St. Jerome, a 4th-century father of the Christian church, once said: "Woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word a perilous object." Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Christian theologian, said that woman was "created to be man's helpmeet, but her unique role is in conception . . . since for other purposes men would be better assisted by other men."
The attitude toward women in the East was not much better. Hinduism, which evolved in India around 500 BC, required obedience of women toward men. Women had to walk behind their husbands, they could not own property, and widows were shunned and could not remarry. In both East and West, male children were preferred over female children.
Let's get real. Even today in 2017, there aren't many role models for true feminine empowerment in our society. In any society. Religion, culture, and 3500 years of oppressive patriarchy have made sure of that. The female "empowerment" role models offered up by our society today are often women who are still very much oppressed by the patriarchy. They are women who are in many ways (albeit, some very covert ways) subservient to their spouses (the "I HAVE to cook dinner for my husband", "I HAVE to clean the house", I "HAVE to change the diapers"), are codependent (have never truly lived and been on their own as a single adult woman for any great length of time), have always been financially dependent on a spouse, make excuses for disrespect shown by their partners (name calling, bullying, cheating, pornography, and much more) and make even more excuses - even write whole books, pretending to be "empowered". Behind closed doors and facade's of "happy couples" many women have sex when they do not want to, because they fear saying no to a partner or a spouse. These women relinquish their Divinity in many other ways that you may never see. And there are powerful, insidious, dark reasons why.
Few and far between are the role models who are strong and embrace their sexuality as their own, and don't apologize for it. Few who fully own and embrace the Divine Feminine Sexual power which is vital to empowerment for both men and women. Empowerment of the Divine Feminine requires us to bravely step into our sexual power and recognize that sexual power and "having sex" are not the same thing. "Having sex" can often have less to do with owning ones sexual power and more to do with a need for attention and validation.
Unfortunately, with a lack of strong supportive loving fathers who deeply respect and honor the Divine Feminine power, and who recognize its sacredness in their wives and daughters, combined with the archaic behaviors of men who scrutinize their daughter's attire and threaten future boyfriends with violence under the guise of "protecting", many women go out into the world with a subconscious drive to get that father power from a mate. That drive has the unfortunate consequence of women giving away their sexuality to many users, and believing that sex is the way to receive love. They settle.
But you can't find fault anywhere, it is just so pervasive.
Sometimes we are offered feminine role models who do exude power, but who also reject the qualities of femininity and mothering. A truly empowered woman loves her children deeply (if she has children, children are not a requirement of owning your Divine Feminine power), and totally embraces her nurturing, her mothering, and her softness, and never fears the times in our lives when we are breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and caring for our young. We do not fear that our softness and femininity will weaken us. In fact, we are empowered by our ability to birth humans from our bodies, and provide all the nourishment they need to survive and THRIVE. We experience the power in that. We actually embrace our inner Divine Feminine and balance it with our inner Divine Masculine, easily moving from one to the other in flow with life.
When I chose to become pregnant the first time, I was 30 years old and a corporate attorney at a huge firm in New York City. I was around a lot of power, a lot of the time. Wall street bankers, CEO's, venture fund managers, and people high up in federal regulatory bodies that monitored deals including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. I saw a lot of power for sure, mostly from men, and a few women who in most ways were indistinguishable in energy from the men. But I also saw a lot of little boys who were never nurtured. Little boys who had both father wound and mother wound, channeling their wounding into aggressiveness, bullying, power trips, control dynamics, and other overt ways of covering up the sadness.
My shaman dad taught me that behind every bully male, every aggressive, argumentative, power-tripping male, was a sad boy-child who never got enough love from his mom and dad. That little boy fears the Divine Feminine power. He fears that he will be swallowed up by it, lost, unable to reclaim his own Divine birthright. My dad taught my sister and I from a young age that women are the carriers of the most potent power in the Universe. He taught us that in any incarnation we take as females, our ability to give life is the very creative force of the entire universe, and it is to be revered, honored, respected, worshiped.
When I gave birth to my daughter, I experienced a power like no other. I felt a power that could have never been described to me in words. A power beyond measure that was fueled by the most intense, pure, and unconditional love imaginable, soft and fierce at the same time, capable of moving mountains and holding the tiniest and most vulnerable of beings simultaneously. I experienced myself in a radical initiation event into motherhood, experiencing the ultimate in my own vulnerability (a near death experience) while emerging with a force field between my daughter and I that silenced everyone in the room.
A week after my daughter was born, a friend of mine who had been in the same childbirth class as me gave birth to her son at Georgetown University hospital in DC. She had been in labor for a long time and the baby was not moving down. They had tried the vacuum cone and even the forceps. He was losing oxygen, and the cord was wrapped around his neck. The anesthesiologist came in to get her prepped for emergency cesarean, and was checking her reflexes to see if she was sufficiently sedated for the surgery. She wasn't. But she heard the obstetrician whisper to the head nurse "if we don't get him out in the next couple of minutes he is not going to make it." She lied. She pretended she couldn't feel anything, and they proceeded to cut into her abdomen while she felt every single part of it. Her son was born with a cone shaped head, and needed a few days for observation in the hospital, but this baby is now a thriving 15 year old in perfect health. Divine Feminine power did that. Fierce, iron-willed, brave, courageous, vulnerable, and loving all at the same time.
VIRGIN OR WHORE
So with a force like no other, where does all of our oppression come from?
It comes from 3500 years of brutality against the Divine Feminine Sexual Power, something greatly feared by the patriarchy. And conveniently, we have religion and oppressive society to keep the Divine Feminine Sexual power locked in the dark, damp basement. We've been given a choice: virgin or whore. Over 3500 years ago when the warring patriarchal culture of Greece took over the matriarchal cultures of Minoa and Micenea, the nature/earth based spirituality which honored feminine ideals like fertility and rebirth were over-run with male gods who harmed us with lightning bolts and violence. The ancient world had not only treated women with respect but was resistant to war and conquest, and lived more in deference to earth cycles.
Suddenly the whole culture disappeared and in its place were the teachings about male gods of death and depictions of women being "crazy": Scylla, Charybdis, Medea, and Calypso... all of whom were intended to destroy the old culture and empower a new culture which included patriarchal ownership of property, male gods, and started (among many other things) the idea that women needed to be either virgins or married, or they were whores.
I escaped that storyline and saw it for the deception that it was, but only by the grace of having witnessed balanced power in my home as a child, receiving unconditional love and support of a very powerful male who honored the Divine Feminine, and a mother who was independent, outspoken, and a brave activist for the developmentally disabled. I never had to relinquish my Divine Feminine power, or misuse it for attention and validation from any man. I had already been given that gift.
But in our world today, that is an experience that is not so common. We have a humanity which largely accepts the "virgin - whore" paradigm, even if they do not see how they have unwittingly accepted it into their belief system. We have violent pornography, wild commercial success of movies like "Fifty Shades of Grey" that block out the deepest tantric sexual bliss in favor of sexual titillation, and rampant sex trafficking -- all symptoms of rejecting the Divine Feminine Sexuality as THE single most powerful creative force in the universe. All symptoms of deep sexual oppression of women. It is time to awaken.
SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Some questions to ponder are: Why do you think the patriarchy fears the Divine Feminine? Why do you think that in the stories of Jesus and Mary, one Mary was a "virgin", the other a "whore?" Why do you think many women fear sexuality - their own and that of other women? Why do you suppose we live in a culture where millions of women of all ages have been convinced that they are "owning" their sexuality by seeking constant validation on social media? Why have they been convinced that this is power? Why do women say yes when they feel NO? Why do women stay with manipulative narcissistic men? Why do women settle for a man who will "buy them things", while disrespecting their feminine power? Why do you think women stay in sexless, passionless relationships? What do you think makes women go to radical levels of justifying staying in an unhappy marriage?
They are carrying the wounds of their mothers, grandmothers great-grandmothers and beyond. Carrying lineage pain of oppression, abuse, subservience and sexual slavery. There is a lot to ponder for women and men to both heal.
Strip away if you can, the dogma of all man-made religions. Remove if you can the dictates of cultural ownership of women and their bodies. Release if you are able, the vice grip holding you down from owning your true power. What beliefs poison your soul? What lies and shame around your appearance, your clothing choices, your relationships with men, have you been fed? Are you to cover up? Hide your breasts? Not breastfeed your baby in public? Forced to wear a bra? Did your grandmother have her feet bound crippling her so she literally could not walk without assistance? Have you been led to believe that your own body is your enemy, or that your children are?
In my 12 year long love affair with my twin flame, who embraces his own Divine Masculine as both a partner and father, like no other man I've ever met, I have been able to hold my space walking hand in hand with a powerful and empowered male. One who provides, protects, supports, cares for, strengthens, inspires, loves and adores me and our children. That would have never been possible if I had not fully owned, honored and respected my own Divine Feminine power. That had to come first. Energetically speaking, we can never attract what we do not possess within ourselves. On a neutrino/energetic level, we attract who we are.
The beauty in this awakening is that true empowerment is not only possible for everyone - it is your birthright. And, as we move forward it is actually vital to our survival as a species. Seek out your own true power, embrace it, and drop every belief that stands in its way. xo Liana