Preface: In the following, the word “feminine” does not equate to “woman” and the word “masculine” does not equate to “men.” All comments about Christianity refers to the institutionalized religion, not individual Christians.
Driving home from teaching belly dance classes, I have taken up a rather bizarre practice of listening to Christian talk radio. Scanning through stations, I learned that the Christians fill their nighttime air with experts talking about what it means to be Christian. After spending my childhood as a reluctant Catholic, I spent the next 3 decades mostly tuning out Christian philosophy in search of something that felt more loving, truthful and whole to me. However, today, living in the mountains of North Carolina, I discovered that these Christian stations total one-third of all available radio stations. I began listening out of sheer fascination with this fact.
I have been surprised to hear the range of opinions that have evolved within Christianity. There are now New Age-y Christians using New Age-y terms like “manifest”,“resonate”,“stay centered and connected.” In the next sentence, they advise that “as long as you steer your children to the Lord, our Father, they will be fine.” Slightly more fundamental Christians report that “if your marriage is rocky, it is because you aren’t believing in Jesus hard enough.” And the super fundamentalists love to talk about the Eternal Trinity of “the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”
The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. This was one of my many departure points from Christianity in my youth. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as the Source of Life? Nowhere else did I see any evidence of Fathers and Sons being able to reproduce, create new life. The notion seemed so ridiculous to me even as a child, I could barely believe that grown-ups were purporting this view. After so many years of tuning out the Christian world, I held out the dim hope that somehow the Trinity had shifted back to what it once was. I am sad, though not at all surprised, to learn that it has not.
The Mother was simply removed from the Sacred Trinity. The Divine Mother represents the physical and emotional realm – the body, change, cycles, physical birth, physical death, the senses, sex, the vast ocean of emotions, Nature, primal protection. The Divine Father represents the spiritual and mental realm – the eternal constant of Spirit, objectivity, intellect, rational, directness, the all-embracing compassionate heart. The feminine energy is physical and the masculine energy is spiritual and each is also found interwoven into the other. Attempting to remove one part away from the other leads to an incomplete experience of life and a deep yearning for balance to be restored.
Doesn’t it make more sense to have the Father and the Mother united within the Whole? Isn’t it the Father and the Mother loving and uniting that Co-creates Life? Isn’t that what we see reflected all around us as the Source?
The Mandorla (or Vesica Piscis) is an ancient symbol representing the basic matrix of Life. It is thought to be the oldest symbol humans have used to reflect the true Trinity. The symbol is 3 circles ~ one representing the Divine Masculine / Spirit, one representing the Divine Feminine / Physicality. These 2 smaller circles are interlocked within a larger circle, representing the Entirety of Life, the Divine Source. The Masculine and Feminine are eternally interwoven and balanced; from this Union, Life and Love are created.
The briefest summary of my views on the history of the masculine and feminine within spirituality is this: Long, long ago, humans held this union of masculine and feminine in balance. As shown in the Mandorla, the energies were seen as oppositely charged, yet dependent upon each other and ultimately ONE Force of Life. Somewhere along the way, the view of the Source of Life shifted weight, leaning a bit more heavily into the Feminine. Humans began upholding the Mother as the sole Source of Life (understandably, as we witness babies being born through woman) . Tens of thousands of years of “Goddess cultures” passed in relative peace ~ yet by denying equal honor to the Masculine, these cultures steadily grew out of balance. A few thousand years ago, humans engaged in a backlash against the Feminine-heavy spirituality (again, understandably, women can’t reproduce on their own just as all Creation requires the Masculine essence to keep the wheels turning). This backlash swung the pendulum toward Masculine-heavy philosophy where the intellect is Supreme, the Eternal Spirit is more important than Nature’s constant changing and the Spirit is only “pure” when disconnected from physical desires. Out of this Masculine-heavy philosophy, Western thought / Empire Building / Christianity arose (not the man, Yeshua, but the Church which organized against his wishes). And out of this Masculine-heavy philosophy, arose our modern American culture.
And so, here we are. Attempting to remove the Feminine from the picture entirely or viewing it as “less holy” or “less important” throws the entire Balance of Life into pain and chaos. The Masculine gets thrown out of whack immediately when the Feminine is discounted or shamed. The Masculine cannot be its best and brightest Self without Her. In truth, the Feminine and the Masculine are ONE force. One simply cannot be removed from the other. They need each other to exist. And existence depends on their equal Union. In balanced Union, they create Love.
When I catch snippets of the news, I hear the aftermath which has resulted from this attempted severance of the feminine from the whole. When the body and emotions are viewed as less important, shameful or evil, it makes harm to the body and emotions acceptable. And so we see incredible amounts of violence, terror, rape, environmental destruction, domination, oppression, repression, addiction, disease, emotional abuse and depression. This large, global scale wreckage is being continuously fueled by individuals’ inner imbalance.
Men and women alike are suffering from our own internal feminine being repressed or shamed. I have only seen 2 or 3 individuals in my lifetime who maintain a full balance of the Masculine and Feminine energies within them, and they radiate constant Love. The rest of us show various degrees of wounds ~ body shame, body disconnect, Earth disconnect, addiction to technology, fear of death, fear of birth, confusion and pain about sexuality, anger at the opposite sex, overwhelm ~ deep wounds from the attempt to rip apart the true Trinity.
How do we restore the true Sacred Trinity? Many of you reading this already have an understanding that the Feminine has been repressed. We are aware of the repercussions of this ripping apart and are attempting to restore the balance of the Union within us and around us. However, because the masculine-heavy view is so deeply entrenched within us, we are struggling with how to restore the balance. We turn to what we know and what we have been taught – that the intellect, the rational mind, the “pure spirit” can figure it out – in order to restore the balance. However, balance cannot be restored through the intellect alone.
A teacher of mine, Neelam, often said that we are all at different places of understanding the truth. First, we understand the concept through our minds. We are able to cognitively know that all things are One, therefore the Feminine must be included. A mental understanding of this truth however is not enough. Once we grasp that concept in our minds, we must embrace it with our whole being, our bodies, our lives.
We restore the trinity through embodying the balance. We cultivate a connection with the feminine realm not just with our minds, our words, but with our bodies, our emotions and our actions. When the feminine is allowed to move within us, the masculine can relax into balance within himself and with her.
The good news is that after millennia of imbalanced philosophy, the Masculine and Feminine are both still alive within us, all the time. We simply could not exist as humans without both. Allowing each to thrive and move within us brings us into a fuller, more truthful expression of ourselves.
Sacred Dance has always been one way to embody these 2 fundamental energies coming together in Union. By descending into our physical bodies in order to connect with our Spiritual bodies, we create a living bridge of Unity. Through dance, we can experience the totality of who we are – body and soul together. We can learn to be this bridge and to MOVE as this bridge. Dancing is a practice that we then apply to our day to day lives ~ how to embody this bridge, this totality of who we are. We exist only because there is a Union of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine Energies within us. We express ourselves fully, truly and powerfully, when we move as this Union.