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Mythic Passages, 
		the newsletter of the Mythic Imagination Institute, a non-profit arts and education 
		corporation.  Copyright 2006

Gertrud Mueller Nelson

Gertrud Mueller Nelson is a writer, artist, lecturer, and educator. She is a graduate of the C.G.Jung Institute in Zurich. Her books include To Dance With God and Here All Dwell Free: Stories to Heal the Wounded Feminine. Following is an excerpt with her permission from Here All Dwell Free, the book in which she presents and analyzes two well known fairy tales, “The Handless Maiden,” and “Briar Rose.” Nelson will speak about these fairy tales and the theme of going “into the woods” at Mythic Journeys! This excerpt, Hidden Growth , is from her analysis of Briar Rose, pages 195 and 196.

Hidden Growth

The darkness, the depression, that dreadful feeling of emptiness and cautious hope that a period of waiting extracts from us may also be understood as a period when creative energy must quietly accumulate. Deep down where it is dark and moist, in the hidden place, the germ will sprout. Only in darkness will it take root. Darkness, so often seen as negative, is clearly necessary to fertility and hidden growth. A great energy is building and growing where we cannot see it. All of life seems silent and asleep before the creative breakthrough.

In myths, the fields must lie fallow and receptive before the corn goddess will allow the grain to grow again. In our own experience, any great work of art, any real relationship, certainly any healthy baby, needs a period of silent, undercover becoming. The creative process makes one, essentially, pregnant.

The value of this time of lying fallow is not very popular in Western culture. We don’t like darkness. We don’t like to wait patiently for what is unseen to gather the energy necessary to come to light. And if we want something, we want it now. Instant gratification is our constitutional right. Waiting is something to be done away with. Labor-saving/time-saving devices are invented to shorten every period of waiting.

But it turns out that the time we save is only reinvested in a faster pace. What has saved us some work has given us more time – to work more. The hurried, busy way in which we live out our lives has less to do with keeping a schedule or with efficiency – it has much more to do with our terrible aversion to waiting and to the feminine value that waiting represents.

When I have a paper to write and the deadline looms, it is easy for me to fill with panic. I think that, were I disciplined, I would just sit down – get going - and just produce the thing. But when I sit down nothing comes and my anxiety increases. What if I have nothing to say or to paint? What if I am barren? That is the fruitless, unconscious approach to what I don’t quite understand or name or face. Then I’ve learned it’s much the best thing for me to go out into the garden and weed, or pick plums, or do the ironing – something that doesn’t require thinking – and I pass into a peaceful place of waiting and quiet mulling.

Better yet, I can put forth the conscious rituals of preparation that call down to the deepest part of me: I order and honor and bless my world. I name the four holy corners of its walls. I offer prayers to the Spirit over my head and bless the earth under my feet. I walk through the mazes of this walled and inner garden and come to the wellspring at its center. The water is black and deep, but cool and moving. I let myself down the well. Diving, but slowly. Slowly. Deeper and deeper. Deep down – way deep down – something is indeed stirring. Here is another world. Here I may find what has actually been conceived and incubating all along – here the Spirit fructifies what waits. Waiting is impractical time – good for nothing – but mysteriously necessary to all that is becoming.

This is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

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