A new feminine consciousness started at the beginning of the century with battles fought for the affirmation of basic women’s rights and continued with the cultural revolution of the sixties, trying to overcome the victim mentality of a subdued type of woman, who lived in the shadow of the family life without social, creative and sexual identity of her own.
There are many archetypes of women energy, whose symbols can be found in literature, psychology and religion, which describe women as mothers, lovers, artists, warriors, healers and wise women.
Certainly before the sixties in our western society the prevailing archetype was that of mother and wife, women expressing gentle feminine energy, nurturing, kind, loyal and supportive of their close family relations. This is very much a light goddess archetype, like the Virgin Mary, always loving and forgiving, endlessly giving of her compassion.
To break through this limiting social role women went through the path of developing their intellectual power and education embracing the wide masculine paradigm of science, efficiency, control and emotional detachment. In this way we have become lawyers, doctors, teachers, business women and scientists.
We have reclaimed our independent goddess spirit, so effectively embodied by Athena who cultivates the masculine qualities of clarity of thinking and awareness, strategy and decisiveness of action, focus on purpose and commitment and most of all of emotional detachment, of control over mind and body. Athena, born out of Zeus’ head, is the goddess of war, strategy and business. She never uses her darkness to realize herself, she is instead a clear minded strategist, in service of the male solar ego. This archetypal energy is certainly very useful to survive in our modern society. It gives us an independent official role and protects our heart (Athena’s breast shield) but is it really fulfilling our self-expression? Athena in the end is always Zeus dutiful daughter and this reminds me of the invisible glass ceiling that women touch in the world of men’s power.
It certainly wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. Proud of my first class master degree in economics, I found myself working in the publishing industry for 10 years until the day I realized I couldn’t do it anymore, being overwhelmed by feelings of emptiness and soullessness. I was deeply unhappy having lost all my enthusiasm and passion for life. All my thinking and strategy didn’t bring me creativity either or a sense of fulfilling my true purpose.
At that time I had my first shamanic experience: in a guided meditation I jumped into the sea of fire at the centre of the earth. When I came back I was not the same person anymore. The day after I handed in my resignations and started my journey of surrendering and opening.This is a journey beyond the mind, into the inner realm of feelings and perception. As women we perceive in a more expanded way, with our bodies and senses but also beyond conceptual consciousness in the dream world of shamans and magicians. This is the way of the anima as opposed to the animus and, of course, is present in men as well. The feminine spirit of true surrender is about flow, yielding and letting go. In a state of fluid selflessness the feminine allows and magnetizes, in presence and being, more than in action and planning.
Especially in the Mind/Body/Spirit world, in the last 20 years, there has been a rebirth of this kind of Goddess spirit. She is in tune with nature and the elements, she loves connection, cooperation and community, and she receives guidance through surrendering to her spirit within and from all creation around, like in ancient shamanic cultures. Her power is in vulnerability, her protection is in openness. In openness we become invincible as there is no fighting back, we become like the Inka warriors who were crossing the battlefield untouched by arrows and spears, strong in their luminous radiance. Beyond the spirit of individualistic achievement and beyond the mind, the feminine wants to connect in an erotic, sensual state of communion. Her emotions and her passions are her power; she channels the divine life force through her body.
Women, however, have been called animalistic because of their pure desire of giving love through their body or worse they have been called whores and abused sexually. We have been burnt at stake because we believe in magic and synchronicity, we talk to spirits, we follow our pure intuition and body inner knowing, in a mystical connection with the world around. Ours is a song of love, of harmony, of cooperation, but this spirit is denigrated by the capitalistic set of values and the goddess is angry. Women are judged as emotional because of their deep feelings and perceptions. In Victorian time women have been named hysterical and their utero removed because they were expressing their bottled up emotions and passions.
I heard a speaker recently saying that passion derives from patire, which in Latin means suffering, whilst he was advocating the power of a logic controlled mind. However passion derives also from pathos which means to feel, as compassion means to feel together. I have felt a lot of anger and ultimately profound grief in my life for not being accepted and even feared as a passionate shaman goddess. As women we have been told that we cannot be spiritual or attain enlightenment because we are lost in our attachments, too instinctual and emotional, but actually we are very spiritual and very powerful because we embody spirit as opposed to think spirit.
I still feel anger and outrage as I am writing this; the power of the destroyer goddesses flowing through me, like Kali or Sekhmet or Medusa. These goddesses represent the aggressive aspect of the female deity, which is destructive but also transformative and healing, ultimately aiming at restoring harmony by bringing forth the new and the truth. When rejected in their essence, these goddesses have become devouring and murderous. It’s their grief and outrage moving them. However, both Kali and Sekhmet, when tricked into softness by their lovers, become goddesses of love.
In my experience if we don’t express our full range of emotions we are unable to love, as love is allowing unrestrained emotional flow through the body, channeling the energy of the universe in a state of openness. Emotions are love: sorrow is hurt love, anger is sharp love, melancholy is sad love, and grief is attached love. As everything is energy, if we judge emotions we can’t access the full power of our feminine anima.
Our society doesn’t cope well with this kind of power as it would break the dams and it would break the orderly disempowerment we live in. Beware Kali or Sekhmet can break the corners of your mind, can destroy in a tsunami of anger the orderly cynical world of reasoning!
Women, however, are not so innocent either. As victims or modern independent women we have repressed our anger and negativity and we have turned into poisonous goddesses, Medusa style. We have become dark mothers in law, tyrannical managers, domineering mothers; we have also attacked our own sisters, betraying them with envious actions. In the softest of cases we have become passive aggressive, completely unaware of our shadow. And in all of these cases we lost our husbands, lovers, sons, creative partners and beloved soul sisters, in painful heart-breaks.
As human beings, by accepting and unconditionally loving our Anima, the feminine in all of its aspects, we will expand in consciousness. Ultimately to embrace the new feminine consciousness we need a new masculine consciousness. The Animus, the masculine energy within each of us, focussed on his purpose and aware of the power of his clear thinking, decisive in his actions and emotionally detached, is able to hold a still and conscious space for the free expression of the Anima, immersed in her magical and mysterious world of chaos, out of which all creation is born.
When these two archetypes are in balance within ourselves, we are able to embrace masculine purpose with feminine passion, embody will and determination with vitality and energy, and hold the creative stream of consciousness with focus and inner stillness.
We need a marriage, based on respect, freedom, acceptance and unconditional love. The goddess’ desire is pure love; the god’s purpose is pure awareness and focus. In the marriage the universe expands in orgasmic ecstasy.