In this essay I would like to propose an alternative model to the idea, so popular within modern paganism and especially wicca, that each of us has a feminine and a masculine part of our psyche, and that we need to find a proper balance between these two, or even strive for some union between the two. Often, this concept is given names like ‘achieving the Mystical Marriage’.
I’ve always found this whole concept quite problematic for a number of reasons. The core one being that it often starts out with quite stereotypical notions of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ as representing either our outer and inner persona, or our harder vs softer qualities. Also, for those among us who are genderqueer, there’s obvious additional issues. And of course there’s the fact that it relies very heavily on heterosexual symbolism.
It is for these and other reasons that I would like to propose the ‘rainbow dance’ as an additional model that allows for a lot more fluidity. I will try to explain.
Obviously, there exist masculine and feminine energies within the world. Each and every one of us, independent of our gender, exists because these energies combined to create the seed that would become us: our body and perhaps our soul as well.
But why would our creation be limited to that instant when our parents had an orgasm? We are not born complete: it takes many years before our personality is fully formed, and our environment continues to influence who and what we are throughout our entire lifetime. So, if we try to explain who we are, wouldn’t it be fair to take all of that into account?
Yes, we are originally created by the union of the masculine and the feminine. And throughout our life, we continue to interact with these (and other forces). So, instead of saying that the masculine and the feminine are part of our psyche, we could equally well say that we are continually shaped by their interaction every moment of our life. And the shape this interaction takes will define who we are in that moment, including our gender. And there is no absolute law that states that that gender has to be a constant throughout our life.
Maybe, instead of saying that we have a fixed gender, it would be more correct to say that each of us has one (or maybe multiple) resonance frequencies that are most likely to become activated by contact with our environment [for the non-scientist: resonance frequency means roughly speaking that every object has a natural ‘tone of voice’ and if that note is played close to the object, then the object will begin to sing along and produce that note itself, increasing in volume the longer the note is played. There may be reactions to other notes as well, but they will be much, much weaker.]
For most of us, that resonance frequency will be the one corresponding to the gender of our physical body, though not necessarily for all of us. Or there may be multiple notes we react to, or none at all. Which, for most of us, would mean that we are the gender corresponding to our physical body most of the time, but not necessarily always. And a lot of that will depend on the forces that are at play outside of us, and their interaction.
The freedom this allows is that these forces do not necessarily always need to be of opposite genders, but may equally well be different shades of the feminine or the masculine, independent of our sexual identities.
Sometimes this may be the union of the feminine and the feminine: the force that gives birth, together with the force that nurtures. Sometimes the union of these may precisely be who circumstances require us to be: a mother who is only able to mother because she is supported herself. Without the addition of that second feminine force, we would not be able to be who we needed to be, and hence that motherly, feminine eigenfrequency would not be activated within us. And note that this very process could equally well take place within a person who is physically male!
Similarly, sometimes we are only able to act decisively or generate new ideas, because we find ourselves in the cross-fire of opposing ideas. I leave it to you which gender you associate to this, but a same-gender union seems to be a better fit here than a union where one side is purely receiving and one side is purely giving.
Obviously this idea needs further refining, and for that I would look towards people with a better understanding of the masculine and the feminine than I have, and especially to people with a better understanding of same-sex unions and their energetic dynamics. This is an embryonic idea that needs further refining.
Why do I want to propose it then if it is only half-finished? Because by making masculine-masculine and feminine-feminine unions relevant psychological notions to each of us, we can create more inclusivity, and sex becomes just one expression of a phenomenon that is relevant for all of us. And it makes that, instead of making the heterosexual union the model underpinning psychology for all of us, that suddenly each of us would need to make an effort to understand all types of unions.
For like all (most of us) have a gender that is our default one, it would make each one of us a ‘natural expert’ in a type of energetic union. A type of ‘as above, so below’, only now one could call that, ‘as in the flesh, so in the spirit’ … You could even add trans-people as experts in the situations where both feminine and masculine energies clash rather than harmonize…
My hope is that this idea could bring us to a situation where all types of sexuality are seen as of truly equal value, and so that in our next circle or Beltane ritual, we will make space to honour all of them, because we acknowledge that all of them are an essential part in the dance of creation, for all of us…