I will be totally honest with you; I was a reluctant recruit to the notions that men too are wounded by our patriarchal world and the negation of the feminine aspects of our human nature, and that they need women’s empathy and support in their healing.
Then one day, my best female friend challenged me. I had been sharing with her my exploration of the Goddess, the sacred feminine and magic, and my recent healing work with my mother. She stopped me midstream and asked, “What about men, Karen? How are you going to help them heal?” My response was something along the lines of, “Not my problem. Let them figure it out on their own.”
Not long afterwards, the Dark Goddess came to me in a dream and gave me my marching orders, “I want my Beloved back.” And from there, many dreams and healing moments later, I realized that the tear in the outside culture between men and women was inside of me. And that I could only mend this tear, inner and outer, by extending the same loving concern and compassion for the wounding and pain of men as I did for myself and for my women kin.
Man or woman, gay, trans or straight, victim or privileged, we are all born into a misogynist world that force-feeds and constrains us within narrow, damaging male and female stereotypes and roles. What ails humanity, men and women alike, is the degradation and repression of the feminine half our nature that holds not only our nurturing and emotive capacities, but also our anchor in Mother/matter: our bodies, the natural world and the mysteries of the Divine feminine. For some the harm is direct and brutal, for others it is more subtle and subtext, and none of us can escape the ever-present cultural negation of women’s ways, values and spirituality, and the mirror distortion and limitation of men and masculinity.
I invite you to explore the gendered tear inside of you, but gently so. Examine your beliefs about men and women, their roles, natures and place within society. How did your family and childhood experiences solidify your understanding and internalization of gender stereotypes and biases? How have you experienced and/or perpetuated gender inequities as an adult? How have you, and the women, girls, men and boys in your life been limited and harmed by the misogynist ways of our world? How does your personal gender wounding manifest in your life? What healing have you experienced? What further healing do you need? How sensitive or resistant are you to extending your loving concern and compassion for the wounding and pain of your own gender and the opposite gender?
If this introspection exercise touches painful places in you, slow down and only explore these questions as far as you are ready to at this moment. We each embrace, heal and transform our inner gender tear in our own way and in our own time.
My own journey, after many years of deep, painful and powerful work, returned me to a profound love that is gender blind. For myself and my woman kin, I strive for a world where our true, stunning, undomesticated feminine heritage and essence can shine and flourish. Like the Dark Goddess, I want my Beloved back, returned to my side in his full, untainted beauty and presence, not only in his form as my partner/lover, but also as my son, my father, my brothers, my male fellow travelers and friends, and the men of this world. For all of us, I reach for a shared reality in which gender is a liquid quality that does not define and limit us but morphs in relation to our personal configuration of the unfettered feminine and masculine elements of human nature.
Together, we can make this vision our reality.
The Path of She is published on alternate Saturdays; follow it via RSS or e-mail! If you like Karen’s work, like her page on Facebook or maybe buy her book, Tale of the Lost Daughter, a fictional spiritual adventure into the life-changing world of magic and the sacred feminine.