We know the attitude towards women changed when iconography depicted their assault and subjugation. We know that women stopped being perceived as divine creators when male gods were attributed to producing life. We know that at various points throughout multiple cultures, women were deemed sacred because of the abundance of temples, graves, exquisite drawings, and figurines that reflected the diverse female form. These relics taught us that women were priestesses, leaders, lovers, healers, mothers, and oracles. They showed a synchronous relationship between the menstrual cycle and lunar rhythm. Connecting women’s menstruation with moon cycles was how humans first recorded time.
With the rise of aggressive male gods who depreciated goddesses, the earth, and the feminine, we women lost our sacred lineage. The inundation of patriarchal beliefs flooded our souls and bodies. Whether in traditional education or religion, we were taught that every notable figure was male: gods were male, prophets were male, sages were male, and husbands/fathers/men equated to authority and leadership. We were told that women played a minimal role in societal development. We never learned about the egalitarian, matrilineal, equitable elements of tribal societies that valued women’s contributions. We never truly examined the feminine face of the Divine and its correlation to the status of women.
Conventional scholarship fails to genuinely remind us that women were prohibited from participating in the public sector (including sacred spaces) in the way that most (but not all) men could. This means we could not advance in education, leadership, religious roles, or business at the same rate. We didn’t have the same starting point (and doubly true if you were a woman of color and/or of lower socioeconomic status). We learned that motherhood was no longer a focal point of the culture, but a hindrance to women who desired to be in the public domain. Of course, there are exceptions to everything stated here, but cultural conditioning is not shaped by exceptions; we are shaped by what we are told time and time again—for better or worse.
I think the hardest thing for women is to uproot this indoctrination of patriarchy within their body-mind. Since we have been conditioned to believe we are less than, and this has been codified in religions and boardrooms, we must disentangle ourselves from the lie of not being enough. This is the greatest archeological dig for the female psyche. We must retrain our minds that we are sacred and intelligent humans that can be priests and presidents. That we are capable, valuable, and worthy. That the structure of the female brain gives us incredible insight that helps the success of the company, the community, the family.
As neuropsychiatrist, Louann Brizendine, points out, women’s brains are designed for communication, connection, emotional sensitivity (aka emotional intelligence), and responsiveness—all necessary traits to navigate work and Life. In her work as a biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher claims that the larger corpus callosum in women’s brains allows us to garner a holistic view of situations, which she terms as web-based thinking. This web-based view creates broader perspectives which can be helpful to any environment or issue. She writes,
Women tend to gather more data that pertain to a topic and connect these details faster. As women make decisions, they weigh more variables, consider more options and outcomes, recall more points of view, and see more ways to proceed.
These qualities are undoubtedly helpful in both the private and public spheres. As we harness the power of our beautiful brains, let’s also reclaim our bodies on our terms. We were not born to solely please men and endlessly tolerate unhealthy behavior. This is not to say there aren’t healthy, conscious men out there. I’m in love with one of them. There are men who stand for women’s empowerment and healing androcentrism (John Wineland, Luke Storey, Lewis Howes). If we desire conscious, healthy men, we must become conscious, healthy women who know their value and worth. This has nothing to do with being a particular size with perky body parts. I still struggle with this piece, but reclaiming my body one yoga practice at a time, one meditation session at a time, one healing crying fit at a time, I have come to realize that my body is sacred and not just an instrument for male pleasure. That oppression and domination of female bodies is not the natural order of human life. That I was not born in sin. That I am not secondary. That I am a holy, beloved daughter of the Divine Feminine and carry Her strength, beauty, Shakti, and wisdom within me.
~My soul remembers this when I tune out the lie of inadequacy and drop into my divine femininity~
When I remember my worth from my brain to my body to my soul, I reclaim that lost lineage of when the feminine was sacred. I anchor myself in her-story. I root myself in knowledge and traditions that affirm women and that also honor healthy masculinity. I worship on paths that boldly name God as a Woman too. As I center myself in this empowered consciousness, I know I belong in whatever space I find myself in—whether in a room full of male executives, or a room of male yogis, or in a temple of male gods.
My voice. My body. My brain. My soul. My divine fierce femininity. It all belongs. And if I feel rudely unacknowledged, silenced, or objectified, I will remember the wise words of Dr. Brené Brown and “Speak truth to bullshit, but maintain civility.”
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If you’re interested in expanding your empowered consciousness, click here. Using principles from Women’s Spirituality, yoga, and holistic health, I will create your empowerment plan that focuses on uplifting your mind, body, and soul by using the following template:
Mind: Explore the roots of your beliefs + habits; learn how to keep the ones that serve you and how to handle the ones that cause pain/suffering. This segment is about self-awareness.
Body: Learn practices that nourish inner + outer beauty through movement, affirmations, and life-affirming foods. This portion is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Soul: Learn how to calm/center your nervous system so that you can hear the voice of love, worthiness, and peace already within you. This section is about connecting to inner guidance.
I look forward to connecting with you, beautiful one!
Dr. Vanessa Soriano