Feminine and Masculine Archetypes in Religion and Society


Many of the practical, structural and ideological components of world culture since the Agricultural Revolution of 8,000-10,000 years ago have greatly over-emphasized the masculine archetypal side of reality. This has caused much damage, error and distortion. These practices existed in numerous premodern societies on every continent.

Similar problems can happen regarding a lopsided focus on the feminine archetype, but this category has generally been suppressed or resisted since the first cities were populated. Anthropologists often say that earlier forms of human organization, specifically in hunter-gather communities, were significantly more egalitarian in behaviors, values and religious orientations. Many historians point to a gradual reemergence of the feminine occurring in the past 250 years approximately, beginning with the 18th-19th century Romantic period in philosophy, literature and art, and being further developed especially in the cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

In using the terms “feminine” and “masculine”, I do not mean them as genders. There is a loose and general relationship between the characteristics that most males possess and traits used ideologically as masculine and vice versa for females regarding femininity. I am primarily referring to the way these word are used in philosophy, religious studies, psychology and theology to discuss how various parts of human thought and action can be seen, ignored, appreciated or diminished due to the foundational presuppositions in one’s worldview. Thus, feminine and masculine archetypal descriptions can be applied to any element of culture. They can also be used regarding non-human aspects of nature.

To have a society, philosophy or religion that is vigorously strong and realistically grounded in human nature, all other components of the cosmos and the ontological traits intrinsic to any deities that might exist, I think a thorough and dynamic combination of feminine and masculine fundamentals ought to be remembered, maintained, valued and engaged.

That includes air molecules, rocks, squirrels, water, planets, etc. It seems to me that masculine and feminine archetypal elements are present everywhere in the universe, from the quantum level to the macro scale of solar systems and galaxies. Any possibly existing gods that are connected with this universe, either presently or only in the original design, would have to possess both feminine and masculine qualities in order to produce the living and non-living things and physical laws that make up an environment such as ours.

Feminine and masculine traits are found in both females and males. All people are psychologically androgynous with inherent masculine and feminine energies that greatly anticipate vital flourishing. The interaction of these elements can be observed in every academic and practical field of life: history, relationships, philosophy, business, science, religion, sports, politics, etc. In human physiology, males and females possess both estrogen and testosterone in great variation per individual.

The table below details a variety of ways that masculine and feminine archetypes may be understood in practice.

Descriptive and Conceptual Dynamics Of Femininity and Masculinity - chart only - 3


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