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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "



November 23rd, 2014

GDP_RP_12341Creation_of_life_Hands_by_Leonardo_Da_VinciRecently I wrote a post called ‘Polarity Polarises’ in which I asked whether our use of gender and polarity concepts and metaphors in spiritual practice was really helpful – and whether we should be more circumspect in using them. It was an excellent essay on Joanna van der Hoeven’s website on this same subject that spurred me on to write about the topic, and after posting I discovered that this discussion had been going on elsewhere in forums and on blogs, particularly in the Pagan community. It’s in the air!

This morning it occurred to me that perhaps this questioning of a way of thinking is related to the impact the web is having on our lives. Before the advent of the web, the primary model of power came from something we were in contact with daily – the magic of electricity with its male plugs and female sockets, and its message that power comes from bringing positive and negative into contact. But now we are starting to experience a different demonstration of power – that comes from connectivity, relationship, bringing together many strands as opposed to the power that comes from two opposite or complementary forces meeting.

It’s a significant shift, I think, that is like the ‘Me to We’, Ego to Eco, shift that is occurring for many. It’s a movement in consciousness from ‘You and Me’ to ‘Us’.

There’s an interesting relationship between the worlds of science and spirituality. As new inventions arise, they provide new ways of thinking about phenomena – and so the telegraph and telephone, for example, provided new metaphors for Spiritualism and Mediumship. Both the western core concept of Wicca in the 1950s and the model of guru and chela in the east, rely on ideas of reception and transmission. But today it feels as if the Spirit of the Times is calling for something else, perhaps in addition to, rather than replacing these ideas. It speaks to our recognition of a common identity, a sense of community, a deepening of our experience of humanity.

Does this make sense to you or did I drink too much coffee this morning? I’d love to hear what you think!

10 Responses to “AC/DC TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB”

  1. I think you and Joanna are right Philip. We are between stories now, the old metaphors and ideas don’t seem to work so well because we are becoming more and more attuned to the group mind, the community spirit. For me it is more akin to the relationship between love and magic. Love as progenitor and magic as the action; the one that breaks the conventions and just says ‘make it so’. Magic in the hands of individuals never works properly and is greatly misunderstood, but in the hands of many, seeking the outcome that is in true balance and harmony and devoid of personal power and ego, then this magic, founded in love, becomes quantum and limits becomes a term of no meaning. hurrah.
    Or so it seems to me . . . just now. x

  2. Thank you Shaun – what an interesting idea! I think perhaps you are right about the old metaphors starting to lose their power…

  3. I dont think its the coffee Philip. I have been aware of the shift for sometime. The proverbial Age of Aquarius is upon us. I believe as with all births theres the initial pain and what looks like chaos but is really all the ingredients in the cauldron being stirred up. Thus people feel somewhat confused and possibly pained by their lot in life. This results in world troubles and so on. The discomfort forces people to look for solutions, hopefully beneficial and spiritually advanced. Some though may not make it, they are too angry and poisoned inside, to br more pitied than rebuked. It’ll take a different event or lifetime for them to be able to progress. Thats my belief and understanding of the events of today. As always I may be wrong, the universe is vast and diversive. 🙂

  4. The age of Aquarius is all about humanity and the group, seeing that we are all part of one human family. For many spiritual wayfarers, the path to oneness is a natural occurrence after years of searching. And as the 100th Monkey theory shows, when enough people believe, then the changes take on a life of their own.

  5. I totally believe in that in that theory Roisin. Yesterday I was discussing how susceptable to suggestion we are first thing in the morning and to watching TV, being engrossed, leaves us wide open to being almost hypnotically influenced by repetative advertising and media input. This came about by two things. One a post on not reading newspapers and watching tv or listening to any news for a while to show yourself how they influence you and the other a tv programme about the loch ness monster, saying sightings escalated when films about simular monsters or flying saucers came out, It has something to do with the collective mind and how we think (and if I’m not wrong, the creative force of the universe). Note how the media like The Sun and The Mail influenced and manipulated the masses views (intentionally or not). In a state of semi awakeness the critical conscious is not switched on fully, and the first thing most do is listen to the news on radio or tv, or read the newspaper. The best thing would be to listen to uplifting or inspiring input at this time. But now there seems to be a change, with the advent of social sites(which could still have the same suggestive effect at said certain times), different people are offering a lot of different viewpoints(as we are here), and this collective, highly accessable input has weakened the suggestability effect. People no longer take reports and written words for granted cause, I think, they now have a tool that provides them with a bigger debate area. The tribe is coming together so to speak, and together and with sometimes hot debate and contradictory input we weaken manipulative media and those wishing to control us with lies.

  6. I spent a lot of time avoiding the radio, TV and newspapers. When I started back to work again in and around the city, I felt I was being attacked. It felt like a great darkness was trying to envelope me, with the noise, smells and the heavy energy people develop in order to live there.
    Guru Nanak once said “Asceticism is to remain pure amidst impurities.”
    It was a challenge, and still can be, but we have to live in the world.

  7. For me the old metaphors haven’t lost their meaning or power, I just think we need to look at them in a different way now. I agree that the “division” into male and female doesn’t sit well today but if we look at them as two integral parts which, when brought together, not only make up a whole but even more than a whole, then the old metaphors and myths are still relevant. Instead of concentrating on them as separate, we need to look at how they fuse together to create a complete picture, and sometimes more.

    I experienced this during a Beltane ritual. Put in (very) simple terms: man + woman => parents & child, not simply two people having a good time (and that wasn’t part of the ritual, I hasten to add!)Complementary fusion as opposed to antipathetic separation.

    If we see male and female, or gods and goddesses, as complementary aspects of a whole, expressing processes or relationships such as action – reaction or initiation – implementation with subsequent results that go beyond the original ‘ingredients’, then the terms of male and female can still be relevant – or until someone can come up with better terminology!

  8. Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that people confuse the words ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ with ‘male’ and ‘female’ I have known many ‘feminine’ men and ‘masculine’ women in my lifetime, and many points between. I disagree with Joanna van der Hoeven’s analysis; it is not the symbolism of complementarity that causes the problem, but our interpretation of it. It may be that, for example, the original Chinese used ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ as the basic polarity of yin and yang, but the problem is translation from an ancient language quite unlike our own into modern usage. Chinese as a language is more fluid than western languages, less linear, vowel based rather than noun based. So even if they did use the offending polarity, it is not quite clear that we have the right end of the handle. Complementarity is not polarity; a beating heart; diastole and systole; the creative idea and the creative act. All these are intertwined inextricably and cannot exist apart (except, perhaps, in death). That we *choose* to take an idea like ‘receptivity’ and call it ‘feminine’, and then try to impose it on real living women, is our problem, the basic idea remains sound even if many, or perhaps most women do not possess the quality. Similarly with the so called ‘masculine’ traits and real alive, living men. We create the error by confusing an abstraction with ‘reality’. Both the abstraction and real living biological people are more complex than most imagine; gender itself is not binary, neither is sex. As a passing thought, intersex conditions are more common than red hair. But the abstract binary between the active and the receptive remains a sound idea, even if we end up mucking it up in application to our own social world.

    • I totally agree Lesley, and I think the ‘solution’ may lie in simply ‘unhooking’ our allocation of gender to complementary pairs. Is there any value in associating qualities with gender?

  9. I agree with some of the commenters- masculine and feminine are a lot more useful as ideas if they are compared to something closer to yin and yang. If masculine and feminine remind me of real men and women, they are a lot less useful. But tracking how vision and action (for example) are in or out of balance can be extremely helpful if I’m trying to manifest something. I believe there will always be a place for the dialogue with self parts. It is our ideas about real men and women that need to change.

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