The Story of the Nubian Woman- Sometimes Referred to as The Necklace!

I offer monthly ZoomWorkshops through Arizona Labyrinth Connections. My mission is to provide a growing connection between the participants to their unconscious, using stories and the Labyrinth as a meditation tool. These experiential workshops provide stepping stones to transformational growth.

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Here is a sample! Metaphors From the River!


The Transformation After Showing Great Compassion

Re-told by Robin B. Dilley, Ph.D. From Laurens van der Post and Angeles Arrien

         Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far and distant land when the winds blew free, the air was clean, and rivers were sources of magic and wisdom of those who lived far beneath them, there lived a young and beautiful Nubian Woman.  Her tallness, as stunning as her blackness, turned heads as her crimson red tunic glistened in the sunlight.

         Every Friday in this village, the women came to the river to wash their clothes. The women gossiped, told stories, and laughed at the Nubian woman dressed in red.  She had a beautiful necklace that glistened and was more beautiful than all of the other women’s necklaces. Necklaces were part of the local culture, a sign of protection and personal meaning.   It seemed that the women’s group favorite thing to do was to tease, bully, and exclude the Nubian Woman. 

         This made the Nubian woman very sad.  She was alone and lost in her solitude, excluded from belonging and longing to be a part of the others, which she considered a happy and close-knit group of women. At night she would cry herself to sleep, wondering what she did wrong that made her not belong. She longed to belong and to be a part of the village woman’s group, but it seemed so hopeless! The mornings a strange connection to the dawn would encourage her to get up and go about her day with as much inner happiness as she could create by painting, weaving,  and remembering her beautiful aunt who had passed down from ancestors of generations gone by,  one the most beautiful necklaces in the world. 

         The following Friday, she returned to the River in her red tunic with her red basket of clothes on her head.  The other women had arrived earlier and were in the river, playing and splashing around as they waited for the heat of the hot sun to dry their week’s worth of clothes.  When the women noticed the Nubian woman, one called out and asked her to join them in the river. They apologized for being mean to her in the past.

The Nubian Woman thought her prayers had been answered and that, finally, she would be wanted and belong like the rest of the village women. She undressed and entered the river, sliding gracefully through the water toward the women. They danced and sang songs that she remembered from many moons ago when her family would gather with their drums and flutes. Then the Nubian Woman noticed the other women did not have on their necklaces. She asked, where are your necklaces? Oh, when we entered the River this morning, we offered up prayers and gave the river our necklaces as a gift of gratitude to her and the gods for their blessings of abundance. The Nubian Woman thought that was a beautiful sacrifice. She also slipped off her necklace with a prayer of beautiful intention and threw it far out into the river.

         The group of women began to laugh and hackle, making fun of the naivety of the Nubian Woman. They taunted her calling her stupid, for tossing her beautiful necklace into the river, where it is permanently lost.   Laughing, they left the Nubian woman in the river, gathered their clothes and hidden necklaces, and returned to their homes.  The Nubian woman was scalded in her shame and stunned by her apparent stupidity.  She became overwhelmed by grief and regret, deeply sad, missing the precious necklace of her ancestors.  Swimming out of the water, she joylessly put on her crimson tunic that matched her inflamed insides.

         She walked and prayed by the river, begging the gods to return her ancestral necklace.  After walking back and forth along the river, praying and crying, she heard a gurgling from the river.  “Plunge in,” the river said.   Without a doubt, desperate to retrieve her ancestral necklace, she plunges in and pushes herself through the current to the bottom of the river.  When she opened her eyes from the pressure of the water, sitting in front of her was an old hag, ugly and oozing with scabs and bleeding with green slime from her many wounds.  The old hag said, “lick my wounds.” The Nubian woman was filled with great compassion for the helpless and wounded hag. She gently took the oozing hand and began to lick the hag’s wounds. As she did, the Hag transformed and healed.

But just as the transformation was taking place, there was an undercurrent of turbulence making a great noise, stirring up the river rock.  The noise grew louder and closer.  The old woman took her hands and forced the Nubian woman deep under her many river skirts.   She said, “Stay quiet so the water demon can’t find you. He will never find you beneath my skirts.”

         The water demon demanded, “Where is she? I smell the scent of a young woman, and I demand her.” Oh, you will never find her. She was here two hours ago and went in that direction, pointing to more treacherous waters. The demon swore and pursued in the direction the wise old woman pointed.

         As the Nubian woman walked again by the river, the group of village  women were walking back to the river to wash their clothes.  A week has passed and it is Friday again.  The woman were even more stunned by the beauty of the Nubian woman now in white and found her necklace was more radiant than ever. They inquired, “Where did you get that beautiful necklace?”  The Nubian woman pointed to the river and before she could share her story the gaggle of bullying woman were plunging into the river to find their own beautiful necklaces. 

Many Lessons from this Story

After a safe amount of time, the old woman brought the Nubian woman out from under her robes. Next, she placed her beautiful ancestral necklace on her, adding gold and more precious jewels, and thanked her for her kindness in licking her wounds. Then she clapped her hands, and The Nubian woman was tossed back to the shore. The Wise old woman clapped her hands again, and a beautiful white tunic appeared on shores. A third clap produced a beautiful white Chrystal basket. The Nubian woman carefully dressed in the white tunic and a placed the distinctive white basket on her head, leaving behind her red tunic.

But instead, they found the ugly sick hag oozing with raw scabs and green mucous slime . The hag kindly asked them to lick her wounds and the women were insulted and enraged. They burst into mocking laughter and then they heard the rumble of the river rock and a great noise. The last words they ever heard were,“there are many young women here. I will have a great meal.” The river demon chomped down on the women even devouring their necklaces. Grinning and smiling about his great find he tossed the bones up to the surface and they washed to the river banks. The Nubian woman had walked further down the river front and could see the reflection of her soul shimmering in the afternoon sun shining on the river. She smiled in approval of herself. Her soul was restored. She never looked back, even to notice the fate of the bullying, jealous village women.

Three Journal Prompts:

1. How does your inner chatter replicate the village women?

2. What part of your wounded soul needs to be licked?

3. How does this story speak to you?

Keep Tending Your Soul!

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