The Sacred Feminine

I swear, the end of a trimester is like giving birth: It’s painful and I have trouble imagining how on earth I am going to to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ – from pregnancy to birth, or from a trimester of learning to a coherent 2500 word essay. I have done it three times before, so I have the knowledge of past success, which helps…but somehow the impossibility always seems uppermost at this stage :). Anyway, I thought I would share with you part of a chapter I am working on about the Sacred Feminine and how I view it as the next phase, as feminism has gradually evolved from the state, to the home and now to the self. 


13307266_1207836072561253_7700736729487541562_n

Women (and men) have worked hard over the past 100 years to make sure that women have access to the same opportunities and rights as men, and that these rights are protected in law. This kind of action, although still a work in progress, has been essential for women to feel safe, valued and free in our society. We have seen great changes over this time, first at the level of the state – ability to vote, to work, to be educated, to own property – and then in the home – no-fault divorce, birth control, legal abortion, child support, single mother support and more. However, there is another kind of work that cannot be done by governments, and cannot be enshrined in law. It is a deep healing of the sacred feminine, and for that, we need each woman to embrace her deep feminine self as something powerful and beautiful. We need each woman to know her worth, to be deeply settled in her cyclical, creative self.

The feminine forms half of the male-female synergy here on Earth, a union that has been separated and at war with itself for thousands of years. It is not a case of the feminine being ‘better’ than the masculine. That kind of simplistic dualism is the kind of thinking that has gotten us into the trouble our Earth and her inhabitants are in right now. What we really need is the enlightened and awake feminine working with the enlightened and awake masculine in harmony, acceptance and love to make this planet and our lives the very best they can be. When the sacred feminine and masculine join forces, they unite to bring the world into balance. This is not a reference to marriage, or not in the way that we are used to thinking of it: the unification of the divine feminine and masculine is pointing to an energy that begins within each and every person, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

The idea of the feminine as sacred, powerful and something to be celebrated is both old and new within our culture and indeed the world. Ancient cultures were almost entirely focused on the sacred feminine, particularly mothers. The more children you had, the more powerful you were seen to be as a woman. In those times, fatherhood wasn’t recognised – pregnancy and birth were seen as a mystical blessing upon a woman. These powerful women would become leaders and shamans for the tribe, and as time went on, they were revered as Goddesses. As the nomadic tribes evolved, moving to agriculture, trade, permanent housing, towns and cities, populations increased and competition over land and game became an issue where it had never been before. This opened the way for the more war-like masculine to step forward and for the first time, men took the place of women as leaders in the temples and even in the family. The creator Goddesses became creator Gods and gradually societies became more masculine.

When we look over the past, we see that women ruled for thousands of years, and then men ruled for thousands of years. Now, we are preparing for the third age. Now, we must have both the divine feminine and the divine masculine working together, each honouring and being honoured for the special skills and attributes they bring to the table. There is no time to hold onto fear, guilt, uncleanliness or unworthiness. We are the physical manifestation of the Goddess in all her many forms, there is much work to be done; and now, our work begins from within. Women’s bodies and the power that we have, our sexuality, our feminine desirability, our intuition and creativity have always mystified men. As the power of the divine feminine decreased, what was once seen as sacred became profane. We were taught that menstruation is unclean, that rape is a woman’s fault for being so damn tempting, that contraception is a sin against God, that we are the property of first our father and then our husband, and that leaving the family was the greatest sin any woman could ever commit. We were given two choices: serve our family until death or prostitute ourselves.

Times have changed, certainly in our western cultures, but the echoes of thousands of years of being treated as less than second class citizens, as the silent half, as sinful, unclean and ignorant, has left its shadows upon us. We need to make what was once seen as profane sacred once again. We need to shine the light onto what is dark and shameful. We need to celebrate what was once hidden away. That is our sacred task. This is what we do: we take something like menstruation, and we talk about it. We write poetry, songs and blog posts about it, we make art about it. We teach our daughters about it in a non-shaming, celebratory way. We do that for our sons as well. We honour menstruation with ritual and rest. We may join a local red tent, we may wear something red on the days we bleed, or we may just take a special day of rest or fasting on the first day of bleeding. We make it special. We mark it on the calendar and we look forward to the next time it comes around. Whatever taboo or profane part of womanhood that we come across, whether it is our sexuality, a choice to not be a mother or a wife, abortion, rape, domestic violence or prostitution, we talk about it, write about it, sing about it, make art about it. Art can transform the profane into the sublime.

This is the secret – our bodies are holy. Our body contains all the wonders of the world and more besides. Listen – I know what we’ve been told. We’ve been told that our bodies are ugly, lumpy, dirty, sexy, unpredictable and liable to betray us given a chance. We’ve been told everything but the truth: that our bodies are sacred. That the only way we can access our divine wisdom and eternal self on this planet is through our bodies. We can search all we like outside ourselves for what we need, but sooner or later we must go within. And the only way we can go within is through our body, that sacred doorway to the Divine. What we tend to do is to try and think our way to our Divine Wisdom. My friends, this is not the way. The mind is very useful indeed, but not here. We need to bring our consciousness from our mind to our body; not to the outside, which is where many of us get stuck, but to the inner layer that runs just inside of the skin. Inside of our body is not just blood and guts. The energy field that is outside of our body (our aura) is also inside of our body. When we become mindful of the energy field that enlivens our inner body, that runs a constant current of being and aliveness, we not only quieten our minds but we come into contact with that sacred, eternal part of ourselves.

Our body carries all of this sacred aliveness around inside of itself, as well as our miraculously beating heart and busy, busy body systems that perform miracles with every breath. How could it be anything but sacred? We need to drop these false concepts of our bodies and reconnect, but this time in a sacred, loving way.

  • Pay attention to your body’s sacred cycles and the choices that arise from them. Honour them, appreciate them, talk about them.
  • Move your body in the way that you like to move. Dance, walk, swim, run, do yoga, tai chi or pilates. Climb, ride, play sport…do whatever it is that makes you feel good. Bodies are made to be moved.
  • Connect with your inner body. Use the breath, use your meditation practice, touch base with yourself while you’re waiting in line or in traffic. Soon, it will be second nature, and you will be able to contact that field of aliveness whenever and wherever you like.Don’t just keep your meditation practice for your mat. Take it out into the world.
  • Be mindful of the food and other substances that you put into your body. Your body will tell you exactly what it wants to be fed and what it doesn’t. If you haven’t gotten to that state of awareness yet, then use what you already know about food and nutrition to feed yourself properly.
  • A wonderful way of honouring your body is to look after the outside of it. Wear clothes that make you feel good, look after your skin, hair, teeth and nails. All of that makes a difference to how you feel inside.
  • Pay attention to what your body tells you. Rest when you need to rest, move when you need to move. Flow with the cycles of your body, the seasons and the energetic cycles that surround us. Believe me, everything will still get done when you ebb and flow with the seasons and the Earth.

IMG_0101

28 comments

  1. Sara, I absolutely love this! So beautifully crafted and worded! My life’s trajectory has been reclaiming myself, and the guide that has been with me the most over this past year has been the feminine aspect of God. I call her Mother God. Yes, women were at one time at the helm of society, and it’s past time to bring back the feminine energy, to balance it with the masculine. It’s time that we women all knew our inherent worth and value.

    Liked by 1 person

      • About five years ago, I took a class at a local healing center, about Energy. One of the exercises we did was running feminine and masculine energy, and talking about how each felt different. We also learned about healing energy, and played around with running energies of different colors through us. It was a great experience. Plus, Drunvalo Melchizedek talks about how we are now in a time where sacred feminine energy is on the upswing again. It changed somewhere around 2012.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m thinking about how 1960s feminism was often worded in the media as a “War of the sexes.” Have you read Riane Eisler? She talks about moving from domination culture to partnership culture — or back to the original partnership culture of our ancestors I should say. “War of the sexes” is completely inappropriate given what feminism is aiming for.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have read Riane Eisler, maybe 5 or so years ago, and she really introduced me to these ideas! I had forgotten until you mentioned her just then, how influential she was.
        I think it may have been a war of the sexes in the beginning, and maybe it needed to be, to bring about the basic structural changes that needed to happen. However, like all wars, there are casualties, and it’s unsustainable as well as harmful. So, we definitely need to change our thinking on this. It is a partnership.

        Like

  2. Powerful, but thoughtfully-positively-practically expressed which I appreciate because up until now when I considered society’s divergence from connection-sacred-spiritual-authentic it made me anxious because it seemed too far, and impossible to go back. But now I see the path is ahead, we must go on. We must make those steps in a way their effect is felt, heard and assimilated so that reclaiming our sacred feminine is a journey of our selves, for those selves whose journeys will follow ours’ and for unity of the whole ♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale, I’m glad this post gave you hope and a way forward. I feel hopeful about the world; the surface is kind of crazy, but the drumbeat underneath is reassuring. I really do feel that we must do the work within if we are to get anywhere, and to do that, we need practical actions. Or maybe it’s just me, but I really appreciate concrete everyday actions rather than another philosophy or religion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sara, I very much like the way you traced the history of the replacement of the feminine goddess with the male warrior and described the emerging era of enlightenment and awareness of both genders. Very fascinating. I’d never given it much thought, but you make it very clear. And I also like your prescriptions for women reconnecting with their sacredness.

    I thought of you this morning when I looked at my calendar and saw a picture of a rock formation in Australia’s Port Campbell National Park. Have you ever been there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David,
      I’m interested in gendered history – especially in the silent history, or the missing history of women. I’m also a little obsessed with balance :). It makes sense to me, the swinging from one extreme to another in order to settle in the middle. I Love how we can look back and see a pattern, even when things seem chaotic and meaningless.
      The rock formation that you mentioned is very famous – it’s on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. I haven’t been there, but it’s definitely on my to go list 🙂

      Like

  4. Is this for a book? A school assignment? I am very impressed with your diligence in research, and crafting a beautifully written piece. Also, your intro paragraph hits home with me as I’m right now struggling with how to get from here to there..I will take your words to heart in remembering my past successes. And yes, I’m in total agreement…bodies must be moved!
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your questioning mind Elysha 🙂 It’s part of a chapter in a book I am writing, The Goddesses Guide to Everyday Enlightenment. Or at least, that’s what it’s called today :).
      I think it is useful to see the big picture for anything, so that we can see the patterns and make sense of things. At least, I find that useful.

      Like

    • Well, that pleases me 😊
      the older I get, the more I understand about this world (and the more confounded I am at the same time, but that’s another story 😊). Thank you for reading, David xo

      Like

  5. Sara, sorry to be chiming in so late on this discussion. This is a fascinating topic. While I cannot say that Hillary Clinton represents a clear feminist vision for our country, I can say that Trump solidly represents a heavy-handed patriarchal vision which of course incorporates a strongly anti-feminist stance, i.e. the bizarre refusal to accept global warming.

    I have long been fascinated with Greek myth and the ancient myths upon which it rests: a matriarchal system of life. While Odysseus represents the “man’s man” he literally is saved from destruction over and over by women. A sub-text of the Odyssey is the receiving and nurturing earth mother, even though most “learned” critics scoff at that. Before the violent sky gods, the earth goddess reigned in numerous cultures. I remember reading somewhere…I can’t remember where though, that it appears highly likely that males of pre-history did not necessarily connect coitus with the birth of children nine months later. In short women were sacred and mystical creatures who could bring forth life…at their own bidding. This notion would be in time completely turned around, e.g. nineteenth century science proclaiming that all life lies in the male sperm and women are just dumb receptors.

    Once invaders from the northern Europe swept down into the southern regions they brought with them the violent Sky gods and the rest is history. A good example of how the matriarchal system was rewritten is the Judeo Christian notion of the serpent. In ancient history the serpent was considered sacred because it’s body was in constant contact with the earth mother. In the creation story, the serpent is reduced to a noxious creature that brings sin to humans. Another perfect example of men appropriating the female sacred is the known fact that Alexander forced the priestesses of the sacred shrine of Eleusis to allow him to partake of the mysteries…something that only women had been allowed to do for over a thousand years. He declared it to be nothing special.

    I agree that we have come a long way in our western culture, but there’s a long way to go. I believe that women such as yourself are so necessary to reveal the essential nature of the sacred feminine and how it can incorporated in our lives.

    Thank you for posting and I truly look forward to more of the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Paul,
      Thank you for your comment – I see we share the same fascination with mythology and the history that came before the history that we have been taught. I feel as though we only know half the story, because the feminine point of view has been silent/suppressed. I never knew the reason why the snake was sacred – wow! I am Australian, and the Rainbow Serpent is a big part of the dream time mythology of our Aboriginal people. It’s interesting to think about how the body of the snake never leaves the sacred Earth, and in that way it also becomes sacred. I also agree with your assessment of the Hilary/Trump situation: Trump feels like the last hurrah of the old patriarchy, almost ludicrously so, like a caricature. Hilary, while as you say is not quite the embodiment of the sacred feminine, kind of represents where we are collectively. Interesting times!

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is really deep passionate stuff for me – I am a remarkably fortunate woman, safe and independent and loved, but I feel the suppression and imbalance of the sacred feminine in our lives and culture very keenly. The work that needs to be done is much more subtle and personal now, and that’s what I was trying to address with this piece.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s