Ancient cultures experienced and named the earth as feminine. They saw the female body as an extension of nature, embodying the same attributes as the earth. Woman as nature. As nature, a woman’s body provided the nurturing that brought forth and sustained life, the same way the earth brought forth and sustained life.
A woman’s body will naturally entrain with the phases of the moon, her monthly cycles arriving with the dark moon, when she is not exposed to artificial light. Her body reflects the seasonal changes of conceiving new life, growth, releasing and preparation for another season of growth.
The cultural changes that led to the devaluation of both women and the earth have dramatically effected the state of the feminine in our personal experience. First and foremost, we do not stand in reverence and awe of the feminine archetype. We have lost our sense of the powerful, multi-faceted feminine.
Here is a portion of Wikipedia’s definition of femininity: Gentleness, empathy, sensitivity, nurturance, deference, self-abasement, and succorance are behaviors generally considered feminine. The feminine nature is considered by some to be more emotional and less logical than the masculine nature.
Is this really the feminine? Or is this the feminine that endured centuries of cultural neglect and entrapment. When I think of those ancient communities, whose very basis was celebrating the divine feminine archetype in the Great Earth Mother, I cannot imagine a diminished feminine. The earth debasing herself, or shaming herself, for her overly emotional nature. Earth wisdom may seem overly reactive when she is ultimately about self-balancing and self-preservation.
I prefer Clarissa Pinkola Estes words in Women Who Run With the Wolves to describe the unbound feminine. She uses the words “Wild Woman” to refer to the pure feminine instinctual nature.
“To adjoin the instinctual nature. . .means to establish territory, to find ones’s pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to act and speak in one’s behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one’s cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can.” My body feels the power in those words.
In doing our work to re-own and redefine the feminine for ourselves, we can look to “the feminine earth” as our guide. We can be amazed at her beauty, her diversity, her power, her deep wisdom, her abundant nature, her natural joy. And remember that we are all that too. She is us and we are her. And nothing less. As we walk the path of the divine feminine, learning what it means for us individually to re-own the beauty and power of the feminine in our lives, we can open ourselves up to our true feminine nature that we share with “the feminine earth.”
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