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...
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.
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.