Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Outer Paths

We have already established that the paths of men and women in their personal evolution are very different. Women have, by and large, learned about unconditional love, and have sacrificed the development of their ego in favour of serving men and their children. Men have moved away from the Great Mother into independent creativity, and have developed strong personal egos. From now on, the paths of men and women will involve completing their growth, by developing whatever the missing qualities are. Women will now reclaim their power, and develop a conscious ego, while men will learn to serve through unconditional love. All this can be related to the outer paths between the Sephiroth on the Quabalah, and give us fundamental insights.
The path of development for an ordinary man begins at Kether. From there, he moves down the masculine pillar to Malkuth, returning in a full loop via the feminine pillar to his original position. The path of an ordinary woman is the reverse of this. She too begins at Kether, travels down the feminine or left-hand pillar to Malkuth, then returns to Kether by way of the masculine pillar.
The first movement for a man on his spiritual journey is from Kether to Chokmah, and for a woman, from Kether to Binah. We can assume for the purposes of our story that Kether is the vagina of the Great Mother, and Ain Soph, above Kether, is the Great Mother Herself.
Both men and women commence their journey from Kether on equal terms. They have both been safe in the embrace of the Great Mother and totally looked after. Then man moves towards the masculine pillar, which is associated with self-love and awareness, while women move towards the feminine pillar which is one of unconditional love and universal awareness. When women reach Binah they are still controlled by instinct, the voice of the Great Mother. They have no self awareness and are merely observers of the three dimensional world. They always know the correct action in any situation, with no awareness of how they know, because their actions are prompted by intuition, not thought.
When man reaches Chokmah he begins to become self aware and starts to create an ego. Since many thought systems use the word ego, we will define it clearly at this point. In terms of the paths of the god and Goddess, the ego is the sense of being separate from the rest of the universe, and is necessary for independent creation. The ego gradually cuts man off from the Great Mother because it feeds him with independent thoughts, different from those coming from the Great Mother. This brings about the beginnings of the intellect or limited mind. The man starts to see himself as being different from the world he lives in, allowing the emergence of conflict and fear. Although the sense of being separate from others gives him the freedom to create independently of them, it also leads to feelings of aloneness in the universe. Suddenly the rest of creation is external to him, and becomes the unknown: something to be feared.
The first "civilizations" were created by women, with all the unlimited wisdom of the Great Mother to draw on. They were the old souls we referred to in a previous chapter, who guided the baby souls incarnating for the first time. As time moved on, the proportion of old souls diminished, until, by the time society reached Hod and Netzach, all had left. The baby souls by this time had enough experience to assist the incoming new souls.
With no concept of separateness to produce conflict, it was easy for women to work together in complete harmony. Man's ego, however, began to be a burden to him since it made it difficult for him to cooperate with others, and interfered with his ability to survive. He found he had to compromise his own growing individual desires in order to gain what he wanted from the rest of society. So at Binah, woman adopted the role of mother and mothered all men no matter what age they were. We can still see this in some societies today. In some North African countries like the Sudan, all work is done by the women, leaving the men with virtually no role in society. The West has not always recognised this. When famine threatened the Sudan, Aid was given to the men because of the patriarchal beliefs of the Aid agencies, who assumed the men controlled society. The men, having no sense of responsibility, bought exciting toys like machine guns and tanks to play with, causing more suffering to the people.
In many ways, the first societies were similar to those of bees, with the women behaving like worker bees and men like drones. Women, having no sense of self, in no way resented the dependency of men, and accepted unconditionally the behaviour of all people. They enabled men to survive within human society and find their feet as independent creatures, by themselves remaining linked to the Great Mother. If both sexes had attempted to leave the Great Mother simultaneously, and develop an ego, no viable societies could possibly have existed. We would have had a collection of independent human beings, all wishing to have their new-found individual desires met, without the linking mechanism of unconditional love which allows harmonious and cooperative behaviour.
As man moved from Chokmah to Chesed, and woman moved from Binah to Geburah, man's ego continued to grow, until some individual men began to question the status quo. They began to realise that instead of sharing food, shelter and belongings under the supervision of women, they could take these things for themselves alone. The use of violence and intimidation allowed them to achieve this, and for the first time, men were able to 'get the better of' women. The successful use of force destroyed men's illusion that in all situations, women had more power than they had. Only their growing ego, with its attendant selfishness, allowed them to see themselves as separate enough to do this. Their own desires, weighed against the needs of others, were stronger. They had also begun to lose their innate trust that they would be provided for, as they moved further away from the Great Mother, and felt they had to sustain themselves in a world which did not have enough of everything to go round. They saw things which they wanted, and did not have, because the loss of connection with the Great Mother was experienced as 'something missing.' The void was filled with possessions and power.
Through his limited intellect, man noticed that not only was he different from the world, but that everything in it was also separate from everything else. In his attempt to understand all this through his mind, he began to use value judgements. To begin with, because women played the mothering role, he judged them as superior to him; but when he found that women could be intimidated through violence, he began to question his assumptions. At this stage, which continues today, it was no longer possible for him to consider two things as being distinct from each other yet of equal value. He was led to the inescapable conclusion that if women were no longer to be considered superior to him, then they must be inferior. Although this now gave him the freedom to mistreat women, it meant he no longer had a powerful mother, able to care for him in a totally knowledgeable way. For a period of time, man was in conflict with himself. On the one hand he was becoming more egoistic and confident in his ability to look after himself and get what wanted, yet he yearned to be comforted and looked after by women in the role of mother. Even when the ego in man eventually won, he still felt the loss of an all-nurturing, all-knowing mother, though he often hid this from himself, on the grounds that it showed weakness and emotional need. His ego did not allow any blame to be attached to him for this deficiency, so women became the scapegoat, and were attacked for being weak in allowing men to take control.
Man also had other reasons for being angry. As he began to enslave women, he found himself enslaved by men even stronger and more selfish than himself. He moved from a harmonious, balanced society, to one of conflict that could only be sustained by fear. It was obvious that he was worse off than before, but again, his ego wouldn't allow him to attach any blame to himself. More and more, his anger focused on women. Not only were they enslaved, but punished for allowing him to get himself into such an unhappy mess. We can still see this anger in some Muslim countries today. Women are mutilated sexually by clitoridectomies or the sewing up of the vagina before marriage, and a constant propaganda war is waged by the patriarchal religion to prove how inferior and evil women are, in order to justify their complete subjugation by men. They are said to have no souls, making them fit only to be beasts of burden or the carriers of men's children.
When man first conceived that he could be superior to women, he also began to question and reject the Great Mother. How could he, logically, feel superior to females yet worship a female deity? This inevitably led to the invention of a father god in man's own image. For a time, society worshipped both gods and goddesses until the supremacy of male deities was generally established. Meanwhile, most women accepted all of these changes without much resistance; only the Amazons fought back. Women had learned to love men, despite the fact that they contributed little to society. Now they had to love them even though they were abusing and despising women, thus extending their capacity for unconditional love even more. In becoming part of this divisive society, characterised by separation, fear and hatred, women moved further away from the Great Mother. The inevitable question arises. Why did they allow it? The main reason was their defencelessness. In a society which needs no laws because no-one wishes to harm others, women operated instinctively, not by rules of behaviour. They had no conscious ego with which to feel injustice towards themselves, and therefore felt no pain at their mistreatment. Men had the advantage over women, of being able to take what they wanted without reflecting on what that might imply for others' happiness. Women were also told that they were inferior, by patriarchal society. Since they had moved away from the Great Mother in order to look after men, the voice of man's propaganda was stronger than intuition. They slowly became convinced that it was true, to the extent of seeing themselves as the property of their husbands. A woman who was brutally raped could feel shame and guilt rather than pain on her own account, because she had dishonoured her husband.
As man moved from Chesed to Netzach, and woman moved from Geburah to Hod, man found the universe to be an increasingly fearful place to inhabit without the protection of the Great Mother. Although his ego was growing, it was still fairly small, so he felt unsure and uncertain of himself. The Kings, Princes and Priests who ruled him were those with the largest egos, and therefore more evolved towards independence of the Great Mother, the use of force, and self-will. They had far more confidence in themselves than the average man, and greater personal authority with which to reassure or coerce the common people. But even these people were not able to bring harmony to society. Devils and evil spirits had to be created to blame for the results of the leaders' inadequacies. Because the ordinary man was still so dependent and unsure of himself, he was easily ruled, but as the egos of the general population grew, increasing numbers of men questioned the status quo. The Priests and Kings found they had to justify their position of power, or have it taken away from them. Force was not enough. The result was such concepts as the Divine Right of Kings, and the idea that all men are sinners who can only be redeemed through strict obedience to the rules of patriarchal religion. These tactics were successful for hundreds of years, but eventually, the common man, still growing in confidence, began to question why the rules always gave power and privilege to a select few. His ego had grown, and he began to see himself as just as important as his rulers. There was the beginning of rebellions against tyrannical rulers, and the patriarchal authorities became increasingly defensive and oppressive as their grip on power was threatened. Under pressure, they would allow some rights to the common man in order to retain power, but this was always given grudgingly and when there was no other alternative. At the same time, we see the rise of Scientific man, who no longer believes the propaganda about the male deity fed to him by his rulers. He has the audacity to question the very existence of the father god. Among the common people, there was an urge to have more say in the running of their lives, which brought about the French, American, and later on, the Russian Revolutions.
Meanwhile, women moved from Geburah to Hod. They were less reliant on the Great Mother than before, and therefore less intuitive. Those still using instinct and intuition in a major way, or who defied patriarchal rules, were likely to be ostracised or even killed by those who found their behaviour frightening or unacceptable. Increasingly, women began to rely on the authority of men, who told them that god had decreed this, and they adopted patriarchal values - even the ones which diminished them. For the first time, women became aware of suffering, but it was the pain of her husband and children which aroused her empathy, not her own. Only when they move yet further from the Great Mother and begin to develop ego and the intellect can women have enough self-awareness to suffer on their own account. Before that point, unconditional love prompts a woman to try to care for others, but she does not even know that she is suffering herself. She is still too connected to the Great Mother to see herself as a separate being with needs and desires of her own. She can only feel the pain of everyone in her environment, which includes her, but makes her no more important than anyone else.
As man moves from Netzach to Malkuth, women move from Hod to Malkuth. At this point in the general consciousness, there is a revolution in the way man sees himself. He is at the central pillar, and feeling the first stirrings of love for others. At first, all his 'caring' would be done on a selfish basis. You care for me now, because I cared for you yesterday etc. He is also likely to use his unselfish actions as a further device to boost his ego, simply out of habit, and pride himself on what a wonderfully caring chap he is. Women, also at the central pillar, will now have an ego, albeit a small one, and will be beginning to use patriarchal tactics to boost it.
Science begins to triumph over patriarchal religion in the Western World, and the prevailing ethos changes. The scientific view is that we were not created by a father god, but accidentally. Scientific man no longer sees any entity as greater than himself, and in effect takes over the position of god for himself. At the same time, there is a growing desire within society for freedom and equality, although patriarchal needs for control and hierarchy prevent their achievement. As many men approach Malkuth, their egos have grown as large as is possible. They see themselves as gods, with nothing more to aim for. In successive lives they have achieved wealth, status, fame and power, so they have nothing else to desire, and they no longer have total belief in patriarchal religion and philosophy. No matter where they look, there seems to be no meaning to life, a perspective often leading them into cynicism or despair.
They also have another problem. The intellect of these men has expanded to such an extent, they are forced to realise that the interest and well-being of their fellow men and women affects their own. Up to this point, their intelligence has been directed into achieving dominance over others, and gaining whatever it is that they desire. Now, they begin to identify themselves with other people, and experience their joy and suffering within themselves. In masculine worldly terms, they are 'going soft,' and caring for other people, even if they do not act on it, becomes their Achilles heel.
The Greek hero, Achilles, was, symbolically speaking, a man with such a strong ego that he was impregnable. His sense of self was so well-developed, that any conflict between his own needs and those of others was impossible. He came first and that was the end of it; possibly it never occurred to him that other people might count in any way at all. His downfall was a poisoned arrow, shot by a priestess, and guided to its target, his unprotected ankle, by a Goddess. His one area of weakness, his ankle, was also caused by a woman, his mother, who held him there while dipping him into water which would leave him invulnerable. The poison Achilles received from the arrow was unconditional love. He could no longer avoid caring for others, and this ended his life as a hero. This mythical story encapsulates the rise and subsequent fall of patriarchal man. When he reaches the furthest limits of his ego growth, and knows he is separate from the rest of the universe, he finds himself in a dilemma. He realises how limited he is as an individual. If he wishes to evolve more, he must surrender his ego and become one with All That Is. His task now is consciously to use all of his capabilities as an independent being, in the service of others.
In present Western society, there are enough men at this point of evolution to be noticed. They have become disenchanted with material success, and have little regard for authority where it is merely self-serving. Most can see the limitations of patriarchal society, yet have nothing fundamentally different with which to replace it. Because of this, they can often become drug addicts, drifters, or men who seem to feel no happiness whatever they achieve.
Among other men there are many similar attitudes. They do not hold politicians and rich businessmen in such high regard anymore. They are beginning to be impatient with the irresponsible way many countries or corporations squander the earth's resources, or despoil her for profit. As yet, like the others, they can offer no comprehensive alternative to our present way of life, but they are at least conscious of their dissatisfaction. Social experiments such as Communism and Socialism have been tried by men like this, and have failed. It matters very little what system is used; if those controlling society, from the overall leader to the petty bureaucrat, are selfish and uncaring, then no progress is made. The obvious solution, that it should be loving people, particularly women, who should lead, has not yet been attempted. Instead, we seem to believe that if we set up a social system with high ideals, and rules designed to promote justice, somehow that is enough.
Meanwhile, women are moving from Hod to Malkuth, and beginning to take on board the burden of an ego. They must now become fully conscious themselves, while at the same time retaining and strengthening their connection to the Great Mother. This involves a great change in their relationships with men. In a truly patriarchal society, men and women related quite simply. Women loved their husbands, children and the wider society around them, and men loved themselves. Now that a change in consciousness has taken place, and many people have changed paths, there is increasing difficulty within relationships, leading to a high divorce rate, and the necessity for many counsellors and marriage therapists.
When a substantial number of women, as opposed to a handful, began to make demands for greater self-satisfaction in marriage, it came from an awareness of their oppression. They began to realise that the satisfaction of serving and loving others was no longer enough to make them happy. Naturally, patriarchal men resisted all moves on the part of women to achieve any changes, and used the usual tools to force them back into line, of coercion, propaganda and fear. Such women were told they were unnatural, ungodly and selfish. If this did not work, law and force were used. Patriarchal man had no intention whatsoever of relinquishing his power over women, and the battle of the sexes ensued. Contrary to popular belief, this war has not always existed. Although individual men and women have always deviated from the 'normal' rules of society, in general, the status quo of dominant male, subservient female, has in the past been accepted so widely that relationships were relatively trouble free. Just as each person knew his or her place within a rigidly hierarchical society, and did not really question it, so women and men knew their roles within marriage, and by and large kept to them. Only when a substantial number of people began to evolve and change paths did the real fighting begin.
At first, man won with ease. He had more power, and both law and patriarchal morality were on his side. Since he was not motivated by unconditional love, he had no difficulty in deciding that his own interests were more important than those of women. He had also reached the point where he believed his own propaganda so thoroughly, that he genuinely thought women were inferior, and that his god had decreed them subservient to him. The irony of a male god, male priests, male rulers, male judges and male heads of families deciding quite 'impartially' that women were inferior, was lost on him. In much the same way, men have judged all other forms of life on the planet as inferior to them, so they can be exploited for personal gain.
Although at this stage women were beginning to love themselves a little, they were still mostly motivated by love for their husbands and children, and could easily be convinced that they should continue to obey patriarchal rules. If they did not, they were told, their families would suffer. Even today, patriarchal society can restrain women's development by invoking guilt about 'neglected' children and reminding women that they are there to support their husbands, not vice-versa. Even if a woman persisted in wanting things for herself, she could only resort to subtle manipulation, since most of the laws and structures of society debarred her from being anything other than a wife and mother.
As women's egos grew, they turned to nagging as a weapon, and for the first time had the temerity to argue with their husbands. It needs a certain level of self-esteem to do even this, and many women were afraid to embark on it. Some were afraid of physical violence, as many still are today, and others felt it made them appear unloving. Since the stereotype of a good wife was of someone docile and pleasant, they kept their desires secret, out of fear that society would judge them a 'shrew.'
Although all the cards were still held by the husband in terms of power and ruthlessness, women had one advantage. No matter how many times they were defeated in argument, hit or intimidated and made to feel 'unwomanly,' because of their small egos they were not crushed. The man, because of his large ego, was hurt badly by any defeat. Although he might act even more repressively as a result of having to give ground to a woman, for the first time he was on the defensive. If his government decreed that women could vote, for example, he could still abuse his wife without fear, but overall he was on a losing ticket. No matter how he tried, he could not reverse the progress of women overall.
Women were unable to press home their advantage to any significant degree. While they still loved their husbands unconditionally, what hurt him hurt them. Often they would fight to gain some new freedom, yet relinquish it as soon as it was clear that men were suffering pain as a result. This led to accusations that women were not serious about the acquisition of new freedoms, because they appeared to be, and were, ambivalent about exercising them.
Some women overcame this difficulty by learning to hate men. They suppressed unconditional love in order to progress more quickly, without the anguish of choosing between what would hurt them and what would hurt others. British soldiers in the Afghan War of the last century became victims of this hatred. Afghan women tortured to death any British soldier they found wounded on the battlefield. They were probably doing to these soldiers what they would like to have done to their husbands, but couldn't, not only because of the fear of punishment, but also because they genuinely loved their husbands. Torturing a man to death gave them a power kick, albeit in a fairly gruesome manner, which fed their weak egos without any resulting conflict of loyalties, since the soldiers were strangers.
Western women, meanwhile, were beginning to realise the intolerable burden children placed on them in a patriarchal society. They were almost entirely responsible for the upbringing of children, yet had no control over their own bodies. Men denied them contraception via church dogma, insisted that they had sexual obligations to their husbands, and left them to die of exhaustion or worse, after a lifetime of constant child-bearing. It has been well documented how male doctors also took over the roles of female midwives. In earlier centuries, such men managed to wipe out large numbers of mothers through their ignorance of the way in which disease is transmitted, and this only ceased when sterilisation of instruments and hands was understood as a preventative device. Even if they did not kill a woman while attending her, doctors managed to make her feel even less in control of her own destiny and body than ever before.
Women responded to their new realisations by openly choosing not to have children, or bearing far fewer than they had before. Patriarchal society naturally resisted the development and distribution of contraception, because it freed women to do something other than have children, and reduced the overall numbers of people. Fewer children meant fewer soldiers to be used in aggressive or defensive wars, and a smaller pool of expendable slave labour. The fact that over-population engenders poverty and short life-expectancy was seen as irrelevant to the needs of the leaders. It is still illegal to prevent conception in many countries, notably Roman Catholic or Muslim ones, and the Roman Catholic Church has not so far given its approval to 'unnatural' methods of limiting the size of families. This leaves Catholics who respect the rules of their church with only the 'rhythm' method, whereby sex is abstained from at fertile points in a woman's menstrual cycle.
If, as was often the case, women were forced to bear children they did not want, because of the manifold pressures of society, they learned to hate them, or at least feel ambivalent about them. Women knew that while they were the sex responsible for the rearing and nurturing of children, there would be no chance for them to develop and grow in any other direction. At that time there was no way to combine motherhood with a career. Working class women often took menial jobs in addition to raising children, where society permitted it, but this was expected to be in addition to their duties as a wife and mother. It led, as it still does today, to total exhaustion. Other women stayed home and looked after their children, but their resentment caused them to abuse their offspring in direct or subtle ways. They gave them conditional love, in the way men did, because they saw their children as the barrier between themselves and their personal growth.
Some men became willing participants in the sex war when they began to find the new demanding woman more exciting than a passive one. At the beginning of the patriarchal era, such men had received satisfaction from mastering a powerful woman, and this had boosted their growing ego. The sort of situation they enjoyed is portrayed in Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew.' A woman also gained pleasure from this game, even if this was not apparent, because she loved the man more than herself. She enjoyed the sense of satisfaction the man felt at her defeat, and her smaller ego was not very wounded at having to submit. In time, some women came to rely on mistreatment by men for a sense of self, and gained masochistic pleasure from it. This probably explains why some prostitutes, who earn vast amounts of money, still insist on handing their profits to a pimp, whom they love, yet who mistreats them. Their self-esteem is so low that any personal attention, even if it is abusive, is welcomed.
For a long period, after women became subservient to men, society consisted largely of passive women and selfish, dominating men, with the occasional powerful woman in evidence, who was usually a courtesan. Women were now so easy to control, that there was no boost to a man's ego anymore in ordering her about and using her selfishly. Some turned to rape or sadism to recreate the former excitement, or took pleasure in cuckolding other men for kicks. Once women began to develop an ego, patriarchal man found the idea of dominating her once again a thrilling challenge, and yet another way to extend his ego. This time however, because we are moving into a matercentric, not a patriarchal age, men will be unable to succeed in the long run. Their task this time is to fail, and come under the sovereignty of women. Many men who have enjoyed abusing women sexually in the past, have already encountered failure. Even if society has not introduced stiff penalties for rape, they find that they can no longer act out their desires at the material level. A strange new awareness of the woman as a person prevents them, and they may become disgusted with themselves at having sadistic fantasies. Since dominance and submission is still an ingrained pattern of their lives, they may switch roles, and seek to become the abused slave of a cruel woman.
Some women began to care for themselves so much that they refused to have a relationship with a man at all. They knew that in society as it stood, their only chance for evolution was to avoid marriage, even if they felt strong attraction towards it. We can see this phenomenon in the spinster school mistress, who developed her ego by bossing schoolchildren around, or in such fields as Art, where marriage and creativity was still an impossible combination for a woman.
Many women today find relationships with men exceedingly difficult, because of conflicts within themselves. Although they may desire to be loved and have their needs met, they are still in the situation of loving a man more than themselves. The fact that most men still naturally assume that their needs are paramount compounds the problem. The only way out for these women is to develop and concentrate on their love of self, without denying their love for others. This is problematical in a society which still expects women to be self-sacrificial. When such women become aware that they wish to put their needs before those of a man, they are likely to feel extremely guilty at their 'selfishness.' It is as difficult for the woman at this point to be 'selfish' for the first time as it is for the male at the same level of evolution to be 'unselfish.' Women's love, whatever form it takes, is always a mothering love, which cares for and nurtures someone or something else. Man, during his quest for an ego, has needed this supportive type of love from women. He has always required reassurance and unconditional love to allow his ego to grow. When he reaches the stage of maximum ego growth, he no longer needs acceptance and reassurance. He is 'full of himself,' and out of his fullness he needs to give to women what he once received - unconditional love,- in order to support their development. A woman who meets a man ready to give unconditional love, finds there is nothing she can do for him. If she decides to have a relationship with him, she will discover that he gives her love and support without expecting anything in return. Surprisingly, she may not shout 'hurrah,' but be extremely uncomfortable. Love has meant giving for so long for women, that she may not understand that it is no longer a requirement. It is her responsibility at this stage to love herself, and open up to receive his love and service.
The type of relationship in which the man gives love and the woman receives it, is barely acknowledged as existing in our society. Those who behave like this often keep the nature of the relationship a secret, in order to avoid criticism or derision. Only when it becomes more acceptable for men to love and serve women will we find to what extent this is already happening.
The rise of Feminism has created a new ideal model for relationships, one where both partners are equal. It would be true to say that many marriages in the Western World appear to achieve this ideal, but it is usually at the cost of enormous amounts of conflict. No-one appears willing to acknowledge the unconscious power struggles going on, and instead describe these relationships as 'fair' or 'reasonable.' Usually, the woman gains the upper hand in the power struggle and the man reluctantly gives ground. Quite often, as we see from divorce statistics, these so-called 'equal' relationships break down. In some, the woman demands more than the man is willing to give. He may leave to live with a more passive woman, become impotent as a way of punishing her, or because he cannot cope with her demands, or turn to violence as a last resort to prevent further erosion of his ego. The woman may leave because she cannot achieve what she wants, or it is too much of a struggle to get it, and look for a more co-operative man. She may also drive a man away with her neediness, which he is not willing to acknowledge or fulfil, then search for a man who wishes to satisfy her needs.
When a man is prepared to give more than a woman is willing to receive, the same problems occur, and the two people may end up fighting one another to give love rather than receive it. The woman finds it difficult to accept loving support from the man. She simply has no idea what to do with her life if she is not sacrificing herself and supporting a husband and children with unconditional love. If these types of marriage come before a marriage counsellor, they can be helped to understand and overcome the difficulties, but only if the counsellor is perceptive and unbiased. A marriage in which the man is clearly holding most power is relatively easy to cope with for the therapists. They can attempt to make the man see the error of his ways, or suggest to the woman that it is acceptable for her to gain more from the relationship, if that has been the problem. However, when the marriage is unequal in the woman's favour, she is seen as selfish and unreasonable. She will receive very little support for her way of thinking, and all the sympathy and help will go to the man. She may, as a result, attempt to go backwards in her growth, and relinquish the power she has acquired, out of a misguided sense of 'fairness.'
When a woman begins to win the 'battle of the sexes' she usually encounters a particular quandary. She will feel contempt for the man who has allowed her to dominate him, and be ashamed of his lack of 'masculinity,' as defined by patriarchal society. She will not want to be seen having a relationship with a 'wimp'. Part of her is still patriarchally orientated, and feels a man should be strong, sure, and in command at all times. Because the man she is involved with is confident enough to relinquish his ego, and no longer needs any support from a woman to maintain it, the woman feels that he does not need her; she has nothing to give him. A woman can only overcome this problem if she is willing to reverse the polarity, allowing both self-love and love from the man. This takes courage - because society will not approve of her apparent domination of the man - and open- mindedness, since she will have to reverse her own expectations of male-female roles. Some women, who initially find the matercentric man boring, may unconsciously 'go backwards' for a time, and enter a relationship with a selfish patriarchal man. This reminds them that although life might be more 'exciting' with such a man, it is also painful and frustrating. The experience confirms her desire to move onto the path of the Goddess.
As woman approaches Malkuth, she is as far away as it is possible to get from the Great Mother. The voice of her instinct is at its weakest, and she is reliant on her intellect. The rule of intellect has made it possible for doctors to take control of childbirth from women, to have them laid flat on their backs and to forcibly extract babies from the womb. Women rearing children have been told not to rely on instinct and feeling, but on the guidance of books written by men. They go along with this, partly because they have lost touch with intuition, and partly because men, having larger egos, and authority over women, have undermined their confidence in their natural abilities.
All this changes when a woman passes the central pillar at Malkuth, and begins the journey home to the Great Mother. She begins to tune into her intuition far more, and ignore the advice of patriarchal society. We now see an interest in 'natural' childbirth, in which women have a say in how their child is delivered. There is a growing emphasis on participation by the husband or partner, who is often present at the birth. This helps the man to become bonded to the child, and take an active interest in its welfare and upbringing.
Near the central pillar, it is possible for men and women to believe that the two sexes are essentially the same, the only difference being that women give birth to children and men don't. People at this stage often advocate equal treatment and opportunity for both sexes, and envisage a 'fairer' world, in which women are equal to men. Logically, this is an entirely reasonable position, but it rests on totally erroneous assumptions, not the least of which is that women will want no revenge for the millenia of oppression by men. In Christian ethics, forgiveness is a noble virtue, and since women are, by and large, much 'nicer' than men, the idea is that they will instantly forgive men their sins, and settle for equality. Some women may do so - those who have the link to the all-forgiving Great Mother for example. But by far the greatest number, because they are so far away from the Great Mother when they change paths, will not have the capacity to be so instantly saintly. They have to experience and integrate many lives' worth of pain and suffering into their conscious awareness, over a period of time. It would be surprising if they could do this without any desire to exact revenge on, and make them suffer in the way women have suffered. We see this happening when dictators are overthrown, and men who have been savagely oppressed indulge in an orgy of violent retribution directed against those they see as having hurt them.
In fact, they can't really make men suffer pain in the way women have, for two reasons. Firstly, most women, unless they suppress unconditional love very thoroughly, will feel the pain they inflict, thus placing limits on their cruelty; secondly, men are only just beginning to learn how to feel emotional pain, because they have been too busy enlarging and growing their ego. This may not deter some women from attempting to hurt and humiliate men, but it does place limits on what can actually be achieved.
Although many feminists strongly criticise patriarchal society, they do not often think in terms of replacing it with a matercentric society. Any suggestion of a female-dominated society is strongly resisted, because in their eyes, it would make women seem no better than men have been. They are still caught up in patriarchal ideas of women being the fairer sex, - in this case, 'fair' in the sense of being more reasonable, forgiving and equitable. If we were to have a society in which men and women were equal, they would see it as proof that women are indeed morally superior to men, because they have made no attempt to 'take advantage' by dominating men. There is also an underlying assumption that a matercentric society would resemble a patriarchal one, with the only difference being that women would be in control, and would ignore the nature and needs of men in favour of female ones. As there is a fundamental difference between men and women in the way they think, feel and develop spiritually, this would not be true.
In the forthcoming matercentric society, women will only dominate with the complete co-operation of men, just as men controlled society only because women allowed it. Most feminists have trouble envisaging men voluntarily subjugating themselves to women. They look at the present behaviour of males, and see no sign of this being possible. While they insist on equality, this will be true. Men will have very little interest in an equal society, because it does not give those who have changed paths the right opportunities for growth. We see a certain amount of stagnation within the equal rights movement as a result. Various reasons have been given for this. Many men who are still patriarchal, insist that women have achieved equality, and that there is no more room for change. Others point to a male backlash of renewed aggression towards women, and either see it as proof that women should go back to the home where they belong, or that change is happening too rapidly for the stability of society. Still others feel that the new area of interest for forward thinkers is the environment, and that we have more pressing concerns than whether women have or should achieve equality.
The real reason for the stagnation is that equality is a logical concept, and people are not driven by logic, but by emotions, most of which are unconscious. The emotional fuel for a man's growth up to now has been his internal archetype of himself as Hero. However little he counts for anything in the wider world, a man carries within him a picture of himself as much greater, - a Hercules or Zeus figure, who wishes to rule the world and achieve all of his desires. In modern terms, he sees himself as James Bond, John F. Kennedy, Rambo or Scott of the Antarctic. Until this archetype is replaced by the figure of the Great Mother, we will not make much progress. Men will then move on from being heroes to being servants of the Great Mother, and begin the second half of their growth cycle, subservient to women as the representatives of the Great Mother on earth.
There are certain problems facing men as they change paths. It was easy for women to love men in a patriarchal era. They had no internal conflict because they had no ego, or self-awareness, to contend with. When man begins to learn to love and serve women, however, he will find that his ego resists, seeing no good reason why he should relinquish his advantages over women, and his long- ingrained habits of competitiveness and selfishness. The only way to change will be by seeing women as higher than himself in his internal pecking order, as Goddesses. This process has already begun for many men, though it has not yet reached the awareness of the general public. Any strong woman who has some degree of self-love is already finding that certain men wish to worship her, even though they may not use that term. The woman, consciously or unconsciously, is evoking the archetype of the Great Mother, and those men who are ready to worship a woman are drawn towards her. She comes in three disguises. The first is the 'femme fatale,' who is able to use men as she pleases, because once they succumb to her sexual magnetism, they are unable to resist her. She behaves and dresses in an aggressively sexual way, and unlike the 'pretty maiden' of the patriarchal era, can be described as glamorous. In a matercentric age, she is not necessarily a very young woman. The second is 'the mother,' who has always been with us, nurturing and supporting both children and the wider society. The interference with her function by patriarchal men, who have excluded her from any real power, has led to a neurotic society. She has been free to sacrifice herself for husband and children, but not free to use her instinctual wisdom to guide them. Instead, she has been told to follow the rules of patriarchal men. Today, this archetype would be more likely to fit the older woman, who though she still controls men, is able to show more kindness and understanding than the 'femme fatale.' She is likely to be found in an 'older woman/toyboy' scenario, or nurturing people in a way which allows her to express the whole of herself. The third is the Matriarch or wise woman. In the patriarchal era, she was a strong and forceful woman, who upheld male values, yet still managed to rule her family and society by using men as puppets. She was as interested in power as a man, and equally ruthless. Her matercentric equivalent has not yet appeared in any numbers within our society, which still believes that women over a certain age are completely valueless, sexually or otherwise. This archetype will only manifest in large numbers when the authority of women becomes greater than that of men. Females who invoke her will be the source of great guidance, wisdom and love within society. They will give advice which uses a blend of unconditional love and intellect. If it is followed, harmony will be the result, because their counsel springs from their own internal harmony.
The Hero archetype, which provides the motivating energy for patriarchal society, can be divided in a similar way. The first type, 'the warrior, ' is the 'macho' man of all kinds, only interested in conquest, whether of women, other men, himself, or a problem he has set himself. The second is 'the king,' who could be a successful business man today, or a well-respected professional in a field which requires 'masculine' skills. The third is 'the wise man,' who at one time would have been the high priest or shaman, but today is the knowledgeable scientist, working at the very edges of current knowledge about our universe. We can see the prevalence of these heroic figures within popular consciousness wherever we look in society, reflecting the strong hold that patriarchy still has on our value systems. The mistake made by many people is to assume that this reverence for heroes will always continue, and that men will always aspire to being one, and women to marrying or loving one. It is not true. The Hero will disappear, to be replaced by a new archetype. The 'Green Man' is a possibility, - a man who sees himself as part of Nature and everything else, so cannot oppose or split himself off from the totality. Desire for a challenge will give way to desire for reunion.
Those women who attempt to increase their egos and gain things for themselves without invoking one of the archetypes of the Great Mother, are the ones who suppress unconditional love, and learn to hate men. Such women are certainly strong and selfish, and do achieve some of their desires, but they do so in a way which is patriarchal. They are often aggressive and strident, taking pleasure in 'being bad,' because they believe that if they do not act like patriarchal men, they will not gain anything. The only alternative they can see is to go back into being submissive 'good girls.' They copy the way that men behave, and lack trust in the Great Mother to help them achieve what they want without fighting for it. At the root of this is of course, fear. Women who are successfully allowing the Great Mother to flow through them and help them, however, do not behave in this way. They have innate power which allows them to draw towards themselves all the experiences they need to develop their egos and self-confidence, without the need to either fight or emulate men.
So far, it has been relatively easy to talk about the paths on the Quabalah, since we have largely been interpreting known history. But as man moves from Malkuth to Netzach, we are moving into the future, and peering into its possibilities to see what shape it might take. Somewhere along these paths, the patriarchal era will come to an end. It was an age full of conflict because only women, who were not in control of society, were able to love unconditionally. In the new matercentric age, it will be different. Women will be in charge, who have the ability to both love and guide others, and men will be on the path of learning to give service to all, and increasing their capacity for unconditional love.
Until now, man has concentrated on the development of his left- brain, his intellect. He has walked around with his head in the clouds, ignoring intuition and most of his emotions. Having done this, he can now concentrate on his right-brain, and work with his intuition, which will allow him to see that the forest is as important as the individual trees in it. He will become increasingly passive, and gradually hand over

intellectual activity to females. This will be quite safe, since women will never find themselves able to ignore the voice of the Great Mother. They can't make the same mistakes as men, because they are unable to separate themselves completely from others in the name of individual self-realisation. Men will tap into their intuitive genius, and allow women to work out what should be done with the results.
Women have not gone to the same extremes as men. Their ego development has been small, and they have retained a link with the Creator through intuition and feeling. In order to come into balance, they will focus on removing the inhibitions placed on their individual creativity by patriarchal society. This means expressing the whole of themselves, not just their capacity to nurture and sustain others. Men can assist them, if they choose to, by encouragement, responsiveness, and a willingness to teach women what they themselves have learned. This necessitates humility, and love for women, which has been missing for millenia. They must give ground to women, instead of occupying so much space. As the confidence of women slowly grows, men must be ready to serve them as they were once served, and learn how to give unconditional love.
As man moves from Hod to Geburah, and women move from Netzach to Chesed, we will see the matercentric era in full flower. At Netzach, women will be Goddesses in much the same way as men were gods at the same Sephiroth. Their dominance will be entirely taken for granted. As this happens, the need to be seen as divine will lessen, and they will be perceived as Queens. Man at Hod will have realised that he made a mess of the earth while he controlled society. This new awareness of his fallibility will bring remorse and humility, and he will attempt to make amends. Though he may expect or even demand punishment for his 'sins,' the main result will be a willingness to abandon his position of power in society, since he can now see all his mistakes. He will be held in firm bondage by women, but as his new position becomes firmly established, and he learns to love unconditionally, the bondage will slowly be eased. As man moves from Geburah to Binah, and women move from Chesed to Chokmah, the process will continue, until the two sexes are able to work together in an entirely harmonious way which they have never been able to achieve before. Both will begin to resolve the paradox of simultaneously loving both themselves and all that is. At Binah and Chokmah, men and women will become equal in terms of what they have learned, allowing them to move back to Kether, where they can once again be truly in a state of union.