She is in Man and Woman
Why we sit in same gender circles occasionally in Secret Garden
Gender is not who you are-yet it appears to make a very big difference!
When we invite men and women to sit in circles of their own gender, it is because something is moving in the loose community we are always becoming anew, that asks for the sanctity of the sisterhood and brotherhood.
It is only occasionally. Because gender is not who you are. Because man and woman must learn to listen to each other. Because man and woman must learn to match each other’s rhythms sometimes. Because ultimately men and women need circles together to recognise each other’s human vulnerability which is way beyond gender – that vulnerable aliveness which Life itself.
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. 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 the being, full realisation of beingness cannot happen.
Denying the soft depth of the feminine mystery affects all of life – when we separate life from woman essence we cut the world off from energy that can nourish, heal and transform it. A disembodied god ‘out there’ has alienated (mainly unconsciously) half of human experience, much of which is natural to woman & the feminine energy in all men.
The energies of the ‘Divine Feminine’ (I don’t like that term at all as everything is ‘divine’ no-thing and every-thing, everything is whole, from now on I will use the word feminine!) are present in both women & men, & they support the journey into our depths & as a result our full wholeness, into embodied awakeness.
When I was in my early twenties and just beginning to explore the Hawaiian islands, I dreamed often about the goddess Pele. She was pushing me from the dark interior of the earth upwards to light. I ascended, yet present to the depth of my 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 and role or social faces). In the dream sequence, the mask I was wearing eventually loosened and fell away. The light was reached and seen to be the same as the gorgeous dark. I became fully open & receptive to all of life, to the whole womanliness of being Joy.
Our culture is afraid of the dark. Collectively, we are afraid of need, longing, grief, decay, death, sickness, & the void 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 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 those they can see their instinctive, irrational & often beyond words wisdom as pathological, then judge themselves for it and try to repress it or get rid of it, leaving them with a deep mistrust of themselves. This is one of the main reasons that women can be so vulnerable to control, manipulation & abuse. Then many women give up on relating altogether (even when they stay married!)
When a woman is without a partner and lover for a long time, 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’ she will also repress or ignore erotic desire in her and try to stop wanting a partner altogether, even rejecting man, comforting herself with the idea -which is an idea – that happiness comes from within (there is no in or out).
The feminine is hidden, many of her aspects have been so undervalued, dismissed & even denigrated. There is pain 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 that can arise when reclaiming these energies do not help. We have all, men & women, been diminished by Woman’s absence, the absence of her voice, her power, her creativity, & we all gain MORE LIFE when the transformative energies of the healed, whole Feminine return to our lives.
When women and men begin this journey of reclaiming the 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 and receptivity and for overwhelm and swamp are both there. However, the depth of feminine receptivity & unknowing, her understanding of the interrelatedness 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’.
Softening & opening happens when we embrace and embody feminine energy – this is after all on the physical plane re-presented or reflected, (as energy always is) the realm of the soft, open, flexible vagina or nourishment filled womb. The realm of the breasts, sensitive and moving outward to give from the heart.
Longing, the deep ache for something apparently unattainable, is a vital initiation woman must go through in discovering the deepest truth of Life’s unconditional wholeness. She longs to be filled. In her nature too, as well as her body, she yearns for experiences which will penetrate her at her depths (meeting an experience this requires a totality of her that is essentially of the feminine realm. This vulnerability & opening nourishes soul, relationships & the inner.
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 seeded by feminine and she is clarified by masculine. 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 a 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. The stronger, more grounded in body & clearer in seeing & self-expression & the more capable of boundaries we are, (all these are essentially masculine in quality) the more soft & open & inter-dependent (not co-dependent or independent) we can be.
We are all, men & women, designed to live wide open, and we must find the courage to do that. Even if rape, abuse, betrayal and humiliation have happened (no human can avoid all of these!) The empowered Feminine knows how to love herself in and gently release victimhood).
We learn to live wide open through conscious spiritual community, through circles which may be same gender or mixed gender (and mixed sexual orientations) .
Circles are essentially Feminine, whether you are man or woman and whether you sit in a men’s circles or a women’s circle or a mixed gender circle. I say this because circles work energetically. They dismantle defence and conditioned learning, and grow vulnerability and authenticity. Humans learn over time to become more natural, simpler when they sit in circles.
Circles, if the learnings are taken on, 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