There are many images in mythology, religion, and literature connecting women with a dark, unknowable force, and this mystery has made people fear and demonize women throughout history. Women have thus been marginalized in the West because of their allegorical association with Evil.
In Christianity, women have been paired with temptation and sexuality, perhaps because of their most famous feminist, Eve. She embodied rebellion and the desire for knowledge and ate the fruit off the tree in the patriarchal garden, regardless of the consequences. She was also blamed for the temptation of Adam and the fall of man, since she “lured” him to partake in sin.
Pandora is another example, externally beautiful, yet internally evil. She is also seen as a lure for men with her sexuality. In mythology, Persephone ate the pomegranate, just as Eve ate the apple, and was stuck in the underworld as a result.
Joan of Arc followed her voices and defied conventional standards and undertook traditionally masculine roles and led men into war, something she would be condemned for later on.
Even in colonial times, women suffered the injustice of being associated with evil and burned at the stake for allegedly offending God and consorting with the Devil. These witch hunts caused the deaths of hundreds of women who were not deemed conventional by the standards of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, women who were seen as overly independent and covert, presumably in alliance with the Devil.
Recently, there has been a reconnection with the natural world and the feminine, where there was once a separation and hierarchy. There is a renewed interest in assessing our place in relation to the universe and no longer claiming dominion over nature as women have regained power in society. Nature has become our ally instead of our enemy, and no longer seen as evil or mysterious. Women are no longer being seen as the gender to dominate and fear.
Because of the traditionally patriarchal aspects of a lot of the Western religions, many feminists thus find a matriarchal approach to be more beneficial and more humanistic.
Masculine and feminine views of the universe should not be held as the mutually exclusive models once held, but must be brought together to provide a whole picture, not two separate realities.
Nature is a seamless web of life, where renewal and regeneration abound. There is a synergistic union with the energy that inhabits the natural world, an idea that would have previously been impossible to arrive at in the traditional patriarchal society.
The notion of God as the core or essence of everything is now becoming a more widespread idea, as opposed to the traditional notion of God as an external force or influence on things.
With the reemergence of the new “Goddess Cult”, there is a sort of consciousness-raising campaign geared towards the awareness of matriarchal societies and their practices. In this view, the Goddess is not separate, but is an inherent part of all things. Many groups hold the idea that this deals with the vital energy in the natural world, a view that had remained dormant for several years.
Does your view of the world foster a healthy view of yourself? Is the external world something to be feared or embraced? A lot of times, what we project onto the world is a reflection of how we view ourselves. I invite you to take a day to see the world through a nurturing lens. It might just change your relationship with yourself.
Ikam is a freelance writer from South Florida. She received her Masters in Religious Studies in 2001, specializing in myth and ritual. She has worked with victims of crime and trauma and also has a Masters in Criminal Justice, which she got in 2008. Ikam is interested in spirituality, healing, health, and the paranormal. She loves writing about a wide variety of topics, including travel, entertainment, culture, and health. Ikam wants to be a part of the Cycle Harmony community in hopes she will help and inspire others to achieve their goals, as well as share ideas on women, spirituality, and healthy living.