Tangled and Dark

29 Sep

Donato Giancola Eowyn082

I’m awaiting a lover. I have to be rent and pulled apart and live according to the demons and the imagination in me. I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again. — Anais Nin

Something in the air is changing me, a darkness there that wasn’t before. It’s as if I walk only by moonlight, completely alert only after sundown. In delving into the spiritual, I feel a deep dark ocean beneath me… unfathomable….. unknowable…  a murky warmth seaming the edges of inky indigo veil covering a vast expanse into which I will somehow dissolve. A need to understand why men are as they are and why I am as I am and why there is this deep pulsing anger in me at the thought of being worthy of masculine attention only if I am weak, only if I am a helpless woman.  As much as there is this darkly sensual feminine emergent now from my consciousness, one open in equal power to the masculine there is also a vicious evil queen who would encircle her consort within an iron band of condescension and dismissiveness. One invites, writhes for male energy. One scoffs and degrades it. And I know it is all within me, this battle to balance the masculine and feminine within my own psyche.

One of the readings for my class nearly pushed me over the edge this week.  An article by a Lieutenant Colonel Hernandez on female leadership *, identifying archetypes which women may use as models for success.  At the second page, my blood pressure went so high, I had to stop reading. My anger at his soft benevolent  yet condescending tone, his illogical assumptions, and stereotypical gender misconceptions about women and symbolic/mythic female figures made me want to be physically violent. Needless to say, it triggered my Shadow. For within me there must be this desire to be under a man, figuratively and literally. The Shadow wants ravishing. And I must find a way to come to terms with it.

The advice from this paragon of male leadership? Be beautiful, assertive, wise and little bit flirty while keeping your knickers firmly on and you’ll be a successful female leader. Seems to me that advice could be well served upon most modern male political leaders today as well as female. In other words, women need to deny their sexuality, “rein-in the Lover’s ‘oceanic’ exuberance and desire to transcend all limits in order to allow her energy its life-giving role without creating chaos in the realm.” Sexuality has a purpose it seems and only one purpose: to procreate. Women are tied to biology as the defining factor of sexual identity and a source of power.

Hernandez’ discussion of The Faerie as archetype triggered my anger the most, mainly for it’s inaccuracies, but also for its obvious cultural bias.  He describes faeries as predominantly “attractive, centrifugal energy”, classifying them as the twinkling airy princessy sort. They have no substance other than to provide Beauty and Inspiration (he links them to the Muses), giving their explosive energy away to the artist to appropriate into his own creative expression. “The Faerie is not just a Princess. She is the symbol of all that is fair and that is beautiful all that transcends material existence”. A symbol of beauty which denies her own subjective creative energy apparently.

But then, he did the unthinkable in my world.

 He aligned the Valkyries with the “virginal” Fae.

Now I’m not saying the Valkyries weren’t “maidens” (there is contention about that) but he misses the real point about their strength here. Leadership ….power ….isn’t dependent on virginity or maiden status, but on the ability to detect battle prowess. The Valkyries decide who will be chosen to fight the ultimate battle of Ragnarok. They choose the BEST warriors to join Odin in his hall. Now, even if this is viewed outside of the mythic ethos, dying Norsemen wanted beautiful tough maidens to take the bravest of them to the beyond to wait for the ultimate battle. These are no shrinking violets. They are badass women. Their fierce striking beauty is born of physical strength and the power of death. Not “stout maidens” as Hernandez portrays them, which makes them sound like the plain, practical, sturdy utilitarian sort. “Mopeds”, as the sexual expression goes. . . fun to ride but you don’t want your friends to see you on one.  The point is that they embodied knowledge of skill and assessment of courage, affirmed by Odin himself and this is the most important quality, in my opinion. After all they choose. He doesn’t send them with a list, as fetchers of souls.

Think of it:  A culture in which men believed that beautiful powerful women were the judges of the best of them, acting at their best.

In Hernandez’ world, leadership is tied to sexuality but about wielding it or withholding it, external to the self. I tire of a gender landscape in which the art of dangling a fertile carrot is the deciding factor in connection.  Perhaps my anger is at a system which denies the concurrent power of wisdom and sexuality at any stage of life in any gender.

So I look for patterns, for models. I search for ways of being in men. In becoming like them, I learn to understand them from the inside out. The kind of power that I see in admirable men: presence, assertiveness, ability to inspire and motivate is within me. A power that lies in voice and agency called from an internal power, such as Dr. Martin Luther King. That is the sword I want to hone, like a Valkyrie preparing for the field. My frame longs to wield sharp blunt power and feel a body connect in explosive passion. Then maybe the hard cold iron of my anger will be shattered and the warm soft velvet of incense laden feminine will spill out, turning into a great dark ocean wave. And I will know what the deep holds. I will sleep soundly again without the Universe pulling my hair with its stars.

* http://www.leadershipreview.org/2009spring/article2.pdf

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