I don’t really know how to say what is rising in me to be spoken, but I know that I want to speak in praise of ugliness. And I’m not really sure that it’s ugliness exactly that I am speaking to, but somehow that phrase holds power for me, like a magical spell, a key to undo some patriarchal padlock inside of me, a portal of permission and a doorway into unchartered territories. What if we were allowed to be ugly?
I deeply feel and am witnessing at this time the blessed rising of the feminine consciousness in our human world and that makes me so happy, because I have lived in the grief of Her absence from the world of my culture for my entire life, whilst internally I have celebrated with Her in the wild places of the Earth, I have met Her in my dreams and long have I felt Her tenacious nudge to awaken a space for Her within me, to find the myriad of ways that I could let Her sing Her song through me, to allow Her to rise and shine within my skin, to give Her a voice in this crazy world we have made.
I feel Her now nudging me to name something uncomfortable about the way we as a culture, and me as an individual identifying as woman, commodify and pornography and sanitise the feminine, as She expresses Herself in woman and in man. The way She is crippled, bound and gagged with the imperative for beauty and desirability, with the inbuilt shackles of the insidious suggestion that you can do anything in this life as long as you look sexy and gorgeous doing it. She is of course deeply, deeply full of beauty, but She is not aware of Herself as being this. She is purely aware of Herself as life moving itself in primal and instinctual expression, an eternal manifestation of the life/death/rebirth reality of existence. She might be beautiful but She is also ugly, if She wants to be. She is deeply life-giving , but She is also fearsomely destructive and death-wielding if that is what is required of Her.
I think as women in our culture we are unaware of how conditioned we are to be perpetually aware of our own desirability, our willingness to be sold back to ourselves by the paradigm which contains and tames and domesticates our identities. This makes sense because it is the way in which we have been allowed to be powerful in a world that has hinged upon the suppression of our primal, chthonic power as human beings. And how transitory is this lens of beauty that to varying degrees holds us all captive, how hard we must work and strive to belong to it, even when we are doomed by our flesh or our skin, by our unconventional longings and wayward imperatives, by our inevitable ageing and the inconvenient afflictions of ill health or disability. Even when it is clearly unattainable for us, this idealisation of feminine beauty, holds sway in the psyche, still we strive to deserve the approval of an objectifying eye that holds no care for our wellbeing, as though beauty were a pair of psychic callipers restricting unadulterated expression.
I wonder if the wild feminine can come into her full expression in our world or within ourselves until we allow ourselves to be pure conduits for Her emergence. Utterly unashamed of our embodiment, in all its real, messy power. What if we said yes to being Her embodied expression in all Her myriad forms, not just the fluid divinity of her grace, not just when she’s looking fine and sexy, but also in the bone-crunching wrenching away of the unreal, in the furious devotion to creation, in the guttural grief, the sacred rage, the harrowing keen, the raucous ululation?
Our survival-instinct, as women and men who are saying yes to the awakening of this suppressed force of our nature, in a world that has subjugated this imperative for millennia, has often been to exist within the performative parameters of the aspects of our otherness that have been tamed and permitted by the dominant culture, but what we are given to play with is far from the truth of what it is to be a woman, or to be a being awake to their feminine nature, a being beyond the dominance of an external gaze, a being governed by her sovereign instinct with no will to please but for a fierce commitment to move the transmutational energy through, the ferocity to cut off that which is not life-giving, to be infinitely tender in her care and custodianship, in the glorious capacity to be undone in the feeling of creation birthing itself into being through the body.
What would it mean to be unleashed from imperatives of domesticated aesthetics, and polite desirability and acculturated submission, when as woman our bodies are flooded with transmutational orgasm, the cosmos coursing through the crown to the sacred portal of bliss that swells within our yoni, within our cervix, our womb; or when we crown and bring our babies through from the other side, through our bloodied thighs, to our ravaged bellies, forever changed, motherborn; or when our heart’s become cascading torrents of formidable compassion and ferocious care, energetically weaving safe harbour and heartfull sanctuary to the subjugated and abandoned, to the weak and the exiled; or when the rhythm and tide of the drum pulses through our being so that we are taken over by the force and power of the primal, breaking through our cells to be expressed in the sublime magnificence of our unmediated expression; when we are taken over, lost, consumed by the offering of our work in the world, the birthing of something real and life-giving, calling form from the formless, wooing love from the void, making personal the impersonal. Does it matter then, if she’s pretty? Does she need to be beautiful? Does it matter if she’s desirable to a misogynistic gaze? Does it matter if her butt looks good in that dress, if her hair is done, if her body is untameable, if she’s lost sight of the stereotype?
I hunger for the ugly in this sanitised world. I hunger for the raw and the unmediated. I hunger for the sovereignty to not bind myself with the imperatives of a gaze that would keep me small and controllable and compliant to a system that is raping our earth as it rapes the psyches of its people. I hunger to claim back my right to look exactly the way I do, to move as I see fit, to express what emotes, to love what arrises, to reprieve myself from the hyper vigilant “not-enoughness” of my subservience, because I never was here to be an ornament, or to please the gaze of an illusion that can never even begin to meet the love I crave and harbour in the cavernous recesses of my wild heart, in the primal tide of my desire and the transmutational rhythms of my erotic nature. I am here to breath and to sing and to birth my love and to take no prisoners and to hold my ground and to keen, keen, keen to what has been lost of Her and to rejoice in the incremental re-membering, re-embodying of Her ecstatic and formidable love, and fierce and devoted creative capacity to heal and to restore, to bless and to purify, to regenerate and to equalise, to kill off and re-birth, to awaken.
I want to belong to Her completely, but in order to do this I must peel myself away from what I have been told I am, how I have been so critically conditioned to loath myself and my own unruly embodiment, my real, bloody, messy, fleshy, ever changing, growing, evolving, ageing, weathering, destructive/creative, uncontainable beingness, my body a conduit for all life, all energy to express itself through me. I must belong unutterably to my very own becoming, regardless of what it looks like, regardless of how I am perceived.
I know the language is flawed, but I am not ready to let go of being Woman and seeking to know my Feminine Nature because we don’t actually really even know what it is that we are letting go of yet. Her suppression has been so brutally actualised in our colonised world that we don’t even really know what it is that has been so suppressed. The full expression of Her true nature has been so annihilated from the field of our consciousness that we do not know what is so achingly absent from our existence. If not the feminine, then try the dynamic, transmutational, chaotic, destructive, primal, sensuous, restorative, regenerative, emotive, erotic, body-centric field of existence? She is wanting to birth Herself again in the consciousness of humanity, but in order for Her to do this we have to begin to live outside of the restrictive boxes we have been given, and question the ways in which we curtail and suppress, punish and impair, brutalise and hinder the intuitively emergent qualities of our own evolutionary existence, and the very particular and personal ways in which we are embodied in this world.
Language fails us again and again, but what I know is that I can feel Her, pressing into my chest, hungering for me to find a way of loosening the collar, ungagging my mouth, so that She can speak again through my throat. I feel Her pulling her vibration through my legs sometimes when I dance, shuddering me viscerally, with a bone-clattering force, shaking out the fear and shame and evacuated absence of my flesh. She serenades me in the kinaesthetic tide of Her ancient unfoldment in the cells of my flesh and my blood and my bones. Maybe we as human beings are meant to be the way through which She speaks, gives voice, finds form, births love. Maybe our wombs are the anchor for Her consciousness, maybe it is through our dreams that She weaves Her web of awakening, maybe our voices are the articulation of Her imperative in the cosmic quest for peace? Who is speaking for Her? How authentically can we let Her voice be heard through our unapologetic living?
By no means do I seek to diminish feminine beauty, but rather to liberate our expression from it’s exclusive dominion in the psyches of woman and to question, who is the beauty-making for? Is it an inward impulse emerging as an expression of a love for oneself and one’s own unique plumage and creative expression? A wild and vibrant celebration of our own intimate love affair with divinity? Or is it beauty-making to please the predatory gaze of the pretty police? Least we forget we are all loved in this strange world of soulless surfaces and empty promises, I believe that we are each made as we are, exactly as we are, because we are meant to be this way. Because there is something about our otherness that has something powerful to say to the status quo, and even when we are most alone in our personal determination and singular sovereignty, then if we listen, we can hear Her whisper most fiercely in our ear, “You are loved. You, my dear, are Love. And through your full bodied beingness I will rise into the consciousness of humanity as She of the many faces, She who embraces diversity, She who harbours all, giving thanks for difference, because that is how we know we are living inside a healthy ecosystem.”
The Primal Feminine Nature is so beautiful, but She is also fierce and unwieldy and unyielding and chaotic and untameable and yes, sometimes she’s really fucking ugly in a refreshingly life-giving way. I don’t see Her face very often in the world around me, so I’m not ready to give her away just yet. I think I am maybe only just beginning to know how She lives in me, and that is only because I have the monolithic and immeasurable privilege of living in a time and place where I will not be persecuted for my love of Her wild ways and am able to dance and sing and thrive and work and show my face and speak and learn and share and grow in my freedom of expression. I feel in my deepest of hearts that She is beseeching us now to re-member Her, to birth Her through our blood and our wild song, through our tenacious love and care, through our art and our activism, through our belonging to the earth and our bodies and our desire, and our diversity of nature and voice, and our capacity to include and to keep toxic forces at bay and to heal and restore cohesion and a fiercely attuned co-creative capacity to the collective of humanity as we exist at this time, upon this good earth.
Text © Lucy Pierce 2018