February 26, 2011

{The Goddess Bride} Part Two: “Epiphany of the Goddess”

[excerpt from the upcoming book - The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Exposed the 'Princess Myth' for All Women]

Royal Marrakech bride
A practice from ancient cultures—that continues today in parts of the world—heralded the bride as a heroine, honoring and attending her like a queen. These intimate bridal rituals included being bathed, perfumed, painted, pierced, bejeweled, coiffed, wrapped, draped, veiled, adorned with flowers, extravagantly dressed (sometimes changing costumes several times over days- or week-long ceremonies)—and elevated to goddess stature!

Wedding celebrations were the time for women to shine in these villages and communities, taking over the precious nuptial proceedings to guide and prepare the next young woman for marriage and instill her goddess legacy. And in so doing, the women were reminded of their own goddess nature.

In these goddess or nature religions, goddesses were the life-giving, self-renewing Protectress of human life, the embodiment of human energy; they were known as the Primeval Mother and, as described by Professor Marija Gimbutas in The Language of the Goddess, a “cosmic Creatrix, life and birth giver.” For thousands of years, honoring the goddess, according to mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, was a “primordial attempt on humanity’s part to understand and live in harmony with the beauty and wonder of Creation.” Therefore it is no surprise that brides were the representation of the goddess in these world cultures.

Most modern cultures may not worship a goddess, but they do continue to be enchanted with the “goddess-like” image of the bride. Is that because on some deep level, she is a reminder of that harmony we still strive for? In her feminine essence, does she represent the continuity of life, love, and all that our hearts hold dear?

Seeing Lady Diana Spencer (in her ivory pouf of a floating silk bridal gown) pause and look back before entering the grandeur of St. Paul’s Cathedral and begin her remarkable journey—peering through her shimmering veil looking mysterious, innocent and womanly all in the same breathless moment—was like seeing the epiphany of the goddess. She became in that defining gesture the representation of the feminine archetype of, as Carl Jung described, our “collective unconscious.” She magnified what every bride embodies: the desire to be loved unconditionally.

I’ve worked with thousands of brides of all ages in my career and I find that a woman’s intuition is heightened during her time as a bride. And her intuition expands exponentially the more she opens to the intimacy of her bridal rite-of-passage. A bride steps into a spotlight of inner and outer examination and, if she is willing to explore this introspective wellspring of wisdom and foresight bubbling up, her choices become easy and inspired—no matter if it’s about her dress, her ceremony or her partner! When she tunes into her intuitive connections from her little girl dreams, or her goddess nudges, or her inspirations on a soul level, a bride easily fulfills these stirrings of the heart. I had brides come to my former bridal art-to-wear store in Atlanta and be lead tothe” dress immediately. You could see in her body language, how her face lit up, how some glow just poured from her that this was the one—even if she began to doubt herself, or doubt that life could truly be this easy.

As an inexperienced teenager, becoming the bride of the heir to the British throne in a wedding spectacle of unimagined proportions, making life changes she was uncertain about and unprepared for, Diana, possibly through some divine cosmic plan, was indeed “self-possessed” about her gown choices! In The Diana Chronicles, Tina Brown speaks about “The Dress” in a language that women understand. Left to her own devices to choose her gown designers (the team of Elizabeth and David Emanuel for their romantic inspirations) and then “in those secretive visits for fittings…[where] she always knew exactly what she was looking for,” Diana created the “fulfillment of her Princess fantasy.” She allowed her intuitive juices to flow! It was as though Diana knew the impact that not only her appearance would make on her wedding day, but she also had a sense of the message that this “looking like goddess” image would send to the world regarding her life purpose: to forge a heart-opening pathway to return the nurturing, compassionate, female aspects to the world. And she needed to be a true “princess bride” to get the world’s attention and fulfill this goddess destiny.

A girl or woman may dream of being a bride in order to be rescued or adored or cared for; she may want to marry in order to create a partnership, a family, a kingdom! Or she may just want to have a wedding and dress like a princess. Perhaps these “bridal dreams” of whatever sort are the stirrings of some deeper ancient ceremonial impulse to feel like a goddess…to be the goddess she is! A woman’s goddess lineage runs deep. So when she taps into her own “inner knowings” of wisdom and confidence, of being beautiful and womanly, of compassionately giving and receiving love—she is in the full-tilt-boogey open heart of the goddess! ~

[Other excerpts from "The Goddess Bride" chapter of The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride upcoming book can be found by clicking on "The Goddess Bride" in the Labels list below.]

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