Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here.
I am in Epidaurus, Greece, which seems like the perfect place to tell you this story.
Once upon a time, high up on Olympus, the gods and goddesses gathered to create a new creature for earth – a woman. “A woman! A woman!” they said excitedly. Let’s name her Pandora, which means “the gifted” and “the all-giving”.
Athena, the goddess of wisdom, breathed the life force into her, and gave her a soul, which contained the wisdom of the ages for guidance and creativity.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stepped forward and said, “I will give her the gift of beauty and vibrant sensuality. She will have uninhibited sensual desire, and a captivating beauty, which will allow hearts to open in her presence.”
Apollo said, “I’ll give her music. She will be able to give and receive joy through song and dance as she celebrates life itself.”
Hermes, the messenger god, said, “I’ll give her the ability to communicate. She will be able to listen without judgment, and use her words eloquently, and speak her truth clearly, kindly and honestly.”
Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, began to fashion a body for her using water and earth; creating a three-dimensional container that was strong enough to serve as a vessel for her consciousness. He said, “I will give her the three dimensions of height and weight and depth.” He began to forge a dazzlingly beautiful body with gorgeous curves and rounded features, the likes of which had never been seen before – a woman’s body.
When Hephaestus had completed her body, Hera (interestingly enough, the goddess of marriage), gave her a most interesting gift, which she placed in the very core of her being. It was the gift of curiosity.
Then, the gods and goddesses decided to add another dimension – time (the ability to conceive of past, present and future). Now much later (because these myths get told and retold) in the re-writing of this myth, the vessel that Hephaestus created was described as an external box or a jar. But in the original version, it was her body that was the container.
The story goes that Pandora was cautioned there would be irreversible consequences if she opened the box and looked inside. For some time she obeyed the warnings against doing so, but Hera’s gift was too strong. It was only a matter of time before she opened up and looked inside.
Immediately from the vessel surged the awareness of separation and duality, and feelings of angst and isolation poured out. As the laws of cause and effect emerged, they brought forth feelings of betrayal, regret, and disappointment. The cultural dictates of right and wrong emerged, and they brought forth feelings of betrayal, and feelings of shame and guilt.
The realities of old age, sickness, and death overwhelmed her and she was flooded with feelings of fear and body hatred. As awareness of abuse, neglect, violence emerged into her consciousness, there was grief and heartbreak and feelings of unworthiness that came tumbling out. Pandora trembled as more frightening emotions poured forth with each conscious discovery. There was jealousy, lust, grief, heartbreak, terror, frustration, discouragement, rage, loneliness, confusion, and flashes of insanity. This is what she had been warned about should she dare to open the lid to her own dark interior.
Desperately, she reached for the lid in an attempt to stuff down whatever else might come bursting forth, certain that she had made a terrible mistake. She watched all that had been released swirl around her, and blend into the light, and merge with all that is. What had she done? Just as she was about to slam down the lid and seal it forever, she heard a faint, hauntingly beautiful sound that resonated from deep within. Ever so softly and gently, it rose up from where it had been buried beneath the rage, the pain, all the fear, and the sorrow, underneath notions of good and bad, and right and wrong, and knowing and not knowing. She paused for a brief moment to listen. And then she peeked inside.
It was hope. There was hope buried beneath all of the evils that she had imagined. It was hope speaking to her with a gift that was so subtle, a voice that was so faint, that it required the use of all the gifts from the gods and goddesses; all her faculties to hear its whisper. And softly, gently, it informed her that by releasing all of those imagined evils from the dark depths of her being, by bringing them out of the unconscious into the light of consciousness, they could now be met with love, compassion, healing, and forgiveness. This is how healing occurs.
Here we have an ancient myth that tells us how important it is to be curious. To look deep inside yourself without judgment, to summon the courage through curiosity to look at those dark aspects of our being that we imagine to be evil, that we imagine are bad or wrong. Because only then, when we look inside and bring it to consciousness, buried right there, right there beneath it (in that process of looking inside ourselves, of daring to take a peek); only then can that be released into the light of consciousness and that, that is how all of us heal.
From the Light of the Moon in Greece, thanks for joining me for this story. I invite you now to look inside. Use your curiosity; not your judgment. Take a peek.
I would love to hear what you think, share a comment below!