The Feminine and Relational Consciousness
The Feminine Principle
If we understand the universe as an increasing embodiment of consciousness or spirit, we can appreciate how consciousness has been incarnating into matter, rooting into substance, or as depicted in the Bible, by being breathed into the dust of the ground. Matter, a word that in its ancient origin signifies mother, source, and substance, represents what is often called the Feminine Principle.
The Feminine Principle, worshiped for thousands of years as the goddess, the feminine side of God, and the sacred feminine, is the protective womb of the spirit, the container that brings the uncreated into existence, the cup that holds the meaning of life, as well as the web that keeps the whole of life together. This principle holds the knowing of union, wholeness, and interconnectedness, the understanding that everything is linked to everything else. The feminine expresses itself throughout the cosmos in myriad forms and ways—as a type of consciousness or knowing, as Earth, as nature, as a woman, and even as an aspect of both men and women.
As an aspect of consciousness, the feminine is natural wisdom, an understanding that often manifests as knowing without thinking. It is not the result of an intellectual process. This primordial wisdom senses and understands from within. The feminine knows its unity with “all” in the same way a pregnant mother knows her union with her unborn child—through experience. Feminine consciousness is the original and innate way of experiencing and understanding life as an organic whole where everything is in relationship to everything else. This unity just is.
When we live from feminine consciousness, life is experienced as wondrous and alive. There is a natural sense of togetherness and belonging. Like the first years of life, when we inhabit a magical, luminous world, there is no separation or individualized awareness. The child does not experience herself separate from her mother; the human being does not experience herself separate from nature. They are one.
With the higher development of intellectual capacities, human attention shifted from the whole to the part. We left the arms of the mother, and like a child who can walk on her own, we moved further and further away to see, touch, and understand each thing individually. At first we could still see the mother, but when we ventured around the corner she disappeared from sight. When we began to experience our distance, we saw ourselves as separate, as individuals. We developed a sense of “I,” “me,” and “mine”—and the natural feminine understanding of unity was largely abandoned.
While the feminine awareness holds an understanding that is intrinsic and all- encompassing, this next step in the development of consciousness has a masculine quality that is both detached and specific. Unlike the undifferentiated receptivity of the feminine consciousness, the masculine consciousness is analytical. It perceives life as if through a magnifying glass, seeing primarily the part that is in focus. Through this lens the universe is investigated, categorized and dissected to reveal more and more detail. Great scientific and technological advances have been gained as a result of this stage of our evolution.
This view through a magnifying glass emphasizes the importance of the parts, their qualities, contributions, and what makes each one special and unique. However, this limited view can make us lose sight of the whole. By focusing on our individual selves, our sense of “I” becomes enlarged, leading us to lose the perspective and the feeling of being one among billions. From this focalized field of perception the part can seem unrelated to the whole.
Just as a child interested in understanding the functioning of a toy might take it apart and be incapable of putting it back together, we have lost as a society our capacity to get back to the whole. By living primarily through a consciousness of separation, we have slowly dismantled our world into a myriad of disconnected pieces, leaving our lives devoid of meaning and value. This dismemberment has negatively impacted the Earth and the feminine aspect in each of us.
As a culture we have forgotten the way of the sacred feminine principle; we have abandoned it, dismissed it, and wounded it. The sustained emphasis on the part over the whole, on “I” over “we,” and “mine” over “ours,” as well as the value we place on intellectual understanding over natural knowing, have created an imbalance. Dismembering the world has caused its meaning to be lost and the purpose of life to be forgotten. Life has lost its sacredness and now we experience it as arid and hollow. The void that many feel has reached such a degree that something within us has begun to cry out loudly; it is the Spirit within calling us back to unity.
In some Western societies, many feel this call as a sign to return to the old days of the goddess. This sense is particularly strong in some women. But the reality is that while there is a clear call back to an experience of oneness, we are no longer the holders of an undifferentiated perception. We have evolved. Masculine consciousness has given us a wider perspective, a different kind of knowing.
We are confronted with a dilemma: we cannot continue living in this state of separation and disconnection, and at the same time we cannot go back to that sense of unconscious unity. We are being asked for a different experience of oneness, one that reconnects us with the knowing of togetherness and interconnection with all in a new way. At this point in history, we are being called to rise to a new evolution of consciousness. We are presented with the unique opportunity to weave the disconnected parts of life together from a state of full awareness.
This new dimension of consciousness, the way of the conscious weaver, is relational and feminine in nature because it weaves together the separated parts of life by perceiving what they have in common. It connects the feminine with masculine awareness, which notices the unique attribute that each part contributes to enrich and make possible the whole. The knowing of the conscious weaver contains the whole and the part. This awareness of our interconnectivity can bring healing to the wounds of desolation, water our arid hearts, and welcome meaning back into life.
We can bring this awareness into our daily lives in simple ways. While cooking a meal, typing a letter, or changing a diaper, we can notice how our activity relates to something or someone else. We can see how when we feed others, we are giving and receiving love. We can remember where the food we eat comes from. We can feel grateful to those who spend their lives working, building, and inventing new things that make our lives easier. We can remember that someone right now, somewhere, may be doing the same thing we are doing and may have the same needs we have. Through this remembrance, we can see how nature nurtures us and how we can nurture life. By witnessing and consciously experiencing how the thread of life weaves everything together and unites all, the miracle, grandeur, and magic of existence become visible once again.
Just as the first photo of the Earth taken from space showed us that we are one, this new awareness recognizes from afar what we always felt to be true inside—our oneness, our essential unity. This new relational consciousness is the bridge that unites feminine knowing with masculine understanding, the next step in our evolutionary process.