Patient serpent, circle round,
Till in death thy life is found;
Double form of godly prime
Holding the whole thought of time,
When the perfect two embrace,
Male & female, black & white,
Soul is justified in space,
Dark made fruitful by the light;
And, centred in the diamond Sun,
Time & Eternity are one.
In alchemy, the hand is a symbol of fate; but every alchemist knows that fate made conscious is destiny. Two interconnected symbols, the Ouroboros serpent eating its own tail surrounding the Seal of Solomon, catalyzed a shift I had been preparing during the twelve-year cycle of writing this book. At the moment a hand held forth these two symbols, a passage to the unknown united my past, present and future. The date was May 23, 2009. The place was Cambridge Massachusetts. The event was the kick-off for Margaret Fuller’s bicentennial held at one of the oldest churches in America, the First Parish Church in Cambridge.
The symbols seemed to appear through the intervention of Fuller’s ghost, for they were held in the hands of a woman who was dressed and looked remarkably like the author who wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century. In fact, the symbols were on the frontispiece of this book. The text investigates the Greek and Roman female archetypes in a search for the essence of the true divine feminine missing from the western culture. And too, a character in her book named Leida is a stand-in for herself, who seems to be grasping her ideal of the “sacred marriage” connection between masculine and feminine.
I never heard of Margaret Fuller when I began my book in 1997. But I did have profound encounters with both of her symbols. The Seal of Solomon imprinted on my brain and psyche as a geometrical configuration connecting the eastern horizon with the heavens on my birthday. Moreover, the Ouroboros was such an apt symbol for the journey that I asked an Indonesian neighbor to draw it as a logo for my publications. This symbol of cyclical time became prophetic: for the next 15 years, I remained in my mother’s house creating literature consisting of my self-devouring.
In 2005, Lee Sullivan appeared in my hometown of Stamford, Connecticut to create a “birthing room” to initiate women into the Goddess. When I described to Lee a vision of a new theology, the hieros gamos, during this process, she directed me to the Unitarian Universalist website. There, I discovered the Margaret Fuller Award. In 2006, I received a grant to publish a handbook on the “hieros gamos.” Four years and three blogs later, I have delivered the “hieros gamos” into the culture: first through the international avant-gardeand then directly to the public with a trio of art exhibitions: Icons of the 21st Century (2006), Black Madonna (2009), and Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage (2010).
I was so intently on my individual path those four years that I hadn’t sufficiently investigated Margaret Fuller!. I knew the bare facts of her life. That she was editor of Emerson’s transcendentalist journal, The Dial, and that she was the first woman newspaper cultural critic and the first woman foreign correspondent. I understood then that I was traveling in her footsteps but still I hadn’t gone to the source and found Woman in the Nineteenth Century; it was missing from the shelves of my local library. If I had, I would have discovered the frontspiece and also the poem entitled “the Sacred Marriage” which ends the book. I would have also discovered her original title, of the essay expanded into the book: “The Great Lawsuit: Men vs. Man and Women vs. Woman.” It was a radical title that took another 150 years to address; the disparity between the human and the archetypal. So, it took another three years of plunging into the unknown as a performance artist and curator before my confrontation with the frontspiece of Fuller’s book on May 23, 2009.
Essentially, I had written with the same purpose as Margaret Fuller: to plump the archetypes of the feminine in search of the “sacred marriage.” The remarkable thing about Fuller’s genius was picking up the icon that she had no consciousness of – the relics from the dawn of civilization weren’t discovered until fifty years after her death, but her very death was a surrender to the archetype which lifted her out of her culture and embarked her on a mythological journey that consisted of bringing down the Pope with her lover, thereby fulfilling her dream of re-establishing the ‘sacred marriage’ that her unconventional marriage permitted, as she never had to fall into the expected role of “wife.”
This archetype also carried me out of my culture, and right out of my body, as I rushed through the passages that, unbeknownst to me, Margaret had laid down over a century before me: alchemical writer, foreign correspondent and cultural critic. I bolted through the decades to arrive at the distant mountain landscape where the archetype reigned free. The passage was like traveling on a stream, each symbol sufficing as an island interconnected with the last. In this journey of following such signs, why would Margaret Fuller’s Ouroboros surrounding a Seal of Solomon stop me in my tracks? You will have to read this book to find out, but suffice to say that everything crystallized at that moment of discovery. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing myself for the first time. This book had many titles before that moment, but after following Margaret’s trail consciously for a year as I embarked on a global multimedia project in her name, I knew there could only be one name: Woman in the 21st Century. While it was written without a conscious awareness of Margaret Fuller laying the ground for the sacred marriage at the dawn of the American canon, I don’t doubt that her spirit guided me – from inception to finish.