes’ book, Women Who Run With the Wolves,
“A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.”
Thank you for your creative act Pearl Gregor.