Blessing Self

by Julie on November 23, 2010 · 11 comments

Diana

Diana

“Give voice to what you know to be true, and do not be afraid of being disliked or exiled.” – Eve Ensler

For some time now, I have seen a vision of where women must go if we are to discover the true depth of our capacities as women.

I know we’ve been under the shadow of men for a long time, and I know we must step out from under this shadow if we are to discover our nature as women, and bring the beautiful gifts of this nature to our world, a world that is thirsty for it…and the feminine.

When I speak of this, it is sometimes misunderstood as being under the thumb of men, but that’s not what I mean.

Stepping out from under the shadow has more than one layer of meaning.

Under the shadow, we can’t see who we are. We see ourselves in a masculine light, like there is no other way to be than like a man, or to be liked by a man.

Under the shadow, we take on the shadow side of the collective, seeing ourselves as the shadow of the culture, you know, the whole Eve complex, that women are responsible for the fall (and I don’t mean Eve Ensler).

Under the shadow, we don’t see our own light…we simply see the reflection of the masculine, or we see the masculine’s light and believe it is ours, too.

The second wave of feminism helped open the doors so we could discover our place in the world, discover our abilities to make it in a masculine world, and we’ve done that. We’ve proven we can lead alongside men. We’ve also come to see that many of us have had to ‘do it all’ in order to succeed in the ways we’ve wanted. Many of us also see we had to put away something, we had to put away our true nature, our womanliness.

Using words such as womanliness has its risks. To be honest, I don’t know what womanliness is. I know what I’ve been told it is. I know what I experience as a woman, but to know a nature not in relation to men is to relearn what it is to be woman. In some ways we can only know something by way of something else. But when we see our womanliness in response to men, or the masculine, it gets obscured by conditioning, and conditioned responses.

If we’ve put that away, what is it we take back out? What did we hide away?

::

Today I came across this quote by Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, a Sufi Sheik. I’ve seen him speak many times. He is an extraordinary mystic who sees what can’t be seen, and speaks to us of what we need to know.

Many women are unknowingly caught in a collective conditioning in which the feminine is made subservient to masculine, rational values. The feminine qualities of relating, listening, waiting are repressed in favor of rational thought and goal-oriented drives. American culture may appear to give freedom to women, but there is a collective pattern that denies the real nature of the feminine. As one woman said to me, “In this culture a woman can be anything she wants, as long as it is masculine.” Yet many spiritual qualities needed for the path, such as creating a sacred inner space, belong to the feminine. Often our spiritual nature lies buried under collective taboos, and requires courage and commitment to be rediscovered and lived. Love is a Fire: The Sufi’s Mystical Journey Home, page 52

“Our spiritual nature, buried under collective taboos.”

“A collective pattern that denies the real nature of the feminine.”

As Vaughn-Lee shares, the feminine is a both/and: the feminine principle (that which is in both women and men), as well as the embodiment of the sacred feminine that is inherent in women.

We women can’t see our true reflection by looking into the cultural pool, for it is laced with ideas, taboos, fears and beliefs that hide the true nature of the feminine.

The cultural shadow is built upon those taboos. The shadow is what we repress, what we put away into the dark, what we learned at a young age we couldn’t be if we were to remain ‘good girls’ living in the collective.

The real nature of the feminine lies buried under the shadow. We can’t know ourselves at the core, until we’re willing to look into the darkest places. We can’t come into balance within, balance between our feminine and masculine natures, until we aren’t obscured by this collective taboo-ridden shadow. And, we won’t come into right relationship with men, until we know ourselves fully as women.

It takes courage and commitment, and I add, a community of like-minded women committed to the journey

::


sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

~Galway Kinnell

::

To relearn through touch, through words, through connection: the real nature of the feminine can only flower from within.

So we begin with self-blessing: blessing self as woman, blessing self as sacred, blessing self as lovely.

This image, Diana, was taken by gAbY on Flickr, shared under CC2.0 license

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather Plett November 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Amen, AMEN! (We have to talk on the phone again soon. I could use another dose of our wisdom. :-)

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Julie November 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

me, too. i love our wisdom.

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Heather Plett November 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Ha! That was a rather funny typo! I meant to say “your wisdom”, but I actually like what came out even better! Collective wisdom!

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Julie November 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I thought you meant our collective wisdom. funny!

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Jeanie Miley November 27, 2010 at 11:28 am

This post reaches the depths of my soul and the places in me that know the truth of your wisdom. (ours, yours — how wonderful — the collective wisdom) Every sentence of this post rang deeply true to me, Julie. Every thought resonated with that which is most important in my heart and mind, and we must gather our wisdom together and share it with each other in order to bring the truth of it to greater clarity and broader conciousness. Yes, our authentic feminine principle has been overwhelmed and overpowered by the masculine principle, whether by men or women who are also overwhelmed by the masculine principle. All of us are wounded by the dominance of the masculine principle, whether male or female, boy or girl. All of us need to tap into the deep well of the feminine; all of us need to access that part of ourselves that can bring a balance, a beauty and a bounty of what is needed in the whole culture and in our individual lives. Thank you for the way you gently and powerfully express that which is so necessary and so needed in the world — the world that is screaming to be loved, honored, nurtured and cared for. I’m so grateful for you and your work, Julie.
Grace to you — jM

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R November 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm

“We women can’t see our true reflection by looking into the cultural pool, for it is laced with ideas, taboos, fears and beliefs that hide the true nature of the feminine.”

Amen. Thank you for your words on discovery, rediscovery, and the reteaching of loveliness. They were, themselves, lovely.

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Square-Peg Karen November 28, 2010 at 7:28 am

Julie, this goes straight to my heart! Every word of it — and the poem – oh, how i love that poem!!

Heather, when I saw your “our wisdom” phrase in the comments my knees nearly buckled – it fit and was such a beautiful, open, (and i think – “womanly”) thing to say (no pride, no fake humble)…when I saw, in your later comment, that it was a typo I had to grin — so perfect. I think the Goddess Baubo was messing with your keyboard.

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wholly jeanne November 30, 2010 at 11:08 pm

i read these beautiful words and conjure an image of women linking arms and stepping out from under that shadow together, supporting each other as we go.

you write: “I don’t know what womanliness is. I know what I’ve been told it is. I know what I experience as a woman, but to know a nature not in relation to men is to relearn what it is to be woman. In some ways we can only know something by way of something else. But when we see our womanliness in response to men, or the masculine, it gets obscured by conditioning, and conditioned responses. If we’ve put that away, what is it we take back out? What did we hide away?” and i say those are the first things we talk about when we gather round the well and the nearby campfire after we out from under the shadow.

those are very good questions – what is it we take back? and what did we hide away?. i feel some serious journaling coming on here . . .

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wholly jeanne November 30, 2010 at 11:10 pm

p.s. that “committee of like-minded women committed to the journey”?. count me in on that one, darlin. and i want a front row seat.

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