Unveiled: an interview with Anna Davidovitch
Anna Davidovich, the source of the "Unveiled Rite of Initiation", speaks with Mark O'Brien about initiation and how that presents itself within her work, the place of ritual, and the importance of intention.
Anna's background includes 20 years in Dervish orders, particularly the Mevlevi (from Rumi), being with various masters in India (including sannyas with Osho, aka Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), Tibetan Buddhism, Gurdjieff. She has been living the "Unveiled" work for the past 32 years.
Mark - Where does this work come from? Is it some kind of cellular memory of the DNA that has erupted in you?
Anna Davidovich - It came from a totally unwitting place. I didn't have a clue, as I wasn't interested at all in the Feminine Mysteries. This work, this "gate", came through me in a very naive space. It started as a one day happening, with me making up, what remains the backbone of the process, the day before. I don't know where it came from, as I had not heard of or experienced anything like it. After some years I'd be reading books on anthropology, mythology, and I'd fall off my chair as I'd read of exactly the same fragrances, the same energetics as I had felt and seen in this work. An alchemical mystery.
From the beginning it was demanded absolutely of me that I align with some innate and intrinsic integrity, which I didn't understand. In aligning myself, I became absolutely "cooked", owning all the shadow aspects of myself. This was quite a process of immense intensity, painful and ecstatic both. My cooking became the cooking of the Unveiled, and I began to live my life's journey in the service of the Sacred Feminine, of what had been ripped away, crucified, resurrected, and the work grew me as I grew it.
Mark- How did your body deal with all of this?
Anna Davidovich - Not very well. I was very ill in fact, especially the first 4 years, when in retrospect I can see that there was a major, cellular realignment happening in my body. In that time I'd even be working with acupuncture needles coming out of me!
Mark- Do you have children? When people speak of you, it is with great love, reverence and respect, as though they honour you as "mother" as in source.
Anna Davidovich - No I don't have children. I am definitely the vessel of this particular archetype, the "mother" of this rite, though I've never felt that the work was my child, ever, ever. More its serious guardian. I've been referred to a midwife, a shaman. Words are tricky.
Mark- The work. Why?
Anna Davidovich - Over the past five thousand years, the truth of the sacredness of sisterhood got lost. Ways of being, created out of fear, out of protection, that were appropriate given the patriarchal societies women found themselves living in, had become the norm, and wounding and betrayal between the sisterhood became possible. It was something that developed in the psyche. Now we are cognizant of what is missing, the trust and respect that women can share.
I've experienced myself what was a kind of sacred betrayal, and found it to be an immense wake-up for me, where I got to see deeper layers of my own unconsciousness around these mysteries. A lot of what my work, the Unveiled, is about is transmuting what there is around mistrust, fear and self loathing. And that energy can be used. All the denials and defenses, and really, if women like me, like us, can't do that, who will?
Mark- Initiation. You have created a rite. What is it about?
Anna Davidovich - The Unveiled rite of initiation I've begun to see is a luminous crack between two universes. It asks a woman to go into an unknown space. It must be entered in absolute presence, with no movement away. Nothing choreographed or decided before. It is a death experience, no ego here. In this space it is not possible for there to be a personal agenda, any personal movie, and if there is, then the "altering" cannot happen. Totality of intent is an absolute requirement.
It is terrifying, going into an unknown space unprotected, to allow the beyond to enter, to allow the energy to have its way with you. It informs something deep in the cells, and it does change women. No woman ever brings forth anything which is not hers, as if at that moment the cells remember, recognise that this is something familiar even if deeply buried, and reclaim, take back, own this energy, and this somehow alters the whole of the organism. There is an absolute dancing, acceptance of each woman's shadow side. All aspects which have been denied, repressed, shamed, feared, arise to the surface, and are held in a sacred space, looked at as the pure energy they are, and brought to a higher vibration and embraced.
This rite is a gate, and when this is passed through there is a profound sense of awe, of honouring something unknowable. The rite is a taste of the Sacred Feminine, and is about receiving, melting into, surrender, letting energies cook. The domain of the Sacred Feminine is the deep honouring, respect for chaos, the unknown, the fecundity of the earth, of our bodies, sexuality, the emotions, the mystery. Without this honouring, without attending to this, we just live in a new age ideal of our own fears, in denial of that which is dark, the mud.
The initiation, the gateway, is but the beginning, the beginning of the unraveling, reclaiming, the noticing. It's not enough to have had this experience, to be touched by this, healed by that. We have to be vigilant, be aware, to notice where it is we continue to sleep. We need to stay awake till we live in wholeness within, till it becomes so user friendly that we no longer operate out of unconsciousness.
Bringing this work into ordinariness, to our daily lives, is absolutely essential, and daily meditation on the Sacred Feminine anchors whatever has shifted, healed. To operate with vigilance and accountability in the work. To do otherwise is to undermine whatever it is we say we have healed, betraying what it is we say we have reclaimed.
What has happened is that we as women have taken on the voice of the inner patriarch (as a political system, not man per se), which has created division, the body, heaven, higher, lower, all the splits which we have accepted over time as being existential. Until that shadow aspect is recognised, in all of us, until it is danced with, it will undermine, belitttle and trivialise all we hold to be important. The voice of this inner patriarch lives on inside our minds.
Mark- I have experienced this in my tennis teaching, the hold of the inner patriarch, and feel that it is just as prevalent in the male psyche, just as much a hindrance, as in the female. Have you a desire to work with men?
Anna Davidovich - I've had many requests to work with men. I've felt it's not up to me to "decide" that this is appropriate for men. I don't have a clue, and until it is clear, until I get a clear message, I won't move on it. I've also felt it's not women's business to take men through rites of initiation. Having said that, can I do something for men in relation to the sacred feminine, the outer as well as the inner? Yes, and with a small group here and overseas I'm unraveling just what needs to be addressed in such work. I'm not a man, and really don't know.
For sure the father/son movie will at bottom be the same as the mother /daughter movie. Until the work around our parents is attended to, we will continue to hold them in some kind of protection, and projection, and as long as that is there we'll never get ourselves back. And that is what it is all about.
Originally published in Here & Now magazine, 1999