In Honor of the Inner Feminine
By Kaveen Hutchison
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Czechoslovakia and wrote his poetry in the early 1900’s. This is one of my favorite Rilke poems. It embraces the pure feeling of the Feminine nature. While the poem obviously is describing the transformation of a girl into the fullness of her womanhood, I would suggest it is addressing the feminine-yin qualities in all of us, both female and male. In his own inner exploration the renowned psychologist Carl Jung discovered what he called the archetypes of the feminine and masculine—Anima and Animus. Jung found that these archetypes are part of a collective unconscious that makes up everyone’s psyche. The feminine energy Rilke highlights in this poem is part of an inner field available to us all.
As only he can do in his magical, flowing style, Rilke relates this wonderful epic tale of metamorphosis from an immature caterpillar into a butterfly-goddess.
Let’s look at the poem and appreciate each line that is so pregnant with meaning.
And then that girl the angels came to visit,
Rilke begins the poem with this graceful line. The whole rest of the poem hinges upon this knowing, that what is about to happen is due to the fact that there is a loving, infinite support for us in our journey back Home. I would tell you that angels, guides, and non-physical Source energy do exist and that they are always available when we are in a receptive mood. Most of the time we are unaware of such benevolent forces because we are too immersed in the struggle of our conditioned minds and focused on survival. My sense is that this girl has somehow found a way to drop her resistance and in the alignment with her Soul within she now is able to feel the touch of these guardian angels.
she woke also to fruit, frightened by beauty
Have you ever been in the presence of Beauty, of someone so filled with the Divine it frightened you? This used to happen to me all the time when I would meet an enlightened being. It is because we are so identified with our conditioned image of who we think we are as unworthy that when we begin to experience the natural beauty of who we really are it unnerves us. It is kind of like going from inside a dark movie theatre into the bright light of the sun outside. It takes a little time for the eyes to adjust. I would suggest that this girl who “woke to fruit” is feeling this glimpse of her True Self.
given love, shy, in her so much blossom,
the forest no one had explored, with paths leading everywhere.
Nurtured by the kind caress of Source the girl discovers her infinite potential. Rilke says, “in her so much blossom,” so many possibilities of creation, that have always been there, dormant by lack of attention. “The forest no one had explored, with paths leading everywhere.” All is possible in the infinite vibrational field of Spirit and this girl is having a taste of how that can come to be manifested here on earth.
They left her alone to walk and to drift
and the spring carried her along.
I like this line so much. “They (the angels) left her alone to walk and to drift and the spring carried her along.” There is no pressure and no time table to reach some goal of achievement. The angels have the luxury of knowing that Life is timeless and that the girl cannot make a mistake on her journey to fulfillment. The angels allow “the spring,” the natural laws of development and awakening, to “carry her along.”
Her simple and unselfcentered Mary-life
became marvelous and castlelike.
Now Rilke discloses the unfolding of the Divine in the girl, the blending of pure Spirit into human form. He refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is revered in the Christian lineage as a symbol of surrender and devotion to Christ Consciousness. That surrendered attitude becomes an alchemical force in the girl and a new strength emerges, (she) “became marvelous and castlelike.” It is not that the girl decided: I’m going to assert myself and become a strong individual who makes things happen in the world. It is paradoxically the reverse. She becomes, “simple and unselfcentered” and without egoic preoccupation Life itself flows through her in a powerful way.
Her life resembled trumpets on the feast days
that reverberated far inside every house;
The girl’s life has its own momentum of joy now with the feeling of festive celebration and excitement abounding.
And she, once so girlish and fragmented,
was so plunged now inside her womb,
Ahh, this is the good stuff. Can you feel the sacredness of this moment? She is going deep into her Aloneness and discovering her direct relationship with her own Divine Source. It is in the fertile darkness of the womb, waiting in openness to the Great Unknown, that the Grace of transformation happens for the girl.
and so full from that one thing
“And so full from that one thing.” What is that one thing? Rilke, like all the mystics, does not specify what that one thing is. In Sufism they have 99 names of God, with each name expressing one of the Qualities of godliness. There is Ar-Rahim, the Compassionate; Al-Haqq, The Truth; As-Salaam, Peace and so on. The Sufis say the 100th name of God is inexpressible, it cannot be named for it is incomprehensible; so it has no word associated with it. A Sufi teacher will tell the advanced disciple to, “Meditate on the 100th name of God.” Lao Tzu says, “The Tao that can be said is not the real Tao.” The Zen lineage uses the word Shunyata to describe the infinite potential of the void. All these different spiritual lineages reach the same point where understanding cannot capture the inexpressible. Rilke simply calls it, “that one thing.”
and so full—enough for a thousand others—
In the emptiness of her self, our woman visited by the angels, now has an over flowing richness to share with the world.
that every creature seemed to throw light upon her
“That every creature seemed to throw light upon her.” I’m loving it. Now this woman is so aligned with the Infinite within her that this Soul-Light is reflected back as echoes of love from everything around her. It is possible. There are human beings who are so surrendered their Goddess permeates their human form—Mother Mary, Quan Yin, Isis, Lalla, Rabia, Mirabai, and Amma, to name a few. Rilke must have met such a person or certainly he has felt that pristine, glowing presence within himself. There’s a wonderful statement from a man who had been a devotee of the great Indian saint, Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass’ guru. He says, “I was not surprised that Maharajji emanated unconditional love, for he was a saint and it’s a saint’s job to love. But what amazed me was that when I was with him I felt unconditional love for everyone. He had that effect on me.” “And every creature seemed to throw light upon her.”
and she was a vine with slopes heavily bearing.”
She has come to the ultimate flowering of Divine Femininity. She has grown the grapes from which the wine of wisdom is made. She is the embodiment of all that is pure Yin energy. The soft touch of sensuality and the intoxicating passion of sexuality; the enduring bond of a Mother’s love and the open acceptance of forgiveness; the rounded curve of physical form and the fragrance of aesthetics; a gentle touch, listening and patience; the courage of the voice of Truth beyond fear of consequence; and the fathomless depth of devotion and surrender.
I love this celebration of the Woman nature. In the outer world it is so often that the masculine energy governs action, however in the inner world of Spirituality it is Femininity that reigns supreme as a path to the Divine. I encourage you to embrace your woman within, to feel the ever present angels whispering in your ear, and to dance on your journey back Home.
For many years I have used Mystical Poetry as a resource to assist people in their growth work and accessing their own inner guide. The poems serve as a type of Consciousness reminder while providing insights into our process of change and how to live more fully. This poem by Ranier Maria Rilke is such a wonderful, empowering acknowledgement of the feminine nature and I just felt to share it with you and the readers of WNC Woman. I hope you enjoy the poem and commentary.
with love and appreciation,
Kaveen has a M.A. in clinical psychology and works in the role of life coach and awareness teacher in which he uses mystical poetry to help clients access their own inner guide. He can be reached at (828)273-1438 or email@example.com for sessions.
On Friday, June 28, Kaveen performs the poetry of the mystics with musical accompaniment for “A Mystical Poetry Evening with Kaveen” at 7:30 PM at Jubilee. For more information, contact Aile at One Heart Productions Presents (828) 777-0369.