Pandora’s Box is a mythological item given by Zeus to Pandora as a wedding gift when she married Epimetheus, who had enraged Zeus by defying his commands. Pandora was told never to open the box, but could not resist the temptation to know what was inside. When she opened the box “horrible things flew out of the box including greed, envy, hatred, pain, disease, hunger, poverty, war, and death. All of life’s miseries had been let out into the world. The last thing remaining inside of the box was hope.” (https://www.greekboston.com/culture/mythology/pandoras-box/)
I had heard about Pandora’s Box before, but the first time I was introduced to the concept of it, was as a teenager. At that time I was a huge fan of a then brand new TV show called Charmed. A show about three sisters who had inherited the gift of magic from a long line of witches and were meant to protect the world from all evil. In one episode, they had to protect and support the newest guardian of Pandora’s Box from ‘demons’ who wanted to unleash it’s content onto the world. The tricky part was, that only the guardian of Pandora’s Box was able to open it, so they had to eliminate the current guardian and wait for the new and painfully unaware young woman to magically receive the box and then manipulate her into lifting the lid. Still to this day (I am now 44) this episode is so clear in my mind. From 8 seasons of Charmed, season 7 – episode 19 is the one that stuck with me for all those years. All the other episodes faded into the abyss leaving only glimpses and random images behind, yet this episode I can replay in my mind almost in its entirety.
Even though Pandora’s Box is literally filled or rather was filled with all the evil we can ever imagine, I like to see it not as this evil entity that could raise hell on earth, but rather as a beacon of hope. Just think about it, even though Zeus had filled Pandora’s Box with all the evils of the world to punish humans for Epimetheus’ defiance, he still sought them worthy of salvation. By leaving hope on the bottom of the box, he gave humans the most powerful tool there is. Hope means having faith that things will change. Hope means believing that we can make a difference. Hope means believing into the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. “Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.” (But we have to be brave enough to be the change we wish to see in the world (Mahatma Gandhi). No wiser words have ever been spoken in my opinion.
I have been thinking a lot about the concept of Pandora’s Box and I believe that it is a symbol that reminds us of our own version of it. I believe that we all carry Pandora’s Box within ourselves and that it has the potential to unleash our own worst nightmare. In my case, Pandora’s Box was opened when I was molested as a child. My whole world was turned upside down and inside out when a man, who I was supposed to trust, did the unthinkable. Even though at this age I did not understand what had happened, the box had been opened remained open for more evil to exit and for me to experience similar situations over and over again throughout my teenage and young adult life. Sexual assault was my evil out of Pandora’s Box.
But the sexual assault was not the only problem I faced for a greater part of my life. With it came the lack of emotional support, the feeling of abandonment, insignificance, fear of men, shame, disgust, powerlessness, self-sabotage and pain. Even though for years I could not find a way to heal my emotional pain, I never gave up hope that the answer was out there. I have always been a problem solver and so I knew that there just had to be a solution for everything.
When I think about what happened in my life, it makes me wonder, how my life could have been if I had gotten the help I needed right from the start. What if my parents had filed a criminal complaint against this man or at least had asked if this was what I wanted to do? Or what if they had offered me to seek counseling? Would it have made a difference? I’d like to believe so. If I had been able to see this man being put on trial and hopefully in jail I would have known that men couldn’t just do whatever they wanted with a woman and not face consequences. This could have given me the self-confidence to later speak out and/or file charges against other sexual predators I had to face. Yet, as no one had ever spoken out for me against any of these men, offered me a helping hand, or just emotional support, but rather left me to my own devices, how should I have known that as a victim I had any rights or options?
Today, I can confidently say that I banished the evil back into my version of Pandora’s Box and retrieved the scattered pieces of myself. Healing emotional trauma is a spiritual journey. On my journey I learned so much about myself and the spiritual and holistic world. Becoming a Reiki Master was a feeling as if I had come home and reached my destination, yet it was only the beginning. Over the past 20 years I have learned that we are not only able to fully transform and heal our traumatic past, but that we can successfully guide others up that path as well. Our experiences and our journeys can be a beacon of light and hope for others who struggle with similar pain.
This is how I see Pandora’s Box – a beacon of hope for those who are brave enough to weather the storm and uncertainty that lies beyond our pain and torment.
Love & Light,