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.