The Sacred Feminine...
I found this article...I know it will be interesting reading and to some, hits home...to others...well, let's just say...we all have opinions! Be blessed...one and all...By the way, this is written by a man...to him I say "I appreciate you".
By Dr. Tom Pinkson
In the mid 1970's I had the good fortune to spend some time living with Native American people in the desert of Nevada. Each morning would begin with a sunrise ceremony and end with a communal dinner, then sitting around the fire in the evening socializing, singing and discussing the events of the day. I helped out with the building of a barn, hammering and nailing in the hot sun. When it got to hot, I'd jump down from the roof and take a soak in a old bathtub filled with water. I worked hard and had a wonderful time learning the ways and being part of a large, cooperative community.
One of the new learnings for me at the time was witnessing how the girls and women who had their period went into a specially designated area where no men were allowed. They slept in a special tipi, their meals were made for them, they had no chores to do, no tasks. They were given the whole time of their menstruation to be either alone or with other women, off by themselves. They listened to their dreams, worked on various creative art projects, or simply relaxed in meditative states of contemplation attuning to their feelings and the guidance of their intuition. Their dreams were especially valued by the elders, for women "in their moon" were considered to be in a special state of power. Through their physical opening they were in closer communion with the mysterious workings of the universe and their dreams were carefully listened to for guidance affecting the whole tribe.
Their solitude was not a punishment, it was not a banishment because of impurity. In fact, it was just the opposite. It was an honoring of the power of the woman and her sacred status as bringer of new life. This power of woman was considered so important, so strong, that when it came upon her through her sacred bleeding, it was important that she not have to be involved with anything else--not with taking care of kids, household, husband, chores, work, not anything except be with and honor the flow of her deeper being. The women enjoyed their monthly "vacation" which was a respite from the hard labor of the camp. It also placed the men in the position of once per month taking care of the kids, home, meals, etc. It seemed to work quite well and I was very impressed by this social and spiritual "arrangement" around biological function.
It was not until I spent time with Native American people that I was exposed to a healthier relationship with the feminine and it felt right and I felt better to be a part of it.
Of course this belief system about menstruation was the exact opposite of the one I had been introduced to by my culture which emphasized shame, dirty, something not to be discussed in public, embarrassing, etc. Scorn, ridicule and harassment were the norms of my culture towards the woman and her period. Of course it did not stop there. The ways, work and being of the feminine were all looked upon as inferior to the masculine. It was not something I liked but it was all I was exposed to by the dominant cultural mores where I was brought up. It was not until I spent time with Native American people that I was exposed to a healthier relationship with the feminine and it felt right and I felt better to be a part of it. I thought about Joseph Campbell's notion of the formative function of myth in a culture. Campbell believed that a society's creation myths basically laid down the rules of how to live properly to appease the gods and maintain equilibrium. Within the story portrayed in the myth lay the proper roles for behavior for men and women, what was important and how to go about living in accord with these values.
With this idea in mind it is interesting to look back at a key aspect of the creation story for western society--the drama in the Garden of Eden. All was wonderful in the garden for Adam and Eve until, until, ah--here it comes--Eve leads poor Adam astray. She in turn is led astray by the serpent. When Adam eats of the Tree of Knowledge, a tree that comes up from the earth, from below, from nature, boom, they are busted and booted out of their idyllic state into a world of suffering and pain. Thus it is the feminine that leads to the downfall brought on by the sensuous, undulating energy represented by the snake. For the Hebraic people whose story this originally is, patriarchy was the social norm. Male babies were favored over girl babies, their deity was a vengeful sky god figure who brooked no breaking of his laws. The priestly caste dictated that the way to Jehovah was through them, and only them. Going to the earth, and the fruit of the earth for knowledge, was verboten. If you tried this way of gaining wisdom, the punishment was direct and severe. The message was quite clear--don't listen to the feminine. Fear it, control it, subdue it. Don't respect it, don't make a place for it in the pursuit of knowledge.
We have done a pretty good job of integrating this disrespect of the feminine message as a look through his'tory and a perusal of the daily news will readily ascertain. The rape of the earth, the abuse of women, the reliance on rationality and logic as the only valid means of gathering information, the repression of feelings, of intuition, the manipulation of sex and sensuality for profit instead of as a sacred gift of the spirit through the flesh, the repression of love and responsible loving and the promotion of destruction, all testify to the imbalance we have created emanating from the creation myth we have lived out.
In contrast to this anti-feminine myth from our culture, in my travels with shamanic people around the world I have found quite the opposite to be true. In these cultures I have found stories where it is the woman who brings the healing medicine and who is thus honored and treated as respect. Healing and wisdom guidance flow right out of the Mother Earth and is sought out in solitude through rites of passage and initiation such as the Vision Quest and pilgrimages to places of power. Prayers and thankfulness offerings are made to the various manifestations of the feminine Goddess for without her there would be not life. She, in all her wondrous and mysterious forms and gifts, is revered and worshiped. She is the Sacred Mother and creative principle of creation. The Huichols call her "Tacutsi Nakaway", Great Grandmother Growth. She is a great Wisdom Elder. I think we have to listen to her to get back into the garden. Now is her season and her finery is all around us. Let us drink and eat of her wisdom, let us dance and sing praises of celebration for her bounty and her love. Let us work to protect her and all her children. Let us grow new stories that enable us to grow in a healthy way, the way our Mother intended from the beginning. Let us begin again, this time listening to the ancient counsel of the Wisdom Grandmother, the Sacred Feminine. It is within us all, it is for us all.
It is one.