I have been invited to "interpret, meditate and engage with the wisdom of the 'empty womb', in the form of this empty pomegranate. I have researched the traditional mythological interpretation of this fruit, that of the connection between its red juice and numerous seeds, and female fertility. I am struck by the sheer numbers of seeds each of us harbored, far more than either of us could ever have allowed to grow to viability. Nature is abundant, providing most organisms, including humans, with the ability to over-produce so that there will continue to be living offspring even after the inevitable drought, predators, disease and general attrition.
For myself, at age 26, I a made the conscious decision NOT to bear children of my own. I was riding on a train in England at the time, on summer vacation from my teaching job at junior high school in a suburb of Denver. Overwhelmed from working with 150 7th and 9th graders a day, exhausted by their neediness and by my own inability to sufficiently cope with their very real teenage angst, I couldn't imagine going home to my own children with anything left to give. Nor could I imagine bringing any more children into what I believed was an already overpopulated world. I realized that I am fortunate to have had that choice, and I have never regretted by decision, even though teaching did not ultimately remain my only profession.
However, prior to menopause, I had become increasingly dissatisfied with some of my other choices in life, often feeling a sense of uselessness and despair, and always looking outside myself for the answers. When I realized that I had enjoyed my final period, I was ecstatic; no more birth control, no more bleeding, no more cramps, no more running out of tampons in public. Hallelujah! And I LOVED hot flashes, they reminded me of my Animal Body; they made me feel alive again. And the anxiety that so often plagued me during this time made me start to do some serious soul-searching. Turning from a life spent, basically, "Doing for others", I gave myself permissions to nurture me. I began to re-learn who I am, to find my purpose for being here on this Earth, in this lifetime. I began to discover my own unique gifts, as well as admit my shortcomings. I began therapy, I got sober, I started to dance, I took art lessons. With the help and support of many wise women, (some crones, some many years younger than I), I learned to stop looking at myself as a victim, to accept responsibility for my own actions, to grow beyond the limits placed upon me by my family and society. I was gently reminded to give back that which I received. I started making more conscious, healthy choices about my own behavior, I dared to stick my neck out when something scary needed to be done, and I have slowly seen myself grow closer to the woman I have always wanted to be. At age 64, my life is rich and varied. I have learned that what is most important is on the inside, intangible. I look inside myself for answers, now.
I have gilded the convoluted interior of this spent pomegranate to show its connection to my own evolved self: in spite of obvious ageing, both pomegranate and I are rich with the complex, faded beauty of experience, and full of the golden potential of Spirit and Creativity.
C.C. is a 64 year old homesteader and artist. She lives and works with her husband, David White, on their 100-acre woodland farm in North Sandwich, New Hampshire.