JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS
Embracing the Feminine:
Our Equal Heritage
By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D
To help us embrace the feminine within let’s explore some women mentors and pioneers who influenced history and perhaps, you will remember those who personally influenced you. As we identify the ‘feminine’ energy that is part of our personal and collective history, we can embrace and internalize these qualities for ourselves. Doing this affects our personal, relational, community, and world vision.
I was inspired by looking at themes for International Women’s Day and for this year:
Celebrate women’s achievements
Raise awareness about women’s equality
Lobby for accelerated gender-parity
Fundraise for female-focused charities.
The hope is that this collaboration of shared purpose can impact positive changes for women.
As women are recognized, respected, and treated equally, we can better embrace the positive feminine qualities.
Just as this is not just women’s work, neither is the embracing of the ‘feminine energy’ that is part of our heritage. It is important for everyone, male, female, or non-binary individuals to embrace the qualities we need to be fully human. Ann Reed in her song, “Heroes”, says:
Heroes appear like a friend
To clear a path or light the flame
As time goes by, you find you depend
On your heroes to show you the way.
She also asks, “What can I learn from you…?” My own learning began as the child of parents born before women or any person of color could vote. My traditional upbringing was challenged when I read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) I was aware of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) being reintroduced in Congress in 1971. (First introduced by Alice Paul in 1923 and still not ratified.) I read When God Was a Woman (vol I and II) by Merlin Stone. “At the very dawn of religion, God was a woman. Do you remember?
I began to realize that the thousands of years of the patriarchy had robbed us all of the personal and Divine Feminine. The negative views of our bodies, our roles, and our abilities had permeated culture for so long. Each of us had to begin reclaiming our positive view of ourselves. As Ntozake Shange in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf says, “somebody/anybody sing a black girl’s song bring her out to know herself…let her be born, let her be born and handled warmly.” Each one of us can do this as we let these parts of us be born, handling warmly.
The 70’s and 80’s were a time of questioning of gender role stereotypes. The political became personal as individual women began finding their way in politics (Geraldine Ferraro, Shirley Chisholm…not too successful) sports-women’s soccer and gymnastics found a wider audience, Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave us her lifetime of work with equality for both men and women. There were more women in entertainment, the ministry, even female astronauts.
As women progress, humanity can progress by embracing these qualities. For each of us, this is also a spiritual journey, a deeply personal journey. Let’s look at some of the qualities of the feminine. According to ancient peoples like the Hindus and others, feminine energy was seen as:
The creative principle of the universe
Primal force of nature and fertility (mother earth, the wind, the sea…)
Mother of life and death
Empathy, love, nurturing
Think about how you identify the feminine. What is your relationship to the feminine? What is developed? Undeveloped? Do you as a male or non-binary person think of yourself as having feminine qualities or energy? Do you imagine your wholeness including both male and female qualities? As a male-identified person have you given birth to the woman/the feminine energy within yourself. Do you have permission to be a more whole person?
Embracing the feminine within ourselves helps us to be more complete, have healthier, relationships that are rich and depthful. Our contributions to the community can be more complex and dynamic and we can embrace ourselves, each other and the earth in a more profound and life-giving way.
Perhaps we can echo the words of Ntozake Shange in our lives,
i found god in myself
& i loved her/i loved her fiercely.
Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC is a counselor and educator at the Heartland Holistic Health Center. She is the author of the “Life Weaving Education Curriculum” that teaches creative, effective, holistic problem-solving. For counseling appointments (confidential video sessions), seminars, in-service training, or speaker’s bureau, call 816-509-9277 or firstname.lastname@example.org; www.heartlandholistic.com. Some pro bono and lower fee sessions available at this time.