Updated: Oct 26, 2018
I think I was 12 when I started rebelling against my mother's instruction to make my brother’s bed. Although he was three years younger than me, there was no doubt that he was perfectly able to make his bed. But my mother's response to my refusal was always, "If you don’t, I’ll have to do it.” As she saw it, making the bed was our duty as women. Fortunately, things have evolved since then.
It is true that patriarchy has ruled our lives for thousands of years. But, this has not always been the case, as human rights advocate Riane Eisler explains in her book The Chalice & the Blade: Our History, Our Future. Eisler also makes a persuasive case that patriarchal rule does not have to be our permanent destiny either. Other alternatives for more egalitarian, equitable and just societal organization are possible.
Using more spiritual language, Patricia Cota-Robles, co-founder and president of the educational organization New Age Study of Humanity's Purpose, tells us that patriarchy was born out of the human desire not to feel pain. Without excluding other explanations, she emphasizes that humans closed their hearts through efforts not to suffer in the face of adversities. The closing of humans’ hearts impeded feminine energy from coming come through and manifesting evenly. This impeding, Cota-Robles says, caused a distortion of the manifestation of masculine energy, leading to a domineering society ruled by selfishness, greed, destruction and war.
Searching for Equilibrium Between Masculine and Feminine
The Pathwork Guide teaches us that when the feminine and masculine principles are both healthy, they dance harmoniously, but when one manifests in a distorted fashion, the other will become distorted as well.
When I look around and see women in Brazil (my birth country) and here in the U.S. (my adopted country) speaking up and taking the streets to shout “Enough!” and posting that “Time’s Up” (#TimesUP), my heart sings in the realization that life is working toward equilibrium of feminine and masculine principles. In the normal and organic path of evolution, this equilibrium is unavoidable.
The process of moving to equilibrium, however, may not always be a smooth one. Looking back at my own story, I see this. I don’t remember how my brother reacted to my rebellion at making his bed, but putting myself into his shoes, I'd probably not have given up my privileges so easily.
If this was true in my story, I imagine it is very much true for most men: they take their privileges for granted and are opposed to simply giving some of them up. Thus, it is no surprise that the more-balanced society we are evolving toward will not emerge without some confrontation and some distortion.
The pendulum has been way too far into the side of unhealthy masculine principles – leading to a distorted, patriarchal and domineering society. When one type of power manifests in a distorted way, so too, will the other type – because in the end, masculine and feminine power are one. Therefore, it would not be a surprise if, before the pendulum finds its center, we experience exaggerations, manipulations and distortions of feminine principles and matriarchal power. In the end though, these are part of the path toward a more balanced and healthier dance between the feminine and the masculine.
Nevertheless, As Cota-Robles would say, we are now experiencing the conditions to open our hearts and allow the manifestation of healthy “feminine” characteristics, such as compassion, nourishment and collaboration. They can partner with healthy “masculine” characteristics such as assertiveness, objectiveness and achievement. Through both principles or energies moving closer to equilibrium, there is an opportunity for us to have a more just and peaceful world. That is my belief, that is my hope. That is what I work for.