skeleton woman

as i lie here typing this, my little calico has retrieved her most favorite toy ever (a straw she stole from my drink) and is running all over the bed, pouncing and playing with it. i’m grateful for this innocent little reminder that my life has more in it than just the heavy things consuming my thoughts.

i’m nearing the end of what has been a week filled with betrayal and heartbreak, regret, apologies, reconciliation and non-reconciliation (as well as sickness – presumably because any trying week wouldn’t be complete without it – and my final days at work, which are dragging by as though time has all but stopped).

the events of my life this week have reminded me of the tale of the skeleton woman, a story that is gruesome and haunting at first… until you take a deeper look and understand what it means. dr. clarissa pinkola estés writes of this story in women who run with the wolves. she explains,

“skeleton woman, who spent an eon lying under the water, can also be understood as a woman’s unused and misused life-death-life force. […] she is the one who peers at things. she can tell when it is time for a place, a thing, an act, a group, or a relationship to die.” (emphasis mine.)

as i looked back through this chapter to remind myself about the skeleton woman, i found some other areas that had stood out to me before:

“it seems so gruesome, yet this is the premier time when there is a real opportunity to show courage and to know love. to love means to stay with. it means to emerge from a fantasy world into a world where sustainable love is possible, face to face, bones to bones, a love of devotion. to love means to stay when every cell says “run!”‘

“what must die, dies.” 

“what dies? illusion dies, expectations die, greed for having it all, for wanting to have all be beautiful only, all this dies. because love always causes a descent into the death nature, we can see why it takes abundant self-power and soulfulness to make that commitment. when one commits to love, one also commits to the revivification of the essence of skeleton woman and all her teachings.”

i want to be like the skeleton woman as she awakens, and i want to be like the man who faces the horror and his fear in order to untangle her, which heals himself and heals her. i want to be like vasalisa with her fiery skull (see my “about” section). i must learn to “peer at things” – to know to allow what must die, to die, and that to love when it is not time to let die means to stay even when every untangled, disillusioned cell says run!

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