Breaking Through to the One Thing September 14, 2010
Consider these examples from Nature: single-celled organisms and many plants and fungi reproduce all by themselves. Even some invertebrates and less advanced vertebrates such as amphibians and reptiles do not need a male parent. In the absence of males female turkeys can produce fertile eggs, and there are two known cases in which female sharks, raised in captivity without males, produced offspring genetically identical to their mothers.
The more advanced, multicellular and sentient forms of life, however, require two parents. Biologists think sexual reproduction may create more genetic diversity which helps organisms adapt to changing environments. Thus, life on Earth evolves from simple to complex, vulnerability to strength, self-preservation to species-preservation, and, most relevant to our question, unconscious to conscious. And the single most important factor influencing this direction is mutual cooperation between complementary pairs.
There is an inherent connection between the evolution of Nature and the evolution of Mind, or Spirit. An ancient mystical saying says it this way, “As above, so below.” The original text reads, “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” This means there is some unifying Plan, Intention, Mind, Source, Force, Ground of Being or One Thing whose laws govern both the metaphysical and physical universes. It also means the One thing needs both halves to accomplish its miracle. And what is the miracle? Creating new, ever more complex and conscious life.
The Above half, Spirit (mind and consciousness), usually has been equated with “masculine” and the Below half, Matter (the body and the unconscious) with “feminine” which has led to damaging stereotypes. But these terms are not about gender roles or sexuality. They refer to the two modes of energy the creative drive takes everywhere, whether Above or Below. The ultimate reality is that if life is to continue to evolve in accordance with the Plan, or One Thing, there must be cooperation between masculinity and femininity at all levels: Above and Below, without and within, consciously and unconsciously, spiritually and psychologically.
Psychologically, we associate each half of the creative drive with specific qualities and locate them all in the Self. As long as our egos are unaware or unaccepting of large portions of either half, we cannot fulfill our basic purpose or experience our greatest joy: to create. But when we recognize that every quality we associate with masculinity and femininity indwells us, we break through the shell of dualistic thinking. The scales drop from our eyes, our creative potential is released, and we experience a blissful sense of oneness with the ultimate creative force: the One Thing. In alchemy, this enlightened state was known as the hieros gamos or Sacred Marriage. (Next time I’ll share a dream about it.)
William concluded that, “… [the] sole purpose [of men having a feminine side and women having a masculine side] is individual well-being. It fulfills us to be able to incorporate our own opposite-complement.” Yes it does. Why? Because this is how we unite the Above and Below and claim our divine inheritance. Thanks for the inspiration for this post, William. Thanks also to RamOsinghal for his reminders that all is divine.
The Alpha Mare April 18, 2010
The archetypal Crone represents many valuable qualities. One of these, leadership, is aptly symbolized by the Alpha mare. In herds of horses, the leader is almost always a mature mare. While the stallion is the physically strongest and most aggressive male who mates with the females and protects himself, his herd, and his territory by keeping intruders away, he is not the wisest, most trusted horse in the herd nor is he the dominant leader who makes the others feel safe and secure.
The Alpha mare does not command respect because she is youngest, prettiest, most charming, physically strongest, or the stallion’s favorite, but because her age and vast experience have made her confident, mentally strong, and savvy in the ways of survival. The other horses follow her because she makes wise decisions. She socializes the younger horses and teaches them to be obedient, leads the herd to food and water, and guides it to safety when threatened by predators. Of all the horses in the herd, male and female, young and old, the Alpha mare is the one who knows best how to preserve the species.
There was once a time when groups of people sat at the feet of Crones, respectfully seeking their guidance and benefitting from their wisdom. The Cheyenne tell a story about “The Old Woman of the Spring” who gave them the buffalo and horse and taught them to plant corn.
In the tale “Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun,” Spider Woman brought the sun, fire, and art of pottery-making to the Cherokee. Old Salt Woman gave the Cochiti the magical blessing of salt, in the form of some of her own flesh, to make their food taste better.
The Brule Sioux say that when a grandmother prayed for a sacred herb to save the Comanche nation, a spirit told her where to find Grandfather Peyote and how to use it. She brought it back to her people and gave them the ceremony, and from that moment on, they learned to know themselves.
The Tiwa tell of Apache Chief to whom Spider Old Woman gave special medicine and Gopher Old Woman gave secret knowledge that helped him retrieve his lost wife. Such stories speak to the reverence native peoples had for the elder women whose lengthy life experience and intimate relationship with nature sacralized their lives and improved their chances for survival.
As the Sky God replaced the Earth Goddess as our primary source of spiritual guidance and meaning, our respect for Crone wisdom diminished in many parts of the world. At the individual level this is occasionally justified. Certainly, not every grandmother has feet at which one would necessarily want to sit! Generations of being separated from all that feels sacred to women has turned some of them into the very worst examples of feminine shadow. These are the wicked witches we hear about in fairy tales, and they should be avoided like poison lest they spread their toxicity to us.
But there are also some Alpha mares out there. We need to seek out these examples of the positive, empowered Crone, for they hold vital secrets that could help us maintain the delicate balance between societal preservation and annihilation.