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Self Actualized Woman Melanie Moorehead

By Melanie Moorehead –

We are at a time when for the first time in recorded history women are rising in almost every country into positions of power and influence that would not have been possible even a couple of decades ago.

Some women wonder – why do we use the word “feminine” to describe the increasing power and impact on society that women are having? Why not just say “power”? Unfortunately, many of us have a negative response to the word “feminine” as meaning “weak”, “feminized”, “trivial”, “secondary” and so on. However, all these connotations derive from the historically developed masculine paradigm and its negative treatment and definitions of women, which are still with us. If you look up “power” in the dictionary it says “strength”, “might”, force”, “control”, “the power to do”, “command over”, “domination”.

Feminine power is not about control, command and domination. That’s the first reason to say “feminine” power, in order to distinguish it from the kind of power often associated with dominance and control.

The second reason we say “feminine power” is we women really do have a different kind of power. It’s relational, embodied, inclusive, intuitive and uniquely creative. For example, we are really good at working with teams of people and creating new, powerful outcomes because we can perceive what’s going on emotionally in the room, while at the same time we’re strategically thinking of what to do next to keep things lively and moving toward an outcome as a team. We are master multi-taskers in the best sense of the word!

And the third very important reason for speaking of “feminine” power is that pre-historically as uncovered via archaeological digs, and then as recorded in early history, we have records of the Sumerian goddess Inanna inscribed in cuneiform around 3,000 B.C.. We learned that it was the Goddess who was held in highest sacred regard. The Goddess religion is the longest-lived religion in the world and thrived during the era described by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas as the “Civilization of the Goddess”, from 25,000 B.C. to about 1800 B.C.

However, by 1800 B.C. or earlier, the temples, sacred groves, towns and the people themselves were almost entirely destroyed as a monotheistic male divinity swept through and was elevated as the only true deity. Oddly, the male deity was a transcendent, distant god in the sky and warrior-based, while the female deity was immanent, creative, peaceful and was here with us on earth.

She was celebrated as the creator of all life here on earth, as well as being seen as creator of the cosmos. She had many names and women were honored as her representatives on earth. Goddess-based societies were matrifocal not patriarchal, which means heredity was traced through the female line. These goddess-based cultures were egalitarian, not matriarchal.

“Matriarchal” implies dominance of society by women, a dominance not observed in any of the archaeological digs in Europe discovered by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, who has now been recognized by all the previously resistant male archaeologists as having discovered not only the existence of the peaceful, goddess-oriented agricultural towns of Neolithic Europe, but also as having correctly traced the source of the Indo-European languages to the warrior invaders who swept down through “Old Europe” from the northern steppes of present day Russia and Ukraine.

What Gimbutas excavated were thousands of statues of women and female goddesses, with a language of swirls, zigzags and coils inscribed on pottery indicating seasons and qualities of the goddess, all of which had to do with the seasons of life, death and renewal. Women were recognized as directly related to all of observed life because of our physical synching with phases of the moon and our ability to bring forth new life.  The goddess was here with us on earth, involved in day-to-day life, giving gifts and involved directly in creation with humans. Gimbutas did not excavate a single weapon of war in these goddess-based societies.

I believe it’s important for us to know our sacred history regardless of what religion or spiritual perspective we each now hold. I say this because I believe it’s possible that the ancient memories of that devastation of our sacred roles and cultures live on in our collective unconscious and may even be part of why we so strongly, however unconsciously, are wounded by the warrior-based, masculine deity culture that befell us and thus why we can feel disempowered, depressed, think we are not worthy and so on. C.J. Jung discovered that humans the world over share very similar symbol systems. Images and versions of the Goddess appear in similar forms in the art and rituals of indigenous cultures around the world and also can appear in our own dreams.

Although now in the West she is called Gaia, a fortunate revival of her power and meaning, she also has survived as goddess figures in many cultures who still revere her and her gratefully received gifts. Known as The Divine Feminine, she is Kuan Yin – Chinese Goddess of Compassion & Mercy, White Tara – Goddess of Compassion and Motherhood (Tibetan Buddhist), Green Tara – Goddess of Peace & Enlightenment (Tibetan Buddhist), Innana and Isis, the great Goddesses of Sumeria and Egypt, Yemanya, Goddess of rivers (Yoruba), Brigit (pre-Christian Goddess of Ireland), Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Aine (Irish Goddess of summer, wealth), Vesta – Roman Goddess of health & home, Sekhmet- Egyptian Goddess Destroyer of Enemies as well as Healer, Sedna (Inuit) -Goddess of Sea & Marine Animals, Sarsvati – Hindu Goddess of the Arts, Rhiannon – Welch Goddess of the horse, rebirth, the moon & fertility, Demeter/Ceres – Greek/Roman Goddess of Agriculture, Pele – Hawaiian creator Goddess of the Hawaiian Islands, Oestre – Germanic Goddess of spring, Lakshmi – Hindu Goddess of abundance, beauty & luxury, Nemetona – Celtic Goddess of the sacred grove, Mawu – Creator Goddess of West Africa (Dahomey), Hathor – Goddess of the Sky, Love & Fertility (Egypt), Freyja – Norse Goddess of Beauty & Fertility, Eireen – Greek Goddess of peace, Kali – Hindu Goddess of destruction, death & transformation. In the West we have only Mother Mary, the gentle, much-revered mother of Jesus, and recently recovered Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ closest apostle and a powerful woman believed to originally been a priestess of the temple of Artemis before she met Jesus.

You can see the large impact that the mysterious, magical, life-giving powers of the feminine goddess has had for centuries in cultures around the world. I could name more! The point is that our “feminine power” has deep roots in the stories of the many beautiful and powerful qualities revered as feminine. Recovering our embodied connection to our feminine power is important. Reawakening and evolving Her in you will be a real gift of empowerment in your life and for the world.