Sunday, 13 January 2008

Crossing The Central Pillar

Carl Gustav Jung devised a model of the human psyche which postulates that within each man is a feminine component, the Anima, and within each woman is a masculine component, the Animus. These figures, he said, have to be integrated into the personality by each person if they are to achieve wholeness and balance. The impulse to do this comes from what Jung describes as the 'Self,' which seems to be a larger entity than just the conscious self, or ego.
In terms of the path of the god and Goddess, the Animus currently represents women's need to develop conscious awareness, or a strong ego, and the Anima symbolises man's need to learn unconditional love and relatedness, all of which happens on the path of the Goddess. In the patriarchal era, man has tended to see woman as separate from him. He has associated her qualities, whether 'positive' or 'negative' in his terms, as not his own. Woman has done the same with men. Jung saw this as leading to projection; instead of developing these inner figures, and accepting their nature as part of you, patriarchal people have been encouraged to see them as outside themselves, in the other sex. A man, for example, places his capacity for nurturing and compassion with a woman, usually his mother or his wife, and fails to develop them himself, when he is on the path of the god. He can then receive love from these women, rather than give it, because he believes that women are 'naturally' caring, and that it is their 'job' to ensure he is looked after on an emotional and practical level. Women, in their turn, look to men for assertive self-determination, and fail to develop it themselves. Other, more negative qualities are also projected onto the opposite sex, because of the same denial that those attributes might be part of your own selfhood. Men on the path of the god, for example, often see women as irrational, because they pride themselves on being 'reasonable,' and women perceive men as selfish and emotionally immature because they feel they themselves are unselfish and responsive to others at an emotional level. These negative projections also serve to keep each sex in the same place.
This separating out of men and women into fixed natures makes crossing the Central pillar the most difficult task a man or woman can do. On the path of the Goddess, a man has to accept that he too can be caring, nurturing, intuitive and passive. A woman has to acknowledge that she can be an assertive individual, with the capacity for initiation, leadership and creativity. If this drive to wholeness is resisted, the inner figures of the Anima and Animus may begin to dominate the personality. The person is ready to change paths, but fear will not allow them to make the necessary moves. We then see a woman who is aggressive, selfish, quarrelsome and bossy, because the inner promptings for growth are being distorted. She becomes a substitute 'macho' male, and is regarded as totally unfeminine by patriarchal people, because her Animus has taken over by the use of force. In the case of a man, he becomes a substitute female, and tends to bitchiness, moodiness and hysterical manipulativeness. The fact that these traits are so unattractive points to the negative views held of the opposite sex by the individual concerned. Both the man and the woman in these cases have been unwilling to accept their inner transexual nature, because the qualities associated with the other sex are so appalling.
We must all cross the central pillar at some time. Men must move from the 'masculine' pillar of self-love to the 'feminine' pillar of unconditional love for all. The Anima in men must therefore be assimilated, and accepted as an integral part of themselves, not projected onto women. Women have the reverse task. They must realise that the capacity for self-love is not the prerogative of men, but part of the totality of their whole Self.
There are as many ways to cross the central pillar and change paths as there are people. We are all unique. The multiplicity of forms in which the cross-over takes place is also complicated by the fact that we are multi-levelled beings. The various Sephiroth represent different elements; Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Ether, which we also contain. Malkuth is Earth, Yesod is Water, Hod/Netzach is Fire, Tiphereth is Air and Geburah/Chesed is Ether. We have to cross the central pillar with all of our Self, but we may do it in stages. We may, for instance, have changed paths at the level of Malkuth, and behave outwardly as if we are becoming matercentric, yet at the dreaming or emotional level, Yesod, still be completely patriarchal. In this case, our dreams and fantasies will show us where we are still on the path of the god. Another person may only have crossed the central pillar at the inspirational level, at Tiphereth. Especially if they are practising Yoga or Tantra, or are a medium, some may move across between Geburah and Chesed, the level of spiritual energy. Between Hod and Netzach, at the desire level, is another possible cross-over point for many.
Being able to cross the central pillar on so many levels can create various problems. The man who pays a dominatrix to beat and humiliate him, for instance, has crossed at the level of Yesod, but elsewhere he may still be on the masculine pillar. In visiting a prostitute he satisfies his sexual fantasy of surrender to a woman, but in his 'normal' life he remains a selfish man, with no desire whatsoever to relinquish his ego.
Another man may have crossed the central pillar on the inspirational or desire level. As a teenager he may look for a woman who is a goddess, hoping to surrender to her. Unfortunately, he is living in a world which is still largely patriarchal, and he may not be able to find a woman who will accept the adoration and worship he yearns to give. Nor can he worship a female deity, since society tells him that the god is all-male. In his disillusionment, he may withdraw from contact with women, become a homosexual, and even come to hate females because they do not live up to his expectations.
A Woman coming from the opposite direction may have similar problems. She could cross at the level of Malkuth, and be a strong independent female, with a well-developed career. However, at the level of fantasy, she could still have desires which are purely patriarchal. She may long for a 'strong' man, but if she happens to find one, resent the fact that he expects her to put his career first, or look after their children as well as earn money. Although she may only be able to respond sexually if she is with an assertive man, rather than a 'wimp,' she also finds that she is restricted by the burdens placed on her by his ego. She may fight him to gain 'equality,' when the real reason the relationship is in difficulty is that she is moving towards matercentric values, and he is still well-rooted in patriarchal ones.
Another woman, having passed the central pillar at the desire and fantasy level, will look for a gentle and passive man, possibly one who is much younger than her. Having found one, she then attempts to nurture him by encouraging him in his career, or pushes him into supporting her financially. She may want him to be more ambitious, or more assertive in social situations. This is impossible, because he has surrendered his ego, and no longer cares about such things.
On another level, we may find a woman who has passed the central pillar on an inspirational level. Though she lives her outward life as a 'normal' patriarchal wife and mother, she finds no fulfilment in this. She is resentful of the narrowness and restrictions of her life, but feels that she has no other options. Unconsciously, she may set out to punish her husband and children for her 'wasted' life. This can take many forms, from constantly belittling them, to acting in a martyr-like fashion, which drives a wedge between her and her family. The 'love' she gives is heavily conditional, based on duty and responsibility, and she looks for rewards from it. When the essential bitterness of her personality causes those around her to move away, she feels alone and unappreciated, not seeing that she has caused her own problems.
The different combinations available when crossing the central pillar are endless, because of our individual paths, which are unique to us. However, the process can be made easier if men and women can come together on the same level to help each other cross over. This requires us to look at relationships from a totally different viewpoint. If we see that their purpose is to allow us to grow in a way which gives us joy, then we can venture into the unknown with more confidence, because we are no longer alone. We have help. However, this doesn't often happen. We can point to many cases of couples who have come together for the purpose of crossing the central pillar, and who have failed, even though this failure is only a postponement of the inevitable. One or other of them may hold back through fear of the unknown, thus destroying the potential within the relationship. The one who is willing to grow becomes disenchanted or confused, yet may not leave the relationship, often because of a sense of duty to the other. We have taught people to believe that an unsuccessful relationship is one in which the people separate, or are not 'blissfully' happy, yet we have no idea what the purpose of the relationship was in the first place. It may be, for instance, that a woman has a marriage with an alcoholic, in order to learn that she is no longer responsible for a man's happiness, direction or problems. If he chooses to continue as an alcoholic, she is still free to put her own realisations into practice and leave him, without any sense of 'failure.' She may still love him deeply, but for the first time be willing to look after herself rather than him. Her lesson has been learned, and she has no further need of the relationship.
A man who is ready to become passive may join with a woman who is developing her assertiveness. This may work well, but it may also encounter difficulties. The woman is quite happy to accept the devotion and obedience of her partner in private, but feels ashamed of him in 'normal' society, because he is so clearly 'unmasculine.' Other women may criticise her, and because she is only just beginning to change paths, she may feel insecure. Or the man may admire his strong, assertive wife immensely, yet find the demands on him to completely surrender his ego too difficult to comply with. He still feels there are areas in which he should be 'boss,' or be looked up to. Without these, he can't believe he is a real man. There may also be problems because aspects of the relationship are unconscious. The woman's desire for the man to surrender may be denied, because she would then have to see herself as 'selfish,' an unacceptable female trait in patriarchal society. Yet she still pushes him to relinquish his ego.
We can look at a famous example of the difficulties inherent in crossing the central pillar with a partner. Albert Einstein, possibly the most well-known scientist of this century, was at one time married to a woman called Mileva Miric. She was an unusually talented physicist, at a time when it was rare for women to attend University, let alone study 'masculine' subjects like Maths and Physics. This argues a strength of character necessary to overcome the obstacles placed in her way by patriarchal men.
Albert Einstein was apparently a passive and intuitive man, the perfect partner for Mileva. They worked together on the first papers which led to the theory of Relativity. It is very likely that she acted as the interrogator for Einstein, using her intellect to ask profound questions which were answered through Einstein's intuition. After the acceptance of Einstein's theories on Special and General Relativity, the marriage broke up, and those early theories proved to be the high point of Einstein's work. He worked with male scientists on other projects, but they were unable to give him the blend of intellect and intuition that Mileva supplied. Nor could he become completely passive when working with another man. As a result, the research in his later years bore comparatively little fruit.
Some strong women are able to use passive men to their own and the man's benefit. Annie Besant, for example, was associated with such famous men as George Bernard Shaw, J. Krishnamurti and Ghandi. The men were passive enough, in certain areas, to be willing to learn from or be questioned by a woman. All gained knowledge from this which enabled them to cross the central pillar. Men who feel that women have nothing to contribute except humble service, cannot progress in this way.
The people who cross the central pillar while society is still largely patriarchal are pioneers. Large numbers of them will have to do this in order to change the attitudes and beliefs of society, and allow an easier passage for other people. Being in the arrowhead of change can be an uncomfortable position, however. Women who were seen as unnatural in the past because they dominated their husbands, may have been perfectly happy with their passive man, yet were made to feel that they were going against what was right and good. Those who deviated from patriarchal norms in a significant way, could find themselves on the wrong side of a bonfire. Both men and women had every incentive to keep their unusual ideas secret, yet many did not, and although they suffered for this, at least their ideas reached a wider audience.
It has been difficult for both men and women to change even slightly the stereotyped roles which society assigns them. But as more people cross the central pillar, it will become easier. Once the acknowledgement of the Great Mother as our Source gains wider acceptance, women will be able to resume their role as Her representatives. Their wisdom and strength will return, and they will have the confidence to develop self-love. Men will feel able to love others without fear of loss to the ego, and will contact the Great Mother through the development of their intuition.
The central pillar is the place where we find many homosexuals and celibates. There is no one reason for this, except that such people have chosen their sexual orientation either to learn or to attempt to avoid growth. A homosexual man may have become inspired by the archetype of the Great Mother, and projected her onto his human mother. He remains faithful to her for the rest of his life, which makes it impossible for him to have a normal heterosexual relationship. He has surrendered to the Great Mother, and is generally a passive and intuitive individual, but he sees mortal women as inadequate or frightening. Another man may feel that only men are capable of true love, because women are inferior creatures, not quite human. Or they may seem to him to be so powerful that a relationship with one would swallow him. Some of this may be conscious, or it may be entirely unconscious. He may feel physical attraction only for men, and accept this as right for him. Some of his friends may be women, but they are more than likely to be strong individuals, who manifest the Goddess. He is not yet ready to surrender to such women, but he does feel attracted to them in a non-physical way. Still other men have succumbed entirely to their Anima, and become substitute females. They may behave in an exaggeratedly 'female' way, and long for a tall handsome man to sweep them off their feet. When comedians parody gay men, it is this group they choose to imitate, which infuriates those male homosexuals who are not in the least bit 'camp.'
When males have a sexual relationship, there can be difficulties which have nothing to do with society's disapproval. If neither have crossed the central pillar, they will both be 'takers,' who look for short-term sexual gratification. There may be a succession of 'affairs' on both sides, because they are both still patriarchal. It is still true today, even though many gay men have long-term stable relationships, that homosexual males have far more sexual partners than heterosexual men. Because they are still on the path of the god, they can separate love and sex, and indulge in a series of 'one night stands' without internal conflict or emotional interaction. This has been given as a reason for the initial rapid spread of Aids within the gay community, though there are certainly other factors which contribute to this.
When a homosexual man crosses the central pillar, he becomes a 'giver.' He may form a relationship with a gay patriarchal man, and give unconditional love to him, as a patriarchal female might. In doing this, he learns to surrender his ego, and may form a stable relationship for some time. Problems arise when his partner crosses the central pillar as well, because each will attempt to give love to the other, and will wish to be passive. It is possible that such men will turn their energies outward towards society, and become the shamans of the new matercentric era. They will give love to others in general, or become intuitive mediums, as their way of connecting to the Great Mother.
Lesbian females at the central pillar experience some of the same problems as gay men. Many of them are strong, creative women who no longer wish to play second fiddle to a man's ego, or be hurt by them. Having seen how selfish and uncaring most men are, often through painful experiences, they don't want a relationship with one. It may be that they feel any interaction with men is dangerous, and avoid them entirely. If they are not interested in the passive man as a sexual partner, they turn towards other women. If both are patriarchal, they will wish to give love to each other, and neither will know how to receive. In learning how to accept love, each is enabled to cross the central pillar, but without the enormous difficulties faced by men in a similar position. They will be able to both give and receive in a balanced way, because of their connection to the Great Mother. Once they have developed confidence, they can lose their fear and hatred of men, because they now have the power to resist the patriarchal man on both an inner and outer level.
People who are 'forced' into homosexual behaviour because of circumstances over which they have little control, such as prisoners, sailors, monks, nuns etc, have the same opportunities for growth as those who appear to have had a freer choice. It may be more painful for them, since they feel that they are basically heterosexual, but they are still in a learning situation. It is ironic that the Christian Church, which has been such a potent enemy of sex, has inadvertently hastened the evolution of so many individuals by forcing them into homosexual relationships within the walls of monasteries and convents.
Just before he reaches the central pillar, a man is at the height of his ego growth. A Yogin at this position on the Geburah - Chesed path, for instance, may find himself considered a god by his devoted followers. A priest at Tiphereth may be seen as a saint by his congregation, or hold high office within the Church. If he is a warrior, he could be a successful King. On the Hod- Netzach level, he could be a famous and influential politician, revolutionary or dictator. At the Yesod level, he might be a world-famous artist, writer or musician, while at Malkuth, we would encounter the successful businessman, scientist or professional man, although scientists can also be found at other levels.
The problem for all these men is that having achieved ultimate success, as defined by patriarchal society, they have no goals. Some may move up and down the central pillar, postponing the inevitable, and attempt to find new worlds to conquer. A famous musician may try to become a spiritual leader, for example, or a Hollywood actor may seek to become President of the United States. All this may take some time, but eventually the men will realise the futility of power, status and acclaim. For a Yogin this may not be so difficult. There are many spiritual teachings about the 'surrender of the ego,' which he will be aware of. The only mistake he is likely to make is to be proud of his 'humility,' which he sees as a great achievement considering he is such an important and evolved soul.
For the priest it will be a similar story. Again, his Church tells him that he must be humble to find god. He has never before followed this advice, being more concerned with the development of his ego, but when he is ready to cross the central pillar, he knows what he is supposed to do. Initially, he may be secretly competitive about his humility, as the Yogin is, and see himself as more or less humble than others, but outwardly he will appear to have surrendered.
At the Hod-Netzach level, the man has a problem because he has no spiritual teachings to guide him. Often he has to learn through bitter experience that the things which once attracted him are no longer satisfying. He may move up the central pillar towards religion, hoping to find a solution there. All he encounters is the god and his priests, who offer him spiritual power if he follows the rules of their religion, and Heaven when he dies. Since he is genuinely looking for a way to cross, he will find those parts of such religions which encourage him to help others. This gives him such satisfaction that he is able to cross the central pillar into unconditional love for all, even though he may initially pride himself on how charitable and self- sacrificing he is.
At Yesod, the man may find that his fantasy of being the all- conquering hero, with a woman under each boot, no longer has the allure and glamour it once possessed. He will look for new ideas, and his fantasies will slowly evolve. From being someone who identified with strong and violent males, who selfishly pursue their desires, he will turn to ideas of men who right wrongs, defend women and children, and use their warrior skills for good. Eventually, women who are strong and capable will appear in his fantasies, and he will both admire and desire them, thus allowing him to cross the central pillar. Once he begins to dream of being rescued by a woman, he's home and dry.
At Malkuth, we see many men who have become disenchanted with the pursuit of wealth. They see that the unequal possession and use of resources by various individuals and nations is killing the planet, and producing an unfair society. In their flight from materialism, they may look for ways of serving 'the larger good,' and thus cross the central pillar, or they may stay on the path of the god in order to preach the value of their own new perspective on the world. They may despise those who still wish to gain wealth or possessions, and deliberately live in a state of poverty, seeing it as more virtuous than affluence. In this case, their ego is continuing to motivate them, because they are still seeing themselves as superior to others and taking pride in their lack of greed.
For a woman, attempting to pass the central pillar in a patriarchal society is a lonely business. She will find that her guidance tends to come from her own intuition, if she allows it, since there will be very few women around her who have enough wisdom to help. As more women cross the central pillar, and strengthen their contact with the Great Mother, this situation will ease. Those who have developed a relationship with the Great Mother will spread information about their experiences, which can be used to assist others. As it becomes increasingly acceptable to worship a female deity, and be a woman on the path of the Goddess, the transition will be less confusing for those who come after the trail-blazers.
At the Geburah-Chesed level, we might find a medium who has become disenchanted with her passive role, and wishes to ask her own questions. She can do this if she finds a male medium who has passed the central pillar, and is not seeking to become a 'guru' because of his intuitive abilities. She will use both her intellect and intuition to ask deeper and deeper questions, then use the information to enlarge her own awareness even further.
At Tiphereth, there is no acceptable way for a woman to cross over except by becoming a priestess or witch, and mediating the Great Mother. Often this will have to be done in secret, since society still sees these women as deviant and even evil. The connection between Wicca and things like 'Devil worship' or 'Black Magic,' are still firmly believed in by many patriarchal people. There is greater acceptance of the occult within society, but as yet, very few organisations which train and guide priestesses of the Goddess exist. This means that there are very small numbers of women within society who have crossed the central pillar at this point. Nor have all women who call themselves priestesses actually crossed over. Large earrings, Indian skirts and a command of 'New Age' jargon are not the only requirements. We will experience profound inner changes, and we may be surprised at the direction our lives take, if we sincerely call on the Great Mother for help and guidance to manifest Her. Those who wish to cross the central pillar at this point will take the risk.
On the Hod-Netzach level, are many women who have been inspired by the ideas of the Feminist Movement, and are pushing for greater equality for women. Their ethos often lacks a spiritual dimension, which makes it difficult for them to contact the Great Mother, though they may indirectly reach Her through co-operative ventures with groups of women, which produce a high level of matercentric energy. However, since most of their aspirations and methods are patriarchal, and involve conflict, they are not going to move across the central pillar. Once they have enough confidence from the gains they have made to relax into a relationship with the Goddess, then they will cross over. The need to 'fight' patriarchal society on an outer level will give way to an understanding and acceptance that the way forward is for both men and women to tune into the Great Mother. All positive changes will flow from this. Once women on this path acknowledge that they want to 'rule the world,' and are capable of doing it lovingly, they reach Netzach, and can move up the masculine pillar into the harmonious and co-operative society they have envisaged.
The Hod-Netzach level is where many women have already begun to cross. Its advantage is that it is a path which is straight across the Quabalah, and doesn't involve them in moving closer to the Great Mother. In a society which has not begun to manifest the archetype of the Great Mother with any strength, and has no images of Her to use for guidance, this has great advantages. All upward paths, such as Malkuth-Netzach or Tiphereth-Chesed, need a clear image of the Great Mother to provide direction, and as yet, we lack this.
The other 'straight across' paths, Geburah-Chesed and Binah- Chokmah, have the same advantage as Hod-Netzach in that there is no Sephiroth at the central pillar. A Sephiroth is a goal we aim for on a particular path, and one we don't see beyond until we have reached it. As far as we are concerned, the Sephiroth we are aimed at is 'heaven,' true enlightenment or complete happiness. Once we have reached it, we may hang around for several lifetimes enjoying ourselves, until it dawns on us that there are other paths and other goals. Even then, we may take a long time deciding which new goal to aim for out of the choices available.
So it is easier for us if we choose a path which crosses the central pillar without an intervening Sephiroth, which might delay us or send us off in a completely different direction when we reach it. A man at Netzach, for example, might look across at Hod and see responsible use of power as his goal. Until now, he has had power, but used it selfishly. He wants to stop. As a result, he becomes interested in political or social systems which promote responsibility, and while he is still on the path of the god, becomes a benevolent dictator, laying down rules and regulations which compel everyone to be 'responsible.' When he reaches the central pillar, Hod calls him to abandon the use of coercion to achieve his aims, and emphasises co-operation. It tells him that he must surrender all external power and develop his connection with the Great Mother. If he responds, he begins to lose his patriarchal power to those who are still willing to use force to gain what they want. He then attempts to actualise his goal of responsibility by selflessly setting an example, and seeking no rewards for this. In terms of the patriarchal system, he has lost the capacity to achieve his goal by the use of personal power, and his ego may not like this. It fears that he will end up at the bottom of the pecking order, unable to achieve any goals at all because he has no 'clout' any more. Instead of crossing to Hod, he may move up to Tiphereth and exercise power within a religion, go down to Yesod, where he indulges himself in the pleasure of dreams, or move to Malkuth, where he will have material wealth and power. At each stage, he will be given the opportunity to relinquish patriarchal power, and surrender his ego, though he may not choose to do so.
A woman at Hod will have the same issue of power and responsibility to resolve if she chooses Netzach as her goal. To begin with, she will be a responsible and caring person who has no power, exactly the opposite of the man at Netzach. She will work for the good of others in a selfless way, but as she nears the central pillar she will begin to desire power for herself. Since she is still patriarchal, the only concept of power she possesses is one which involves having money, beauty, political, social and religious status, or well-developed muscles. It is an external power, and dependent on hierarchies in which some people get to tell others what to do. The spectre of being a tyrant will loom before her, and may cause her to avoid seeking power any further. When she looks around, she sees that those with power use it selfishly, and this causes her to hesitate, feeling that she too would do this. Or she may seek patriarchal power, and behave in exactly the same way as a patriarchal dictator. Only when she knows that the inner power of her contact with the Great Mother is what is real power, and that it is something which cannot be misused, will she cross the central pillar, and assume a position of leadership within a matercentric society.

At the Yesod, or dreaming level, women are finding it difficult to move to the pillar of self-love because of their continuing attachment to the assertive and dynamic patriarchal male. They are seeking, as increasingly 'strong' women, to forge a relationship with a male who is a mirror image of themselves at this point of their cycle i.e. caring, emotionally open, yet still powerful and active. With such a man, they believe, they will have the 'ideal' marriage. The search for this man can take up a disproportionate amount of their time and energy.
What they are seeking prevents them from crossing the central pillar. Men who have completed the path of the god naturally move towards being more caring individuals, and become less interested in activities which extend their ego. They become emotionally more responsive; to women, to children, and to the wider community. Eventually, they become totally uninterested in 'making things happen' or in any achievements for themselves alone. They seek only to serve others, and quietly use all of their abilities in the service of society, without any need for power, status and recognition. However, many women at the central pillar are seeking to halt the cycle of development for men, because they are not aware of the necessity to continue the cycle of change, or because they fear it. A passive, intuitive man, who is completely guided by a woman, or by a matercentric ethos, seems to them unattractive or unmanly. What they are looking for, in seeking a man who is half-patriarchal and half-matercentric, is a cessation of movement for both sexes. They want the man to retain part of his ego, and remain at the central pillar, which of course keeps them there too. There is nothing intrinsically 'wrong' with this, because they obviously need time to lose their fear of what lies beyond the pillar of unconditional love, but it can become a hindrance if they decide for other people that this is what everyone 'should be' aspiring to. The idea of an 'equal' relationship has become very powerful in recent years, as many men and women gather at the central pillar, preparing to cross. It is an attractive proposition, because it saves us from the massive changes which are necessary on the path of the Goddess. However, relationships which are entered into for the purposes of stifling growth, which seek to keep each person in a fixed state, can only be temporary. Eventually, women at Yesod will realise that the image they have of a male who is both loving and 'masculine' represents a longing for reunion with the Great Mother at Kether, where it is indeed possible to fulfil this dream, and will move on to complete their evolution to reach it. Even this will change as they become less patriarchal, because they will see that 'ideal' anythings, whether marriages, societies or deities, are ever-changing, as our consciousness evolves, and might as well be abandoned now as absolutes. The Great Mother is ever mysterious. If we place barriers between us and Her love because of our preconceived ideas, we slow our growth. All of us do this; our book is no exception. The ideas in it will undoubtedly be superseded by new ones. What we can do, though, is to look at the concepts offered to us by individuals or groups and ask whether they are helpful to us. If they are, then we are free to embrace them. If they are not, then we are equally free to look for and to find the 'truth' which better assists us.
Most people will cross the central pillar at Malkuth, at the level of Earth. Here we will find men who have lost their ambition for status and money, but have no idea what to do next, since they have no spiritual or inspirational dimension to their lives. Here also are women who have begun to succeed at the material level. They may be completely uninterested in Feminist ideas, religion or the rejection of the ethics of patriarchal society. Their satisfaction comes from owning property, building a career, or competing with men and winning. In order to acquire a confident ego, they may need to feel superior to truly patriarchal women and matercentric men and may scorn co- operation. They may believe that the only way to beat men is to play them at their own game, and fully espouse the 'masculine' values of patriarchal society. In order to cross the central pillar, they will need to unburden themselves of their fear that if they do not remain tough and competitive, men will once more 'walk all over them.' This is a widespread attitude. Many women assume that if they relax their guard for an instant, men will remove all the gains of recent years in an anti-women backlash. The fact that this has happened in many countries does nothing to assuage their anxiety. They do not trust men, and they have as yet, very little connection to the Great Mother.
This will not change overnight. Men who have been forced to allow rights to women by their governments, and resent this because they are still patriarchal, will seek to restore the old balance of power. In some cases they will undoubtedly be successful, and this will cause many women to say 'I told you so. You can't trust men.' There will be a yo-yoing pattern of change, back and forth between matercentric and patriarchal, for some time to come. It is not easy to undo the habits and fears produced by millenia of male rule. Nor did the last changeover, from the matercentric society to the patriarchal one, happen in a smooth and homogeneous way.
As more people cross the central pillar, the inevitability of the matercentric era will gather momentum. Those who wish to retain patriarchal values will begin to find themselves in a minority, and will be unable to reverse the changes which have occurred. It may seem like 'Three steps forward, two steps back,' but there is no avoiding it. Eventually, there may be some sort of separation. Those who wish to continue on the path of the god will live together, and those who are now on the path of the Goddess will form matercentric communities. There may be matercentric and patriarchal countries; indeed it can be interpreted that way now. Many Western nations are moving towards the Great Mother, however erratic that movement appears, while other nations appear to be firmly on the path of the god. In the West, we may lose our desire to consume and to control the world, while other nations begin to want such things. Since the future is the unknown, what happens depends on the choices we make as we approach it, and the consciousness which forms it.
Women who cross the central pillar at Malkuth will slowly begin to develop their connection to the Great Mother, as they move up the pillar of self-love towards Kether. This will give them enough trust in Her love to relinquish their patriarchal values. Eventually, they will come close enough to feel Her presence within them, and allow themselves to lose their fear that men will ever again dominate them, or that they will be so willess as to permit it.