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Grief is a sacred journey by Elaine Mansfield

Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group

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April 18, 2009

Dearest Elaine,

…Ross (86, Marion’s husband) and I (80) laugh many times with our faulty hearing…. Tears and laughter are now two sides of one feeling.

I love every workshop, but I’m finding my energy not up to it—not quite. I say my prayers and my love and blessings go to you, dear Elaine,

Marion Woodman


Photo after Vic’s diagnosis on the Sophia altar at a BodySoul Rhythms workshop

Dearest Marion,

You died in 2018, but my inner soul connection with you feels as strong and supportive as ever. We shared letters for years, sometimes focusing on dreams and sometimes on our love for our  husbands, especially after Vic’s cancer diagnosis in 2006 and after his death in 2008. Sometimes you wrote about aging and grief and struggles with health. The hearing issues you shared in 2009 remind me of my challenges now.

I manage Meniere’s Disease with a cochlear implant in one ear, a hearing aid in the other, and medicine for imbalance. I deal with Meniere’s fatigue with more sleep. Still, I’m nearly finished with a polished draft of my book about Monarch butterflies, so I’m not giving up. Instead, I’m learning more about patience and persistence.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

In autumn, I watched the crimson maple leaves drift to the earth thinking I would finish my book by New Year’s. As 2023 begins, I watch the woodpeckers at the suet feeder while still working on the book. I’ve made progress, but I’m not done. Maybe my creative time is past and I need to let it go, but I can’t. Not quite. Not yet. I want to finish what I started.

Marion, you never gave up wanting to teach and share your knowledge, so I follow your example. You delighted in your creativity and the inspiration you kindled in others.

What would it be like to meet you now? You carried the Positive Mother Archetype for me while sharing both vulnerability and wisdom. In my imagination, you put your arms around me before stepping back to look into my brown eyes with your piercing blues. You see the depth of my feelings and understand my tears. You hold my hand and say what you said when I doubted my ability to write my first book Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief.

with Marion in 2007

“DO IT!”

I look back at old letters from you and you wrote those words twice in all caps, once within a letter and once on the back of a holiday card.

“DO IT!”

When do I give up, Marion? When do I accept that Meniere’s Disease weakens me the way cancer and other illnesses drained you in your last years? How long do I push forward when it takes a will I can’t muster? I repeat your line, “I’m finding my energy not up to it—not quite.”

My energy isn’t up to it today, dear Marion, but that’s not always true. Writing you, I know I will finish this book about nature and transformation. I’m not ready to give up. Not quite. Not yet. A final draft is nearly complete, and I’ll keep going, inspired by magical butterflies, our struggling earth, and you.

With love and gratitude for the inspiration you’ve given me and so many others.


I’ve written about Marion Woodman many times and feel a strong connection with her creative energy. She doesn’t have to be in her body for me to feel that. I have her books, her inspiration, and her letters filled with messages that mean as much today as when she wrote them.

For other pieces about Marion Woodman, see Let the Warm Love Flow: Messages from Marion Woodman. For a piece about Monarch Butterflies, see Dancing with Monarchs, Defying Despair.