Pearl Gregor, Special to The Review | April 1, 2019
Recently, in the Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP) Review, I found an article written by Commonweal Editor, Molly Winston O’Reilly, “Stop making victims of sexual assault into martyrs for virginity.”
Unknown to me, buried in the personal and also the collective unconscious, I experienced Catholicism through the lens of the doctrine of purity, sin and the fatal flaw of being born a woman. Clinical depression manifested beginning with menstruation/teenage years until age 43. In 1988, after a lifetime of prayer, psychologists, psychiatrists and nightmares, I found I could ask for a dream.
I had a descent dream … the result has been astonishing. Dreams led me through the incredibly deep work necessary to find the unfindable. In Jungian terms, the psychoidal dimension of the archetype. Miraculous healing. I only recently learned the vocabulary around that deeply traumatic feminine soul injury. For, unknown to my parents, I had been sexually molested as a preverbal child. I was healed and now more theoretical knowledge arrives as I process a life. The intellect cannot access the unconscious. Ever. It requires depth and a journey deep within. I made that journey.
“I, the Woman, Planted the Tree: A Journey through Dreams to the Feminine” arises from my childhood and my midlife journey.
I write with deep gratitude to RCWP Canada’s The Review. Many thanks to Commonweal Editor Molly Winston Malloy. Somehow changing the amazingly devastating and utterly erroneous belief in the essence of Woman as temptress, woman fatally flawed, the cause of the downfall of humanity, is the work of my life. The doctrines are WRONG. We must rethink, reflect, meditate, and go deep into the collective unconscious to heal the layers of ancient embedded beliefs.
I am seeking one companion on this journey who has delved deeply into Archetype of the Mother, Inanna Mythology, and much else! If you have not read Untie the Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estes or When Mary Becomes Cosmic: A Jungian and Mystical Path to the Divine Feminine by David Richo, may I suggest you run, not walk, to the nearest keyboard to order them. While you are there, please check out my book as well.
I recorded all my dreams, prayers and miracles; then in 2015, began writing. I spent hours and days in meditation to heal the fear of speaking through publishing. My story is now available to all. I stood up in December 2018. I broke the silence. Women must cast aside fear and speak. Speak up and speak out.
I was given the gift of Catholicism and its deep rich symbolism. I also drank the poison of the horrific depiction of Maria Goretti, sainted in 1951 for resisting sexual assault unto death to preserve her purity! I was six years old. I read the Wanderer. I even had a colouring book about her story. Somewhere during my healing journey, I realized I had as child misinterpreted deeply the real reason for her canonization. St. Maria came to her murderer in a dream with the gift of forgiveness. When he was released from prison, he had changed his life forever. A powerful healing tool as gift. Forgiveness is a gift freely given; it does NOT mean forgotten.
Malloy ends her article about martyrs and assault by saying, “It is warped, toxic, and totally at odds with everything else the church has taught me about love and relationships, and so, like many Catholic women, I’ve spent a lifetime shrugging it off.”
Shrugging no more. Now women must speak and speak loudly, like a bunch of Noisy Women! (to quote Bishop Jane and her colleagues)
Calling all. The Great All. Women and men of deeper understanding. Undertake your own inner healing and join your voices. Come together and heal this belief system which excludes half the planet and the Planet Herself!
Sometimes that speaking comes at deep price. Sometimes, it comes with even deeper healing.