The Power of a Symbol: Notre Dame on Fire
“What is not brought to consciousness comes to us as fate” ~Carl Jung
By now everyone has seen the images of flames leaping from the iconic cathedral of Notre Dame. Notre Dame is an extraordinary symbol of the Feminine, dedicated to the Divine Mother Mary. The Catholic Church commissioned Notre Dame to be built in the 1100s, a cathedral-like no other in the heart of France. France is known to be one of the energetic vortexes of Feminine energy in the world. Given the concentration of Feminine energy, we can surmise that Notre Dame (translated ‘Our Lady’) was a container of the Sacred Feminine. And, she caught fire.
People around the world were horrified by the images of the cathedral on fire. Both women and men had body reactions to the images on television. Many cried, as though they lost something personal, as firefighters attempted to quell the flames.
I was actually in Notre Dame exactly one week before she burned. As I contemplate the timing of my visit there I am certain this was not random. I believe there was a precision and a meaning to my being there in the context of my personal process. As I have been reclaiming and healing my feminine self, my symbolic life has been deeply synchronistic.
I cannot help but think of the symbolic meaning behind this burning as many others have. It is time for us to integrate the Feminine into our lives and our relationship with ourselves and others to make our world whole again.
We are living in times that require us to undergo a deep transformation as well as deep cleansing of old, outworn, adapted patterns. The Power Principle or Patriarchy has been the dominant energy in our world for nearly 5000 years. The Power Principle is defined by domination and ego where intimidation and fear are used to manipulate others to capitulate to its rules. Anyone who behaves in this manner functions from the values of Patriarchy. The Power Principle is not loved or heart-centered. It perpetuates fear and is narcissistic. It is exploitative. Those who adapt to these behaviors and normalize them, unknowingly participate in the perpetuation of this archetype. Our corporations, including our corporate medical system, have been functioning from Patriarchal values. Our broken systems are a testament to how destructive these are.
At the heart of the Power Principle lies fear. Fear is never aligned with truth. Large corporations based on the Power Principle have been exploiting the earth and its people to meet their narcissistic and materialistic agendas. As a collective, we have lost a deep part of our Soul, which embodies the qualities of the Feminine Principle. Examples of these qualities are collaboration, process, relatedness, love, feeling, being, balance, healing, non-rational, subconscious, creative, supportive, community-oriented, non-material centered values. How many of us live from these patterns? Our corporate models certainly do not support these qualities. We are conditioned to sacrifice these in favor of progress and materialism and an exploitative and narcissistic approach to life is thus normalized. In fact, we are rewarded for behaving this way. Many call the impact of these compromises, “moral injury”. Our collective has accepted the moral injury as the price we must pay for progress and for ‘getting ahead’ and for survival. As a society, we have sacrificed the qualities of the Feminine Principle for personal gain.
Individually, the damage caused by these compromises manifests in our bodies and our lives in addictive behaviors, heart disease, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and even cancer. One of the gravest symptoms caused by this way of behaving is a loss of meaning. In fact, this is the core etiology beneath most of our illnesses today.
We cannot ignore the fact that the wood that formed the scaffolding and pews in Notre Dame was obtained during the height of the Inquisition, during the 1100s a time when the Feminine values such as healing and soul alignment were under attack, and millions of women and men were burned at the stake. It is a compelling thought to wonder if there is a message here about what has to be burned away and cleansed. What needs to be transformed and reclaimed? The spire toppling can also be viewed symbolically as the fall of the Power Principle. It is certainly food for thought.
When viewed from this context, I feel an urgency for all of us to return to wholeness and healing. As a society, we are guilty of having normalized the desire for power at all costs. We need a course correction to become whole. When we ignore the urgency to become whole, we invoke catalysts to awaken us so we can heal and rebalance our way of being with the qualities of the Feminine Principle.
I would suggest that the burning of the cathedral of Notre Dame is one such catalyst. When a symbol of this magnitude catches fire, I would suggest that it is a call from ‘Our Lady’, the Feminine Principle, to return to what is of integrity, wholeness, and truth. It is time to return to the Feminine values listed above, a clarion call for Soul retrieval.
The Divine Mother has appeared hundreds of times around the world for the past many centuries. A well-known example is in Lourdes, France. Many states She has offered the same message in all appearances, ‘live from peace and love’. Living this message is very hard work as it requires us to sacrifice our adaptions to the Power Principle and follow our deepest instincts for self-alignment and truth. This requires a release of our adaptations and a reorganization of the platform we live from. I believe this is not a sentimental or superficial message for peace and love, but one that requires a collective reevaluation of the values we are currently living from. This will require us to integrate the qualities of the Feminine Principle, so we no longer suffer moral injury and have the courage to conscientiously object to our adaptions to the Power Principle.
When we behave in these ways to reclaim ourselves, we will be one step closer to living from peace and healthy love and reclaiming the Soul of the world. As the rabbinic teachings of Tikkun Olam teach us, our daily acts of kindness behaved from the above-mentioned qualities can actually repair our collective Soul which has been injured by our adaptive behaviors over time.
If we heed the powerful symbolic meaning of ‘Our Lady’ burning, we can invoke a more meaningful and conscious way of behaving, which I believe would be a powerful process of rebuilding our collective consciousness to form a new and meaningful platform for living alongside the actual brick and mortar used to rebuild the body of the cathedral.
As I reclaim my own alignment with the Feminine Principle and reflect on the timing of my presence in Notre Dame before she burned, I am inspired to continue the difficult yet necessary process of reframing and reclaiming the Sacred Feminine in my life and work, to be a role model and to ‘hold the line’ for healthy and authentic relatedness.
It is the deepest and most sacred place I can live from.
I invite you to join me and together, it will be possible to repair the Soul of the world.
©May2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.