Mayors ban Dying.

I wonder what a visiting alien could deduce from our insatiable materialism about the mother/infant bond in Western culture.

Mater-ialism.

And its not just about obscene levels of consumption or rampant trashing of our own playpens, but our attitude to our bodies, to growing old and dying.

Different cultures experience death in different ways. Ours is so riddled with anxiety and horror that we spend much of our lives engaged in projects whose prime objective is not to think about it.

What?

See….

What is suppressed in a culture slides into the Unconscious. It doesn’t go away. And when what is suppressed is Half of Heaven then we will all be busting at the seams with Whatever it is thats slipped out of sight.

Because,

‘The lost Goddess represents the psyche of each one of us.’ Freke and Gandy

Having Wisdom/Sophia entirely written out of our religion has not been some mere historical event.

“Young children, who for whatever reason are deprived of the continuous care and attention of a mother or a substitute-mother, are not only temporarily disturbed by such deprivation, but may in some cases suffer long-term effects.”
Bowlby
What happens when this dynamic is played out on a cosmic stage? When the Great Mother is cast into the sea by Yahweh so long ago now its human pre-history?

When the divine feminine is collectively repressed two main things happen. Firstly, we lose access to a crucial point of reference that enables us to make informed decisions. The story of Solomon’s Wisdom was, in its original form, about his relationship with Wisdom/Sophia before the church fathers dumbed it down.

She makes decisions on the basis of relatedness, the genius of which is the story of deciding to cut the disputed baby in half knowing the true mother would reveal herself through her love. The collective loss of such intelligent compassion  is a disaster superseded only by the second thing, the Goddess as Psyche,

’falls into identification with the body.’ (Freke and Gandy)

In other words, Sophia/Wisdom becomes locked up in matter from where she exerts a fascination over us. And instead of She who is more valuable than silver and pearls you have Silver and Pearls.

so its not as benign as you might hope.

When Wisdom/Sophia is sunk in the unconsciousness She,

‘ responds with violent emotions, irritability, lack of control coupled with lack of self-criticism and delusions. [Man] becomes ruthless, arrogant and tyrannical’. CG Jung 
Loss of the Goddess has done more than reduce the ‘developed’ world to spiritual subsistence. It must be asked whether our rampant greed is more than it seems. And its about far more than mere loss or deprivation.

”Maternal failures produce reactions which interrupt going-on-being and (constitute) a threat of annihilation, the infant does not really come into existence, the true self does not become a living reality.”D Winnicott.

The vengeance of the uninvited guest, the devalued and disenfranchised Mother/Queen, is bound to manifest as Goddess in her dark aspect. Hell hath no fury and our scorning of the Psyche has resulted in more than mere loss. Her banishment has not meant she’s gone quietly.
With the poetry of divine justice She has made us sleep on the bed we have made for ourselves. As Psyche she creates all kinds of afflictions from within. As (mater)ial world she exerts all kinds of bewitching fascinations from without. One way or another she will be of influence in our lives.

But its perhaps in our attitudes to death that we live Wisdom/Sophia’s loss the hardest.

And where we get craziest.

Its not just the unbridgeable gap of uncontained grief for the loved one but the sense, the reminder, that the Great Mother is also gone.

”A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. That is home. That is happiness.” Herman Hesse

Without that particular happiness we are bound to experience ourselves as homeless and fraught with the anxiety of a divine homesickness.

We humans have long memories. A recent paper in the Australian Anthropology Journal shows that at over twenty one sites around the coast of Australia there are tribal stories describing the rising sea levels and the specific effect that this had on the coastline after the last ice age retreated 7,000 years ago.

The loss of Wisdom/Sophia from our pantheon was only a piddly 3,000 years ago and on the timeclock of our species an event that happened less than twelve months back to a forty year old person.

What is effectively the extreme loss of containment/context for grief and mourning means we find it difficult enough to face life, let alone death. Instead of going through the various phases associated with death we just get stuck at denial. This not very noticeable on account of all the other denial we live in until it borders on absurdity.

I was reading about places in the world where you are not allowed to die on MSN.

In Biritiba, Brazil the local mayor banned dying for want of burial plots. A new cemetery was established and the ban lifted. But can it last?

In Longyearbyen, Norway, death was recently banned because the corpses weren’t decomposing in the permafrost. If you get sick you have to go and live where the worms can get at you.

And in Sarpoureux , France, the mayor forbad residents from dying by an official edict. “Offenders shall be severely punished,” he ruled. Unfortunately he soon broke his own law with much judicial time then spent by concerned locals contemplating not only how to bring him to justice but how he might be persuded to take the witness stand at the same time.

 

 

 

Published by

andywhite

Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, ‘Going Mad to Stay Sane’, a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition.

Soon to be printed for the first time, ‘Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery’, described by activist Satish Kumar as, ‘ A Tao of the Soul’. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way.

In the meantime…..
Narcissisim is the issue of our age.
This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

Leave a Reply