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Posted on:  Oct 4, 2016 @ 7:00 Posted in:  From the Tale
I stand between the opposing walls of my walk-in closet, one side lined with business wear and the other with my supplementary, wardrobe categories: casual, evening, yoga and visits with my mother. I’m selecting from my extensive collection of gray, black and navy suits, white and cream, tailored shirts, black and navy pumps, and matching purses — all monotone, subdued, sexless and very expensive.
I don’t even glance at the other wall, with its splashes of scarlet-red and midnight-blue, and full display of my boot fetish. There is no way in hell I’d let even a peep of the other me squeak out at the office — the one who emerges from this closet on weekends wrapped in delicious, feminine folds of sensuous fabric and bold color, and the thigh-high, sex appeal of stiletto-heeled boots.
With the deeper vision of my dream knowing, I detect the warrior-like squaring of my shoulders, and the clenched muscles in my abdomen and at the base of my spine as I don my dark-suited armor and fortify myself for battle in a man’s world.
Every morning I do a version of this routine, and then spend the rest of the day in a state of constant vigilance, knowing that I have to act like a man, actually a better man than all the rest, while somehow still displaying subtle indications of my womanhood. Unspoken rules dominate my actions, derived from a fine, balancing point between beauty and brains, the secret boys’ club ethos, and the even-more-secret, girl-against-girl rivalry. This is the price of my power and success, and of retaining my privileged membership in the upper ranks of the corporate world.
I’ll be totally honest with you; I was a reluctant recruit to the notions that men too are wounded by our patriarchal world and the negation of the feminine aspects of our human nature, and that they need women’s empathy and support in their healing.
Then one day, my best female friend challenged me. I’d been sharing with her my exploration of the Goddess, the sacred feminine and magic, and my recent healing work with my mother and feminine nature. She stopped me midstream and asked, “What about men and their wounding, Karen? How are you going to help them heal?”
My response was something along the lines of, “Not my problem. Let them figure it out on their own.”
Not long afterwards, the Goddess came to me in a dream and gave me my marching orders, “I want my Beloved back.” And from there, many dreams and healing moments later, I realized that the tear in the outside culture between men and women was inside of me. And that I could only mend this tear, inner and outer, by extending the same loving concern and compassion for the wounding and pain of men as I did for myself and for my women kin.
Man or woman, gay, trans or straight, victim or privileged, we’re all born into a misogynist world that force feeds and constrains us within narrow, damaging male and female stereotypes and roles. For some the harm is direct and brutal, for others it’s more subtle and subtext, and none of us can escape the ever-present cultural negation of women’s ways, values and spirituality, and the mirror distortion and limitation of men and masculinity.Your Gendered Tear
In this exercise, I invite you to explore the gendered tear inside of you, but gently so.
This week marks the two year anniversary of the UN’s HeForShe Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality. HeForShe invites men to join and support women in the fight for women’s equality and strives to reframe feminism from its man-hating stigma to a movement that seeks to benefit men and women alike by embracing the feminine side of our humanity.
My soul responds to this initiative and its mandate with a big yes! In the many seasons of my life — from my academic studies of feminism, gender issues and Goddess theology, my work as a gender equity consultant, my perilous healing journey with my own woman’s story in a misogynist world, my travels with the Goddess into the mysteries of the sacred feminine, and my Path of She writings — I’ve been on the trail of the lost powers and ways of the feminine elements of our humanity.
In my journey, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: what ails humanity, men and women alike, is the degradation and repression of the feminine half our nature that holds not only our nurturing and emotive capacities, but also our anchor in Mother/matter: our bodies, the natural world and the mysteries of the Divine feminine.
I would add that we women have to reach back, SheForHe, so we can heal our world together.Walking in the Other’s Shoes
The saying goes that we can’t understand another person until we walk a mile in his/her shoes. This most definitely holds true in the case of men and women. Only by actively increasing our awareness of the other gender can we begin to understand the world through their eyes and experiences.
Posted on:  Jul 8, 2015 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Goddess
I was a feminist doctoral student in a business faculty when I first stumbled upon the Goddess and women’s history/herstory. But I couldn’t finish my studies; they did not take me far or deep enough. My feminine ancestors had other plans for me. Shortly after quitting the doctoral program, I had a dream that called me to do my PhD in women and leadership. I woke up to a voice telling me to go to witchcamp.
There I went, to the coastal forests of California, not knowing a soul, and not a thing about magic or ritual. But no matter, those ancestors had arranged everything. I found myself co-organizing a ritual on the burning times — the most horrific period of our women’s history where an estimated 40,000-100,000 people accused of witchcraft (mostly women) were brutally persecuted and murdered. There amidst the slashed and burned shells of grandmother redwoods, with vibrant daughter trees growing from their ruins, I opened myself up to be a voice for my restless feminine ancestors.
And this is what they said: “The wisdom of the ancients still sings in your cells —below the desecration and the horror, below the fear and the forgetting — we are there. You are the waking witches. We call you to embrace your grief, step past your fear and walk our path of feminine power once more. We have never left you. We have been waiting for your return to our ways and knowing.”
So began my deep studies of women’s power and leadership, and a feminism beyond and below that of my academic studies and my thinking brain understanding of these things — an ancestral feminism still living and breathing in my body and yours.