It’s a Man’s World and a Woman’s Universe delves into the challenging and sometimes uncomfortable realm of interpersonal communication. It takes the reader on a journey of growth, with valuable insight into the inner workings of the mind as it relates to the duality of the individual’s energy. It is the ultimate handbook for learning how to develop greater understanding of how to communicate and foster deeper, longer lasting relationships. Learn to harness your energy rather than work against it. Learn to recognize and embrace your role, and how to implement and optimize your strengths in all your interactions, whether social, romantic, or professional.
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The Global Wounds of the Fisher King, Past and Present
Today's religious wars in the Middle East remind me of when the grail legends first appeared in Europe. The entire continent was in turmoil. On the surface, there were pilgrimages and free access to many cultures, but the only established central authority was the Church of Rome.
Today, Islam holds that position in the Middle East. Kingdoms then were bickering over (and conquering and coveting) land, as are tribal areas today, and emphasis on any other kind of secular equivalent was not — and still is not — a priority. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were the latest religious-secular leaders, much like the Roman popes of yesterday.
During the Crusades, persecution was aimed at all those who did not bow to the letter of the Roman Church's dogma and invariably included the most innovative minds of the age and, predictably, the spawn of Eve. The big campaign during the eleventh and twelfth centuries was, of course, the Crusades. It has been estimated that the Crusades cost about ten million innocent lives.
Today's campaign, including September 11, 2001, is international terrorism in the name of God. Both religious systems, past and present, reacted to what they declared as heresy with an increasingly fanatical and dictatorial zeal, virtually unhindered in their purges through bombings and biochemical annihilation of innocents.
Science and the female principle of yin, and loving relationships disappeared out of sight then and now. Our spiritual evolution also disappeared with these losses.
The two major wounds, then in Europe, and today and yesterday in the Far East (today's Middle East) are still bleeding. These wounds are the following:
1. The repression of women (as in Afghanistan); the yin, female principle of feeling-centeredness, physical security, and safe nurturing; and the feminine principle of the right of each human being to receive agape love exemplified by the concepts of I wish you well and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
2. The creation of the wastelands of war zones and the wounding of the individual self.
Myth Speaks the Language of Eternal Returns, Cycles Renewed, and Heroes Reborn
The archetypal elements of the Arthurian Grail and the bleeding lance are the classic sexual symbols for the masculine yang and feminine yin principles. It is only when these two are united that the wasteland of war (the barren realm of the Grail castle of the Earth) can be restored. This is the wound that must be healed before there can be a return to paradise in both a global and individual sense. The quest for the Grail can also be interpreted in psychological terms as the return of the son to the mother.
In the Parzival scenario, the hero leaves his mother to join the knights, despite her fear that he will die — as her brothers and father did before him in the mongerings of war. He leaves the figurative womb of his mother when he follows the knights from the wilderness.
In other words, every baby is a hero passing through psychological as well as physical transformation from a water creature (in an amniotic paradise) to an air-breathing mammal (reflected in the age of Aquarius) that has to face a dangerous unknown without boundaries. With his egocentric drive, he doesn't notice his mother's death as he leaves the childhood paradise. He is intoxicated with the birth of independence, a new existence, and a sense of freedom.
In many versions, it is his sin that first prevents him from curing the Fisher King wound by failing to ask the question "What ails thee, Uncle?" In his excitement of attainment, he has failed to keep within him the nurturing caretaker of the feminine principle.
This also prevents him from healing the earth of its wounds (the wasteland of bombings, war, violence, and rape of resources) by not cherishing the internal yin soul and what was given to humankind to enjoy and share.
When he leaves his own queen, it is to seek his mother, but he finds the Grail instead. He cannot return to the womb of his mother, so he must find the internal mother of the universe within him — his soul, his yin energy, his anima — the castle in which the hero is invisible to all but the worthy (with water being a metaphor for womb and spirituality). This can be seen as the womb of the new mother who is now rediscovered by her son/lover inasmuch as every lover/yin is a son and every mistress/yang is a mother.
Sexuality and sensuality lead to an internal power that bodes castration to the power of religion, then and now. Cover yourself; hide away, and be quiet. Passion, even in its academic sense — or as motivation for advancement of the human condition — was and is today greatly feared in the Middle East, for it knows no boundaries, no rules of order. It is pure, passionate emotion in laser focus.
The patriarchs jeered at it and called it obsessive, but the troubadours and all the Romantic poets who revered its power loved it. William Blake spoke of obsession as being the doorway to wisdom, which led Jim Morrison to name his band The Doors.
E-motion (energy's motion)
The brain is set up to chemically reward each new insight, revelation, epiphany, and creative expression. We are genetically engineered to be motivated to not just preserve the species, but also to help it evolve. To deny passionate emotion's chemical value is to diminish our potential for progress. Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you". (Gospel of Thomas) Then and now in the Middle East, religion teaches that passion is something to be feared, controlled, and regulated in the service of power. As in all things, passion has its duality.
The passions of hate and bigotry in the name of religion run rampant against science, art, sexuality, and sensuality — yet we are told we must still control our passions, our evil urges, and our need to question God's will. The wrath of Jehovah is instilled against those who would eat of the tree of knowledge lest they "become like one of us" (Gen. 3:22) and fearful Zeuses of Mount Olympus threaten to punish each new Prometheus for bringing fire to man.
They would not have any of the masses climb to higher altitudes to claim residence in or infiltrate their ivory towers. The elements of power are always opposed to change and new perspective because these remove them from their seat of control. The enemy of the power currently in control in the Middle East will always be the power with the potential to unseat it from its throne. "The players tried to take the field, but the marching band refused to yield." (Don McLean, "American Pie").
Our martyrs of sacred passion — men of good will — will now have little bearing, save temporary restitution, because fear and greed have enslaved many of us of the world, and we are willing to surrender. Our lessons of love, the feminine yin principle of energy, from all the great teachers and philosophers, are falling fallow, because too many men long for what they do not have and substitute things (yang) for what they cannot passionately find.
Betwixt and between passion and love for love's sake of the flower-children generation lies a different path.
For sake for sake and for own sake.
At the crossroads of passion and love is not the sacrifice of martyrs; it is not the passion of egocentric gratification. It does not deny the self but instead enhances the self through purpose of a higher order. It answers the futile swing of the pendulum's paradox back and forth from yin to yang repeatedly. It is the mystical kingdom between the two mountains. It is the ravine within its valley, ready to be filled with living waters of a new perception.
And like Parzival, we must pierce this valley of the unknown and risk letting go in order to rise to the next level.
To do so academically in a yang way will never be enough. To quest in theory or in unbalanced measure of falsehood cannot unlock the higher frequency that will transcend us chemically (with yin feelings) and electrically (through yang thoughts). Both yin and yang must be used simultaneously to unlock the spiritual secrets of the Grail.
Forget What You Know, and Remember What You Have Forgotten
At virtually every point of the hero's quest, he finds a female guide, a muse, or a signpost. This is almost like a chess game, in which the opposing king can only be checked with the cooperation of the queen, who can assume the shape of all the other pieces on the chessboard except the knights.
The queen appears in many forms: a teacher, a minister or nun, a therapist, a doctor, a lawyer, a neighbor, or a relative. She is the only piece that can move (or speak) as far as she likes in any direction; the shape shifter who is many times disguised in the Grail legends. She is both one and many, her stability pronounced in continual change.
The hero seems to be preoccupied with her as a muse of sexuality and sensuality — either in the repressed Christian texts or the other extreme: the promiscuous Welsh versions. Now, whether or not the hero is chaste and pure of heart — Galahad or Gawain — is beside the point. One either finds the knight hero a reluctant virgin who has to be reminded to hang on to his purity ("Let her chase me") or who is wrestling a coy but willing maiden to the floor without a commitment to her safety and security.
It seems strange that implicit and explicit sexuality is heightened in such a holy quest until we reexamine the mythic current beneath the collective unconscious — a quest to also reestablish the male's displaced female aspect, his anima yin soul. The Grail castle was at one time visible to all.
But when King Amangon raped the maiden and stole her ceremonial cup — with all his men following suit — the wells were deserted, and no one could find the entrance to the other world any longer. The kingdom lay barren and wasted, and the water dried up.
The only one who could restore the land to its original state was he who could recognize the Fisher King and the castle behind the many false reflections.
The Grail Bearer symbolizes the original maidens of the wells, who gave drink and nourishment to all. More importantly, however, she represents, like the maidens, the sovereignty of the land (the queen), which withdraws and dries up when the king forces her to his own will. He neither serves her nor gives her anything — such as commitment to status and security in the world — in return for her gifts of sensuality and sexuality.
The maimed or impotent king is unfit to rule or to be in union with the sovereignty, the potent queen. He has failed to protect the maidens and thus the queen and the mystical kingdom of love shared.
The queen appears to the hero in many guises: the hag, the virgin, the seductress, finally transforming to the queen or empress who can only dispense the sacred love nourishment to the worthy hero.
So the Quest for Grail is the quest for women. Whosoever finds her, finds the Grail.
The predominantly male yang authority rapes the land and steals sovereignty from the yin/maiden queen (symbolized by the chalice) and makes her a possession, an object. Only when the mother's son comes either to kill or heal the father can there be restoration of her original sovereignty. The Quest for the Grail can be seen as a celebration ritual of the eternal yin female who awaits the yang son to reinstate her title and restore harmony to the realm.
In some traditions, Sophia, the spirit of wisdom, is thought to be the powerful female yin part of God's soul. Just like the Grail Bearer and Mary Magdalene, Sophia is symbolized by a dove. It was Sophia who sent her own spirit to the Garden of Eden in order to tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God. As we know, they chose to eat of the Tree of Knowledge to be like God, condemning mankind to forever struggle to reclaim paradise lost.
The early Christian movement (which took Gnostic root) held Sophia in great love and devotion, building her the greatest shrine at Constantinople. She also appeared in the Jewish Kabbalah as the Shekinah of God. The patriarchs of Rome, like the mullahs of the Middle East, dismissed Sophia as a foolish woman who knew nothing.
The Gnostic gospels (which predate the canonized gospels of the church) insisted that Jesus gave the help of the kingdom of heaven to Mary Magdalene, not Peter, which is why Peter was so jealous of Mary and all other women. This orientation was not at all unique to early Christianity. Before the patriarchs of Islam arrived in the seventh century, Arabia had been matriarchal for a millennium or so. At Mecca, the goddess Sheba had been worshiped in the form of the black anionic stone, which is now enshrined at Kaaba.
The influence of Sophia was widespread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. However, she had to be hidden from the Inquisition within alchemical treatises or astrological manuscripts (including the first tarot cards). In the Middle Ages, we find secret symbols and obscure illustrations that carried that feminine message in visual language, which baffled orthodox theologians.
A new sense of balanced religiousness was spearheaded by the Catbar's alternative Church of Love and secretly supported by the Templars, the cults of Mary Magdalene, the Black Virgin of Madonna Inspiritus, and the writers of the Grail romances.
The mission of the Grail was revolutionary and radical, to say the least.
Easterners who had not fully embraced Islam and who still worshiped the Goddess maintained that the great deserts had been caused by the renunciation of the Great Mother who had withdrawn her fertility from the land. The deep fear was that the same would happen in Europe.
The symbolic wasteland, on the other hand, was far more pernicious. This was the landscape of spiritual death, in which religious concepts had become so divorced from feelings and real-life experiences. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the coming of the Mahdi, or the desired knight, was identified. This depended on tradition and region, as the second coming of Christ — as the long-awaited awakening of Arthur, Merlin, or some other reinstatement of the hero.
In virtually every account of the Grail legend, the final goal of the quest is either the reestablishment or the transformation of the wasteland into paradise. But in the Grail myth, the original paradise state of both the land and the inner realm of characters have been lost. Each of the various accounts gives reasons for both its loss and what the hero had to do to restore the earthly Eden.
The healing of the wound can only be brought about by the radical transformation of the individual into a whole and complete being, including male yang and female yin natures — the dominant active and the cooperative passive energy systems.
Just as schizophrenic divisions permeate all aspects of this dominator system — and each split forms new hierarchies of dependence — the state tends to separate from the spirit, the sacred from the secular, the male from the female, individual from individual, the left-hand hemisphere from the right hand, and the individual from his or her own decision-making process. The very nature of this system is coercive, manipulative, competitive, violent, and warlike.
To the mystic, the bulk of the system is seen as the development of a false and separate sense of self, called ego. Distrust, fear, and a death-oriented vision are common features that arise from this condition. While the clouds were only gathering at the time of the writing of the Grail legends, Europe was soon to experience darkness — the Inquisition, the heretic hunts, and the Black Death — but not before the Grail Legends had warned about the coming of the wasteland and the loss of balance.
Excerpted from "It's a Man's World and a Woman's Universe"
Copyright © 2017 Patricia Allen, PhD.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 The Global Wounds of the Fisher King, Past and Present, 1,
2 Myth Speaks the Language of Eternal Returns, Cycles Renewed, and Heroes Reborn, 3,
3 Forget What You Know, and Remember What You Have Forgotten, 6,
4 The Wasteland, 9,
Part 1: I-ness, 13,
5 The Wounds of the Individual Self, 15,
6 Wounded Kings and Heroes, 16,
7 Lessons of the Empty Vessel, 17,
8 The Ultimate Path of the Heroine: To Heal the Wound, 19,
9 Transformation, 21,
10 Do I Need You or Want You?, 24,
11 Do I Want to Be the Breadwinner (Laid) or the Homemaker (Paid)?, 28,
12 Can Two Make and Keep Commitments?, 31,
13 Am I a Spiritual or Only a Religious Man or Woman?, 32,
14 What Is My Timetable for Mating or Marriage and Family?, 43,
15 Complements Attract, Similars Repel, 45,
Part 2: We-ness Courting or Dating? Mating or Marriage?, 61,
16 Deciding What You Want or Don't Want, 63,
17 Keeping Commitments, 69,
18 Compatibility, 71,
19 Building an Erotic Relationship, 73,
20 What About Sex and Sexual Differences?, 77,
21 What About Brain Differences?, 79,
22 How Do We Communicate Intimately?, 81,
23 How to Fight Rationally, Not Emotionally, 86,
Part 3: Us-ness Children and Parents, 91,
24 Conversational Rape at Home, 93,
25 Raising Healthy Kids, a Gleam in Daddy's Eye, 96,
26 Baby Talk, 101,
27 Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard — The Grade-School-Aged Child, 107,
28 Respect Your Elders — The Teen Years, 116,
29 Extended Family and Friends — Older Members, 123,
30 To Thine Own Self Be True, 126,