Dominique Christina, the 4th House and Toni Morrison
Updated: Aug 16, 2021
I loved Dominique Christina’s This is Woman’s Work. It’s not a scholarly work on archetypes, it’s her lived experience of these archetypes. And while I don’t always agree with her point of view, her willingness to share her experience informs my own and offers an invitation or prompt for my own explorations.
It reminded me in some ways of Jill Badonsky’s Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) - not in tone. Badonsky’s book is a whimsical and fun exploration of the energies that help us access and liberate our creativity, while Chistina is delving into many energies that get activated by trauma or hidden by trauma or marginalized by dominant culture. But both books offer creative prompts to help readers explore our own experiences with these energies.
As she examines the cultural myths that have informed her and creates her own personal mythology, Christina is delving deeply in the astrological 4th house where we connect with our own ancestry, roots, history, family, family myths, psychology and personal myths.
These are activities that help us know ourselves deeply. As Rebecca Solnit writes in A Field Guide to Getting Lost, “Some people inherit values and practices as a house they inhabit; some of us have to burn down that house, find our own ground, build from scratch, even as a psychological metamorphosis.”
Christina is modeling and inviting us to participate in this psychological metamorphosis.
Christina writes that Toni Morrison is her favorite writer. Mine too. And I can think of no more fitting tribute to Toni Morrison, and in particular Beloved which is “not a story to pass on,” than Christina’s epilogue.
“Somebody, whose blood moves in me, lay in the bottom of a slave ship and made the supernatural choice to stay. To endure. To keep their heads above their necks. To feel the lash and the branding irons and the dis-ease. To have their mother tongue pulled from their mouths. To be violated and pummeled and snatched and broken again and again and again. And I believe they made that choice because they were thinking about me. About us. About what might be possible if they elected to survive. Somebody should get to tell their story. Somebody would have to put the words back in their mouths. Somebody should resurrect all that was unsaid. Somebody should get free enough to put the flesh on the bones.”
It’s so much the opposite of the “decreativity” of Simone Weil and the self-noughting of the saints and women mystics that got under my skin in Enduring Grace. To me, Dominque Christina’s exuberant self-expression is a spiritual path.
“I write to praise this body and the way I woke up this morning. To praise the song I sang in the shower. Just praise. Praise the miracle I am and the mess I have been. Praise the language for being my familiar. Praise the woman whose skin I burst through… Praise.”