Sunday, 13 January 2008

Chapter Six

Changing Paths.From The Limited To The Unlimited Universe

IF YOU BELIEVE in flying saucers and aliens, pixies and fairies, ghosts and clairvoyance, not to mention parallel universes, time travel and the existence of reincarnation, then you are not a patriarchal scientist. All of these things are outside the model of the universe which such people have built, because whether or not they exist is something which cannot be proved. Patriarchal scientists want a controllable universe, and anything which is outside the reach of empirical proof, which can't be verified, doesn't exist, as far as they are concerned.
Despite the fact that many scientists (the most famous example being Einstein) use intuition to arrive at answers to difficult questions, they refuse to acknowledge its validity as the prime source of their knowledge. They prefer to use the tools of logic and mathematics to prove that what they currently think is true, backed up by actual physical proof if at all possible. Emotion and subjectivity are held to have no place in scientific research. Because of this, we have had a singularly unbalanced view of the universe until recently, when more matercentrically inclined scientists emerged. The universe described by patriarchal scientists seemed to have a finite boundary. It worked something like an amazingly large clock, with rules and regulations which covered its actions, and it possessed no mechanism for interaction with human beings. It satisfied the inherent need for order possessed by patriarchal scientists, yet it was an order that had no soul. It was entirely impersonal and external.
Scientists resisted new ideas and new ways of looking at the world with amazing tenacity, despite their apparent thirst for knowledge. One of the reasons they did this was that the ego, which in itself is not an impediment, blocked their vision. On a simple level, they didn't want to let go of old ideas, because they may have spent long years learning about them, or developing them, and to acknowledge that they needed to revise their ideas would have been devastating. A man who has been given status, honours and respect for his knowledge in a certain area, is often loath to abandon his fixed ideas in favour of new ones. He will obstruct younger men arriving on the scene with fresh views unless the evidence for them is overwhelming, and even then he may still resist. This is all explained quite rationally in terms of 'necessary proof,' and sensible comments about 'insufficient evidence,' but behind all this is usually the massive ego of some powerful scientist, or the vested interests of those who are similarly threatened by the new theories.
On a collective level, the ego also prevents the influx of new ideas. It was easy, for example, for white scientists to 'prove' the inferiority of other races when there was an investment in this being true. Only when society changed its attitude towards such people, and it began to affect the scientists' views, could we see that most of the 'evidence' was irrelevant or spurious. The myth of the patriarchal scientist, that his ideas have been unaffected by emotion or bias, and are hard cold truth, is absolute nonsense. Once the so-called 'rational' scientist had escaped the censorship of the mediaeval church, and was not likely to be burned at the stake for telling us that the Earth circled the sun, he firmly believed that he was dealing with objective facts in his scientific experiments, and nothing else. He chose not to see that the very areas he looked at were determined by his consciousness. He selected avenues of knowledge which could be used in a physical way, for example. He found methods of harnessing and controlling energy , of exploring the mechanics of disease, without any desire to probe into the deeper meanings of these things. In doing so, he improved the lot of mankind in many ways, but without addressing the real malaise at the heart of society, negative use of ego energies and ignorance. His aim was merely to gain knowledge which he could use in a controlling way, and therefore the information had to be 'real,' i.e. repeatable, physical and exploitable.
People who believe in ghosts, aliens and nature spirits etc, operate from a different premise altogether. Those who have encountered such beings have strikingly similar experiences. There is never any 'hard' evidence to support their stories as being true, rendering them inevitably 'false' to a conventional patriarchal scientist. At best such people are seen as imaginative, at worst, nuts. The limiting of information to the sphere of the purely physical is what we call Science. Anything else is put in another category, such as 'religious experience,' 'mental illness' or 'primitive beliefs.' This is not to say that ghosts exist, or that aliens land on this planet, just that the attitude of patriarchal science is one which precludes us finding out. We are brain-washed by their methods, into believing that what they say is real, is all there is.
Recent discoveries in science have blurred these hard and fast boundaries between what is 'real' i.e. predictable, and what is not real. We have realised that the subjective experience of the universe is as valid as the so-called 'objective' one. In other words, we are seeing that we are connected to the universe and not external to it. At the same time, we learn from relativistic theory that we are the centre of the universe, but then so is everyone else. We have also realised that the universe does not conform to the limitations we place on it, and like the Great Mother, is beyond the scope of our limited minds and experiments. So we are returning to a more holistic view of the universe, one in which there is room for both interaction and mystery.
When male scientists change onto the path of the Goddess, they encounter the same problems as anyone else. Their certainty about what is real or right becomes less sure. It is no longer so easy to say in any given situation that a particular thing will definitely happen, or, in moral terms, that it should. This may show itself as a lack of confidence. When you have been told for millenia that certain things are 'right,' so others are 'wrong,' the ability to suspend judgement because you're not so sure anymore can look like weakness. All around you are people who seem to be decisive about everything. They know and you don't anymore. The capacity to decide on a purely selfish basis also disappears, because you begin to feel that others have a point of view, and your ego no longer feels the need to be right at any cost. The patriarchal view of god being on your side because in some way you are one of the chosen, begins to fade. You can't deceive yourself anymore that your belief systems are Absolute Truth. The Tao Te Ching described the sense of confusion experienced by a man moving onto the path of the Goddess, over two thousand years ago.
Sacrifice learning
And you will have no anxieties.
For what difference is there
Between Yes and No?
What difference is there
Between Good and Evil?
What all men fear
Must I also fear?
Their fears are endless.
All men seem happy
As if enjoying a party
Or dancing on the Spring terraces.
I alone am quiet
Not expressing my thoughts
Like a baby who has not learned to smile
Alone, with no place to go.
All men have what they want
I alone seem to have nothing.
I seem to be a fool
Unsure and indecisive.
Other men are clever
I alone am dull.
Other men sparkle
I am just a bore.
I am aimless, like the wind
Drifting through my life.
All men know their position
I alone do not.
For I differ from other men
I seek only to be cared for by the Mother.

At the point of changing to the path of the Goddess, each person begins to make a stronger connection to the Great Mother, and starts to feel an awareness of Her true nature, although this may be resisted because of fear. Men particularly, who have abused and denied women, may fear terrible punishment from a dark and vengeful Mother Goddess. Their god was interested in retribution, so they cannot imagine 'getting away with' all their 'sins'.
The renewal of the links with the Great Mother is accomplished in an entirely individual way, since everyone is unique, but it can have its difficulties. There is very little literature, for example, to guide someone who is changing paths, and so they may continue to practise a patriarchal religion, but with a different emphasis. Others may feel their way into a new relationship with Her on an entirely intuitive basis, somehow 'knowing' without words. This knowledge leads to different behaviour, without any consciously formulated reason why.
Since many people do not practise a religion at all, and have no conscious ideas about changing their concept of a deity, sometimes more mundane images are used to tune into the Great Mother. For example, in sexual fantasy there is the image of the dominatrix, or dominant mistress. She usually dresses in black leather and boots, often carries a whip, and may wear a mask. This figure provokes fear, adoration and sexual lust in certain men, because she embodies for them their new consciousness of the Great Mother. In submitting to a dominant female, the man shows humility, in contrast to his normal arrogance, which shows he is changing paths. In the woman, even if she is only acting out a role, it gives a feeling of power, which she may translate quite literally as power over the man, because she too is still in the process of abandoning patriarchal values. Just because this figure is sexual, and mixes in with it all sorts of patriarchal ideas of punishment, hierarchy and submission to a greater power, does not mean it is wrong. It may be just the right image to allow both the man and the woman to evolve.
The dominatrix wears black because this is the colour of the Great Mother. For millenia, we in the West have associated white with good and black with evil. Witches, for example, traditionally rode at night and had black cats as familiars. The 'black' races on earth have been regarded as inferior to the white races. The feminine side of our nature is seen as evil by Christianity, so it became black by definition. When we have 'sinned,' our souls are described as being black as a result, and when we die, our mourners wear black, the colour of death, to show respect. Light, or day, is seen as good , and night or darkness as bad. All our religious imagery centres around this. We talk about 'seeing the light,' or 'becoming enlightened,' for example, and many people who have mystical experiences describe a pure and clear light which transports them into a state of ecstasy. All this is a consequence of our dualistic way of perceiving the universe. We divide it into light and dark, good and bad, male and female, then decide one is better than the other. In our patriarchal world, light, which is consciousness, and is associated with males, becomes good, and darkness, which is everything else, becomes bad. It is a little like shining a tiny torch beam into a vast space, then saying only those things which can be picked out by the light are valuable. Everything else is worthless.
In the beginning was the Great Mother, who is all there is. It was her will to create, and her child is Light or consciousness. But Light is not separate from her, and in opposition. It is merely the part of Her which is conscious of seeing. A simpler way of thinking about it is to imagine yourself immersed in a warm bath. If you allow your fingers to emerge from the water, they become visible as eight disconnected objects; not only that, but they appear to be able to move independently, strengthening the idea that they are totally separate. Under the water, of course, they are joined to the rest of your body, and their freedom of movement is limited by that fact.
The part of your body under the water can be seen as the unconscious, i.e. it is everything we can't see and be aware of. In this sense the water is darkness, because it contains everything which is not visible to our conscious minds. The light, which is everything we can see, is represented by the air above the water. Because light, or consciousness, illuminates such a tiny part of everything, it can seem that we are separate from each other, just as the fingers seem separate. This has led to disharmony, because we attempt to build our societies on the basis of our feelings of individuality, ignoring the fact that we are connected at a level below our conscious minds. The knowledge of our connectedness is available, and we can make it conscious, just as you can make the completeness of your body clear by stepping out of the bath. Normally, our fingers are 'aware' of each other. The fingers can still be moving in a different way from their neighbours, but they work together harmoniously, the result being that the hands perform useful actions. If they attempted to move with no regard for one another at all, the outcome would be chaos. We have chosen to ignore our connectedness to others, and put it in the darkness, along with the Great Mother. We have instead, 'lit up' the patriarchal values of the separate ego, and seen everything else as either non-existent or evil.
This metaphor has its limits, but it serves to explain why the colour of the Great Mother is black. We came from her darkness, and we will return to it, not as we do now, through death, but through allowing ourselves to be aware of all that we are, and responding with acceptance.
The dominatrix also wears a mask, to represent the mysteriousness of the Great Mother, who is unknown and unknowable. If we look back in history, we find that the goddess Isis was always veiled, because of her unfathomable nature. No mortal man could look on her true being until he had passed all the tests of the soul, which of course meant he had to acknowledge her power.
If we look at the style of clothes the dominatrix wears, we find that they are not in any way conventionally 'feminine.' Nor is her way of behaving. She is a 'doing' type of woman, so in our patriarchal terms, much more 'masculine' in orientation than a stereotypical female. She makes things happen, whereas a 'feminine' woman is one who has things happen to her. She allows a man to make her decisions for her. In return she devotes herself to him, and forgets any desires she might have that do not promote his welfare. A dominant woman remains free to choose her own path. She is the one in control of her life, but at the same time she is still looking after the man. One does not exclude the other as it does in patriarchal society. In this she reflects the Great Mother, who knows how to help us, if we will allow that help, yet we always have free will. The man who desires a dominatrix wants to surrender to the Great Mother through his submission to a woman, even if his motivation is sexual pleasure.
The whip is another potent and ancient symbol. Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt were depicted holding a crook in one hand, and a whip or flail in the other. The crook was to guide the people, and the whip was to punish or control them. When we look at some of the images associated with Jesus Christ, we see that the 'Good Shepherd' is a prominent one. The shepherd leads his flock and gathers in the strays with his crook, but the emphasis is on caring. It is a matercentric symbol. The whip is for the path of the god, because it is an instrument of coercion. It shows us that a man who gains pleasure from being punished, or from the threat of punishment, is still on that path, still changing over from a patriarchal to a matercentric way of thinking.
Many people in our world believe in Karma, though they have different ideas of what it is. The most commonly accepted definition is summed up in the phrase, 'As ye sow, so shall you reap.' If you have harmed someone, then in turn you will be harmed, perhaps in a future life if you believe in reincarnation. At its most primitive level, karma is seen as a punishment. You may be born blind, for example, because you have blinded someone in a previous life, and the punishment will allow you not only to suffer because of your wrongdoing, but experience blindness as a 'lesson'. It is part and parcel of the patriarchal ethos of suffering as a teacher. In recent history, this particular idea of karma has been expanded a little to allow for freewill. It now says that you experience retribution for your sins through your own free choice. Before you incarnate, you decide which 'bad' karma to pay off, and live your life accordingly, suffering meekly at the hands of those you harmed in other lives. There is 'good' karma of course, favours to be paid back to you because of helpful actions you have done, but the emphasis is on retribution.
The idea of karma as a punishment can only exist in a world which worships a wrathful deity. It also ignores the fact that everyone is connected at a deeper level, and emphasises the separation of victim and aggressor, so it must be a patriarchal idea. There can be no such thing as a victim when we realise that we choose everything that happens to us, and collude with our oppressors at an unconscious level. Even women, who have been abused for thousands of years, consented to this abuse, by giving their power over to men, so that mankind could pursue the path of the god. This does not in any way excuse unloving actions and place the blame for everything with the 'victim.' Too many patriarchal apologists have done this already, by blaming the poor for their poverty, or the oppressed for their oppression, in an attempt to justify their lack of compassion and involvement in the plight of those who are suffering. It merely shows us that we can choose again, either to reclaim our power from the abuser, or to stop oppressing others. Indeed we must. Our life and destiny are firmly in our hands, and we should realise this. If you can change your consciousness, then external events will also alter, to fit in with your new state of being. Once you realise that all the 'bad' things that have happened to you were because of your own confusion and denial of your will, how could you wish to punish anyone? All you will want to do is to seek out and rescue those parts of you which still wish to suffer, in order to comfort them, and teach them about self-love. Having done that, you can then take action to change the world about you.
The man who is adoring and obeying a dominatrix who carries a whip is still in the grip of patriarchal ideas about karma. He firmly believes that punishment is necessary if you have been 'bad.' He has a dim idea that he has been a naughty boy in the past, by behaving selfishly and callously towards women, so he must be chastised. Though he will feel pain from this punishment at a physical level, at an emotional level it will satisfy him, because in some way he sees the pain as 'atonement' for his 'sins.' The woman herself is also still partly patriarchal. She too still believes in punishment. Men have used her selfishly, and reduced her to the status of a slave, so they deserve to be hurt. She may take great pleasure in inflicting pain on the man, out of a strong desire for revenge.
The scenario we've described, though it still contains many patriarchal elements, may be a great leap forward for the participants. The man has begun to realise that he has caused pain to other people, by denying and controlling them, and he feels remorse, however unconscious this is. Because he is only just beginning to change paths, he does not know that all he has to do is be different from now on, forgive himself, and allow the will of the Great Mother to assist him in responding lovingly to others. Even that will be difficult enough, because his ego is still very strong. It assures him that dreadful things will happen if he stops being so selfish, and he still fears the unknown. He is caught between fear of loss if he changes, and a growing realisation that he is changing anyway. To 'practise' submission and adoration of a woman in a sexual context may enable him eventually to extend his growth into other areas. The woman, similarly, may find that she does not have the feelings in 'normal life' that she experiences as a dominatrix. She too can experience her power in a limited way, in this context, and see what it feels like. To dismiss this activity as debased, trivial or imperfect, is to miss its significance. It is possible to leap from a patriarchal way of being to a matercentric one in an instant of total realisation, but most people require slow and steady change, through activities which suit them as individuals.
We are reaching a stage of society where many women are becoming increasingly aware of their oppressed role within patriarchal society, and are slowly changing paths. Many of them are extremely angry, and willing to express this anger in a forcible way. If a man comes along who wishes to be dominated or punished by them, they will happily oblige, whether he has actually harmed them or not. In this way they release the patriarchal side of them, which looks for retribution and revenge, and sees life in terms of a power game. Other women do not feel anger, because they have truly reached the stage of forgiveness and understanding. They merely cease to be in the state of mind which allows them to be oppressed, by recovering their connection to the Great Mother. Still other women are angry, but not yet aware of it, or too afraid to act it out. They may resort to subtle manipulation and cruelty in an effort to 'get even' with men, yet still appear 'nice' people to themselves and others.
Many feminists leaving the path of the god have decided that they want nothing more to do with men. They view them as so destructive that any contact is anathema. Sometimes such women also become lesbians, and refuse to rear male children. They mix only with women, and interpret everything in their lives in terms of female energies and symbols.
In the old witches' covens, although women predominated, there was an attempt to pair the sexes so as to have a balance of male and female energies. Some of the 'New Age' witches have dispensed with this, and only allow women to join. They say that this leaves them free to worship the Great Mother without the negativity of men interfering. Some of these women have also written books reinterpreting history only in terms of women. Just as the patriarchs removed all goddesses and feminine symbols from their religions, and saw women as unworthy and unclean, so these women are doing the same to masculine symbols. They have, for instance, brought out a version of the Tarot which has no men in it. The Magician becomes The Witch, and on the Lovers card there are three women, not two women and a man.
There are many manifestations of different behaviours when a person is changing paths, since each person is on an individual road which eventually leads to reunion. We should not be fooled into making judgements on the basis of the outward form of behaviour. Our perceptions are so limited that we really can't tell whether an action is loving or unloving; nor can we see inner motivations. Someone who appears to be caring and responsible may be acting that way in order to earn brownie points from their deity. The action doesn't spring from love, but is part of their self-discipline and control. Perhaps the best thing for us all to do is to get on with our own growth, and interfere with others as little as possible, asking for help from the Great Mother to achieve this.
When people change to the path of the Goddess, they not only experience confusion and uncertainty because they are moving into new areas of expression; they can also encounter the resistance of patriarchal society. This can range from disapproval and derision to violence, imprisonment or death. To a certain extent, this can be avoided by removing internal conflict before acting out new beliefs, but not all of us are so methodical or sure what's going on. The human race is moving into new territory, and no-one has yet explained to us what the purpose is.
Twenty years ago, a man who stayed home to look after his children would have been looked on as unmanly. So too would a man who made it clear that he was totally uninterested in his career. We have moved on, yet those now in the forefront of change are just as likely to be laughed at or locked up. We can just about accept that a young man may be eccentric enough to love a woman much older than himself, but we still consider transvestites as abnormal or sick. Yet such a man may only be expressing his inability to cope with the role society has handed him as a male. He may wish to be more 'feminine,' i.e. more passive and caring, and translates this into dressing in female clothes, or wearing frilly knickers under his more conventional male garments. It is not that he is homosexual. Most transvestites are not. He simply does not wish to 'wear the trousers' anymore, in the sense of being in charge within a heterosexual relationship. We may say that he is being a little too literal in the way he has shown us his dissatisfaction, but in the end it's up to him. He may also be following a long tradition of worshipping the Great Mother by wearing female clothes, although he is unlikely to be aware of this. Shamans and other devotees of the healing and magical powers of the Goddess in ancient religions, wore female clothes, to acknowledge the supremacy of the Goddess. To a certain extent, this was also sympathetic magic, as it is with the transvestite. The priests of the Goddess wore long dresses because they hoped to tap into the female power of women, as matercentric cultures became patriarchal. We can see the last vestiges of this in the long robes of male priests today.
Men with 'dominating' wives are similarly looked on with contempt by patriarchal society. It is seen as unnatural and unfeminine for a woman to make decisions, whereas a decisive, assertive man is not only a 'real' man, but attractive to women as well. Those men who find a strong woman just as sexy as the patriarchal woman finds the strong man, are growing in number, yet they will still encounter opposition from other men, who feel threatened by such women's confidence and lack of passivity.
The whole realm of sexuality is bound to change as we move onto the path of the Goddess. For thousands of years, while men have been separating themselves from the Great Mother, and hating both Her and women, they have been also redefining for us all what sex is and how it should be used. One of the most fundamental distortions has been their over-simplification of sexuality. This comes out in the Christian church as 'sex is for reproduction only,' something which reduces women to a walking womb for the production of male children. But it also leads to other nonsenses. Until recently, our society has divided us neatly at the level of sexuality, as it divides us at every other level, and assigns values to those artificial divisions. We are men who are attracted to women, or we are women who are attracted to men. If we do not fall into either category 100% of the time, then we are evil, sick, or if they are being kind, 'confused.' Although some patriarchal societies have allowed and encouraged male homosexual behaviour, this has largely been an unhealthy way of denigrating women even further, and reinforcing the solidarity of men and male values. If women are seen as loathsome and inferior, then one turns to another male for love and friendship, if this is still a need. Or one turns to another male because he knows the rules; sexual gratification with no strings attached. Although patriarchal society has attempted to tell us that we are sexually either heterosexual or homosexual, it is not true. We are all different, and at different stages of personal development anyway. Some of us may feel attraction towards the opposite sex on a physical level, some of us only for our own sex, and others for both. Nor will this necessarily be fixed for our entire life or lives. Our wish to express love and connection with someone through sexual activity has no limits. A matercentric society will allow us to do that, in a way that suits us but does not imply fear of other modes of expression, as occurs today.
Women's new role for men will involve them in massive changes. They must begin to allow the power and wisdom of the Great Mother to flow through them, so that they can guide and advise men, and fulfil their own creativity. Power is a loaded word, so we have to emphasise that this is not power over, but merely the power which comes from unconditional love. Most women, for centuries, have equated love with service and self-sacrifice; the love of others. They have been 'givers,' with no reward other than the satisfaction of seeing the people they love thrive and achieve. Any pain or suffering endured by women came from seeing harm come to their loved ones. Later on, they began to develop an ego, and feel their own pain,, but they still saw it as their duty to love others, and put themselves last.
Pamela: I can give an example of this which used to stun me as a child. My mother often told me stories of her childhood, and I would press her for details if anything particularly interesting came up. She was brought up during the years of the Great Depression, when jobs were scarce, and sometimes there was not enough food to feed all the family. At times like this, her mother would cook whatever food she could afford, and the family would eat in strict rotation. First the 'master,' then the other males, and finally the mother and female children. My mother thought nothing of this, and indeed the point of the story was to show how times have changed. No-one in our family goes hungry any more.
Women who are even reasonable representatives of the Great Mother are few and far between. We have no acceptance of the 'Wise Woman' in society. The most admired woman on the planet is probably Mother Theresa of Calcutta, simply because she was an example of someone who dedicated her life and energy to helping others. Other women we might admire, such as Mrs Ghandi, or Margaret Thatcher, are or were politicians, and therefore working within the parameters of patriarchal structures. They show that women can be leaders, but they do not show the blend of compassion, wisdom and strength which a Wise Woman would have. Within religions, it is impossible to find a female spiritual leader, though there have been some, such as Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science. We do see women priests and ministers, but again, it is impossible for the Great Mother to manifest fully in this situation, because the women are operating within a patriarchal structure, and preaching about a male god. There is too little room for intuitive wisdom, when what you are supposed to do and believe has already been laid down by men.
What is needed are priestesses, some of whom have always existed within witches' communes, and are now appearing in the 'New Age' movement. So far they have not reached the consciousness of the general public. A priestess is not the female equivalent of a priest, who relies on an organised religion to validate him. The Church appoints him as a priest because he accepts the dogma he is given, and sends him off to be the representative of the god for the ordinary person. His wisdom and Knowledge may be non- existent. A priestess, in comparison, does not need an organisation around her. She is also unlikely to wish to collect followers; she knows that the truth she has may be different from that of others. She will help other people, but not lay down rules to achieve heaven or enlightenment, as men have done. In fact it seems unlikely that we will ever see a 'great' female religious leader, in the sense we know it. Perhaps, at the beginning of the matercentric age, while people still have many patriarchal values, there may be such a woman, but after that there will only be women who are priestesses by virtue of their wisdom, and can help those within their immediate vicinity. To function properly, they will have to eliminate from themselves all patriarchal ideas and values, so it is extremely unlikely that many exist at present. Most women are only just beginning to change paths, and have not yet begun to allow the Great Mother to work through them in any significant way.
There are many 'priestesses' today who are trying to ride two horses; still attempting to work within a patriarchal structure, yet put forward matercentric ideas. This is because of habit and fear. No-one is brave enough at the moment to do away with all rules and operate in total freedom, trusting that everything will still work out fine. It takes courage to remove all props, and step out into the unknown, saying - there are no rules, only love. Some of this same conflict can be seen if we look around at the many communes which exist today. Almost all of them have even tighter structures than the average business or nuclear family. There are rotas for cooking and cleaning, often a leader, and rules about being vegetarian, non-smoking, a Buddhist, etc. We are not saying that these things are wrong, just that they are indicative of a need to maintain organisation within a community. When the matercentric age gets underway in a serious fashion, these needs will die away, because the fear behind them will have disappeared. We will still all choose who we wish to live with, but having done that, there will be total freedom. If we decide to leave a community or individual relationship, it will not be because we think the other people are inferior or 'bad,' but simply because we wish to go; our desire will to be where we are joyful, and that will be the only motive. Since at the moment we are mostly learning through suffering and pain, we often stay in an unhappy situation, either through ignorance of any other way to be, or from loyalty and duty. This means we suffer guilt and inhibition of our essential natures. Once we have realised that we no longer have to do that, and that we can learn through joy, we will no longer experience pain and restriction.
At this point, many people might ask, 'But what about children; what about the care of the old and sick?' Are you saying that we can abandon people when we no longer wish to be with them, when they are incapable of looking after themselves? It seems to women in particular, that freedom has meant freedom for the male to sow his seed, then clear off to pursue his own selfish desires, leaving women with the job of rearing children, looking after aged relatives and caring for the sick and needy. Freedom in this situation has a hollow and selfish ring to it. We agree that this has often been the case. In fact,
Pamela: several of my friends and I have a stock phrase which we use, albeit fairly jokingly, when we hear of any man being lauded for heroism, new discoveries, or rising to the top within his chosen sphere. 'Bet he isn't looking after three kids under five,' we say, trying to envisage a captain of industry achieving his position with such a massive extra responsibility. It seemed to us that freedom meant only freedom for a man to make his dreams actual, and that for women, dreams had to be fitted into the five minutes left over after responsibilities to others had been met.
This has been true throughout the patriarchal era, simply because men, who did not love others, had no compunction about pursuing their own personal desires, whatever the cost in suffering. When men begin to move onto the path of the goddess, this option will no longer be open to them, because they will begin to be aware of others, and care for them more and more. They will find themselves unable to ignore this growing sense of love, even if at first they suppress it. Eventually, they will see that in helping others, they are helping themselves, because there is nothing that is not connected to them, and freedom will come to have a totally different meaning for them. Women, in their turn, will have space to choose freely what it is they wish to do, as they will no longer be solely responsible for the care of others, who will be less dependent anyway within a matercentric society. Harmony and happiness means that far fewer people will require help because they are sick, infirm or needy in some other way. Since women's spiritual development is moving them towards individual creativity, they will feel less and less guilty about taking time for themselves. They will no longer desire to spend their whole lives supporting and encouraging others, as many women still do today. Internal change will push them into acknowledging that they have to expand and grow into the area which they have always felt was the province of men; independent creativity.