This essay is the second part of an evolved version of an excerpt from Chapter 2 of her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion.
In the first part of this topic, I described dimensions of what I consider to be confusions about the terms “feminine” and “masculine”, and the general lack of clarity about the popular use of them to qualify aspects of being. I asserted that “wholeness” does not have to be understood in terms of a “feminine” plus “masculine” equation, and that the Universe was apparently not actually formed by “female” plus “male” energy, as is often loosely proclaimed: Cosmic creativity proceeded long before the advent of the male/gender (at about one and a half billion years ago),[i] and even before the advent of the biosphere – the first cell (at about three point eight billion years ago).[ii] The qualities of femaleness and maleness may be something quite different from any cultural designations of “feminine”and “masculine”, and do not appear to be essential to the Creativity of the Universe. I spoke for the unfolding of a cosmology wherein the Mother-of-All/Creatrix may be known to be a complete and whole unity of Creativity: characterised by a triplicity – not a duality, a “power of three”, as Marija Gimbutas described the apparently noted Creativity represented in ancient images of female Deity – Goddess.[iii] It is a triplicity that many cultures understood to characterize the essence of Cosmogenesis, and which has been identified frequently – in symbol and in anthropomorphic image – with female metaphor in a myriad of ways.
Another dimension to the confusion about the use of the terms “feminine” and “masculine” is the lack of clarity about the primordial nature of the cosmic power of Allurement – a “Power” that cosmologist Brian Swimme lists among others as “coursing through the Universe and each of us”[iv]: present primordially, before the advent of maleness or gender. Allurement itself, or Holy Lust as it may be termed,[v] unites the Cosmos: Desire itself unites the Cosmos, not the subject/object of the desire, and it is a reduction to imagine/assert that it is simply female plus male that unites the Cosmos, or our psyches. This may be lovely poetry – a metaphor and an experience, where the Power does occur, but it is not bound to this relationship. All being knows it – within the self and in relationship.
Medusa and Green Man
Masculinity or maleness is a particular physical expression that can give rise to its own symbolism – but the interpretation of that symbolism is something else. For example, the phallus can be passive, vulnerable and flower-like if the mind-frame is shifted. The Green Man metaphor may be developed as a deeply relational story – of “male-referring transformatory powers” as it may be termed[vi]: and there are some who are doing that well in recent times.[vii] The story of maleness as innately “active, dominant, inflexible”, by association with the phallus, is a patriarchal one that can be changed: and perhaps it was different in an earlier mythic era,[viii] and still so in some survivng Indigenous cultures. “Masculinity” and “femininity” are largely cultural developments – developed over time by story, belief systems, even the foods each sex have been allowed to eat in some cultures, the activities they each have been allowed, so that certain styles, physical and psychic, have been bred into and out of maleness and femaleness to suit the mindframe. “Maleness” and “femaleness” may be something quite different and more like a physical kaleidoscope: and it was a very creative move at a relatively recent point in the evolutionary story, that did enhance the Cosmogenetic enterprise of differentiation, communion and autopoiesis/subjectivity – a threefold Creativity unfolding the Cosmos.[ix] Both, and all genders on the kaleidoscope, are embraced and immersed in the same Creative Dynamic of Being that preceded their evolution, and both and all may be described as exhibiting the three manifesting powers of Cosmogenesis.