Masculine and feminine…
I started the day over breakfast yesterday with Caroline, sitting in the sun watching neighbor Raven, butterflies and hummingbirds going about their routine amidst the flowers and the trees.
Caroline is quite brilliant and pays a particular attention to our relationship (we as humanity) to the earth. She said one morning, “I just want everyone to put their hands in the dirt.” She is familiar to archetypes of Witch and Goddess, and Woman and Earth Mother, embodying each of these in her way as the wounded healer, with fierce clarity and a timeless commitment, as if the earth herself.
She and I both tend to commit to statements of certainty, and while our interest, vision, and values often synergize in my view, it’s not uncommon for me to find in our dialogue that I have made some statement that seems to stop rather than encourage the bounty of our exploration.
I found such a place in our conversation yesterday morning and rather than sit in silence, I instead decided to see if I could tap into Caroline’s wisdom on the subject and so shared with her my sensation of having “missed” something in my effort to encourage our shared creativity. As I pointed out my experience, I framed it in terms of “masculine” and “feminine” energies; these are constructs common in our world that I feel called to again and again to understand more deeply.
Last August I had a conversation about the masculine and feminine around the very same patio café table with Mike, the tree care specialist whose crew was busy removing the dead from the palm trees in the front yard.
Somehow we happened upon the subject when Mike, a man of delicious integrity and strong faith in his church community, raised his concern that children could not be properly raised in a same-sex family, requiring a man and a woman for proper family values and dynamics.
I agreed with him that raising a child is a lot of work and that there are indeed beautiful and important things to be brought by both a father and the mother, but, I pointed out this had less to do with genitalia and more with some less well-defined qualities that we might refer to as “masculine” and “feminine.”
Mike seemed to like that and while we didn’t “solve the question,” we did make some good headway in exploring what those qualities might be, and how in fact each and every one of us can develop and embody those qualities in different balance within ourselves.
The common thread from both my conversation with Caroline and with Mike on the other end turned out to be quite un-profound – somewhere in this cosmic journey and wonder, there is a mystical and even “enlightening” dynamic that emerges between those two ancient archetypes. Not surprisingly, both conversations wound and found their way into the topics of mystical spirituality, and in both cases left us parting company with glows of warmth and broad smiles.
Sufi, often thought of as the mystical sect of Islam, is so named as the root of the word is drawn from the ancient meeting “wisdom.” The controversial mystic, Osho, defines a Sufi as “anyone who is a lover of God.” Caroline has a wide library of books on the archetypical stories, myths, and pantheon of divinity from the history of our world. She is steeped in this knowledge, learning and growing in it, embodying it more fully every day.
I would call myself a lover of wisdom, and I love those who love wisdom. It’s important to me to find the way to both listen (receptively) and to engage (actively) with others in their pursuit (reciprocally) of uncovering and expressing the wisdom that is to be found, so that together we can craft a robust goodness to share and grow in the world.
The Buddhists pair (among other things) the idea of Wisdom as a feminine quality and Skillful Means as a masculine quality as necessary for a full-bodied enlightenment. The Divine, in its fullness is, I think in a generative view, both God and Goddess, both that with the lightning bolt of instant clarity, and the timeless fecund evolutionary womb.
Caroline shared yesterday about the myth of Isis and Osiris, the masculine and feminine archetypes of the Godhead. Osiris was destroyed by his brother Seth; our masculine quality set asunder and scattered, lost, to the four corners of the world by that which is death, finitude, mundane concern. Isis took the form of the hawk, searching the world, collecting all the parts of her masculine aspect, the last of which was the phallus, deep in the dark wet swamp of sexuality.
The masculine and the feminine, then rejoined in wholeness, conceiving and giving birth to the fullness of spiritual awakening.
Who are these qualities within ourselves? Courtney and I continued the exploration this morning. What exactly is “masculine,” what exactly is “feminine,” what are these qualities, and how do I recognize and develop them within myself?
My dear friend in Sri Lanka has enjoyed the good grace fortune to nurture a powerful movement that has swept the country, empowering people and changing lives for the better in the millions. The byline of their work “we build the road and the road builds us” is a foundation for their namesake which, roughly translates to “the awakening of all through the sharing of labor.”
Embodying a fully realized masculine and feminine aspect is not, for me, just about some possibility of what we might call a spiritual awakening, but meets this world of Maya at the level of engaging with others and offering some value to our collective “pursuit of happiness.”
I notice when those qualities within myself stumble, or suffer for some sin of self-awareness, I can become aggressive, perhaps just subtly overbearing, or even mean; I can embody a sense of disempowerment that gives less not only to myself, but to those around me, a neediness or a grasping. Born of ignorance, the embodiment of pride and greed…
It’s another hot, clear, and sunny day in San Diego. I slept reasonably well, though I did awaken again at the dreaded and all-too-familiar hour of 2:30 AM, I would not return to sleep for over two hours hence. I slept again in the morning until just before 8 AM.
Monday mornings are pleasant right now as Courtney, coming off a Sunday evening shift generally stays in the guest room as a timesaver for starting her shift on Monday morning. I find an atmosphere of continuity and quiet in that consistent presence and from that a nourishing way to begin the week. I feel grateful for these new good friends I have in my life, and fortunate to have found/been found by them.
Now, to work!
As always, do share widely these writings if you’re inspired, and stop by our crowdfunding page to help us build this momentum towards a more Care-Aware world!
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…