Patriarchy and Opposites

Reflections from Bone:Dying into Life by Marion Woodman

Waterfront: Santa Barbara, CA / Copyrighted photo by D. Bridge

“… to hold the balance between light and dark, and cherish both.” (Woodman, 2000, p. 222)

“Rather than confront, even quarrel, she falls into old patriarchal assumptions that was unconscious in the man as in the woman.” (Woodman, 2000, p. 222-223)

“… he for God only, she for God in him.” (Woodman, 2000, p. 224)

“Sophia’s love is the glue that can bond consciousness and unconsciousness.” (Woodman, 2000, p. 227)

My Reflections: 

I find the first quote I picked in these pages as a bit of a challenge … I think I have pretty much adopted the stance of holding the tension of the opposites, but here is a new twist — to cherish both — ouch! I still have a lot of work to do there!!  Looking up the word cherish I found that definition to include “to love, protect and care for”.  Hmmmm.  Ok, there are times I can accept this.  Such as when holding the tension of the masculine and the feminine within myself while cherishing both.  But what if I have to hold the opposites of, say, life and death?  Easy enough to cherish life, perhaps, but death?  I might be able to accept death, tolerate its inevitability, but cherish it?  Looks like I have more work to do!  

The next two quotes deal with the patriarchy – which I define as the oppressive privileging of the masculine to the exclusion and demonizing of the feminine.  Patriarchal systems have ruled our civilizations for eons and because of this we all hold “patriarchal assumptions”  in our unconscious – both personal and collective.  It is very hard to stand up to these assumptions.  At first, I was going to say particularly as a woman, but I think also as a man –  maybe even more so. As a woman I am in some way probably expected to stand up against the patriarchal assumptions (expected to stand up but not to persevere in that stance) but a man, I am imagining, is expected to align himself with those assumptions.  There are times when it feels as if to stand up and “confront, even quarrel” with them is just more than I can muster the energy for at any given moment.  

And finally … it is the divine feminine that will bring what is unconscious into consciousness.  And consciousness is necessary for the survival of humanity on this planet which seems to be an appropriate thought for today, the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration.

Woodman, M. (2000). Bone: Dying into Life. Penguin Books.

*This reflection was first published in a Facebook Group entitled BodySoul Rhythms – Continuing the Legacy of Marion Woodman

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