These days the buzz word for many women, myself included, is about feminine empowerment, divine feminine energies and reconnecting the Goddess to women in this 21st century, how this may look, and what it may mean to be empowered in your ‘Feminine’ Self.
Because I am firstly a woman, and because, secondly, I have been teaching and sharing this for years, it has caused me to feel deeply into what this means, why it is the ‘buzz’ at the moment and what do I really feel on a personal as well as professional level about feminine ‘empowerment’.
I feel that this is not only about women but also about men and I have long felt to do retreats for my male clientele and friends as I often feel that in many ways men need to be given the space to share and connect on deep levels that have long been denied them. As human beings, regardless of biological sex, we have everything inside of ourselves, and this means we have what is considered the masculine and feminine within each of us also.
I have been asking myself for a long time now why we separate aspects of ourselves into masculine and feminine ‘traits’ that continue to perpetuate the separation, not only of the sexes and the idea of gender specific behaviours and expectations, but also causes a fragmentation of our Self regardless of our biological sex. It leads to the compartmentalisation of what is inside ourselves and who we are as human beings regardless of our gender.
When I personally am speaking about feminine empowerment I am talking about the integration of the Self and opening ourselves to the gift of being able to express ourselves in our entirety, in the moment from our hearts, and in that moment, when the heart is given a voice there is no real separation if the expression comes from the integrity of who you are here and now. It is not about male and female but about humanness.
In the end the conceptualisation of male and female is just that, a concept. One of my most favourite areas to teach when I was a lecturer was that of cultural relativity, because the study of cultural relativity leads to the realisation that engendered behaviours vary between cultures and within cultures, and these gender specific behaviours affect the balance of power between men and women and this affects how they perceive themselves as individuals and as a collective.
I also realise that there are fundamental differences between male and female based upon brain chemistry which is intimately linked with hormonal differences and cut pathways into our neural networks that could be considered ‘natural’ for each sex. At the same time there is an interconnectedness in the release of neurochemicals that fundamentally affects the development of an infant. It is the age-old question of what comes first, the chicken or the egg? It also begs the question that if neurochemistry and evolution have an interconnectedness then perhaps the brain becomes ‘split’ into right and left because of engendered culture and not because of natural expression as a human being. But I digress.
The intricate balance of gender/sexualisation, is contaminated from pre-birth by cultural ideals and concepts of what sexuality is, what gender is, what masculine and feminine is and what male and female ‘should’ be. And this dance of cultural idealism has detrimental effects on both men and women notwithstanding sexual preference, and Soul expression. This then grows to become an imbalance of the Authentic Self which is struggling to emerge during childhood and is more often than not submerged through cultural ideas of who you are ‘meant’ to be.
Within this submergence of the Self in the formative stages of growing up is a struggle for self-expression and self-realisation regardless of gender. The child questions natural tendencies of self-expression which is a gift and expression of the Soul as an androgynous being rather than an engendered Being. Through the process of socialisation the child is ‘guided’ towards beliefs and behaviours that reflect the cultural idealism of what male and/or female is, and if this is counter to soul expression a vital part of the child becomes repressed in an effort to fit into the cultural ideal. It happens to most of us and much of my work is about disentangling the encultured Self to allow the true Soul expression to emerge.
A good example of this is the film Billy Elliot where a young boy’s true Soul expression is that of dance yet the cultural ideal of maleness did not include dancing which was believed to be the province of women and feminine expression. Billy Elliot’s struggle is set in a Northern area of the UK, a predominantly misogynistic and patriarchal culture of mining and steel work. His Soul yearned to dance yet his culture deemed this as feminine, demasculinising and of course Gay! It depicts a very real struggle that exists for so many as the Soul yearns for self-expression whilst the culture demands conformity to engendered roles.
I was a young woman during the 80’s when feminism meant acting like a ‘man’ (of that culture – not helped by Maggie Thatcher being prime minister at that time) and it became a hostile expression of us-versus-them rather than the realisation that men and women can be complimentary partners in this dance of life. Women and women or men and men can also be complimentary partners in this dance of life. We are ultimately talking about humanness rather than gender, connection rather than roles.
If we come to the realisation that we are here to express our Soul expression and the gifts we are born with, rather than be dictated to by our physical expression then the idea of feminine and masculine becomes obsolete.
Meanwhile we have a new modern ‘dilemma’ where children as young as 4 years of age are now seen to be struggling with the concept of male and female based upon the body that they have incarnated into, and we have parents who are advocating sex assignment for their children who are basing their sexuality and gender upon body incarnation rather than upon Soul expression. This is not meant as a judgment of right or wrong, good or bad, but rather as an example of gender confusion that arises from cultures that have assigned specific ‘roles’ and behaviours based upon the physical sex of the individual.
So that long spiel brings me to The Red Tent Retreat! This will be a celebration of Life, of humanness and of connection. Yes, it is a women’s only retreat, why? Because by coming together in this way there is a freedom to express ourselves outside the confines of gender specific behaviour and expected roles.
Yes, we will be rekindling the memories of being the Priestess. We will be rekindling the memories of the Wisdom Schools that our souls have experienced over lifetimes. We will be experiencing magic and sharing ourselves in ALL OUR GLORY not separated by male and female ideals of who we ‘should’ be but rather who we are at the depths of our being-ness, in the here and now.
We will be clearing and releasing the conditioning of what woman ‘should’ be according to family ancestral traits and cultural ideas of womanhood, and activating the Source Code for your true Soul expression. We will be clearing and releasing the expectations of femaleness and maleness carried through the ancestral lines and genetics so that we can clearly experience our authentic self in the moment. We will be releasing the trauma of the submerged-self and allowing full expression who you are here and now. We will be reaping the benefits of embodying both intuition and rationality and celebrating the dance of life in all her aspects.
With love as always
From my heart to yours