The Demonic Feminine

When I first read Engel’s “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” I had this flash of insight telling me that the whole story of Eve really was a metaphor for the fact that women were the ones who invented agriculture, through our wisdom of the manipulation of nature women created the conditions which led to their own enslavement. Now I don’t really know if this is true, it was just a thought that popped into my mind that I held for awhile but its a good place to start. Patriarchal mythology is full of metaphor and lessons that are especially geared toward controlling the minds of women. If you control the mind of a person you train them to stop themselves before you ever have to get involved, its proved to be a fool-proof system for the most part. Eve is the perfect female, dumb but easily controlled, a willing vessel for the seed of Adam. A willing dupe for him and the Abrahamic God to play their misogynistic games out on.

Women’s so-called “spirituality” is full of references to the “divine feminine”. This will conjure up all kinds of images in the mind of those who hear it and I don’t claim to speak for all of them but when I hear it I think of a sanitized patriarchal style goddess archetype who fits perfectly in the web of things as a counterpart to the male patriarchal god archetype, where he is active she is passive, where he is light she is dark, where he is thoughtful she is emotional etc. Now knowing, understanding and being able to look deep within these archetypes can be important knowledge, can be illuminating, can even help people, but it is important to think critically and examine our emotions relative to everything we come across. Who do these “feminine” archetypes really serve?
What is “feminine” anyway?

Most new-age types will say that we all carry within us male and female energy when these concepts are criticized for their sexism/essentialism but I am going to say it right now : there is no female that has male energy and there is no male that has female energy. We are completely different beings. This is why female-only spaces are critical to the development of a true feminist consciousness. This is why women know when a male has entered a space, even if he masquerades as a female. There is no substitute for real femaleness.

The idea that feminine energy is passive, nurturing, accepting, allowing and intuitive while male energy is active, individualistic, antagonistic and resistant is spiritually castrating to women. When a woman views her action, her power, her dynamism as a “male” archetype within her, she on some level is denying her own power, potential, and ultimately ability to break free from the male supremacist matrix she’s been born into. After all, the patriarch is living within her. This is a dead-end for feminists looking to reclaim their spirituality.

So lets talk about the demonic feminine. She is a full entity unto herself. She will not submit. She takes what she wants. She is an actor in the world around her. She does not accept that there are things she cannot change. She strives daily to be her most perfect self through discipline and desire, never through performing for or pleasing others. She seeks revenge for the ways in which she has been wronged. She does not follow male rules yet she is 100% female. Now this is an empowering, feminist archetype. I talked about Lilith in my last post and I want to bring her up again. She is a very important figure for feminists to collaborate with. She represents all these things, especially the courage to go into the unknown, to be on one’s own path. Every time women tell a man-hating joke the demonic feminine is there. Every time a woman refuses to smile in deference to a man she is there. When women eat cake, when they let their body hair grow free, when they deliberately create something new, when they refuse to mutilate their faces to look young, when they ignore male rules and standards, when they fight back, when they win, she is within them.

Lilith isn’t the only example of what I call “the demonic feminine” but she is one many westerners will already have a little bit of familiarity with. Always a good place to start. There are many terrifying dark goddess figures from every land and culture that represent the same thing, women’s mastery and power over life and death, our ability to survive and seek revenge for men’s brutality and rapism. As Mary Daly said “The divine patriarch castrate’s women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination.” I will take this a step further and say that adopting a feminized version of the same values, morality and ultimately connection to the divine does exactly the same thing.

If you are going to be a feminist you will be hated so you may as well be the biggest, loudest most aggressive feminist you can be.
If you are going to be a witch you will be hated so you may as well be the darkest, most fearful and fearless one you can be.

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Madonna, eat your heart out.

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13 responses to “The Demonic Feminine

  1. Lilith is best known today as a female sex demon who constantly craves men.
    She may have started out as a rebellious woman who refused to submit to Adam, but men have long since taken her image and twisted it into a male fantasy. A quick search for artwork/figurines of her will reveal a multitude of scantily clad, skinny yet large breasted, white teen girls sporting bat’s wings and horns.
    An ignoble end which saddens me.

    • Men always do this. The followers of Sappho were portrayed as prostitutes by ancient Greek playrights. They have no concept of a woman unattached to them (lesbian).

    • Time to get out the sketchbook and do a redraw!
      If even a small portion of female artists set their minds to replacing these degenerated and perverted versions of demonic females, with truly awesome ones, imagine how great it would be? We can do so much better than the soft porn versions patriarchy has created.
      I think this should be a call to all womyn artists and creators (ie: all of us).
      Lets take back our archetypes!

  2. I’m so glad you brought up the agriculture question. I’m inclined to suspect that men tell stories of women having planted that first seed, in one of their typical reversals.

    I see matriarchies as having existed (prior to agricultural societies) to keep males in check. Women made decisions about resource management and distribution because males couldn’t be trusted. And what greater horror would women have been trying to prevent than the ecologically devastating practice of agriculture? Surely this wasn’t our idea.

  3. I definitely agree! The demonic feminine is active not passive, it’s our real “rolemodel”.

    It’s Halloween tomorrow and I feel like I’m getting more spiritual, but I don’t know much about it.
    I wonder if you could recommend some intro stuff on getting more witchy/spiritual as a radfem?

    • I started where I think most start – learning about casting circles, creating sacred spaces, meditating.

      My practice has simplified greatly since I began learning so you see its hard for me to tell you where to begin. The thing I would suggest is to begin meditating and ask the universe to guide you to what you should learn about first – then when you have something more specific you’d like to learn I or others can help you out.

  4. This is incredible. Love your voice in your writing. Thank you for sharing such a censored perspective. Embracing demonic femaleness instead of eradicating it, yes this must be a step in reclaiming female spirituality and power. I feel that I used this inner power to prevent rape when I was younger. A man in public who was following me and talking all creepy was about to assault me and I growled like a demon. I had such demonic rage that I kept growling through my teeth, kind of hyperventilating, surprised I didn’t start speaking in tongues or some shit. He actually sat there with complete fear and I could feel it, that energy had a feeling to it. I maintained my demonic rage and used it to crush any possibility of him losing his fear. He actually had terror in his eyes and I almost couldn’t believe it. Men would word it as, “You put the fear of god in him,” but I see it as I put the fear of the goddess in him, the fear of the demonic female spirit. Cathartic. But most importantly, I remember that I prevented myself from being raped or murdered. That power of terrifying a man who was most likely a rapist is one of the most divine moments I recall experiencing, but there are more of course. Females are not taught enough to be demonic when we defend ourselves and nowhere in the mainstream will you hear about females having demonic or spiritual power within us that can conquer men. Imagine if more of us used this!

    Great point about how new age and Wicca bullshit tells females that characteristics are split into male and female categories. I remember seeing this liberal, sexist ideology as a prime principle in some of the Wiccan resources I read. It said I had to pray to male gods to attain certain powers, but I found these powers exist even stronger in goddesses. Kali is such a powerful female who has the power of both creation and destruction, but Wicca tries so hard to emphasize that we have to search for a male god for one half of the things we are looking for. Hecate is very powerful as well.

    I remember seeing Lilith all pornified when I researched her as a teenage witch, such fucked up propaganda and defilement. Pretty much all the goddesses have been feminized and pornified by men.

    The fact that patriarchy has robbed females of innate spirituality, demonic and goddess powers, and the right to be a witch is a crime. The reversals and the complete fucking lies of christianity are a crime. Female christians, those damn handmaidens, would warn me about witchcraft and say that all goddesses and spirits are pure evil, that the christian concept of a male god is the only true perspective. I want to scratch out my ears when I hear their cult blabbering about how all witchcraft is evil and the only legitimate higher power is the male god. I’ll stop here, though, this comment is huge and it’s really late.

    Your fearlessness in talking about being a lesbian witch is powerful.

    – Cats Rule

    • Thank you for talking about your experience of embracing the demonic feminine.

      Kali is an incredible goddess – I’m glad that you bring her up. She would not hesitate to destroy any man and she really really excites me when I think about what it would look like if women really began embracing her destructive power.

  5. Love this, Terri! Scary when a woman(?) wanting to join our groups said in response to asking how and why she identifies as a Radical Feminist, only answered: “I am the Goddess and Divine Feminine.”

    I said, “You haven’t answered my question.”

    But scary really. I love the “Demonic Feminine!”

    (I don’t get notices for any blogs, so missed all this!)

  6. A couple of videos I made relate to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jY4aCMnw1whttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUgP3NgNDiw … Apologies in advance for the porniness in the first vid… I wasn’t a radical feminist when I made it. :/

  7. Reblogged this on FeistyAmazon and commented:
    I disagree with embracing darkside Demonizism BUT I agree with NEVER using the New Age term “Divine Feminine”. I worship the Sacred Female in all Her guises and She is even.far more than.described in this article. But you choose to.invoke a Dark.Goddess
    ..beware and be prepared. Because you better be ready for some letting go. They will however cut right through bullshit. And they take no prisoners…

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