I do believe that there was a reason for the monotheistic counter movement. I also believe that although often it is hard to see why certain changes happened throughout the history of mankind, there is a subtle pattern, with the apparent randomness there is method. As I mentioned elsewhere, who knows what really the excesses of the matriarchal period were. I have my theories but won’t go into that now, if you would like me to I will. For sure it was not all good, as the patriarchal period has not been all good. I do believe the change over was essential to our evolution in the development of our consciousness, just as we have to go through stages of growth to reach our maturity. The rise of monotheism and the solar deities are linked very closely with the rise in the development of our intellectual abilities. It is said that during the matriarchal period our consciousness was more intuitive rather than reasoning. As you know the intellect is linked to the masculine side.
Further, I believe that the development of the intellect under the patriarchal system a prelude to another important development in our consciousness. The rights of individual – individuation, linked for me also with the maturing ego. Before the development of individualism your fate was pretty much decreed by your bloodline, order of birth, and gender. You took the word of whatever the sovereign power was as Gospel (excuse the pun). Intellectual development requires that you question the existing order of things for yourself, and then come up with new solutions. The striving for individual recognition is masculine in nature. Whereas the feminine nature strives for unity, and to preserve what is.
In many traditional cultures there is no word for love. It is often described as something like, “It is beautiful from the heart.” This heartfelt relationship was seen in most traditional cultures as a threat to the stability and well-being of the society as a whole. In fact it is, as heartfelt love, no matter how beautiful and romantic, is a double edged sword. On one hand it is a beautiful force of unification, and on the other it is devastatingly transformational.
.” Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and open; real love will take you far beyond yourself; and therefore real love will devastate you. I kept thinking, if love does not shatter you, you do not know love..”
Anyone who has truly loved knows that love destroys the old and creates the new. As the force behind creation it reflects in our romantic love relationships the very process of creation. The process of creation always involves destruction of the old order from which the new is created. The blank canvas, no longer blank; the man or woman becomes something other than they were before. Even on the most basic level the girl becomes a mother, the boy a father, or simply a lover. Regardless love changes you, and you are not the same as before.
The concept of romantic love only came into being during the 11th and 13th century. It did did exist before that, but was something that had to be controlled “for it made men weak like women”, and had the power to destroy kingdoms like the story about Helen of Troy, Guinevere and Lancelot. Certainly love was not an element necessary for marriage. In most cultures marriage is the basic building block of a stable society. Marriage was a contract made not only between two individuals but also between the couple and the society they lived in. An oath sworn to the allegiance of the sovereign – to honour and to obey – for King and country.
In traditional societies marriage as an institution were and are designed both to harness passion in the service of social stability and to provide for children. The concept of Romantic Love came into existence during the 11th and 13th centuries through the influence of the Troubadours, Minnesingers, and all the writers and storytellers who developed the concept. Prior to that, whatever considerable feelings a man might have held for his woman, or a woman for her man, was always completely subsidiary to his/her loyalty for and duty towards his “king and country”, clan, or tribe. In traditional societies the individual’s rights is always subsidiary to that of what was considered by a society to be essential elements for their stability and welfare.
The image of Romantic Love helped awaken within men and women, the possibility that there could be more to a husband and a wife relationship than mere childbearing. This concept and its implications has not yet fully developed in our consciousness. Most of us are still caught between primitive urges of survival and our awakening understanding of where we are actually now, of why we really do and desire things.
The rise of the concept of romantic love goes hand in hand with the rise of individualism. Although desire and lust are denounced by most religions as a sin, something that must be suppressed, pure desire is linked to our individuality. If you had no desires, no passion you would have no individuality. It is an essential element all genius share. Passion is the fire in our bellies that keeps us alive, keeps us questioning, the very basis for the thirst for knowledge. Hence the expression to have carnal knowledge of.
At the core of the Western culture sweeping the world, colonizing all other cultures, is the concept of individual rights. The right for individuals to search for personal happiness, freedom of expression, to love whom they choose, to belief in what they choose. The very concept of individual rights is in direct contrast to, and in conflict with the cohesiveness of a stable society. For to be truly yourself there is going to be something in your individual expression that is not in allegiance with the shared group values.
“Grasshopper is happily going down the road. He meets a group of beetles all carrying signs that say “we love the sun in the morning.” Grasshopper greets them and they greet him, asking “Do you love the sun in the morning?” Grasshopper replies: “Oh my yes. How I do love the sun in the morning!” With that, the beetles give him a sign and pin a button on his chest and make him a member of their club. They dance and sing and tell Grasshopper how wonderful he is all day until the sun goes down. Grasshopper says, “I love the afternoon too. And night is very nice.” “Stupid! Dummy! shouted the Beetles. “Anyone who loves the afternoon and night can never, never be in our club! We only love the sun in the morning!! How dare you love the sun at sunset!” With that, they rip off his button and grab his sign and beat Grasshopper over the head with it. They waved their signs and marched away. Grasshopper was alone. And he went on down the road. (adapted from Arnold Lobel, Grasshopper on the Road, 1978) “
In today’s world we are caught between our desires – individual freedom and loyalty to what is sovereign to us, the need for acceptance. The world we find ourselves in reflects both the internal and external struggles between our masculine and feminine natures. We are struggling to find the balance, the middle road between our individual strivings and desires, and our need to be part of the whole. Without feeling ourselves part of something greater than our individual selves, we feel alienated, and isolated, as if we are in exile of the nurturing safety of something greater than ourselves. I also explored this in dealing with Thymos – the desire for acceptance. Just consider the element of loyalty that the vast majority of people feel is an essential element in a healthy relationship. The dictionary meaning for loyal is; True, faithful, to duty, love, or obligation; faithful in allegiance to sovereign, government, or mother country. It comes from the Latin word – legalis – legal, law.
The truth is actually that none of us really need a relationship. We have within us all that we need, yet we literally cannot live without love. When you sit down and argue about all the reasons why people have romantic relationships, they all come down to selfish reasons, even though they may appear on the surface to be altruistic. In romantic relationships we no longer have a blueprint provided to us by our culture, our society. It is now a contract between two individuals as to what they consider should constitute a relationship. The traditional reasons for marriage is falling away, and we have to look anew as to why we have relationships. In the new relationships partners have to decide beforehand what their walk-out conditions are, because the way things are going, basically anything goes. Individualism is anarchistic, yet we long for, and need loving relationships.
Nordivics, you said, “And then some women, after all that, want even more—we’re supposed to go against our social engineering and tap into our dark side, and then shut it off on command without any thought as to what Pandora’s Box (or can of worms) we’ve had to open…all for her. ”
Within your words I see the true potential of romantic relationships. If you bear with me, I will try and explain what I mean. I am sorry this is so long-winded but for me it is all so inter-linked it is hard to explain one without the background of the other. Long ago, there used to be women trained especially to initiate men into the esoteric mysteries, sacred and divine. These women were sacred intimates, now derogatively called temple prostitutes. Classic example of one was in the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu was a wild man in the woods, a lord of the animals, and he prevented all the hunters from snaring animals as “he knew nothing of settled fields or of human beings, and he was clothed like a deity of flocks. He ate grass with the gazelles, jostled the wild beasts at the watering hole, and was content with animals there.” So the hunters appeals to Gilgamesh to help them and this is what Gilgamesh recommended, “Go my hunter, take along with you a temple prostitute, and when he comes to the watering hole with the beasts, let her throw off her clothes, disclose her nakedness, and when he sees, he will approach her; and the beasts thereafter will desert him, which grew up with him on his plain.” Joseph Campbell, Occidental Mythology
The analogy is that of man leaving his animal nature to become a civilized human. In many mythical themes the hero sets out on his particular quest. The hero representative of us in our naive state, full of courage, determination to make our childhood dreams come true. Then however the hero meets challenges which he must overcome before he can claim the treasures, rescue the princess etc. The challenges the hero faces represents our shadow.
Each of us are born wounded in some way, and who can say whose wound is greater or lesser, for to each of us our wounds are none the less equally daunting. The nature of our wounds is revealed in our early childhood. Now our wounds can be our burden for life, that which trips us up every, until we face it, and then discover that within our wounds is hidden our unique treasure. The wound is our shadow, our Achilles heel.
“This is the concept of the ‘shadow’, which plays such a vital role in analytical psychology. Dr. Jung has pointed out that the shadow cast by the conscious mind of the individual contains the hidden, repressed and unfavorable (or nefarious) aspects of the personality. But this darkness is not just the simple converse of the conscious ego. Just as the ego contains unfavorable and destructive attitudes, so the shadow has good qualities – normal instincts and creative impulses. Ego and shadow, indeed, although separate, are inextricably linked together in much the same way that thought and feeling are related to each other.” Man and his Symbols – Carl G. Jung
In dealing with our shadow side it is particularly difficult for us to see things objectively. One Native American tale says our personal manual is written on our foreheads. Of course we can’t see it, but others can. That is how it is how it is with our shadow side.
To return to the sacred intimates, these women used what is so fondly fondly called here “pussy power” to lure men being initiated into the mysteries, into facing their shadow. Without facing facing your shadow you cannot progress/evolve either psychologically or spiritually. If you look at your experience of facing your shadow through trying to please a woman sexually, imagine how it would have been different if you were with a woman you could trust implicitly and knew she could guide you through the dangers you saw the shadow contained. Just like the hero of the myths receives aide from various goddesses to conquer the seemingly impossible challenges he has to face. This is what two lovers could do for each other.
If you look at the story of the Medusa, the hero is given a shield in which to face the Medusa by Athena. For me this shield relates to the reflection of ourselves that we can see in others. Through our relationships, we are given a mirror in which to see our shadow. It is also said that when Perseus cut off the head of the Medusa, two streams of blood flowed from her, one that could kill and another that could heal. Just so it is with facing our shadow, if we run in terror from what we see reflected in our mirror, it will eventually kill us in more ways than one. It is well known by now that suppressed emotions can cause illness in us, and that if we don’t face our shadows we will become enclosed in our fears, in a living tomb.
Although it is always uncomfortable and always painful to face our shadow, if we truly want to live an authentic land conscious life, we must expose our shadow or it will influence our choices in life in an unconscious way, without us even realizing it. That is truly for me what “the devil made me do it means.”
“The underworld has gone into the unconsciousness; even became the unconscious. Depth psychology is where today we find the initiatory mysteries, the long journey of psychic learning, ancestor worship, the encounters with demons and shadows, and the sufferings of hell.” – James Hillman
With that as a background, let’s look at Lilith, briefly. Lilith is representative of the shadow, or the symbolic dark moon phase. It also represents the menstrual cycle in women. Although it is all a perfectally natural in the cycle of greater things that side has been seen as bad an evil during the matriarchal phase, for various reasons. Women even today feel embarrassed about their menses, they feel embarrassed to buy tampons openly, though no-one would feel anything when they buy toilet paper. Women were exiled during the phase, considered unclean, which relates to me to the exile of Feminine Divine itself. How often is not menstruation spoken of as “the curse” ? Interesting that our word “blessing” comes from the Old English “bloedson”, or “bleeding” . It is also known that during menses women are more psychic, and have a greater inner creative flow. This would correspond to a women’s energetic flow, which is no longer turned outward toward union with the other, but rather it is turned inward. It is also said during the menstrual time the power of a woman’s erotic sexuality can be used for transformation, renewal, divination, healing, etc, rather than procreation. During the menstrual time a woman is turned inward, and she can most easily access the workings of her inner life and powers of the psyche. The heavy, sleeplike qualities of the menstrual time help a woman to reach deep meditative states. When an aspect of the wholeness of self is denied, it develops into the shadow.
We could also say that the world itself is at present in a dark moon phase of transition. We resist any kind of change that brings loss of what we know as security, and we shirk from recalling any event that holds traumatic memories that crystallizes us into negative, self-defeating patterns of behavior.
The story of Lilith has 3 parts; she and Adam were created together, but they quarreled because she insisted on being equal, she then went into exile where she first sorrowed and then in her anger planned revenge. Part 3 is a prophesy that with the return of Christ her evil reign will end. On a psychological level this represents the classical grieving process of finding ourselves disempowered in some way, or facing loss.
“In Lilith’s archetypal threefold process, she first shows us how and where we experience the themes of suppression, resentment, explosive anger, taking a stand for our dignity, only to be rejected and forced to flee. In the second phase she brings us to exile, desolation where we feel our anguish, alienation, fear, and hatred for our sexuality. She exacts revenge by fulfilling the patriarchy’s worst fears and enacting their monstrous shadow projections. In the final phase we can discover her transmuting and healing activities, as she cuts away our pretensions, false roles, and delusions and helps us fully to actualize our true, essential selves.” (The risen Christ) – Demetra George
We can continue blaming the other gender for our woes, but in doing so we are losing an opportunity for growth, an opportunity to find the balance, and heal not only ourselves but the world too.