This past November, my beloved Danish mother-in-law passed away at the age of ninety-five. She was a complex and wonderful woman who taught me much about generosity, fidelity and tenacity. When she began to decline, I started a painting entitled: Northern Lights. At the time, I didn’t know it was going to be in her memory, nor that it would give me a way to understand what I have been engaged in for the last months. I just knew I needed to paint this- the mountains, the ocean, the sky, the blue-green light shimmering. Since I am not a trained painter, I allow and welcome the wisdom of the creative to irrupt into consciousness, so when the red appeared, I bowed to the streak here and the pulsing there.
But consciousness must be engaged in the process as well, so I looked up the Northern Lights, curious to see if there really was red and wanting to learn the how of the Aurora Borealis. I was stunned to learn the deep archetypal meaning of that image. The lights begin in the deepest heart of our sun. Temperatures reach unimaginable degrees, in that cauldron of hydrogen atoms, helium forms and must reach out from the depths. It does so in waves of plasma that erupt from the surface. Those waves of magnetic particles hurtle through space, past Mercury, past Venus and come into contact with the magnetic poles of our own Earth. The force field is always there, but when the energy from the sun collides with the magnetic field, a funnel is formed that channels that energy to the poles. The skies, day and night both, light up with magnificent display of dancing waves of light, green, blue, yellow, orange and occasionally and rarely -red.
The archetypal meaning is this: something gets heated, some necessary combustion takes place deep beneath the surface of what we see, far far from our consciousness. At the right moment, the perfect conditions are met and the energy is released in waves that reach out across time and space. When those waves meet resistance, when they meet the invisible and always present protections, the energies collide and what is unseen becomes visibile. It vibrates with light. The light shows us what is always there waiting to be illuminated, but it cannot take form until the conditions are met.
When I saw the red in the painting, what I was seeing was the constellation of something that has been deep in the unconscious realm, moving slowly towards our consciousness. Yes, it is a deep homage to my mother in law, but it is also a confirmation of what I have been involved in helping come to light: Seeing Red – illuminating the unconscious patterns of feminine oppression through the deep integration of the analytic and the creative. (http://www.seeingredconference.com/)
This new intiative, through the vision of Loralee Scott-Conforti, and in collaboration with Muriel McMahon and myself, comes at a ripe time. The need for consciousness and awareness of the energies driving violence and oppression against women everywhere is reaching our defenses; our poles of awareness are ready to receive it and make it be seen and known across the globe.
There is much more to come as we develop the analytical and creative responses to that which has its roots in the deep and dark centers of the human experience over millennia. We are being called to be the energy that transforms potential into the light of awareness, consciousness and action. It has already started, it is already present, alive and thrumming with life. May we be the instruments of that light, channeling the energy in a generative and illuminating way. Join us in Seeing Red, that it may be seen and recognized for what it is and for what it is possible to become.
Dr. Silvia Behrend is a Certified Pattern Analyst, educator and mentor