Maiden Mother Crone: Britney, Christina, P!nk

There is an old phrase that describes the three stages of a woman’s life and growth: Maiden Mother Crone.
In Paganism, they are called the Triple Goddess: three faces of the divine Feminine.

Each woman is said to travel through these stages as part of her life journey. If she doesn’t travel through them, her journey as a woman is incomplete.

 

painting of the maiden, mother, and crone- the triple goddess

 

Maiden

Maiden symbolizes the phase of a woman’s life before sex. (I honestly hate the reference to one’s ‘maidenhead’ as a description for virginity, but it is apt.) This is the time of a woman’s life that is free from most cares (certainly free from children) and marked by curiosity, exploration, and freedom.

The dark side of this stage is dependency and co-dependency, loss of self, shame, and refusal to learn from Life. The dark side of the Maiden emanates immaturity.

A modern-day example of the Maiden archetype is Britney Spears. She is a woman who rose to fame on the exploration of sexuality and freedom. She made gobs of money singing and dancing in heavily sexualized versions of what the Maiden does in this stage of life.

Britney, of course, remains in the shadow of the Maiden. She had herself declared mentally incompetent so her father could handle the business and its income (unlike, say, Rihanna, who decided to learn business skills so she could handle her own business, image, and finances).

She also has obviously not learned from failed relationships (we might guess, then, that she is co-dependent). Her music still tends to rely on the meme of sexuality and her latest works have been collaborations where her voice is distorted. Symbolically, she is willing to mangle her own voice- her way of being in the world, her ideas and opinions- in order to make money. This would definitely a miscarriage of the maiden’s tasks.

Lastly, I find it obvious that she is unhappy and unsure of how to take control of her life- her eyes do not shine. A happy Maiden feels confident and joyful.

Because Britney has not learned the lessons of Maidenhood, she is unlikely to reach the next stage: Motherhood. (Yes, I know she has kids. But it can be argued she hasn’t fully moved beyond the psychological space of the Maiden.)

 

upright version of the stage of a woman's life: maiden, mother, and crone

 

Mother

The Mother phase happens when a woman has her first sexual experience. Of course, nowadays, this line is rather blurred: one can have sex and still remain in the ‘maiden’ phase- unattached and exploratory. But think of the era from whence this phrase comes; motherhood was the absolute next step after sexual experience.

The Mother phase is really about the choice to take on more responsibility – whether in a family or in her community. The Mother stage contains professional pursuits, the ability to make choices for the group (and fix it when the choice doesn’t work), leadership in family and society, the application of all she learned as a Maiden, as well as the learning of new skills.

The dark side of the Mother phase also contains traces of co-dependency, subservience, lack of assertiveness, loss of other aspects of self (over-identifying with the Mother), abusive mothering, and poor partnering.

We might look to Christina Aguilera as the symbol for this stage of womanhood. Christina Aguilera also rode to fame and gobs of money on the exploration of sexuality and freedom. For many years, she and Britney were pitted against each other (a well-used tactic for keeping women from growing).

An interesting point of departure for these two was when Britney created a song called “I’m a Slave 4 U” and Christina recorded “Dirrty.” Both are songs about brazen sexual expression, but while Britney sings about disempowerment (she will do whatever her partner wishes), Christina is telling her audience exactly what she wants (to get ‘dirty’). One sings about subservience, the other about assertiveness. Certainly these are not the only two flavors of female sexual expression, and there are times when subservience (or being a sexual slave) is chosen out of full empowerment, but I doubt that is the case with Britney.

Christina Augilera has also gone on to record songs that have little or nothing to do with sexuality and sexual expression. Her range of symbols and experiences has widened, and so has her creativity. This is exactly what we would expect to see in the Mother stage of female development.

Christina Aguilera shows us a picture of the Mother archetype that has psychologically moved beyond the Maiden. She is raising children, learning new skills, and continues to express herself in ways that show her broadening understanding of life.

 

a single woman's face showing the three stages of  feminine development

Crone

The Crone is the phase of life after a woman has finished menopause. She is now free from responsibilities again (or, most of them) and able to apply the wisdom of what she has learned in the Maiden and Mother stages. The Crone is fierce and assertive because she knows Life and understands the World; she knows what needs to change. She is also supportive, comforting, patient, grateful, active, and inclusive.

The dark side of the Crone is withdrawal, anger, despair, and a shriveling of the spirit. The image of an older woman, in a muumuu, with umpteen cats at her feet is the dark side of the Crone.

In this case, we might think of the artist P!nk. Certainly she is not post-menopausal (far from it!). But she is beginning to display the qualities and behaviors that come from full feminine development.

P!nk also rose to fame at the same time as Britney and Christina. (She makes fun of their differences, and the music industry trying to control her, in her song “Don’t Let Me Get Me.”) She traded in sexiness and exploration as well.

However, as P!nk has grown as an artist, she seems to have also grown as a woman. Her songs have a wide range of themes- beyond those of sexuality and rebellion. Her latest album includes tracks that talk about the various aspects of marriage and long-term relationships. She is not afraid to admit defeat (“Just Give Me a Reason”), frustration in marriage (“True Love”), and to tell men where they can get off (“U + Ur Hand”).

Not only that, but her development as an artist has also show her development as a person. She dresses in a variety of styles and has learned to do acrobatics in aerial silks (I’m jealous). Her lyrics still remain assertive, yet also bring in wisdom, responsibility, and playfulness. She seems to have learned from the Maiden and Mother phases of life.

 

Ancient Symbols, Modern Faces

There are lots of female stars I could make these symbolic comparisons to, including Iggy Azalea and Chelsea Jane- rappers from Australia [although, I find it hard to give Iggy the label; and Chelsea Jane still seems to have a little self-hatred going on, but that’s another topic…].

The bigger point here is that these ancient archetypes still live with us today.

The energies of Chaos, Cupid, Earth Mother, Fire-catcher, Trickster, and others are not historic fables. They live and breathe among us today. Certainly within our own lives, but also within those we call ‘The Gods’ today- music stars and actors, reality-show participants, literary figures, and other popular personalities. Who but John Stewart could portray the Court Jester so well? He is allowed to tell the truth in the form of a joke and people trust him above their own government.

There is no time limit for what is eternal. The archetypes and symbols of the past will always find their way into the modern world.

 

 

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Clues: Adoration, Creativity, and Sex

A big part of why I write this blog is to explore my own path of trying to make love with life, experience the spiritual side of sex (and the sexual side of spirituality), and a lot of that happens when I start looking for clues.

Where might the answers be?
Lots of places.
And…

I found another one!

I was watching Layla Martin’s video about the secret to being an awesome lover. (I took her online Sexual Mastery course. Really great stuff- I promise to review it sometime!) In it she talks about how she – and other tantrikas she was on a panel with – have been complimented on their blow-j0b skills. She shares the deeper secret that great blow j0bs – and great love-making in general- are great because of adoration.

When we’re with someone we adore, our lovemaking becomes much more focused, pleasurable, and enjoyable for everyone. We want to give pleasure to someone we adore, and that gives us pleasure in return. And that makes sex better. Even spiritual.

 

two naked people and their hands in a close-up of sensual interaction

 

I was considering this concept of adoration in my own life. I have been given the same compliment, and it is absolutely because I adore the person I’m with (or have been with). That adoration of them, their body, their breath, their eyes, their being makes the sex -and blow j0bs- amazing.

My husband made mention about this a few weeks ago. He said, “It was like you were worshipping me.”
It felt that way because I was.
Adoration is not that far from worship.

So, yes, being a great lover is about adoration. 
Adoring who you’re with.
Adoring what you’re doing.
They feed one another, I believe.

That is one clue.

But as I kept thinking about what Layla had shared, I was also realizing that I don’t just adore the person I’m with when I’m having sex (and especially when giving a blow j0b). I actually like giving oral sex.

Oh my god. I’m admitting that.
I might as well admit that I’m the Sasquatch, too. (A mythical creature you’ve only read about…)

Now, certain circumstances apply: feeling safe, being emotionally connected, adoring my partner.
If those are not present, no one’s getting their rocks off. (Not me, not him, not no one.)
But after that? Hell, yes!

And what I realized about my enthusiasm for oral sex is that I love the CREATIVITY.

I think pretty much any human – man and woman – will tell you that the tongue is the best sexual organ ever.
(You know I’m right.)

And part of what I dig about oral sex is that there are so many ways to be creative.
So many tools.
Hands. Mouth. Tongue. Teeth (if you’re brave and careful!).
The palm of the hand. The tips of the fingers. The tip of the tongue. The soft lips.
Pressure, heat, swirls, slides, taking it so       very       slowly…..

There are a limited number of things you can do with orifices.
But mouths, tongues, and hands? Infinite possibilities!

And those infinite possibilities excite the hell out of me.

I think I figured out I love creative sex.

 

Now, take a breath. Calm down.

Because this might be about blow j0bs and adoration and creativity, but it’s also about figuring out what turns us on.

If adoration and creativity turn me on inside the bedroom, then those are probably what will turn me on more in my outside-the-bedroom life.

That’s what those clues are really about.

If I want to make love with life, to live sensually, then I think adoration and creativity are going to have to play a bigger part in what I do, how I live, and how I approach life.

This is not to say that I’m going to, guns blazing, start being all creative and adore whatever I do. My life is busy and I only have so much time to focus on change. But these are clues. And they are helpful clues.

They’re going to get me to what I want.
Small steps.

 

If you want to have enjoy life more, take a small step and ask yourself: what is it about sex that is so amazing? Connection?
Touch?
Pleasure?
Surrender?

Look at your life, and figure out how to get more of that.

 

 

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The Laughing Heart

The Laughing Heart

by Charles Bukowski

 

your life is your life

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.

there is a light somewhere.

it may not be much light but

it beats the darkness.

be on the watch.

the gods will offer you chances

know them.

take them.

you can’t beat death but

you can beat death in life, sometimes.

and the more often you learn to do it,

the more light there will be.

your life is your life.

know it while you have it.

you are marvelous

the gods wait to delight

in you.

 

[yes, they do, my friends. the gods wait to delight in you.]

 

 

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The mind I love must have wild places…

forest with creek running through it some daylight

 

The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depths of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.

   The Journal of Katherine Mansfield (Knopf, 1927)

 

A friend sent me this quote a month or so ago. She said it reminded her of me. What a compliment; I shall accept it.

Because it is exactly true: the mind I love must have wild places. If you want to run with me, you’ll have to let yourself out of your cage. If you cannot escape your bonds, for even a little while, then you cannot come with me.

 

 

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The Silent Language of the Holy

There comes a time, in every spiritual practice, when your own gunk (or ‘shit’ as we sometimes call it) begins to come up.

When I wrote Morning Pages (a practice developed by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way), there came a time when, after sitting down and writing three full pages of what was in my head, I realized it was all ugly stuff.

Anger at my mother.
Frustration with my job.
Turmoil at home.

Those themes, and others, filled my pages for weeks and weeks.

Not knowing what was happening, I quit writing Morning Pages.

Several years later, as I began to meditate regularly and with consistency over time, the same shit would come up while I sat.

I’d breathe in and then breathe out.

And then I’d get all pissed off at my mother.
Or work.
Or the state of the world and how poorly we treat each other.
Sometimes fears or frustrations would rear up.

Having been down this road once before, I decided to get curious, rather than getting freaked out.

I found several good resources and writers who informed me: this is the way of the spiritual path.

When you enter into practices that help you calm down, connect with yourself, and become reflective, eventually your shit shows up.

And it shows up because you have created the time and space to work with it.

Which seems a bit ironic to the newly initiated: “Awesome! I’m getting all spiritual! And calm! And accepting! But, wait, ’cause…fuuuuuuuck! All my shit is chasing me! How does that work?!?”

This stuff that shows up in your spiritual time- it’s the stuff your spirit needs to work with.
It is the work your soul needs to do to heal or to be free.

You can avoid working with it- you can quit the practice, you can quit spiritual development, you can find another practice (over and over again) to avoid getting in the dirt with yourself. You can stay pristinely spiritual for as long as you want. (Your whole life, if you like.)

But if you want to get anywhere- if you want to grow- you will eventually have to confront the ugly that comes up.

 

Today in my ecstatic dance practice, for the first time, the ugly started to come up.

When I dance I often close my eyes and see colors. (It is ecstatic!)

Today, on one side of me, was a beautiful light. It was an oatmeal sort of color, beigey-white. But it was lovely and warm and actual light (not opaque like real oatmeal).

On the other side of me was a blue light. Deep navy. It was more opaque, but also filled with light. Like a navy blue curtain with the full sun behind it.

As I began to dance and turn towards the oatmeal-colored light, I started to sob.

I don’t know why. I only know that there was a deep sadness brought up by the light and how my body moved in that moment. The twist of my body, the color of the light; the tears flooded.

And so I kept dancing and crying.

My logical mind tried to pin it down:
Did it have an old memory tied to it?
Was there a person associated with it?
Was someone else feeling this?

There were no answers. There was only the fact that I felt this light and needed to cry my eyes out.

If anything, this need to cry felt very old and deep.

It was wordless. And it was a part of my holy practice.

It was something utterly sacred that needed to be expressed and experienced.
And it had no words.
It had no form, other than my body and my crying.
And it was holy.

 

a cloudy sky with dappled sunlight

 

This experience reminded of another reason why sex is sacred: there are so many moments in the midst of lovemaking when our body needs to move a certain way, or we crave a particular touch, stroke, or sensation. We desire to move and to be touched in a way in which our logical mind does not understand.

The spirit is asking for release.

There are times when a lover touches us in a certain way and we want to cry, or laugh, or howl, or surrender- and there is no reason for it. It is something energetic – perhaps our spirit – finding its way out.

I think this kind of experience might be especially true and poignant for men. We women, so connected to our bodies, given so many words for our feelings- we have other ways to let things out. But men, they have limited avenues for expression. Their body is a container for so many things, hidden. And in sex they can relax the mind out of its logical stance. They can twist the body and have it touched – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – in ways that allow for true release and expression.

That is the holy of holies.

 

After dancing and crying today- crying about what, I am not sure; just something that need to be cried- I was kind to myself. I went and laid on the bed and finished crying. I let my body go as soft as I could and just breathed.

I let it be, in the quiet.

I don’t know what happened, only that it felt finished.
There came a moment when it felt finished, and I let that be, as well.

I finished my practice, went about my day, and wrote this to you.

Perhaps it will help someone. Perhaps you.

 

 

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