Submitting to Femininity Part II: Being

This is a fantastic video I hope you have time to view. It shows the cooperation of community to create something of beauty.
In part I of this series, I speak to the recent conscious decision I made to surrender more fully into femininity. In this part of the series, I will focus on the “how” of my inner softening. 

Muscle Memory

In living through my Animus for so long I am discovering that I had been suffocating so much of my own femininity. Standing tall, walking and drinking like a man, standing up for myself and not asking for (nor accepting) help are all things I have routinely done while relying on my Animus for strength.  To change course feels as if I am navigating through uncharted territories in a ship that has not passed its sea trials. Oh, and neither has the XO.

While I know my Animus could easily step back in seamlessly, I need my inner feminine to gain her sea legs. The only way to earn those is to learn to be the tides while my ship moves through the rocky waters. As with any new skill, this is going to take time, patience and persistence to unlearn the old ways while softening further into the new ones. Recognizing the habits of living through my Animus is an important step, as the path to being feminine can be tricky if I keep circling back to the Animus for strength.

In the meantime, as I learn to lay down new muscle memories, I find myself a bit disoriented and lost. My heart aches for the safety of the shore and a steady platform. I am finding it difficult to avoid my adaptive behaviors: attention seeking, comfort eating, excessive thinking, (fuck) even smoking and drinking. Giving myself grace, space and seeing that this is a whole new adventure is giving me some respite.

Literally I am laughing out loud, as I see where this journey into the feminine is so much about nurturing and community, which are two important traits of the Divine Feminine. Always fun when I get the Universe’s jokes…

Before speaking to the how of being more feminine, I am going to attempt to briefly discuss the how of masculinity. To see the path of the masculine energy can help to differentiate the path of the feminine. In fact, it was in reading He that I began to understand and differentiate my own femininity.

The Hero’s Journey

In He: Understanding Masculine Psychology Robert A. Johnson uses the story of Parisfal to illustrate the Hero’s journey. Basically, the hero’s masculine journey is sought through a restlessness to create his own path. Man must find himself through going out into the world and proving himself. His quest is to overcome his own wounds so that he can heal his kingdom. The wounded Fisher King oversees a wounded Kingdom. When the King suffers, so does his world. His ultimate quest is Grail Castle which holds the Grail that when properly activated heals the Fisher King.

Parsifal represents the innocence of the fool, the child-like quality that has the ability to draw opposites together. It is by being humble “as the earth” that Parisfal becomes stronger and is able to access Grail Castle. Interesting that Grail Castle is only accessible by accident, at least initially, and then later in life after he surrenders his journey and recognizes that the path within is through the acceptance of his own divine feminine.

In the search for Grail Castle (his own inner world), Parisfal must leave his mother and set out on his own. He stumbles upon Grail Castle in his youth then spends the rest of his life trying to figure out how to get back. He repeatedly stumbles through life claiming his masculinity in his battle with The Red Knight. He continues to fight many battles and in his mid-life questions why he continues to fight.

Parisfal often visits his lover who represents his Anima, his inner feminine. She stays in her castle, “animating” him in his journey. In his excursions, he must not allow his Anima to possess him for to do so would block his ability to access Grail Castle; Anima possession. This represents man’s need to be a master of his own interior, to not allow his moods to control him, or he will find himself fighting with his environment (earth) or the women in his life. Mastery comes through accepting his own emotions.

Interesting that Johnson expands on this and details the six feminine elements within man. He notes that trouble comes when a man “crosses the streams” and confuses or mixes one of the elements within the other. Don’t cross the streams! It’s pure poison, for example, to mix your Anima with your companion. In so doing you miss the beautiful qualities of your companion and set her up for failure. In the book he gives more examples.

The Six Feminine Elements within Man:

  1. Human Mother – represents his actual mother
  2. Mother Complex – represents man’s desire to be child-like again, nurtured by his mother and can be a challenge for him as this can activate his own wish to fail so that he may return to his mother. This can be pure poison to a man’s psychology. This can manifest in man’s obsession with death, accidents and his demand to be taken care of.
  3. Mother Archetype – represents The Divine Feminine”pure gold” according to Johnson
  4. Anima – represents his fair maiden, the “one who gives meaning & quality to his life”
  5. Human Companion – the physical woman/companion or wife in his life
  6. Sophia – The Goddess of Wisdom, in most cultures wisdom is a feminine quality

While Johnson does not detail the masculine elements within woman, I feel that these qualities are important for women to see in our journey into a greater acceptance of our own femininity. These elements are also powerful to understand in our interactions with the men in our lives. Seeing now how in many ways I have acted as a mother to some of my lovers helps me to see some of the reasons we are no longer together.

Now to explore the being involved in becoming more and more feminine.

Note: a fantastic book for both sexes is Living in the Heart by Drunvalo Melchizedek. He speaks to the differences between the accessing of “Grail Castle” or the inner realms of the heart for men and women.

Psyche “The Soul”

In the book She: Understanding Feminine Psychology, Jungian analyst Robert Johnson uses the story of Psyche and Eros to illustrate the Feminine journey. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that archetypes exist in societies to demonstrate the overarching personalities displayed by men and women. Mythological stories and religious allegories demonstrate these personality types. It is also important to note that Jung also believed in the Yin-Yang Theory that each side has some of the other within. So for men, Psyche is a reflection of the inner Feminine or Anima. While Eros represents the woman’s version of her own Animus.

Interesting that the story of Psyche and Eros sounds much like the story of Adam and Eve. The “Cliff Notes” version of the Psyche and Eros story is that Eros brings Psyche to paradise with the agreement that she not look at Him or question Him. When Psyche lights the lamp of consciousness and looks upon Eros as he sleeps, she sees him for the God that she is. Having been touched by one of his arrows of love, she falls in love with him. Psyche’s lamp is much like the apple of knowledge that Eve chooses to take a bite of in the Garden of Eden. Both women and their lovers are then cast out of paradise. The serpent equivalent for Psyche is represented by her sisters who urge her to look upon Eros’ face, to break his rules.

To redeem herself, Psyche is given 4 tasks by Eros’ mother, Aphrodite (in this myth she is the archetypal mother in law). In each of these tasks, Psyche learns lessons in femininity. Aphrodite threatens death to Psyche for failure to complete the tasks at hand. Meanwhile, Eros is helping behind the scenes by sending Psyche assistance.

Before each task, Psyche wishes for death and contemplates suicide. Johnson as a psychologist, states that the feeling of suicide often emerges before we organize ourselves at a higher level of understanding. Personally, I see the death wish as the need for something that no longer serves us to die. The analogy I often give is the death of the caterpillar that must occur before the birth of the butterfly.

Without going into the details of the story of each task, here are the life lessons Psyche learns about living the Divine Feminine:

  1. Sorting Seeds is about prioritizing, finding the hierarchy in our tasks. Here she receives help from an army of ants, which represent community and connection to the Earth. Johnson states this task is as much about daily duties as it is about inner emotions and setting boundaries. My question here is “What seeds do we want to plant and grow?” Taking it a step further, I believe we get what we pay attention to…Karmic seeds also come to my mind here.
  2. Gathering the Rams’ Fleece instructs women on wisely and sparingly gathering and using our inner masculine energy. It is important to avoid direct confrontation with masculine energy the Ram), as doing so causes destruction and potentially could cause harm. A woman could choose to claim her power by slaying Samson as Delilah did, triumphing through destruction, or we can gather the energy from the edges and get our needs met without having to face the Ram head-on. Personally, this one may be where I meet the most inner resistance. In this task, the Reeds keep Psyche from suicide while giving her the secrets she needs to complete her task. It is my belief that the universe conspires to help us when we are on our path to self-discovery. The Reeds refer again to community and the connection to earth and now water – both being feminine energies. Perhaps too the reeds refer to knowing our roots as women. It is not our place to directly confront the Ram.
  3. Filling a Crystal Goblet from the River Styx involves focusing on one thing at a time. The River is circular, vast and represents the cycle of life and energy.  It can be treacherous to do too many things at one time. Instead, we must focus on the single task at hand. We can return to the river and fill our goblets as many times as we wish, just one goblet at a time. The goblet can also represent our frailty as humans, the Holy Grail or the chalice and the ability to hold life. The eagle helps Psyche with this task of precision. Eagles represent higher and sharper vision and generally hunt alone. The energy of the feminine is magnetic, it moves upwards, outwards, downwards and then inwards. To me, the infinite flow of the River Styx represents the circular flow of magnetic and feminine energy. This is what I felt when I wrote about the water cycle of evaporation, condensation and precipitation under the Mighty Oak in Part I. 
  4. Receiving beauty from Persephone is the final task which almost kills Psyche. Here she must travel to the inner realms, to the Queen of the Underworld. When she does not follow orders and opens the empty jar of beauty, she collapses into a coma. Here Eros senses her need for help and he rescues her. In her journey to the underworld, Psyche must stay focused on her mission and avoid the distractions of others. She must pay her dues and pass several potential pitfalls. It is only in this task that Eros directly intervenes. I’m still working through the intricacies of this task.  It was interesting to have written about skin diving through the River Styx just a day or so before reading this task!

Take home messages from the Four Tasks:

  • Prioritizing our duties is important (sorting seeds)
  • Community is important. Feminine energy weaves together the community, it is important to rely on others for assistance.
  • Do one thing at a time: focus.
  • Progress can feel like “do or die” (Aphrodite’s threats of death)
  • Prior to the next level of spiritual unfolding part of us must die, this can feel like suicide
  • Work together with nature as well as other sentient beings to accomplish tasks (army of ants, the reeds, the eagle)
  • It’s ok to get help from our Animus/Masculine counterpart when needed
  • Our energy is infinite as are our resources (The River Styx)
  • The Cycle of life and energy are continuous
  • The universe conspires to help us when we are on our path
  • Sometimes we need to ignore the pleas of others to accomplish our own tasks: on the way to our inner depths others can offer distractions to our own mission and lessons
  • Non-interference:  we each are here to experience different things. It is not my job to police your experience, nor to risk my own life to save yours. Sometimes we must drown to learn to swim.

Overarching Theme: Discernment

Being feminine is about discerning where to expend energy. 1. What seeds do I want to plant? 2. Do I really want to go head-to-head with the Ram? 3. How much can I truly safely handle at once? 4. The journey within is my own, how can I help others if I cannot help myself? AND I cannot travel the journey for others, either.
One of my counselors use to say to me, “Tiffany, you don’t have to accept every invitation to every argument you are invited to.” Discerning when the battle is worthwhile is important to thriving.
In her final task, a man is drowning in the River Styx and calls out for Psyche to save him. She could have drowned herself or missed her mission by taking his hand to help him. This sounds terrible to say, especially for a physical therapist. However, even health care professionals must often triage people: who can be reasonably saved? Who has injuries that need immediate attention and who is going to die regardless of what you do for them? Who is willing to receive healing?
This also returns me to the concept of non-interference. When someone comes to me for help, I will do my best to help him or her. However, inserting myself into someone else’s circus because I think they are on the wrong path I inherit their monkeys. I have enough monkeys on my back and I do not need more. It may sound cruel to allow someone else to drown, however, I have learned to swim through my emotions by first drowning in them. Perhaps it is his or her lesson to learn to swim and it is not until the last thing we have is our strength, can we learn to be strong in our vulnerability.
Sometimes nurturing is allowing what will be to be. It is my Animus that wishes to be the hero and run out to save everyone. By being able to descend into the underworld, to be naked in my own truth, I nurture others into the same. Yes, I do believe in helping others. The message here is about discerning who I have the ability and capability to help and who is willing to receive it?
Allowing Men to be Men
Part of being more feminine is allowing men to be men. While I am capable of opening doors and carrying a chair across the deck, if a man offers to do these things for me, it is my duty to allow it. Being feminine is about being, receiving and allowing. This is quite a realization for me. From Wonder Woman to Elektra to the Scarlet Witch, I have changed my Anima several times in just 2 short years. The first two often stood on their own in my mind at least, whereas the Scarlet Witch works closely in her team as an Avenger and a fellow INFP. In this journey, I see the importance of allowing men to be men, without interfering and joining in the battle when my skills are helpful.

Freeing the spaces

This is a new paradigm that I am practicing after finding new ways to be more genuinely feminine. I call it freeing the spaces. Over time, particularly with the advent of the smart phone, my free time and space have come down to precious little. While I do practice daily meditation, throughout the day I find myself filling all the spaces in my thoughts and time. When slow at work, I check my email like crazy – and it drives me crazy.

Now I am practicing just being. I’m taking back the spaces, freeing them to just be: further softening into my own femininity.

As I experience new ways of becoming more feminine, I will surely share them with you. Sometimes it takes different ideas to get to the same place. Each journey is unique and we each are here to experience it differently. Just as I do not expect anyone to start to enjoy the color pink (wink), I do not expect you to embrace this new practice of freeing the spaces.

~~~

 

Image: Google. Lemuria Returns is the final card from an Easter Tarot Reading from 2 years ago. It spoke to the birth of something new in my life. The reading foretold the ending of my marriage (I was blind at the time), a new loyal lover and the birth of something new: Me in my femininity. Two out of three so far, not so bad. Maybe one day I’ll share the reading.

Just as the feminine energy returns to the beginning, I find myself now two years later at the dawn of a new awakening. Thank you for joining me in this journey of self-discovery. 

Many followers have helped me in different ways along this path. Thank you for this, this is such a community effort and it is my hope that my work in some way helps you in your own path.

Namaste. Metta. Ananda. __/|\__

27 thoughts on “Submitting to Femininity Part II: Being

  1. Tiffany – another great post! So much information and insightful was buried within these words! I feel like I am in a psychology class and feel myself perched on the edge of my seat leaning forward with great attention and appreciation for what is being taught to me. So many good points to take and apply to my own life. Thank you for sharing this with us! My wheels are spinning on thought with this. Btw- changed my gravatar as a show of support for pink. 😉💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lot of information to ponder. I grew up with a single mom and don’t have very good role models of good men or the divine feminine. Some of this makes me uncomfortable but I like that. What good is info that I already know? Thanks for delving in, Tiffany! You’ve given me a lot to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Echoed throughout the comments are the volume of rich insights here. I agree. I look forward to reading about the individual themes as you apply them to your journey, your trials and tribulations as you bring them to life through your experiences and return to teach us. 🙂 Great post, Tiffany :-*

    Liked by 1 person

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