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Journey to Conscious Femininity April 16, 2006

Posted by sybil in Wise Words.
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The eternal feminine is thrusting her way into contemporary consciousness. Shekinah, Kwan Yin, Sophia, whatever her name, she is the manifestation of the divine in matter. Among her many faces are the Black Madonna, White Buffalo Woman, Shakti, Kali, Aphrodite. Hers are the ways of peace, compassion, reverence for life and death in the oneness of nature. Knowing her has nothing to do with blindly stumbling toward a fate we think we cannot avoid. It has everything to do with developing consciousness until it is strong enough to hold tension as a creative energy. In the turmoil of our time, we are being called to a new order of reality. Working toward that consciousness, we suffer, but our suffering opens us to the wounds of the world and the love that can heal. It is our immediate task to relate to the emerging feminine whether she comes to us in dreams, in the loss of those we love, in body disease, or in ecological distress. Each of us in our own way is being brought face to face with Her challenge.

Conscious femininity is not bound to gender. It belongs to both men and women. Although in the history of the arts, men have articulated their femininity far more than women, women are now becoming custodians of their own feminine consciousness. For centuries, men have projected their inner image of femininity, raising it to a consciousness that left women who accepted the projection separated from their own reality. They became artifacts rather than people. The consciousness attributed to them was a consciousness projected onto them. That projection was sometimes an idealized image of beauty and truth, a sphinx or a dragon. Whatever it was, it could not be an incarnated woman. A man does not have a womb, and the embodiment of of his femininity is, therefore, different from a woman’s.

The fact remains, however, we are all human beings. We are all the children of patriarchy. While our culture depends upon three thousand years of cultural process focused through masculine eyes, it has been won at high cost. What began as masculine values has degenerated into lust for control. Power has bludgeoned both our femininity and our masculinity. We all function with these two different energies. As health and growth depend on both dark and light, so maturity depends on an inner balance between Yin and Yang, Shakti and Shiva, Being and Doing. I prefer to call these energies femininity and masculinity because their biological images appear in dreams and their interaction or lack of interaction reveals harmony or chaos in the psyche. For me, these words are not gender-bound.

Conscious Femininity…has to do with bringing the wisdom in nature to consciousness. For too long we have taken the instinctual Mother Goddess for granted. In our own bodies, in our Earth, we have assumed she would nourish and protect us. We have wallowed in sentimental images. Over centuries, we have forgotten her, reviled her, raped her. Now we will either integrate her laws into consciousness or we will die. There is an evolutionary process at work on our planet and we can only hope that out of this present death, sanity will come. Thus far in our history, the unconscious feminine has been associated with instinct; now the conscious feminine is bringing light to instinct, illuminating nature with new images that come to us in our dreams and in creative work.

The task of releasing the feminine from the tyrannical power of the driven, crazed masculine is long and arduous. The process is just as difficult inside as it is outside. Observing it abstractedly is one thing, experiencing it personally is quite another….

Our culture is riddled with the loss of feeling values because so many stories go on in the soul but are never heard. Many people have long since forgotten what they do value, and, if they do remember, they try to forget. They want to be successful in a competitive society. They want to be loved, whatever that means, when they are pretending to be someone they are not. They are so adolescent they dare not look at themselves. That would mean taking responsibility for who they are. They dare not reflect themselves to themselves; they dare not look at the tapestry of their lives spun every night in the images of their dreams. This is a tragic loss because these images shape our inner and outer lives. Without a conscious connection to them, life is lived unconsciously. With a conscious connection, life is connected to its creative source. And because these images are continually evolving–daily in analysis if the heat is hot enough–our close relationship to them assures a link between the conscious ego and the creative energy that keeps the story vital, whole, and holy.

In finding our own story, we assemble all the parts of ourselves. Whatever kind of mess we have made of it, we can somehow see the totality of who we are and recognize how our blunderings are related. We can own what we did and value who we are, not because of the outcome but because of the soul story that propelled us. that story is our individual myth.

Marion Woodman, Leaving My Father’s House: A Journey to Conscious Femininity, 1992 pp 1-2,6. emphasis added

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