Scientific models have traditionally been masculine, and even medical practitioners primarily study the male anatomy and center cures around it. When it comes to women’s health, the models used are less than adequate. Medically, women have been categorized as the weaker sex: as the incomplete. We have undeveloped penises and testicles (clitoris and ovaries being the analogous organs).
In psychology, maleness is identified with separating from the mother and becoming autonomous, whereas femaleness is identified as merging and identifying with the mother. Masculine qualities like reason, fact, and object are considered scientific knowledge, whereas feminine qualities like feeling, value, and subject are deemed unpredictable and irrational.
Even in philosophy, women have played second fiddle to men. Aristotle philosophized over how males possess the principle of generation and movement and females the principle of matter (the passive vessel for the active seed). This notion of women as a vessel can also be seen in science, when dealing with surrogate mothers, and even in the simplification of some myths.
For example, the Egyptian goddess Nut is sometimes referred to being a vessel into the afterlife. But for the Egyptians, she represented more than that. Nut was a link between earthly mortality and timelessness and eternity– a system granting the possibility of regenerating oneself, creating a continuum between the finite and the infinite.
Since women have been traditionally identified with Nature, examining the relationship a culture has with Nature can better explain the relationship they hold with women and other marginalized groups. The orderly earth was once seen as a benevolent provider, and Nature was compared to the “nurturing mother.”
With the rise of science, this was replaced by a desire to predict and dominate the natural world, eventually leading to its destruction. Even the “cultural mandate” in Genesis states that man is to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Not only was Nature considered to be the “other”, but she was regarded as being uncontrollable and malevolent by some groups, with the threat of floods, storms, and other natural disasters.
Instead of worshipping and respecting Nature as once was done, there was a shift towards attempting to control her and all of her aspects, leading to her eventual demise. Nature becomes a dreadful element, especially when characterized by the feminine, since the power it carries has always been a mystery to men. This separation of man from Nature still exists today; however, some groups still believe we are part of a whole and revere the feminine element in the universe.
Native Americans hold the view that everything is interconnected in Nature and there is a quintessential spirit that transcends everything.
The earth is seen as female and called the Great Grandmother, and Wakan Tanka, the Great Grandfather, is the sacred coded energy underlying all things.
In Taoism, the feminine aspect is needed in order to create a perfect balance between the ten thousand things.
Feminine energy is subtle and sublime, but holds just as much importance as male energy. Water is characterized by a feminine principle—yielding, but strong in overcoming obstacles.
Even in the modern realm of Quantum Physics there is a notion of oneness with the universe.
It means that we cannot dissect the world into independent units, but must understand the world as an interconnected system of relationships between various components of the collective. This may be the beginning of a non-dualistic science. The goal of synergy in Quantum Physics is the harmonious cooperation between all beings and the order of the universe, clearly a feminine ideal.
Transforming the views held about the natural world and one’s place in it changes one’s relationship to it.
Valuing wisdom in Nature and recognizing its intrinsic value and subjectivity makes it possible to move away from the masculine perspective and towards a more feminine perspective that will transform the way women and nature are viewed in relation to the grander scheme of things.
By seeing our selves as part of the natural world, instead of its conqueror, we can live in ways that are more in tune with our natural rhythms and cycles and live a smoother existence.
In what ways do you celebrate your body’s synchronicity with nature? I invite you to start listening to your body more and examine what your needs are. Is your body craving better nutrition? More rest? More love? Practice more self care and honor your relationship with nature with rituals and affirmations. Learn about how you can live more in tune with nature and see in what ways your life transforms for the better.
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.