Friday, March 23, 2007

What is the Wounded Feminine?

Definition

The Wounded Feminine has been talked about in volumes of books, lectures, classes, etc. I’m not going to rehearse all that has been said, but will share my perspective of what that means to me. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on the subject, but am constantly growing in my understanding and awareness and integrating what I learn with my own experiences.

When I use the word feminine, I am not necessarily referring to the female gender. The word feminine used here can be defined to mean the feminine aspect that is within all of creation. This includes the feminine aspect in men and in women. If we look to other traditions, we can see the feminine as Yin. In Jungian psychology it is the anima. Native American culture identifies the feminine aspect of creation by assigning gender: Mother Earth, Father Sky, Grandmother Moon, and Grandfather Sun.

The feminine is usually associated with the reflective quality of the moon. It is receptive. It represents the fecundity, or creative aspect of humanity. It is what gives birth to new ideas—the womb of creativity. It is the right side of the brain, the intuitive part of our senses. It exists in both men and women.

When the feminine is dishonored, or relegated to a minor or subservient role in our being, it becomes wounded in the sense that it no longer has power. As a culture, it becomes wounded when it does not have equal say in the decisions that affect all of mankind. When we don’t honor the feminine, we get “stuck in our heads” and decisions tend to reflect only left brain concerns. If the feminine is wounded in our thinking, then we make choices that dishonor and denigrate the feminine. If we dishonor or destroy the feminine (womb) we will destroy ourselves, because the feminine is what gives birth to new life.

The Symptoms

The Wounded Feminine can probably best be understood by looking at the symptoms of it in our culture and planet. There is evidence everywhere you look that the feminine aspect of our psyches (soul, mind, body, emotions) and of our culture (collective unconscious) is wounded. Something is being violated and hurt and we don’t have to look far to find it.

Turn on your news at night and what do you see--war, rape, incest, global warming, and ravages of all kinds. Rape is a violation of the feminine that needs little explanation except to point out that both men and women experience this in a different regard. Women are victimized. Men act out the wound by demonstrating a hatred of the feminine within themselves.

Incest is an abuse of power towards the feminine. It manifests in many different forms against the feminine, violating children, young teens, and vulnerable women. Again, on the one hand you have the recipient of the wound, and on the other the acting out of the revulsion of the feminine on the other.

War consistently destroys life. It destroys the innocent, the earth, and our innocence. It insists that I am right and you are wrong.

Mother Earth has suffered from our lack of nurturance and care for the feminine. Amazingly, it is the secular world that has cried out about this the strongest instead of the “church”. You would think that the people that consider themselves the guardian of light and truth would be at the forefront of protecting the earth and the innocents.

The list of evidences could go on and on--partner rape, domestic violence, pollution, mutilation, and mental illness. To understand its origins, you can look at the account in Genesis of Creation and the fall of our planet.

The Origin

The Genesis account is beautiful in its description of who God is—the male/female Creator. It states that God created man (humanity) in His/Her image—male and female. We are created in both aspects of God—male and female. He created two genders to help us see and know in our own bodies, minds, and emotions what it is like to have these two aspects. He joined man and woman together and said; “Now you are one. Just like I am one—now the two of you are one.” (Genesis 2:24)

Sadly, we only make it to chapter 3 before we discover the choice to take a path divergent to God’s plan for humanity. The desire to know all—to experience not only good, but also evil—leads humankind down the road of doubt, pain, hurt and creates a tear between the oneness that existed prior to their choices to be “enlightened”.

God places a curse on man and woman—separating their oneness and making their gender an issue. They no longer reflect the perfect make-up of God—male and female in perfect union.

The Solution

God promises a plan for restoration to this split, this tear and the rest of the Old Testament points towards the fulfillment of that promise. In sending the Messiah, the Christ, the Son, God fulfills the promise and the redemption of the male/female/God split is bridged.

Paul tells us in Galatians 3:28 that now there is no longer male or female for we are now all one. The bridge is completed. The choice is now ours. We can continue to live in the old paradigm, or we can participate in a new one. We are free moral agents. We can accept and learn a new way of thinking and being in the world, or we can continue in the old, tried and true ways. We can begin to heal the feminine within us. We can understand that God is not only the strong male qualities that we have traditionally associated with Him, but that God is also the female qualities of Creator and Shekhina/Spirit. That God is also She and will help us give birth to new ways of thinking and being. Until we see the beauty of the feminine in God, we will not honor it in humanity.

Imagine what the news might look like at night if we honored the feminine in All That Is? It would be a different world, wouldn’t it? The solution has been given but the implementation of it is our responsibility. Only by learning new ways, becoming Spirit-filled, and by making new choices can we make a difference and begin to heal. My hope is that we can.