It is interesting to note that if we dig into the story of humanity’s past, there are many, many examples of very strong and powerful women; queens, warriors, and goddesses whose names didn’t make it to the “his-story” books. It was a revelation to me to learn about and find that the strength of the feminine was even around in the physical form of actual women and that we just weren’t taught about it. Let these few names of strong women (who actually existed) reverberate in your mind and heart:
Isis (Egyptian Goddess of All of Creation)
Mawu (African Goddess of the Moon)
Songi (African Protectress of the Bantu)
Nukwan (Chinese Goddess)
Danu (Irish Goddess and Protector)
Breo Saighead (Irish Goddess)
Ix Chel (Mayan Goddess of the Moon, Healing, and Childbirth)
Xbaquiyalo (Mayan Goddess)
Coatlicue (Aztec Creator Goddess)
Xochiquetzal (Aztec Goddess of music, dance and love and Patroness of women’s sacred sexuality)
Queen KuBaba (Sumerian leader of war of independence)
Trung Trac and Trung Nhi (Vietnamese Sister Queens led battle against the invading Chinese)
Boudicca (Queen of Iceni, a Celtic tribe in ancient Britain, who led rebel armies against the Romans in Britain)
Hatshepsut (Egyptian, declared herself “Pharoah” rather than Queen)
Wu Zetian (Chinese, declared herself “Emperor” rather than Empress)
And these are just a scant handful of the women whose feminine strength propelled them forward into a larger vision. Even now, consensual reality has some belief that women today are in a state of weakness and subjugation, but there are women (and men who are healing and strengthening their inner feminine) in our modern world who are changing reality every day with their strength and vision. It is the media and the immature collective consciousness that devote their energies to the message that “feminine equals Paris Hilton”. You have a choice about whether to buy into that message.
“Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.”—Betty Friedan
The more we step up and claim the inner feminine in ourselves, the more she shows up in our lives. The feminine has many aspects, some of which we recognize as docility, forgiveness, and surrender, such as we see in the Christianized Mother Mary figure. But these traits are only a small fraction of the totality of the Sacred Feminine. She is ALL, and she is not being fully expressed until we embrace ALL of her. It is wise to be alert to judgments and beliefs about what it means to be feminine or masculine. Qualities we typically associate with the masculine, such as courage, ferocity, strength, and intelligence, as well as the “softer” sides of those such as passion, sensuality, deep wisdom and intuition, are all part of the Sacred Feminine as well. In actuality, all qualities are universal, found in both masculine and feminine essences, but the ways of accessing and expressing these qualities is different in the masculine and feminine.
“Darkness precedes light and she is Mother.”
Inscription in the altar of the Salerno Cathedral in Italy.
We see evidence in the collective psyche of the awareness of the “darker” aspects of feminine power in the global fascination with and re-emergence of the Black Madonna (be sure to look that up if you don’t know anything about these fabulous images of the pre-Christianized Sacred Feminine.) In the wonderful book, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, the presenceof the Black Madonna is central to the story of personal enlightenment and reclaiming of power for a young girl. In the story, three symbols of feminine power constellate throughout: the Fist, a representation of feminine authority, voice and autonomy, fierce outrage at injustice, dignity, substance, being both level and wild, with an ability to shake things up, the Heart, a representation of profound connection to one another, the big, wide lap of the great mother, a lap so big there’s room for everybody, inclusiveness, nurturing, unity, compassion for what is lost or undervalued and left out, refuge, and deep and beautiful wisdom, and the Moon-Madonnas have been marked with moons since the origin of humanity, and is a representation of cycles, women, women’s cycles, tides, oceans, earth, behavior of animals, fecundity of plants, the body, the rhythms of death and life, fertility, creativity, earth’s aliveness and holiness. Certainly in these three symbols we see examples of the diversity that is represented in the feminine! In terms of the collective awareness of the diversity of the feminine, I have a theory that Oprah Winfrey is modern personification of the ancient symbol of the Black Madonna. Think of how she aids others in getting their message out, giving them permission and a platform from which to speak. Think of how creatively successful she is, but especially in the ways that the masculine world considers successful (money, power, resources). And yet she has not appeared to lose other aspects of the feminine in her rise to fame.
“The way to true and creative life is thru the dark feminine.”—Carl Jung