taking it into the body

I’ve been doing a great deal of reading, listening and watching of the works of Marion Woodman and Robert Bly.

Something that Marion often talks about is taking symbols and dreams into the body. This is something that makes perfect sense to me, but has been a bit elusive to a male friend of mine. Things that are the most intuitive to me are the hardest to explain, so I’ve paid extra attention to Marion’s words about this. How does one take a symbol or dream into their body and what does that mean?

Robert Bly makes reference to the old tradition of committing stories and poems to memory. A tradition that has become an increasingly dying art. It might be dead already. There is no practical need for it anymore. If we want to  share a poem or an article we’ve read, why we can simply google it! However, with the dying of this tradition, a very natural process of “bringing into our bodies” has been lost.

Through the process of committing stories, words, thoughts or dreams to memory, we repeat, we relate, we create a hum of ideas and sounds. Like a mantra, it becomes a vibration. It literally vibrates its way into our bodies, leaving an imprint. We become quite intimate with the symbols set forth…much like our bodies become intimate with a lover through repeated love-making. We take ideas that seem outside of ourselves and bring them into ourselves. We bypass intellect, which keeps everything in a separate, subject-object relationship, and become one with the symbols. We make them a part of us and we are forever changed for it. This is how we begin to know with our bodies, with the depth of our souls. We waken intuition, we open communication with the unconscious, bringing it into consciousness.

As I’ve ruminated upon this, I remember when I used to memorize songs. I remember when I used to memorize monologues and poems. Lately, life moves so fast, that I keep a book of lyrics in front of me when I am playing a long show, as if it won’t matter because who’s paying attention anyway? Well, I am. At least I am starting to. Waking up and re-membering. So, I’ve been on the look out for poetry worth memorizing. Words and ideas whose vibrations would shake my body and wake me. Words like bread-crumbs leading me home. Words and symbols that I would like to own.

Today, in reading “The Maiden King” by Bly and Woodman, I found it. Bly sites the poem by D.H. Lawrence. In checking the foot notes, I find that the poem is called “Healing”. Naturally.

I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time, only time can help
and patience, and a certain difficult repentance,
long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistakes, and the freeing oneself
from the endless repetition of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.

~D.H. Lawrence

I thank him for that. This is worth taking into the body.




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