A gorgeous friend of mine recently introduced me to the magic of Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
Dr Estés is an American poet, Jungian psychologist, psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist who brings back to life the myths and stories of ancient cultures. Her origins are from Mexico and southern Germany and much of her writing is influenced by her family people who were farmers, shepherds, weavers, lacemakers, knitters etc .
Through the myths and stories that she tells on her “Seeing in the Dark” CD, Dr Estés conveys what can happen to the soul, our medial nature, by the gaia or the whirlwind of life. We are all born with the gift, the ability to embrace and connect with our medial nature, but the influences of society, human practicality and fear as we grow up, can squash the enormity of that gift and lead to the death of the soul.
Our medial nature is described in analytical (or Jungian) and depth psychology as our instinctual nature, our psyche, whereby the integration of unconscious forces is believed to motivate behaviour and the unconscious mind is considered a source of healing and development in an individual. Jung saw the psyche as mind, admitted to the mystery of soul and believed in the significance of dreams, archetypes and mythology to human development.
To explain this a little further, our medial nature is the one that exists between the world of the hidden and the world of the obvious. It is a combination of our instincts and unconscious knowledge, it is the deep sense of knowing, the knowledge resource that we can tap into to assist us with our daily lives.
The ability to access this medial nature therefore provides us with a deep pool of wonderful, instinctual knowledge.
We can use this knowledge source in conscious living to determine which is the best direction for us to follow, who is in peril and who is good, recognise things that are not visible to the ego such as our own motives or the motives of others, as well as to provide inspiration and innovation.
Dr Estés speaks in her stories of the medial woman as one who is in touch with her medial nature. The medial woman is one who lives instinctively, she instinctively knows when its time to change, to heal and mend and time to let something die. And she is the one who nurtures her instinctual/medial nature. She does this by seeing in the dark.
Seeing in the dark is the ability to NOTICE, the ability to see what ordinary sight overlooks. Dr Estés describes it as the ability to live and see through the soul, to be in nature and from her world to:
- notice the shape of the clouds
- notice the return of the tree swallows
- notice when the male woodpeckers are pecking in order to get the attention of a mate
Taking the time to see in the dark by taking the time to notice, both uses and nourishes the instinctual/medial nature, by bringing the world of the hidden into the world of the obvious. Through our ability to see, to notice, we are provided with the benefit of ideas and inspiration from the wonder of life and a sense of calm and peace as we appreciate the marvels around us. The ability to pay attention provides us with a sense of connection to something bigger and a perspective that exists far beyond our own immediate lives. It develops the instinctual nature, it feeds the soul.
Those who are in touch with their medial nature and an ability to notice create imagination in others, they encourage creativity, speak with wisdom and convey the sense that life doesn’t have to be as bland or tumultuous as it can sometimes appear – they see life, and encourage others to see life, as a gift.
A special gift that must be watered and fed.