The Pregnant Virgin: A Process of Psychological Transformation by Marion Woodman came out in 1985. I didn’t read it until 2010. I picked up her newer book Dancing in the Flames and then went back to read her other work after that. The Pregnant Virgin is a book is written with a thinking heart, blending art, literature, religion and extensive case material. It is a wonderful read full of insight and interesting ideas.
The Unicorn is an allegory for Christ. It is so pure that it can only be approached by virgins.
Everything moves in cycles. Fear of change is about insecurity. Torschlusspanik is German for Panic at the thought that the door between one’s self and life’s opportunities has shut. Graduation not gone to, marriage not taken place, baby never born and job never materialized sort of thing. The meaninglessness of our suffering often drives us to drink and do drugs. But Rilke says, “Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given because you should not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live long some distant day into the answer.”
“What is the knowledge of freedom?” Thomas Merton asked. “One must ascend all the steps, but then where there are no more steps one must make the leap. Knowledge of Freedom is the knowledge, the experience of this leap,” replied a Buddhist Monk.
Sleeping Beauty is about Abandonment in the Creative Woman. Abandonment is a word from Old English. Bannan means to summon. Abandonment literately means to be uncalled and symbolically it means to be without a destiny. A father is supposed to create a destiny for his daughter, but if he doesn’t then the daughter has to make her own destiny. Now she can turn it around and give birth to herself.
Sylvia Plath felt abandoned. Her suicide was the last act of vengeance against the savage God who abandoned her. God has taken her out of life, so killing herself is a way of affirming him. Suicide is a sort of Liebstood or “Death Marriage.” It is a way to embrace the Darkside of God and the Negative Mystical Woman.
A girl can be initiated into womanhood without losing her virginity. The Pregnant Virgin gives birth to herself, to the man, to creation, to a new world of radiating light. “Only what is really one’s self has the power to heal,” says Jung.
The Black Madonna is the awakened positive mother. She is black because she herself has literally and figuratively been through the fire and emerged within an immense capacity for love and understanding. Eve is man’s view of a woman as sexual. The Virgin Mary is man’s view of a spiritual woman. But the Black Madonna ties the sexual to spiritual. She is a Sophia—a woman of wisdom.