Why we sit in same gender circles in Secret Garden
When we invite men and women to sit in circles of their own gender, it is because something is moving that asks for the particular holding and exploratory journeying of sisterhood and brotherhood, in the loose community we are always becoming anew (Secret Garden is not an ideology, it is Life, what is, always new). A Secret Garden same-gender circle is an exquisitely rich happening.
Every gathering has short same gender circles within it. Yet only occasionally is a same gender retreat of a whole weekend’s length. Because gender is not who you are. And because man and woman are wise to learn to listen to each other. Because man and woman do live happier when they learn to respect each other’s rhythms and gifts. Because ultimately men and women need to sit in circles together to recognise each other’s human vulnerability which is way beyond gender – that vulnerable aliveness which IS Life itself. Men and women are energetically a direct challenge to each other and to live that as the beautiful dance it is takes skill and consciousness. Without deep trust, real appreciation and friendship as well as attraction, the safe container for alchemical transformation is not there and the games, dishonesties and hurts continue. And as a result of the energy drain of that, life cannot be served fully outside of circles.
Gender is not who you are-yet it appears to make a very big difference!
For most of us, gender is a fate. We cannot avoid the limitations and joys of a particular gender without invasive surgery. And gender affects the energetic as significantly as it affects the physical. Friendship with one’s own gender through those outside of you enriches life beyond measure. Being in community with one’s own gender, with shared intention for consciousness, is deeply resourcing. Compassion for what is in your being and life circumstances, the end of shame, inspiration and empowerment are some of the gifts. The particular in-depth exploring that can be done without accommodating your opposite gender’s needs and rhythms, in these same gender gatherings is potentially life-changing.
You can fall in love with your fate.
The great alchemical work
It is wise to come to penetrate the mysteries of being man and being woman, to come to befriend both inside and outside of us. This is the great alchemical work. Without the energetic marriage of male and female in ‘your’ being, full realisation of beingness cannot happen.
The energies of the ‘Divine Feminine’ are present in both women & men, & they support the journey into our depths & as a result our full wholeness, into embodied awakeness. (I don’t like that term at all as it has become New Age marketing speak for extraordinary self-absorption of the ‘making my life better’ kind. Everything is ‘divine’ no-thing and every-thing, everything is whole, and life is not a personal possession. So from now on, I will simply use the words Feminine, Woman, She!)
Man or Woman Pay the Price of Denying the Feminine
Denying the soft depth of the feminine mystery affects all of life separates life from woman essence and results in man or woman and our world cutting off from energy and intelligence that can nourish, heal and transform it. A disembodied god ‘out there’, a religious patriarchal order and an economic growth imperative out of tune with life’s cycles of life and death, has made alien (mainly unconsciously) and even ‘wrong,’ so much of what being human is, and in particular the embodied, sensual pleasure of being, which is natural to woman & the feminine energy in all men. The dark wisdom of Feminine energy is in both man and woman and in all things in this play of existence. It is fulfilling, a natural antidote to unsustainable consumption. However, you must act counter-culture and counter-conditioning to embody it. Secret Garden Circles invite you to dive into these nourishing, healing, enlivening waters.
The dream ends
Inn my twenties -as part of what had been a many years teenage and young adult quest for total clarity about the awakening ‘experiences’ I was having repeatedly since the age of 7 – I spent much time exploring the Hawaiian islands. I was just a little awed by the rising passion for being an apprentice to my most significant life guide and ‘teacher,’ who lived in the jungle there. During that time, I dreamed often about the goddess Pele. She was pushing me from the dark interior of the earth upwards to light. I ascended, yet remained present to the depths of being, which was bottomless dark, deep. I was unprotected, even by the mask I was wearing. (this mask for me in my twenties was a recurring symbol which related to conditioned, learned ways or defences, the roles or social faces). In the dream sequence, the mask I was wearing eventually loosened and fell away. The light simply was; seen to be the same as the gorgeous dark. True initiation. There was a living fully open & receptive to all of life, to the whole womanliness of being Joy, yet beyond gender.
She – your dark wisdom
Our culture is so afraid of the dark we can usually, if we choose, have blazing lights for 24 hours of any day. Collectively, we are also afraid of need, of longing, of grief, decay, of death, sickness, and the void, all of which is nature, just as aliveness is. What is hidden within all of us, men & women, in darkness, and what we have grown to fear, even judge, is the realm of the Feminine. People harden through self-protection, separation, stress & over-thinking.
To understand Woman, Womb-an, rationally is impossible. We come to her through initiation, (as in the Pele dream sequence), through illness, tragedy or the draining of meaning from life. All of these can bring people to Her. Feminine dark wisdom is critical to the wholeness of our souls and the healing of our planet. Often on this planet softness & openness is abused, humiliated, manipulated.
Many women are so unsure of themselves that they – and then, inevitably,because of the mirrors relating must bring – those close to them, see their instinctive, irrational & often beyond words wisdom as pathological. They then judge themselves for it and try to repress it or get rid of it, leaving them with a deep mistrust of themselves in their nature. This is one of the main reasons that women can be so vulnerable to control, manipulation & abuse and reluctant to speak out. The #metoo campaign’s wildfire impact is testament to just how much abuse has stayed underground.
Many women give up on relating and man altogether (even when they stay married!) When a woman is without a partner and lover for a long time, (even if she lives with a man this can happen) she will love in other ways because that is her human fate, or nature. She will take care of family members or children or animals in need, perhaps creating her own kind of family without a partner. In doing this, she might tell herself that she is surrounded by love and able to express love in many ways, which is true. She might tell herself that real love or spirituality means not needing a partner and just being content and grateful.
If she gets hypnotized by faux ‘spirituality’ and/or encouraged by women who are in a fight with man, she may also repress or ignore erotic desire in her being and try to stop wanting man altogether, even rejecting man, comforting herself with the idea – which is an idea – that happiness comes from within (there is no in or out). So much can die in her then.
Let us be clear – the Feminine, dark She, is hidden, as is so much of her genital area, and so much of her nature has been so very undervalued, dismissed & even denigrated. There is cultural pain, mainly unconscious, where the feminine has been desecrated, burned & tortured, (witch hunts spring to mind) her wisdom, which is not rational, has been buried under derision & cruelty. It feels wise to acknowledge this.
However, the battles and blame and victimhood that can arise when reclaiming Feminine power do not help. We have all, men & women, been diminished by Woman’s absence, the absence of her voice and clarity about boundaries, her power, her creativity, & we all gain MORE LIFE when the transformative energies of the healed, whole Feminine return to our lives and the lives of those around us.
The struggle of becoming Her
When women and men begin this journey of reclaiming and embodying the true Feminine, conditioned judgement negativity rises and both men and women can feel terrible about themselves, & want to escape the ‘swamp’. Woman energy in all humans is earth and water. The potential for softness, tenderness and receptivity and for overwhelm, endless neediness and swamp are both there.
The young woman poet Rune Lazuli writes of the wounded feminine ‘Crawl inside this body, find me where I am most ruined – love me there’. This can frighten man or woman and prevent them from feeling life deeply, which is an essential in the awakening journey into full freedom.
However, the depth of feminine receptivity & unknowing, her understanding of the inter-relatedness of all life, her capacity to be still & rest, & her nourishing waters & dark are so vital for the healing of our world that it is worth re-visiting the wounds of ‘you must not cry, need or love too deep’.
A big factor in resisting the Feminine is that there can be rage against woman (the betraying or controlling mother, sister, friend) in some stories of man and woman. And it is true for all men, that he must separate from woman to become man. Ideally this happens in teen age years. Yet then he must dare to return to Her depths. And still keep his balls.
Softening & opening happens for you, whether man and woman, when you embrace and embody feminine energy. This soft, open, receptivity is on the physical plane vividly re-presented or reflected, (as energy always is) in the soft, open, flexible vagina of a woman or her nourishment filled womb. Her monthly bleed shows her capacity to sacrifice and cleanse. And in her breasts, sensitive and moving outward to give from the heart.
Longing, the deep ache for something apparently unattainable, is a vital initiation that woman, and the feminine in man, must go through in discovering the deepest truth of Life’s unconditional wholeness. The dark She longs to be filled. In her nature, as well as her physical body, she yearns for experiences which will penetrate her at her depths. Then rapture visits. A meeting like this, whether with pure feminine energy, with man, with an animal or child, requires a totality of her – and of man -that is essentially of the feminine realm. The vulnerability & opening in such a meeting nourishes soul, relationships & the inner.
Woman, the Feminine, is a secret which must be found, reached, penetrated
Whole, awake Feminine is not in opposition to the masculine, She embraces, allows, and blesses the whole of everything. Feminine receives Masculine. In the full receiving Masculine thrives. Masculine penetrates Feminine and in that he is re-vitalised by Feminine dark waters, and she is clarified and creatively seeded by Masculine energy.
In the story of awakened heterosexual relating, woman must be penetrated by the depth of a man’s presence if she is to truly let go and give her gifts to him, if she is to be loved into love on the physical level. Man must be fully received in all he is, consciously and unconsciously, if he is to offer his committed presence. Ultimately man must find and reach the feminine. I will write more on this another time, our old myths are full of this theme.
The realised Masculine, his clarity & focus & warrior energy are also needed (in any woman’s own energy field just as much as outside of her), after penetration of the mystery, to protect and hold space for the Feminine. How can you man do this unless you know and cherish your own Feminine energy too, in all its colours? The stronger, more grounded in body & clearer in seeing & self-expression & the more capable of boundaries you, man or or woman are, (all these are essentially masculine in quality) the more soft & open & inter-dependent (not co-dependent or independent) you can be.
Living wide open
We are all, men & women, designed to live wide open, as wholeness, and we must find the courage of heart to do that. Even if rape, abuse, betrayal and humiliation have happened (no human can avoid all of these!). The empowered Feminine in man or woman knows how to love herself in and gently release victimhood and blame, and live – with clarity about any boundaries needed in any given situation-as the Love she is).
We learn to live wide open through conscious spiritual community, and quality life guidance and reflection, in circles which may be same gender or mixed gender (and mixed sexual orientations) .
Secret Garden Circles are essentially Feminine. I say this because the energetics are so much more important than the words. The transmission dismantles defence and conditioned learning, and -if that isnt resisted – you can grow true vulnerability and authenticity. In circles -same gender or mixed gender – men and women can open to receive deep, deep nurturing; something not experienced since earliest childhood-and sadly for some, perhaps not even then. If there is vulnerable not knowing as you sit in circle, without self-justification and defended positions, the circle is an embrace, a cradling, given selflessly and without demands or needs, whatever the circumstances. What a world if you and everyone could experience unconditional love and support, celebration and acknowledgment of your unique beauty and humanity.
Humans learn over time to become more natural, simpler when they sit in circles. Circles, if the learnings and openings are taken on, integrated, always give a sanctuary of shelter & healing. So the flower of that which has been forced into hiding or trampled into the undergrowth -the hidden, softer, irrational wisdoms, vulnerability, tenderness, love can blossom.
Go to Secret Garden Events to find your entry to Men’s and Women’s Circles