In A Goddess Centered Universe, What’s A Man To Do?

The Divine Feminine, it seems, is making a comeback.

This is what three out of the five panelists told the crowd at a recent symposium I attended. The Divine Feminine is initiating a change in the world, they assured us, and She is bringing to bear a time when the spiritual voice of women will finally be heard.

Awesome, I thought. I like women. I feel more comfortable around them, generally. As a rule, I’d rather confide in a woman than a man. Women are mysterious and magical, and they often express those qualities without even trying. Their bodies are absolutely astounding, too, what with the whole life-making thing. My mind goes to mush when I start thinking about the ways in which women are amazing.

Plus, being in the presence of women gives me a completely different understanding of the fluidity and presentation of gender, and the experience of my own gender as a man. Women help me to understand what parts of my identity are more masculine, and what parts are actually quite feminine. Women seem to possess an ability to do both — to present the masculine and the feminine — with a kind of ease that is foreign to most men. I love that about them.

So, yeah – I’m good with women leading the way.

But then the thought occurred to me — what is the role for men in a world where the paradigm shifts towards the Divine Feminine? If humanity is, as these panelists would suggest, moving away from the patriarchal model, if we’re letting go of the “Father God” as the exclusive or primary representation of Deity, and this movement is part of our spiritual evolution as a species, what does that mean for men?

When I posed the question to the panelists, asking how they suggested men might place their experience of masculinity within a paradigm in which the primary, divine force is identified as feminine, they didn’t have a ready answer.

The Problem of Semantics

As much as I’m a proponent for the Divine Feminine becoming a central focus, I think there’s something problematic in the language we’re using to describe her. These words – Father, MotherMasculine, Feminine – they speak to something human, some quality or experience of humanity. When we call our God or Goddess (both, gendered words) a “He” or a “She,” we’re making the Divine in our own image, if I might borrow some language from the Old Testament. This seems problematic to me. Isn’t ascribing gender to the Divine limiting, somehow? Gender is so often a rigid structure, and Divinity is not. At least, not in my experience.

For centuries, it’s been all about one, male God. The world belongs to Him. He is The Father. He is The Architect of all creation. He is, quite simply, The Man.

Men can work with that. Men have run with this idea of a male god because, quite honestly, it is easier to conceive of The Inconceivable if you can assign it a gender… *ahem*…  your gender. If God is a man, and I am a man, than there must be something about my manhood that is similar to God’s manhood, the logic goes. I can understand something about God because of something I know about myself.

I heard this logic from the panelists, too, but from a different side of the gender binary. Women, the crowd was told, are innately more receptive to the Goddess because of their womanhood. The Goddess and womankind are a lot alike. That was the message.

What I don’t understand is how that message is in any way different than the message of the patriarchal religions. They sound the same to me. The genders have been swapped out, but the form and way of thinking is the same.

The Problem of Othering

Women are othered by the idea of a God whose gender is different than theirs. You are not like God, a man can say, because you are a woman. And men are othered as well when they are told that they are not like the Goddess because they are a man.

What I took away from the panelists was that they wanted women to take the power back. It was women’s time to have the power, to use the power, to be the guardians of the power. It was a power struggle, which is not revolutionary. Nor does it seem to this man to be reflective of anything Divinely Feminine. It seems kinds mannish, actually.

There’s nothing revolutionary about a woman wielding power in the same way that men always have. What might be revolutionary is the disassembly and deconstruction of the idea of power. Wouldn’t that be more feminine?

But therein lies the problem. We are attempting to conceive of the Divine Feminine, of this radically new — or, as many of you might suggest, unfathomably old — expression and experience of Divinity from within a patriarchal system. The paradigm has not yet shifted, but we’re trying to firm up our definitions and assign new rules to how this newuniverse behaves. We want to control it by defining it, a masculine act born of a patriarchal universe. We want to say who’s most like the Divine, and who’s less — also a holdover from the patriarchy.

The Age of the Goddess will not be ushered in with the tools, methods, and battle tactics of the God. Will it?

Sorting Through The Problems

I’m open to your thoughts on the matter. Are you a man who finds himself moving through a world where Women are King (so to speak)? Do you experience any conflict with how women talk about the Goddess, or any alienation or sense of being othered?

Or, if you’re a woman who experiences a kind of empowerment from using Goddess-language, can you imagine a way that men might reconcile this new experience of otherness?

Perhaps you have a perspective altogether different, and you’d like to offer it up. If so, please leave a comment here. I’m happy to hear from you.

Then, share this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or your social network of choice. The more voices, the more insight.



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63 responses to “In A Goddess Centered Universe, What’s A Man To Do?”

  1. Fred Bower Avatar

    This is why I am happily a polytheist.  We have many more options than just two.  

  2. AdamaKnowsBest Avatar

    I disagree with the assertion that
    the world is moving towards a more feminine focus in theological matters. If
    anything I think secularism and atheism is going to be the order of the day in
    the future not another religious belief system.  

    Now regarding how men should feel
    about the divine feminine. I’ll just say it here and now the solution is simple embrace
    atheism instead of another false belief system. After all there is a great deal
    of evidence which disproves most if not all theological assertion. So
    why should men, women, and dose in-between spend their life’s dedicated to a

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks for the comment, Adama.

      “Why should men, women and those in-between spend their lives dedicated to a religion?” 

      This question does not have a simple answer. I think that we commit ourselves to a religious path because it provides us with a way of conceiving of the world -and our place in it- that as something bigger, broader, and full of mystery. I know some who approach science for the same reason. Religion, if approached with humility and not hubris, can offer much in the way of providing structure to one’s life, opportunity for understanding one’s self and others, and lead one to the feeling and experience of unity with that which is seen and unseen.

      Personally, I like those experiences, and I value them in my life.

      Do you experience something similar in your embracing of atheism? And, I ask that sincerely and with complete respect for your path. Do you find that atheism creates for you a sense of well-being where religion cannot?

      I value your perspective, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this post.

  3. Chantal Avatar

    In a Goddess Centered Universe, what is a man to do? To me, the answer is really simple: Provide the Masculine. If all things (in my conception) as a balance of masculine and feminine energy, to allow the Divine Feminine to be such requires males play their part in allowing for that full expression (and vice-versa).

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you for your comment, Chantal.

      What does it mean to, as you put it, Provide the Masculine. Could you explain concept to me?

  4. Nara Avatar

    Discovering that there are religions and spiritual paths that use ‘Goddess-language’ and female imagery for the Divine was certainly empowering to me, and in the beginning, I was just so excited to have found the Goddess that, in my enthusiasm, my path went a lil’ all-Goddess-all-the-time and it took me about a year to calm down and balance things out to where now I work with both Goddess and God more or less equally. I don’t think we’re moving into a Goddess-centered world per se, but if things do become Goddess-centered for a while, I think it will be more along the lines of my growing pain of Goddess-over-enthusiasm, which will (hopefully) be balanced out in due time. As for how men might reconcile an experience of otherness, I think it’s important to realize that what we label Goddess and God are simply names for two ends of a continuum: life/death, creation/destruction, light/dark, joy/anger, etc.  If we decide to label one end “masculine” and one end “feminine,” which attributes we choose for which end is *completely and utterly arbitrary*. If someone tries to tell you that you can’t do x-y-z or can’t connect with such-and-such an energy because it’s a “Goddess/feminine” energy and you’re a man, that person is misguided, as gender attributes are arbitrary and what is “masculine” and what is “feminine” varies widely from culture to culture. Even within one culture’s gender norms, most people aren’t on one pole of the gender continuum or the other, we’re somewhere closer to the middle. So as we all exist upon continua (gender or otherwise) to say that one energy doesn’t exist withing you or can’t be accessed by you is, in my opinion, frankly ridiculous. The Divine exists within all of us and men shouldn’t be ostracized from Goddess-worship just because women have been ostracized from God-worship in the past. Two wrongs don’t make a right, as it were… I’m not sure if that answered your questions, exactly, and sorry if I got a little ramble-y, but those are my two cents. 

  5. […] Grove Creating A Space For Dialogue Beneath The Sacred Oaks Skip to contentHomeAboutContact Teo← In A Goddess Centered Universe, What’s A Man To Do?Holy Crap… I think I may be a Wiccan Posted on November 9, 2011 by Teo BishopSo I’m […]

  6. Kilmrnock Avatar


  7. Kilmrnock Avatar

    It has been documented thru genetic and historical studies that during our early evolution that males and females have different brain wiring or genetic setup.Each sex had different duties during our early development that still show up today. Women due to child care and gathering can multi task well , where as men were generaly hunters wired to go out and kill something for food . This is why men tend to be sinle minded / goal oriented . All of this is documented .I’m not trying to be sexist that was just the facts during humanities hunter / gatherer origons . I’ll agree most of our boies are almost identical . But i am/was talking about how the male and female brains work . Why we a different . You can say the same thing to a man and a woman and have it interprited differently . Those very differences are why men and woman are complimentary .We can fill in holes in each others capabilities and interests . why we can work together well.    Kilm

  8. Kilmrnock Avatar

      Eran , the male /female concept is alot more than asignned gender roles . we are almost entirely different animals , beyond phsycobable most pagans understand this .It is alot more than how we see our selves . w/o getting into gender bending /gay issues .Thru evolution , the male and female brains are wired entirely differently .In an ideal situation, the one most pagans strive for btw , the two sexes compliment each other , work well together in equal balance together. Niether is better , just different , and complimentery.From my point of view and most of academia , some of our difference are nuture, but most male/female differences/preferences are nature . The nature vs nuture argument is done . Kilm

    1.  Avatar

      Kilm – 

      No, not really.  Biologically, males and females are almost identical.  Yes, there are general traits that separate one another (most of the time), such as wider hips for females, larger shoulders for males, etc. but those are not absolute.  Genetically, the only thing that separates males from females is a single chromosome, and sometimes not even that (look up XXY and XYY genotypes to see what I mean).

    2. Ian Phanes Avatar

      As I have an actual degree in anthropology, I can assert that “most of academia”–particularly in the fields that actually study these things–don’t agree with your point of view.  On almost every issue, there is more diversity *between* the genders than *within* them.  For a straightforward example, let’s look at height.  On average, men are taller than women.  However, I know women who are over 6′ and men who are barely over 5′.  Similarly, there is more diversity in brain wiring within each gender than between them.

      And I don’t think you get to speak for “most pagans” either.

  9. kenneth Avatar

    This is a very big question you pose, more than I can do justice to in a combox, but I think the answer lies in finding a new and healthier balance of our understanding of masculine and feminine.  The tradition which I have helped establish with a priestess friend of mine is deeply concerned with this issue. We consider it to be a central mystery to our tradition, and our mission, if you will.  I don’t see this re-balancing as a threat to manhood but as a call to re-examine and re-invent the concept.  As men, we had, and still have, some very positive things to contribute to the human endeavor. The re-awakening of the divine feminine was a wake up call that some aspects of maculinity, particularly the concepts of patriarchy which evolved through monotheism, is not healthy for women, or men, or the planet as a whole. 

  10. Kilmrnock Avatar

    I also have to comment on the othering i’ve felt when dealing w/ feminist wiccans . Altho i understand their hostility , i do have a problem w/ them doing what they rightly acuse the mainstream monothiest religions of doing. At many events /ocassions the otherness aimed at pagan men was quite palitable and not waranted.Most pagan men could be called Feminists , we fully support our woman in thier equality and rights. To have that sort of sentiment aimed at us feels rather odd , b/c we don’t deserve it .    Kilm

  11. Kilmrnock Avatar

    Strict code of ethics /behavior , sorry

  12. Kilmrnock Avatar

    My fellow druid freind ,i also consider  myself  Sinnsreachd. I am a so called Hard Polythiest. In my tradition , Celtic ……….we follow the Tuauth de Dannon-the family of Danu, our mother Godess. We have a set family of gods and godesses .Altho there is a hierarchy none is more powerful than another. As a polythiest our gods each have a distinct personality and quirks and ultimately we are descended from them . We are of the Tuatha de Dannon.We also follow a strick code of ethics and conduct .    Kilm an ADF Druid

  13. Pohutukawa63 Avatar

    Rum’s poetry is so beautiful – and a  quote I like (but can’t remember who made it):  “Scientists learn, poets know”.

    Love;  is not about gender, sexual orientation, or any of those labels we give ourselves.  And the love that can blossom between 2 people (or more, and/or with Earth), is for me, a metophore for  “the love of all existences”.

    A term from Maori I really like which relates to this, is Arohanui – literally ‘Big Love’.

    So how does this relate to the God/Goddess duality/polarity?

    I am a man. I am masculine. And most of my best friends are women. I love the Goddess and honour her.  Perhaps I am anthropomorphising that wonder, loving Earth energy – but it works for me.

    I relate/identify strongly with Herne/Cernunnos/Pan archetypes which exist in relationship with the goddess. They are the seed sowers, the huntsmen, the fathers, the husbands, the lovers …

    I was very privileged to be able to deliver one of my sons myself – and I have huge respect for women, and the wonder of women’s bodies.

    These are some thoughts about my way of stepping outside of a God/Goddess dualism, while still celebrating what it is to be me, and celebrating that “Love of all Existences”

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Wonderful comment, and very much like poetry. Thanks for sharing your perspective with us.

      Bright blessings.

  14. Celt Avatar

    Why are you assuming that the paradigm hasn’t shifted? I think for many of us it has. As a man who worships the Goddess I do not see it in the same ways as I do a patriarchal God . . . and for that reason I can relate and see Her more as a part of me. Gender is lived and acted . . . sex is biological. I do not necessarily have to personify the Divine but because I need language to speak about it, I feel more comfortable with the feminine . . . and that’s what best represents me. Even when I worship a “God” figure, he does not possess the same traits as a patriarchal God would . . . and when both the Goddess and God are side by side, they don’t necessarily have to take on traits that are stereotypically associated with either gender. Honestly, I find more power and protection in a Mother that is protecting her children than I do in some musclebound testosterone-driven man. 

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      If you look at the response below to WhiteBirch’s comment, I tried to explain a little bit as to why I think we’re still working from within the old paradigm. I trust that you are having the experience you describe, and I don’t wish to belittle or dismiss your understanding of the shift. 

      My main point about the lack of a shift is that we see ample evidence that humans – male, female, and everywhere else along the spectrum – experience the same alienation that we’ve always felt; we’re still subjecting one another to a great deal of the same maltreatment, which to me is a sign of being stuck in the old paradigm. Does that make sense?

      I appreciate the perspective you articulate, and I’m getting this feeling from some of the other comments that there are many like you who have found a good balance between God and Goddess worship. I admire that. I’m also in agreement with you about a strong mother figure. I had one of those, and I’ll attest to her power!

      Thanks for your comment, Celt.

  15. WhiteBirch Avatar

    Wow, I had a hard time reading this and not thinking “so women have been othered by mainstream theology for centuries, and on the whole it’s not looking likely to end anytime soon, but someone’s up in arms because somewhere theoretically men might be othered down the road?” My whole brain screamed UGH. 

    Which is when I had to pull it up short and remind it that YES, it would be awful to flip in that direction. Because we have had suppression of the feminine face of divinity doesn’t mean it would ever be right or good to suppress the masculine face … or that it’s right or good to continue to other those who don’t identify with binary gender either. So hard to wrap my head around what it would even mean to create a situation where nobody was excluded.

    As for anthropomorphizing deities, I’m not sure we really have any other way of understanding them (I’m also inclined toward hard polytheism, hence plurals). I can’t really comprehend or even talk about deity without dipping into anthropomorphic language, the concepts just aren’t there otherwise. Hrm. Lots to ponder, thank you for the thoughtful post. 

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      The post that made you go UGH was inspired by a personal experience of alienation. My experience, as you’ve noted, when placed in a broader historical context, may seem a little whiny, perhaps. But it was the experience I had, and it felt crappy.

      It is hard to wrap the mind around how we would create a situation where nobody was excluded. That’s what I meant when I said that “the paradigm has not shifted.” We’re working from within it, trying to understand what something different might look like. It’s a mind-fuck, sometimes.

      Perhaps it is in the engaging in this sort of dialogue that we do the important work. Maybe by talking through it, by being willing to address what makes us go UGH, and what feels crappy, and being determined to meet each other with respect, dignity, and an open heart — maybe that’s the real work of ushering in the Age of the Goddess.

      Thank you for your comment, WhiteBirch.

      1. WhiteBirch Avatar

        Right, Teo, I have to apologize if you thought I was calling you whiny. It WAS my first instinctive response, because the sensation of being alienated on account of my gender is not new or surprising to me (as a ciswoman). But then I reconsidered my gut reaction and found it to be wrong. Because I feel alienated frequently, doesn’t mean I should condemn you for feeling alienated, and it doesn’t mean I should feel free to alienate others who may encounter those crappy situations even more often. I’d like to be able to conceive of a way where I don’t have to be alienated any more, but where you also don’t have to be alienated, and neither does anyone else regardless of how they experience gender. But like you said, there’s not been a paradigm shift yet, and I can’t really conceive of it. I hope it’s coming soon!

        I’m sorry if that didn’t come across clearly, I was trying to convey how much your post really made me reconsider my basic reactions, and how it brought me up short in the way I was thinking.

        Thanks again, I always do enjoy your posts!

        1. Teo Bishop Avatar

          We’re good, WhiteBirch. 🙂 I understand and appreciate where you were coming from. And, I’m glad my point came across.

  16. Dave Avatar

    I can’t speak to the Goddess movement (in the sense of THE Goddess) but as a man who worships Goddesses I don’t think you really need to do anything other than be who you are. In my experience They don’t care if you’re a man, woman, genderqueer, gay, straight, asexual, bi, trans, cis, queer or whatever. That’s not to say They won’t pay attention to that area of your life, in fact a lot of Them can relate!, it’s just that They are looking at you for the whole person you are.

    On a side note, as individuals the Gods & Goddesses have Their own unique opinions and approaches to all kinds of different people. It’s entirely possible, in my experience, to meet a homophobic God, Goddess, or Spirit. Those particular Beings quickly establish Themselves as no one I would find worthy of worship but your experience may differ.

    For me I feel that masculinity and femininity are both related to and separate from gender in as much as they’re expressions of gender but not exclusive to any particular gender. Not to mention the overlap between non-gender related topics and masculinity and femininity as symbols, although I think their interpretation in that regard is still firmly rooted in perceptions of gender and sexuality.

    Personally I take my gender to be male. I’ve only ever experienced myself as male and I feel completely fulfilled as such. Likewise, my gender expression, as I find it, is masculine. Anything I do or am perceived as will never change the fact that I am masculine and that I have never experienced femininity and likely never will. I take my masculinity as whole unto itself and yet fluid. There is no one right way to be masculine and masculinity is not exclusive, at least in my opinion, to men or any other gender or sex. Likewise with femininity or any other expression of sex or gender.

    I hear a lot of people express the idea that we have to have both masculinity and femininity present within ourselves to be truly whole. I’ve also been lectured many times for not getting in touch with my non-existent feminine side. It’s very frustrating and disheartening, even more so than being told that because I am perceived by others to be effeminate or feminine that this is what I truly am and not who I know myself to be.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I appreciate, Dave, the way that you write this comment, and how comfortable you seem to be in explaining your perspective. I especially like this statement: 

      “I take my masculinity as whole unto itself and yet fluid. ”
      “Fluid” is a word I don’t often hear being used to describe masculinity, and I appreciate that.

  17. Sisterlisa Avatar

    This is a very good topic to explore. I’m with Kourtney19 on this. Why does it need to be one sided? I came from a patriarchy religion and while I never felt ‘less than’ to God while I’m female..I did feel ‘less than’ to the leaders of the religion. I think the patriarchy role of their god is more ego driven than the nature of the Spirit of the God I know and love. In a Goddess growing society, I would hope that we could learn to understand the dual role of male and female together. Neither one dominating over the other. Just as good parents would discuss matters in depth regarding their children and come to a unified agreement on things…why can’t we view God/Goddess this way? Why do spiritual folks always seem to have a single parent spirituality with their Deity? In a Dual gender Deity..there would be no wiggle room with the ‘child’ to try and pit one against the other or divide the Deity. or perhaps mankind already divided their Deity..disrupted him/her into a divorce..but no..I think the ego male religions simply created their own ego driven god and left the dual God/Goddess Deity.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Interesting comment, Lisa. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I hadn’t thought so much about it in terms of the parent/child relationship.

      You’re touching on something important when you talk about your experience with the leaders in your religion; something that I was trying to write about, which is how is our experience of relationship to people either a reflection of our experience with Deity, or not. When does it fit, and when does it not?

      1. Sisterlisa Avatar

        Good question. Some other Christian friends and I have discussed that too. When a person has a terrifying experience with Deity..lots of condemnation, fear, etc then we do think it has an affect on their relationships in this life. And many of us testify of that from our own personal pasts with how we viewed Deity before. We believe it most certainly did affect how we treated people. Many of us have taken some drastic turns in how we view Jesus, of course heaping all kinds of ‘heretic’ accusations in the process. Then I found this Psalm 18:26 “with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.” 

  18. Amyarch13 Avatar

    It’s a common misunderstanding that Goddess philosophy is a mere substitution of Matriarchy for Patriarchy.  Those who would initially fear a “power shift” seem to grab onto this and have trouble opening up to the wider possibilities and shift in consciousness.  I like to think of it this way.  Patriarchal God-the-Father is a vertical hierarchy.  It organizes the universe and it’s myriad inhabitants in a pyramid.  “Goddess” for lack of a better term is more like a *horizontal* organization.  Like keys on a piano, there is not One powerful note, but many that work together in harmony.  We are conditioned to think that without pyramid power-over organization there will be chaos.  But as any musician will tell you, there is a deep and beautiful harmony to the universe and having a deity that reflects that is healing to the human psyche and the species. The place for men is right along side the women, like the black and white keys on the piano. 

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks for the comment. To clarify, my post was motivated by the *experience* of someone substituting the Matriarchy for Patriarchy. This is the root of the problem for me.

      I like the way you describe this directionally. It’s interesting – I’ve never heard it talked about that way.

  19. Aine Llewellyn Avatar

    As a gender queer person, the gender binary discussion that I’ve seen among some feminist Witches and Pagans falls short of what I expect.  I feel that as long as we keep viewing divinity as either/or we’ll be missing a big part of the picture (and ignoring deities that bend and blend gender). 

    1. Dave Avatar


    2. Teo Bishop Avatar

      The bend and blend… an important theological subject that “binary” or “one-and-only-god” traditions may miss out on. I appreciate your comment, and your perspective. I have a number of gender queer friends whose engagement with gender has inspired their theology, and vise versa. I’m glad you contributed to this conversation. 🙂

  20. meesha j Avatar

    I don’t think that The Divine has a gender…or even separateness from the universe, for that matter.  IMO, the physical body of The Divine is the Universe in its entirety.  The gods themselves (whether they be actual individual entities or anthropomorphic projectary symbols) are as much a part of The Divine as we are.  IMO, God (as in the OTG (one true god) of the JCI faiths) is just as much one of these individual gods as is any projection of a Divine Feminine, and as such…I’m not so worried about how *other people* choose to interact with those deities, provided it doesn’t mess with my ability to interact with my deities.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks for the insight, Meesha.

  21. A_luloff Avatar

    How about instead of viewing it as female replacing male, we strive for balance, unity between the two. If we need an image that we can grasp how about a marriage where the people in it are partners. Where each can live up to their full potential and benefit everyone. Getting back out feminine power doesn’t mean repeating the same things men have done. It means being us. All of us. Male and female.

    1. Dave Avatar

      What about all of us who can’t relate to the highest spiritual truth being equated to heterosexual marriage? What about all of us who can’t relate to being either male nor female? Balance is good, and unity to the degree of peace between different people, but what about diversity? The world is a big place. 

      1. Teo Bishop Avatar

        You make a really good point, Dave. This is where the “divine duality” metaphor breaks down for me.

      2. Ian Phanes Avatar

        Margot Adler, in “Drawing Down the Moon,” proposes that one of the central features of modern paganism is that polytheism privileges diversity in a way that monotheism can’t.

        1. Dave Avatar

          A truer understatement was never uttered. 

    2. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I can relate to the idea of “partnership,” and even “marriage.” I’m a man married to another man, so there’s a way in which I have an easy time understanding how two married people can be equals. Because my husband and I share a common expression of gender, we don’t fall back onto standard, societal gender roles in the relationship. There has to be a different level of equality.

      Thanks for the comment — I like the emphasis on unity and balance.

  22.  Avatar

    Why must it be one or the other? We are moving from a ‘God’ centered world to a ‘Goddess’ one right? Why can’t we just stop somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t have to be so one sided. I include both aspects in everything that I do. Sure the Goddess may be more appealing in some things than others, but the same can be said for the God aspect. They work together in a divine duality… not against each other in a battle to seize control of the world. Everything needs a balance right? So it only makes sense to have that balance in the divine as well. For me, you can’t have one without the other. 

    1. Faeirymoon Avatar

      Kourtney19; I totally agree with you, I use the God & the Goddess in all my work. Sure I prefer the Goddess, but I am a woman, who, with my faith wouldn’t. Yes everything does need a balance, why not in the divine as well. Love your words, it’s like you took them from my mind. lol Faeirymoon

    2. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I’m not sure that there must be one of the other, or that there really is a middle where we can collectively stop. In a way, these are stories we’re telling about the world we live in and the cosmos we imagine – no more. In another way, there’s something larger, more eternal behind each of these stories that is mysterious, and beyond our logic.

      I appreciate that you might be comfortable with a “divine duality” — I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with duality at all. I feel like when we think of things in 2’s, we’re missing what comes after, or before. What about the 3? What about the 0?

      With all of that said, I respect where you’re coming from, and I appreciate you sharing your perspective with us.

  23.  Avatar

    My thought is that masculine and feminine are qualities regardless of gender.  I see in them the Yin and the Yang, the passive and aggressive, motion and stillness – you need to have both to be whole.

    That being said, I am a hard polytheist, and see no issue with certain gods being male or female, simply because that’s what they are – I don’t think that the Architect has a gender, or if it did, it wouldn’t matter.

    1. Dave Avatar

      “you need to have both to be whole.”

      I’ve always found that sentiment excruciatingly disheartening and disempowering. It’s a very popular sentiment too, alas.

      1.  Avatar

        why would that be disheartening or disempowering?

        1. Teo Bishop Avatar

          Eran – Perhaps you might gain insight into Dave’s perspective by reflecting on the comment he posted above. He goes into great length about his perspective on gender and Divinity. It may still require additional clarification, but that might be a good place to start to get a sense of where Dave is coming from and why the idea of needing to “have both to be whole” might be a difficult idea.

        2. Dave Avatar

          Hi Eran,

          It depends on how you define masculinity and femininity. If you’re talking about broader symbolic concepts I may or may not have a problem with it.

          As it stands however, I believe that, at least in most peoples’ minds, they each represent the expression of a specific gender.

          The simple fact is I’ve never experienced myself as being feminine in anyway. I’ve had people disagree with me, sometimes violently. Thus it’s disheartening to hear people say, “you need both to be whole”.

          1.  Avatar

            Dave – 

            Ah, I thought I was pretty clear in saying “My thought is that masculine and feminine are qualities regardless of gender. ”  As I stated, I see them in terms of Yin and Yang. 

            Yin & Yang are complementary opposites, but not necessarily dualities – for one to expand, another must contract, and so on.  All opposites – weak/strong, light/dark, masculine/feminine, up/down (charm/strange – no wait, wrong conversation…) are manifestations of that natural balance.  

             Honestly, my personal opinion is that gender is how one perceives oneself, regardless of plumbing – and quite frankly is no-one else’s business other than one’s lovers and confidantes.  I also think that any discussion of gender relying on a simple polarity rather than a sliding scale is pointless and doomed to failure.

            I also have never experienced being female (well, ok, except for that one drag show…), but I do have several traits that I would qualify as yin – I love cooking, poetry, and I tend towards passivity when dealing with people.  Are those qualities ‘feminine’?  Perhaps, but I don’t think so.  Another term that yin embodies is ‘receptive’, whereas yang is ‘projective’.

          2. Dave Avatar

            I misread where you were coming from. Taking masculinity and femininity to be qualities regardless of gender I don’t have any problem with being regarded as feminine.

            As far as drag goes, how better to assert your comfort level with your masculinity than to pretend to femininity no? 😉

            I appreciate your perspective on gender, I feel very much the same way. 🙂

        3. Ian Phanes Avatar

          In my opinion, it is always disheartening and disempowering when any individual tells another how they *should* experience their gender.  (This applies to almost any aspect of an individual’s life.  It disfigures the soul to be told that our experiences are wrong.)

          1. Dave Avatar

            What he said, not that you personally, Eran, are doing that. But that was my initial reaction. Reading comprehension fail is strongly correlated to coffee shortage…

      2. kenneth Avatar

        Cultivating the masculine and feminine energies and aspects within each of of does not imply that we’re supposed to be bisexual or gender ambiguous or anything of the sort.  It means that men and women, even those who very strongly identify with their own gender and hetero attraction, still have within themselves the capacities we traditionally ascribe to the other gender.  Women can and should be able to draw on the sort of fatherly instinct or even some of the capacity for assertiveness and aggression that we usually associate with the male nature.  Likewise, men do have the capacity for female-like nurturing and communication and cooperation and ways of being that are less goal directed and more inward. 

         You do need to develop the capacity for both kinds in your nature, if you want to live a healthy and balanced life. Again, that doesn’t mean you have to start identifying as a woman or become metrosexual or  anything of the like.   This idea of balance is not some sort of swishy modern PC thing. Consider the Samurai.  These were dudes who prefered to gut themselves with their own sword rather than be taken POW.  There were still a couple of these sorts of guys from WW II who kept fighting their own guerrilla war in the Philippines into the 1970s! One of them wouldn’t come out of the jungle until they got his former CO, a book store owner, to cut him orders to do so!  We can agree that the Samurai were not sissies of any kind. And yet, for all that hardcore sense of manhood, it’s telling that traditional Samurai were expected to cultivate and practice “feminine” arts such as calligraphy, flower arranging and things like tea ceremonies. 

        1. Ian Phanes Avatar

          You talk about assertiveness, nurturing, and the like as if they had intrinsic gender.  But knowledge of other cultures and mythology make it clear that all those qualities can exist in masculine and feminine and other forms.  For example, Artemis and the Morrigan manifest feminine assertiveness, while Gwydion and Hermes manifest masculine nurturing.  And the samurai did NOT practice “feminine” arts–in their culture’s definition of what arts are feminine and masculine.

          1. kenneth Avatar

            These characteristics of course are not entirely hardwired to one biological gender or another, but they ARE more strongly associated with one or the other, and society reinforces and cultivates different traits for men and women, perhaps too much so.  Such conditioning has often led to pathological extremes in gender roles and behavior and the resulting social ills the produce.  It might be more useful to think of these currents as intrinsicly human rather than male or female and think of them more along the likes of yin and yang or other similar systems. 

          2. Dave Avatar

            “These characteristics of course are not entirely hardwired to one
            biological gender or another, but they ARE more strongly associated with
            one or the other…”

            Which is part of the reason I find “you need both” so hard to stomach. In most people’s minds they’re really saying one of several things, usually either “you are what we tell you you are” or “we are this therefore you must be this too”.

            Personally I don’t limit my masculinity to “traditionally acceptable” expressions, whatever that means, and I find I’m just as balanced in my energies and in my life as anyone who actually does have both within them.

          3. Dave Avatar


        2. Dave Avatar

          I appreciate where you’re coming from Kenneth but you’ve kind of missed my point while proving it.

          As I said to Eran, I don’t have a problem with identifying with femininity as a “non-gender” related symbol. Or with balancing my life through considering those ideas which are traditionally ascribed femininity.

          I’m masculine but I’m not macho, in as much as macho is a charactature of masculinity. If I fix an engine, for me that’s a masculine act. If I wear a dress, for me that’s a masculine act. In my mind, as far as masculinity is an expression of gender, my gender is male, therefore my gender expression is masculine.

          That’s how I experience being male however. It’s not to say there aren’t other males (or any other gender or sex) that experience and express themselves in anyway they happen to find themselves. Does that make sense?

          As far as masculine energies and aspects goes, that’s one of the many reasons that Wiccan and Wiccan derived traditions aren’t for me: I’ve never experienced femininity or feminine energy. There’s no there there to get the job done.

          I’m also quite accustomed to being told I’m wrong because “everybody has it and everybody needs to develop it” but then I’m also quite accustomed to being told “you’re not really attracted to men, you’re just choosing to be”.

    2. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks for the comment, Eran.

      This line of inquiry for me is intended to get at exactly *how* we understand masculinity and femininity, particularly as they relate to our ideas about Divinity, in light of our preconceptions or prejudices about gender. I think I understand what you’re getting about balancing out opposites, although I find that to be difficult (intellectually) when there aren’t agreements about the definitions of what masculine and feminine are. Does that make sense?

      1.  Avatar

        Teo – 

        Certainly, and I hope that I explained myself further farther down, with my discussion of yin and yang.

  24. Carol Vandelaar Avatar

    My advice for men in a world of Divine Feminine faith – do what women have been doing the past few centuries while living in a male concentric world. You follow your own beliefs. All around us, there are still monotheists, dualists, polytheists and pantheists (and many more!)…..I doubt that will change whether the prevalent deity is a God or Goddess. In fact, I feel the Goddess is more accepting that the Father God in the aspect of other religions
    I wish I was more eloquent 🙂 Thanks for your posts, they are always very insightful and thought provoking.