At a certain point on my journey into tantra, conscious relating and the embodiment of Shakti, I had to recognise that the men in my life and my relationships with them were a reflection of unconscious inner dynamics, born of my childhood and past experiences.
In fact, it was the break-down of my second marriage after my husband’s infidelity and a 4-year sex-less hiatus, that led me onto this questing path in the first place. I knew I wasn’t happy and I knew that something had to change. But it took me a few more pokes and prods from the Universe, before I was willing to take responsibility.
Until that point, like the vast majority of people out there (and most certainly as my own parents had modelled for me), if something went wrong or I felt insecure in my relationships, my knee-jerk response was to blame the other for my pain or unhappiness, and expect them to change to meet my needs.
At the same time, when I was single, I was often in a state of casting outside myself – to the men around me – for love and validation (which for me, often came through sex), as opposed to feeling whole and complete within myself.
What I wasn’t looking at was how my own wound-based choices, beliefs and actions were contributing to my relational mess-ups. Nor how these, in turn, originated with the masculine-feminine patterning of my family and ancestral lineage.
Most of us grow up with this kind of programming and self-serving concept of love. But, on the awakening path, we are called to illuminate what is unconscious, so as to step into our sovereign wholeness and become the love that we truly are, rather than hungrily seeking it outside ourselves.
As I searched for meaning and healing in the practices of tantra and yoga, as well as psychotherapeutic counselling, I could no longer get away with blaming them – men as the other – for my pain and frustration. I had to see how I was attracting men and co-creating relationship dynamics as a replay of familiar (collective and familial) patterning. And the only way to change what I didn’t like was from within.
In over a decade of deep enquiry, meditation, practice and process, the focus was very much upon my shadow feminine: how deeply she’d bought into the lie of unworthiness, how she didn’t take responsibility for her sexuality, how she was an expert at self-deception and how she repeatedly projected out the soul-mate fantasy onto lovers.
I was undoing the conditioning of patriarchy; liberating and elevating my Divine Feminine Self. It was exhilarating, empowering and ecstatic.
Which is and was absolutely necessary. But not the whole picture.
Because, of course, Shakti doesn’t exist without Shiva: her Divine Masculine counterpart. And I had still been thinking that “he” was on the outside, rather than a part of me.
Added to that the risk of conflating all men with the bondage of patriarchal oppression I was working so hard to free myself from and I was in danger of simply tipping from one end of the masculine-feminine spectrum to another and, in so doing, continuing to embody a culturally engrained sense of separation that would inevitably create imbalance in my life and relationships.
Prior to switching lanes to the conscious path, I’d been an academic and before that, a corporate executive, both of which were mind-heavy, male-dominated environments where I’d thrived due to my intellect and capacity for focussed, conceptual analysis.
Now, I was revelling in motherhood and the delicious awakened flow of Shakti, distancing myself almost compulsively and disdainfully from what I regarded as the materialistic, patriarchal mainstream.
As I was introduced to processes and frameworks for connecting with my inner masculine – and recognising his reflection in those around me – I came to see, that he was just as much in need, if not more so, of liberation and elevation as my Feminine and, that a relationship needed to be cultivated between the two.
Before long, this understanding blossomed into a devotion to Divine Union: an ideal of the alchemical and sacred union of masculine and feminine represented in both yoga and tantra as the marriage of Shiva and Shakti. And a calling, which I believe is inspired by and aligned with the global awakening currently taking place.
We are at the cusp of a shift from the Piscean (third chakra centred) to the Aquarian (heart chakra centred) age, in which the privileging of immature masculinity over a disempowered femininity is giving way to an essential re-balancing and elevation of both principles in the name of love and unity.
Reclaiming our feminine power and sovereignty, at the same time as raising up our men and the masculine within us is central to this process.
In my experience and understanding, the more deeply we connect with our masculine essence, the more deeply our Shakti will flow and vice versa: the more deeply a man connects with his feminine essence, the more deeply he will stand in his Shiva power.
This has nothing to do with becoming emasculated as a man or butch and macho as a woman, but instead, with cultivating such a conscious and awakened wholeness, that we remember ourselves as one and The One: an embodiment of the unified frequency of love that entirely shifts our manifest reality and all our relating.
For as is so eloquently summarised by Bernie Prior in his book "Love without Duality", "there is only one Being that seems to be split into two frequencies or principles - the Masculine and Feminine, embodied as man and woman.... It is divinity that calls us together for us to realise that we have always been one."
Meeting the Masculine is the 8th module in my 9-month Awakening Shakti online intensive course for women. If you are curious to know more, head on over to the web-page. Our next course launches in January 2020, but applications are already welcome.