The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way

Fisher King Press
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Naomi Lowinsky has given us a remarkable, fearless, and full autobiography. Speaking in poetic, psychologically sensitive, scholarly dialogues with her shape-shifting muse, she has created a new form . . . This is a beautiful book to treasure and spread among worthy friends. —Sylvia Perera, Author of 'Descent to the Goddess' and 'Celtic Queen Maeve and Addiction.’ 

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky offers us a superbly detailed investigation of the powerful, mythic forces of the world as they are revealed to the active creative self. Don't miss this enlightening and fascinating book. —David St. John, Author of 'Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems' and 'Prism.’ 

Naomi's poetry and prose is infused with the suffering and joys of humans everywhere. Insightful and deeply moving, she brings us the food and water of life. —Joan Chodorow, Author of 'Dance Therapy and Depth Psychology', editor of 'C.G. Jung on Active Imagination.’ 

A passionate love letter to those who yearn to be heard. A must read for every woman who longs to write poetry. —Maureen Murdock, Author of The Heroine's Journey and Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky reinterprets mythic and historical reality in provocative versions of the stories of Eurydice, Helen, Ruth, Naomi, and Sappho. The voice of The Sister from Below argues, cajoles, prods, explains, and yes, loves her human counterpart, and becomes the inspiration for Lowinsky's stunning poetry in this highly original book. —Betty de Shong Meador, Author of Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart and Princess, Priestess, Poet.

Who is She, this Sister from Below? She's certainly not about the ordinary business of life: work, shopping, making dinner. She speaks from other realms. If you'll allow, She'll whisper in your ear, lead your thoughts astray, fill you with strange yearnings, get you hot and bothered, send you off on some wild goose chase of a daydream, eat up hours of your time. She's a siren, a seductress, a shapeshifter . . . Why listen to such a troublemaker? Because She is essential to the creative process: She holds the keys to the doors of our imaginations and deeper life the evolution of Soul.

The Sister emerges out of reverie, dream, a fleeting memory, a difficult emotion--she is the moment of inspiration--the muse. Naomi Ruth Lowinsky writes of nine manifestations in which the muse visits her, stirring up creative ferment, filling her with ghosts, mysteries, erotic teachings, the old religion--bringing forth her voice as a poet. Among these forms of the muse are the "Sister from Below," the inner poet who has spoken for the soul since language began. The muse also appears as the ghost of a grandmother Naomi never met, who died in the Shoah--a grandmother with 'unfinished business.' She visits in the form of Old Mother India, whose culture Naomi visited as a young woman. She cracks open her Western mind, flooding her with many gods and goddesses. She appears as Sappho, the great lyric poet of the ancient world, who engages her in a lovely midlife fantasy. She comes as "Die ur Naomi," an old woman from the biblical story for which Naomi was named, who insists on telling Her version of the Book of Ruth. And in the end, surprisingly, the muse appears in the form of a man, a long dead poet whom Naomi loved in her youth.

The Sister from Below is a personal story, yet universal, of giving up a creative calling because of life's obligations, and being called back to it in later life. This Fisher King Press publication describes the intricate patterns of a rich inner life; it is a traveler's memoir, with outer journeys to Italy, India and a Neolithic cave in Bulgaria, and inward journeys to biblical Canaan and Sappho's Greece; it is filled with mythic experience, a poet's story told. The Sister conveys the lived experience of the creative life, a life in which active imagination--the Jungian technique of engaging with inner figures--is an essential practice.

The Sister speaks to all those who want to cultivate an unlived promise, those on a spiritual path, those who are filled with the urgency of poems that have to be written, paintings that must be painted, journeys that yearn to be taken...

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About the author

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is the author of The Motherline: Every Woman's Journey to Find Her Female Roots and numerous prose essays, many of which have been published in Psychological Perspectives and The Jung Journal. She has had poetry published in many literary magazines and anthologies, among them After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery, Weber Studies, Rattle, Atlanta Review, Tiferet and Asheville Poetry Review. Her two poetry collections, red clay is talking (2000) and crimes of the dreamer (2005) were published by Scarlet Tanager Books. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. Naomi is a Jungian analyst in private practice, poetry and fiction editor of Psychological Perspectives, and a grandmother many times over. 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Fisher King Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2009
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Pages
211
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ISBN
9780981034423
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Creative Ability
Psychology / Movements / Jungian
Self-Help / Creativity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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'The Motherline' takes the perspective of the mother who is always also a daughter. It is a book for women who have mothers, are mothers, or are considering becoming mothers, and for the men who love them. Telling the stories of women whose maturation has been experienced in the cycle of mothering, it urges a view of the psyche of women that does not sever mother from daughter, feminism from "the feminine," body from soul. It argues that the path to wholeness requires us to reclaim aspects of the feminine self that we have lost or forgotten in our struggle to free ourselves from constricting roles. It describes a woman's journey to find her roots in the personal, cultural, and archetypal Motherline. Our mothers are the first world we know, the source of our lives and our stories. Embodying the mysteries of origin, they tie us to the great web of kin and generation. Yet the voice of their experience is seldom heard. We have no cultural mirror in which to envision the fullness of female development; we are deprived of images of female wisdom and maturity. Finding our female roots, reclaiming our feminine souls, requires us to pay attention to our real mothers' lives and experience. Listening to our mothers' stories is the beginning of understanding our own. Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is the author of 'The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way' and 'The Motherline: Every Woman's Journey to Find Her Female Roots' and numerous prose essays, many of which have been published in 'Psychological Perspectives' and 'The Jung Journal'. She has had poetry published in many literary magazines and anthologies, among them 'After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery', 'Weber Studies', 'Rattle, Atlanta Review', 'Tiferet' and 'Asheville Poetry Review'. Her two poetry collections, 'red clay is talking' (2000) and 'crimes of the dreamer' (2005) were published by Scarlet Tanager Books. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. Naomi is a Jungian analyst in private practice, poetry and fiction editor of 'Psychological Perspectives', and a grandmother many times over.
We don't have to read books to learn a great deal about guilt. It seeps in through our pores, our eyes and our ears. Not a word has to be spoken. We can remember that look we got from our elders and the shock waves of humiliation and pain that suffused our minds and bodies. It would have been easier and less painful if we could have learned it all by just reading. The reading comes later when we are trying to understand and comfort the pain.
A refreshingly unconventional look at the role of sin and guilt in our lives, Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way is the result of more than twenty years of thought and writing. It is also the result of many years of clinical work by a 78 year-old psychoanalyst who is still practicing. Lawrence Staples concludes that we must eat forbidden fruit and bear guilt if we are to grow and achieve our full potential. His unorthodox view has the potential not only to change the way we look at guilt but also to soften its effects and heal us.
The conventional view of guilt is that it helps us remain "good." It helps us resist doing things that would disturb or harm our individual and collective interests. This view of guilt has an important role in the maintenance of conventional life. Yet, the conventional view, important as it is, also creates an enormous problem. It can deter us from being "bad" when that is exactly what is needed. The contribution virtue can make to society must be acknowledged. There indeed are sins that are destructive; there also are sins that benefit. While the conventional view is part of the truth, it is not the whole truth. The meaning of sin and guilt is far more complicated.
This transformational story weaves three strands: Damery’s ordeal in becoming a Jungian analyst, a concurrent farming crisis that necessitated a very different approach to farming (Biodynamic), and the yearly agricultural cycle on her ranch in the Napa Valley. As the book begins Damery, a candidate to become a Jungian analyst, has been productively in Jungian analysis for many years. Nevertheless, she is increasingly drawn to spiritually-based teachers and healers, her familiar psychological view of life challenged by a series of strange experiences. She feels compelled to develop spiritual perspectives and tools to understand them.

One of the author’s first teachers in the non-ordinary world view is Don, an analyst who also studied with a Navaho medicine man. On a ten-day trip to the Southwest with Don and other analyst candidates, she experiences disincarnate forces and beings. Her sense of reality expands. She joins a group studying the overlap of shamanism and analytical psychology, and continues to have experiences that demand another kind of attention.

To make sense of it all, the author consults with her personal analyst and then with a spiritual teacher/psychic. Her analyst sees everything in personal and psychological terms, while her consultant Don has the shaman’s sense of a larger reality. Even he, however, is only human, as she learns when his wisdom fails her in the face of a shocking event. During a sweat lodge ceremony, the author sees a skeleton sitting next to a man who is murdered the following day. She grapples with a sense of responsibility for not telling anyone of her vision; Don, in pain himself over this loss, is unable to help her. He also fails to support her when she confronts a “higher up” in the Jungian community about his behavior toward a student in the study group. The author realizes that as important as her analyst and Don have been, she needs a spiritual teacher to guide her.

Conventional matters become ever more troublesome. Her crisis culminates when, after a long drive through a rainstorm, she fails a crucial step of the certification process. The construction of the foundation of their new home is also halted by the massive rains. A tornado touches down on the property, doing little physical damage but disrupting the energy of the ranch on various levels. Does this mean another path is demanding her attention, one not embraced by such institutions? Within months Don dies of a sudden heart attack. Finally Damery consults the spiritual teacher Norma T. for a nine month intensive, unconventional training.

Meanwhile, seasons on the ranch come and go. When a vineyard on a second property shows signs of distress, the winemaker threatens to refuse the fruit as it appears to be failing to ripen. The author and her husband adopt an unusual approach to solving the problem. Through the ministrations of yet another spiritual adept, this one very much grounded in the earth, the crop is saved and the author is initiated into the ways Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamics. A new era of farming begins, one based on spiritual stewardship of the land. A new worker arrives, Natalio, who tends the plants and the ranch, bringing Mexican folk wisdom and lore.

Other crises are afoot, however. The author and her husband accept an offer on the second ranch upon which the original grapes were not ripening and a grape contract dispute ensues. The timing of this difficulty corresponds with the author’s second appearance before the certifying board. Using her new skill of balancing the worlds of matter and spirit, she navigates these challenges successfully. During the same week she is officially certified, a settlement is reached with the winemaker. The author’s insight and intuition develop and integrate as another year on the ranch begins. The land and all the beings who inhabit it are thriving.

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