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.
Madonna, eat your heart out.