Divine Feminine. Divine Masculine.
English is a clusterfuck. Most words we use are appropriated without any credit, and the words we have don’t do a very good job to describe what we mean. For example, English has one version of the word “love.” It can mean different things, but there’s only one word. The ancient Greeks have six words for love, all describing different aspects of love.
The Masculine + Feminine archetypes are used in the western world to describe the two sacred energies within ourselves. These balanced energies are referenced in most religions and cultures. In Hindu tradition, Shakti/Shanti are the identifiers for this energy. In Chinese tradition, they use Yin/Yang. However, I don’t use the terms Yin/Yang or Shakti/Shanti because I feel that is cultural appropriation. None of these words are translated into gender, so I find it interesting that we have binary gender descriptors for these energies in the western world.
We shift and are fluid energetic beings. These descriptors help label two poles of energy. I want to help people determine how to achieve that flow, and be in both energies simultaneously. To do that, we need transcendent terminology and I think using feminine + masculine as identifiers is hurtful to certain people and reinforces a binary gender construct that lacks fluidity.
When I started writing this article, I looked for hours trying to figure out when/where “feminine” and masculine” became descriptors for the two different balancing energy sources within each of us. I couldn’t find a whole lot. What I feel is that feminine/masculine descriptors for these energies are another form of the western colonization of other traditions and cultures.
Some people use sun/moon for these energies. First, I thought that was the best alternative. However, upon further investigation I learned that many indigenous cultures worshipped the sun to be FEMININE and life giving, but the patriarchy warped that too. So sun/moon won’t work for me either.
Here’s why these binary descriptors are hurtful. Gender is a social construct. Feminine + Masculine energy further lends to that social construct. The Masculine/Feminine spectrum is a dangerous one for me just because it implies “women act this way” and “men act this way.” This creates a binary gender construct, and furthers the construct by specifying. “What” goes in “one of two” gender constructs.
I have my own unpacking to do around the balance of masculine + feminine insinuating that a relationship must also be masc/fem in order to be “properly balanced.” Even in same sex relationships, there’s a stereotype that one person is more “masculine” and the other is more “feminine,” but this isn’t true, especially when one or both people is gender fluid, non-binary, trans, or any other non-cis traits.
I feel that people (whether intentionally or not) imply that sex isn’t balanced, whole, magical, etc. unless there is a stereotypical male and female, whether in physical form or personality. The idea of wholeness being an embodiment of masculine/feminine balanced energy is subtly harmful for me as a woman in a same sex relationship. With our current terminology, it implies “wholeness” is the union of masc + fem. This damages people who don’t believe in binary gender constructs because it implies there’s only two genders and a sense of heteronormativity.
As a woman in a relationship with someone who identifies as trans or non-binary, this is difficult for me to navigate. There is still a sense of heteronormativity within same sex relationships such as “who’s the ‘man’ in the relationship?” I am also uncomfortable with the idea that the balance of masculine + feminine energies creates a whole and ecstasy because it implies that only the sexual union of a man and woman is sacred. As a queer woman in relationship with a trans person, I have issues with that.
The colonization and Westernization of these two separate energies and the English words “masculine/feminine” as descriptors are what’s damaging.
Please, let me be clear. The *language* we use “masculine/feminine” is damaging to people who are non-binary or non-heteronormative, not the energies themselves. My relationship, and many other people’s relationships or understanding of gender doesn’t fit as neatly with fem/masc energy as it does for people who are cis or in a stereotypical hetero relationship.
I don’t have alternative words, but I think it’s important to be aware of how this is damaging. Here are some examples: Using masculine + feminine language, this means certain energy is tied to one gender or the other. This hurts non-binary and trans people because they don’t meet those stereotypical gender norms or constructs.
I’m calling for new terminology. I wish I had a suggestion, or a definitive answer, but I don’t. This piece has been marinating for more than a month because I don’t have any better words to use, but maybe this opens the conversation and we can talk about it more. Are you outside the gender binary? Are you bothered by the gender labels for specific energies in western culture?
We are divinity having a human experience and we can’t be bound by gender, race, culture, etc. BUT, I also think it’s important to unpack these human/3D experiences because otherwise it’s spiritual bypassing. It’s why I speak about racism, equality, gender norms, etc. I think these are all conversations we have to have in order to validate the experiences of others. There’s a lot messaging in the spiritual community that is still hurts non white/straight people.