The Hidden Dangers in Patriarchal Dominance Culture
While we can list plenty of reasons our patriarchal dominance culture is failing us, I wish to share in this article some dangerous ways patriarchal dominance takes hold of us, disconnects us from our truth, and masquerades as being “evolved” or “good,” even while it’s destroying us. I’ll also share some thoughts on how to break free from its grip and find our Wild Soul again.
Patriarchy Disconnects Us
I turned the corner onto the highway, and there before me in her magnificent glory was the rising Full Moon. Her golden glow and sweet face took my breath away. I wanted to pull the car over, dance in the field, and sing at the top of my lungs. I might even howl at the moon, I thought to myself.
I continued my drive to pick up my son from basketball practice, struggling to keep my eyes on the road instead of the spellbinding moon. Then I started thinking about the many times my father had expressed his angst around going to work on a full moon. He was a psychiatric social worker, and said the full moon brought out the worst in the patients. “The full moon makes people crazy,” he would say.
Was I crazy for feeling this pull to dance and sing with the moon, to howl with joy at her beauty, to let go and express myself freely?
The Full Moon is an illumination of any intentions we set at the New Moon, showing us how our intentions may manifest, or perhaps showing us what needs adjustment for correcting course. Her light draws out a sense of expression.
My friend shared how on that same night of the full moon, she’d gone for a walk in the bush and noticed how loud all of the critters were. “Everything was making noise and expressing itself,” she said.
What if the Full Moon doesn’t make us crazy, but instead brings up a fuller expression of ourselves that we’re asked to pay attention to?
What if it illuminates all that we are and all that we need to let go of?
What if that illumination of our shadows, unrealized dreams, or new possibilities is what “makes us crazy” in the face of our passions, our Wild Nature, and all that is not aligned with our Soul?
As I asked myself these questions, I realized that my father’s distaste for full moons was a narrative I’d been carrying that guarded me from receiving all that the Full Moon has to offer. It’s a narrative embedded in patriarchy that says anything not controllable is “bad” or a “problem.” The patriarchal narrative tells us that any primal expression of our being is not healthy, not “normal,” not refined, and yes, crazy.
Patriarchal dominance disconnects us from the root of our being, the unique expression of our Soul, and the authentic expression of our Truth.
I hadn’t been allowing myself to feel the intensity of the Full Moon, what her light was showing me, or the emotions and feelings she brings up to guide me on my path. How can we ever manifest our New Moon intentions if we won’t allow ourselves to fully basque in the light of the Full Moon and connect with all that she’s offering us, even if we do feel a little crazy?
The Hidden Danger
Patriarchy has harmed humanity and the earth for centuries, but the hidden danger, no matter how much we see anti-patriarchy efforts rising, is in the insidious ways we adopt patriarchal ways within ourselves and apply them to our efforts to change.
We use the same competitive, critical, judgmental approaches, even in the ways we define what is acceptable or not, still clinging to one side or another, one way or another, one belief or another, in order to feel a sense of belonging. Yet all the while we are still disconnected from our Selves.
Our patriarchal dominance culture has subtly disconnected us from our authenticity, our truth, our wildness. I’m not talking about wild as reckless abandon. No, that would be a patriarchal definition of wildness. I’m talking about wild as our natural, undomesticated, untamed state of being.
As I realized my disconnection under the Full Moon, I imagined the moonlight pouring through every cell of my being. It wasn’t quite the same as dancing and singing under the Full Moon, but allowing myself to connect with the deeper meaning and expression of her light felt Divine.
Recognizing Our Compliance with Patriarchal Dominance
I began to think of the years I’ve held tight to maintain some semblance of control as the world around me felt like it was falling apart. Our patriarchal dominance culture has us believing that maintaining control is the only acceptable way to move through life. There’s little space available for wild dancing and howling under a Full Moon.
Feeling this constriction, we search for something to fill the void inside of us.
We might find ourselves overwhelmed with the materialistic,capitalistic, competitive, scarcity models and systems of patriarchy, so we seek spiritual teachings and community. We try to do it all “right,” honor the spiritual principles, and keep trying to improve ourselves. We have longings, but those longings now seem selfish.
How can I think about myself when so many are suffering?
How can I let go with wild abandon? Wouldn’t that be irresponsible or immature?
How could I move to the house in the woods when I should be in the town among the people doing my best to be of service? Won’t that mean I’m just escaping life?
We end up approaching even the things we sought for healing with a need to control, be enough, do it right, etc.
These insidious questions posing as spiritual guidance only serve to suppress our Soul. Who decided spirituality looks like this? Why do we so often take it so seriously? What generates this guilt and shame we feel if we’re not “doing it right?”
Years and years of patriarchal dominance culture have coopted religion, education, economics, feminism, politics, creativity, spirituality, and so much more.
There is a continual ignoring of the Divine Feminine Wisdom that nurtures, guides, and inspires us. As children, we’re taught to measure up in proper form to whatever it is we’re doing, criticized for doing things differently than others. We label children with ADD or ADHD, thinking they are a “problem,” when perhaps we’ve simply suppressed the wild nature for so long that sitting still and conforming is no longer an option.
Depression and anxiety are skyrocketing, and we label those as “problems” too. We all experience episodes of these, and if you’re anything like me, the temptation to get out of these states as fast as possible is quite strong. It takes devoted effort to be with these feelings, ask them what they’re trying to say, and learn the ways in which our Soul is feeling disconnected from its Wild Nature.
We become completely compliant with patriarchal dominance when we refuse to see the ways we perpetuate the narrative, dismissing the mystery and the discomfort.
How are you complying with patriarchal dominance?
We must challenge ourselves to stop labeling things based on an old paradigm, to question the narratives we carry with us, and to fill the void by tapping into the roots of our Soul Song, and finding ways to express it.
Reconnecting to Soul
The Soul is the realm of the Divine Feminine, the Sacred Feminine Wisdom that patriarchal dominance has suppressed. We are living with generations of fear and suppression settled into our DNA, holding centuries of traumas that believe our survival is at stake if we stray too far from the “norm.”
I grew up living on the edge of a forest. Being so intimate with Nature, held by the trees and streams and creatures of my childhood kept me sane. Even growing up in this simple home and lifestyle, I didn’t escape the cultural indoctrination to patriarchal ways. As I moved out into the world, I bought into the idea that success is not living in a simple house in the woods, but rather “making it big” in a career, relationships, etc. I thought I needed to be in the suburbs, have lots of friends, live in a big house with a perfect family, have a powerful career, and of course make tons of money.
I quickly realized that this was not the least bit fulfilling, but somehow I blamed myself for not being happy with it. There must be something wrong with me, I thought. Even when I seemingly “had it all,” I felt so empty.
Only now can I look back and see that I was still buying into the importance of achievements, and not the magic of the journey.
I did all of the usual things to find joy, including joining spiritual communities, studying spiritual philosophies, giving up corporate life to follow my passions, meditating, etc. While these things taught me so much, and helped me to grow significantly as a person, they only served as substitutes or tools along the way to help me find my center.
Life is full of pendulum swings. We will swing to one extreme, and then another, corporate to entrepreneurship, city life to country life, swinging single to settled family, strong beliefs to strong beliefs on the other side, and all that we experience is simply a process of helping us to find the unique expression of who we are in this world of extremes and polarities.
When you start expressing authentically, patriarchal dominance culture will make you feel wrong, tell you you’re crazy, think of you as weird. You’ll be criticized, chastised, and condemned.
And when you are, I can assure you that you are finally reconnecting to your beautiful Wild Soul!