Today I offer another one of my essays, "The Armless Maiden and The Hero's Journey." This is a body of stories I return to often for they illuminate a visceral, particularly female form of transformation, and one that is not limited to the rites of passage of adolescents. And while I love the robust tales of powerful women such as the beastly brides in The Monkey Girl and The Swan Maiden -- I feel deeply, tenderly for the complicated journey of the Armless Maiden whose courage to confront the brutality of change and whose creative power to restore wholeness to herself gives us all hope.
"The armless maiden continues to haunt the imaginations of modern storytellers, but as something much more than a girl caught in a complex rite of passage to adulthood and marriage. She stands as an icon for the perils of change, the threat of violence that surrounds women's lives, and our own occasional resistance to undertaking the labor of transformation. Whether we chose it for ourselves or have it thrust upon us by circumstances, change demands both an act of undoing, a severing of the past, and an act of reaching, sometimes with little more than faith, for an imagined future."
Art: Sculpture by Alberto Giacometti