You probably wept when you watched the latest Disney movie. But why? Because it's YOUR story. In fact, it's the story of every wide awake woman on this planet. And here's what I think we can learn from it...
The first time I watched Moana, I lost my shit. Tuesday afternoon at a tiny cinema, I was lucky enough to be the only person in there, so I let it rip - body convulsing and huge tears rolling down my face. I knew my story when I watched it. And if you have a vagina[i] I’m betting it’s your story too.
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Like so many of us, Moana’s living the life her parents want for her. It's not a bad life – she gets to be the leader of the tribe for god’s sake – but she wants to voyage “beyond the reef”. Have you ever wanted something but told yourself off for wanting it? Well stop. No really - yearning for something can be a sign in itself. When you are sooper dooper drawn to something it isn't always because you're a weak-willed, overly impulsive woman, it might just be because it's meant for you.
In Moana’s case, going beyond the reef is a metaphor for traveling beyond the known reality of her tribe, beyond what everyone else understands or thinks is right. As a woman on a spiritual path this is all too familiar – don’t expect people (least of all your dad) to get what you're doing. You’re just gonna have to get on that boat and start sailing into the Unknown.
And what’s the first thing that happens when you take the brave step of saying “yes” to your spiritual path? A fucking storm throws you around like a rag doll and shipwrecks you...that's what. Thanks Universe. Although, after throwing a hissy fit at the ocean, Moana realises that the storm has actually landed her Exactly. Where. She. Needs. To. Be. Isn’t it always the way?
Enter Maui: strong, powerful and totally fucking full of himself. He is the patriarchy incarnate, bragging about his accomplishments and expecting Moana to be both grateful and in awe of him. It ought to be noted that Maui doesn’t represent “men” but rather the wounded masculine in all of us, the part that has performed superhuman feats to cover up our fears of abandonment. Moana – Goddess bless her – isn’t going to put up with his shit, and lets him know exactly why she’s there, showing him the Heart of Te Fiti. Though he might act like he's not afraid of anything, Maui, just like the wounded child in us all, is terrified when confronted with the Heart (the power of the Sacred Feminine). Encountering the fear that your power will inspire in others is, sadly, part of any woman's spiritual journey. People won’t get it, or they’ll ridicule it, or they’ll call it "cute" (that's the absolute worst). Either way, you get to smile, take hold of your sisters’ hands - the ones that do get it - and keep going.
So back to Moana: finally convincing Maui to help her, they continue the journey together. Maui's motive is simple: he wants his "magical hook" back, having fallen into the traditional trap of locating his power outside of himself. In his eyes Moana - whose motive is to save her people - has no power at all: a small woman with no hook and little knowledge of boats, he considers her the last choice for ocean adventures. "Why would the tribe pick her to save them?" he wonders.
Unperturbed, Moana points out that her people didn’t choose her, the ocean did, a relevant lesson for us all. That's right, you are not on the Heroine’s journey because you’re special but simply because you’re a woman, it’s time, and Mother needs our help. Most importantly, you are here because when She called you were willing to listen. Thus, you were “chosen” by the feelings in your heart, the pain you've suffered and the longing you have for a different world. And this, my dear sister, is ALL the permission you will EVER need for doing what you’re doing. Furthermore, don’t fall into Maui’s trap of thinking you need special tools, because as a woman you hold the greatest tool of all – a womb with a menstrual cycle that gives you a direct fucking connection to the Divine.[ii] That’s right, that shit is IN you already. No self-help books required. Read my last blog if you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about.
One of the most exciting parts of the movie is exactly when Moana finally recognises this inner power. Alone on the boat (Maui has deserted her) Moana is in deep self-doubt - which sounds familiar, I'm sure, as doubt is a totally natural part of this journey for us all. But right on cue, her grandmother appears: "Sometimes the world seems against you, the journey may leave a scar", granny croons. "But sometimes scars can heal and reveal just where you are. Nothing can silence the quiet voice inside you," she concludes. Moana hesitates, listening to the ocean (observing her own feelings).
Then she gets it. "The call isn't out there at all, it's inside me, it's like the tide always falling and rising. I will carry you in my heart, you remind me that come what may, I know the way!" Moana declares. Finally she has located “the call” as her own inner voice, rather than an external or outside wisdom.
This is a key moment for us all. Are you there yet? Or do you still think you need a teacher or a guru to lead you? Well you don't. The knowledge that This Time In HerStory requires is stored IN YOUR CELLS. You access it simply by trusting that you have it, by calling in your sisters to surround you and by listening to your body and following the bread crumbs that Goddess drops. It's confusing as fuck, I know, but it's fun if you can surrender to the process.
With renewed courage Moana sets off to confront Ta Ka once more. Just as she's about to get in trouble, Maui shows up! "I've got your back chosen one. Go save the world!" he yells. This time the previous roles have been reversed: Maui, his humility restored, has realized that the masculine needs to play a supporting role as the Divine Feminine does what only She can do. Try to remember this, next time your husband/father/brother tries to tell you what to do or to mansplain something. You don't need to dismiss him, but you also don't have to bow down to his logical mind, or his controlling ways. You got this girl. You got this.
Knowing exactly that, Moana takes matters into her own hands. As she runs towards Te Fiti, Maui yells: "Get the heart to the spiral!” Spirals are featured heavily in this movie - there's one on the heart of Te Fiti itself and another on the boat they sail in. One of the most ancient symbols for the Goddess, spirals represent the power of creation and the way energy moves from your deepest inner essence out into the world. Or at least, it's how our energy SHOULD move, when your authentic self is unimpeded by societal bullshit. When a woman is fully embodied, her hips move naturally in a spiral, as do all of her chakras. Did you know that belly dancing and hula (both spiral dances) were discovered by women giving birth? The spiral is IN you and it’s part of your power source. So use it lady. Even if you don't understand it now, get those hips a movin’ in whatever way feels right to you. No excuses...I'm British, and even I manage it...
As Moana reaches the spiral she realizes something terrible; the original island is gone. Where will she place the heart now? It seems as if they are lost.
And then she has a crucial insight...holding up the heart, she shines it in the direction of Ta Ka, the evil fire goddess. "Let her come to me," she says, as the shape of a spiral appears in the place where Ta Ka's heart should be. The ocean parts, Moana and Ta Ka begin moving towards one another. "I have crossed the ocean to find you,' sings Moana. "I know your name. They may have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are." As Moana reaches out to touch the raging beast, you can see the real features of Ta Ka through her rapidly dying flames...
...and THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE I LOST MY SHIT. Because underneath the rage, the hatred and the BITCH that I felt I was for so many years, was simply a woman who had been forced to create those layers of protection because she had lost herself. It’s nobody’s fault – I’m not raging against my parents or school or society – but this is what patriarchy does. It says: if you want to belong, if you want love, you must achieve these things, play by these rules and detach yourself from your real power - your yoni power, the spiral that lives in you as the most potent source of creation ever known to Wo(man). It stops you from meeting your beautiful self.
Moana and Ta Ka meet, pressing third eye to third eye, a traditional greeting that means "I see you as you truly are". (Cue total melt down – I’m now a blubbery sobbing puddle of a woman…)
Reaching up to the spiral space of Ta Ka's empty chest, Moana replaces the glowing green disk (the color of the heart chakra) where it belongs. Immediately the dry earth of Ta Ka's skin cracks away and Ta Fiti is revealed. Inside the "crazy evil" woman lies the Goddess herself - compassionate, abundant, wise.
And this, my sweet woman, is where we are all headed. We all have the shitty layers to get through, but underneath, ahhhh underneath, there's treasure. Like me, your layers might be rage, or they might be made of fear, self-doubt, guilt, shame or anxiety. But whatever your particular form of protection has been, the only way to transcend these layers is to FEEL it all. So feel it. Dance it, paint it, meditate with it, cry it out, scream it out, take it to a safe space with sisters and do ceremony with it, howl it at the moon, hug it into a tree, make love to yourself and your own lady parts...do whatever the fuck you need to do. But know that the time is now, and you need to treat it like a goddam job. Because on the other side (hell, even before you get all the way to the other side) is a whole woman. Not a perfect woman, but a whole one, who can work miracles. A woman who isn’t afraid of her own darkness or the darkness of others, a woman who doesn’t need to deny the disaster this world has become and who isn’t afraid to listen to her own heart, join hands with her sisters and get stuck in.
Ultimately it’s not just our sisters who will walk with us as we piece this world back together; Maui is a reminder that our brothers are also waking up to the task at hand. As the movie draws to a close, our hero finally realises that his hook doesn't define him: "Hook or no hook, I'm Maui," he says.
And so, our story is nearly over… But before you go sister, notice one more thing. Notice that – unlike every other damn Disney movie you ever saw – our hero and heroine don't end up as a couple. It would seem that this partnership wasn't about getting married or making babies but was rather a combining of the masculine with the feminine in a new way, a way that breaks all of the bullshit "prince" and "princess" rules. Maybe they'll meet again, maybe they'll even get married, but for now, that's not the point. The point is that they both discovered their own wholeness and their roles in changing this world. So if you don’t have a man right now, or if it feels like he’s not yet awake, do not despair. This time in history is about rediscovering your wholeness, and will break every rule you ever knew and every duality you thought was necessary to maintain. There ain’t no blue print for what’s about to happen, so hold onto your seat lady, coz this shit’s gonna get interesting…
[i] Either a physical vagina or an energetic/spiritual one!
[ii] You don’t need to have an actual menstrual cycle or even a womb for this to be true. If your womb has been taken out, you still have womb ENERGY, and even if you don’t have a cycle you can still access this power in a more subtle way by following the phases of the moon. Contact me if you want help!!