The Feminine Erotic Politic … Women, Sex & Power

 

There has been a misogynistic assault on feminine wisdom and heart in recent years in the wider political and media culture. It has made it difficult to clearly see the gifts and purposes embedded in the feminine spiritual energies and wisdom within history, within people and even within ourselves. Yet, there is an urgency to bring this wisdom to bear on our culture that is seeing rising rates of violence and consumer-driven values wreaking havoc on communities.

Feminist activist and poet Audre Lorde said in her famous essay the erotic is not the pornographic:

The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the life-force of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.                Audre Lorde  (1934-1992)

 

Why is this important today?

  • People are exhausted and uninspired.
  • They are giving everything to their careers and their kids and finding their relationships dead or dying.
  • They are disappointed in their sex lives, in their connection with their partners, in how hard are working or trying and how little they are getting in return
  • They listen to their political leaders and they are disenchanted. They don’t feel seen or heard.
  • Something has gotten out of kilter, out of whack in culture, in lives … but what is it?
  • When we look at both ancient texts and contemporary culture we see the same trend – a silencing of feminine wisdom and voice, and an inordinate amount of space filled with the masculine.
  • We see too much competition, consumerism, military might and right, jockeying for position, protecting our own at the expense of others, misogyny and violence, and not enough concern for our land, our children, our families, our emotional health, our communities, our effect on each other, the poor and marginalized, the long-term effect of our actions, and planning for the long run.
  • Across all cultures and across all time ancient texts have written about the feminine face of God or the feminine divine presence as the maternal presence whose wisdom brought fierce protection and a sense of justice. This divine feminine energy was planted in both men and women, but in our American culture, we have marginalized, denigrated and silenced this healing wisdom to our own detriment.
  • This conversation seeks to resurrect her voice and wisdom so we can all recognize her song, join the chorus and begin to make a difference through the power of her music.

 

The Kabbalah Calls Forth the Feminine Wisdom of GOD

The Kabbalah is the esoteric tradition and the mystical soul of Judaism.  Its principal work is called The Zohar, The Book of Radiance.  The written works of the Kabbalah seek to explore the essence of existence and divinity. Kabbalah posits that there are hidden divine sparks of spirituality within every fiber of creation.  That there is a spiritual undercurrent underlying all physical reality. It is the objective of the Kabbalah to reveal it. This hidden divine spark is what Plato called eros – the coming together in beauty of body and soul. It is the life force, the breath of God that inhabits all things and inhabits us from the moment we take our first breath and is with us until we exhale our last. In our lives, it is our passion, our deepest hopes, and desires, our creativity and creation.  Eros is the life-force that inspires us to create, to love, to heal, to care, to experience the fullest of life through the embodied experience of our senses.  This breath of life is our hint of the God in all creation, lodged deeply in the soul and psyche of every human and around us in all creation.

Because God can be found everywhere, the Kabbalah dismisses the mind-matter/body-soul dualism that is so prevalent in world religion. The body is no less holy than the soul. God is found in all. And God has both feminine and masculine energies. The feminine aspect of God is the Creator, giving rise to the universe from the cosmic womb.  The presence of God on earth is known as the Shekinah, the wisdom of Yahweh. The Queen of Heaven is Sophia, and breath of God is Ruah, all earthly manifestations of divine energy are feminine.   Ancient Rabbi’s were often known to say that meeting a woman was like meeting a divine presence.

When Moses met God at the burning bush he was commanded to take off his shoes, lest he tramples on holy ground.  He was literally standing on Mother God/ Mother Earth – in the feminine presence of God – the Shekinah. In these ancient times, the feminine aspects of the divine were known – alive and well.

Kabbalah, like Tantra, saw sex as a feminine discipline, emphasizing the superiority of the feminine to the masculine energy.

In the sex act, the male was seen as enveloped by the feminine; the line encompassed by the circle.  The masculine acknowledged that he accessed his divine energy through her.  The belief was it took feminine sanctity to create masculine dignity.

In early Christianity, scholars say the Holy Spirit was preserved as female by the 1st Aramaic speaking Christian’s from Jerusalem who recorded Jesus baptism as God’s voice as female saying, “My son, in all the prophets, was I waiting for you that you should come and I might rest in you. For you are my rest.  You are my first born son who reigns forever.” The Gospel of the Hebrews as reported by Jerome, a famous Bible translator and Western Theologian in 386 AD.

Looking at these very old texts some scholars believe – if the Holy Spirit had not been neutered and then masculinized in all of the many translations, the Christian trinity would be best understood as Yahweh (Father God), The Holy Spirit (Mother God), and Christ (Son of God).  One way to understand this is, if God is Love, love must be demonstrated through a relationship and cannot be demonstrated by an individual deity alone. Love cannot be demonstrated by one entity.  That deity must be represented in the context of a relationship.  Given the value of family in both Judaism and Christianity, it makes sense from these perspectives that the God-head demonstration of Love would be revealed this way.  However, the strength of the sociopolitical patriarchal systems across the centuries that the New Testament was translated and re-translated, the feminine was either removed, neutered and then masculinized, or she was described as a prostitute.

Yet when we look deep into ancient texts we see how Tantra and the Kabbalah both established, without wanting to patronize, that the masculine should be worshipping the feminine.

Contemporary Rabbi Schmuely Boteach says that Jews have always had a decidedly feminine worldview. They believe their culture is maturing only when it is becoming more feminine – more nurturing, more just, more natural healers. He points to a verse in Isaiah 2:4 saying “One day men would beat their swords into plowshares.”

This is actually a well-understood idea in economics and politics (tho not heeded by those with less feminine sensibilities).  You move from military solutions to diplomatic solutions.  From more severe solutions to more negotiated solutions. It was understood that the masculine needed a gentler and more companionate and compassionate side, and at times needed to be less competitive. They needed to truly adore their partners and get along with their peers.  They had to learn from female sacrifice.  They needed to take on a nurturing role and allow others to shine – to experience the heroic aspects of this way of being supportive and protective.  Likewise in sex, men had to become more feminine and learn that real sex is a sharing of the self with a deeply connected other.  He needed to slow down.  To see, know, love and learn his partner.  The masculine had to soften and pay homage to something more feminine. And in doing so, he could ignite her passion, for she could finally believe she was seen, known, loved and accepted for who she was, not for what she could do for him. She could feel safe.  Only then would she be willing to share her erotic power (versus pretend to show up).

 

Why does this matter?

Unfortunately, in America, Western Religion and its decidedly conservative patriarchal western Christian roots, slowly over translation after translation, and sociopolitical sanitization, the feminine voice, character, and language were either removed or defamed. In modern culture, we also seemed to toss all this wisdom away – trading women for profits and boob jobs.

Since the deregulation of the media in 1980’s Disney, News Corp, Time/Warner, NBC/GE & Viacom now own virtually all major media sources

Michael Eisner – former CEO of Disney (1984-2005) said in an internal memo:

“We have no obligation to make history

We have no obligation to make art

We have no obligation to make a statement

To make money is our only objective.”

Walt Disney lost 16 relatives in the Holocaust; all of his female ancestors did some social service work. He began his career as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Red Cross.  It is clear through this memo and this CEO and corporate strategist that Disney Corp. has walked away from all feminine sensibilities and values,  that was the original heartbeat of this company.

Since 1972 Surgeon General, AMA, NIMH, APA, CDC have all come out with studies showing a direct correlation between screen violence and violent behavior.

In 2007 the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) unanimously recommended Congress regulate TV violence.

In 2007 Congress held a special hearing on the prevalence of women’s sexual violence in music videos.

Violence and humiliation against women was not a part of heterosexual pornography until after 1988. Now it is one of the most common features.

Since this time we have also seen a marked increase in violence against women:

  • 1 in 4 women exp. teen dating violence; 1 in 4 women will be assaulted on a college campus
  • 1 in 4 women are abused by a partner in their lifetime
  • 1 in 6 women are survivors of rape – 15% are under the age of 12
  • In 2017 we hit the highest number of transgender murders in our history – most M to F
  • The rate of mass shootings has tripled each year since 2011
  • 2014 saw the highest # of gun violence incidence (>51K), deaths (>12K), mass shootings (281) than ever before. Until …
  • 2015 saw the highest # of gun violence incidence (>52K), deaths (>13K), mass shootings (330) than ever before.
  • US 30 per 100,000 deaths compared to 5 in Canada, 1.7 Germany, .7 England
  • More people now die by guns than cars in the US (Forbes)

AND …

We have just been through this election cycle …

Given all of this, it is time we re-member the feminine – that we put her boldly front and center back into a place of honor in our lives, in our relationships, in our homes, in our businesses, in our politics, in our economy, in our churches, in our marriages. It is time to re-member that traditional societies have honored the woman’s spiritual power. She has been a midwife, herbalist, healer, and teacher – the wise woman.  She has been an advisor, a judge, an arbiter – one who uses insight honed by experience.  She has been holy fury and knowledge, active wisdom – the one recognized as being close to life cycles, the leader of ceremonies for every event from birth to death.

It has only been in Christendom – recent years, historically – where women have been feared and rejected, denied those very same offices at great cost to the men, women, children, and the development of the Christian church and American society at large.

To help us return … to re-member ourselves back to our place of wisdom and action, the following are 5 tenants of the feminine erotic politic:

Root yourself in the ground of your own being. Rest in your integrity and in the seat of what you know is just.  Resist the tendency of other forces, like the media and ego to uproot you from who you are.

Keep connected to your community in which you find life, for you understand that it is within these relationships that you find life. Life-giving relationships are necessary for us to thrive.

Take time to be quiet and listen deeply to the truth about yourself, your world, and the relationship between the two – even if this truth is hard to hear.

Take time to soak in life and then to pass on this life as a gift to others. When we are life-givers we offer life in a world that too often sees far too much death and discouragement.

Find your places to invest your passion and make a difference. Participate in the change you want to see and the love you want to feel. This is the best way to add meaning to your life, ward off despair, and play a role in the evolution and revolution.