Maturation of a Healer Part 1: Archetypal Feminine in an Age of Inclusivity

What does it mean to talk about Feminine Energy? How does the Divine Feminine present itself in our world of gender fluidity? How can we heal the sexual trauma, overcome or break out of traditional career or family roles, heal the Earth or learn to love our innate nature while honoring the rainbow of gender identities?

Let me say first that I don’t have an answer and I am open to hearing and learning more. Often times I write about something in order to understand it better. In any case, I have been meditating on it and here is what I think.

We are all one

Gender is part of the expression of who we are. Most people think of man and woman, boy and girl, but of course there are many gender identities and they represent the spectrum and fluidity of personal expression at any given time. We all have aspects of feminine and masculine qualities within us, and how much we feel either of these helps define our gender identity. This identity, along with all other aspects of our personal experience, changes and evolves through our lives.

So what IS Feminine? What IS Masculine? I am not talking about the current cultural notions of gender norms (which have been crumbling in the last decade anyway). I am talking about the archetypal qualities (which is why I use the capital F for Feminine).

It seems as though I can’t talk about the Divine Feminine without also talking about MY spiritual understanding of the universe (though I don’t think you need to agree with everything I say about spirituality in order to agree with my end points), so taking a brief aside:

Before there was anything, and everything was un-manifest, everything was one. There was no contrast, there was no differentiation, everything was God in the un-manifested state beyond time and space. But Source wanted to experience everything and so manifest Itself into all of creation. “In order for the number two to arise (the first number after one), there has to be a splitting of unity. The number two can only be born when two units are set beside each other.”†

The divine Feminine and divine Masculine are a pair of opposites, of which there are many. Since it often helps to understand a thing by seeing what it is NOT, we know pairs of opposites and therefore understand what it IS. But remember that Masculine and Feminine are both reflections of Source and their energies help us understand ourselves and God.

By the way, this is what I think the secret of life is: to experience the world of form and thereby evolve to a higher level of consciousness, experiencing ourselves as all things and eventually as God.

A Pair of Opposites

Divine/archetypal Feminine is receptive, fluid, watery, emotional, being rather than doing, nurturing, connected to the physical body and the earth, web-like thinking and broad understanding. Feminine energy keeps silent, is peaceful, cautious and slow to act. You may notice that most of these qualities are not valued by society-at-large.

Divine/archetypal Masculine is giving and doing, action-oriented, outward energy, logical and linear thought patterns, spiritual rather than physical as it is connected to the heavens. Masculine energy is verbal, resistant to influence, rules over, contains the ability to fight, is courageous and fast.

As displayed by the yin-yang symbol, the seeds of one are contained in the other, and one is not better than the other. They simply are. The pairs of opposites are two stages of cyclic movement, one constantly changing into the other, such as day giving way to night.¥ The problem comes when there is not balance. What we have been experiencing in the past several centuries is the Masculine accumulating energy and becoming toxic. Much of what we know now as Masculine is toxic, unbalanced masculinity without respect or reverence for the Feminine. I believe that stripping midwives of their role in the birth process was the ultimate power grab by the toxic masculine; an almost-final blow to the power of women (but nothing is ever final, and therefore not the end). Toxic masculinity has also robbed women of their knowledge of menstrual cycles and their bodies and created ages of suffering and separation. We women who are waking up know why this happened: most men were (are still?) threatened by the power of women who gather together. Our menstrual cycles and birth are sacred spaces where men are prohibited. These are powerful forces that women’s bodies have and medieval men are frightened of this knowledge and power!

Balancing the World with Womb Power

The divine Masculine and Feminine each have their own place. In the domain of birth, the Feminine energy embodied mostly by women is to become the cosmic womb of creation: dark, fertile, warm and nurturing; literally able to receive the seed for creation. The Feminine moves slowly and instinctually with awareness about that which is being incubated. In addition to providing the animating seed, it is the work of the Masculine to protect. The energy embodied mostly by men is to create a physical (and sometimes energetic) space for the pregnant person to nourish and grow life. This protective energy allows a woman who is laboring, or a person who is menstruating to let go of all boundaries, fully surrender the ego and experience the divine. These are vulnerable spaces, and vulnerability will only show up in protected spaces.

So let’s talk about reclaiming the power of the Feminine, or the Divine Feminine awakening. There have been times and places in history that have been dominated by women, ie. Matriarchal societies. I’m not sure they were necessarily better than our Patriarchal society since it was still an imbalance of power. What I hope to see is an awakening of Feminine energy in all people and a power WITH rather than a power OVER structure. One of the most beautiful aspects of Feminine energy is the dismantling of hierarchy and honoring all people for their own innate, inner knowledge rather than top-down, only-one-way-is-right knowledge. The Feminine honors diversity and the unique powers of each individual, making every piece equally valuable to the whole.

So to our conversation about Divine/Archetypal Feminine in a gender-fluid world… Let us ALL learn to embrace the qualities of the Feminine so that we may honor our unique expression of ourselves in the world. On the surface, let us move beyond assumptions about the boy or man who wears hearts and sparkles and pink and purple, or skirts and dresses. And the girl who refuses to wear a dress. These are more about the gender stereotypes we have culturally created.

Moving deeper into the qualities of Divine Feminine, regardless of the assigned sex at birth, we can value the person who takes care of the children. Let us respect the birthing person’s body, creating a protective space that allows them to do and move as it knows it needs to. And nurture the person who just gave birth by giving rest, nourishment and healing, and allowing the parent to just be with their child in sweet, oblivious bliss. Let us honor female bodies and the power of the menstrual cycle, honoring the bookends of menstruation with conscious menarche and menopause.

I’d like to end by sharing two quotes. The first gives us the imperative to reclaim our Divine Feminine power. There is a view in the Western world today that supports a hierarchy of man superior to woman, but that woman is more connected to the earth (as in Mother Earth or Earth Goddess).

“for this and other complex reasons, women, and what is typically regarded as the feminine perspective, bear the brunt of ecological stresses. The fate of woman and the fate of the earth are inseparable, perpetually linked by the metaphors of woman as nature and nature as female.”
— Jeanne Achterberg, author of Women as Healer

And to counter that with a vision to hold by Wild Power authors Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer:

Imagine a society in which the cycles of life are revered and respected as quiet orchestrators of our lives–instilling a deep reverence for the planet and everything on it. Imagine that the menstrual cycle is understood as the heartbeat of that Great Orchestration, and most crucially, honored as the sacred source of life for us humans…
— Wild Power

I am curious, if you do not identify as a woman, or if you identify as a woman but do not have the seasons and cycles of a female body, how does this affect your experience of being a woman or person?  Does your womb space create its own cycles and rhythms even without the physical womb? If you do have a menstrual cycle but don’t identify as a women, how does that affect your experience?

Thank you for being you!

† (from Initiation, by Elizabeth Haich)
¥ (from I am Worthy, by Desiree Mangandog)

 

Maturation of a Healer: Intro

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Hello friends of Sacred Rhythms. I know it has been a long time since I’ve written, primarily because I am pregnant and I’m focusing on my pregnancy….It has been made clear to me that this time in my life is for education and maturation so that I may confidently offer the service of my life's work: to serve as a healer and catalyst for women and families to embrace the power of the Feminine in their own lives.

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