I'd like to preface this blog by stating that in NO WAY does the information below comprehend the masculine/feminine gender identities in its very robust entirety (for the sake of clarity, I'm speaking from a female cis gender's perspective, and although well-researched, the blog below states my opinions on this controversial topic). But, in order to relay my point, I tried to keep this as short and succinct as possible with (hopefully) representing all pertinent information. Here we go...
Before I get into the "official" blog, it might help the context below to get a better understanding of what I'm referring to when I write "sacred masculine." From Medium.com, "Because dominance necessarily involves the subjugation of others. If you are dominant, someone else is subservient. If you are controlling, someone else is controlled. So the sacred masculine, then, could be defined as strength without domination, leadership without force."
The sacred masculine, like the sacred feminine, lives within both men and women, and ideally, we'd maintain a healthy balance of both simultaneously. "When we return to a balance between the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine, we can become 'solid as a tree' with deep roots, connected to the Earth," writes the Pachamama Alliance on their website.
"[The sacred feminine's] deepest potential is the power to connect and re-connect the created world with its soul," writes Oneness-of-Life.org. There is A LOT more on the sacred feminine and I encourage you to do some research. "The Sacred Feminine is not bound to gender, it lives in all of us, in women and men. Yet we believe that women have a particular role to play in reclaiming the Feminine in our spiritual work and practice, after we as humanity have neglected and disregarded the feminine for millennia." [That last sentence will play a pivotal role in helping define what I talk about a bit later in this blog].
Feminine Mag-ique is a play on the book title, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan circa 1963 dealing with the at-the-time mysterious unhappiness ("the problem that has no name") that housewives of the era felt despite being told that they were living the "American Dream." Digging deeper into this, Friedan explores and then exposes the injustice that is sexism in the world (later 90s and millennial anniversary editions offer more relevant and updated data, yet Friedan was certainly pointing to a dilemma not only vital then, but still today). In fact, The Feminine Mystique is claimed to be responsible for the second-wave feminism movement.
"A woman today who has no goal, no purpose, no ambition patterning her days into the future, making her stretch and grow beyond that small score of years in which her body can fill its biological function, is committing a kind of suicide," wrote Friedan in the book. She later wrote: "The feminist revolution had to be fought because women quite simply were stopped at a state of evolution far short of their human capacity."
It would be dishonest of me not to highlight all angles that Friedan took, and a large one being that women need to be held accountable for themselves as well as at the same standard as men. However, for the sake of the trajectory of this blog, let's put a "name" to the thing that "has no name" and instead of attributing it to a societal oversight, boiling it down even simpler to, "Women of that time (still through today) weren't/aren't activating their divine feminine."
What if women realized their actual, soul-level potentials, not human-created infrastructures and roles? Let's humor this idea, shall we?
"Women and men with a knowing that there is something they long to share, whether that be through writing, speaking, working in the healing arts or just stepping up in their current lives, [are] coupled with an unshakable and irrational fear to do so," wrote Rebecca Campbell in her 2016 book, Rise Sister Rise after referencing multiple female and male clients experiencing a lack, emptiness, and/or existential questioning. She goes on to encourage these individuals to "rise" to their soul's potential, listen to the whispers of Source, and fall into alignment with the Universe's cyclical nature (also relating, attributing and sourcing that back to the divine feminine and Her cyclical nature):
"As she let herself sing, she let go of lifetimes of silenced truth missals cemented in the deepest caverns of her soul. A voice snubbed out for centuries; for saying too much, for standing up too much, for being too much. Her shakti and wisdom restrained for centuries but not anymore. She could not be locked away, muted, restrained, or contained any longer. Not now, not ever again."
Campbell goes on to draw very fascinating inferences from multiple sources that just somehow makes sense. Rather than learning, when digesting Campbell's materials, I feel like I'm remembering.
Now, circling back to a few particular quotes from Rise Sister Rise that really resonates with the rest of this blog (don't worry, I stop referencing fem-forward books in just a bit), let's read on:
"Isis is a name of the Egyptian goddess, and also the fundamentalist, militant group, highlighting the great polarity of our world in current times" ... "HIStory is dismantling and making way for Hers. Its time we start to disassemble the stories that we have been told about women throughout history; that we stop taking what we are taught as gospel, and endeavor to discover our own truths" ... "Magdalenes* are here to spark a new consciousness on the planet, one where the masculine and the feminine are returned back to balance, where the light of our soul is the thing that unites all."
[*In Rebecca's book, Magdalenes refer to the very special old souls who have carnated now in an effort to pioneer this movement and lead the way for the rest of humanity.]
Drawing inferences between these, and other, publications and movements, related or not, it's not only interesting but essential to discern the critical maintenance of both the sacred masculine and feminine simultaneously. The pendulum -- inspired by Michael A. Singer in The Untethered Soul -- needs to remain in the middle of both extremes. We are currently too far into the patriarch right now, as we have been for the past hundred, perhaps thousands, of years.
From the Tao Te Ching, a 4th century B.C. Chinese publication derived from the philosophy Taoism, is as reverent it is true. "The Tao (or Dao) is hard to define but is sometimes understood as the way of the universe," writes the Tao Te Ching. "Taoism teaches that all living creatures ought to live in a state of harmony with the universe, and the energy found in it. Ch’i, or qi, is the energy present in and guiding everything in the universe. The Tao Te Ching and other Taoist books provide guides for behavior and spiritual ways of living in harmony with this energy:"
"Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
—Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
[Here's a fun one that I stumbled upon and HAD to add here:
"The valley spirit never dies; It is the woman, primal mother. Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth. It is like a veil barely seen. Use it; it will never fail."
—Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching]
In regards to the previous Lao Tsu quote and in my reiteration, if the "pendulum" swings too far into one direction, be it the feminine (shadow feminine) or the masculine (shadow masculine, aka "toxic masculinity" and what we're currently living in), then as humans, we're not in good shape. Now, we know that societies were founded in the patriarch, and we can safely assume that it's been in the shadow masculine since well before our time and is probably woven throughout our current tapestries. Let's not allow the shadows to take over any longer, shall we?
On that note, let's move on to exploring what is the shadow masculine and how have women responded to this over the years...
There are certainly controversies surrounding the term "toxic masculinity." We have men fighting men about what is and what is not toxic masculinity, and we have women fighting men about the same thing, struggling to be recognized in this "man's world."
Since this term was originally introduced to society, the more casually and informal description of toxic masculinity has come to light. But of course we can't talk about toxic masculinity without referencing the mythopoetic men's movement era, which has its own list of negative male offenses that includes the contradiction of a rising feminist movement being partially responsible for these "toxic men."
Offered at a different angle, the mythopoetic men's movement did support the second-wave feminist movement, despite "the feminist movement" being accused of contributing to the toxic masculinity ravaging the world. Could toxic masculinity be a weak response by weak men to the once-rising second-wave feminism?
Let's take a look at the current status of feminism; the fourth-wave feminist era. Again according to Wikipedia, fourth-wave feminism began in 2012, an otherwise pivotal year according to the, now debunked, prophecy of the Mayan calendar that was said to end on December 21, 2012. This "end" could lead to an apocalypses of sorts, with cataclysmic planetary destruction, or maybe just the dawning of a new era after a long-lived 5,126-year span. Perhaps the end of extreme patriarchy?
But let's take it back to fourth-wave feminism that officially began in 2012. It focused on intersectionality (the understanding and compassion toward another person's worldly perspectives in regards to their personal life experiences and identities) as well as the empowerment of women rather than striving to gain specific rights like the previous waves of feminism had sought.
Another element of fourth-wave feminism is to help enable the genuine and pure, anti-toxic masculinity of men and boys in order to free them of institutionalized norms and repressed emotions. Interesting... at the core of it wouldn't that mean the fourth-wave feminists are currently out there battling the very thing that seems to be plaguing all of society; toxic masculinity?
Woah, that's sounding a little too close to home. Ok, so then let's skip forward to 2020 and 2021 so far to see what's happening here. January 6 was a day that made an enormous stain on American history with its never-before-seen insurrection and deadly violence unleashed upon Capitol Hill and its senate, while in session, by our very own former American president (Trump) and the most toxic of men, the feeble leader of the shadow masculine. This scene horrifically unfolded like that of Shrek's "Happily Ever After" when Rumpelstiltskin incites an angry mob with pitchforks to go after the ogres, specifically Shrek (seriously, the scene looks almost exactly the way that day went down, go watch it!). That's big. Not to mention the other shenanigans that he got away with for four years while the rest of the U.S. held our breaths. Without needing to provide content nor wanting to glorify in ANY way these sick institutions and people behind these words/terms, I will just list a few of them: Proud Boys, QAnon, Parler... shudder.
We began 2020 having lived for a couple of years finally bringing this misogynistic behavior to light with, albeit minor, hashtags such as #metoo. This by no means represents the multiple millennia of silencing, violence, oppression, etc. of women worldwide. We started this new decade brimming full of hope and abundance, welcoming women stepping up and stepping forward in so many ways.
"2020 is the year for women’s movements because the international focus on gender equality gives us a platform to set in motion our vision for the future," wrote the International Women's Development Agency (IDWA) in an article titled, "2020: The Year for Women's Movements." "Starting now, global women’s movements are building alliances, collecting information, identifying strategies, and analysing current global agreements to finalise a global plan to present at the various Beijing+25 review processes."
We started 2020 with a hope for more women's equality, the pandemic, social injustices being brought to light, natural disasters, and then finally ended the year with political corruption and an attack on the Capitol (I consider this a carry-over of 2020). We came to acknowledge and witness first-hand how fundamentally and systematically wrong the U.S. has been governing with reckless abandon unaccounted for. Now, we've come out of 2020 understanding, appreciating, embodying and evolving. A greater purpose and smarter sense of where we should be as a society is going into paving the way to our future.
Landing back to our current climate, women (and those non-toxic, sacred masculine-accepting men) need not accept the patronizing, condescending nature of the fragile and flailing "toxic masculinity." Do we need their approval? No. Do we need to listen to what they say when they "mansplain" whatever it is to us? No. Do we need to gently but courageously move forward and into our new era? Yes.
Here's a REALLY great summation of everything we just went over. From TheList.com:
"In our current society, we are experiencing an imbalance between the masculine and feminine energies; our world (especially the western world) has leaned too far in the direction of the masculine energy, and without enough feminine energy to balance it out, a great deal of the Wounded Masculine is playing out on the world stage, responsible for conflict, violence, and unhealthy competition in many forms. By injecting more feminine power into our individual lives and into our communities, we can (and, in many cases, already are) slowly tipping the scales back toward a healthy balance." B.I.N.G.O.
I'm going to leave you with this; a recent television advertisement boasts a male commercial voice-over saying, "The way that you care for your child," and then stops while the mother in question, who is rocking her newborn in a nursery, ignores a phone call by pressing "ignore" with her foot. Then the male voice-over chimes in with, "Is perfect." My reaction to that very patronizing commercial was pure offense and an illustration to what society needs to eradicate in order to truly achieve gender equality. My verbal response was, "Thanks Mr. Voice-Over man. I was so worried that you wouldn't have validated my Motherhood." And this is but one itty-bitty example of so many ways that toxic masculinity is embedded throughout our society and mainstream media. Ever listened to classic rock music and wondered why about half of the songs are men singing about sex? I have.
Anyway, let's vow to be a better world to our future men and women than we have been to ourselves. Let's move with the cyclical nature of life and listen to HER whispers; she's not trying to steal anything away from the masculine, rather show the right way forward without force and ill-will. Most importantly, let's speak up for those who have been silenced, for our ancestors who didn't have the opportunities we have now. Let's move into light with courageous spirits to lead in love and consideration for all.