I feel nothing but respect, awe and everlasting gratitude towards our fore-sisters who burned their bras, refused to take no for an answer, and liberated the feminine from the confines of an overly masculine world. However, I have felt for a long time now that the balance of power has slipped over too far, and that there is a need to address this disparity once more. When I look out at the world, I see so many men (and women), who in a post political correctness atmosphere are confused as to what they can be, what is appropriate, and what is allowed. This blog attempts to go some small way towards redressing the imbalance between the masculine and the feminine, and to once more open up the question of how we relate to each other in truth.
I have to stop the flow for a moment to make room for a brief disclaimer: I am not, do not wish to be, aspire to be, want to be defined as, or in any way set myself up as an expert on relating, relationships or sexuality. I’m only sharing my experiences and views. If you would like an expert in these fields, then I highly recommend checking out Saida Desilets for the feminine principle, and Sol Ra for the masculine. Good. That’s done. Now onwards….
I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by the masculine, the feminine, and the interplay between them. To me, the dance between man and woman is like an endless river, always there to be dived into, never fully understood. And that’s also the beauty of it, and what makes it so tantalizing: the unsolvable conundrum that we are so different, and yet we desire to connect with each other so much.
Whilst I will speak in this piece about the masculine and the feminine, about men and women, what I’m really talking about are aspects of ourselves. It is an alchemical principle that we are powerful creative beings, and that within each of us is masculine essence and feminine essence – that the interplay between these components is what creates the life in us and around us. It is these essences that exist in each individual of which I wish to speak – or more accurately, to start a conversation about.
There can be little doubt that the feminine principle has had a rough time of it over the years. For some reason (I’ll go into this a little later), there seems to be an instinct in the masculine to want to repress the feminine. We see this throughout history: in the witch-hunts between 1480 and 1750, in Darwin’s desire to quantify and define the irrepressible inexplicability of nature, in some of the more basic forms of science, which seek to reduce everything to building blocks in the effort to understand it, and in so doing lose the mystery that makes the thing itself.
I think I know why this is. I think that deep in the masculine psyche lies a terrible fear: that if the feminine is set free, to be completely, utterly unbound, then he will no longer be important.
Whilst I lay no claims to any kind of expertise in this area, I do feel that I can speak with some authority on this subject, due to the truth that I have spent the last 33 years of my life repressing my own feminine nature. My masculine side is terrified of my feminine: terrified of setting her free, terrified of her mystery, her depth, and her senselessness. Why? Because my masculine fears that if I set this feminine monster free she will take over, and my masculine will become irrelevant in the face of her storm.
Every man I have ever met has at some time expressed to me, verbally or otherwise, some version of “Women drive me crazy”. Usually there is a cute sense of helplessness when they say this – a wry, self-depreciating humor. What also stands out to me very frequently is that men seem to have a need to be appreciated by me. Having worked with hundreds of people in my coaching practice, through teaching, and just being in life, I am very loathe to make wide generalizations on the nature of people, because I do know that each person’s psyche is completely unique to them; inherently uncategorizable. However, it is also interesting to notice the similarities between individuals – it helps us to learn.
So yes, at the risk of being completely wrong, I begin to think that for men, it is very important to feel useful. I think this is why you love to solve our problems for us, fix the blocked kitchen sink, and find the way to the destination unassisted. Maybe it goes back to hunter gatherer times, where a man who did not make a valuable contribution to the tribe would lose his opportunity to mate, and perhaps would not even survive.
I went on a date some time ago with a guy who bent over backwards trying to impress me, probably on the assumption that this would result in me wanting to sleep with him. Every woman reading this will know that this behavior, whilst kinda cute, neither engendered my respect nor ignited my sexual desire. Because you see, we don’t want to have to validate you. We don’t want to have to need you. Whilst I am very happy, ecstatic even, to validate the 3, 6 or even 14 year old boy who wants me to see him running round the park, flying his kite, or appreciate whatever it is that he’s doing, when a grown man asks the same thing of me I have to say I feel a little sick to my stomach. Because you see I’m not attracted to little boys. I’m attracted to Men.
In my 20s, when I was eye-achingly, mind-bendingly hot, I would constantly have men offering to do things for me. They would want to fix my car, take me out to dinner, carry my bags, etc. Now, I was an impoverished university student at the time, so I must say these offers were greatly appreciated. To be honest, I even went on a couple of dates just to have a decent meal, something other than my 99-cent porridge ration for the week. But the real question is: Did offering to fix my car get these generous men laid? No, silly. It just got my CAR fixed. Did I open my body to men who came to me offering me nothing but their passion; fierce and growling and immanent with their desire? Well… Yes, mostly. When I felt like it.
The point is, that whilst warriors have often pledged their battles to her, and climbed mountains in her name – the love of Aphrodite cannot be won. Or once won, it shifts and changes, and recedes as quickly as it came, tantalizingly into the night. The love of the goddess is capricious, senseless, and she bestows it where she wishes, without explanation or rationale. Throw away the books, men. The endless suggestions, hints and tips about how to approach a woman; about how to talk to her; about what you have to be. Aphrodite may be inspired to love that wild irascible lead singer, or that arrogantly successful businessman, or the quiet shy poet in the corner, or none of these, or all three. You cannot predict her whims, nor control her desire, nor guarantee her commitment. And there is nothing wrong with this. You might as well be frustrated with the waves of the ocean, for always coming and going, rolling and tumbling, approaching and retreating.
What is the feminine? She can only be expressed through archetypes and mythology, because She defies definition. She is Kali, Hindu goddess of at once creation and destruction, both terrifying and beautiful: She is the compassion and nurturing of Hestia, Greek goddess of the hearth, the home, and the family: She is all the sweet innocence of the goddess Persephone, whose abduction and later return symbolize the quiet, barren contemplation of Winter, followed by the rush and passion and bursting life of Spring: and She is Aphrodite, the irrepressible, vain, and selfish goddess of sexual love and sensuality. These are only some. It is the nexus between them all where the true feminine lies.
The masculine I won’t even try to define. I leave that to those who know better: Men. All I’m saying is that in an effort to relate to this unwieldy, powerful and mysterious force that is the feminine, men seek to fulfill a purpose for her, and to be validated by her in that purpose. Now, in these post-feminist times, we have stolen this purpose from you. We no longer need you to take out the trash, bring home the bacon, or even give us orgasms (although we may be very happy when you do). And this freedom in the feminine can be devastating to the masculine’s sense of self, purpose, and even direction.
But it should be ever so much more than that. It should be an opportunity to realize the true freedom of the masculine. To rise up and bring your power into the world. To validate yourself – to stop seeking to be seen, acknowledged, heard, appreciated or important to the feminine, and give these things to yourself. You don’t need our permission. When you stop asking us to make you okay and just put your focus, direction and power into the things that do it for you, we will be filled with desire for you. You will not be able to keep us away.
Right now, the myth that speaks to me the most about the mystery of the relationship between man and woman, masculine and feminine (at least from the masculine perspective), is that of Ulysses and the Sirens. You may know it – it goes like this:
Ulysses has shown great prowess as a warrior at the Battle of Troy, and now he is on a ship, trying to find his way home, to his wife and children. His journey home is his great adventure, in which he faces terrible monsters and great tribulations. One of these challenges is that he must sail through the territory of the Sirens. The Sirens are feminine forces of the sea, who sing a beautiful, dangerously tantalizing song that has lead all others before him to their deaths in watery deeps. For once men hear the song, they simply cannot resist chasing it, out of the open air, and into the dark mystery of the ocean.
Ulysses knows of this danger, but he has a plan. He instructs all of his crew to fill their ears with beeswax, so that they will hear nothing, and be safe from the aching beauty of the Siren Song. But whilst he also wants to get home safe, Ulysses is a hero, and therefore brave enough to subject himself to the power of the feminine. So he straps himself firmly to the mast of the boat, and tells his crew to sail on no matter what, and they do, unhearing, though he is taken up in the song, and screams at them to stop.
In Greek myth, there is always a distinction drawn between the ordinary man and the hero. In this story, the ordinary man is not powerful enough to survive the terrifying invitation of the feminine, but the hero is altogether different. Ulysses is able to simultaneously surrender completely to the overpowering, enticing, and ecstatic nature of the feminine, to quite literally be driven mad by it, and yet remain true to his purpose and direction, and in the end, find his way home.
So, from the feminine in me I say to you great lords of creation, you fabulous, sexy, inspiring and magnificent earthly manifestations of the masculine principle: Rise Up! Take your power back. Give yourself permission. Give yourself meaning and purpose and usefulness and significance and whatever else you feel you are lacking inside. Strap yourself to the mast of your own truth, and remain uncompromised as you open yourself to the glorious Siren Song, and let it drive you, heart pounding in ecstasy, deeper into the void… Stand up and give your passion to the world, and in so doing, make us yearn for you.
And, from the masculine in me I say to the ladies: surrender to the juice in you, take pleasure in the tasty, capricious, senseless nature of your desire, and strive to be nothing but yourself. Please, I beg you, drive me crazy – for it takes me to my edge, it helps me find my feet, it inspires me to be my rock in the midst of your churning ocean.