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  • annelisamacbeanphd

The Wound and the Healer

Many who are interested in spirituality and healing have been wounded – physically, emotionally, or at a soul level. Sometimes this wounding is relational or attachment trauma, sometimes personal and archetypal betrayal. Regardless, it colors our perceptions and affects our capacity to feel safe.

Our speedy and fragmented culture increasingly pathologizes valid human experience such as grief, melancholy, anger, uncertainty, fear and anxiety . . . giving rise to a psychiatric and self-help community determined to “fix,” “cure” or “transcend” dimensions of the psyche that offer important data, even sacred wisdom directly relevant to our unique paths of meaning-making, individuation and creativity.

For some of us, our alchemical initiation . . . Our awakening . . . requires an experience of transition, dissolution, and loss. We must go through an embodied confrontation with the unconscious. It may be a divorce or financial mishaps . . . Maybe illness or injury. These experiences are not signs of error or mistake. These are calls to go deeper into unconscious beliefs, deeper into shadow, deeper into inclusion and integration of otherwise unknown or resisted dimensions of self.

Experiences of apparent disintegration are evidence of how our wounding can and does serve an initiatory function. Stepping into and learning to illuminate our own pathways of suffering and recovery is the initiation required to be a guide and teacher for others on the path of healing.

At times, very deep healing will invite the wound to disclose itself in more subtle ways within the psyche and the body, where it can seem like things are getting worse. Tending to mental and emotional illness, physical illness and physical injury can require, and thus develop, the capacity for profound levels of courage, patience, and trust.

It is not an easy life, that of the wounded healer – one that we do not choose consciously – but is the honorable and noble inheritance of many who are called to the path. It requires that we walk in this world against the grain and remain open to further wounding. The initiated, the healer, develops the understanding that the ally, the light, the gift of this life appears in infinite ways. Human experiences, regardless of the story or the structure, occur not to harm or break us, but to reveal the light.

Even though it may often seem as if we are alone – and, in part, the conditions of our initiations are singular and unique – we are never truly alone, as unseen helpers, friends, ancestors and spiritual companions are always nearby. As the initiation of the healer progresses and our role as healing-healer develops, we become better able to recognize the resources always and already available in the natural and metaphysical world.

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