Resurgence of the Feminine

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After so many centuries of oppression toward women, their bodies and their spirits, why of a sudden has (Western) society become so much more tolerant and respectful of women? What has changed in the last century or two to bring about these profound changes?

Many attribute the changes toward women to such things as the Suffragettes and their stance on voting rights, Gloria Steinem and the Feminist Movement and the influx of women in the work force.  Others opine that the Reformation was the first step toward developing progressive ideas about the value of the female, as well as her liberation. (Keep in mind though, that Martin Luther was in fact a strident sexist, and did nothing personally to advance this notion.)

Previous to the Reformation, Europe was dominated by a voraciously sexist Roman Catholic Church and its laity. Women were likened to "sacks of manure," blamed for the fall of man in the garden, likened to cattle and refused educations.  Women found teaching over men were often killed.  Women found to be promiscuous were punished far worse than the men with whom they were promiscuous.  Last, women made up approximately 90% of those persecuted and killed during the witch trials, and this without a true and purposeful thought as to their innocence. 

Things began to subtly shift with the dawn of the era of Enlightenment, when science and secular thought began to seep into the Western mind. With the popular acceptance of science and scientific exploration came a diminished need for the Church's role.  With the church less of a presence, people allowed themselves to freely think, and this included ideas that concerned women and other minorities.  No longer was the Anglo Saxon Catholic (or Anglican) male at the center of all that was vital and profitable.  Women began to make their voices and opinions heard. 

Out of the Enlightenment came huge scientific understandings and breakthroughs, giving rise to geometric growth both technologically and socially. The farther away we as a society got from the stranglehold of the Church, the more we could allow for our own excitement of the scientific unknown, and our role in such a context.

A curious thing has begun to happen.  With Science miles ahead of the Church in terms of popularity, it has, in spite of this, begun to circle back to the ancient queries that dominated the minds of the societies of old. With the advancements in quantum physics, with the delving into areas such as Time and Creation, with the application of scientific apparatus to explore manís role on this planet, Science has unwittingly found itself back on the original Path, the path of spiritual understanding.  

With this new mindset and the exciting horizon before us, the door has opened for the feminine divine to re-emerge. The concept of Woman as fertile, beautiful, sensual, holy and maternal has blossomed in the minds of the quasi scientific/spiritual/philosophical masses. We are not afraid to respect Woman, because the church no longer tells us She is worthless. (This idea would be social suicide, were they to employ it in this day and age.) It is safe now to return to our innate ideas that the woman was at the beginning of all things, that from her alone sprang forth life, and not some angry, warring male God sitting on high waiting to dole out punishments to the willful multitudes.

With our return to the Feminine Divine we allow ourselves to tap into those parts of us that are soft, feeling, emotional, compassionate, tempered, impassioned and maternal. This includes men just as much as women. Now that the respect of women is a social priority, men themselves are allowing their spirits to rise up and grasp their own feminine aspects. This allows for a more well-rounded male, one who listens before leaping, and one who can appreciate the eternal attributes of woman.

Nature religions, too, are enjoying new life. Again, as a result of the Churchís lack of popularity, pagan sects have sprung up all around, to which women as participants and objects of worship are vital, if not centric. There is more acceptance of and interest in these religions, shamanic, pagan or otherwise, as tolerance as a whole is increasingly becoming the standard. With this tolerance will come exploration, and with the exploration, inevitably, a broader acceptance and appreciation of the woman.

It is for us to contemplate, then, the true nature of enlightenment. Spiritual advancement. How does it move, how does it spread? How can we women of the West ensure that women in other areas reap the benefits we have begun to see? There are so many countries now that do not adhere to our ideas; millions of women, all over the world, are veiled and disregarded, mutilated and beaten. When wars break out, invariably it is the women who are raped and sodomized, as the most flagrant act of degradation by an assailant to a particular culture or society. How can it all change?

As it has been said, the light shines through the darkness, and, the light casts out the darkness. We can only assume that, as concepts of women adapt and change and become more enlightened, other regions will experience the benefits as well.

 

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