Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
September 09, 2007
The Intuitive-Connections Network

Return of the Goddess

Return of the Goddess

By Edward C. Whitmont

(Crossroads Books)

Summary by Jan Kruyff

History demonstrates that consciousness evolves in steps and phases. The study of consciousness tells us we are in the midst of one such transitional phase. That the feminine be involved should be a forgone conclusion.

Both the masculine and the feminine are original components of consciousness. Insight into the present struggle of the feminine is had in understanding from where we have come and where we are going.

In various ways, the present feminine feels devoid of purpose and downtrodden. The roles of the feminine over recent centuries have become less meaningful and fulfilling.

They are characterized as secondary in importance to the role of the masculine. More so, the present feminine is struggling with forces that are frightening and sometimes unbearable.

The frightening and unbearable aspects of these forces are the important ones. They are beyond the so-called intelligent and sophisticated understanding of present culture. The present day standard of masculine and feminine cannot explain them. Thus, they inevitably cannot contain them.

These forces of change are the elements of the archetypal feminine and masculine aspects. In particular, at this point in history, the feminine archetype is making herself felt.

The present day human problem lies in the fact that basic instinctual urges are polarized. We live in a world with opposites of social and antisocial, love and hate, give and receive, etc.

There exists a whole panoply of energies that result from the action of the archetypal life forces in the earth plane. The acceptance and understanding of these forces is a tremendous task for human consciousness.

Early, more primitive cultures allocated those forces they could not grasp to the gods. Thus, these energies were still allowed to exist.

Present day has humanity in a culture where few of the gods remain. Control and understanding of the vast archetypal energies has been usurped by the human mind. However, this mind, and its methods are not really up to the task.

The present mind attempts understanding and control via the masculine principles of rationality and codification. This process stands contra to the basic fact that instinctual urges are polarized. More so, since rationality and codification are of the masculine realm, the Goddess realm of birth, death, moods, and emotions are repressed.

Likewise, the domain of Dionysus, Goddess’ consort, of desire, joy, aggression, and destruction are also repressed. Society calls these unnecessary and avoidable.

However, repression cannot eliminate. These energies always exist and apply pressure from their banishment in the unconscious. More so, what we banish we don’t know. Thus, we fear them and consider them evil.

This particular problem, though, resulting from the masculine forces differentiating the ego, and raising consciousness from the primitive appears natural. Mythology indicates that this is the way these natural life forces develop.

Going deeper into the phases of conscious development, we have a better appreciation of the processes. The phases of development of consciousness of an individual are roughly the same as the phases that consciousness of the human race has had to endure during its evolution.

The magical phase is that of undifferentiated early consciousness. Here the masculine and feminine coexist in a sea of consciousness. Both are at an early stage of development but the feminine character marks this phase. Here consciousness is more of the feminine aspects of being and becoming, not the masculine of achieving and ideating.

The feminine is global, field and process oriented. It is functional rather than abstract and conceptual. This corresponds to early childhood and also the time in human history when single persons were as herd members. Consciousness here is patterned as a participant if a group. It is a non-personal process where group interests and values predominate.

The mythological phase represents a bridge from the magical phase to the mental functions. Here there is an inward centering of consciousness and a sense of I begins to emerge. The sense of I also creates a sense of thou.

This enables social structures. Social order brings the need for the masculine values of structure, ethics, and morality. Good and bad emerge but only as what is effective for the structure. No specific value is placed on them. They are only seen as what works and what does not.

As consciousness evolves further, the one reality is fragmented even more. Multiplicities of mutually exclusive opposites arise like: good versus evil, subject versus object, etc. This awareness by splitting is masculine in character thus masculine gains importance.

This divisive and eventually analytic character is of male character. It is the aspect, which enables the new level of consciousness. These ways have developed our modern consciousness therefore considered of highest importance. Thus, we evolved as a patriarchal society where the feminine yin tone consciousness is seen as lesser value.

Toward the end of this phase the now developed ego sets its strength against nature within and without. It sets to make itself the absolute and exclusive ruler. The collective dynamics of the feminine become lost to consciousness.

So the mental or patriarchal ego phase of consciousness, which we are presently part of, is marked by control of nature, inner and outer. All is categorized as good or evil. Natural drives, spontaneous emotions and desires do not fit with this type of consciousness. Thus, the feminine modes of relating are rejected and devalued.

For a better appreciation of how patriarchal consciousness permeates present culture we can look at four grand myths. As myths they tell how the unconscious confirms the alienation of the feminine containing cosmos. These myths are expressed in the: Divine Kingship, Loss of Paradise, Sacrificial Scapegoat, and Inferiority of the Feminine. These myths also determine our ethos, social structure, and religions.

The Divine Kingship myth is exhibited through the masculine hero-warrior figure and the enforcer of order. Versions are seen in all cultures from Zeus to Allah to Our Father in Heaven. This results from the masculine energies needed for the ego to separate from the great ground of being.

Truly for thousands of years the masculine energies have been venerated. However, females also have an ego. An ego that has also risen and separated itself from the great ground of being. And for the female ego to rise and separate there was a requirement for the same masculine based energies. Thus female warrior figures as Xena or the Amazons also supported the fighting and separating aspects of the masculine.

This distinction is important for it has been both the males and females in culture, who by necessity of needing to separate their consciousness from the ground of being, used masculine based energies. This firm separate ego is needed for both males and females to understand their uniqueness and individuality. The result is a patriarchal superego or standard-bearer for persons to aspire to. It is no wonder the divine kingship myth has permeated.

The Loss of Paradise myth has also permeated our culture. The Christian version of the Garden of Eden is probably the best-known example. Imbedded in this myth is the disconnection from the greater life forces. The lust for life became outlawed here for it threatened the emergence of the ego. Only small amounts of the raw life forces are allowed and only those which could support the emerging ego.

As duality further narrowed the allowable scope of being there was a need for The Scapegoat. Stories abound in the Bible of goat sacrifice rituals and goat banishment rituals. The duality consciousness exists of opposites; however consciousness was not able to account for the opposites. Good was tolerated but not the evil. Even though both sides of the opposites exist in the original ground of consciousness.

The developing ego consciousness could only deal with one half of the duality conundrum so banished and sacrificed the other half. We experience this banishment today through guilt and defensiveness. That which isn’t acceptable to the narrow minded patriarchal culture is run out of town through guilt or defensiveness. Thus is the heritage of our polarized patriarchal culture.

The Repression of the Feminine myth is also rooted in this process. The images of the feminine being supportive of the ego structure started here. Chances are the masculine energies really did need support rather than detraction in the difficult task of separating the ego from the great field.

Thus to be supportive the feminine had to be virginal and good breeders. The continuation of the masculine project of ego development was paramount in this phase of consciousness development. The feminine energies relating to the great cycle of life were antithetical to a singularly destined ego thus needed repression.

It is important to note here again that the patriarchal value systems of our culture did not arise from man conspiring against women. The patriarchal value system is the result of both men and women needing to use their masculine biased energies to raise their consciousness from the great ground of being. That another cycle is upon us is also true. The feminine shall soon have its time in the spotlight.

The previous four patriarchal myths are millennia old. They are from Bible and pre-Bible times and play to the energies of the psyche working beneath the conscious level. A myth more appropriate to our time is the Grail Legend. Various versions of this myth appeared to arise somewhat simultaneously in the late middle ages. It is about the search for the vessel of ever flowing life. Part of the myth claims the vessel collected the fluid from the wound of Jesus on the cross.

The various versions of the myths and the rather convoluted stories of each make it impossible to recount the myth here. However, the components of the myth and the underlying meaning of the legend are very meaningful. The general components are of a grail keeper who is called the fisher king.

He has been mysteriously wounded by a spear in the thigh or genitals and the wound will not heal. The wound can only be healed by that which wounded. Since the king is wounded, the whole land suffers. Various knights such as Lancelot, Galahad, Gawaine, Bors, and Parsifal pledge to quest for the grail, which is the vessel of ever flowing life. They go off for many years, and different versions have different tales of their feats of valor.

Eventually their journeys bring them to the grail castle. They have various peculiar and difficult to comprehend challenges relating to the dames of the castle often failing the tasks for their one-sided male perspectives. The task is finally achieved when the knight comes to the attitude of co-operation and acceptance of what the feminine brings forth. The grail is found, the fisher king is healed, and all live happily ever after.

This very condensed summary is to highlight the significant points of the tale to demonstrate the psychological perspective. It is truly a tale for modern time as it parallels the wound that is resultant from the patriarchy and the need for reemergence of the feminine.

The wound the king suffers from is the wound of separation by the masculine energies. It is the devaluing of the feminine principles. The wound can only be healed by that which caused it. That is the masculine biased ego. The masculine ego must see and appreciate another mode of relating that is based on the feminine principles for the wound to be healed. Once this is achieved, the healing flow of the life energies (the grail) is restored.

It is important to note that this must be achieved by a mature and well-developed ego structure. This is represented by the knights who are the standard of mastery of masculine forces. Before the feminine can return the forces of aggression, separation, and conflict must be mastered. It is also important to note that this process, of the masculine energies separating the ego from the great field of consciousness, then relinquishing dominance, appears to be a natural course of events.

So if the Return of the Goddess is part of the new consciousness currently unfolding, how shall it be?  What changes must we integrate into our beings?  First, let us not be mistaken that this marks a relapse to earlier modes of consciousness where the feminine principles prevailed.

This would be a return to undifferentiated consciousness, the “garden of Eden” where immersion in the flow of life inhibited individuality. The Return of the Goddess means the next step of consciousness evolution. It is a step further from the present where the necessary shortcomings of the rise from the great field are compensated for.

The taboos and the forbidden are to be retrieved. These mark the other half of duality that could not be mediated at the time. The integration of our inner nature (men and women) will be necessary. The natural themes of sensuality, sexuality and nurturance are to be allowed. We must accept that what we expel as immoral and unacceptable are part of universal energies.

These energies must be integrated into our larger framework. The masculine role of hero, king, and conqueror, now predominant in men and women, is modified by the role of seeker and discoverer. However, the previous masculine roles are still important. The new masculine role needs adequate development of ego-firmness and discipline, ethical integrity, stability and external social adaptation before including the role of seeker and discoverer.

The feminine role will be modified by the revealer, guardian, and challenger. Femininity will be the role of priestess to the fullness of life as it is. The thinking function of the mind, which is critical for the ego to attain initial separation, will have to give equal importance to the feeling function. For only through the feeling function can we recognize and honor the fullness of the universal life forces.

It is important to underline that these changes will be part of the new consciousness of both males and females in our culture. Some may find adaptation easier than others as there may be a propensity to these new values. Most important, and what the Return of the Goddess is not, is the inclusion or acceptance of the female in the patriarchal mode of consciousness.

It is the broadening of consciousness from a valuing of masculine modes to the integration and equal valuing of the feminine modes of consciousness.

What comes after that?  Who knows? But chances are that as those next modes of consciousness start to rise from the unconscious and put pressure on the human psyche, that another level of myths ripe and pregnant with meaning will emerge into the culture.

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