I’m looking at the snow fall outside my window, and a squirrel ambitiously climbing up the nearby power pole and then the tallest tree in my front yard. I’m not a fan of squirrels, of the gray sort in particular. They are a lightweight rodent version of me at my most neurotic. Sure, they can be cute, chasing each other around and around, clownishly overstuffing their faces with the goods they’ve scrounged, and bounding gleefully away to stash it all somewhere under what passes for locked storage in gray squirrel terms; a little hole in the ground. Their seemingly caffeinated approach to the day is standard operating procedure for many a citizen in my contemporary American society.
Squirrel-like, adult folks all over America rise with the sun, ready to tackle that ambitious to-do- list. We may hit the Starbucks for some java to fuel the business of chasing folks around a tree; to sell them something or otherwise solicit participation, as I’m doing right now. Many punctuate the day by twitching furry Facebook tails at each other. As the hours pass, we may wax gleeful upon finding some windfall of more or less favorite “stuff” on super sale, so we get the squirrel-like fun of grabbing more than we need, and then scrambling to figure out where the heck we can stash it. My favorite version of this search for bargains is going to the awesome thrift stores in the area. That way, if I can’t fit the purchase into my life, it’s so cheap I can re-donate it. Let someone else dig the hole.
Watching the squirrel outside my window followed a viewing of this video, linked on the awesome Rob Brezny’s astrology newsletter:
A fake prison; ironic, hey? My contemporary Westernized culture is predicated on a couple of things; scientism, and the belief that choice in the worldly arena can only mean freedom. More choices equals more freedom. From the sociopolitical perspective, the last is true. However, we’ve created an option-full society that we haven’t really caught up with yet- which is awesome. How many phone apps can one person use in a day? If we do happen to be acting out the media-promoted, typical middle class (or higher class) American lifestyle, options from entertainment to ownership have mushroomed in the last several decades- which is also awesome. Squirrel-like, we may dash about, finding cool things to own and to do.
This human fun of creating and searching and trying out countless options is all in the realm of the masculine outward-moving principle. The masculine principle transcends sex and gender, for it is, in short, the innate traits and qualities of maleness, a theoretical category that most of us take for granted. And, just like the sun, the masculine principle is about radiation, i.e. outward movement, including, of course, the production of new “stuff”. Explosions, if you will, however controlled. Options.
Again, I am not trying to be a Captain Bringdown here. I am huge fan of the masculine, as I am of the feminine. I’m not judging this squirrely behavior as intrinsically negative; it’s just easily out of balance in my society. It’s an extrovert, i.e. masculine, way of making sure we are a part of everything. Who wants to be left out? Not me. No, it’s healthy to desire connection, for it’s true; we are a part of everything, of Life Itself. However, connection is intrinsic to our being; it’s not necessary for us to do or get anything to experience it. Sophia, the feminine wisdom principle, knows this.
We’re having fun with excess options Garden of Eden style, innocently enjoying abundance, to the best of our ability. Of course I know lots of folks aren’t invited to the socioeconomic abundance party, I’m not stupid. But plenty of folks are, and Westernized culture has captivated folks on a global scale now; lots of people want to play this abundance game. So what’s the problem?Well, in short, like the squirrel we can easily get caught on the wheel, and the world of options isn’t fun any more, because it’s become fear-driven, in part. We are afraid that if we stop, we’ll be left out or left behind.
I have some good ideas (and embodied experiences) about what Sophia or the feminine wisdom principle would do, at least some of the time; nothing. That’s been a hard pill for a squirrel like myself to swallow, for sure. How can doing nothing be good? It doesn’t “get me anywhere”. It not “fun”, in the entertaining sense of the word, right? I’m not participating with or making new stuff! These two protests of mine are, in short, why we of Westernized culture may persist in a lifestyle devoid of opportunities for entering the feminine wisdom zone, whether we self identify as man or woman.
Feminine wisdom is a vast subject, but here I’m talking about the aspect of feminine wisdom that is Earth-oriented, specifically. Feminine earth and water based wisdom is a human-focused (as opposed to cosmic) aspect of the feminine divine. Here “divine” is pointing to more-than-physical options in how we perceive the physical. Physicality is also divine, for the light of other realms shines through the physical if we learn to see or feel it. We can learn to embody feminine earth and water wisdom in our physical experiences, in other words. That’s the cool thing about feminine wisdom; it’s easily assimilated and recognized in our daily lives. We’ve just been trained out of it in my culture that’s so busy searching for love in other places.
Earth and water wisdom are actually easier to access in the most humble and mundane of experiences. This elemental wisdom’s purpose is teaching the ways that humans can optimally grow, create, develop, and expand. It’s a sort of guide and loving supportive power we encountered here and there; in our parents, in our caretakers, in our teachers and our loved ones, in a book or a religious teaching, in nature, and probably in yourself, if you have read this far. This feminine wisdom aspect holds our hand and offers plenty of encouragement, but no judgment.
The wise masculine role in growth and development leans more toward setting up challenges and testing courage and other skills, often with a goal-oriented or problem-solving approach. That’s why we are so obsessed with tests in our malecentric society. The wise masculine likes to push, maybe roughly, maybe gently, to see us capable of standing on our own through exercise of personal will and discovering our strengths and skills. For that reason, it’s not interested in your growth if you’re not. It knows intrinsically that the masculine aspect of human development requires some will, so, the wise masculine isn’t interested in teaching anyone who appears whimsical about their own goals and desires. It tends to the Zen stick activity, knocking you upside the head sometimes rather than being eternally patient.
The masculine goal is to stand tall and not be swayed with every shift in the winds of life. The wise feminine will stay engaged with you even if you’re going nowhere fast, in reverse, even, and certainly if you’re weak, fallen, or broken. For it knows that sometimes backward movement or an utter loss of will can serve our human development, and since it’s not goal-oriented it’s got all the time in the world. It’s the fiber arts symbolism of picking up stitches, or unravelling and reweaving, the symbolism of Penelope weaving by day and destroying her work by night, while Odysseus winds his way back to the marriage bed.
The feminine earth wisdom is an aspect that is easy to conjure and connect with through very old trees, or through the mineral world, through rocks and mountains that recall their origins way before the formation of this planet. This essentially eternal wisdom perspective can be imagined as more like living the life of a bowhead whale (estimated at 200+ years) than that of the gray squirrel (max. 12 years in the wild). I can tell you that when I imagine I might live for 200 years, it changes my perspective on activity levels. I can’t imagine maintaining my squirrel-scramble that long.
Yeah, feminine wisdom would be a handy thing for those of us hung up on the squirrel wheel. Like a mother watching their children run around the room, grabbing stuff from the toybox and throwing it on the floor, and testing the durability of materials, Wisdom may smile patiently at the melee we’ve made of our lives, glad that we are enjoying ourselves. But when she sees we’re starting to skirmish over who gets to use the new toy, to scream and whine and hit, she knows we’re ready for a nap. Then, like unto the South Korean pseudo-prisoners, she invites us to just say no to options.
It’s the old sitting meditation game, of course, with a wee twist. Instead of puzzling over many options, we choose one; doing nothing. This is a major occupation of the Divine Feminine, in fact; just being. Even after she’s had a cup of coffee. There’s something kind of fun about switching on the ignition (masculine fire, of course) and sitting there, idling, listening to the human body’s engine purr, with nowhere to go. Nowhere to go, nothing to do right now. Just smiling as the twitchy squirrels run by with their nuts. I think I’ll join her.