Myth and folklore, have been retold for generations with great vividness and precision, conjuring up clear images but leaving the interpretation infinitely blurred. And yet these Tales and Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart, help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath as inspirational messages.
From the era 400 BCE to 400 CE (when India’s great epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana were compiled), to the present 1970s era of Charles de Lint (my favorite writer of urban fantasy and mythic fiction, contemporary magical realism), I see how these myths and legends were conceived in the wombs of cultures and civilizations.
I grew up in India, listening to heroic ballads and epic poetry preserved in oral tradition, both in Sanskrit and the various vernacular languages of India. Truly believing that every ancient tale had truth at its heart, the tale of the mighty Lord Shiva, being a “shav” (lifeless) without Shakti (potent feminine divine power), fascinated my young impressionable heart. The whole concept of Shakti’s manifestation – nurturing and sustaining the dynamic consciousness from static consciousness – showing its fierce side if exposed to cruelty, violence, and atrocity – even with its symbolic idea of energy balance between male and female – it all mesmerized me.
Today, as an adult, I have had a major paradigm shift, that if we can all acknowledge (instead of bristling at the thought), that both polarities – the inherent feminine (i.e., intuitive, caring) and Masculine (i.e., assertive, dominant), can’t be divorced from our construct of gender. And that we all contain myriad, often dynamic, combinations of both. I am hoping that this suggestion doesn’t rile a good ole chauvinistic male ego. (hic).
In Hinduism, it is “Lord Ardhnareshwar”, a composite androgynous deity, who is considered a perfect embodiment of creation and balance of the supreme male deity, and his consort Parvati, the paramount female deity (Shakti), lending prosperity, peace, and Santulan (balance). Two Sanskrit words make the deity’s name – “Ardha” (meaning half) + “Nari”(woman) = “Ishvara”(Lord who is half-woman).
Curious? Let me conjure up for you how the Deity has been depicted in Mythology: The right half of the body (Shiva), adorned with matted hair, the third eye, a serpent around the neck, and a crescent moon on the forehead, while the left side female (Goddess Parvati), adorned with ornaments, a breast, and a lotus flower in the hand. Beautiful?
And of course, there are other deities in Hinduism who are prayed together to celebrate gender fluidity and equality; like Radha & Krishna (representing union between God and the Devotee), Ram & Sita (balance of justice governance), Vishnu and Laxmi (ideal combination of power and wealth) – all emphasizing the idea of divine balance!
Take “Islam” into consideration, and you also find it admitting to the presence of feminine (heart and the nature of beauty – jamāliyah/yin) and masculine characters (ratio/logic and the nature of majesty -jalāliyah/yang) in both men and women. A lot of people don’t know this, and it’s my recent discovery, that in the names of Allah, feminine traits (al-rahmān and al-rahīm) and masculine traits (al-Azīz and al-Malik) are reflected.
If I move away from Islam to “Taoism”, it’s also an ancient Chinese philosophy and religion that instructs believers on how to exist in harmony /dualism of both masculinity and femininity. It’s pretty much started sounding that “All Genders (not the kind you are born with) – have universal energies of Greater Yin, lesser Yin, Lesser Yang, and Greater Yang, and we all have the potential to lean more towards one polarity or the other.
Looking for Perfect Balance? It doesn’t exist!”
Radical Dualism represents the two sides of Male and female – perpetually passing into one another – erasing the idea of a wholly masculine man, or a purely feminine woman!
So, here’s my suggestion…. If you are one of those who is burning in the passion and curiosity about your soul’s Journey and its power that comes from focusing on what excites you…. then get ready for a deep-dive exploration, assess what energy you are running on!
Too much masculine energy? Or a little too much in touch with your divine feminine? “How” will you find that balance?
What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
~ Susan Sontag
The Universe is going through a monumental shift to balance energies and eradicate male dominance of human consciousness back to a balanced relationship between masculine and feminine.
Are you ready to “lovingly allow it to happen”?
I have humbly started my journey!
Each year (during the month of Ashvin, in Gregorian calendar usually September–October), I celebrate “Navratri” (or nine nights) dedicated to celebrating the raw, elemental energy of mother Earth, and our own dormant nature, do a spiritual and physical cleansing, seek guidance, and be nourished through an invisible umbilical cord Mother Goddess (Shakti), the hidden symbolism, and its archetypal power. In these Nine days…in my early morning 4 am prayers and chanting… my loving private conversations with the Goddess (in her all three forms of Durga, Saraswati, and Laxmi), is a child-like appeal to enhance my own understanding of universal truths, death of illusions and renewal of illuminations, mortality and immortality, and the interconnectedness of living beings!
Each year I come out anew – Retracted- Deconstructed – Reconstructed – Reset – Rejuvenated, and drenched in a loving union with the Adi Parashakti (The transcendental energy & spirit without form – the Eternal Limitless Power of Para Brahman), who allows me to tap into her dual nature of love, compassion, and power and ferocity!