This is something included in another new book I’m working on, ‘The Venus Collection’, featuring new and previously available articles of mine on the goddess of Love. Have a great weekend, everyone!
There’s been lots of talk these days about the return of the goddess–but I don’t think the goddess was ever gone. Seeing it as a disappearance/ re-appearance is seeing it through patriarchal eyes: women have always been, so goddess has always been. A patriarchal society is a doing-oriented society, one that recognizes and values action, while (typically) disparaging its opposite, the essence of female energy: the receptive, the accepting, the open, the Being-oriented. Goddess energy is female energy, and functions by filling space and time with its very existence; it is vital simply by being, whereas male energy only exists when it is in motion, closed, targeted, inflicting itself on others or the environment. It’s a disparity that many have difficulty grasping, and this is chiefly because we have been indoctrinated with a bias for movement, action, ‘results’, and a sense of accomplishment that relies on seeing change, rather than feeling it. The goddess can sit perfectly still and sense the inevitable processes of growth and decay all around her–she is in fact aware that she is part of this cycle–while those invested in the god-like animus credit only the effects the hands or mind have on the landscape.
In modern Western society we’ve been conditioned to see worth and even virtue in emulating male doing energy, no matter one’s role. We applaud activity, even when it’s purpose or value is questionable, and we see this ‘busy’ attitude reflected in phrases like ‘Protestant work ethic’, ‘Yankee ingenuity’, ‘make hay while the sun shines’, and so on. This is not to say that effort is not important, but that it is only one side of an equation; to celebrate doing and accomplishing without also celebrating the contemplation, depth, communion, feeling, sensitivity, and intuition that can not only shape and guide effort but make sure efforts are effective, is to make action a god, and to cast being as a meaningless state that offers nothing to our advancement–and of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
We tend to have disdain (or at least, less regard) for the kind of contemplative or menial or repetitive tasks that act as a meditation and are much more a being state than a doing one. We may label these ‘women’s work’ (oh, the derogatory tone with which this is spoken!) and see them as beneath us, since they don’t include the slap-dash of going from A to B–but that would miss the point. No one thought to ask the grasshopper why he fiddled while the ants worked–but no grasshopper lives through the winter; it would’ve been a waste of his time to put away food for days he wouldn’t see. (And if we want to get technical about it, the ants would awaken from a torpor to begin their work and replenish their colony before much had grown or bloomed out in the world, so they did need a storehouse). In nature there is balance and reason, room for both god and goddess energy, a different set of rhymes and rhythms that apply to each creature–and we should keep that in mind when judging what’s appropriate or ‘right’, useful and useless.
Within the patriarchal structure of Western society, sometimes receptivity is needed in order to gain what is wanted; there’s an irony in a doing-dominant entity choosing to enact the anima in order to gain something, which getting is in itself a highly animus thing, the kind of goal the doing energy is consistently targeting and pursuing. In the painting ‘Jupiter and Callisto’ by Boucher, Zeus has apparently learned that abduction and rape don’t win him any friends; instead he transforms into the goddess of the Moon and the Hunt, Diana, and lures Callisto with the Moon’s sensitivity, responsiveness, and ability to reflect back to others what they ‘shine’ with–and yet, in choosing Diana’s form, he’s choosing the most animus-like of the goddesses, in terms of her Self-expression through hunting and pursuit.
Empathy requires the surrender of boundaries to the point that one Being can feel the other Being, complete, which the male-oriented cannot do without putting aside the continual, outward thrust of energy that is for them the normal modus operandi. Even in Zeus’ choice, though, the usefulness of the receptive, being stance is denigrated, as it’s seen as a tactic with which to accomplish a goal, rather than as a state of being just as valid and dynamic in its own way as any action. With Zeus it’s a means to an end, and so falls in a long line of actions meant to fulfill the animus aim; if it were a true goddess energy, the communion would be without boundaries, and no specific outcome would be on the agenda–being would be enough.
If quantum mechanics are correct and the butterfly’s movement is enough to topple a civilization as the shift ripples through matter and time, then the even more subtle shifts in consciousness, attitude, belief, and the effects of both prayer and love are felt as strongly as anything built, accomplished, or acquired. So next time you see a woman sitting with eyes closed, or standing quietly out in the grass, or strolling along with no destination in mind, or rocking a child, you’ll know just how busy, how important what she’s doing, really is.