“Patriarchy is the 5,000-year birth canal of the Great Mother Goddess.”
Dear Readers, as a follow-up to my last post concerning The Great Mother, here is an excerpt from Richard Tarnas’ book The Passion of the Western Mind. Any and all thoughts or comments are welcome, as always. SB
Bringing It All Home
by Richard Tarnas
(Reblogged from http://www.greatmystery.org/nl/vancouver2012richardt.html)
The masculinity of the Western mind has been pervasive and fundamental, in both men and women, affecting every aspect of Western thought, determining its most basic conceptions of the human being and the human role in the world…it has always been “man” this and “man” that—“the ascent of man,” “the dignity of man,” Man’s relation to God,” “man’s place in the cosmos,” “man’s struggle with nature,” “the great achievement of modern man,” and so forth.
The crisis of modern man is an essentially masculine crisis, and I believe that its resolution is already now occurring in the tremendous emergence of the feminine in our culture: visible not only in the rise of feminism, the growing empowerment of women, and the widespread opening up to feminine values by both men and women, and not only in the rapid burgeoning of women’s scholarship and gender sensitive perspectives in virtually every intellectual discipline, but also in the increasing sense of unity with the planet and all forms of nature on it, in the increasing awareness of the ecological and the growing reaction against political and corporate policies supporting the domination and exploitation of the environment, in the growing embrace of the human community, in the accelerating collapse of long-standing political and ideological barriers separating the world’s peoples, in the deepening recognition of the value and necessity of partnership, pluralism, and the interplay of many perspectives.
It is visible also in the widespread urge to reconnect with the body, the emotions, the unconscious, the imagination and intuition, in the new concern with the mystery of childbirth and the dignity of the maternal, in the growing recognition of an immanent intelligence in nature, in the broad popularity of the Gaia hypothesis. It can be seen in the increasing appreciation of indigenous and archaic cultural perspectives such as the Native American, African, and ancient European, in the new awareness of feminine perspectives of the divine, in the archaeological recovery of the Goddess tradition and the contemporary reemergence of Goddess spirituality, … in the widely noted spontaneous upsurge of feminine archetypal phenomena, … and transpersonal psychology, … in scientific theories of the holonomic universe, morphogenetic fields, dissipative structures, chaos theory, the ecology of mind, the participatory universe—the list could go on and on.
As Jung prophesied, an epochal shift is taking place in the contemporary psyche, a reconciliation between the two great polarities, a union of opposites: a hieros gamos (sacred marriage) between the long-dominant but now alienated masculine and the long-suppressed but now ascending feminine.
But why has the pervasive masculinity of the Western intellectual and spiritual tradition suddenly become so apparent to us today, while it remained so invisible to almost every previous generation? I believe this is occurring only now because, as Hegel suggested, a civilization cannot become conscious of itself, cannot recognize its own significance, until it is so mature that it is approaching its own death.
Today we are experiencing something that looks very much like the death of modern man, indeed that looks very much like the death of Western man. Perhaps the end of “man” himself is at hand. But man is not a goal. Man is something that must be overcome—and fulfilled, in the embrace of the feminine.
RICHARD TARNAS is a cultural historian and professor of philosophy and depth psychology whose first book, The Passion of the Western Mind became both a bestseller and required reading at many universities. A graduate of Harvard University, he is the founding director of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is also adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California, and was formerly director of programs and education at Esalen Institute. His recent book is COSMOS AND PSYCHE.
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