Musings in the Olive Grove

Loving the Soul is the key to Self-love said the Vulture


There is a lot of talk about the importance of loving oneself.  What does self-love mean to you? Do you find it a challenge to offer yourself the same love and kindness that you so readily and easily give to others?

Self-love is something that I have grappled with in my life. Having been raised in a patriarchal religious fundamentalist cult (from the age of 7 and into my mid 30’s) I was programmed to believe that I was born a sinner and only through conversion and acceptance of Christ as saviour was I considered tolerable. This was compounded by the belief of original sin; hence women were particularly sinful, irrelevant and weak.

You can see that self-love was not a positive topic of conversation. Self-love was considered a selfish, prideful act and a sin. Repetitive programming through the use of sermons, meetings, public shaming, and humiliation, played havoc with my sense of self and place in the world. 

Even after leaving the church, rewriting this early programming has not been easy. There have been times in which I have felt ok about myself and my place in the world and others where I was filled with negative self-judgements and self-loathing.  

On one particular day I was being particularly hard on myself and decided through the practice of active imagination to explore self-love further.

This is what happened…

I followed a path through my heart chakra to an expansive field covered in yellow flowers.  I lay on the earth looking up at the clear blue sky.  A vulture appeared next to me.  I was taken by surprise by this visitation.  I asked Vulture what do you have to do with my intention? Vulture replied that the work he does by working closely with death to create something new is necessary, feared and misunderstood and yet it is his souls’ purpose. Self-love is carrying out our individual soul purpose.  Self-love means to love our soul. Self-love and service to our soul transcends our human history and all our wounding. By listening to our soul, we are loving ourselves more than we can imagine because we are loving the core of who we are. I thanked Vulture and we said our goodbyes. 

Reflecting on Vulture’s message I could see that soul work is the ultimate act of self-love and personal devotion. This insight was revelatory in that although I had been tending to my soul for years, and learning how to listen, I had not consciously made this connection.  Since my encounter with Vulture I see self-love through different eyes and live my life accordingly.

I wonder what self-love would look like for you through an imaginal soul encounter?

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