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Stepping on the Snake: What Is So Scary About the Feminine?


All around the world, there are attacks on the feminine and on women as individuals.  In the United States, men are often afraid to show their feminine side. Domestic violence is rampant. I wonder what is so threatening about femininity that men would work so hard to suppress it?

I remember seeing some ancient proto-Christian figures in sculpture in which a snake or dragon-type figure is being crushed under the feet of the hero, or solar figure.  It would seem that there is an equation between the earth, or what is under the earth – insects, rodents, snakes and other chtonian characters with the feminine.  Forces over which we have no control, forces which are equated to death, to disappearance of our ego, our reasoning abilities over the Earth.  I intuit that what is scary about the feminine is the fear of death, of being subsumed, ground into dust, made irrelevant.

This is just one aspect of the feminine.  Since life is an endless cycle of creation, dismemberment, and reconstruction, the feminine is about flux and cycles. I think this is why the moon is a symbol of the feminine, as is the Earth, where we place the bodies of our dead to decompose and feed new life. The feminine is in some ways an impersonal force.  The Indian goddess Kali embodies these destructive and life-giving forces, and is apparently the most popular goddess in India.  Since the Sun represents the masculine and the light of reason, perhaps the feminine appears irrational, archaic, content to slog through the primitive soup of existence.  The bloodiness of birth, the physical realities of disease, and death, are all part of the feminine experience.

I want to understand more about the fear of the feminine, and about how we all can learn to embrace both poles of existence inside of ourselves.

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3 comments on “Stepping on the Snake: What Is So Scary About the Feminine?

  1. I definitely agree with the fear of the feminine and enjoyed reading this post. The feminine is the primordial abyss…mystery. She is the non-linear essence of all things feared and referenced like birth, death, and the cycles between. I anticipate reading more of your findings and exploration!

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  2. I meant to say that I agree that there is a pervasive fear of the feminine…my previous phrasing was ambiguous. 🙂

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  3. Today I saw an article on msn.com about how Ikea Sweden removed all images of women from their catalog in Saudi Arabia. When confronted, the corporate offices of Ikea apologized for the omission. Apparently, it is uncommon for images of women to feature in advertising in Saudi Arabia. Fear of the feminine is projected onto women all over the world. The other day, there was a documentary on television about American women in the military, and how many are raped or sexually harassed by fellow officers. All of the women who were filmed said that they were strongly discouraged from filing a complaint with military courts, and none of the offenders were punished. The end result being that the women had to leave jobs they loved and were left feeling shamed and abandoned by the organization for which they chose to risk their lives. I think we can safely say that fear of the feminine crosses all cultures and knows no boundaries. I do think that awareness of the feminine is growing as people learn to cherish our earth and the environment, for example.

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