After writing about Lilith yesterday, I watched a film with a strong Lilith theme: Agnes Varda’s ‘Vagabond’ is a poignant portrayal of Mona, a young Lilith-like character who is exiled from civilized society. ‘Vagabond’, or ‘Sans Toit ni loi’ (with neither shelter nor law) is the story of a young woman as she wanders through the Languedoc- Roussillon wine region one winter living as a vagabond and social outcast.
Mona is semi-feral, unconcerned with the ways of the world, and has no interest in being part of a society where, as she sees it, personal freedom is traded for security. Having previously been a ‘wage slave’ as a secretary, Mona is devoid of all ambition except the most basic survival. As she meets a host of characters we get a sense of the effect the Lilith-type woman has on those around her… sometimes pity, and sometimes a barely realised envy, often desire.
Mona drifts form place to place and man to man without attachment or personal desire beyond survival and a need to be free. Sometimes she sells sex and she is raped but Mona takes it all in her stride knowing that as long as she keeps on moving she will survive.
There is no back story of why Mona has chosen a life on the road but she has no intention of settling down. Even when she is offered land, shelter and kindness from back-to-the- land type people, Mona shows no interest in investing herself, or creating goals- she simply wants to be free. If there is a sense that Mona walks with a tormented past or traumatic wound that prevents her from fitting in it is invisible- well hidden beneath her layers of dirty clothes and tough exterior. But in my mind at least the film raises questions about the reason for her split from society and why some women are unable, or unwilling, to mould themselves into a society where the price of security is simply too high.
IThe film also raises questions about available options for women who are without financial means to make their way in a system that they, for whatever reason cannot belong to.
I watched this film 34 years after its making (1985), and a few years after France legally recognises prostitution as violence against women. In 2016 the French national assembly passed a law that decriminalizes those who are prostituted and criminalizes prostitute users. This has been a controversial move that has incited much opinion but still there is no real engagement with the deeper meaning of prostitution or how in our cultural history we have moved from sex a sacred rite to the abuses and degradation of the sex industry.
Yesterday I wrote about the ‘dark continent’ of the sexual life of adult women, though I suspect it is even darker than Freud knew when he wrote that comment in 1926. The paradox of female sexuality is that if it has been violated or damaged too early it sets up a pattern where the sexual energy is disrupted and highly charged but without grounding. And it may be a controversial statement but how many women working in the sex industry were sexually violated as children or young women?
Women who have been on a journey to heal their wounded sexuality often report a split between their behaviour and feelings. Energetically the second or sacral charka is too open and active. The base chakra (grounding) and the solar plexus (personal will) is also often imbalanced. A sacral chakra that has been blown open too early can lead to imbalnce and further retraumatisation until it is healed. In this case the auric field emits a vibration that attracts equally disrupted or abusive energy. Psychotherapy that deals only with the mind is limited in how far it can offer healing- these are wounds of the soul and it is the subtle energy body that needs to be worked on.
If we nurture young girls and their energy from the start instead of passing on inherited sexual repression or unhealed sexual trauma much of the devastation of the Lilith- type issues can be avoided. Girls need to learn that they are in control of their essential energy and that it does not belong to anyone else including and especially the cultural ‘image makers’.
From girls being sexualised too young either through the cultural image makers or sexual violation, disturbance of the subtle and physical body of girls can create a feeling of being ‘homeless’ inside. The vacancy created renders girls vulnerable to further invasion and abuse. When due to a disrupted energy the behaviour of the girl is unruly, promiscuous, or rebellious, the girls are further rejected. And this is the Lilith wound- without a home-base the danger is of being lost to oneself on a continual loop of attracting events, people, and experiences that match the distortions in the subtle body.
Both boys and girls are wounded but there is something particular to the wounding of the young feminine in our current culture and it’s a conversation we need to have.