Masculinity and Femininity

The thread about Tao got me thinking about this, especially about the complementary forces.

Traditionally in Western culture, the two concepts of masculinity and femininity are seen as diametrically opposite characteristics of gender, linked intrinsically to sex. It’s assumed that they exist on a continuum, that if you are more masculine you must be less feminine, and vice versa. Any cursory look into a handful of varying cultures will show you that these ideas of what men and women are like aren’t rooted in biology, but rather cultural ideas. So it reasonably follows that, as gender psychologists have been saying for awhile, traits involved in masculinity and femininity can and do exist within the same individual without impinging on each other. Some people, like myself, show highly the mental characteristics of both masculinity and femininity, while some people might show very little of either. Current popular theory, backed up by some research, seems to suggest that being balanced and androgynous (mentally, that is) is the healthier set of characteristics to have, whereas having far too much of one without much of the other can be mentally and emotionally harmful.

So, how do we think this relates to our rewilding? How might awareness of these concepts help us to build healthy cultures? What will it mean for traditional gender roles in hunting and gathering societies?

I’ve been working with masculine and feminine also… and I’ll share some of my thoughts/investigations. Here’s a quote from the book “The Woman in the shaman’s body” by Barbara Tedlock

“During healing they use both feminie and masculine symbols and actions. The female symbols nurture, heal the body, and integrate the self. Male symbols exorcise, defeat and kill the “other”. Mapuche shamans dramatically weave together these seemingly incompatible themes and in doing so embody multiple genders as they cure.”

Whenever I do healing work, whether it’s psychological, or relational … there’s always this tension between descending to the “demons” and overcoming them, with warrior energy, or being more the alchemist, the more feminine path of transformation. What I have come to realize is being adept at both is important, and even more important is knowing which energy to bring forth, and when. “Mother Bear” energy is a warrior energy that I use all the time as a human mother, so the alchemy I use within my “tribal” sacred circle, and the warrior energy I tend to pull out with the rest of the world, as I guard the boundaries. I can’t transform the whole “matrix” of civilization, so I defend against that one. What took me awhile to learn is the social, relationship, healing work depends on is this person part of the inner circle, part of the “tribe”, or are they more an outside threat?

I have to say that this subject has begun to beat against my psyche with terrific force of late.

I had a condition called “adrenal fatigue” which created some amount of hormone imbalance. A good friend of mine diagnosed it and has doctored me into far better balance, and it has substantially changed my psychology (along with my fitness, strength, and so on). and my personality somewhat.

For better or worse…

In addition I’ve found boxing and full-contact martial-arts, in a no-ego and light-hearted environment, to have substantially aided in my recovery. I recommend it highly to any male trying to nourish their male-side. Getting hit in the head with a hard pillow over and over can feel incredibly good! ;D

I see an incredible sensitivity in the human body, and even the simplest sensory experiences can radically alter its health (for good or ill), such as what you see, or smell, or touch. I really think getting hit in the head, in a non-destructive way, helps me to relax and maintain a physical balance. This reminds me even of when women in close relationships, observe another of their group give birth to a baby, they can lactate in sympathy.

This explains why rewilding makes so much sense!