Tribute to Marion Woodman

A Personal Tribute
by Barbara Taylor

Born August 15, 1928 at 2:30 pm in London, Ontario, Canada
Died at age 89 on July 9, 2018

When I learned of Marion’s passing this week, a deep wave of sadness surged through me. I knew she’d had struggles with cancer in the mid-1990’s, but that she was carrying on. In a beautiful stroke of synchronicity, last week I found and purchased online the audio version of her 1998 Sitting By the Well: Bringing the Feminine to Consciousness Through Language, Dreams, and Metaphor, a book of hers I hadn’t yet read.

Even though the generative font of her guiding wisdom is no longer with us in physical form, I will savor my own, quiet tribute to her memory and extraordinary contribution in the coming weeks as I listen to her voice, lifting off from the digital pages.

Marion has been a guiding influence and ‘soul mentor’ for me since my late 20’s.

When I was in deep anguish prior to my first Saturn return – a time when everything was hitting the wall in my first marriage, while surrounded by two children under the age of three – I sent Marion pages and pages of typewritten dreams reflecting the archetypal battles and symbols that were plaguing my sleep, haunting me. I asked her if she would be willing to work with me by long-distance telephone (she was in Toronto; I was in Winnipeg). There were no Jungian analysts where I lived. I had read her first three books; I knew that she would know what to do with this numinous and incomprehensible material that I worried might be slowly making me crazy.

She read the dreams and wrote back to me, encouraging me onward and supporting me in believing in the real substance and source of them, inspiring me to trust in my soul’s unfolding journey.  I treasure still her handwritten note. She was my heroine in those stark times. Her books, then and after, helped me scramble through so many complex inner and outer entanglements.

In the course of my adult life, I was able to attend a workshop of hers on the power of imagery in healing in Winnipeg in 2002, as well as a weekend workshop given by her and Robert Bly on “The Singing, Soaring Lark and the True Inner Marriage” in 2004 in Vancouver. I know I still have those notes somewhere and must look them up.

I wasn’t much familiar with Shamanic Astrology back then, but I now understand more about my reverent connection with Marion and her work. My Virgo ascendant is within one degree of her midheaven; her insights into ‘the sacred work’ go right to the core for me, pointing the way.

If you want to hang around with Marion Woodman, you have to be willing to grow up

Whenever I encounter Marion’s recordings or writings, everything in me quickens. Truth hangs ripe for the picking in her work. She was so much fire, living her life within a hair’s breadth of the razor’s edge of authentic aliveness. As a woman on the forefront of developments in depth psychology, she was relentless in her pursuit of deep meaning and inner authenticity.  She boldly pushed herself and anyone willing to go with her into new territory, navigating the wild rapids into the fresh waters of healing, release, and conscious integration. If you want to hang around with Marion Woodman, you have to be willing to grow up.

A precious, brilliant, radiant life she was. Marion created a path in the dark, lighting the way for women and men to wriggle out of invisible prisons. In her seminal work with eating disorders and addictions, she literally saved lives.

Her contributions to the global shifts in awakening consciousness are stellar. Yet her point of entry, her voice, her connection with her varied audiences, was always so earthy and personal.

For me, she made the difference between surrendering in defeat (to the life-sucking confinement of the dictates of ‘normal’ and the shrill inner and outer voices demanding sacrifice and conformity to false ideals), or choosing life: no matter what must be left behind in order to do so.

She was the embodiment of wise woman, elder, grandmother, crone, and fierce, compassionate human being.

I am so grateful for the gifts of Marion Woodman.

You can read about her published works and the arc of her life here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_Woodman

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