One Saturday a few trestle tables meandered down the street out of the local hall, manned by old timers selling jams and old tools and hand knits and piles of unwanted books. I wandered along trailing my hands over the wares, not looking for anything in particular. As an enthusiastic collector of literature around the divine feminine it was the last place I expected to find a book on Women’s Business but lo and behold I was to find in my hand a book that has now become a template for my work on Women with Spirit, the title “The Women’s Wheel of Life”.
First published in 1996 the book is still available and really is timeless for the information and stories it holds. Authors Elizabeth Davis and Carol Lombard offer a simple mandala image of life – one that is cyclical in nature, creating a space of transformation and void at the centre. I devoured the book quickly, resonating with both the concepts and the personal stories shared by many women. The familiar phases of life as maiden, mother, maga and crone are divided further into 3 sub-archetypes and the central space completes the archetypes to 13. It is this expansion of the model to 13 that mirrors the richness of the experience of being a woman.
What I love most about the model is the reflective value – each phase sitting in a harmonic opposite that mirrors and informs the qualities and experiences of each phase. I continue to revisit the wheel to make associations with yogic principles of evolution; match archetypes to myths and goddesses that hold ancient wisdom for the universal experience of being human; reflect on my own life and share with other women a way of seeing themselves as they move through different times of life. The 13 archetypes have also provided fertile material for artistic exploration.
It’s been curious over time to come back to the wheel and remember where I thought I was at 10, 7, 5 years ago and place myself now. Life isn’t linear and it’s always informative to stop for a moment as I allow myself to really embrace the challenges and opportunities that are both before me and arising from within me and I love sharing this model with women, seeing the “aha” moments as they see themselves a little more clearly.