"We are all wounded, but we can connect through the wound that's alienated us from others," so writes Gloria Anzaldua in her book Light in the Dark.
I don't remember where I saw this book discussed in order for it to make it onto my to-read list, but so far I'm intrigued by some of the ideas.
The above resonated with the reading I did earlier this year on trauma and resilience, those particularly in relation to theology and biblical studies. Shelly Rambo's Resurrecting Wounds: Living in the Afterlife of Trauma discusses the significance of wounds and the ways we can relate to one another through them.
Anzaldua discusses this wounding and healing under the concept of the "Coyolxauhqui imperative" which draws upon an Aztec myth of the dismembering and restoration of the moon goddess. "The Coyolxauhqui imperative is the act of calling back those pieces of the self/soul that have been dispersed or lost, the act of mourning the losses that haunt us."
The Coyolxauhqui imperative is to heal and achieve integration. When fragmentations occur, you fall apart and feel as though you've been expelled from paradise. Coyolxauhqui is my symbol for the necessary process of dismemberment and fragmentation, of seeing that self or the situations you're embroiled in differently. Coyolxauhqui is also my symbol for reconstruction and reframing, one that allows for putting the pieces together in a new way. The Coyolxauhqui imperative is an ongoing process of making and unmaking. There is never any resolution, just the process of healing.
That last sentence rings true and quite important for us to grasp.
For Anzaldua, this in-between space after wounding is the site of imagination and the possibility of transformation. She writes, "We can transform our world by imagining it differently."
For one reason, in this in-between space, which she calls nepantla from a Nahuatl word, we get in touch with our shadow sides. "Our collective shadow--made up of the destructive aspects, psychic wounds, and splits in our own culture--is aroused, and we are forced to confront it. In trying to make sense of what's happening, some of us come into deep awareness (conocimiento) of political and spiritual situations and the unconscious mechanisms that abet hate, intolerance, and discord."
Conocimiento is a "searching, inquiring, and healing" that lead to spiritual activism. And the people who guide us through neplanta--those who assist transformation and the creation of the new world--are artists and activists whom she calls "neplanteras."
I find this concepts quite intriguing. At the same time I was reading this, I finished Maryse Conde's Tree of Life and began Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Talents. Both novels has aspects that fit Anzaldua's worldview, of guiding across liminal spaces by those in touch with their wounds.