Howl for me, Wolf Woman!
Howl for me, Wolf-Woman! Thank you for all that you do, for the readers of this publication, and for all that follow you. My question –I’m trying to stop judging others and judging myself. I get so critical of other people and of myself. I know it’s holding me back in so many ways. I don’t know when it started or what the root cause necessarily is, but I really want to get past it. Do you have any advice?
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The “root cause” of judgement is our very selfhood and humanity. From childhood onward, both our physical bodies and our complex psyches are constantly trying to protect themselves from harm; our judgements eventually become patterns, shaping our behavior and how we perceive our world. From where I stand, the stripping away of judgement occurs by taking one or, eventually, both of two very divergent paths.
My instinctual reaction to your query was that your criticism of yourself over judging others is what needs urgent dismantling; you are condemning yourself for embodying a quite natural aspect of human behavior but also citing that self-criticism is an issue. The first elixir I have for you is this: Do not be so hard on yourself. Even the most wild, soulfully awakened creature makes judgements, just as the most enlightened guru who has ever walked on the wounded Earth will sit under that sacred tree in judgement.
Had you not said that you “know it’s holding [you] back in so many ways,” I would be inclined to tell you that judgement is part of the journey and integral to your sense of self. Though New Age wisdom would tell you to rise above your subjective assessments of your world and those within it, this so-called ego-transcendence neglects the fertile work of the downward journey. While I do contend there is merit in ascension and an absolute, rarely realized freedom in seeing the world with a childlike innocence regardless of any linear-time-based age, to rush upward toward enlightenment without first or, better simultaneously, descending into the depths of your soul births far greater wounds than those sourced from simply staying in the judgement-shaped middle world.
In my experience, the most dangerous judgements made are those that resist the reality of our cyclical identities and spiral-dance of growth; these judgements are born from soul-denial, a rejection of our waxing and waning passions, desires, woundedness, and all other changeable aspects of our holy individuality. Human beings are shape-shifters, and to live entirely in the upper world of Spirit where we are all constantly unified and of-one-Source is to reject an essential part of ourselves. If you believe the part of your psyche that is making the most limiting judgements over yourself or others is doing so from a fundamental belief that nothing should change, then, yes, I have some bitter red medicine for you but it will not be diluted with a one-size-fits-all spiritual remedy.
From a yogic perspective, we must constantly be seeking out obstacles to our own freedom and removing them. The wild within all of us demands to be free, and, while we can touch this freedom in the brightly lit realm of Spirit, it is the soulful freedom we are ultimately after. Dig down into all that lies beneath your efforts to label, compartmentalize, and, ultimately, control your world. Do not rise above without first burrowing under.
To use the Triple Goddex metaphor I have been working with of late, the lower two chakras are where the Maiden and the Hunter reside. Suppression of both the Maiden- or the feminine, sensual, emotive, and nature-loving creature within us all- and the Hunter- or the masculine, instinctual, virile one within- is generated by an intense fear of abandonment. We do not want to be seen as wild if we will ultimately be socially denigrated, so, in the name of acceptance, we cage the deepest and rawest parts of ourselves. Liberating the Maiden and Hunter means surrendering control, and our society has taught us to keep a tight grip on our bodies and our minds on a schedule.
We learn to judge the wild within ourselves and the wild within others as suspicious or immature when, quite ironically, it is the caged wild that does the most collective damage. What if we could accept others’ identity as they proclaim it to be, and what if we could accept our own shape-shifting nature without engaging in self-criticism?
I judge others very harshly when I believe they are doing gross harm to others or our world. Efforts to dominate, manipulate, and control have no place in the global collective of my dreams, and I make no apologies for sitting in judgement over narcissism, greed, and corruption. To be soulfully accepting of your and others’ right to ebb and flow does not mean tolerance of what you know to be unjust. For example, power-hunger and ego-madness are the dual sins of whom I have begun to call the “uninitiated Father.” Because we have been raised within the confines of longstanding patriarchy, every one of us, regardless of gender, embodies an inner Father. As part of the Triple Goddex framework, the Father is profoundly necessary when viewed in relation to the Maiden-Hunter, Crone-Sage, and, the Father’s most direct counterpart, the Creatrix-Mother. In balance, the Father is the protective, productive, and individualistic provider. Unware and disconnected from the other aspects of the psyche, however, he will run the world into the ground in the name of personal gain. Beneath the Father’s dominion lies the wounded children of the Maiden and the Hunter, screaming from their basement cages to be heard and liberated.
I say examine your judgements without relinquishing your right to judge. You are an autonomous creature, and your abilities to intuit and discern are sacred aspects of your inner Crone-Priestess. If a judgement arises that you believe to be particularly limiting, ask yourself what lies beneath it, then what lies beneath that, and that. Listen for the Maiden and Hunter’s voices and quiet the inner Father if you can. What does innocence say? What does the wounded child within get out of this judgement? What does the wild one want?
I recommend reading Wild Mind by Bill Plotkin for a soulful perspective on the human psyche. I have, importantly, only scratched the surface of a complex issue, and, as always, be wary of anyone who would have you question your selfhood, transcend judgement, or deny your right to decide for yourself. I am howling for your right to both judge and reject judgement as you see fit, my love.
Your humble medicine-keeper,
➵ Submit your howl to email@example.com.
➵ Find our guidelines for submission to the Wolf-Woman here.
Read more Howl for Me, Wolf-Woman!:
Substance & The Visible Feminine: Selfie Culture & The Crone’s Perspective
The Wild Woman’s Body-Prayer For Rage Release
The Wild Woman’s Circle: Handcrafting Space For Sisterhood
The Hand-Crafted 2017: Wild Resolutions Before The Quickening
The Dark Feminine And The Maiden’s Loss
Winter Solstice & Yuletide Medicine For The Rootless Witch
Mothering The Wild & Becoming The Bad Daughter
A Ritual For Betrayal — When You Have No Choice But To Become Someone New
The Great Learning: Social Acceptance, A Challenge An Awakening Wild Woman Faces
Wild Wisdom For The Bleeding Woman
The Guru’s Crime Against Soul
Looking For Some Guiding Wild Wisdom
Deep Loving In The Darkness
Sip a little more from Danielle’s medicine:
➵ Witch, Howl Moonward:
The Timely Salve Of The Dark Primal Feminine
➵ The Wolf-Woman’s Book Of The Dead:
A Samhain Benediction
➵ Invoking Artemis: The Liberation Of Our Wild Spirituality