The dark of the year is greeted in many cultures by lights: Hanukkah menorahs, Advent wreaths, Christmas tree lights, Kwanza candles, Chalica chalice lights, etc. And let’s not forget that Solstice marks the end of the darkening and celebrates the re-birthing of the Sun. This year I want to light up our inner life, in particular the aspects of the feminine that we’ve lost touch with – the aspects we need in order to heal and transform the world.
The new year will herald a call to the Feminine. We need the Wisdom Keepers to help us answer this call. Our over dependence on masculine principles has created an immediate and intense need for the feminine principles to save our hurting world.
The pendulum swings and the stars dance through their astrological rhythms. The power of one age gives way to the next, but what happens to the wisdom of the passing age? Some is carried through surviving stories, some becomes written in our ancestral memories, some lies in the very stones beneath our feet. The wisdom is not lost and when it is needed again, it finds a way to emerge through these and other wisdom keepers. In this 21 Days to Solstice, I offer you stories from the ancients, from the earth, and the stories emerging in our culture that teach us about the lost feminine.
The movie, Moana, demonstrates this process beautifully and in touching cinematography. The crazy grandmother is the wisdom keeper, ever planting stories of the past into the hearts and minds of the children. And when the time is right, revealing secrets that help to transform their world. Dormant ancestral memories speak through Moana’s heart, no longer willing to be denied. The ocean calls Moana – supporting and weaving lost wisdoms and teachings into her journey.
Interestingly, the movie also clearly depicts our cultural tendency to diminish the feminine in both men and women. Yes, I know the movie is an inspiring call to return the heart to the feminine. It is a story of a young woman risking all to save her people. I have watched it four times and am still greatly moved by her journey. Yet Disney manages to weave in imbalanced masculine messages subtley and consistently into the story. Tēvita O. Kaʻili writes:
“As a Tongan cultural anthropologist who has been critical of Disney’s “Moana,” I went to the theater bracing myself for the Disneyfication of my culture. Minutes in, it became obvious that despite its important girl-power message, the film had a major flaw. It lacked symmetry by its omission of a heroic goddess.
By failing to do this, Disney resorted to reducing the the mighty god, Maui, to a one-dimensional, selfish, borderline abusive, buffoon to foreground the strength of the movie’s protagonist Moana”. (read more here)
The story reveals our Western cultural belief that might, blind focus, a dismissal of collateral damage and taking all the credit for cultural accomplishments is OK. Hina, Maui’s companion goddess, is not even mentioned in the story. It is unfortunate that Disney felt the need to present this extreme picture of the imbalanced masculine in order to tell an inspiring story of a strong woman.
I mention these aspects of the movie in particular to demonstrate that even males are diminished by a dishonoring of the feminine within them. In Polynesian stories the association of the strong goddess and strong god creates symmetry and harmony. To omit either one diminishes all.
The success of Moana’s journey – and the source of much of the movie’s inspiration – is a result of her using all her resources: the call of her heart; her inherited gift for being a journeyer; her grandmother’s stories and guidance, her father’s teaching about leadership; her mother’s support; the ocean, Maui, the love of her people, trusting her inner knowing, Hey Hey, the chicken. This touches our own hearts, because we know those possibilities lie within us. Bringing light to these possibilities is what 21 Days to Solstice is all about.
Most importantly, Moana’s capacity for love and compassion and her deep desire to serve and be worthy of her people drive her. She’s fierce and demanding with Maui and ultimately calls him to redemption and offers him her love.
If you look close enough, you will see that even within the Disney disconnection of the masculine and feminine – Maui and Moana challenge each other, save each other and love each other. They’re able to connect with each other’s story, find common purpose and work together to return the heart of Te Fiti and regenerate the creative force of the world. It is the feminine within them that brings forth this regeneration. The creative force within men and women is always a feminine force.
In the next 21 days, we will explore the different faces of the feminine force and hopefully shed light on where they live within us and how we might call them forth in service to ourselves and our world.