The Lover’s Impulse – Can More Than One Love Be Best?

Today we’re exploring the feminine aspect of the lover archetype. I hope it invites and encourages you to deepen your juicy lover potential.

Our over focus on the masculine energies in the last several centuries has affectedDay 5 Lover all aspects of our lives – including the lover within. Masculine energies are wonderful and especially needed when you have a task that needs laser focus and quick results. Love is much messier than that!

 

The feminine energies are more engaging of all aspects and absolutely not afraid to be juicy and take all the time you need to do so. This post is not about sex, but it just might improve your sexual experiences.

The lover is the one who fully engages in mutual exchange. The lover is interested in choosing to connect, generously. It’s a heart to heart sort of thing and it is always intimate.

One of my loves is music. I talk about this in today’s video. I also speak about my love affair with the land, with nature, with words,…  There are so many ways to engage the lover archetype.

Aphrodite often gets a bad reputation these days. She’s sometimes presented as a whore. When this happens, she’s clearly not understood. She is vital, sensual, demanding and generous – in all the ways she loves. She wants us to become the lover – the one who is ignited, juicy and full of vitality. She wants to share in that and will take no time with someone not willing to dance in the beautiful exchange of loving.

Here’s some examples that might be helpful.

When you go hiking, do you focus on getting to the end of the trail and back with speed and efficiency? That’s a very masculine energy.  Do you take your time, stopping to watch a bird, smell a plant, take in the beauty around you, offer gratitude and love? That’s a very feminine energy.

When you read a book, are you just trying to get to the end (masculine) or are you savoring it, pausing to really enjoy evocative words (feminine)?  Same question for the last meal you ate.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When you talk with someone who is intriguing, do you allow yourself to fall into the love of their words. For those of you who are in committed romantic relationships – this is not cheating. Yes, there is an intimacy when we share a love of something with someone else. But if it’s not a sharing of romantic love, it’s not cheating on your romantic partner. Instead, it’s creating a more vital and juicy inner life, which will spill over into your relationship with a romantic partner in a delicious way.

I invite you to look at all your relationships (at anything you spend time and focus on). Can you bring the lover – a generous, engaging, connected presence – into that relationship. Dance with Aphrodite. Demand mutually satisfying exchanges. Come on in, the water is good!

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Blessings and love, Coleen

Archetypes Galore! What are They & Where Do I Get Them?

Welcome to Day 4 of 21 Days to Solstice. Our journey has taken us to Samoa, Japan, and New England as we’ve explored the faces of the feminine and connected to our own inner light here in the dark time of the year.

We’ve met Moana’s crazy grandmother, the wisdom keeper; Te Fiti, the earth mother; Moana, the daughter, chief and voyager; Amaterasu, the provider; masculine embodiments of the feminine; and today, we meet the daughter and maiden in Pollyanna. (Watch video.)

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Why are these stories significant? They are stories that express innate expressions of the feminine, or archetypes. All these faces are available within each of us. We tend to focus on just two or three of these expressions during our lives. But they’re all within us and available to draw upon. When you’re really stuck in life – it’s probably time to call on a new archetype. It’s helpful if we explore them, so that when needed, they’re easier to access.

Recent history has limited us culturally to the mother, lover and daughter. But in the last several years, the expressions are opening. Movies and stories for young people no longer limit roles for women or require that they be rescued by a man. Brave, Mulan, Harry Potter, Moana, Nanny McFee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more show us new faces of the feminine and ignite those possibilities within us. In real life, women are CEO’s, Presidential candidates, directors, journalists, warriors.

Women have demanded their place and, perhaps by necessity, claimed those places at times not through the strength of the feminine, but through incorporating masculine archetypes. These mothers and grandmothers have paved the way and opened the world. They have my deepest respect and gratitude.

Too often they’ve had to sacrifice the feminine in order to make strides in an overly masculine world. Perhaps the most damaging masculine face is the one that encourages us to do it all on our own – discouraging us from connection and interdependence. The Enjoli ad from the 1980’s epitomizes this as they sing about the 24 hour woman, who can do it all.

Now, we get to reclaim the feminine and find healing and balance for both men and women. As we continue our 21 days we’ll visit both ancient and modern stories of the emerging feminine.

On today’s video I mention two resources:

The Circle of Life: Thirteen Archetypes for Every Woman.

Matt Kahn’s The Alchemy of Transformation

I invite you to open to the wonder and joy of the archetypal faces of the feminine. They are alive and well!

Blessings, ~ Coleen

The Green Man & other Males Rockin’ the Feminine

It’s Day 3 of 21 Days to Solstice – a journey of celebrating our inner light and exploring the feminine. Today’s video talks about the Green Man, perhaps the epitome of a male carrying the balanced feminine. See the video for more about the Green Man.

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Just to be sure you don’t think the feminine is just for women to embrace, I’m including some males who express the feminine. While it’s true that women are more biologically tuned into the feminine, men have access to the feminine as well and are much healthier and happier when they embrace it.

Why are women more biologically tuned in to the feminine? The uterus, estrogen and the birthing process all highlight the feminine principles of nurturing, long term relationships, emotional investment. The feminine honors cycles and the interconnection of all things. Women’s part of the birthing process is long, takes most of her resources and encourages interdependence.

Men on the other hand can do their part in a few minutes. They create sperm on a daily basis, whereas women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have – carrying  them for a lifetime. Does this make men less able to embrace their feminine aspects.

No. That’s all biology – only one aspect of our beings. Until recently, men have been discouraged, even shamed for being emotional, for taking part in slow nurturing activities. Still, many men have been able to call forth the feminine in powerful ways.

Here’s few examples:Ghandi

Mahatma Ghandi – leader of the Indian Independence movement against British rule used non-violent passive resistance to free his people and promoted peaceful civil disobedience, inspiring future world leaders.

George BaileyGeorge Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life” – put the needs of his community above his own, created ways to provide dignity and reasonable livelihood for everyone, inspired love and loyalty, put his family and friends first. Although he resisted these actions and longed to explore the world and be adventurous – he ultimately came to realize the beauty and balance in his choices.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī – Persian mystic, theologian, Islamic scholar and poet.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it

My brother, John Bittinger – an excellent teacher, father and husband. He has always taken a active role in nurturing his children. He makes his family a priority and stays active in his community. He has a strong sense of service. He cooks, does woodworking, fishes, bird watches. He has strong long term relationships with family and friends. He shares his love, is able to talk about his emotions, dreams and life purpose.

A dear friend, Dan S. a stay at home dad, who gardens, cooks, takes care of the home and children. He built his own home and maintains several rental properties. He’s patient, kind, nurturing and never in a hurry. In college he minored in women’s studies because he wanted to teach home repair to women. He sings in the choir, teaches in the children’s program, is active in sustainability programs. I’ve known him for almost ten years and have never heard him say anything negative about anyone. He values his family and traditions.

What men do you know who embody feminine principles? Share their stories in the comments to inspire us all.

Let’s thank these wonderful men and give all men the room and encouragement to embrace their feminine sides.

Blessings ~ Coleen

Amaterasu’s Mirror

Have you ever felt diminished by other people’s discomfort? Have you feared shining your own light?

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We are all part of the whole and each of us is a vital piece. If we’re here, we’re needed and so are our unique gifts. This feminine principle speaks to our innate inheritance. It reminds us that when any part is diminished, so is the whole. When any person in the community is diminished, so is the whole. Whenever we diminish a part of ourselves, we diminish ourselves and our community.

Today’s story takes us to Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. Amaterasu lives with her brother in a village in Japan. She walks with her people, helping them plant and harvest the rice; celebrating their births; honoring the ancestors and generally living in harmony. Amaterasu is unaware of how she shines and of her importance in the community.

Her brother, however, is quite aware of her unique gifts and status in the community. Next to her, he feels insignificant – that he has no important place in the village. So, instead of working together with the people, he drinks and casts criticism upon Amaterasu.

Amaterasu loves her brother and puts up with his behavior. One day he goes too far. Amaterasu and the whole village spent the day planting the new rice paddies. They went to bed feeling proud and happy of the work they did. The next morning Amaterasu rose and went to bless the new rice paddies. What she saw upset her deeply. Her brother lay passed out next to the newly planted rice. He was covered in mud. He had destroyed the newly planted fields, throwing the tender rice plants at Amaterasu’s window.

Her heart broke in two; she was deeply sad for her brother and was devastated that the pain she seemed to cause him had now hurt the village. She decided in that moment to leave. She could not allow her presence was to harm them further. She hiked up into the mountains and found the cave her father used to take her to when she was a child. She rolled a boulder over the entrance of the cave and disappeared – never guessing that she was taking the life giving sunlight with her.

As you might guess, all things began to die without the sun.

I first heard this story at a time when I was afraid to step into my gifts and shine my light. I was afraid of being judged, of being misunderstood, of risking my relationships. I didn’t want to put myself above others or beyond them. You see, I had done that once before and those closest to me became very unhappy. So I learned to make myself small.

I totally understood Amaterasu’s choice. I’d gone into my own cave and rolled the boulder across the opening.

But the story goes on:

While Amaterasu is in her cave, the people of the village become weaker and weaker. Without the sun, there is no food. Without the sun, people get sick. Without the sun, their hearts were broken, for they loved Amaterasu and missed her loving presence. All of the village felt this loss, including her brother. He realized her significance and felt guilty that his actions had chased her away. He prayed and asked the ancestors for help in redeeming himself and saving the village.

That night he had a dream about his father taking him and his sister to a cave in the mountains. He woke with the certainty that she would be there. He rushed out to tell everyone that he knew where she was. The village felt hope for the first time since she’d left. They grew excited, all talking about who would go get her.

How will we convince her to return, they wondered. A small girl remembered that Amaterasu loved a party. They could take a party up to the cave. An elder of the village knew this would not be enough; Amaterasu needed to understand her importance in the village. The elder suggested they take up a large mirror.

They arrived outside of the cave, built a fire and started singing as loudly as they could. Amaterasu heard the noise and wondered who it could be. She rolled the boulder just a tiny bit from the mouth of the cave so she could hear better.

As soon as she did this, her light shone brightly through the tiny slit. The people became excited, singing more loudly and dancing. The elder directed them to place the mirror facing the mouth of the cave.

Amaterasu’s heart was warmed by the sound of the singing. She missed her village and longed to be part of things again. So she rolled the boulder farther away and peeked out. As she did so, she was blinded by the reflection of her light in the mirror. The light had always been with her, so she didn’t really notice its warmth or power. But now she was totally aware. The village helped her to see her unique gift.

As the people told her about their lives since she’d left them, she was astounded at the loss she had created by leaving. She vowed in that moment to never withhold her self or her gifts again. Brother promised to help her live up to that vow.

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Photo by Sid Severin on Unsplash

We all have a light. A retreat in a cave is sometimes just the thing we need for self care. It is remembering that we are a vital part of the whole that brings us out of our caves and into the arms of our community. If we’re wise, we take the time to acknowledge and encourage the light in others – and to be in gratitude for that light in our lives.

Solstice Blessings   ~ Coleen

Watch the video

 

21 Days to Solstice

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.

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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.

Be sure to check out the daily videos: My Youtube Channel and on Tuesdays, Facebook Live at 2 PM.