Interview with Dr. Christiane Northrup
Wf1: Dr. Northrup, you have been an inspiration to women for many decades. All that you are doing inspires my vision at Women For One. A vision for women to be more empowered and informed about all of the choices they have in their lives. Thank you very much for giving me your time. We are honored.
Dr. Northrup: I like someone who knows the trajectory of the work and I am happy to speak with you!
Wf1: At Wf1 we focus on promoting women being healthy, joyful, and powerful in their bodies, emotions and most importantly, their soul. I have watched your video about One Billion Rising and I am moved by the movement’s mission to end violence against women and girls throughout the world. I actually attended the One Billion Rising event in Tucson on the campus of the University of Arizona. You have taken an integral role in promoting the movement and I was particularly touched by the video you made to speak about One Billion Rising’s purpose and goal. “The original beat our bodies were exposed to was our mother’s heartbeat. And that’s why the beating of drums still stirs us right to the bone.” Those words you spoke stirred me. As soon as I read you words I felt a heart connection with you. It is so easy to do with you and your words. How was your experience of the One Billion Rising day and your tango dance on February 14th?
Dr. Northrup: Oh, I so love that you started there, cause that’s right where I am. First of all, it was a gorgeous day and the sun was shining. We went into the student union of the University of Southern Maine in this cinderblock building. It is not a gorgeous space. There were 5 couples dancing the tango, and we were wearing red, with our stilettos! The guys were dressed in their suits and an Indian woman from the Penobscot nation told her story about coming to the university for the first time she was off of the reservation and being sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. This was 15 years ago. The administration moved her from her double room to a single room. In other words, they banished her because they didn’t know how to deal with her abuse. So when she needed community, she got isolated. How different it is now than how it was, but we still have a long way to go.
After we spoke to each other a bit, it was time in the program for us to do our dance. I went up and took the microphone because we were told that it was time for us to dance outside on the earth. The organizers of the event planned for everyone to dance at 2:15 on the earth. Now this is Maine, this is winter, and we are in tango shoes. We looked out the door and there was a clear enough space on the concrete, but there was a slope and some manholes. The guys say, “Okay, we will do this!” But then I thought that it is not enough that we just take everyone outside and dance a tango. I wanted to tell them about why I selected the tango and why I was participating in this event. The people didn’t know that I was going to be there, and the organizer woman who knew me was astounded and surprised. I explained to the group that the event is about abuse and violence and my whole life’s journey has been being at the bedside and seeing the consequences of that abuse on a woman’s health and her self esteem.
The Meaning of the Tango Dance for One Billion Rising
What we are moving toward is absolute partnership between the masculine and feminine. I want you to see what the future looks like now, as it is embodied in this dance in which the masculine energy cherishes the feminine but the feminine completely stands in her space. This is all done with pleasure and with gorgeous music.
I spoke and then we went outside and did our 3 dances. It turned out so divinely. It was the best Valentine’s Day. Society has pared down Valentine’s Day to mean romantic for one person, who is usually disappointed that you didn’t quite figure out what they needed or wanted. It’s like Mother’s Day where we take what should be a festival of love for HER all-year long and we make it about one day where we hand her a rose. These holidays have always made me insane. This one was really, really good. If you get engaged or someone gives you chocolates, it’s all luscious, but boy can we ever expand it way, way out. We as women, have got to get over this wounded feminine that we keep making the fault of men. It’s the limitation of V-day. I understand where Eve was coming from. The only reason I said I would do it, or participate, because I don’t participate in the “us against them” movements. This was different. Using dance as a form of social engagement is using the feminine energy to cause the men to rise up and serve the feminine. That’s what it is all about anyway and until we women do this inner work on ourselves, we will not see the genuine masculine.
Wf1: I am just so moved by everything you just said. I just did an interview with Sheila Kelley and she spoke about how the masculine – feminine is so aligned with everything you speak about. What struck me the most about what you just said is the perspective of the world and the shootings that just happened and what Gary Zukav wrote about the Pulling the Root of Violence. Much of the world comes from this broken mentality instead of coming from a place that we are not at war and an understanding that we are whole. Our world is not broken. I’m looking for people who are like that and you one of them!
Dr. Northrup: Yes, I really am. I am really one of them because I am so over it. When a woman identifies herself as a survivor she’s putting a target for further abuse on her head. “I’m a survivor.” Of what? Then she is identified with the wound over and over and over and over and over. That is her identity. Now, there is a time when the wound must be identified and it must be witnessed. Someone must say, “That happened to you and I am sorry.” And then the emotional charge needs to be felt and released. Here is an example from my own life. Yesterday I’m at Pilates and I’m doing the chest expansion exercise on the reformer. My teacher, Hope, teaches classical Pilates – not the kind you can get certified for in a weekend. The kind you have to really know the mechanics of what you are doing. We both did a Shaman workshop with Peter Calhoun out in Sedona, so we know how to do imprint removals – the energetic imprint removals. She says to me, “There is something in your scalene that is energetic. There is something going on in your neck. You’re not able to elongate your neck like you should. So what’s going on?” So I begin to tell her about a dream.
I am giving a lecture to many many people. And as I become more and more passionate about what really matters, I walk up the risers on which people are sitting—like bleachers. And when I get to the very top, I am finished. And no one is clapping. They haven’t like what I have to say.
Also, by the way, Saturn right now is at 11 degrees of Scorpio, we are all 11 on some collective level. We’re being pushed on whatever happened at age 11 or didn’t happen. Then I realize in the dream I am upset because my audience doesn’t like it when I get really fiercely truthful about things that make them uncomfortable. In my own work I have said a lot of things that people did not want to hear. In this case, the big topics are these – the ones that people really don’t want to hear.
For example, infant circumcision is one of them and that’s the one that was up for me. The way you do an imprint removal is you must forgive the person over whom you’re holding the charge. So in this case, I forgive the doctors who taught me how to do circumcision and who told me that the baby didn’t feel it and I knew better. I forgive the mothers and fathers whom I could never talk out of this. Mostly, I forgive myself for causing this kind of excruciating pain to little boys. Why would anyone need to remove the foreskin from a penis that is loaded with nerve endings for erotic pleasure and protection? And then I just felt like sobbing because I was acknowledging my own powerlessness in the moment to change an abusive practice that people still do, despite all the evidence. Mothers are powerless to stop it when they have a husband who puts his foot down and says, “the kid has to look like me” and “I never felt it” and everything related to the experience. After forgiveness, you transmute the imprint in the violet flame. I envisioned this and then I literally saw the hundreds of the little boys kneeling down around the flame forgiving me. Because of them, thousands more have been spared just because I have spoken out about this topic. Not in a rabid, every chance I get, I ram it down your throat, but when it comes up. It’s first chakra programming that people do not question. That’s what’s driving everyone’s health.
Immunizations are another one. Like the Gardasil vaccine for girls. Oh my God. I was just reading another report about the flu vaccine in kids in England. It is implicated in narcolepsy in these little kids who received the flu vaccine. They don’t need the vaccine since Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin D will protect anyone against the germs, but of course, vaccines come from what we were talking about earlier, THE WAR….on germs, the war on cancer, the war on our bodies.
Wf1: I completely agree! Everything that you have said reinforces the choice I made in Canada when my OB said, “I will not do a circumcision for you.” I made a choice to not circumcise my children when I was much less empowered then today, even when my husband at the time had a huge resistance to it. I put my foot down because it just didn’t make sense to me.
Dr. Northrup: Isn’t that interesting that you had enough innate wisdom as a woman, as a mother. Let me tell you when I really get up in it. I have this fierce mother bear energy where I want to say to women, “What are you thinking when you continually throw your kid under the bus? I’m like please, where is your “mother bear” instinct, because if anyone came in and did that to my kid, I would come in and rip them to shreds. Why do you sacrifice them on the altar of the Catholic Church, the altar of modern medicine, the altar of your husband, the altar of your pedophilic father-in-law. What the fuck is wrong with you?” That’s my fierceness.
Wf1: I love that. What are you saying though? You are saying wake up, wake up and challenging them?
Dr. Northrup: I’m saying wake up but at the same time, I also have tremendous compassion, because when I was a young doctor, the kid was going to get circumcised anyway. If I didn’t do it, my colleagues had to come in and do it on a Saturday. The kid wasn’t going to be spared. It’s like doing a hysterectomy that you know doesn’t need to happen. If you’re on call, and you’re it, and you refuse to do it – it will happen anyways. You see medicine is like one big giant dysfunctional family, just like every other family system. You know a lot of doctors are first-born kids of alcoholics. They are out to save the world from ever having to experience the powerlessness that they experienced when they were children. They become doctors so that they can save everybody, but you see the paradigm is truly in need of repair.
Now, the feminine energy is yin, and it is incredibly powerful. It’s like water, it washes things away slowly and when you stand in your power as a woman you are connected to the earth that most men are not – a few men are, but not many. That’s what we have all been waiting for, not a bunch of women running around like banshees.
Wf1: So true and with that comes my next question. You have been taking such positive action for women and girls in the world, promoting One Billion Rising and everything else you have shared over the years: What does your future vision look like for women throughout the world? My focus was not to start something that was just American, I kept on hearing – global. You know most of our following is in Macedonia and Egypt.
Dr. Northrup: Now that’s exciting. That’s where women, because they have been oppressed in the outer world, have developed a rich inner world where they have had to develop the feminine intuitive side just to survive. Belly dancing comes from that part of the world. I’m a big fan of an astrologer named Sao, The Astrology of Change – he talks about Saturn going through Scorpio. Scorpio is the most feminine yin, deep feeling sign in the zodiac and he said if you want to know what the future looks like you need to talk with the most yin people on the planet. He speaks about the darker the skin the more yin the person. So he was believes that African women, not African-American, African women – are the most powerful in yin. Oppressed women have had to reach into the very resources of their souls to survive.
So what I know for sure is your movement is inevitable. That it is what is going on the planet and we don’t really know yet what sisterhood looks like because we have been taught in patriarchy to throw each other under the bus for a man. Everything in patriarchy is based on shortage. There is not enough food, there is not enough money, there are not enough men, there’s not enough sleep, there’s not enough, there’s not enough. And then of course the ultimate, your body is not enough because after the age of 25, you’re too old to be of worth to anyone.
So to answer your question, my vision is…and it has always been for us as women to ask and answer the question:
What does the individual woman need to do in the space over which she has dominion, which is her own body, her own mind, her own emotions, her own thoughts?
She has dominion there, no one can think or feel in her body or mind space. Now, with saying that, I am also well aware of the impact of a social network on our behavior. So we know that the obesity epidemic in the Western world, and increasingly all over the world, is as driven by what’s going on in the social network as by an individual’s behavior. But having said that, we know that if one person stops smoking it affects people at four degrees of separation. When one person begins to change her diet it has a positive effect on people at four degrees of separation. I think because I’m a clinician, because I’m a doctor who has worked one on one with people, not someone with a Masters in Public Health, I am very interested in sitting at the side of the individual woman. You’ll notice in my writing, it’s as if I am writing to you or an individual woman, because that’s been my whole career and that’s how I relate. I also relate through my own life as to what has worked for me.
Where I am in my own life, is at an ageless moment, where I’m no age whatsoever, and the rest of my life is about delight, ease, and pleasure. I did the heavy lifting. I paid off my karma when I wrote the books. I did the whole thing. Now, I’ll never be done, but I want to show women that it is possible to attract everything that they desire through Egg Energy. The egg bursts out of the ovary and then it sits there and has a chemical signal that attracts the sperm. Eggs do not go running off to find sperm. Sperm runs to the egg. I am very interested in living the rest of my life as the egg. I have developed my masculine side beautifully. I have refused to learn how to lead in tango because I have led for my entire life. I really just wanted to follow and feel in one aspect of my life. That’s what I want women to know. How to follow the “inner” lead.
Wf1: When you spoke about the delight, ease and pleasure, it brought tears to my eyes and my heart opened because I’m yearning for that now. I am fascinated by the egg energy. Great idea.
Dr. Northrup: That’s what we need now. It’s not like waiting until you’re good enough, you’re thin enough, until you have the right man, and enough money. It’s something available to us right now.
Let me tell you about another women that I think would be fabulous for this and that is Tosha Silver, who wrote a book called, Outrageous Openness, Letting the Divine Take the Lead. I adore her work. She majored in English at Yale, she’s got six Rabbis in her family, she says she’s an east coast Jew who adores Jesus. She is outrageously funny. Her post on Facebook today, “When you no longer just reflexively recreate the self-hatred and self-reproach within your body that the mass culture teaches, you access enormous power. You touch feel and are guided by your own inner intuition. Your own inner divine. The whole world cracks and opens. And how do you do this? Oh my God, the ego has not a frickin clue. We learn things like balance a checkbook.” Tosha is quite amazing.
Wf1: It’s all really about surrender as well. And trust.
Dr. Northrup: Yes – surrender. I learned this in tango. It’s surrender to the lead of the divine but also showing up as fully yourself. So it isn’t passive. People think that the feminine is passive. The feminine is not passive. So today in my tango lesson, Javier says, “Put your heel on the floor and then raise your whole body in the embrace, but you start with the heel.” Then he goes, “Esso, this is what the leaders say. it’s like sex.” And it is. And it is, we are all yearning for this luscious, co-creative energy that created the world. It’s embodied in tango and the young women in Lena Dunham’s show called Girls on HBO is exactly the opposite!
Wf1: Right, speaking of that, when you spoke of truly showing up as yourself, what is your definition of the authentic self and how are you authentic in your life?
Dr. Northrup: My whole life is actually a reflection of me. Let me tell you how I got there. This is really important. I come from a family where my authentic self was not particularly honored or even seen in my family. Except for my father, but he was so busy taking care of my mother’s feelings, that it didn’t really count. I come from a family where my mother went to Mt Everest base camp at age 84. That’s 100 miles straight up, with 50 percent of the oxygen that’s normally around. She loves this stuff. She climbed the 100 highest peaks in New England in her 70’s. She hiked the Appalachian Trail in her 60’s. She’s taking her camper to Alaska with her best friend who turned 90 on March 3rd. She is an incredible inspiration and everything she loves is not anything I’m interested in. She got us on skis when we were two and this is when they had those rope tows that pulled your arms out of the sockets. It was scary. So I spent my childhood climbing mountains in the rain, being cold and wet, thinking that there was something wrong with me because I wanted to sit around and drink hot chocolate like they did in the movies on Christmas morning. Wasn’t there are family somewhere in the world that on Christmas morning actually sat around, wallowed in their gifts, talked to each other and drank hot chocolate? In my family you had to be on the mountain to get first tracks when the lift opened. This means you were constantly running out the door at 7:00 when I really prefer to sleep until 9:00 in the morning and if I’ve been traveling, sometimes I’ll sleep until noon.
So that’s my authentic self. I’m a sleeper. I’m someone who likes massive amounts of sleep so that I can record 4 or 5 dreams a night. My idea of a glorious afternoon is watching two movies at once, maybe even 3, going out to dinner and having great conversation, doing someone’s astrologic chart on my iPhone, possibly doing their tarot cards. Showing them how the tarot reflects their own inner consciousness so they can see how that changes and how there’s no magic in the cards or in the astrological chart, but that it tells you something about your soul’s blueprint.
I was married to my mother for 24 years. The mother is the most primal relationship in our lives. That is the ground in which our body was formed. Now, it was that relationship that gave me the grounding, the ability to keep going when things really became so tough that a lesser person would have folded – but that’s OB/GYN surgical training in the time that I went through. It was absolutely a grinding thing. When I had my children though, I found being home with children was infinitely harder for me than being in the hospital and having someone arrange the surgery that I would go in, do the surgery and be the big hero. It was easier. But all that to say, everything that I have felt guilty for, sleeping late, loving desserts and chocolate, wanting to dance, watching 3 or 4 movies in a row, in other words, everything that is considered in patriarchy a waste of time, with nothing to show for it – that’s who I really am. A waste of time with nothing to show for it because in the moment you just enjoyed the hell out of it. Those types of judgments are the ways to suck the life force and the goodness out of the moment. For instance, exercise is to feel the lusciousness of your body, it’s not to get a certain amount of aerobics points in and it’s not to see who can get up the mountain the fastest. My childhood was a forced march. I’ve now had to remember that stuff that has been internalized. Now I am unlearning those parts of me. Like in Pilates, if I’m doing an open leg rocker and I can’t quite get up as fast, I’ll muscle it up with my shoulders. That’s Edna. That’s my mother. In the past I’ve been able to bull my way through anything. Stay up all night editing if I need to. Get the thing done. Get it in on time. I’m so reliable, it’s unfricking believable! When I say I’m going to do it, I do it. I appreciate that and I don’t want to be around loosey goosy people. You know the kind of people who move to Maui and don’t do anything. I’m not interested in that. But the feminine in me is someone who loves to dance tango to Kenny Chesney’s, You Had Me At Hello. And then all the true tango people don’t like that because it’s not golden age tango music. So I created my own play list and I’ve attracted this group of wonderful guys who come over and dance with me in my living room which now has no furniture. It’s a dance floor. My dance fantasies have all come true!
Okay this is a major brag. My oldest daughter comes home from New York and is so entranced with my social life she says to me, “I hope it’s okay with you if I horn in on your life.” With me, I have Cancer rising, so I’m all about keeping the refrigerator full of food. So I say, “Honey, it is my pleasure to play, A Thousand Years by Christina Perry, from the movie Twilight and have you dance with this gorgeous Greek guy in my living room! I love sharing that with you.” And I love the fact that I created it out of my own despair. Out of my own loneliness. All the riches come from the underworld you know.
Wf1: Yes, they do, I completely agree. I was just working on my despair and darkness with a healer, Justice Bartlett. She helped me shift my brain and consciousness around my perspective of darkness. I dream a lot like you as well. In a lot of my dreams, I was exploring the dark layers of my being, the lower self. They were very cryptic and gross and dirty. Justice explained that anyone can shift that reality into a beautiful fluid matrix-like liquid metal and it can be so beautiful. You can learn from it and embrace it and shift your light into it. When you were just describing that vision, that’s what it felt like. Does that make sense?
Dr. Northrup: Yes, yes. Remember Scorpio is the essence of yin and the feminine. That’s the darkness, that’s the womb. We can’t be afraid of the darkness because all the good stuff comes from there. All the riches, all the precious metals are underground.
Wf1: My experience of the darkness shook me. It shifted my entire consciousness. When I dream now about the darkness my vision has shifted into a beautiful womblike, soft experience.
Dr. Northrup: Oh, I love it. What a great idea.
Wf1: Well, I wanted you to know that we are celebrating you. It was created from the despair, but that authentic self is so beautiful. It’s intangible…a lot of time when you ask people, it’s not a judgment, they like to come up with the best definition that they can for authenticity, but you spoke about it personally, and what it really is for YOU. I think, like even with my husband, he is 54 years old and he doesn’t even know what he needs or wants. He’s just hitting that place where he’s trying to figure out his feminine. It sounded like you found out and you created it from that place. Is that what happened?
Dr. Northrup: Yes, that is exactly right. It began when I wrote, The Wisdom of Menopause. Even though I had been a major trailblazer in my profession I have always been much more interested in who people are personally and how they actually live. For example, what does their kitchen look like? What does their bathroom look like? How do they live day to day? How do they treat their spouse? What’s really going on? I’m not so interested in the awards and the public life.
One of my favorite movies is Almost Famous. And there’s that exchange between the two characters:William Miller: I’m glad you were home. Lester Bangs: I’m always home. I’m uncool. William Miller: Me too! Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool. William Miller: I feel better. Lester Bangs: My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.
Wf1: Isn’t it true! Thank you for that. What piece of advice do you have for our community? Our community is interesting if you look at our demographics. We began with mostly American women ages 40-50 years old. Currently, we have shifted with over 4 million people reached right now and most of our followers are aged 18-34 years old women from the Middle East! I just love that.
Dr. Northrup: Okay, doesn’t that make sense? You know Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first and the meek shall inherit the world.” And so the power will come from those who have been the most repressed. That is the feminine voice in men and in women from all over the world. It will come from there because the authentic power is never power over. Power over others is not real power.. Why do you think this is the first Pope to step down in 600 years? Because someone is about to blow the whistle on the Vatican Bank, that’s why. You can say you heard it here first! I know this is going to happen because Scorpio rules money, sex, and power. Scorpio rules the second chakra – our creative space. So it has been misused. The Papal role has been misused – but not anymore. When Venus occulted the sun, June 5th. When Venus goes across the sun, the center of the solar system represents the heart. The sun says, “We’ve got your back baby. It’s your turn now.”
Let me just say, I’m thrilled about your demographic because these are the women who are going to say yes to Egg Wisdom. These are the women who are going to say you may have sex with me, but you must worship at my temple as the Goddess. The vulva, the Yoni has been represented in all these cave drawings in Old Europe from 30,000 years ago. The vulva was considered the holy of holies. This is where all life comes from. These women are going to know these facts and then they are going to have their babies orgasmically. They are not going to be like westerners who go, “Oh God, oh we have to induce the baby so that I know when to get plane tickets for my mother-in-law, cause we have to make this convenient. I wouldn’t want to spoil my designer pussy, so therefore let’s have a C-Section.” That is why the maternal mortality rate has doubled in the U.S. in the last 20 years. But here’s what’s exciting. The more you sink into your authentic self, the more unbridled your authentic voice becomes. Plus, it’s no longer fashionable to burn women at the stake, so I know I have a fighting chance this time around!
Wf1: (laughing) I love that you said that! You have made your mark Dr. Northrup. Is there anything else you would like to tell our community? I have your new, children’s book, Beautiful Girl: Celebrating the Wonders of Your Body. It is a lovely book for girls of every age to read. I bought it for my daughter
Dr. Northrup: Well, I’ll tell you a great story. I just heard this and loved it. This little girl that is 2 ½ years old had the book read to her by her grandmother. She kept wanting her grandmother to read it to her over and over and over – you know the way that little kids do. She eventually looked at my picture on the back and asked her mother, “Is there a doll of her because I want to play with it?” I was so touched and wondered, “How can we do that? We can have the doctor doll where they dress me up in the white coat and delivering babies and then the tango outfit with the red shoes. That could be hilarious! The feminine Goddess with the Athena wear – Aphrodite!”
Wf1: I so appreciate all your time and all your wisdom and all the work you’re doing in the world. I’m just so moved by you. I am hoping I can connect with you in the future to expand this movement for women all over the world. You and your work are amazing.
Dr. Northrup: We’ll absolutely do that. I love what you’re doing and this movement is IT! What I mean is this is what we all need to be doing now on the planet and that is pretty exciting to me. It’s almost like this is the time I was born for.
Wf1: That’s how I feel too. What’s fascinating to me is that almost everyone that we have reached out to is completely aligned with the feminine principle. It’s amazing to keep following my intuition and finding all our people! Thank you again Dr. Northrup. You are truly an inspiration to all women throughout the globe. We are honored.
Photo Credit: Charles Bush