Ancient Feminine Wisdom For Today’s Social Problems
Ancient feminine wisdom holds a crucial key to healing our global crises. How? With a range of social sustainability practices. These include living in alignment with natural cycles, learning to share power and addressing core misogynistic cultural issues.
What is ‘social sustainability’?
Social sustainability is a term coined by a grassroots movement to create sustainable communities. This movement, known as ‘permaculture’ began in Australia in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Permaculture stands for ‘permanent culture’ and it’s ethos derives from the Earth-based practices which were commonplace amongst ancient matriarchal societies.
Social sustainability is created when we have healthy routines and social interactions which optimize our potential, rather than unconscious group dynamics which result in dysfunctional patterns of relating which inhibit personal growth and interpersonal harmony.
To create a socially sustainable society we need supportive social structures. Just as you wouldn’t expect a building to stand and weather the elements of daily life if it didn’t have a strong foundation and scaffolding, we need strong and healthy social structures to build resilient relationships. When most schools, work and home environments are unconscious and dysfunctional we experience complete societal breakdown, which is what we’re currently witnessing on a global scale.
So why is that?
Our society is ego driven, like a child who priorities its wants before its needs. In a culture which is money drive, advertising preys on this, appealing to our lower selves to exploit us for profit. This constant outward search for quick fix ego gratification is tiring, like a greyhound chasing a rabbit and it’s not a pace we can sustain. So the majority of people are subsequently stressed and exhausted because they’re trying to keep up with the demands of modern life, which requires we constantly have more and do more while the cost of living escalates. This means people cannot apply creative thought to solving the world’s problems because they’re so overwhelmed with their own daily challenges.
Why does the ancient feminine wisdom hold a key to solving this dilemma?
This ego-driven behavior only began 2000 years ago. When the ancient feminine teachings and sacred practices were outlawed. This occurred when the nature-worshipping indigenous peoples were conquered by Empires who valued the acquisition of wealth and power. 2000 years later our culture is still operating on the empirical thinking of Rome, a civilization which fell due to it’s lack of sustainability.
We need both feminine wisdom and masculine ingenuity to move forward sustainably, otherwise we see Frankenstein science introducing what it terms, ‘progress’ which is more destructive than it is creative.
So how do we reconnect with feminine wisdom?
Before Rome people lived in alignment with the natural cycles because they honoured Mother Nature as their spiritual teacher. Nature is cyclic. Whether it’s the trajectory of the seasons, the full power of a tornado or the spiralling helix of our DNA, life force is generated in a circular motion. So if we want to maximize our human potential we need to align our social practices with the cycles of nature. For example, by women gathering at new moon when the emotional energy is at its lowest ebb they gain the emotional support needed to alleviate the tendency to comfort eat. By men going on retreat together during the week of Winter Solstice, which is the lowest ebb of the solar wheel, they find support to face their vulnerabilities and grow beyond them.
This was why traditional cultures placed such importance upon social practices like rites of passage, which were compulsory to assist people to mature emotionally and psychologically through their various life stages. Without this custom, we see an epic number of women experiencing post-partum depression and men abandoning their responsibility as fathers.
The ancients also held sacred ceremonies at significant celestial events and seasonal vortices to raise the collective consciousness in addition to regular sharing circles held separately for men and women, to support them in their roles as contributing members of the community. Since the structure of a circle is equal rather than hierarchical, it provides a platform for individuals to learn how to share power through the passing of a ‘talking stick’, taking turns to speak instead of one person dominating the group through fear and intimidation.
Addressing the Misogyny Inherent in Our Culture
The construct of circle is feminine. Marking the cycles of growth is feminine. Valuing and creating social practices is feminine. Ritual is feminine. Aligning with the natural cycles of time is feminine. None of these are valued in a patriarchal culture. After 2000 years of patriarchy it is futile to persist in discussing the need for policies which honour gender equality, when the social structures by which we live dismiss all things feminine. Ultimately our fear of the feminine is a fear of intimacy with ourselves and each other, illustrated by the endgame of patriarchy – a society which spends its leisure time primarily engaged in isolated virtual games and cyber sex instead of authentic human interaction. Ultimately we will not restore the sacred balance on our planet until we reintroduce feminine social practices to heal our soul sick global family.
How Social Sustainability Can Change the World
In our modern world, there’s a lot of public debate about environmental and economic sustainability but by comparison, very little discussion about social sustainability. Without addressing the root cause – our need for compulsory social education, practices and structures which encourage personal awareness, responsibility and accountability, governments and community groups will continue to spend time, money and resources independently addressing the numerous secondary social symptoms which stem from the omission of traditional feminine social practices. Social symptoms which include: drug abuse, domestic violence, relationship and family breakdown and youth suicide.
If we are not able to sustain healthy patterns of self-care and interpersonal relating, we will never have the capacity to seed, nurture and sustain the growth of anything beyond ourselves, including the creation of health relationships, families, communities or a global eco-system.
Tanishka has created online training programs for men & women to facilitate sharing circles in alignment with the natural cycles. To date this initiative has seeded circles in 36 countries as a community building initiative. She will be in the UK this May / June for her speaking tour: Virgin: Return of the Grail. For more info go to: http://www.starofishtar.com/uk-tour-2016/