Sunday, August 20, 2006

wellspring of life, divine mother

I have a small card on my desk found in a store in Taos. It has a picture of a woman standing on the crescent moon in a white gown, a halo of stars on her head and four wings on each side of her. It's called Divine Mother, Wellspring of life. On the backis marked: The Eternal Womb... "the soul will cleave to the divine intellect, and it will cleave to her...and she and the intellect become one Entity, as if somebody pours out a jug of water into a flowing spirng, so that all become one." Issac of Acco.

Part of my continuing search to learn/teach about a woman's life is a quest to embody that feminine energy, to bring it down out of mythology and symbols into a felt experience.

The other morning I was doing some yoga in a hotel room near Quebec City, (on my way to a vacation in the Gaspe Peninsula), and as I did the Warrior Pose, I felt such a flood of energy into my core, somewhere in between the lungs, near the solar plexus and up to my throat - and it felt so powerful and grounding. I know we are used to thinking of the symbols for god as Father and Mother, but I felt keenly the balancing of energies that have been called feminine and masculine, down my centre. The age old yin and yang, the merging of which would be called the Tao in my uneducated guessing.

It reminded me that I want balance. We women are not little men. Yet we have a masculine or yang energy, and a feminine, or yin energy. As a young feminist, I remember resisting the idea of being feminine, passive and receptive. I wanted to identify with the Yang, the active, the outgoing energy that accomplishes great things. I have so much to learn about the beauty of the Yin, the receptive, the open container which holds the yang, the creative spirit that Marion Woodman once described as the fiery thrust of the masculine energy, entering the container-made-ready of the feminine within.

These are all just words. What I want is to accept my femaleness as alright. To be feminine is not a sign of weakness, (as it has been taught us). We have learned to follow the male model, but our bodies and our brains are female (see the recent book The Female Brain). I have no intention of returning to the Victorian ideal of womanhood as submissive, obedient, passive. But I want an ideal for femalehood which values the yin as well as the yang, that gives me the freedom and the choice to live in harmony with my biology, not see it as a limitation.

As soon as a girl begins to bleed, she must come to terms with her femaleness, her body parts, her need for rest and nurturance. Her needs are different (even at birth) from her male brothers/friends/partners. As she grows into her power, she learns about her cycles, her body's rhythms. She has a chance to lear that the blood mysteries are sacred and are a gift to women, co-creators of new life with men.

My favourite book this week is A Woman's Book of Life, by Joan Borysenko. She has some wonderful thingsto say about our life's journey as women.

Let's accept our power as women, not diminish it by becoming little copies of men.

grateful to be still learning,


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