Sunday, 13 January 2008

Healing Our Separations

PERHAPS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL, but most difficult thing we will do as we change paths is begin to recognise and solve the paradox of being both separate from and united with each other. Males were created by the Great Mother to be the outsiders. Their function was to enable us to move away from the Great Mother into independent creativity. To do this, they were given a drive which propelled them outwards and away from her, into exploration of being separate. They began to develop an ego which told them that they were unique individuals, with unique desires, and that it was right and proper to fulfil them. This separate sense of 'I,' eventually became all that they knew, and they forgot their source. Everything seemed outside this ego, which they mistakenly defined as being the whole of themselves; other people, the planet, and the god were external. All of the problems we have had within the patriarchal system have sprung from the misuse of this perception.
Because it was the will of the Great Mother, and therefore our will, for men to develop a sense of being separate, we had to have the path of the god, in which male, separatist values predominate. Women, whether consciously willing or not, followed men, and accepted their leadership. Though they retained a link with the Great Mother, and both loved and cared for others, they could not resist the development of patriarchal society. At the spiritual level, they knew it was necessary. Many writers, commenting on the peaceful and settled Neolithic communities which existed in the last matercentric age, see patriarchy as unequivocally evil. Certainly it has been a bloody, painful and apparently futile era to some people, but in essence it was intended merely as a learning device for the human race. We have explored what being separate is like, largely through the actions and consciousness of males, but it is now time to relearn that we are all connected. Since women already know this more than men do, men must learn it from them, and become more loving of others. Since men have acquired an ego, they can teach women about self-love.
Since patriarchal society emphasises our separateness from each other, and not our common humanity, it is no accident that the sexes have been so clearly set apart. Western man has defined woman as negative, and himself as positive, in ideological, physical and spiritual terms. Man is described by what he does do, and woman in terms of what she does not do. Man is active, woman is passive, and so on. When the patriarchal era began, man decided that since the sun was important, it was male, so the male sky and sun gods replaced the female deities who represented the totality of creation, not just part of it. Earth and water were assigned to the female sphere, and only the fertility aspects of the Goddess were retained, for a while, as having value in producing food and new, male children. Women were associated solely with the moon, since their menstrual cycle followed the moon's waxing and waning, and they were put in charge of emotions, i.e. caring feelings for the whole of the human race. The Sun, light, and consciousness were seen as male; females then had to be darkness, the unconscious and the moon, since by now we were living in a world which contained opposites. As the holistic world-view of the previous matercentric era began to fade, we forgot that this dualism was an artificial invention, and enshrined it as holy writ.
In terms of this dualism, of active=male=creative=yin, opposed to passive=female=receptive=yang, women and men are moving towards the opposite pole, in order to restore balance, both in themselves, and in society. Men will learn how to be passive and receptive, women how to be active and creative. During this process the opposites will disappear, since both sexes will retain what they already know, and build on it. We will all necessarily move towards our centre, which is both within us and outside us. However, the movement does not necessarily stop at this ideal; it continues past the centre, to produce a reversal of the polarities and a new cycle.
It is for this reason that there will be no similarities between a matercentric world, and our present patriarchal one. Our movement is towards the reconciliation of the opposites, into the restoration of our intrinsic unity. In such a situation, there can be no question of a simple flipping of the coin, replacing male domination through conflict and separation, with a female- ruled world operating in exactly the same way. We are bound to become more, not less co-operative with each other, as the matercentric era gets under way. Man will lose the illusion that he is separate from the Great Mother, as he begins to realise he is not alone. Through following the lead of those women who are in touch with the Great Mother, he will learn all that he needs to know, and experience joy as a result.
How long will this take? The prospect of a happy and harmonious world is an attractive one, even if we are suspicious of its being yet another impossible Utopian dream. The answer depends entirely on our desire for peace and co-operation. While we are still interested in suffering, and separation, then we do not want joy. Men, for example, presented with the prospect of a world led by women, may well still choose to be oppressed by other men in the form of patriarchal structures and laws, rather than face the loss of ego in relinquishing their ideas of being the superior sex. While they have such a heavy investment in this, they will not move onto the path of the Goddess. Nor can they be helped by women until women exist who have begun to throw off patriarchal conditioning. A world ruled by women who have absorbed and accepted the path of the god, for example, would not be a happy one. Such female 'Patriarchs ' exist, and have always done so, but they are merely aping the methods and attitudes of male separatists. It is possible that the numbers of such women will rise as we move onto the path towards the Great Mother. It is one of the ways for women to develop their personal power. Later on, when they realise that men do not have enough will or power to block them, they will relax, and allow the love which they are suppressing to resurface.
Although the past is not necessarily a good guide to the future, we can see from examining it that change may not be swift. It took many hundreds of years, in some cases, for a matercentric society to become male-dominated, even though force was being used. For centuries, the worship of the Great Mother lingered on amongst the common people, often secretly. In fact it could not disappear entirely, even when it was renamed and distorted. This would have meant a total breakdown of any sort of society, which depends on co-operation far more than conflict for its continuance. Since men still needed and loved women, the earth, and the Great Mother, and knew this at an unconscious level, they could not entirely break free of them. Seeds remained which are now beginning to grow into a desire to return to harmony. If we wish these small tendrils of change to flower into a wholesale return to bliss, then we must be patient - with ourselves as much as with others - open-minded and trusting. All the information we need will be available to us from the Great Mother, but we can prevent ourselves from hearing it because of our fears. We may need time to adjust to new ideas, but feel that time is not available. This in itself is a product of patriarchal ways, which have speeded up the pace of life to the point that we feel unable to cope. Life sometimes seems like a fast-food meal; speedy but somehow insubstantial and lacking in true nourishment. We may have many diverse and interesting experiences, but lack time in which to digest and assimilate them, because we live life at such break-neck speed.
The reason behind the speed of Western life is the movement away from the Great Mother. For one thing, we have lost touch with the natural rhythms of the earth, and our bodies, because they have been identified with the female side of us. In choosing to ignore natural cycles such as day and night, and by living in environments which are essentially 'dead matter,' we have lost natural time, and replaced it with an artificial one, regulated by clocks. This does not, however, prevent us from experiencing subjective time, which is an internal process.
In a matercentric world, creation in all its forms proceeds from the feminine, and works according to a different sense of time from the patriarchal world. If we look to our own biology for an illustration, we can see how the male's part in creating new life is fairly rapid. Once he has supplied his sperm, it takes about nine months for a baby to be brought to term by the mother. This allows proper growth of the infant, and a chance to abort the foetus if the situation is not suitable for its birth. In a matercentric world, women choose whether to conceive or not. Their desire to give birth is necessary. In a patriarchal world, no such freedom exists. The woman often has no choice about whether she wishes to become pregnant, and no opportunity to refuse sex because of lack of desire. She may give birth to a child a year in this situation, beginning as a very young woman.
How does this relate to time? In a patriarchal world, the male produces ideas as he produces sperm, prolifically. Man possesses the spark of creative genius. But instead of offering this seed to the woman, or a balanced world, to be gestated for a time before being put into action, he births it himself. He leaves women, (and the earth and all it contains,) out of the creative and decision-making process. He deprives himself of their contribution, and also shortens the time which was needed to see whether the idea might have deleterious effects on human society. In forgetting the female part of the equation, man is not just disenfranchising half of the human race, and imposing his will on women. Since he lacks unconditional love, he is leaving love out of the process of creating his world. The result is a very fast moving but unbalanced society, where change is made on the basis of men's priorities and men's needs. The unlimited wisdom and love of the Great Mother is nowhere to be seen.
So the ability to wait patiently for the right time will be a facet of a matercentric world. There will be no need to feel desperate that change is not occurring rapidly enough for us, because we will trust that it will happen when the time is right. Men will bring their creative ideas to women, to be given guidance and to see whether the idea has love in it, until they can do this for themselves. Women will learn once more the ability to generate creative ideas, instead of looking to men for this. Eventually we will all be able to both impregnate ourselves, and bring forth our own fruit, because we will be whole. At this point, balance will be restored within society, because it will have been restored within us. What we do next will probably not involve separate sexes. How could it? The job of learning to be both separate and united will have been learned. We will go on to other experiences in other dimensions because we have at last learned how to be fully human, and found peace and happiness as a result. If we leave the planet it will be because our nature is forever to expand into new ways of creating through love. We will transcend the body and the three- dimensional world when our exploration of them is complete, and our desire is to seek new experiences. Not because of fear and pain, but for joy.