When starting out on a grand journey like taking up your Woman Shaman Priestess Healer path, or journeying into your power along any path, it is important to remember that not only will there be many attractions and fulfillment along the way but there will also be many challenges, obstacles and blocks along the way. The Mysteries do not open to you lightly but ask of you much dedication, discipline, engagement and change.
A Contemplation for you as you make your choices.
In order to arrive at what you do not know,
You must go by the way which is the way of ignorance. ~T.S. Eliot
Becoming a [Woman] of Knowledge
“When a [woman] starts to learn, [she] is never clear about [her] objectives. [Her] purpose is faulty; [her] intent is vague. [She] hopes for rewards that will never materialize, for [she ] knows nothing of the hardships of learning. [She] slowly begins to learn – bit by bit at first, then in big chunks. And [her] thoughts soon clash. What [she] learns is never what [she] pictured, or imagined , and so [she] begins to feel afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the [woman] is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly. [Her] purpose becomes a battlefield.”~Carlos Castaneda
After overcoming initial trepidation, she first begins her apprenticeship and she is confident. She has no fears. She knows it is her path. She builds her beginnings on her false expectations of her mind.
Soon though the real path reveals itself and she is thrown into one torment of the mind after another. Each deeper and more pervasive. Each even more unexpected then the first. She will rise up only to be caste down further and faster. It will be unrelenting and each time her mind will be unraveled and then will put itself back together thinking that all is well.
Joy. Crying. Angst. Ecstasy. Questioning staying and equally questioning leaving.
“… in spite of it [she ] must take up the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. [She] must be fully afraid, yet [she]must not stop.”~Carlos Castaneda
It is like that. All rational, linear senses leaves her. Despite the insanity of staying something more powerful then the difficulties continues to entice her to stay. And then one day – in like an instant -it is over. The fear is no longer there. What had been emerging is a part of her self that can “see” in ways she has not ever seen before. Perhaps it is some kind of resilience. There is no resistance. Only the ability to navigate in the dark with no sight.
“[She] has acquired clarity – a clarity of mind which erases fear. By then a [woman] knows [her] desires. [She] can anticipate the new steps of learning, and a sharp clarity surround everything. The [woman] feels that nothing is concealed. … This clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but also blinds. It forces the [woman] never to doubt [herself]. It gives [her] the assurance that [she] can do anything [she] pleases, for [she] sees clearly into everything. And [she] is courageous because [she] is clear, and [she] stops at nothing because [she] is clear. But it is all a mistake; it is like something is incomplete. If the [woman] yields to this make believe power, [she] has succumbed to [her] second enemy and will fumble with learning. [She] will rush when [she ] should be patient, or [she ] will be patient when [she] should rush. And [she] will fumble with learning until [she] winds up incapable of learning anything more.”~Carlos Castaneda
This is the heyday of the path. Wondrous and powerful things are accomplished in the world. The woman becomes irresistibly charismatic. She attracts a strong following. She becomes known for her healings. She works “magical” happenings in her work in the world. It is a glorious rush and she has no fear as she can see clearly what to do. The power builds and builds and it sort of takes her over. She thinks she is on target and becomes unstoppable because there is nothing to stop her.
But then it happens. And in the midst of her clarity and power there comes a crack. It makes her wait when all she wants to do is rush ahead.
“[She] must do what [she ] did with fear; [she] must defy [her] clarity and use it only to see, and wait patiently and measure carefully before taking new steps; [she ] must think, above all, that [her] clarity is almost a mistake. And a moment will come when [she] will understand that [her] clarity was only a point before [her] eyes. And thus [she ] will over come [her] second enemy, and will arrive at a position where nothing can harm [her] any more. This will not be a mistake. It will only be a point before [her] eyes. It will be true power.” ~Carlos Castaneda
[She] will know at this point that the power [she] has been pursuing for so long is finally [hers]. [She] can do with it whatever [she] pleases. [Her] ally is at [her] command. [Her] wish is the rule. [She] sees all that is around [her].” ~Carlos Castaneda
It can happen regarding something with her family or her work or her relationships or her mind. In rushing around throwing her power here and there a glimmer comes that foretells a true choice point in her evolution. She may sit in her rocking chair for days holding back her clarity that pushed her forward. Something has happened and she finds a part of her self that knows without needing the clarity.
She becomes more silent. More invisible. She holds her power in check and lets it grow and fill her. She comes to possess the power instead of the power possessing her. She begins to side step obstacles instead of moving through them. She commands her power less but when she does she can reach in and pull disaster from the brink.
“But [she] has also come across [her] third enemy; Power! Power is the strongest of all enemies. And naturally the easiest thing to do is to give in; after all, the [woman] is truly invincible. [She ] commands, [she] begins by taking calculated risks, and ends in making rules, because [she] is a master. A [woman] at this stage hardly notices [her ] third enemy closing in on [her]. And suddenly, without knowing, she will certainly have lost the battle. [Her] enemy will have turned [her ] into a cruel, and capricious [woman].~Carlos Castaneda
[She ] has to defy, [the power], deliberately. [She] has to come to realize the power [she] has seemingly conquered is in reality never [hers]. [She] must keep [herself] in line at all times, handling carefully and faithfully all that [she] has learned. If [she] can see that clarity and power, without control over [herself] are worse than mistakes, [she] will reach a point where everything is held in check. [She] will know when and how to use [her] power.”~Carlos Castaneda
For some long time she is here. Having power. Learning how to handle it. Putting it aside. Picking it up. Learning how to keep from leveling those around her. Learning how to deliberately not use the power. Letting it steep inside of her self. Learning how to not intervene. Learning how to wait. Learning how to not put her self in places of temptation. Learning how to let the power itself flow through her. Pacing itself. Learning how to leave the power to itself. Learning how to accept and honor the power of all.
But then it creeps up on her – what feels like the greatest enemy of all. The one she never anticipated. The one that steals quietly in the night without a rumble. Slim and vague as if it is without form. The one that has takes her by surprise and leaves her with what seems to be no defense.
“The [woman] will be, by then, at the end of [her] journey of learning and almost without warning [she] will come upon the last of [her] enemies: Old Age. This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one [she] won’t be able to defeat completely, but only fight away.
This is the time when a [woman] has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind – a time when all [her] power is in check, but also the time when [she] has an unyielding desire to rest. If [she] gives in totally to [her] desire to lie down and forget, if [she] soothes [herself] in tiredness, [she] will have lost [her] last round, and [her ] enemy will cut [her] down into a feeble old creature. [Her] desire to retreat will overrule [her] clarity, [her] power, and [her] knowledge.”~Carlos Castaneda
She begins de-vesting her self. Pulling in. Contracting. Tidying up all the strands of her life. Some might call it downsizing. Her goals and desires are fading away. Things are optional now. She doesn’t confront. She is recapitulating all of her life so that she can re-witness it again and leave that witnessing to the world, her children and so on – maybe no one. It is almost as if she is pulling her self out of her life.
She becomes overcome by her desire to just be still. To not pick up any work but to just sit. She yearns and searches for that exciting adventure as she has years in front of her but it is no where for her to find. She has no tolerance for repeating her life. Younger people have all stepped into the places where she was and it all seems for the good. A relief. She almost seems irrelevant. Another relief. The good fight seems over- there is no need. It is not depression (a force she is well aware of) but rather like a fading away. Or maybe it is a falling away.
“But if a [woman] sloughs off [her] tiredness, and lives [her] fate through, [she] can be called a woman of knowledge, if only for the brief moment when [she] succeeds in fighting off [her] last, invincible enemy. That moment of clarity, power, and knowledge is enough.” ~Carlos Castaneda
It is a way she has never encountered before. It seems to be both a dissolving and a revealing. Perhaps there is that one most wondrous exciting adventure. The one that has always been too impractical. The one that was always too clouded by life. The one that removes all restrictions. That is not bounded by the thickness of worldly ways. The one that holds the preciousness that is beyond power, beyond clarity, beyond knowledge.
But, then again, perhaps there is only more – or perhaps less – of the same. Time will tell and she will see.
(All Carlos Castaneda quotes are from his book The Teachings of Don Juan pages 62-65, Chapter 3. I have changed the gender from male to female.)