Restoring the Feminine

Twenty years ago I left my marriage of fourteen years. I was thirty-five years old and having a mid-life soul searching experience. Ending a marriage and the image of the ideal family wasn’t easy for me. Yet I knew it was the right thing to do, or should I say it was “doing the wrong thing for the right reason.”

Since that time I have completed a doctorate in psychology, opened and operated a private psychotherapy and parent coaching practice, and published my first book: ‘Living in the Shadow of the Too-Good Mother Archetype’. All the while, enduring brutally painful custody battles and harsh financial challenges that left me living on the brink of poverty most of those twenty years.

Needless to say, I am tired. My children are now ages twenty-seven through thirty-three. They all have fulfilling adult lives and a strong desire to make the world a better place. Considering all the struggles and strife, I think they have each grown into incredible young adults. I am very blessed.

In my soul’s journey of excavating my Authentic Self, I found the archetype of Mary Magdalene. When Dan Brown’s novel ‘The DaVinci Code’ was published in 2003, I became almost obsessed with getting my hands on anything I could regarding the hypothesis that Mary Magdalene had been Jesus’s bride, and not the evil whore that I had learned about in Catholic school. I read books and attended workshops on the subject and began bringing Mary Magdalene into my morning mediations.

What I learned was that She represents the suppression of the Divine Feminine in our culture. Historically, we can easily see a lack of value for feminine qualities such as nurturance, compassion, empathy, creativity, intuition, and “tending the hearth,” and for two-thousand years we learn about a man’s journey absent of a women.

Interestingly enough during the time of Jesus, it was not appropriate for a man to not have a wife. This makes the first case for why He most likely was married. Biblical scholars such as Margaret Starbird and others have also revealed scripture passages that indicate the notion that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’s wife. Yet the current popular story remains as the “truth,” Jesus was a man on his own and Mary Magdalene was a whore.

The idea of Mary Magdalene having been a teacher working alongside her Beloved is now something I believe to be Truth. I hold the archetype of the Divine Feminine as an important one in our world today. Restoring what was lost when Mary Magdalene was cut out of the story allows us to deepen into the mystery of the feminine and all of the nurturing qualities needed to save our planet.

In the 1963 book ‘The Feminine Mystique’, Betty Freidan labeled a commonplace malaise that many women were feeling at that time as “the problem that has no name.” In 2009 Maria Shiver and ‘The Center for Change’ published the first ‘Shriver Report’ on the state of woman in America. Interestingly, many women reported experiencing the same feelings described by the women in Freidan’s book in 1963. Forty years after the rise of the feminist movement and many more women entering the workplace, there still seems to be a common “problem that has no name.” I believe this is the result of having lost our connection to the feminine and living in a culture that gives lip service to how wonderful women are, all the while still oppressing them by discarding the value of what has been minimally labeled as “women’s work.”

So what does it take to restore the lost feminine? A challenging question at best. My experience has taught me that it is a journey of going inward and finding the Truth within us, very much like the 14th Century mystics. Medical intuitive, Carolyn Myss in her book ‘Entering The Castle’, says that many people today are being called to be “mystics without monasteries.” Discovering the Authentic Self by peeling off the layers of lies and deception that have been told to us during this time of patriarchal power and suppression of the feminine, takes courage and a willingness to look deep at our individual and collective wounds.

As I mentioned earlier—I am tired! Yet, I know that my path has been one of excavating the True Self and one that I am happy and grateful to have entered into. This morning as I called on Mary Magdalene in my meditation, these five words came to me: Rest~Relax~Recover~Receive~Read.

I breathe into the knowing that my life’s work is about restoring the feminine, and in a conscious and mindful way I continue to discover the Truth of who I am as a woman.

In May of 2016 I am planning to lead a pilgrimage through the Sacred Mary Magdalene sites in the south of France. I look forward to deepening the experience of healing the wounded feminine, and sharing the embodiment of Magdalene’s work with both women and men. In the meantime, I am resting, relaxing, recovering, receiving, and reading as much as I can about the precious Magdalene and the nature of the Divine Feminine.

Storykeeper: Patti Ashley

Patti owns and operates Breakthrough Psychotherapy and Parent Coaching in Boulder, Colorado where she helps individuals, couples and families meet the challenges of today’s world. Patti uses a unique therapeutic approach that guides clients on a journey of breaking-through old dysfunctional patterns and belief systems. Her process of excavating and integrating the authentic self leads you into a healthy, whole and vital life.

Patti is also the author of the book Living in the Shadow of the Too-Good Mother Archetype, published by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing. In this book, she reveals the truth about being a good enough mother and dispels the myths of being a perfect parent. After many years of working with parents and mothers, she has discovered the lost feminine, and her passion for reclaiming the Sacred in everyday life.

Patti has over thirty-five years of experience in the fields of education and psychology, some of which include: teaching special education classes; developing parenting programs for healthcare programs; teaching classes in child development, infancy and care-giving; directing school-based mentoring programs; and counseling individuals, couples and families.

Dr. Ashley holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in psychology; a Master of Science degree in early childhood education; and a Bachelor of Science degree in special education. Nonetheless, she truly believes that her most valuable education came from raising her four children, currently ages twenty-seven through thirty-five.

You can learn more about Patti’s work with mothers on her featured page, or on her website


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