Tag Archives: Feminism

Which Goddess are you?

hands

Check out this cool gif below! Let it run and then click it to see which Goddess you are representing right now in your life. It’s really fun!

If you can’t get it to pause, just hit your back button and see which goddess it rests on. I’m still trying to figure out how to embed gifs lol…

mary

 

Interesting article! I hadn’t thought about these issues in exactly this way. We each have a responsibility to heal ourselves and release our baggage. This is one of the ways of turning things around.

“I know that people are exhausted of the state of the world, especially those who have been fighting the longest and hardest, but I’m talking about the very heart of the issues that allowed America’s current government administration to do all that they are doing, and with the issues that affect us globally it won’t just be Americans who are in trouble, but the rest of the entire planet. Climate change alone has become a huge part of this, and it will literally kill us all if we don’t do something. We have 10-15 years left to be able to do anything about it. Toxic Christianity won’t care because toxic Christianity wants to usher in the end times and bring back Jesus. Toxic Christianity doesn’t think women should have rights let alone vote. Toxic Christianity only likes white people, heterosexuals, and cis men. The rest of us are deemed unworthy, unacceptable, and less than human.”

via Toxic Christianity, Patriarchy, White Supremacy, Toxic Masculinity And Its Impact On Pagans And Occultists | Scarlet Magdalene

 

 

 

She Isn’t High-Maintenance, You’re Just Low Effort

high-maintenance-woman

I saw the title of this article and was intrigued… it’s an interesting idea…

There are plenty of women AND men in the world who are ridiculously demanding, self absorbed and emotionally avoidant, but I don’t hear men being called “high maintenance” very often. When a woman is called “high maintenance”, it could be true, but it also might be a way of dismissing her power. Maybe a woman referred to as high maintenance, is actually high value.

It takes effort to make your life work well, to heal yourself and become a high value person. It takes a lot of work, and ANYONE can do it.

Getting your s*** together is worth it, because it helps one to thrive in life. A high value person, in my view, is someone who takes responsibility for the own happiness, makes an effort to not cause harm or hurt to others, and lives a life of honor and integrity.

It’s someone who aims to live a life in harmony with the eight fold path in Buddhism: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. Once this person has achieved their own happiness and stability, they try to be helpful to others and guide and support them too.

“Last time I checked, having standards doesn’t make a woman high-maintenance, it just makes her a person who knows what she wants.
It doesn’t make her a mission impossible, it just requires a bit more effort than it normally would. And putting in extra effort can be a problem to some, which is why it’s always easier to come up with excuses than it is to step up your game.

She is the kind of woman who doesn’t depend on anyone.
It’s because she knows to lean on someone in life means to be left without anything once that someone decides to walk away from her.

That’s why she takes care of herself and she makes life good for herself. She doesn’t need you to do that for her.
She’s perfectly capable of doing it on her own.
She knows her worth.
She feels good about herself and she isn’t afraid to show it. But she only feels this way because she’s worked hard on herself.
She’s aware of how much she brings to the table and she always keeps in mind that she’s more than good enough.

And there is nothing more valuable in this world than a woman who knows her worth.

She knows where she wants to be in life. And she knows how to get there too. She’s a person who constantly pushes her limits and who’s constantly trying.

She keeps working on herself. She takes care of her looks and her brains as well.
She knows what she deserves.
And she isn’t settling for anything less. That’s why she might appear as high-maintenance to some. But she is just asking for as much as she’s ready to give and that’s all.
In case you’re failing to reach her standards or win her over, perhaps it’s not the problem that she has set her standards high, but that you have your efforts set really low?

You don’t get to disrespect her.
She doesn’t let people treat her badly and she never allows other people to project their insecurities on her.
She is a high-value woman and she holds her head high. That’s why she’ll never put up with someone who tries to bring her down to feel good about himself or with someone who disrespects her.
You don’t get to treat her right only sometimes.
She wants constant effort and she deserves someone who’ll treat her right on all occasions.
She deserves someone who’ll treat her right even when she makes a mistake. She deserves someone who’ll try constantly to prove his love, his admiration and his commitment to her.
You don’t get to be mediocre.”

Read full article here

 

Gen X

the_breakfast_club_3

Fun article on Generation X. We’re all middle aged now! As an astrologer, I find it interesting to watch my generation as they travel through life. We are meant to shake things up. We were born during the tumultuous 1960’s, when Uranus and Pluto were in a conjunction in Virgo. We are redefining technology, communication, service, health, habits, and what it means to achieve a dream.

“The tech, music, style, books, trends, rules, films and pills that made Gen X … so so-so.”

“Like many things considered “cool,” Gen X is pretty exclusive. You had to be born between 1965 and 1980 to get in to this gloomy, goofy club of forgotten middle children, and only about 65 million of us were. (Both boomers, at 75 million, and millennials, at 83 million, far outnumber us.)

The idea behind that “X” was about coming between. Gen X supposedly didn’t know what they were, or what they wanted. All they knew, they were told, was what they didn’t want — marriage, money, success — and then they shrugged and popped a Prozac.

And you know what else Gen X is? Getting older. Its oldest members are 54; its youngest are preparing for 40. As we try to make sense of that fact, here’s a look at the stuff we loved and hated, as well as a re-evaluation of things like “The Rules,” grunge, CK One and 1994; an appreciation of John Singleton; a quiz to figure out which generation you actually are; and a visit with Evan Dando, plus some dynamite for the myths that have always dogged Gen X. So put on your headphones, click on that Walkman below (surprise!) and let’s travel through this time machine together.” — Anya Strzemien

Female Saints

15844068_10154061505357601_1408951836984740967_o

Here is an interesting rewrite of Liber XV, the Gnostic Mass, incorporating female saints in place of the usual male saints list. If you recognize the author, please let me know!

I love it ❤

“Mother of Fertility on whose breast lieth water, whose cheek is caressed by air, and in whose heart is the Sun’s fire, womb of all life, recurring grace of seasons, answer favorably the prayer of labor, and to pastors and husbandmen be thou propitious. With love we honor them that did of old adore Thee and manifest thy VICTORY unto the world:

Shekinah, Shakti, Sophia, Athena, Iymma, Isis, and Hé Kokkiné Guné. With these also: Sappho, Hypatia, Medea, Miriam, Fatimah, and Guenevere; Joan of Arc, Hildegard von Bingen, Caterina Benincasa, Teresa of Ávila, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Rebecca Cox Jackson, who bore the labarum of Light through the darkness. And these also: Eva von Buttlar, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Ida Craddock, Anandamoyi Ma, and Vivian Godfrey Barcynski; “Anna Sprengel,” Florence Farr, Violet Firth, and Ann Davies, who nurtured a Golden Dawn; Rose Edith Crowley, Leah Hirsig, Sarah Jane Wolfe, and Phyllis Evelina Seckler –

O Boundless ecstasy of the Naught, who gathereth the Blood of all saints into thy Cup! With all thy Daughters of the Sangraal, we honor and love Her that is above, within, and about us. May thine Essence be here measureless, mystical, mysterious, and maternal to manifest this feast.”

  • Unknown

If You’re Unhappy With Your Life, It’s Your Responsibility To Change It

magick (2)

By Dian Tinio
Updated June 16, 2019

“Oftentimes, we settle for what we think is right, acceptable and safe. We are so dominated by the idea of staying because it feels scary to move. Because it feels frightening to face a whole new environment without the people, the things, or the places we’ve been so used to.
We are so terrified by the idea of moving on, because we feel like we just can’t move on and leave things behind. We sacrifice our own being, our own happiness. We choose to compromise all these because we choose to stay, when we should really be moving on, moving forward.

If you’re unhappy, MOVE. Because if you’re meant to stay in one place, you should have roots, instead of feet.

If you’re unhappy with your job, quit. If you feel like, you’re no longer growing, no longer learning, if you’re no longer productive, if you’re only clocking in and out every single day – then move. If you’re constantly stressing over the fact that it drains you mentally, physically and emotionally, then move. If you’re thinking of just sticking with that job that never fails to suck your joy because it pays the bills and you might be “promoted” there and can call yourself “successful” and “happier” – NO. Your happiness does not depend on your success. Your success actually depends on your happiness. If you think there are new opportunities, new places, new things you can explore and will contribute to your soul and to your individual growth, then go there. If it’s worth your time thinking, then it’s worth trying. No one’s too old to try. Whether it ends good or bad, it’s still an experience. Let’s not forget that every experience teaches us a valuable lesson that we might never learn if we choose otherwise.

If you’re unhappy with the people you surround yourself with, leave. If you feel like they no longer influence you positively and you no longer prosper with them then leave. By leaving, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cutting them off of your life or you’re forgetting them forever, it just simply means that you are finally moving forward. The time you had with them was spectacular. There were learnings and encouragements but when they are no longer a vessel of such and all they do is drag you into settling for mediocrity, then maybe it’s time to say your “thank you” and “see you again”. You are just recognizing that you need to go on with your life, perhaps without them.

If you’re unhappy with your love life, end it. They aren’t the last people on earth. Romantic relationships are more than forehead kisses, dinner dates, tight hugs and sweet letters – romantic relationships just like any other vital connection you have, is supposed to mature with you. Romantic relationships are supposed to let you flourish and develop in every aspect of who you are. It is supposed to hearten you every morning and not weigh you down with doubts and resentments. If your partner becomes a constant instrument of heartache and toxicity, then cut them off. You are not obliged to burden yourself with such. They are supposed to be one of the top people who will propel you to be at your best, to motivate you and allow you to discover the extent of your grandeur. Remember that, always. Who knows, maybe in the near future you’ll meet someone who’ll contribute to your soul even more.

If you’re unhappy with your city, move. Don’t get stranded with comfort zones and safety nets. Familiarity is good but too much familiarity is not that good. A little risk and uncertainty can go a long long way. If you’re only staying because you feel it’s secured and because you’re already living there for a long while now that it is “home” or that it is “convenient” – well, you might want to re-think your decisions. Being comfortable can be a whole lot scarier than taking risks. You stopped conquering magnificent things when you start getting comfortable. Remember, great things come outside of our comfort zone. So pack your things, leave your city and move to another one if you must. Go out on this adventure to nowhere. Start anew. Search for a place you might like to visit, a place you might like to stay. Now is the time. Home is where your happiness is, not where it’s guarded.

If you’re unhappy with your life path, take any turn possible. Whether it is your college course or your career path, or your business direction – whatever path it is that you’re taking right now, if it reeks strong discontentment, then it’s the perfect time to take a pause and redirect yourself. If you’re taking a course you don’t like, shift. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to waste years, effort and money on something you never even love in the first place. It will only teach you to settle. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t embolden you, you’ll still feel devoid, exhausted. So it doesn’t really matter if you’re graduating next year, you better decide before you find yourself trapped in an office chair with loads of shitty work you don’t even understand and doesn’t enrich your passion. If you’re investing years of your precious time and expertise in a career path you’re not even appeased with, shift. If you don’t see yourself on the same path in the years to come, what’s the point? There is no right time to shift and leave, you do it when you feel like it. You do it when you’re unhappy. You do it now. Take on a new path, embrace diversity and development. Whatever path it is you’re in right now, if you’re unhappy, take a turn. Whether it is left or right, as long as you’re happy, you will not lose yourself.

If you’re unhappy with how you see life, move your sight. See life from a different view, a different perspective. Re-acquaint yourself with life. Worrying or over-thinking things don’t change how life is. Like they say, don’t stress over the things you can’t change. The only thing you can do is fix your eyes on a different light, see life in all its splendor. Stop viewing it for all its troubles. Life is beautiful.
If you’re unhappy where you are right now, move. It’s as simple as that, I don’t know why we make everything so complicated. Why we spend so much of our time and energy scrutinizing everything, when the only thing we should really be thinking about is our own happiness.

Thus, instead of dreading and over-examining every decision you need to make in your life, trust your guts. Sometimes, taking risks and clinging to perplexity is a good thing. You don’t always have to weigh the pros and cons of things, sometimes there is only one thing that really, truly matters and that is; your happiness, your passion for this life and your hunger for a contented heart. You don’t have to be sure of where you’re going or what the next step is; sometimes all you have to do is take the first step and that is to MOVE.”

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women

father-and-daughter-silhouette-494x329

“People who lose their parents early in life are like fellow war veterans. As soon as they discover that they are talking to someone else who has lost a parent, they know they are speaking the same language without uttering a word.” – Pamela Thomas

“Fatherless Daughter Syndrome” (colloquially known as “daddy issues”) is an emotional disorder that stems from issues with trust and lack of self esteem that leads to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men. It can last a woman’s entire lifetime if the symptoms go unacknowledged and ignored.”

“Growing Up Without a Dad Shapes Who You Are” by McKenna Meyers

“It took six decades, but I can finally utter a huge truth that caused me tremendous shame and sadness: My father didn’t love me. I never spoke that deep, dark secret, but it was always festering inside of me. It manifested itself in many ways throughout my life as I struggled with a food obsession, low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression.
Whether a dad was present but rejecting like mine or walked away from his fatherly duties entirely, his absence leaves an indelible mark on a daughter’s psyche as she grows into adulthood.

Below, you’ll find six ways a daughter may be affected by an uninvolved dad.

1. Fatherless Daughters Have Self-Esteem Issues

According to Deborah Moskovitch, an author and divorce consultant, kids often blame themselves when dad leaves the home and becomes less involved in their lives. When they aren’t given an explanation about why dad left, they make up their own scenario and jump to the conclusion that it’s their fault and that they’re unlovable.
This is especially true for daughters. Countless studies have shown that fatherlessness has an extremely negative impact on daughters’ self esteem. Her confidence in her own abilities and value as a human being can be greatly diminished if her father isn’t there. Academically, personally, professionally, physically, socially, and romantically, a woman’s self esteem is diminished in every setting if she did not form a healthy relationship with her father

2. Daughters With Absent Fathers Struggle to Build and Maintain Relationships

According to Pamela Thomas, author of Fatherless Daughters (a book that examines how women cope with the loss of a father via death or divorce), women who grew up with absent dads find it difficult to form lasting relationships. Because they were scarred by their dad’s rejection of them, they don’t want to risk getting hurt again. Consciously or unconsciously, they avoid getting close to people. They may form superficial relationships in which they reveal little of themselves and put very little effort into getting to know others. They may become promiscuous as a way of getting male attention without becoming too emotionally involved.
Ever since childhood, I’ve built walls around myself. I didn’t open up to people. I didn’t ask questions about their families, jobs, or hobbies. I kept my life private, and I remained socially isolated. These were all self-protective measures so I wouldn’t experience rejection like I did with my dad. Knowing this intellectually did nothing to help me change my behavior because my fear of rejection was more powerful than my desire to make connections.

3. Women With Absent Fathers Are More Likely to Have Eating Disorders

In their book The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders, the authors Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto write eloquently about the fact that girls with physically or emotionally absent fathers are at greater risk of developing eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating, body dysmorphia, unhealthy preoccupations with food or body weight, and other eating disorders are all more likely if a girl does not have a father figure as she’s growing up. Daughters without dads are also twice as likely to be obese. Because her longing to have a close relationship with her dad is denied, she may develop what Margo Maine (author of Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, & Food) calls “father hunger,” a deep emptiness and a profound insecurity. Daughters are left wondering: What’s so wrong with me that my own father doesn’t love me? If I looked different—if I was thin—would I earn daddy’s love?
I’ve struggled with “father hunger” throughout my life—stuffing my face to fill the void, dieting to get model-thin, and always obsessing about food. My days have been filled with thoughts of eating—either doing it or struggling mightily not to. When I accepted that my dad didn’t love me and that he was an unhappy man with deep-rooted problems, I finally started eating normally and began maintaining a healthy weight. I began treating myself in a loving way by exercising, gardening, reading, walking in the woods, and spending time with family. For the first time in my life, I only thought about food when I was truly hungry. This freed me to enjoy my life in so many wonderful ways.

4. Daughters of Absent Fathers Are More Prone to Depression

Not surprisingly, girls who grew up with dads who were emotionally or physically absent are more likely to struggle with depression as adults. Because they fear abandonment and rejection, these women often isolate themselves emotionally. They avoid healthy romantic relationships because they don’t feel deserving and fear getting hurt, but they might jump into unhealthy relationships that ultimately lead to heartbreak. In either scenario, the women are in emotional peril and frequently become depressed. If they don’t deal with the cause of their sadness—an absent dad—they may never be able to develop healthy relationships with men.
To top it all off, data suggests that children without fathers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
According to Denna Babul and Karin Louise, authors of The Fatherless Daughter Project, it’s helpful to simply realize that we’re not alone. In fact, one in three women see themselves as fatherless and struggle with feelings of abandonment. Knowing this fact helps us see that there’s a whole sisterhood out there who share a common pain and a need to connect. When we open up and share our journey, we help both ourselves and each other. Whether we feel the loss of a dad through death, divorce, drug addiction, estrangement, or emotional neglect, we must grieve in order to move forward. Read Five Steps to Heal Her Pain: How a Fatherless Daughter Can Move On From Her Dad’s Rejection for ideas on how to avoid falling into depression. A gifted therapist can be key to helping us do just that and becoming happier people.

5. Dadless Daughters Are More Likely to Become Sexually Active Earlier

Studies have shown the many benefits that come from a strong father-daughter bond. Most notably, girls who are close to their dads are less likely to get pregnant as teens. They delay engaging in sexual relationships, wait longer to get married and have children, and when they do find a husband, their marriages are more emotionally satisfying, stable, and long-lasting.
Countless studies also show that women who have unstable or absent paternal relationships are more likely to start having sex earlier and engage risky sexual behaviors. Daughters are four times more likely to get pregnant as a teen if dad isn’t in the picture. Studies show that more than 70% of unplanned teenage pregnancies occur in homes where there is no father.

6. Abandoned Daughters Are Susceptible to Addiction

As with depression, eating disorders, and low self esteem, the absence of a father can trap a daughter in a negative repetitive pattern she can’t easily break out of and turn to drugs to self-medicate and help numb the pain. She is more likely to find herself trapped in a cycle of substance abuse, for example. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Not only are kids in father-absent households about four times more likely to be poor (which can trigger many negative cycles), fatherless adolescents were found to be 69% more likely to use drugs and 76% more likely to commit crimes.

Can a Daughter Survive Without a Father?

Try as I might, I was never been able to get any traction, always making a mess of this or that and never able to form long-lasting friendships. I rejected happiness because I never felt worthy of it. I did so much to sabotage my life and make myself miserable.
Then last year my older sister revealed to me that she, too, had felt unloved by him. I immediately felt enormous relief and then great euphoria. I realized it had never been about me—that I was bad, ugly, stupid and undeserving. It had always been about him—his unhappy childhood, his cold mother, his negative nature, and his dissatisfaction with being a husband and father. It had never been about me…never.
I could finally shout: “You were a piece of crap and now I’m done with you! I’m not your prisoner any more!”
According to Caitlin Marvaso, AMFT, a grief counselor and therapist, to recover from a father’s abandonment, a woman “must learn how to father herself, hold herself, and receive the type of love a father provides. It is a lifelong process, but with the proper support, tools, and patience, it is totally possible. That being said, the grief and pain never goes away, it just changes.”
A daughter whose father abandoned her can grow, thrive, learn, excel, succeed, love and be loved, and live a wonderful life when she realizes that the problem isn’t her, it’s him. This is the first step toward healing.

What Is Fatherless Daughter Syndrome?

“Fatherless Daughter Syndrome” (colloquially known as “daddy issues”) is an emotional disorder that stems from issues with trust and lack of self esteem that leads to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men. It can last a woman’s entire lifetime if the symptoms go unacknowledged and ignored.
Does the Reason Affect the Result of Fatherlessness?
Half of the daughters in the US self-identify as having no father in their lives, but the reasons for that fatherlessness vary. Approximately 28% lost their connection to their dads via divorce or separation, while 26% cite emotional absence as the reason for the estrangement. 19% lost their fathers to death, 13% to abandonment, 13% to addiction, 12% to abuse, and 4% to incarceration. 6% say they never met their father.
Certainly, a daughter whose loving dad passed away when she was 15 will be affected differently than a daughter whose father abandoned her when she was born. Unfortunately, many studies do not account for the reasons for fatherlessness.
The effects of fatherlessness can be mitigated by many factors. Daughters who were brought up in households with two moms, a loving and very-involved step parent, or participating grandparents or other extended family members will probably not experience the same lasting wounds and negative impact of a father’s abandonment.

What Are the Emotional Effects of Being Abandoned by a Father?

Compared to those with healthy paternal relationships, fatherless women report…
feeling less happiness and lower levels of well-being,
higher levels of frustration, anger, and anger-related depression,
difficulty navigating the emotions of intimate relationships, and
overwhelming fears of abandonment.

What Are the Psychological Effects of an Absent Father?

To summarize, depression, suicide, eating disorders, obesity (and its effects), early sexual activity, addiction-formation, and difficulty building and holding on to loving relationships are all side-effects of an absent father.

Full Moon in Scorpio

veil

Full Moon at 27 Scorpio 2:11pm Pacific, Saturday May 18th. (Moon in it’s fall)
Mercury at 21 Taurus (no mercurial Magick until May 21st)
Mars at 2 Cancer (in it’s fall; no Mars Magick)
Venus at 1 Taurus (rulership; VERY strong)
Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto retrograde

It’s as intense as it sounds. Avoid social complications this weekend, and if they are unavoidable, keep calm and try not to create more of a crisis. That being said it’s also possible to deeply connect with a lover or companion. This is a weekend to go within and explore your own triggers, face your fears, swim through your own depths and rebirth yourself. Scorpio is a psychological sign, and the Full Moon will illuminate the depths of your psyche.

Mercury in Taurus wants to slow down and think in a practical way – but the energy of Mercury wants to flit about like a hummingbird. It’s a strange placement but not too terrible. Organize your possessions and negotiate at home and work. Gemini’s and Virgo’s might appreciate the focus on their material lives for another week.

Venus in Taurus is extremely well placed. Excellent month for creativity, money, relationships, sensuality, food and beauty. Taurus or Libra Sun (or Rising) people will feel centered now, and can make strides towards creating a thriving life. You guys are in your element. Bring more nature, romance, art and music into your life. Women will feel empowered, and the legislation to control a women’s body will probably fail miserably because of this placement.

Mars in Cancer means the planet is in it’s “fall” – it’s energy and expression is severely limited. Actions (especially attacks) will lack teeth and will fizzle out. It’s challenging to make headway when Mars is in Cancer, so focus on nurturing yourself and your home instead. With the North Node in Cancer right now, vulnerability and nurturing is highlighted. Express yourself respectfully. The actions of men are diminished with Mars in Cancer, and they need to seek out nurturing. Call your Moms ❤

The psychological depth of this Full Moon in Scorpio tomorrow, is further enhanced by Saturn and Pluto retrograding and conjunct through Capricorn. We are in the midst of deep, cathartic changes within ourselves, and outwardly in our society. This change will be in motion for the next couple of years, and will send us in a more mature and sustainable direction. We all need to take the focus off of others, or our outward experiences, and commit to doing our inner work. And with the North Node in Cancer, this inner work needs to happen in a loving and nurturing way.

Pluto brings up power struggles, catharsis, research, healing and our toxic energy. With Pluto’s power we can heal our toxic wounds and regenerate ourselves like the Phoenix.

Saturn wants us to grow up and face our problems like adults. It rules responsibility, discipline, commitment, stability, karma, and hard work. Face your fears and do the work you’ve been putting off. If you do this, Saturn will support you and give you the strength you need to move forward in your life.

 

 

 

Women of Age and Wisdom

summer

“Women get more beautiful as they grow older. Not less.
Female youth is only prized in modern culture because it doesn’t represent as much of a threat spiritually to anyone who is frightened of divine feminine power.
As women grow and mature, they call in stronger forces of sacred feminine wisdom. They vibrate with the creative power of their stories.
They are more of a force to be reckoned with.
They see more, know more, feel more. They put up with a lot less bullshit.
When women are trained into thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with getting older, and are coerced into spending money, energy and power investing in ‘slowing the signs of ageing’, an enormous vault of divine love is lost.
Just think what would happen if all the women in the world started loving themselves even more with every year that passed.
Perhaps a total revolution would occur.~”
~Yogesh Kumar

5 Powerful Lessons Arya Stark Teaches about surviving trauma

Arya-Stark

Arya Stark from the series “Game of Thrones” has fascinated me from the beginning. Now that we are at the end, I’m going to miss this character and the show itself. There is a rich, diverse, cast of characters in GoT, but I’ve loved watching Arya’s growth from the horrifying trauma she survived as a young girl, to the incredible woman she has become. This article addresses that very issue, and I found it to be full of insights for everyone. There are definitely spoilers here, so watch Season 8 first!

Here are the main five:

1. Her heightened instincts and ability to sense danger with alarming precision

As a child, Arya is trained by Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) to be as “swift as a deer, quiet as a shadow, calm as still water.” She also learns that fear cuts deeper than swords. These are all lessons that will inevitably help her to defeat the Night King. Arya’s training with Syrio lays the crucial foundation for her sword-fighting abilities, but it is actually the dangerous incidents she is forced to confront head-on in everyday life that challenge and hone her ability to identify and navigate danger skillfully. It is in her life experiences after her initial training that give her the platform to utilize these lessons. From living on the streets of King’s Landing to fighting a trained assassin from Braavos while temporarily blind, Arya learns to defend herself against a variety of perpetrators even when she is just a child on the cusp of womanhood.
Many of us are familiar with the term “hypervigilance,” a state of hyper-attunement we can develop to our surroundings due to trauma. Arya develops it in spades as she learns to evade danger in every corner. Often, hypervigilance is seen as a negative symptom of trauma, but actually, there are times our heightened attentiveness can be useful for our discernment of someone else’s true motives and character. According to researcher Willem Frankenhuis, people who have been abused in childhood can develop what Dr. Michael Ungar calls “an uncanny ability to detect threats in their environment, an enhanced capacity to learn new things, and even improved memories when it comes to paying attention to parts of their environment that are the most relevant.”

As therapist Athena Phillips writes in a 2012 article for GoodTherapy:
“Survivors of trauma regularly inform me of what they experience as something akin to having superpowers. The capacity to feel things other people can’t, to identify either the goodness or inherent evil in someone just by looking at them, or to ‘predict’ interpersonal outcomes are some of the new-found abilities people have described. People who have experienced trauma often indicate that they are able to pick up on covert human behaviors, and there is a great deal of trust in their capacity to intuit. Oftentimes, these powers really do exist; survivors have developed a discriminating aptitude for picking up on environmental cues that may have significance to them.”

2. Her fragmented sense of identity and search for her true identity and wholeness.

Trauma creates fragments: It shatters the connection among memories, thoughts, emotions, and the self. Complex trauma survivors often find themselves confronting disparate inner parts that developed as a result of the traumas they endured; according to trauma experts, they must find ways to identify and integrate these parts in healthy ways in order to reach their true core calm and compassionate self. Much like any complex trauma survivor, Arya tries to escape the terrors of her childhood by taking on other identities and dissociating from her past except for her justified rage at those who murdered her family members. Arya’s need for vengeance ultimately creates a “protector self” that keeps her focused on a list of people she must kill rather than her true self and her grief.
Arya’s search for her own identity is also astutely represented by her brutal experiences at Braavos where she learns to become “no one” in her training to become a Faceless Man and assassin. There, she is beaten, terrorized, and challenged to fight back. Ironically, it is her journey to becoming no one that eventually leads her to own the fact that she is indeed someone. As she tells Jaqen H’ghar bravely and with conviction, “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I am going home.” It is only when she integrates her darkness within her true self, recognizes her true power and strength from the traumas she has emerged from, that she decides she is going home. She goes home not just to her family but to herself.

3. Her post-traumatic growth and psychological self-mastery

As therapist Andrea Schneider notes shrewdly in her Game of Thrones blog series, characters who have endured trauma on this show can exhibit promising signs of post-traumatic growth, the positive psychological changes we benefit from after enduring adversity. While regaining a pre-trauma identity is next to impossible for characters like Arya, her post-traumatic growth is tremendous.
Not only does Arya learn to incorporate the life lessons of her trauma into her sword fighting and archery skills, she learns psychological mastery. She learns the art of resourcefulness even when she has nothing. She learns how to stealthily collect information (like when she does when acting as cupbearer to Tywin Lannister) to further her journey. She learns a great deal about patience, self-control, confidence, observing rather than reacting, and how to put herself in the mindset of her attackers and predators around her so she can anticipate what they will do—and can preemptively strike. As a result of her traumas, she gains wisdom and skill sets beyond her years, which many adults in the show are still struggling to obtain.
Arya has no explicit desire to be a leader or queen, but her ability to lead due to her experiences make her more fit for the throne than many others who seek it for personal power. It is her desire for justice, rather than power, that makes her unstoppable. Complex trauma survivors experience many of these same psychological benefits as they process, heal, and grow from their traumas. They can learn to navigate life with an increased sense of gratitude, fortitude, and develop a habit for making the best of their circumstances to create success and joy at an even more intense level than someone who has never been traumatized. As they heal, they have an incentive, drive, and determination that can far surpass that of the average person, as well as a greater sense of meaning.
It is only when Arya Stark integrates her darkness within her true self and recognizes her true power that she decides she is going home.

4. Her darkness has to be integrated in order to fully own her light.

Arya is a curious character in that she is not encouraged to forgive those who have wronged her or took the lives of her loved ones. That is what makes her one of the most phenomenal female characters on television: her darkness is not minimized or sugarcoated. It is recognized, along with her authentic outrage, in all of its unflinching glory. And skilled trauma therapists agree: forced, premature forgiveness can actually hinder a survivor’s journey because it invalidates how we really feel and does not give us the time or space to actually process our traumas.

Trauma therapist Anastasia Pollock puts it this way:
“The people I work with in the therapy room are resilient and courageous. They are able to work through their traumas, but many get caught up on one point: They believe they are supposed to forgive the perpetrator but can’t seem to get there. This is what I tell them: You don’t have to forgive in order to move on. Emotions are important and automatic. When we can acknowledge and appreciate even the darkest, most negative-feeling emotions, they often soften and release. As soon as I say, ‘You don’t have to forgive,’ the person usually breathes a sigh of relief.”

Unlike a woman who turns the other cheek and goes immediately into love and light without any kind of transformation beforehand, Arya turns to her sword, Needle, to deliver a much-needed message to perpetrators like Walder Frey (David Bradley). The North remembers, and so does she. She avenges her loved ones one by one, and when she does, we can’t help but cheer from the sidelines.
Although in real life this form of vigilante justice is unrealistic, not recommended and quite gory (none of us should be baking our enemies into pies—we’d have a more productive time processing our traumas in therapy), we learn an important lesson about trauma: it cannot be spiritually bypassed. Our so-called “dark” emotions must be acknowledged in order to fully own our true light. The outrage and rage we feel must be seen, heard, experienced, confronted and (while perhaps not shown on this show) healthily expressed in order to be healed. Whether Arya’s quest for revenge is misplaced is up for debate, but one thing is for sure: this young woman is not your typical depiction of a trauma survivor who forgives and forgets her way into healing. Yet her intense emotions are an all too real part of this journey.

5. Her resilience and strength would not be the same without her experiences.

While none of us would ever volunteer for the traumas we experienced, we can’t help but admit that we would not be who we are without them. We can still validate and honor the injustice of our traumas while acknowledging the internal resources and coping skills they granted us. Trauma can give us the strength and resilience of a sumo wrestler, and Arya is no exception. As whole families are killed, legacies wiped out, and kingdoms come under siege, Arya remains—one of the few survivors of her family. A weary traveler and warrior, she is forced to confront what no child should have to endure. But she does endure, and she is better for it.
At the end, it is this little girl who grows up to be the warrior woman—who ultimately conquers the darkness. No one expected her or saw her coming. Everyone underestimated her. And therein lies her greatest power. It was the traumas of her past that gave her the ability to defeat the Night King, to avenge her loved ones, and to protect her community. Complex trauma survivors, too, are capable of this same kind of resilience—and the ability to give back what they never received.
Arya is every little girl who grew up in terror and trauma. Who survives impossible situations through her resilience, grit, talent, and determination. Whose identity is previously in fragments, only to become whole as she comes into the woman she was always meant to be. And yes, she is truly ruthless when it comes to her enemies. Yet it is perhaps her ability to own her demons that make her even more powerful when she’s avenging her loved ones, enacting some sweet justice and saving the world. We can all learn life lessons about trauma from this brilliant, multifaceted and truly one of a kind character. She is all of us who have survived—and thrived.
This article originally appeared on Psych Central as “5 Powerful Lessons Arya Stark from Game of Thrones Teaches Us About Complex Trauma Survivors” 🔥

by Shahida Arabi: a bestselling author of three books on emotional abuse and trauma.