The Creative Manifesto
By Sydney Solis
A billboard on eastbound 1-70 just before Kipling reads, “Grab Life by the Lobster Tails.” This advertisement for Denver’s downtown Brown Palace Hotel features a lovely woman dressed in red draped over a grand piano, her body making the shape of a lobster.
Besides the usual woman’s sex to sell myth that enters my mind, what grabbed me was the word “Life.” A woman is sex and life. Mythologist Joseph Campbell said a woman’s body is identical with the earth because she is the vehicle in which life comes. And of course sex, that creative urge, is what brings forth all life.
It is sexuality and the feminine creative force that affirms life, and the millenniums-old repression of it still in place in our 21 st century society is what marches us toward death. Considering the sad state our world is in, a return to accepting and integrating the creative feminine energy into our psyches and modus operandi is needed to bring about a second renaissance for the human race if it is to survive.
Not only will women and children’s lives improve, but men will gain the fullest sense of their masculinity through the power of his instinct. The psyche yearns for wholeness to realize its full potential – a man with heart. Psychologist Robert Johnson says the greatest treasures won by the superior function are always at that cost of the inferior function, and that “One’s greatest triumphs are always accompanied by one’s greatest weaknesses.”
Feminine and masculine it is not gender specific but is an energy force. Psychologist Carl Jung termed the psyche’s balanced masculine and feminine energy forces as the anima and the animus. Campbell used the example of electricity going down a phone line. Electricity can’t take place without both halves of its composition: the negative and positive, masculine and feminine forces. In the Tao it is the necessity of masculine and feminine forces that create any change. And when there is no change, there is stagnation and death.
Sexuality is housed in the second chakra region of the pelvis. This is the same watery area where emotions and creativity reside. Aphrodite herself was born of the waters. If this area is blocked, it affects all other chakras, including the earthy root chakra, and energy is unable to flow upward toward the heart chakra where humanity must open for spirituality, compassion and love.
In the medieval Grail myth the Fisher King, the king is wounded in the generative pelvic area after a joust. Johnson calls it a wounding of the feeling function and instinct in which there is clarity and objectivity in one’s life, but no sensation to provide value to that experience. Only feeling brings a sense of value and worth. When we lose this, Johnson says, we lose our most valuable human faculty. Without this faculty the masculine energy is restricted and unable to fulfill its ultimate self potential. “Spirit can attain its divine heights only with the power of nature to provide the strength for its fulfillment,” Johnson said. If one energy is vanquished rather than allowed to play its proper function, nature retaliates by making the cultural man impotent and his spiritual and physical life dries up.
The pelvic area is our main way of moving forward and embracing the world and change. The word emotion comes from the Latin emover, to move out. Tight pelvic areas restrict this energy and also cause back problems. Since sexuality is repressed in our society and women are oppressed, this creative chakra remains blocked and society suffers as a whole.
The eating disorder epidemic in our culture is a prime example. The womanly, curvaceous, life-bringing hips and breasts have been emaciated through a hatred of the female body. Women are unable to take in food, to take in life. By eating we take in life. Campbell said life lives on life. Like the mythic symbol the Ourobouris, a snake swallowing its own tail, we must consume in the never-ending life/death/life cycle. Our dead bodies make food for the next plant or animal to grow from.
It is in creating the body, matter and taking up food that we invoke life. The root word Ma is linked to mother, matter, meter, measurement, material, manifest, maya and that which moves out from and creates the whole world. In Hinduism it is the Shakti, the feminine power of the masculine consciousness of Shiva that is the activator. By not eating, not taking up space, not being in the body, we are denying life and inculcating a dysfunctional mythology into women and men of all ages. On the flip side of the coin, 60 percent of Americans are obese. The unconscious craving for mother, matter is relieved through food.
The Catholic Church is another example that needs the feminine force if it is to survive. The new Pope Benedict XVI seems unlikely to ordain women, although a recent CNN report said that 50 percent of Catholic Americans favor women in the ministry. The report continued that because there were so few priests entering the priesthood because of the celibacy requirement, there were not enough priests to fill the parishes. Un-ordained women are filling that void. It is symbolic that without women in the ministry the church is dying out. It does not have the creative, feminine force to revive itself for its many faithful who love and believe in its religion.
That creative force is also sexuality itself. The last cut of the CNN story featured little children gathering around and hugging at her hips a matronly woman who earlier in the story had been giving communion. It was Mary with Jesus. Ultimately it is the children who suffer without healthy mother figures that are respected in the home, workplace and politics.
Occupations that are women-dominated, such as education, libraries, nursing and the arts are examples where disrespect and denial of feminine energy has proved disastrous. The library in Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas, Calif. was shut down earlier this year because of lack of funds. This week Metro State College of Denver’s fine art gallery lost its funding through cuts and faces its demise. The New York Times reported that dealers of classical paintings by women command lower prices than males. Women and children suffer under poor economic conditions. The abortion rate went down under Clinton ’s robust economy and the abortion rate is up under Bush’s current economic ails. Abortion rates prove that our society is not safe for women and children to be in.
Our education and health care systems are in shambles and these ultimately affect youth – symbols of new life and tomorrow’s adult population. With the rate at which we are destroying our environment, the body of mother earth, there won’t be much left for our children.
It is through our children we can measure a happy family life. Family values are not about religion. They are about relationships. Relationships take a beating when stress is king, work and the dollar are worshiped, and time for pleasure and family is minimal and strained. Even in Spain the once-sacred siesta is now disappearing as it merges with American business schedules.
The inability to take time for the sensual side of life and pleasure creates health risks, indifference to emotions and problems with loneliness, inferiority, anxiety, infertility, depression, addiction and violence. When we lose touch with our emotions, life becomes the mythic wasteland of living an unauthentic life. We work a hated job and our life is void of loving, meaningful relationships but filled with the worship of junky, plastic stuff imported from China and other countries with cheap labor.
Ignoring emotions and losing touch with life is dangerous. Emotions are consciousness hitting the body, and when this is lost our humanity is lost, too. We become like the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man without a heart and a cult of death reigns through dominator aggression, greed and war. Only non-emotional people can kill someone, as we see in such examples as this week’s death sentence handed to the soldier convicted of killing his own comrades in Kuwait at the beginning of the Iraq war. The Denver Post report said he showed no emotion upon hearing his sentence.
How did we lose our ability to feel? It was the ancient, invading Semitic and Indo-Aryan herding, sky worshiping peoples and killers of animals who usurped the agricultural goddess societies of ancient Europe, the Mesopotamia and early Greece. Their hatred and fear of the female body and its life-blood has been with us ever since. Nuns were at one time forbidden to even look at their bodies.
St. Paul and St. Augustine declared that a woman’s body, sexuality and being in the world keeps one separate from God and insisted on the life-denying practice of celibacy and even castration. This thinking parallels the Hindu Advaitic Vedanta philosophy, which also denies the world and flesh as a way to find god.
What is to be overcome is the addictive qualities of our body’s peptides, keeping us in biochemical slavery through emotional states. It’s “the lower flesh” that creates attachments to compulsive emotional states and causes suffering. This can be overcome through disciplines of meditation, yoga, psychotherapy and self-study.
The fear of death contributes to the hatred of women’s body, as a man’s life force - his vira, virility - is said to be diminished with each ejaculation. The great mother, such as Kali, is the giver of life and the bringer of death. Considering nobody wants to die to get to heaven, a Tantric approach of heaven on earth is a useful philosophy for us living in the here and now model rather than an ascension model. The Gospel of Thomas says, “The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth and men do not see it.”
The 21 st century needs a philosophy and mythology that embraces life, says yes to all of it at the heart chakra level of self-acceptance and is in harmony with nature. When we are against nature we suffer. When we harmonize with nature we blossom. This includes through our sexual, creative urges.
In the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, it is through sex and a woman that Enkidu, the beastly shadow and rejected side of Gilgamesh, is brought to civilization. In Greek mythology Mother Earth was the Oracle of Delphi . This society was full of Goddess creative energy until Apollo usurped her as a result of Palestine influence. Greek society celebrated Eros, erotic love, which fully honored life and the beauty of the human body. Lovemaking through a woman brought about joy, peace, love, tenderness and kindness. In Hinduism, having sex with a woman was like having sex with the Goddess Parvati herself, a virtue in which all sin was destroyed.
Love is what will get humanity to the heart, back to our feelings and compassion. Our world needs a new and beautiful image such as that of Mother Mary, the goddess and her love for the world symbolized in the sacred heart. Campbell says that when masculine energy dominates, there is separation. When feminine energy dominates, there is a non-dual embracing quality.
Campbell says that when that male energy is united with the feminine energy he has wed with his bride. He liked to cite the fairytale the Frog Prince to illustrate this. From the union of the wedding comes the virgin birth, which is the symbol of the child. The virgin birth to psychologist Marion Woodman is the birth of compassion. When one gives out love to others and suffers with them, compassion is born. Without the feeling of compassion we become violent and indifferent.
Psychologists say that sexually repressed societies are violent societies. Gorillas who aren’t sexually relieved become violent. Among the Bonobo primates, which are the species most closely genetically linked to humans, the females use sex to ease tensions and create accord within the group.
The repression of the sexual life force leads to suffering and death, as evidenced by Catholic priests molesting children. In Victor Hugo’s original The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney really did a number on this one), the Archdeacon Frollo, lusting after the gypsy Esmeralda, self-flagellates himself for this “sin of lust.” (Lust in Old Germanic languages meant “religious joy.”) However, his unconscious, natural desire to be near her is acted in violence and he ultimately kills her. The hunchback, that rejected part of us, is united with Esmeralda in death.
Considering that Christians and Moslems are some of the most sexually repressed groups on the planet, now would be a good time for them to take to heart “make love, not war.” Or even California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can stop bullying people who have “girly” politics.
Allowing love to flow freely toward the heart chakra by integrating the feminine at the second chakra will enable us to nurture and heal our environment, communities, families, children and ourselves. Signs of feminine energy integrating itself can be found these days in everything from circular taillights in cars to the recent phenomenon of Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code” and what Mary Magdalene played in Jesus’ ministry.
The image of Mary Magdalene washing Jesus’ feet is reminiscent the Goddess Lakshmi massaging lord Vishnu’s feet while he sleeps on the great snake Ananta, symbolizing eternity. Through this desire he feels, he creates the whole world through his navel. Campbell says that he is dreaming of Lakshmi, for it is she who is the whole world. When we embrace the feminine, would we be re-linking with the whole world?
The root meaning of religion is to re-link. Campbell said the purpose of a mythology or religion is to re-link people with their experience of life in their environment to that of the divine. The realities of the 21st century, psychology and human sexuality have not caught up with religious doctrines and mythologies, which are stuck in ancient times. It’s time to create a new mythology that unites both sides of us. One that releases previous tension over sexuality and women being sinful or that anyone should dominate the environment, another person or the world.
By healing, respecting and honoring the feeling function through women and sexuality we can begin to stop domestic violence, child and animal abuse, rape, sexual abuse, abortion, torture and war by becoming aware of our feelings and wounds and start the healing of ourselves. We can be like the fool Parsifal who relieves the Fisher King of his suffering by asking the question, “Who does the Grail serve?” The answer is revealed that the Grail, spirit, serves the Grail King. The Fisher King is able to connect with his feeling function and bring to consciousness his pain and name it. The old King in the castle, god, is revealed and the Fisher King is healed. In another version, Parsival asks the Fisher King, “What ails thee?” It is this act of compassion for the other that heals the wound.
By Parsifal’s releasing his own advancement for himself, he finds his life in the service of something greater than himself, to help another, Johnson said. It’s what Jung called releasing the ego into the higher self. By celebrating life, the mother and the divine creative aspect we release the shame and guilt of sex and release the feminine energy from her bondage. This in turn will release us into a loving, caring and compassionate society with equality for all, with and end to violence and a doctrine for world peace that shouts to grab LIFE by the tails.
TAKING TIME FOR THE SENSUAL WORLD
Take time for pleasure.
Get plenty of sleep and take naps.
Get a massage. Mediate and practice more yoga.
Record and work with your dreams.
Take a vacation.
Enjoy the arts, music and poetry.
Take up a long lost hobby or start a new one, such as painting or woodwork.
Enjoy nature. Take a walk.
Take a hot bath.
Engage in responsible, moderate sexual activity.
Spend time with children. Volunteer as a mentor.
Support your local public library.
Seek therapy for personal problems. Honor your feelings. Share stories. Make up new stories.
Yoga Poses for Releasing the Hips
Baddha Konasana – Bound angle pose
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana prep – Pigeon pose
Supta Padangusthasana – One leg Extended pose
Sacred Pleasure, by Riane Eisler
The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden , by Robert Johnson.
The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets , by Barbara G. Walker
Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West, by Morris Berman
Cassandra’s Angel, by Gina Otto – a modern myth of a young girl finding her true self and light inside.
The Magic Nesting Dolls , by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Feminine qualities bring back to life a frozen prince.
The Lady and the Lion , by Jacqueline K. Ogburn - The feminine energy calming and restoring the beast.
Creation, by Gerald McDermott – The Caldecott winning artist’s splendid rendition of the Genesis myth.
Copyright 2005 Mythic Yoga, Sydney Solis
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