Returning the feminine to a position of power

From a tantric perspective, our present-day patriarchal society is flawed because the male-female balance has been lost. Leonardo Boff, although not a Tantrist, points to the unhealthy knock-on effect on society of the repression of the feminine principle: “The predominance of the masculine principle, which is historically expressed through the domination of men over women, and over everything else around it, has impoverished the human condition. […] the predominance of the masculine principle has exacerbated power, reason and violent means and it has weakened the feminine principle, sensitivity, emotional intelligence, being caring and caring for, the symbolic perception of reality and spirituality.”[1]

In his book “Interpretations of Peace in History and Culture”, Wolfgang Dietrich charts a comprehensive history of the evolution of societal worldviews. He places Tantra in the category of pre-moral, energetic interpretations of peace i.e. having come into existence and been prevalent before the introduction of the monotheistic religions, and points to “the increasing institutionalization of society and religion” as the main reason for the loss of the understanding of opposites – particularly male and female – as harmonious sides of one whole.[2] “The adoption of the principle of matter, order, or form into the male sphere […] relegates the energy interpreted as female from a primal and inseparable complementary towards a secondary position.”[3]

Without rejecting the archetypal masculine, Tantra offers us a way of returning the feminine to a position of power in our modern-day societies. Like Tantra, Taoism considers male and female to be two intrinsic components of one whole: “The ancient Chinese Daoist philosophy provides valuable insight into archetypal male and female energy through the concepts of Yin and Yang. Yin has been translated in the West by the adjectives ‘feminine’ and ‘female’ and Yang by ‘masculine’ and ‘male’; however, it is essential to clarify that Yin does not always refer to women, or qualities found only in women, and Yang does not always refer to men, or qualities found only in men.” [4]

Moreover, neither Yang nor Yin is more important or influential. “Yin and Yang are not value judgements. They are simply labels describing regular phenomena – with no implication of innate goodness or badness.”[5]  In fact, the harmonious inter-play of the Yin/Yang energies is essential for balance and health. The ideal is interconnectedness and the flow of energy from one point to the other, a bit like the figure 8 or the Yin-Yang symbol, both of which are beautifully demonstrative of a seamless whole.

Excerpt from “Looking for Tantra”, due out September/October 2015

[1] Boff, L. (2011) Virtues: For Another Possible World. Cascade Books: Eugene, OR, p.257.

[2] Dietrich, W. (2012) Interpretations of Peace in History and Culture. Palgrave Macmillan: London & New York, pp.42-43.

[3] Ibid, p.43.

[4] Rossi, V. (2005) A Shared Human Identity: the Foundation of a Peace Culture. MA thesis submitted to the European University Centre for Peace Studies, Austria, (unpublished), p.11.

[5] Ibid, p.11.

13 thoughts on “Returning the feminine to a position of power

  1. Thank you for teaching me something new “The ideal is interconnectedness and the flow of energy from one point to the other, a bit like the figure 8 or the Yin-Yang symbol, both of which are beautifully demonstrative of a seamless whole.” It is interesting because just today I saw the a reference to the yin and yang and it referred to the “value judgement” point. Your explanation makes much more sense to me. Thank you for this enlightenment. Always love, Lily

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  2. Thank you Sam for this interesting post. I’ve experienced a lot of archetypal clearing spontaneously on my path to loving my self fully and becoming a twinflame. I’ve painted some of the processes, and I’ve noticed that I’ve allowed my masculine to take over in some parts of my life in order to survive and hide my sensitivity. I had a encounter with a very sad builder, architect archetype within me. I find it so amazing that these things are just happening. I didn’t read or know anything about them before, but now I’m getting interested on these. So, thank you for this.

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    • Thanks so much for your very interesting and positive feedback. I wish you strength, insight and joy in what sounds like an extremely intense phase of your inner journey. Blessings and greetings, Sam 🙂

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  3. Excellently penned Sam, just the mere mention of the Divine Feminine raises this poet’s head … If you haven’t read it already I can highly recommend Anne Baring’s ‘Dream of the Cosmos’ best book I’ve read in decades … I wrote a review for it on Amazon, my pen name is ‘Deep in the JUNG-le’ … I’ve just added your other two books to my wishlist … I’ll start with ‘My Name is Joy’ and work forward. What a joy to have discovered your blog! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Deborah, for your very beautiful and kind words of feedback and support. It’s hugely appreciated. I so much enjoy the authentic exchange with you and other like-minds on WordPress. Thanks for recommending the Anne Baring book. No, I haven’t read it so I look forward to finding out more about it. Warm greetings, Sam 🙂

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  4. Dear Sam, I read this article a number of times now and I believe, as there exist chaos and imbalance, which tilts the favor in humanity’s debacle. I agree with you that institutionalization has its many flaws, where ideas and thoughts are manipulated and fabricated in order to control and create a well-schemed school of thought, which is contradictory to the original concepts of life and it’s balance. Many thoughts which favor such ideas may have been obliterated from the pages of history and not widely propagated, as it directly challenges the popular school of thoughts. The flaws of society are increasingly visible and it is time to adopt the fundamental principles of life and educate the mind. Only when the balance is restored, shall this life be more meaningful and worth exploring further. Warm Greetings, Amitav.

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    • Lovely to hear your feedback, as always, dear Amitav. I greatly appreciate reading your perspectives. The extent of these social flaws are sometimes visible e.g. physical violence, and other times they are more hidden i.e. in the form of structural and cultural violence. By way of one example of physical violence, when babies are killed or aborted simply because they are female, there is something seriously wrong with the mental constructs that lie behind that society. Men (not just women) have also suffered from the Yin/Yang imbalance of patriarchy. I don’t know about in your country (India, right?), but here in Western Europe, for a long time, men have been forced to focus on the Yang aspect of their nature, which is already more emphasised by the fact that they are male. This has meant that men have lost more and more touch with the Yin aspects of their being and, moreover, even normally positive Yang attributes have become excessive. Warm greetings always, Sam 🙂

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  5. Rightly said, Sam. I am from India. 🙂 I see around, not country-specific, a lot of misconceptions that are being propagated and throughout history have been propagated which is now. All notions of philosophy that explains the basic tenets of life is derived from nature. The more we distance ourselves from it and fail to understand the life-cycle (yin and yang) there will be more turmoil. We need to go back to the basics and do well to find the values and meanings of life. Increasing intolerance, violent behavior, and the propensity to be dishonest is taking a toll on the individual self. As for karma, every act of violence or manipulations also has their repercussions. Positivity generates positivity and negativity generate negativity. I like to look at life from a broader perspective rather than confining my mind in ‘what has been’ and ‘what is popularly accepted’. Thank you, Sam, for explaining things to me and also trying to understand my perspective. 🙂

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