All posts by Katherine Howard

I am a 59 year old mother of 3 daughters and grandmother to 4 gorgeous grandchildren. I am a Psychodramatist, Teacher with the School of Shamanic Womancraft and long time Occupational Therapist. The Blue Mountains west of Sydney Australia is my home, which I share with my beloved partner, assorted wildlife and many sacred trees.

The Cave of Shadows

Have you ever wondered
Where in your body 
Or perhaps your mind
Is tucked away
The Cave of Shadows?
And if the Keeper of the Cave (a fierce warrior by all accounts)
Would allow you in
(or perhaps let them out)
Who or what might these shadows be?

There might be a tuneful singer
Who comes warily to the cave entrance
And suddenly shouts in retreat
“But I cannot sing!”
And as you lie in the softness of dreams
You hear your own beautiful voice of song as it drifts from some dark cranny at the back of the Cave.

And here are the terrified/terrorised and angry ones.
The Keeper takes special care that they remain inside
They are small. Tiny and mis-shapen
They have the sneakiest ways of escape
And when they get past the ever-vigilant Keeper of the Cave
(because they can)
They grow
Like a stain of ink in water.

Have you ever wondered who or what
Lives in your Cave of Shadows
And have you met the Keeper of the Cave?

The Cave of Shadows is the residence somewhere within your psyche and body of all those disowned, disavowed roles in you. They reside – pushed into the dark as things that are fear full or provocative or unacceptable somehow. 

A cordial meeting with the Keeper of the Cave is a necessary venture if you wish to become intimate with the unconscious in your life. It is the work of a lifetime to bring the shadows of the unconscious into consciousness. Only then will we have a choice. 

November Newsletter

Here in the southern hemisphere Beltaine came last week (8th November) and we are still glowing in its’ aftermath – we are heading fast toward summer time. Last year we had horrendous bush fires, however it seems much damper this year in the Blue Mountains. 

I spent a wonderful 5 days off grid with my oldest friend Annie during this past lunar cycle. We have been friends since I was 11 and she was 12. There is such extraordinary value and pleasure in being with someone who has a long and close connection. Nourishment – which is one of my ongoing commitments to myself.

Read full newsletter here

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Longing and Apprenticing to my Muse

You might have noticed the picture of the sculpture (The Age of Maturity) at the top of my Psychodrama webpage (and above, here). Quintessential Longing. It was quite difficult to find a picture, but I love the yearning in Camille Claudel’s (1864-1943) work. The soul-full faces and bodies. The movement. My favourite is La Valse (below).

Have you heard of Camille Claudel? She was a lover of Auguste Rodin (he of “The Kiss’ (below) and “The Thinker”)- She was his Muse

The Kiss: Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

I have read a lot (not recently though, so be warned that what I write is shaped by the peculiar prisms of my memory) about both Rodin and Claudel. I have been to Paris many times now and my favourite museum has always been the Musee Rodin. I know that Claudel had deep longings and passions. I know that they said she was mad and imprisoned her in an insane asylum (apparently an all to frequent residence for passionate women back then). She loved Rodin and she learnt from him (and he from her). She was his Muse (perhaps he was hers) and he rejected her. She longed for him. By all accounts he was cruel to her. Undoubtedly she suffered.

So then I wondered……. what is a Muse… and who or what is mine?  Am I rejecting of her, cruel in my not listening to her? Having recently been encouraged by the wonderful writer Geneen Marie Haugen (more on Geneen in another post) to apprentice to my Muse, I have begun this exploration.

I glanced at her and took my glasses off- they were still singing. They buzzed like a locust on the coffee table and then ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and knew that nails up there took a new grip on whatever they touched. “I am your own way of looking at things,” she said. “When you allow me to live with you, every glance at the world around you will be a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand. (When I met My Muse by William Stafford)

“I am your own way of looking at things”…. WILL you allow me to live with you? This is my Longing and my Question. I know the answer to be YES.

This is where Psychodrama takes me as I follow my Longing.