Conscious evolution is an act of revolution. In the process of evolving, we are faced with the choice to go with the herd or forge our own path. Going against the herd is treacherous, often accompanied by rebuffing, if not abject persecution. In choosing to honor our own truth and to refuse the notion that we should “do a thing just because that’s the way we’ve always done that thing” takes courage, vision, conviction, daring, and faith. People have died forging new paradigms.
At some point in the spiritual maturation process, we are faced with the decision of what to keep and what to reject from the catalog of values, beliefs, and standards instilled in us by our parents. This culling brings us closer to our authentic selves.
But there’s another, more insidious layer of influence that we must bring to the light of consciousness and scrutinize if our personal act of revolution is to stick. That influence is cultural myth. Specifically, the relationship between the masculine and feminine in Western culture.
Whether or not your parents divorced, we all inherited the myth of a broken home. In the collective mind of the Western world, the archetype of the Great Mother has long been forgotten, dominated for millennia by the prevailing character of the Great Father, or masculine version of god. A consortless authority figure, he is estranged from all that the feminine represents. Anodea Judith says, “In the divorce settlement, we are the motherless children who were taken to live with the Father. In our new household, Mother was not to be discussed and became forgotten.” This model affects every aspect of our modern world, from our expectations in a relationship to the structure of the workplace, to the way we organize and run our government, and certainly to the way our religious doctrine is structured.
Masculine and Feminine in Opposition
In many cultures, the masculine principle is equated with “spirit.” It is more detached, emotionless and ethereal. It is the upward movement of life force energy through the body, the liberation of matter into Spirit, reaching towards the bliss of union with Creator. Conversely, the feminine principle is body-centered, grounded, and earth-based. It is the downward direction of life force energy, transforming Spirit into matter, anchoring consciousness in a physical body.
The perpetuation of alienated opposites creates what is known as the mind-body split. The focus of most religious and spiritual traditions has been on ascending, transcendence, and overcoming our human nature (including sexuality, desire, passion, and “lower” emotions). This involves the upward movement of energy through the body. Most religious philosophies assert some version of “to achieve enlightenment, you must overcome the instincts of the body.” In this view of human existence, needs wants, and desires are considered weakness. We are to deny the flesh in order to achieve union with God. That’s code for “anything associated with the feminine principle is less important than anything associated with the masculine principle.”
This dogma perpetuates the dualistic nature that has already wreaked havoc upon human existence. If we buy into this dualistic version of opposites, where “ne’er the twain shall meet,” then we are to deduce that nature and spirit are separate. Which then implies the same relationship of separation between Heaven and Earth, mind and body, and the masculine and feminine. In this paradigm, we must choose one or the other, but cannot have both. And not just choose, but choose “correctly,” for in each pairing, one choice is clearly venerated, better, and a sign of true advancement compared to its mate.
Healing the Split
So what’s a body to do? As with any paradigm shift, change begins within.
It can be humbling – oh, let’s be honest…excruciating! – to recognize the depth to which patriarchy has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and psyches. As spiritual beings, ones who desire to ally with consciousness, acceptance, compassion, and reverence for all life, it is necessary for us to do the hard work of telling ourselves the truth about this influence. We must.
If we are to be the leaders of the conscious evolution revolution, then – if for no other reason than to lead by example – we must continue to examine and transform the layers of masculine-dominated thinking and acting.
Healing the collective mind-body split starts by healing our individual mind-body split (and hence healing masculine-feminine and heaven-earth splits).
Examining how this split has manifested in your own life is critical to begin the healing process. In what ways do you deny your body? Your sexuality? Your needs and desires? In what ways do you deny and repress the feminine principle seeking expression in you? No matter what body you came into this life with, you have both the masculine and feminine principles within you. Is your masculine a dictator? Is your feminine a victim? Answering these questions can make you want to dive under the covers and suck your thumb, but they are crucial in the process of becoming more conscious.
Integration is also a key practice. Writing a letter to your inner feminine and masculine, doing ceremony, self-care, working with the sacred marriage (the marriage of the inner feminine/ masculine), making amends, examining and shifting your belief system – these are all ways you can begin to heal the split and integrate the opposites. Don’t get trapped by the thinking that says one is better than the other and you must choose. You are both! You are both feminine and masculine, spirit and matter, mind and body. Denial or repression of one in favor of the other keeps you in a perpetual state of imbalance and dis-integration.
The cultural structures centered around the patriarchy are crumbling. A new paradigm is being birthed and the birthing pains are agonizing. For almost all of us, the focus of our healing and transformation will be on reclaiming our lost feminine, retrieving her from the custody of our collective shadow. This recovery will reinstate the value of nurturing, connection, beingness, intuition, honoring natural rhythms and cycles, and reverence for the physical body. We must restore – and embody! – the conscious equal partnership of the masculine and feminine principles within our own psyche if we are to be the leaders of the consciousness revolution.
This article was originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of Evolving Magazine and is featured here (with minor edits) with Author permission.