Wisdom Has No Name:
A Mythopoetic Healing Story
“I begin to lose my grip. An orange and purple ball of light hangs loosely from the left side of my neck. My neck is tilted to the side trying to hold on. It’s scary. Then the ball moves to the right side of my head behind my right eye- up and around inside my head, down my neck, settling into a pool in my chest- bridging my womb, heart and head where there is now a free channel of communication. My neck feels tingly and open. There is a purple pyramid in my forehead. It is peaceful. A large yellow ball of light in my solar plexus moves up through my neck. The pyramid in my forehead turns into a six pointed star- it is three dimensional and transparent- I am inside of it feeling aligned, open, and peaceful.”
These words come from a healing session (used with permission) of someone who had been experiencing chronic neck pain that had not resolved through various forms of Western medicine and complementary medicine. This experience came about through craniosacral therapy and acupressure with the intention of listening to what the chronic neck pain had to share about what is needed for healing.
Instead of trying to cure the neck pain from the outside in, the inner world was engaged with a spirit of openness and curiosity toward the pain. Wu wei is a term used in Taoism, which roughly translates as doing without doing, or effortless effort. It comes from a stillness and silence deep within one’s own being, and through surrender- the spirit with which one follows the natural unfolding of the Tao without forcing or holding back. Artists, healers and musicians throughout all of time embody the secret of surrender- wu wei- deep listening- spontaneity- of being the hollow reed or hollow bone through which the Tao- the mystery can unfold as a living expression.
In the spirit of wu wei, a whole journey was able to unfold. After this session there was a marked reduction in the neck pain, and an on-going dialogue between the the inner and outer world had begun.
This experience opened up new questions along with new possibilities emerging from the wisdom of the body itself. Listening and following the wisdom of the body is vital and necessary to bringing forth healing and change in a grounded, lasting way.
Instead of taking the metaphors that show up as being literal, concrete and fixed this type of healing asks us to engage in a creative, dynamic, fluid exploration of the unknown and unknowable- unfolding at its own pace, in its own time, in its own way. In this way, we are able to live our way into what is trying to emerge.
Looking For Clues
If I look to Chinese Medicine for clues and insights about the symbols that emerged during this session, I see some powerful and useful threads that can help further the exploration.
A vital component to working at the alchemical level in Chinese Medicine, is in working with the spirits. There is a spirit housed in each of the five main yin organs of the body- circulating through the channels and enlivening our being by day, and settling into their respective organ for renewal by night.
The shen is housed in the heart. They are the pure light of divine consciousness, related to the fire element, joy and sadness, summer, south and red.
The hun reside in the liver. They bring the light of the shen down to earth with a clear vision of how to live that is aligned with spirit. The hun also take the wisdom of our lived experiences on earth back up to the heavens. They are related to the wood element, frustration/anger and benevolence, spring, east and the color green.
The po reside in the lungs. The po are the corporeal soul. They ground the vision of the hun in the manifest world. They are the physical embodiment of spirit (or soul) and are related to the metal element, grief and inspiration, autumn, west and white.
The yi reside in the spleen/pancreas. They are the true intent and faith that nourish our devotion to tending our vision so that it will flourish in life. They are related to the earth element, nurturing and sympathy, late summer, center and yellow.
The zhi reside in the kidneys. They offer strength, wisdom and steadiness to the living of our lives. The zhi contain the blueprint- the seed- of our full potential, are related to the water element, fear and wisdom, winter, north and blue/black.
Surrender To The Unknown
The experience above begins with a sense of losing ‘grip’. This is the beginning of surrender- a letting go of fixed ideas into a more open and fluid living of the moment as it unfolds. Surrender is vital to being able to work at this level. Through surrender the inner journey is initiated.
Through awareness, there is an inner witnessing that follows the creative flow of imagery and sensation as it unfolds. When images show up- like the orange and purple ball- we follow and become curious about this image. It hangs on the left side of the neck- opposite to the side where the pain is. As it moves from the outside of the body to the inside, it eventually finds a resting place in a pool in the chest- an ‘inner space’.
In Chinese Medicine, there is an empty space in the heart that houses the shen spirits. The shen can sometimes flee like birds fleeing their nest when there has been undigested shock or trauma. At this point in the journey, there is a felt sense of the shen returning to nest in the heart, which opens the next significant shift in the treatment.
The neck begins to awaken and open, and a connection happens between the womb, heart, and head. The pure consciousness of shen, now present in the heart, form a connection that bridges the mind in the head (the heavens), and womb (the earth).
The Chinese script for heart also means mind- the two are seen as one. There is also a connection between the womb and the heart in both men and women, through the Chong channel which is one of the eight extraordinary vessels. It is the first channel that emerges in a growing embryo around which all the other channels form. It connects our prenatal and postnatal essence, contains our genetic ancestry, and is the most authentic part of our being. The chong also helps to nourish our blood, digest life’s experiences and supports the ability to create from the heart with grounded vitality.
Next, the yellow ball moves from the solar plexus in the middle of the body to the forehead where there is a peaceful purple pyramid. Yellow is the color of earth and the yi spirit which offers faith and devotion to nourish what is gestating. This ignites a transformation of the purple pyramid into a six pointed star, uniting polarities into a harmonious whole. The six pointed star is a symbol of the unity of opposites- of heaven and earth, yin and yang, masculine and feminine.
As the treatment completes itself, a new resting place- center point- orientation is discovered in the center of the six pointed star which creates a sense of being ‘aligned- open- peaceful’. The neck pain is still there, but greatly reduced.
This lays a solid foundation for the next step in the dance to discovering the medicine laying hidden in the neck pain. In alchemical healing, what is most bothersome is seen as a hidden treasure and valued as being a necessary ingredient to the transformational process.
As things progressed during a later session, the following image came with the words
“The golden goose feeds me the black pearl- she plants it in my belly with her beak…the end and the beginning….”
In the drawing we see the earth with a tree on each side with roots connecting the entire planet. We see at the top of the earth an opening where a dark gold being is standing rooted to the earth like the trees. At its heart center is ‘Grandmother Eagle’ representing time and space. Above this is a red figure who symbolizes ‘Grandfather Hawk’ who represents eternity. There are two other figures- one yellow and one black. To the west is swan/grace and to the east is gift/magic.
As this exploration continued over the course of several months, it became clear to this person that the neck pain was connected with a huge shift emerging from her own consciousness. In order to embody her unique medicine in the world, it would require some specific changes that would support a deeper calling.
Later in this process after she began to make changes in her life to explore and give legs to her true calling came the following vision during another session:
“I see her as a small furry animal. She holds my head. I like her there. Wisdom has no name and shows me a crown. She shows me the ways I’ve forgotten who I am. Chaos opens a door. I close my eyes and surrender. I’m in a cave underground dimly illumined from some, unknown source. A pool of tepid water offers healing. I accept. Hair wet and skin cleansed, body and spirit rest deeply. A thousand years pass, or maybe an instant. Upon awaking, I am blessed with fragrant herbs. I have what I need, no more, no less. As she holds my feet I’m transported upward, leaving the cavern at the center of the earth. I land upon a field of wildflowers. My feet feel the earth, and I dance in the sunshine.”
By engaging a mythopoetic consciousness, we can bring fresh life to our questions, impasses and challenges. Our own stories become a living mythology through symbolism, spontaneity and creativity and we can tap into a larger wisdom that allows us to communicate directly with mystery and our own body, mind, emotions and spirit. Understanding gained from such experiences can be immediate, or come about through a series of many experiences until insight or clarity reveals itself. Such explorations happen many times throughout one’s entire life as we change and circumstances change.
channels into the open sea.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Yet it nourishes and completes all things.”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ’Nourishing Change Through Connection’.