Note: This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly going forward.
001 It seems to me that to receive a penis there has to be a really profound sense of who you are, in order to allow yourself to be penetrated by another human being. A woman has to have a real sense of her own presence to surrender into full orgasm because she is entering into an altered state of consciousness. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 119
002 I think the fear of surrender in the anorexic epitomizes the fear of the feminine and that’s the feminine in men as well. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 119
003 That’s real love-making, where you experience the wholeness within yourself through the person you love. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 119
004 I don’t know any other way to live now. My dreams provide the rudder for my life. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 109
005 My work is to find my own authenticity and then to surrender that to a higher purpose, which I call Sophia/Christ. I don’t know any other way to live now. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 109
006 I think the future of our planet depends on human beings discovering their own light, becoming conscious of the universe as one soul. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 138
007 By sheer synchronicity a friend gave me the telephone number of a Jungian analyst by the name of E.A. Bennet. I stepped into his office and knew I had found the teacher I had been looking for. I stayed with him for a year, ran out of money, then went home and taught school for three more years. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 110
008 The real change came in my own hotel room during a severe sickness with high fever. I had lost consciousness. When I came to, my body was on the floor and my soul was on the ceiling. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 113
008 Peay: How long did you struggle with anorexia?
Woodman: Well, I would say, in its worst form, about six years. It was all part of being efficient and organized and wanting to was the longing for God. I. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 113
010 But I don’t think it’s euphoria I’m looking for now. Euphoria is false. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 114
011 The high that comes from being anorexic, the weightless feeling that came from dancing and not eating, was a false euphoria. It was a death trip. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 114
012 I think God is that too. “Embodied consciousness” is my own phrase, reached through fifteen years of hard work. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 114
013 I had to come to God the other way around. I had to go through the body to find the Goddess. To me the feminine side of God is consciousness in matter. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 114
014 The wisdom in the body; the light in the cells; the subtle body. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 114
015 For me, that subtle body within my physical body is the receiver that can receive that transcendent experience of the divine. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 114
016 The body sends messages from the unconscious just as dreams send messages. I think eating disorders are related to a problem with the mother. Mother is related to nourishment, cherishing, sweetness food is a metaphor for mother. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 115
017 I am convinced that the feminine is making her way into our culture through the back door; one of those back door routes is through eating Disorders. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 115
018 When you’re really following the analysand’s dreams in an eating disorder, you begin to see that an eating disorder is a religious problem. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 117
019 The feminine isn’t interested in being at the top: she’s dedicated to life in the moment, she takes time to look at trees and flowers; she takes time to build depth relationships, takes time to be carried by that other force that trusts that there’s inherent meaning to this life. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 116
020 It seems to me that obesity and anorexia are two sides of one coin. The binger and the anorexic are the extremes. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 116
021 The anorexic is going for Light she dreams everything white. The thing that’s after her in her dreams is white, sterile, Luciferian light. Whereas the binger is trapped in darkness. Concretized matter is pulling her down. Her body is dark, opaque, unconscious matter. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 116
022 Whatever the culture wants, they [Anorexics] will be sweet and complacent and all the time hate themselves for not being who they are. They are often raging inside. The anger has concretized on the body. The fat body is the rebel against the thin, collective ideal. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 116
023 The anorexic, however, is into spirit.
The hardest thing in dealing with anorexics is that once they start to eat they don’t experience that spiritual intensity so vibrantly. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 116
024 The images are pictures of the soul and we use those as the bridge between psyche and body. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 118
025 The body gives us metaphorical images and messages from the unconscious in the same way dreams do, we just haven’t been taught to interpret those messages. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 118
026 The point is we are flesh and blood and often we don’t experience the reality of a psychic image until we feel it in our body. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 118
027 Some people are anorexic because it’s stylish. But real anorexics genuinely forget to eat, or simply can’t. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 119
028 Artist Martha Graham once said, “The body does not lie.”
America’s foremost dancer/choreographer, after more than ninety years of movement, knows about the rich expressions of the body.
But so should we.
In fact, the harder we look at our aches and ailments, the more we will be startled by the painful truths they are trying to convey. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 13
029 Feminine consciousness rises out of the mother, and you have to be grounded in that, because without it you’d just be blown away by spirit.
Feminine consciousness, as I see it, means going into that grounding and recognizing there who you are as a soul. It has to do with love, with receiving—most of us in this culture are terrified of receiving.
It has to do with surrendering to your own destiny, consciously—not just blindly, but recognizing with full consciousness your strengths, your limitations.
It gets into a much broader area, because a man’s body is also feminine—all matter is feminine.
We are talking about a masculine principle and a feminine principle—we are not talking about gender. Men are even farther out of their bodies than women, it seems to me.
I’ve seen men in body workshops where a relaxation exercise is being tried, and the men’s bodies are so often terribly rigid— to the point where they cannot lie flat on the floor, the muscles are just chronically locked—trying to be good little boys.
They can’t let the muscles relax. If you think of matter as an aspect of the feminine principle another dimension is revealed. ~Marion Woodman, Worshipping Illusions, Parabola Magazine, Summer 1987
030 This confusion of spirit and body is quite understandable in a culture where spirit is concretized in magnificent skyscrapers, where cathedrals have become museums for tourists, where woman-flesh-devil are associated, and nature is raped for any deplorable excuse.
It is even more understandable if we think of the child growing up in suburbia, seeing her father only on weekends, when he brings the treats, while the week is spent with the disciplinarian mother.
It also follows that, in this unconscious confusion of masculinity and femininity, the young girl would see in her unrelated, bloated body, the dark side of a god who had turned against her.
The more she fights him, the more she is consumed by him, and the greater her fear of annihilation.
Dieting with fierce will-power is the masculine route; dieting with love of her own nature is the feminine.
Her only real hope is to care for her own body and experience it as the vessel through which her Self may be born. ~Marion Woodman, The Owl was a Baker’s Daughter, Page 100
031 In your ‘perfect’ body, you are in control, addicted to the light that keeps you out of body. You’re a swan maiden, addicted to wings, addicted to spirit. You refused to eat in order to fly. ~Marion Woodman, Bone: Dying Unto Life, Page needed
032 A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.” — Marion Woodman, Worshipping Illusions, Parabola Magazine, Summer 1987
033 In The Golden Cage, Hilde Bruch emphasizes that among the members of the anorexic girl’s family there is usually a “clinging attachment and a peculiarly intense sharing of ideas and feelings,” but the child is not “acknowledged as an individual in her own right.”
034 Noting that people’s dreams are increasingly tormented by images of prison camps and vigilantes and armed strangers breaking into the home, Woodman points out that individual freedom, and the responsibilities that go with it, are in danger of degenerating into sheer fantasy.
And for her, any fantasy whether of freedom or of a happy Marriage is an addiction.
For her, an addiction is anything we do to avoid hearing the messages that body and soul are trying to send us whether drugging ourselves into oblivion, drinking ourselves into a stupor, stuffing ourselves into obesity, starving ourselves into scarecrows or running smack into a heart attack in a mad chase after the next real estate flip. ~Hans Werner, Conscious Femininity, Page 91-92
036 Tarrytown: So our bodies are like abandoned children?
This abandonment may even go back before birth to time spent in the uterus.
One often finds that children whom the mother attempted to abort are traumatized by the fear that they are going to be annihilated.
But this abortion can also be figurative.
A parent can “love” a child, but the love may be conditional.
A mother who is trying to mold a child into a work of art cannot accept the instinctual side of the child the living organic “puking and peeing” side because she cannot accept her own body.
So the child is separated from its body as well.
Tarrytown: How do people deal with this rejection?
Woodman: Food symbolizes Mother.
The bulimic wants Mother so desperately she just gorges her down.
But the minute she’s in her stomach, she can’t assimilate her, so she vomits.
The anorexic refuses and rejects Mother until she wastes away from her lack of inner nourishment.
The body is like an elaborate metaphor.
One may be able to taste and not swallow, like the anorexic, or to swallow and not integrate like the bulimic or the obese. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 15
037 If, for example, a woman is genuinely in her body so that spirit and matter are one, she cannot separate her sexuality from her love. Sexual union with a man she does not love is self-betrayal, and therefore rape.
Individuals who have become conscious of certain laws within themselves, laws about food, alcohol, tobacco, etc., laws that become more refined as consciousness develops, discover that persisting in the old ways leads to physical illness in which the illness mirrors the psychological problem.
This body/spirit relationship is another example of the sword exactly fitting the wound.
Often the wisdom of the body clarifies the despair of the spirit.
Breaking the stone does not give us licence to do as we please.
Rather it opens us to our own inner laws and the fulfillment of our own destiny. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 187
038 patient came in yesterday, a woman with an eating problem and she was crying. “I don’t know what to do,” she said. “You tell me I have to recognize my feelings.
Most of the time I don’t do anything I want to do because I don’t feel it would be right. I was driving here, and I had a desire to bring you a muffin.
Then I thought you wouldn’t want the muffin. But I know you would love a muffin, but no I won’t buy it.
You don’t take your analyst a muffin. But then I got into such a state, I was just sweating, because I wanted to get the muffin so much.
I stopped the car, went back, got the muffin, and I have the muffin in the bag, but I don’t know whether to give it to you or not.
I feel such a stupid child, but I don’t know what to do.” ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 48
039 The modern woman is realizing that her psyche has been raped as her mother’s before her was raped.
If she is conscious, she does not blame her parents, nor the men in her personal and professional life.
She recognizes that both sexes are in the crisis together and she has to accept her own share of responsibility.
Having carried the perfectionist standards of parents, teachers and society in general, her own world of inner uniqueness has been violated to the point where she fears even to look into the mirror, lest she won’t be there.
Her husband, brothers and sons are in an equally precarious position.
Moreover, perfectionist standards do not allow for failure.
They do not even allow for life, and certainly not for death.
Because life cannot be accepted and lived with the loving forgiveness of self and loved ones, death is perceived as the ultimate rape.
Death perceived in that way precludes any possibility of vindication or resurrection. ~Marion Woodman, Addicted to Perfection, Page 152
040 Smith: Is it the process itself you’re trusting?
I believe the psyche will try to heal itself if we give it a chance.
It’s that golden ball I talked about earlier, the god and goddess within that push us beyond our old boundaries.
We have to cooperate, of course.
We have to cooperate, of course.
We can’t sit back and wait for it to happen because most of us are so crippled by old tapes, voices of parental complexes, that the minute our ego falters the old harangue starts, and within minutes the ego can collapse into unconsciousness.
There is no sense talking about “being true to myself” until you are sure what voice you are being true to.
It takes hard work to differentiate the voices in the unconscious.
I spend at least an hour every day writing in my journal, separating out what is real from what is unreal, what stays, what goes.
In the crises most of us are in, there is no time to waste in false clutter.
We are challenged to break the old boundaries and leap beyond anything we ever imagined. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 101
041 I have a deep respect for both Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous and I encourage my analysands to join those groups, because understanding from others can be tremendously liberating.
But the fact remains that if we are to find our own inner truth, we have to go into our darkness alone and stay with our inner process until we find our own healing archetypal pattern.
Once that relationship is established, we are on our individual path whether we are with a group or not.
It takes great courage to break with one’s past history and stand alone. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 28
The point is that the loss of soul connection, loss of connection to our femininity, may be the real cause of our anguished condition. If we have no bridge to the unconscious depths that drive us, our rational attempts to correct our situation are merely Band-Aids. They work only so long as we remain cut off from the living fire inside. When that fire blazes forth, our Band-Aids go up in smoke. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 9
I have women working with me who call themselves feminists, trying very hard to find their femininity. They have university jobs or are working toward Ph.D.s where they are forced by the structure to repress the feminine.Because they are on the cutting edge, they are working so hard they are just plain workaholics. The irony is that they are talking reverently about the feminine and yet they are killing her. They dream of being raped. Their own patriarchal principle is raping their own little girl. Then they break down with candida or some other disease where the immune system turns against them and says, in effect, “You’ve got to care for your femininity.” ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 59-60
For Woodman, matriarchy is no solution. Indeed, Jungian thought differs from some of the more radical feminist ideologies in holding that the patriarchy isn’t all bad. As elaborated by Erich Neumann in The Origin and Evolution of Consciousness, the patriarchy was a necessary evolutionary step on the road to consciousness. ~Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity, Page 92-93
The psyche, as a self-regulating system, yin and yang in perfect balance, is a vision that historically has yet to be realized. Even now, in the patriarchal excesses of militant feminism, we see in yet another swing of the pendulum, the failure to find the balance. In history, as in marriage, or within the individual, when a balance becomes stagnant, one or other of the energies moves out to new adventures. The spurt forces the complementary energy to move also, until a new balance is found. So the spiral moves. ~Marion Woodman, Dancing in the Flames, Page 5 Introduction
While our culture is indebted to the pioneer achievements of the feminist movement, women who are so vociferous in their outcry against men, and so intent on pigeonholing the female psyche, need to take the time to look at their own dreams. Rigidity destroys spontaneity; this often shows up in dreams of little girls being raped. What that rigidity fails to acknowledge is that men are the victims of the patriarchy and the phallic mother as much as women are, and their embryonic feminine is easily murdered by a vituperative animus—spoken or unspoken. In a culture teetering on the edge of annihilation, surely our focus needs to be on working together rather than on issues that widen the split. ~Marion Woodman, The Pregnant Virgin, Page 145
ADDICTION TO PERFECTION
This book is about taking the head off an evil witch. Lady Macbeth, glued to the sticking-place of insatiable power, unable to countenance failure to the point of rejecting life, will serve as a symbol of the woman robbed of her femininity through her pursuit of masculine goals that are in themselves a parody of what masculinity really is. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 7
And though in Shakespeare’s tragedy it is Macbeth who is beheaded, the head he loses is fatally infected by the witches’ evil curse. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are metaphors of the masculine and feminine principles functioning in one person or in a culture… ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page7
The deteriorating relationship between them clearly demonstrates the dynamics of evil when the masculine principle loses its standpoint in its own reality, and the feminine principle of love succumbs to calculating, intellectualized ambition. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 7
Shakespeare’s beheading of his hero-villain is, in the total context of the play, the healing of the country. This book is about a beheading. It has been hewn out of the hard rock of an addiction to perfection. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 7
A Greek version of the witch motif concerns Medusa, a beautiful woman until she offended the goddess Athena… In reprisal, Athena changed Medusa’s hair into snakes and made her face so hideous that all who looked on her were turned to stone. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 7
If we look at the modern Athenas sprung from their father’s foreheads, we do not necessarily see liberated women. Many of them have proven beyond question that they are equal to or better than men: excellent doctors, excellent mechanics, excellent business consultants. But they are also, in many cases unhappy women. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9
I have everything,’ they say. ‘Perfect job, perfect house, perfect clothes, so what? What does it all add up to? There’s got to be more than this. I was born, I died, I never lived.’ Often, behind the scenes, they are chained to some addiction: food, alcohol, constant cleaning, perfectionism, etc. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9
I am convinced that the same problem is at the root of all addictions. The problem manifests differently, of course, with the individual, but within everyone there are collective patterns and attitudes that unconsciously influence behavior. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9
One of these patterns is illustrated in Athena’s cruel revenge on the once beautiful Medusa, whose snaky locks twist and writhe in constant agitation, reaching, reaching, reaching, wanting more and more and more. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9
Is it possible that the modern Athena is not in contact with her Medusa because somewhere back in the dark patriarchal ages she was shut up in a cave? Our generation scarcely knows of her existence, but she is making her presence increasingly felt… ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9
This book looks into the heart of the driven Athena, the anguish of the writhing Medusa, and suggest ways of releasing the maiden into her vibrant womanhood before she is sacrificed to the perfection of death. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9
Only by loving our own maiden, and allowing her to find the deep down passion within herself, can we dare to open ourselves to the raging goddess at the core of the addiction. Only through love can we transform her and allow her to transform us. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 14
The I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, recognizes the continual shifts that go on within the individual. The Yang power, the creative masculine, moves ahead with steadfast perseverance toward a goal until it becomes too strong, begins to break—and then the Yin, the receptive feminine, enters from below and gradually moves toward the top. Life is a continual attempt to balance these two forces. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 14
With growing maturity the individual is able to avoid the extreme of either polarity, so that the pendulum does not gain too much momentum by swinging too far to the right only to come crashing back to the left in a relentless cycle of action and reaction, inflation and depression. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 15
Rather one recognizes that these poles are the domain of the gods, the extremes of black and white. To identify with one or the other can only lead to plunging into its opposite. The ratio is cruelly exact. The further I move into the white radiance on one side, the blacker the energy that is unconsciously constellating behind my back: the more I force myself to perfect my ideal image of myself, the more overflowing toilet bowls I’m going to have in my dreams. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 15
As human creatures, not gods, we must go for the grey, the steady solid line that makes its serpentine way only slightly to left and right down the middle course between the opposites. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 15
Essentially I am suggesting that many of us—men and women—are addicted in one way or another because our patriarchal culture emphasizes specialization and perfection.… Working so hard to create our own perfection we forget that we are human beings. ~Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection, Page 9