The Emerald Tablet written by Hermes Trismegistus contained the secret of transmutation of primordial substance. The tablet text contains the famous lines “As above, so below” and goes onto explain creation in the context of duality. Understanding the duality of the masculine and the feminine is the key. Much of this wisdom has been lost thorough-out the ages resulting in grand misconceptions of what actually constitutes the masculine and feminine in their archetypal forms. Understanding these forces is more important now than ever, for it is the misunderstanding and the resultant extreme polarization of these forces that threatens life on earth as we know it. It is mastery of both forces and the synthesis of the two that creates growth, advancement and value fulfillment.
“Nature is not governed by laws so much, as it is governed by mutually interactive reciprocities.”
Fundamentally the masculine and feminine are NOT two tangible separate things. They both exist on the same continuum. They are very real forces having different directions yet are inexplicably linked. One cannot exist without the other in any meaningful way.
Categorically the feminine and masculine can perhaps best be understood as forces or tendencies in the following ways:
Masculine — Feminine
Projective — Receptive
Expansive — Contractive
Heating — Cooling
Sympathetic — Parasympathetic
Intellectual — Emotional
Outward — Inward
Brighter — Darker
Yang — Yin
Magnetic — Dielectric
Square — Circle
Possibly the greatest misconception in western culture is between the colour red and blue. When children are born boys are often dressed in blue and girls in pink/red in order to differentiate gender. It would follow then that pink/red is a girl/feminine colour and blue is a boy/masculine colour. In fact this is wrong and the ancient Taoist system understood this. Take for example the South Korean Flag. The yang/masculine colour is red and the yin/feminine colour is blue. This is the reverse of what is commonly thought of in western culture. Notice how on the flag the red is on top and the blue is on the bottom, this is important symbolically and will be explained later.
Thus contrary to popular cultural programming a man wearing a red/pink shirt is wearing a very masculine colour. Technically the colour for women should be blue not pink, yet the errant stereotype remains. It is possible that wearing of opposite colours could be considered a form of Feng Shui in terms of using opposites to create balance. It is why a woman in hot red dress makes an aggressive impression in that it is a stark juxtaposition of the masculine and the feminine.
Perhaps the best way perhaps to understand the colour red as masculine and the colour blue as feminine is to think of the sun and the earth. The sun is a burning hot fire that glows red/orange/yellow. It radiates it’s energy out in all directions. The sun is archetypal masculine in almost every way. Father sun is an apt description. The earth on the other hand is archetypal feminine and is often referred to as “Mother Earth”. The earth is mostly a dark blue water & black soil planet that receives the bright masculine rays from the sun. Again the sun here is projective and the earth is receptive. The sun is above and the earth is below and life/creation occurs in-between. Red is also a longer frequency where blue is a shorter frequency. The sun is comparably larger signifying expansion, where the earth is smaller signifying contraction.
From a slightly different perspective In the Taoist system the yang is white and symbolizes the projective light of the sun and the yin is black symbolizing the receptive earth.
An interesting thing to note is that green is right in the middle on the visible spectrum. Green is the colour of life here on earth and it represents the meeting point between the masculine and the feminine. Plants nourish themselves from water and soil in the ground (feminine) and send their branches and leaves out skyward for nourishment form the sun (masculine). Trees and how they function are highly symbolic of these primordial forces being the creative point in the delicate balance state between these two.
The process of clouds condensing to cooler water and coming down from the sky and nourishing/replenishing life on earth is the feminine act of cooling, soothing and rejuvenating.
In the human body the arteries carry the blood which is red(masculine) when oxygenated and the veins are purple/blue (feminine) and are depleted of the oxygen yet receptive to it in the lungs for replenishment. The blood in the form of liquid (being the denser/feminine) is the carrier of (the lighter) oxygen (the masculine).
It is important to note that colours in of themselves are not either masculine or feminine, but that the colours take on those qualities when compared to other colours. The colour system as well as all duality frameworks depend on your relative perspective. Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as “absence” or “void”. The masculine and feminine forces are two sides of the same coin and cannot be separated. The problem is masculine forces tend to be more obvious while feminine forces are more subtle.
”Unlike his contemporaries, Goethe didn’t see darkness as an absence of light, but rather as polar to and interacting with light; colour resulted from this interaction of light and shadow.”
Wu-Chi & the Story of Creation
Which brings me to the story of the creation of Yin and Yang in the Taoist system with the concept of Wu-Chi and Tai-Chi.
The Taoist system explains the story of creation from primordial source Wu-Chi which literally means “without ridgepole”. It is an ultimate infinite boundless state of no differentiation. A purely hypothetical pre-existence state. The dot in the middle is the point of yin from which creation begins to emerge. The forces of yin then begin to contract the yang to form a state of rotating force-balance or Tai Chi which literally means “great pole”. Yang is a universal expansionary force of continuous rapid replication and yin is a contractive force that contracts rotation-ally in order to create reality. Creation is an emergent property of the interplay between masculine and feminine. The story of creation is fundamentally a story of movement from non-duality/polarity to duality/polarity.
The Biblical parallel to the Taoist system of the creation of masculine and feminine, is the story of how Eve (the feminine) was created from a rib from the side of Adam (the masculine). And also how light (yang) was the first creation and then all forms of matter (feminine) and life were created after. The cosmological analogy is that in the early part of the theoretical “big bang” the universe existed in a super hot state of expanding plasma, a masculine process and then through a feminine process the formation of matter, planets & stars came through a process of coalescing and cooling.
Conceptually this becomes difficult because space & time are fundamentally illusory constructs. Hyper-dimensionally the expansionary and contractory nature of the universe goes out to infinity both inwards and outwards. There is no beginning or end and thus no first or last. This however goes goes beyond the scope of this article.
The birth of polarity in its archetypal form is the most fundamental necessity for existence of any kind, for without it no frameworks could be created. The feminine represents detailed refinement a move towards ever increasingly complexity/novelty in a higher order manner.
As stated above the square which provides structure is archetypal male. The curve or circle is archetypal female. In nature this exemplified through hurricanes or tornadoes. The vortex is inherently the geometry of how matter is created through a geometric contraction process of curving the square so to speak. The squares continually unfold outwards to infinity while the curve rotates inward to infinity. Squares provide the matrix like substrate…the primordial universal tapestry and the the act of curving and twisting the squares is the feminine process of creation. This is why the fibonacci ratio and golden spiral is inherent in all natural systems.
The expansion of the universe can be thought of as a masculine process of dispersion in a hyper-dimesnional fractal cube-like fashion. The formation of matter through a process of contraction, densification & cohesion can be thought of as feminine. The very act of creation is fundamentally a feminine transmutation process of primordial substance into constructs.
A painting is an excellent analogy of the synthesis of the masculine and the feminine. The white canvas and the square frame of the painting can be thought of as masculine. The multicolour paint and the curved brushstrokes creating the artwork can be thought of as the feminine. The masculine symbolizes the building blocks of life….the primordial substrate, and the feminine symbolizes the act of making something beautiful out of those blocks to the point where it looks nothing like what it originally was. Now imagine the painting cosmically coming to life in 3-dimensions and you can see the interplay between the masculine and feminine on the universal level.
Masculine and Feminine Body Types
This is another area where many misconceptions abound, especially in western society. It is stereo-typically thought that bigger beefy guys are more masculine, but in essence they tend to be more feminine and feeling oriented. The masculine is defined by lighter, more agile where the feminine is defined by slower and more dense. Skinny women are technically more masculine rather than feminine compared to fatter women. Ectomorphs tend to be more logical, up in the head thinker types, where as endomorphs tend to be feeler types in terms of personality disposition.
Aerobics or running is inherently a more masculine activity because it is a process that produces tremendous heat through “burning” of energy and the intense utilization of oxygen a more masculine element. Bodybuilding is a process of adding structure through densification making it a balanced fusion of the feminine and the masculine. The gaining of fat through energy dense fat cells via consumption is more so a feminine process.
Too much of either process in terms of being either underweight or overweight results in poor health. A hot red desert is an example of too much masculine and the cold dark black arctic is an example of too much feminine. Both environments are hostile to most life. The lush vibrant jungle teeming with life is the optimal balance of the two.
The skeletal structure as well as the back of the body can be thought of as more masculine. The flesh and the front of the body can be thought of as the feminine. The feminine is inherently a more creative energy seeking nuanced definition and detail. Thus the front of the body is more “novel” when compared to the back. The fact the feminine is the forward facing part of the body is symbolic of the desire of the universe to create.
The above corresponds well with the Ayurvedic system of doshas as well.
Vata is masculine, Pitta is mixed/balanced and Kapha is feminine.
Also there is a connection here to metabolic type. Sympathetic dominant is more masculine and parasympathetic dominant is more feminine. Please read my article on Metabolic Diet & supplements to see how this masculine feminine polarity can have a strong impact on diet and health. Dr. Kelly created a list classifying many illnesses according to whether they were caused by to much masculine (sympathetic) or too much feminine (parasympathetic).
Myers-Briggs Jungian Personality Archetypes breakdown
Masculine — Feminine
Extroversion — Introversion
Intuitive — Sensing
Thinking — Feeling
Judging — Perceiving
This makes the archetypal masculine an ENTJ and the archetypal feminine an ISFP. From this we can extrapolate what personality characteristic are more feminine or masculine oriented. (See my Myers-Briggs article if you don’t know what you are.) Again many cultural misconceptions abound here, and hopefully this will clear some of them up.
Extroversion – Extroverts are outwardly oriented people. They tend to be more talkative, think out loud and radiate energy. This is a masculine trait akin to the sun radiating warmth and energy.
Introversion – Introverts are more reserved, and tend to think before speaking. It is an inward process of depth and thus is inherently feminine. They tend to receive ideas pause and reflect before creating with their words. It is a process of introspection and becoming self-aware.
Intuitive – Intuitive type is pattern seeking and like to see the bigger pictures They understand things in terms of their grand expansive scope. Due to their wider scope of tying information together this is more masculine.
Sensing – These people are detail oriented. They tend to focus on the small points having a bottom-up approach to understanding things rather than top-down. Because the scope of their focus tends to be more narrow (facts, numbers, stats), it is more so feminine.
Thinking – These are your stereotypical logic type of people. They tend to be more analytic and intellectual. The realm of the thought based intellectual is up in the head, and this is classic masculine. Akin to the air in the sky.
Feeling – This is your stereotypical emotional oriented type of person. They tend to have strong values and make decisions based more so on feelings rather than logic. Feelings ideally are experienced viscerally in the body making it more dense and thus archetypal feminine. Akin to the dense earth below our feet.
Judging – These are your classic type A, organized higher strung individuals. They prefer order and structure and have a more assertive way of going about their life. The structural aspect can be symbolically thought of as squares or cubes. And this is inherently masculine. The downside is they can often be too rigid.
Perceiving – These people are more spontaneous and adaptive. They also tend to be more easy going and creative. in terms of their more fluid easy going demeanor they are geometrically akin to a more flowing/curving like nature . The circle/curve is archetypal feminine.
The reason these metrics are important to understand is that according to Myers-Briggs statistics about half of women out there are logical thinker types and half the men on the planet are more feeling oriented. In the greater context with all 4 layers only about 10% of people on the planet could be classified as stereotypical male or female in personality disposition. That means 90% of people embody some combination of both female and masculine personality type aspects!
This is important in that many culture stereotypes of the way a man or woman should act or be, are flat out wrong and are harmful to the natural way a person actually is. It becomes especially problematic when people try to be or act in a way that isn’t in accordance with their natural disposition. We need to be more understanding and accepting especially so of more logic-thinking oriented women and feeling oriented men.
Relationship wise people are often attracted to opposites. The tendency here is that in many romantic relationships extroverts and introverts are mutually attracted as well as “Judging” types and “Perceiving” types have a mutual attraction. This creates a powerful dynamism that can be very beneficial if properly understood and utilized, or else it can turn destructive if the contrast isn’t fully appreciated between partners.
Self-empowerment is ultimately a feeling of inner self acceptance and not dependent on the societal acceptance that so many people seek. I personally see many people stake their feelings of self-worth and acceptance on external factors and this will always lead to failure.
True self-empowerment thus comes through inner emotional(feminine) mastery and embracing the divergent aspects within, rather than “wearing” of the opposite sex. In western culture many masculine aspects have been deemed superior and this creates backlash because ultimately it causes unnatural extreme polarization.
However, many hetro-norms do have a archetypal basis in nature, and we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some conventional hetero-normative views are disadvantageous, especially when applied to the realm of human personality, emotions & identity. Ideally people tend towards more of a balance of both. Extreme excess in either way is counter-productive. And currently the biggest lack in humanity is the aspect of “feminine” emotional development for both sexes. Intellectual logic has dominated for far too long. Identity & acceptance as is a very emotional thing for most people, and thus it fundamentally needs to be resolved at an emotional level.
The above quote can be conceptually applied to gender and especially to emotions in many ways. People who are gender confused or have a lot of conflicting beliefs about gender will try to accomplish the above.
Given certain emotional traumas especially so in children, many people will adopt and try to “wear” aspects of the other gender for survival purposes in an attempt to compensate. Aspects of the self (usually emotional) often then go undeveloped and are covered up and buried with with various complexes. Culturally the problem is systemic. And this primarily leads to over-masculinization namely intellectualization. The answer however is not more of the same.
Men who are strong feeler types, often are at odds with themselves due to mass cultural stereotypes that they should be almost exclusively rational. It’s important that whatever a persons dispositions are, that they embody them fully in order to maximize their natural strengths. Embracing oneself rather than running away from oneself.
Gender, Sex and Sexuality
Biological sex is the living embodiment of the forces of feminine and masculine. It’s through the novelty of contrast and the creative expression of these forces that continues life as we know it. Both sexes are a mutually necessary for creation and one therefore isn’t fundamentally better than the other. The human body and the sexual organs are the embodiment of the projective and the receptive. The egg waiting to be fertilized is the receptive where the sperm is the projective. Sex is archetypal in so many ways. The bilateral symmetry of the body of left and right, front and back symbolizes the balance of these forces.
Gender exists on a continuum of near infinite degrees. Fundamentally nothing being 100% one or the other but a mixture of both in ever creative and elaborate ways. It is the contrast between the masculine and feminine and the subsequent tension/difference that is the grounds for all our relationships as we seek to expand in infinite ways. It is important to understand that human relationships are about learning through difference, not likeness. When this is properly realized then people can benefit from each other rather than descending into conflict. Attraction between the sexes is a form of continual dynamism as opposites attract in many ways and seek balance through contrast.
Western society & the masculine superiority complex
It is no secret our collective masculine superiority complex is destroying us. The way we power our world comes primarily through destructive process of intense heat in the forms of burning oil, coal, natural gas & embarking on the process of splitting atoms for thermal nuclear power. Wall street has turned into an epidemic of a greater need for speed via high frequency trading where trades are timed in milliseconds and a nanosecond can make the difference between a gain and a loss. The trades are in turn controlled by hyper-logical computers running hyper-logical mathematical masculine algorithms.
Schools are designed to teach the intellect. There are no classes on emotions. People are left to their own devices for that. Most people lead secret emotional lives continually putting on masks to cover their true feelings. It is leading to a lack of authenticity and a stifling of creativity and human spirit. It is precisely those feminine qualities that we need to undo the mess we are in. The feminine has often erroneously been cast in negative light as shy, weak, irrational & temperamental.
However it is fundamentally from emotions that we derive our strength, will and resolve. Emotions themselves are actually very logical and follow naturally from beliefs shaped by past experiences. It is modern Freudian psychology that has cast them into the nether of the supposed primitive subconscious through erroneous understanding. This needs to be undone.
Emotions & Ego
While categorically the world of emotions is more feminine in contrast to the more masculine intellect, there exist layered spectrums of masculine and feminine emotions. Again there are some major misconceptions here. Masculine emotions are more dispersive and outward oriented, where as feminine emotions are more inward contractive oriented.
Most emotions also can be experienced in two ways. Take anger for example. Anger is often thought of as a masculine hot radiative emotion. And ideally it is. However when anger is bottled up and contained, its is being overly controlled by a feminine force. Emotions are the cohesive creative life-force of the universe and are meant to flow through a person rather than be bottled up. A person hanging/clinging onto happiness is also in a process of trying to contain a naturally expressive emotion, and in effect accomplishes the opposite because happiness cannot be contained and radiaties out to quickly leaving the person feeling at a loss. Contrary to popular belief no one can make you happy against your own will, for emotions fundamentally come from within.
Most people live their daily emotional lives inside their head rather than in their body. The mind is quick to build projections of past and future possible events where desired or undesired experiences are often endlessly dwelled upon. Emotions experienced in the head is very masculine, emotions experienced viscerally in the body (the more ideal way) is feminine. This is what is meant by “society has gone sick”. It has disconnected itself from itself by eschewing the natural polarity of the emotional felt presence. For deeper insights into this concept read: Self Regulation Therapy circa 1974.
Understanding the contractive and expansive properties of emotions is key in utilizing them to their fullest potential.
Aggression is NOT a masculine emotion contrary to popular ideas.
“There is a sharp distinction between anger and aggression (verbal or physical, direct or indirect) even though they mutually influence each other. While anger can activate aggression or increase its probability or intensity, it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for aggression.” ~ Wikipedia
Aggression is a fusion of the masculine and feminine. It is projective which is masculine, yet contractive in that it is an emotion with condensed force behind it which is inherently feminine. In general the denser and stronger a force is, the more feminine it is. The lighter and weaker a force is the more masculine it is.
Aggression in our society has been unjustly demonized. However the thrust of creativity, the fusion of masculine and feminine is inherently aggressive. A flower blooming is a joyful aggressive act that is hardly passive. Aggression is expansion with purpose. Modern society has many contradictory attitudes when it comes to this emotion. It is the reason why creative expression has suffered for so long.
There are two types of confidence. There is intellectual confidence and emotional confidence. One characteristic that women most often site as being an attractive quality in a male is confidence. Most often what they mean is the emotional type of confidence, for emotional confidence bespeaks of emotional mastery. Something coincidentally very few males have developed due to the way society has been structured around the intellect to a near exclusion of feelings. So in many ways women look for this feminine aspect within males. This mirroring like effect of learning about self through reflection is the way the universe learns about itself.
Mastery of emotions is the most important key in the next step in evolution of humans as a species. Humanity has been caught up in an intellectual(masculine) age where reason has been cherished above all else. Our society and especially our schools have been constructed around teaching the intellect. Understanding the polarity of emotions and being able to work with them is critical in order to create successively.
Concentrating, focus & clarity are fundamentally process of introverted sensing. It’s a process of refinement and slowing down by blocking out unnecessary data and focusing on the task at hand. This is fundamentally a feminine process.
The extreme counter opposite would be akin to the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and is a rapid psychological process gone out of hand where the mind races so fast and uncontrollably it gets out of control. This would be an example of a a masculine process gone too far.
The ego is a living aspect of the psyche that is at the center of the personality providing it cohesion. The ego is inherently necessary. It is the duality/polarity construct creator. It would be impossible to create without an ego. The ego is the aspect of self that continually creates identity anew. It maintains it’s durability.
It is important to have a strong flexible ego for it is able to summon more power. A weak or over-flexible ego (too feminine) has considerably less power. A rigid ego (too masculine) becomes dead set in ways and has a difficult time adapting and growing. Thus you can see even within the ego strength is a balancing act between rigidity and flexibility.
Creativity as stated before is fundamentally feminine. When creativity goes unused and/or bottled up it is an act of damming feminine energy which can subsequently become very destructive. The damming of any energy is inherently very dangerous. This is the very cause of so many problems in our society. Many health and emotional issues are a result of unexpressed emotions and creativity. Every health problem has an emotional counter part. (see – Heal your body by Louise Hay). We need to learn how to work with the feminine forces of emotions and creativity. Developing inner senses here is key.
Humans literally are conduits for these powerful forces in the universe. Our planet needs creative solutions to the very many problems it faces more now than ever. The universe senses this need and is providing us with extra energy. However if it is not harnessed and used in constructive ways it can and will turn into destruction.
The masculine and feminine forces are the most powerful tools of creation in the universe. Mastery of these is key for value fulfillment. It is important that both are embraced fully. The first step is understanding them and becoming aware of all the different ways they manifest in our life. The point isn’t to try to balance them all out perfectly.
“Consciousness is not made up of balances so much as it is made up of exquisite imbalances…
…Here you seek not equalization of pressure, but a delicate, even precarious instability of pressures….no creativity arises from an evenness of pressure, but in constantly new instabilities, ever seeking to achieve a balance. ” ~ Seth
It’s the perpetual imbalance between the forces that gives rise to action and motion. If some magical balance point were achieved between the masculine and the feminine the universe would become static. Stasis is an absolute form of death, where as motion is continuous life.
There is no real “natural” man or woman but a spectrum of myriad overlaps. Both are a necessity for life. Ideals come through a synthesis of the two in a multi-layer type fashion.
The yin yang symbol takes the form of two complementary swirling opposites to indicate this creative motion. Therefore it is important to appreciate the polarity that we find in ourselves and in our world. It is also important to point that out swinging to far to either side can be detrimental. It’s through the contrast of the duality framework that we learn about ourselves and continue to grow. Every person has a simultaneous dispositions in a multitude of various feminine and masculine ways. It is this complex continuous interweaving of these complementary forces that creates the true beauty of life in the universe. Thesis x Antithesis = Synthesis
This article has been republished form Gestalt Reality