Written by Sarah Engelhart, Co-founder of Joan of Sparc
In the modern, production-driven, material-based era, talk of the “divine feminine” is often judged as “woo-woo” or “new age”. Divine feminine is a term that is often relegated to yoga classes or Kirtan festivals (both of which I personally love). But, I am starting to notice that the rise of the divine feminine is something that is being spoken about outside of the usual spiritual contexts. The concept seems to be slowly making its way into the mainstream at just the right time. By bringing awareness to a practical understanding of the divine feminine, anyone can experience a new depth to life.
Feminine Leadership Is on the Rise
In order to talk about the rise of the divine feminine, we have to first explore how the phrase is currently being used.
In some circles, the rise of the divine feminine contextualizes the general movement away from the strictly patriarchal systems of the past towards a more feminine approach to leadership. What does that mean? If we look at the way governments, companies, and institutions were run in the last 500+ years in most parts of the world, it isn’t difficult to notice certain… let’s just say, patterns. Since men have been the primary leaders in these arenas (hello patriarchy!), it gives us the unique opportunity to see the positive and negative qualities of masculine leadership.
As women have started to assume more leadership roles around the world, we have an opportunity to begin to re-balance the old systems and bring about a new, more egalitarian way. One where both the masculine and feminine are considered equal, even amidst their differences. There is still a long way to go in this process, but we are well on our way… one small step at a time.
Suppression of the feminine, violence, destruction, and materialism are all qualities that are attributed to the masculine in severe imbalance. Also, the masculine can lend itself toward strict linear mental thought patterns versus more feminine heart/intuition-based wisdom. There is no denying the consequences of these things in our society. However, when we solely focus on the negative spectrum of male leadership, we can forget to also acknowledge the positive.
When we take into consideration that both men and women contain the polarities of feminine and masculine, we have to also ask ourselves as women where we might be expressing elements of the masculine in imbalance instead of only seeing it outside ourselves.
Men are our brothers, fathers, partners, sons, and friends. The masculine contributes so much to our lives. When it is expressed from connection to the heart it represents the ability to protect, provide structure, discern, maintain equilibrium, initiate ideas, and bring concepts into form—and is nothing shy of miraculous. When the feminine and masculine come into balance with one another, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
How we rise as women has everything to do with overcoming the shrouds of illusion, false accusation, and cruelty—and creating a necessary counteracting force to that which seeks to suppress us. That work can only be done by choosing not to contribute to the same behavior that has gotten us here in the first place.
Consider the lineage of so many generations of women (our mothers/grandmothers) in patriarchal society and the deep-rooted patterns that we are called to break. We are starting to see a significant shift, but the rise of the divine feminine can only continue to gain momentum if we all take personal responsibility for becoming someone who lives with balance, starting inside ourselves. This also includes not falling into the pitfalls of the feminine in imbalance.
There has never been a more pivotal moment in our collective history, with the current threat of ecological collapse and all the other challenges facing humanity, for these two seemingly opposing poles to come into harmony... starting with ourselves.
When we embrace the role of the divine masculine in the rise of the divine feminine, we create a context for authentic healing and the potential for living in the kind of world our hearts know is possible.
The Intersection Between Spirituality and Practicality
This progression towards a greater balance between the masculine and feminine is a force that cannot be stopped. Right now, there are millions of people rising to protect the Earth and finding ways to live in harmony with nature. There are women in every level of leadership throughout the world, and increasing numbers of people (both men and women) are practicing mindfulness, choosing nonviolence, and working to forge a more just and equitable society for everyone.
Justice, equality, compassion, egalitarianism, service, and living in balance with nature are behaviors that are associated with the rise of the Divine feminine. One way to conceptualize the rise of the divine feminine is the materialization of the aforementioned ideals into the modern world. When we find inspiration in the qualities associated with the Divine feminine, it’s important to find ways to express them practically.
Exploring the Divine feminine in a spiritual sense and through self-reflection can be very powerful but allowing it to stop there without working to fully integrate it into practical life can lead to further imbalance.
Women in Power
Although currently, most cultures have adopted patriarchy, there are some historical examples of matriarchal societies. One such example is from the Iroquois Nation of North America, (pre-colonization). George-Kanentiio recalls, “Our women not only hold the reigns of political and economic power, but they also have the right to determine all issues involving the taking of human life. Declarations of war had to be approved by the women, while treaties of peace were subject to their deliberations.”
“To us, it made sense for women to control the land since they were far more sensitive to the rhythms of the Mother Earth.” - George-Kanentiio of the Iroquois Nation
Interestingly, historical matriarchal systems do not suppress the masculine in the same way that the feminine is suppressed in patriarchal societies. Instead, the examples of matriarchy from the past show that although women were in roles of leadership, men were not considered to be inferior. Somehow they were able to find balance and live in an egalitarian way. It isn’t that these cultures were free from all forms of corruption in general, but we can still draw inspiration from them as we forge a new future.
Toward a Rising Feminine
Five ways that you can support the rise of the divine feminine.
Start With Yourself
Take a personal inventory and observe where you may be perpetuating habits of masculine or feminine qualities in imbalance. If you think you aren’t… that’s a red flag. No judgment, we all have places we can learn and grow. It takes some work to discover and explore these in ourselves, but it’s all part of the journey. You can also find ways to commune with the Divine Feminine internally whether you identify as a man or a woman. (Both Carl Jung and Mozart, amongst many others had profound relationships with their inner Divine Feminine).
The times we are in are calling for us to acknowledge that if imbalance exists in the world, we must look within ourselves to heal the imbalances we also contain.
2. Women Empowering Women
Together, we rise by supporting those around us. Consider that other women may not enjoy the same privileges you do and take the time to get to know them on a deeper level. Practice active listening and learn about other women’s unique perspectives. We all have varying degrees of privilege, whether that’s economic, age-based, racial or otherwise. And we all have something unique to learn from one another.
3. Support Feminine Leadership Aligned With Higher Values
Just because she is a woman, doesn’t mean she is leading with integrity. Stand up and support the female leaders in your life who are making the kind of differences that brings greater balance to the world. A true leader is someone who serves others from the heart, recognizes when she is being motivated by personal gain or ego and chooses to live with integrity.
4. Lead by Example
Be someone who walks the talk. We all have blind spots and make mistakes, but that shouldn’t stop any of us from trying. If you fall, get up again and allow your circle of support to hold you in moments of difficulty.
Above all, be willing to find compassion for those who seem to oppose the rise of the divine feminine. Fear only begets more fear.
5. Gather Together
Coming together as women and men is a powerful action. Not only is it fulfilling to develop friendships but it also has the ability to make big waves. It can feel vulnerable at times to navigate through the nuances of social life, but so much strength and beauty come from our authentic connections. Go out and get connected!
There are increasing examples of women and men coming together and lifting each other up across cultural, economic and racial divides. In the non-profit sector, business, government, and entertainment, women’s voices are leading the way. If we truly wish to forge a new future, we must come together in ways that allow us to get to the root of things. What are your thoughts on the rise of the divine feminine and how is it unfolding in your life? Share in the comments below.