Anxiety, hypersensitivity, and a loss of hope and faith in life lurk in the shadows, beneath the surface of our “too busy” lives for many of us. After a year of hearing from our readers and members of study groups concerning our book Into the Heart of the Feminine, we have continued to be inspired toward our mission of healing and renewing the archetypal feminine in our lives and in our culture.
In our book Into the Heart of the Feminine, we use the word “archetypal” because we are writing about the great feminine principle that is beyond gender roles and is the source of life for us personally and for our culture. When this principle is alive and well in us, it:
- Renews our ability to like, love, and nourish ourselves, in spite of lifeʼs ups and downs.
- Supports our quests to find the sources of self-reliance, authenticity, and independence within ourselves.
- Gives us the power to have self-worth and a sense of control over our lives and destinies.
Having a life rooted in the feminine principle gives us the inner strength to find, and live from, our most precious and authentic interior resources.
Throughout the last year, we have heard from so many women – and men, too – what it feels like to have achieved success in a patriarchal culture and to still feel a lingering sense of emptiness, deep inside. Before reading our book, they wondered how they could have achieved so many aspects of “the good life,” and yet could not feel the reality of the competence they had mastered, and the sense of fulfillment they should have earned from their success. In many cases, they couldnʼt even get off the treadmill of anxiety and driven-ness they had internalized.
This problem on the surface may seem to be one of attitudes, power, and control. But its roots are actually much deeper than these issues. The patriarchal approach to life in our society is one that is power-oriented that leaves us being perfectionists, pleasers, and hypersensitive to any perceived personal mistakes and failures. In other words, our cultureʼs approach to life fails us.
When we lose touch with the source of life within us and our precious inner resources – the heart of our feminine selves, this source of life and of our potentials begin to turn against us, turn dark, and start to manifest as negative desire for power and control. They also begin to paralyze us with self-criticism and self-doubt, along with a deep mistrust of life. These destructive drives become the characteristics of the Death Motherʼs force within us as individuals.
Since, as an entire society, we have rejected and devalued the archetypal feminine for such a long, long time, the Death Mother has also become a force in our culture as well – which affects all of us.
This reality – that the Death Mother has become an active force in our culture – has been reflected back to us by our readers during the last year and this is why we have adopted our new subtitle – “Facing the Death Mother Archetype to Reclaim Love, Strength, and Vitality.” So, “Facing the Death Mother” is not just about dealing with a bad, neglectful, cold, or malicious mother that makes our book a necessity – although those cases are more common than we think, and even these cases are often the result of generations of dishonoring the feminine. “Facing the Death Mother” is also about addressing this destructive force in our entire society.
Even though our culture sentimentalizes “being a mother,” we no longer know how to respect and truly support the actual importance of being a mother. Our whole societal approach to mothering has been wounded for generations. Our styles of mothering are profoundly influenced by our patriarchal attitudes in general, as we explain in our book. Even mothers with the best intentions have rarely been able to overcome, or even know that they have to overcome, the collective structure of our societal attitudes and values towards “being a mother.”
This lack of awareness leaves us all with deep needs that we often cannot even verbalize – especially the need for the three aspects of the archetypal feminine principle we mentioned earlier. When we arenʼt in touch with the source of life, love, trust, strength, and self-worth within us, we are left confused, hopeless, self-critical, driven towards perfection, and vulnerable to the latest popular whims and self-help campaigns.
The journey into restoring the feminine in ourselves and in our greater lives and culture is our mission and our passion, and our book Into the Heart of the Feminine: Facing the Death Mother Archetype to Reclaim Love, Strength, and Vitality reflects our lifeʼs work. The new cover for the book and new subtitle is our response to our readersʼ feedback and deep communication with us, and signifies our continuing commitment to addressing these issues in a living, dynamic way. In our next blog, we will share some of our readersʼ experiences, and also our heartfelt reactions as to how challenging and important our book has become for them.
Book cover art and design by Courtney Tiberio
Articles by Drs. Bud and Massimilla Harris
, anxiety, authenticity, creative life, Death Mother, Jungian psychology, living authentically, self-loving