The divided Goddess engendered

Thursday, April 4, 2013

‘The divided Goddess engendered’ is part of the Gender-Series

The Goddess. I am sure we are all sort of familiar with the symbol of the Goddess. Of course appearing in splendid beauty, the Goddess can symbolically denote for many properties and characteristics in our thinking. Culture does certainly play a role in how we regard a Goddess, as e.g. during the times that Roman Catholicism was dominant in Western culture, only the Queen of Heaven was allowed to be worshiped; she is a guide, an admired spiritual example as well as the Virgin that was worthy to become the blessed Mother of God, a chosen one from amongst women.

Not being raised in a tradition of Mary-devotion myself, I may have missed an essential thing while growing up in an overly male accented religious group. Nevertheless, all my live I have felt attracted to devote myself to the feminine. As bringer and bearer of life, women are certainly sacred, but the feminine should not be reduced to reproduction, sexuality or whatever one-sided view; in fact, I increasingly feel inclined to see that the whole division between man and woman is practical, but risky, as it inheres a dynamics that can be hurting to all of us: division.

This risk may not be obvious when you look around in Western culture that has been washed clean by three waves of feminism, but many of us still think and act as if humanity can be regarded as existing as two species or in two forms; man and woman. We of course would not explicitly say that either males or females are lesser, then it is clear that having different appearances – or better perhaps instances – originate from the wide genetic pool we all crawled out. Thus, so seen, that what we call sex or gender is nothing as a regrouping of properties – internal, biological, external or social. In this statistical distribution we find clusters or properties or functions that we give names and labels to, either as a classification deriving from our culture, or as a way of self-identification.

Freedom of expression is one of the acknowledged human rights and living in a culture that is rapidly opening up to more diversity with regard to gender and sex is exciting; even when intolerance levels with regard to transgender and transsexual persons are still high.

A look in the dressing rooms of your local BDSM community still shows that many from us are not always in the position to be who they are. Certainly most of us can live with that, but it would actually be better if we had more freedom of expression. But just like peace on earth, the Kingdom of God or fully established feminism, this will still take a while to become, if it ever will.

On the other hand - and that is a really positive message - we can have our sacred places where we are one as we are; mostly in our minds or in the shelter of our home, but increasingly in our playrooms too. Unfortunately, also there, is the way of being sacred not always visible and are we being dragged into – not normality – but into the dominance of gender-duality. E.g. I never encountered a forum or a website where – in the dropdown box – one could identify as cis-gender or state an orientation like queer (but hey, programmers think binary!).

For those who feel, live and experience gender-duality as their reality, may feel estranged by those with whom they cannot identify. As a matter of fact, them being a cluster of properties too, perhaps we can and should not wish to expect identification. Yet, support, respect and acceptance for the variance we as humans display together should be self-evident, like St. Paul says: “but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”[i]

So, now we are very much into identifying ourselves and others being themselves too and then acknowledging that we are different: but what is that Goddess divided?

Already as early as in the Midrash[ii] the original man (Adam ha-admoni) is seen as not being man of woman, but as being male and female equally. There are androgynous ideas to be found in all religions, particularly in the mystical or non-dual interpretations of it. The God or Goddess would then be identified with the dominance that female or male properties play in the respective culture that seeks their Gods. It can therefore be argued that calling God a Goddess might be just as arbitrary sexist as the other way around.

Nevertheless, let us - for the sake of argument – put the whole issue of cultural and philosophical anthropology at rest and assume that our gender-identity is indeed ‘constructed’ around concepts, properties and feelings. What we would get then would be a theoretical distribution of un-endless little steps in graduations of being male or female. Normality would then only be the largest clusters, without having the claim of being exclusive, encompassing or better (I still fail to see how numeral frequency justifies moral judgements).

This way of thinking regarding gender-identity can be equally applied toward sexual deviations – like BDSM and Fetish - or sexual orientation – like homo-, bi- or transsexual. And here too, the Goddess is divided and expressed in graduations as the (fe)male principles live in each of us.

In the Dominion of Sir Cameron’s thoughts, a ‘female’ cross-dresser that shares a splendid Havana with us, is neither to be labelled as a transgender, lesbian, bi-sexual – even when he might be all of it – nor can we arrive at his sexual preferences by her appearance, it is first and for all a person, a friend perhaps, with whom we enjoy a good time.

Sir Cameron sees such a person as someone exploring both the male and female principles in itself, choosing to find a temporary foothold and from there make a valuable experience; it is the manifestation of the divine presence of Shakti, the Shekhinah, or the Mother Goddess, who dwells in each of us.

Labeling everything in opposing pairs has a long tradition, just as right and wrong, just as we and them. Yet, founding sexuality on a mere external biological base of two different sexual organs is very limiting to humanity; humanity is not mono, or dual, humanity is plural, rich and divers.

When we play our roles in the scenes and rituals we perform, let us celebrate this Goddess, in us and between us. You, us, the world; we all need this flow of feminine energy to feel complete and maintain us as we are.

Let’s celebrate her. And him too.

Sir Cameron

[i] The reference is to Philippians 2:3b
[ii] A Jewish reflection on the Tanakh; Gen. R. viii. 1.

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