WEEK 2 : My Nurturing Needs

The Nurturer Archetype

The Astrological Moon

What nourishes me also destroys me.

— Angelina Jolie

About the First Week


More About Archetypes


A Few Practical Things This Week

SLACK

Slack is the name of the chat room we are using for this class. With your registration confirmation you received an invitation to join Slack. If for some reason you have not signed up yet, please do so now here, it takes just a minute. Slack is the forum and chat room for posting questions and also for responding to other students. Usually I can respond in a timely manner to questions put to me. You can see this as your teacher having office hours 24/7!

Occasionally I post questions or comments that can enhance your learning. You will get some things from Slack that you will not get here. I encourage you strongly to participate there as your thoughts enrich everybody's learning experience.

 

Transformative LEARNING

Now that you have had a chance to kick the tires of your new course you may have noticed that the way I am teaching Archetypal Immersion is not very traditional.

Besides being online and in a virtual classroom, there is also a different way that I invite you to learn. It is based on Transformative Learning Theory. Transformative learning theory says that the process of "perspective transformation" has three dimensions: psychological (changes in understanding of the self), convictional (revision of belief systems), and behavioral (changes in lifestyle). Unlike the old model of learning, where an expert tries to put in your head what is in theirs, this is about enriching you by changing you. You are invited to engage deeply with the material, to reflect and to respond. There is no desired outcome, and no tests come your way. 

The only way you measure success in this course is if your life changes for the better. I discourage you from believing anything I present. Rather, I encourage you to engage with the material and to immerse yourself in the archetypes by doing as many of the exercises as you feel called to. Then you can notice how your beliefs are richer and more nuanced. 

We are very well trained to learn the old way. This new way takes courage and you must give of yourself.  The only thing you cannot do here is stay neutral. 

Let me know what you think about all of this - write to me in Slack.


The Nurturer Archetype

What feeds you? This is a profound question that in our modern world of instant gratification has more importance than ever. The question is not what you feed yourself, but what feeds you? The first time we experience the Nurturer archetype in our external world is when we are held and maybe fed by our mothers after birth. The Nurturer is the ideal of caretaker, the one who holds, feeds and nurtures us. Even if she didn't do that for you, a longing for this, a need to be embraced, then remains as a deep hole. As the Nurturer evolves in you, she is also about memories, place of origin, childhood, and home. She is that part of you that feels and remembers. She reflects and imagines and she is related to the Moon (Luna in Latin). Therefore the Nurturer is also loony or a lunatic now and then, and when the moon is full, not just the wolves howl. The Nurturer rules the tides and a woman's monthly cycles. She can be old an grandmotherly wise, and she can be giggly as in a child. She always knows what we need to really feel satiated. In our bodies she speaks of the stomach and the breasts. When she is suffering we see stomach problems - from aches to ulcers - and eating disorders, and we may see breast cancer. The Nurturer can be utterly moody and brooding, or she can be deeply nurturing and make you chicken soup. The Nurturer is sensitive, instinctual and tuned in. She rules the night, the same way that the Sovereign rules the day.

And we are govern’d with our mother’s spirits.
— William Shakespeare

Key Words for This Week

Like every week, there is great value if you note your reaction when you read the following. Read them with a journal nearby. As you read, imagine them describing a person. Would this person feel like a friend, an enemy, or a stranger?

Feelings, Mother, Nurturing, Fluctuation, Smothering, Dreaming, Romance, Childhood, Moods, Instinct, Emotions, Childbirth, Embrace, Children, Protected, Responsiveness, Chicken Soup, Nighttime, Breasts, Home, Milk, Loony, Unstable, Memory, Roots, Nourishing Foods, Sensitivity, Reflection, Holding, Conserving, Storage, Hearth, Night

Can you add words that belong to this list? Post them on Slack!


Nurturing 

Who nurtures you and who do you nurture? What do you consider nurturing? A family dinner with four generations at your table and you cooked all the food? Or, a trip to an out-of-town spa where you disappear by yourself for a long weekend? This week you are meeting your inner Nurturer. Once again, remember that Archetypal thinking is not gendered. Everyone has an inner Sovereign/King and everyone has an inner Nurturer/Queen.

Exercises

  • Take a day off and nurture yourself. Play hooky. This may mean going to a spa, going on a hike, cooking a fabulous meal for friends, or locking yourself in your workshop. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it feeds your soul. 
  • Be still. Daydream, long for something, remember, muse and reminisce. Even if this means painful memories, dwell in the past a bit. Your Nurturer Queen needs this.
  • As you are still, wonder about what you really need in your life right now. The key here is really need. This is a deep, emotional assessment of any emptiness you feel inside. What could fill this void? Is this a long-term longing or something that can be fixed short term? If it is the latter it is probably not a real need, more a want or a desire. Once you find yourself staring into that void, promise yourself that you will do something about this need. Just make a promise to feed this need.
  • Do something for your family. This does not have to be your family of origin but include whomever you call your family. Include your pets and any dependents, older or younger.
  • Take a walk in the moonlight.
  • Give yourself a bubble bath.
  • Play with kittens and puppies.

Nature

We will discuss nature again in Week 6, when we learn about the Explorer. However, the Queen is also connected to nature. She exists within cycles. In monthly cycles, seen with the waxing and waning moon, in a woman's periods, in childbirth, in the tides, and in the seasons. The Nurturer Queen knows the natural cycles of life. Some calendars, such as the Islamic Hijri Qamari are lunar and therefore belong to the Nurturer Queen. Biodynamic agriculture and gardening, the first of the organic agricultural movements developed by Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf Schools) in the 1920's, is largely based on planting in harmony with the moon's phases. Anyone who gardens is sensitive to nature's cycles, to timing, to planting, growing, nurturing, harvesting, and tilling. Especially if you plant seeds and grow food that you then feed to others, then you are partaking in the ancient ritual of collaborating with mother nature and receiving nourishment in the most archaic way.

Exercises

  • Plant something, grow something and harvest something. It does not matter if this is a tomato plant on your balcony, a new business, or a nurturing presence in a friends heart.
  • Buy food at a Farmer's Market and talk to and support those who grow the food you eat. Honor and thank them. Make a meal of only locally grown food that comes from the same nature you find yourself in.
  • Visit a farm and find out more about your food.
  • Add some plants to your home and take care of them.
  • Give to Mother Earth. Do something for your environment. It does not matter what.
  • Grow an orchid, they need a lot of care.

Some Queenly Music

What queenly music do you have in your collection? What music reminds you of your home (country)? What music triggers a strong emotional response in you? Why? What music brings back vivid memories? journal about this.

bob-dylan-with-harmonica-by-daniel-kramer.jpg
Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions.
— Keith Richards, Musician

Dance

When ABBA wrote the song Dancing Queen they were on to something. Dance belongs to the Queen archetype. So fire up the old gramophone, put that eight-track tape in the player, or just put on your headphones with your smart phone. Take a break and dance a way for a bit!

 image courtesy thehulahoopgirl.com

image courtesy thehulahoopgirl.com

Just in case you don't have your copy of Dancing Queen handy, here it is. No excuses to stay seated!

There are many movies about the emotional importance of dance, Flashdance and Footlose come to mind. On the list of movies that well represent the Queen archetype we can note: Like Water for Chocolate, Meet the Fockers, Meet The Parents, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Old Yeller, The Family Stone, The King of Masks, The Searchers, The Trip To Bountiful, Powder, The Joy Luck Club, Forest Gump, Fanny and Alexander, Pond, Ordinary People, Big Night, Big Fish, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Ratatouille, and Waitress. Why do these belong here? Can you think of others? Share them on Slack!

When I can’t find words to express what I mean, I get up and dance
— Zorba The Greek (Nikos Kazantzakis)

Too Little Nurturer: Emotionally Absent

Too Much Nurturer: Smothering


Mother

Few words trigger as many emotions as mother. Think of the idealization of Mother Mary, the fierce defending of Mother when she is criticized or joked about (yo mama jokes), the wounding by mother, the abandonment, smothering, mothering and, care. All of this and so much more is wrapped up in Mother and she herself is an expression of the Nurturer Queen archetype. We will look at the Mother archetype again as the wise grandmother when we study the Strategist in Week 7. However, there are aspects of the grandmother that belong to the Nurturer as well. The ultimate Mother, Mother Earth also belongs here. She gives us all life and if we do not connect with her then we are cut off from our primal source of existence.

Exercises

  • Write your mother a letter. It does not matter if she is living or not, it does not matter if you lover her or not, it does not matter if you send it or not. It does not even matter if you ever met her or not. What matters is that you connect with your experience of her in you. She lives there as an archetype and you are her child. Find out how your inner child looks, feels, acts. Tell your younger self what you wish you had known back then that you know now. Are you needy? Are you looking for a mother? How do others show you that they care?
  • Next, write your children a letter. It does not matter if you have any or if you get along with them. What matters is that you relate to that part of you that nurtures, mothers, or perhaps smothers. Ask others if they feel mothered by you. Are you needy? Are you defined by your offspring? How do you show you care?

Holding and Being Held

Do you feel held? If so, what holds you? What holds you together? What holds your attention? If you don't feel held, do you want to? And when was the last time you were held?

Exercises

  • Get together a group of friends and do a trust fall. Is this hard for you? Why? Is it easy? Why?
  • Give out extra hugs. Hug someone you know but have never hugged.
  • Hold hands with those you love, adults and children alike.
  • During meditation, hold those in need in your heart.
  • Hold your pet tight. Give an extra squeeze to your Main Squeeze. Hold someone in your arms. Ask to be rocked to sleep or rock someone else to sleep.

Home and Hearth

The Nurturer in you is the Queen of her Castle. She is in charge of what goes on in your home. She tells the story of what happened in your childhood home. Later she creates your home environs, whatever you call home. For some, the dream is a mansion in the suburbs, for others, a brownstone in the city. For some a commune is the ideal home setting, for others a sleeping bag in nature under the stars. Whatever works for you, however you decorate your home, even the pain of homelessness belongs to the Nurturer. Even if your environs and what you call home means nothing to you, that too says a lot about your inner Nurturer.

Exercises

  • Take on a home-improvement project to give your inner Queen a nicer palace. 
  • Reach out to your neighbors, throw a block party.
  • Create a garden in your house. If you live in an apartment grow food in window boxes.
  • Stay in bed all day, sleep, and dream. Curl up on a couch in a warm blanket.
  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
  • Do something for the homeless.
  • Join your Neighborhood Beautification Club.
  • Initiate the construction of a playground in a neighborhood that needs one.

Roots and Ancestry

The Queen is deeply rooted in her past. She dwells in memories and cherishes her history. She can be nostalgic and even forget to live in the present because she is desperately trying to conserve the past. But no matter how many shoe boxes with bronzed baby shoes she stows away in the attic, time moves on. And there are many different kinds of Queens. Some have made a conscious choice to move on and leave the past buried. They tell themselves that it is a waste of time to dwell anywhere but the current moment.

Exercise

  • Make a list of all the traditions you inherited and still continue to honor.
  • Make a list of all the traditions you inherited that you have rejected and then ritually let them go. You can, for instance, write them on a piece of paper and then ceremoniously burn the paper.
  • Make a list of the traditions you have created, no mater how small. Perhaps you wear a special scarf on your birthday? That counts.
  • Make a family tree. The further back you go the deeper the roots you tap into.
  • Ask elders in your family to tell you stories about your family history and record these treasures.
  • Make a book of your memories for those that come after you. 
  • Get your DNA tested to get a breakdown of your global ancestry by percentage. You can do that at www.23andme.com.
Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.
— Jonas Salk, Discoverer of the Polio Vaccine

Food

How you nurture yourself in the most literal sense -- how and what you eat -- is in the domain of your inner Nurturer archetype. If you cook or buy carry out, if you like your steaks bloody, or are a vegan, if you are addicted to sugar or are allergic to peanuts, your Queen rules here. This insight is particularly important if you have an eating problem. Then ask yourself what you are feeding with food that is not being fed otherwise. What is the Nurturer Queen really longing for? What is she hungry for?

Exercises

  • Make an inventory of the food in your house. Is that what you want to be eating? If you answer this in the affirmative then you are done with this exercise. But if not, then give away all that you don't want to be eating. Clean house by cleaning your pantry.
  • Eat any foods that belong to the Queen including Milk, cheese and cream, all comfort foods, and of course chicken soup. Also all root vegetables and especially very earthy food such as mushrooms, beets, and potatoes. Have some hot chocolate on a cold day.
  • Cook family-style and invite your family, whoever that may be, over for a meal. Take pleasure in feeding them.
  • Bring your neighbor some chicken soup with lots of root vegetables. 

Feeling Good

Your inner Queen tells you how you feel. She can bee moody, full of fire, unstable, calm, and she can feel wonderful. Take stock. How is she feeling right now? How did she feel when you woke up this morning? When you went to be last night? What changed? Why? Does she notice the weather? The moods of others? Is she giggly? Silly? Happy? Sad? Devastated, broken, or disheartened? Take stock and journal about this. No need to fix anything, just notice what is happening and be in the moment. You are acknowledging your inner Nurturer Queen archetype and she will thank you for that. 

Exercises

  • Take a walk in the moonlight. 
  • Know what the moons phases are. Begin something new each new moon. 
  • Take stock of your feelings several times a day. Just note them in your journal. "Right now I am feeling..." Note what triggers what kind of feelings.
  • Tell someone you feel close to something you feel deeply about.
  • Tell someone a secret and keep someone else's secrets. This is also within the Queens purview.
  • Vow to do something that makes you feel good every good. Make this a ritual, a repeated behavior with meaning.
  • Have a good cry. It will cleanse you.
  • Learn to express your needs. Begin some sentences with, "I need..."
  • Learn to trust your instincts, your gut feelings. They often precede rational deliberation in your mind. When all the reasons why something is right or wrong are debated and a rational conclusion is drawn - it is often false. 
Certain souls seem hard because they are capable of strong feelings and they sometimes go to rather extreme lengths; their apparent unconcern and cruelty are but ways, known only to themselves, of feeling more strongly than others.
— Marquis de Sade, French Aristocrat

Children

Whether you have a child, children, or not, the Nurturer Queen archetype connects you with that part of you that remembers your childhood. Whatever your story is, wherever you are from, whoever your family was, you have a story. And the child in you knows that story in every fiber of your body. Smells, images, sounds and some people can trigger these memories and bring you back to those days in a flash. Your Nurturer Queen will also protect you if necessary. She will instinctively know how to survive and erase those memories if they are too painful to remember. Whatever your story is, you as a child and as a parent, they both are expressed through your inner Nurturer Queen archetype.

Exercises

  • Note how you feel about children. Why do you feel this way? 
  • How was your childhood? Write a memoir as though you were reporting on someone else.
  • Play with children. They will remind you how to be silly and to giggle. Lose control and follow your instincts.
  • Do something for children. If you do not particualry care for them, give some moeny to those who do.
The events of childhood do not pass, but repeat themselves like seasons of the year.
— Eleanor Farjeon, Author

Queen Archetype Images

What about these images is queenly? Can you name why these pictures belong in this weeks picture collection?

 
 

 

That's it for this week!

I hope to "see" you in Slack.

Next week stay tuned for the Storyteller. Don't blink or you may miss him!

End of Nurturer lesson.