Suffering goddesses is a image that I have meditated on for over thirty years of treating women who have suffered bodily, often related to childhood neglect and abuse. When the mind is in pain, the body cries out goes the old adage in depth psychology. A woman's body takes in pain differently that a man's and the pain often lingers through adulthood when childhood trauma has been severe and chronic.

Menopause brings its own sort of trauma, one that can often trigger in the brain a sense of once again being assaulted. The brain then goes into overdrive and sometimes proves difficult to soothe. Stress hormones run rampant, the brain perhaps associating menopause with traumas from childhood. A hypervigilant mind sees one trauma as just like the other. 

A New York psychoanalytic colleague and I were speaking about this during the past week. He asked, "What is the equivalent in an adult male?"  I answered, "Absolutely nothing!"  From menstruation to child birthing to menopause, a woman's body undergoes extreme physical challenges and pain. A history of childhood abuse triggers an association in the brain and it begins to fire off stress hormones as though the woman is once again being abused! There is no equivalent for a man.

The great dark goddess Kali, surfaces as the symbol of the powerful energy in a woman that can transform the darkness of trauma to consciousness and light, a greater sensitivity to the ongoing need for healing of the body and psychic self. She reveals a profound spiritual radiance that lies in potential for women who have suffered trauma. Kali is the demon destroyer, clearing through brutalities inflicted by damaged egos, offering healing energy hidden in secret places. 

As I shared with my colleague, "I believe it's the task for us men to raise our consciousness about the traumatized goddesses in our lives, to encourage and help with the ongoing, often life long, healing of a woman's body and psychic self. 

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Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on October 13, 2012 at 11:33am

Hi Paul - I am new to DPA - learning to navigate my way on-line plus become familiar while reacquainting myself with Jungian, archetypical dialect.  I do enjoy your articles.  A few men have named and shared their experiences with 'male menopause,' a 'mid-life' crisis state or sense of being a 'eunic'  with me.  Thank you for acknowledging some souls require life long, healing - however, I also know men who require life long healing, and ponder the wound as not gender specific, and perhaps neglect and abuse are universal and definately  equally important for the man's body and psychic self.  I am unfamiliar with Kali (except that it is also a tissue salt) and ask is this the same great dark god, then who helps transform mens pain?  I agree women and men absorb pain - uniquely, sometimes similar and sometimes completely different ways.

Men too have their moments of hormonal fluctuations - estrogen, progesterone, neurochemical, glandular and cortisol levels can also go amuk.  We are so lovingly complex.  I can grasp the mythos presented to date in the articles I have read and am thoroughly enjoying myself.  In the 1990's, the last time I studied man, myth and magic and completed a minor in ideology - it freaked me out.  I am older now, made it through menopause and healing, so here I am again, but this time I have more time to contemplate my meditations in these my senior, golden years of just being, content and joyful. 

I do so enjoy your article, so please sign me up to follow your Blog, if that is possible (must be I received this post), otherwise, I will keep checking your site out for new stuff.  Good to convese with you.  Regards Linda




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