Updated: Jul 15
(Trigger warning. Please note, I am not minimizing any abusive dynamics, my intention is to bring light to our collective shadow in order to encourage our collective elevation higher):
The recent Johnny Depp court case has been addressing some collective themes in relationship that I have been observing for the last few years. I shared a post yesterday, that stated ‘Calling someone a Narcissist, is new age code for not doing your work!’. Whilst it could be said the author had some narcissistic tendencies, I could see his point. Labels have their uses when it comes to enhancing awareness, however those we feel compelled to label tend to be our greatest teachers when it comes to facing our own shadow. Ultimately, labels breed separation consciousness, judgement, and stigma. Freud, for all his foibles, was among the first psychologists to recognise that all our personality idiosyncrasies or indeed maladaptive psychological functioning stem from a greater or lesser degree of fragmentation from our sense of self. That feeling of being comfortable in our own skin; whole in ourselves; able to connect wholesomely with others; and ability to flexibly navigate our constantly shifting realities without losing our shit (most of the time at least!). Shamanic healers of course, recognised this long before Freud’s time.
The court case and the post highlighted I feel, that we can’t continue to call out ‘toxic masculinity’ without taking a long hard look at ‘toxic femininity’. The two go hand in hand and enable one another. And the word toxic, probably isn't very helpful.
I first came across the term ‘Jezebel’ when a good friend had a dream about the word ‘Omri’. As his friendly dream analyst geek, I did some googling and found that the House of Omri that featured in ‘Kings’ in the Old Testament had a bit of a ghastly daughter-in-law called Jezebel who was tarnished with ultimately causing the downfall of the Kingdom. She came from the Canaanites, who had a penchant for worshipping an overlord storm deity called ‘Baal’ (which means ‘owner’) and committing animal and child sacrifices to please this overlord. She managed to take over the running of the Kingdom from her husband, Ahab for her own personal interests. However, the fruits of Jezebel rule don’t tend to blossom, illnesses are endemic, prosperity and legacies ruined. Skip ahead a few hundred or thousand years to Revelations in the New Testament, and it’s insinuated that in the ‘last-days’ the daughters of Jezebel shall rule over nations. Yikes. Was this written by a man? Yes. A narcissist? Totally possible, maybe even a female one. But the point is, it’s good to be aware of our shadow, which is what I’m delving into here.
We all have narcissistic tendencies and very possibly, we all have an element of the jezebel within ourselves too. Other labels we could use are ‘Incubus’ and ‘Succubus’. The Narc/Incubus using control, manipulative, and deceptive tendencies to belittle and ensnare their pray to satiate devilish desires, usually followed up with an avoidant ghosting. The Jezebel/Succubus invading space, suffocating, seeking validation, attached to their ‘story’ and grasping for material sustenance, unable to consider they could be happy on their own for a while. Both cutting off the other’s life force energy supply through demands and expectations, and both scheming (maybe unconsciously) in order to ‘feed’ upon the toxic cycles and enmeshment within the connection. But there is hope, as we become more aware and whole in ourselves, the toxicity within the dynamic has the potential to disintegrate.
Interestingly, Ahab (that was Jezebel’s guy), is also one of the (two) words for ‘love’ in the Hebrew Bible. It can also mean a superior’s action to a person who is beneath him on a social scale. It refers to the kind of love that desires: for example, to desire an object, a car, a home; and the kind of love that self-sacrifices for the happiness of the family. A commendable trait, many would consider, and necessary of course to some degree when we are raising children or taking care of elderly relatives. But of course, there is a higher love. The other word for ‘love’ is Hesed. This kind of love is interchangeable with the ‘divine marriage’ and the ‘covenant’ where ‘God’ is present within the relationship, whether that be between beloveds, friendships, family or indeed the relationships between leaders and communities. Mercy, rather than sacrifice is present with this love and it is shown through love in action. And how can we not show mercy, when we know that all fragmentation that leads to narcissistic, jezebel or other less desirable personality facets stem from some level of trauma (or dent in our connection to our source of love) from this lifetime or past generations.
Hesed is loving kindness and compassion, a steadfast love where we are wholly anchored to a greater sense of connectivity within ourselves, to others we are relating with and to the world around us. In order to elevate toward Hesed, some element of re-training is necessary as we shift through these days of huge collective trauma, shadow, and awakening. The word ‘entrainment’ relates to cultivating certain brain wave patterns that are activated when we are in tranquil, peaceful and open-hearted states . Research has shown that cultivating these states impacts upon our circulatory oxytocin, oxytocin receptors, ability to feel compassion and connect. Someone once said to me ‘you can’t heal a narcissist’: I don’t agree. If harsh judgement breeds inauthentic behaviours, then these attitudes are part of the problem. With Hesed, we learn to hold and maintain our own energy fields, composed, and contained despite another’s actions and without the need to be propped up or validated by anyone else. Hesed means ‘the stream that resides within oneself’. Whether that be the stream of compassionate, collective consciousness or indeed the Holy Spirit, I’ll aim to meet you there.