WHAT’S IN A NAME?
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet… Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee, take all myself.” (William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”)
Woman is one with Nature. As a force, she controls without intending to; she follows without submitting. She embodies the spirit of cooperation, not because she reasons it out but because her nature embraces the whole.
Can anything be greater than the miracle and vastness of Creation? At her core a woman is the totality of the life forces that engender creation, but it seems that this is not enough. Unawares, a woman persistently defines herself, chooses to be defined, and sets out to fulfil the expectations of others. What does it take to see that her opinions of herself are controlled by others, and by a patriarchal model of the past?
To answer the proverbial question, “who am I?” instead of becoming aware of ourselves feeling, we look to references, precedent, opinions and expectations with the hope that others will see and know and recognize what we deem ourselves incapable of seeing, knowing and witnessing. And we hold ourselves to be their reflection: virgin, prostitute, goddess, or sorceress. Even motherhood is defined by actions rather than by the sentient core of a woman’s self. As women, we long to “be something” and to serve a role that determines our place in the world and in the order of things; something immeasurably easier for men who are the known rulers and architects of form. To be the vastness of “everything” is too much, and our society is structured for results. To be something is the very foundation of our world, as of our ego.
The pure “experience” of Self is disconcerting enough when we already have a satisfactory identify, but when we don’t know what we truly are… this is especially painful. Because a woman is more than she could ever hope to become, and there is no cultural model that recognizes that. We are prized for what we do and for how we appear, always in function of another.
It is logical that if we are what we “do”, going through the motions we can do and be anything! Our wilfulness exceeds all bounds, as does our arrogance. The greatest product sold today is “personal power”. In the right circumstances and with money, we believe ourselves to be all-powerful. Packaging and salesmanship override sensibility in every case. Naturally, we think that we deserve obedience and recognition proportionate to the power we display.
We build a reality around likes and dislikes, and our ability to enforce and determine our individual world. We fight against whom or what we do not understand, we roar against Nature and what we cannot control, and make promises of continuity that go against all odds. We seek revenge when we are crossed, recompense when we are deprived of what we think we deserve, and use one another in the name of love. We claim to be spiritual all the while dishonouring all principles of life and sanctity.
It is especially distressing to see so many thinkers in the alternative vein today, revering and likening themselves to gods and goddesses, without looking to themselves first, to see what they are doing. The Goddess is a principle, alive and active in every woman as a force of Nature. Herein lies the problem: intelligent, dynamic forces are not human. The modern woman who incorporates this spiritual principle is not a figure to be venerated; she administers the forces of Creation as part of her nature. No more, no less.
In an age of science and technology, differing degrees of anthropomorphism still predominate. For the same reasons as we prize artificial identity, we dress dynamic principles with a human form and rank them on our scale of material values, instead of understanding the dynamic of energies and forces that act in Creation. Although used interchangeably, forces pertain to substance and energies relate to non-physical phenomena. Long ago, believing in deities as supra-human entities was an excellent means of holding the attention of emotionally primitive people in order to control them, but to propagate such practices today goes contrary to intellectual and spiritual development. Truth is, we are turned on by the personal importance derived from identification with humanized gods and goddesses.
In my current field, I am frequently in touch with women (and some men) who practice goddess rituals. For fun or for “real”, the fact that goddesses are directly related to forms that titillate male hedonistic sexuality is overlooked. “A woman is a woman is a woman”. To be defined by others is perverse; to define ourselves in this way is sad. We must not allow ourselves to be held above another person, no matter how gratifying; we must not be fooled into believing that calling us goddesses gives us what we deny ourselves – a centre. In this coming age of women, our responsibility is to be what we are and to stand side on equal footing with everyone.
There is a second instance where women are controlled by an out-dated model of the past. It has to do with gender roles. In physics we speak of two forces, the catalytic agent and the response. This is extended into the patriarchal model of leader and follower, boss and obedient serf, and by extension, male and female. It is almost inconceivable to think that life, as a dynamic, is a dance of forces where neither leads or follows because each is whole. Men build and define not only the world, but also womankind. Women are structured to generate, embrace, value and refine, but there is no “form” that may describe that.
As women, we have come a long way. Clearly, a new model is being impressed in our system of law, illustrated in books, films and constantly spoken about in the media. As yet it is theoretical, a woman does not live it in the innermost experience of herself. Opinions forthcoming from “others” still determine a woman’s physical, emotional, and mental worth, and even the most emancipated, successful woman falls into this trap.
Goddesses are beautiful and so is the wish of every woman to be beautiful and to display and offer that beauty for the inspiration of the whole. Part sex symbol, mother, decorative possession, goddesses exist for men and unhappily for women who depend on their approval. For a conscious woman, beauty is the delight of existence with no purpose but itself. A woman who knows herself as “inner woman”, is beyond definitions. Her identity is the continuous present experience of herself and being abundant.
It is time to refine our thinking, awaken our intellect, and become aware of the power that, as women, we give away by desiring to be less than what we are.