Saturday, September 02, 2006

what is the feminine?

In response to some who emailed me privately, and brought up the question, what do I think of as the feminine? I guess I am using it two ways: in the standard way of calling a way of dress or style as 'feminine' as opposed to a masculine style of dress etc., which comes from our social conditioning. But in the most profound way of embracing the feminine, what I refer to is the yin as opposed to the yang, the hidden source of creative power that powers the universe; the moist cave we were born out of, a mother's womb, or the small voice inside that counsels us that the Keres Indians call Thought Woman. I do believe that men and women each access their own wisdom differently, and the our bodies have different kinds of power. I think that as women we have been overly masculinized, modelled ourselves after men, and have lost the particular 'feminine' wisdom ways of the body, in our pursuit of intellectual excellence.

The spirit has no gender, but humans have classified and engendered everything, so I guess it helps me to use these terms. In French, every noun is either feminine or masculine - it's hard to get away from it. So for me, what has been belittled in me, i.e. the parts of the body, what has been mocked or trashed, what has not been useful to my advance or success in school, the non-rational, the intuitive, the healing power of a mother's hands, the knowledge of who is calling me before I pick up the phone - I associate that with the feminine. And it needs reclaiming. In ancient times, the Queen of Heaven and Earth had many powers - the feminine power was not only nurturing and life giving, but she was envisioned as a warrior woman. The Great Mother was dancing the dance of creation, birth, life, death, famine and abundance. Is it only a metaphor? or does invoking the feminine bring power to women?

It's important for me to get in touch with what has been maligned by religion, in my case, the Catholic religion. My body and it's holy discourse, it's bleeding and breeding, has been misaligned with 'sin' or absence of God/spirit. Matter/mater/mother is where we all begin. The original woman, Eve, was not the source of a fall from Grace, but was our wise Birth Mother. The old ways of burning women with healing power has made us fearful of the expression of our truth. In a mythological sense, the essential feminine breathes through the universe, as does the essential masculine - the marriage of the two is a divine intercourse. That is a story that needs rewriting - to put the divine consort back into God's arms.
Retrieving my hidden affinity with the feminine way of knowing is healing me in some way I can't easily put into words.

What I know is this, if I see myself as created in the image of god, with both feminine and masculine parts, and I celebrate my physical femaleness as holy, and understand the responsibility having a female body holds as part of creation, honour and respect it, and understand it is to be as holy as the masculine, if I can hold onto the double image of Lady and Lord, (even if I know the creative energy needs no gender), it helps me feel stronger, more balanced. My body's wisdom is connected to having a cunt instead of a penis - it's that blunt. Uterus, ovaries, vagina: are power places that need re-sacralizing. To re-invest the female body, with feminine power. To write it with milk, as Cixous expressed it.

To celebrate what I am, body mind and spirit. Female body, mind and spirit. To counter the prevalence of belief that stems from eons ago: "These heretical women - how audacious they are! They have no modesty; they are bold enough to teach, to engage in argument, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures, and it may be, even to baptize." (Tertullian)

I leave it up to the men to do their own work. Finding out how to balance the masculine and feminine in themselves. To soften what is too hard, to strengthen what is weak. To honour and respect the feminine power within themselve, and in the women around them.

If you know what the 'feminine' means to you, please write and let me know. I am still stumbling in the dark.


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