Category: Hermetic Philosophy
The Law of Gender, one of the 7 Laws in Hermetic Philosophy, states: “Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.” The masculine and feminine principles are found everywhere including the physical, mental and spiritual planes.
On the physical plane, gender manifests as the sociological and biological differences in all creatures living on the planet. On the mental plane, these are universal symbols that take the form of male and female figures within the psyche. On the spiritual plane, they are the positive and negative energies that influence everything that is manifest and hidden in all the realms of existence.
What’s more important is that all of us (whether you are a guy or a girl) have both the feminine and masculine aspects within. We can find the same principle in various belief systems around the world. Here are a few examples:
Adam and Eve (Judeo-Christian)
Adam and Eve in Worthy Paradise, Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder
Remember the naked couple from the Garden of Eden? I guess what they represent is obvious, but if you don’t know how to interpret the story, it goes something like this:
Eve (the feminine principle) is tempted by the serpent, a symbol for knowledge (some say it's the devil, but whatever) to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (duality represented by the polar opposites). Nothing bad happens, so she tells Adam (the masculine principle) to take a bite of the fruit. Of course, God knows all about it, so he punishes the couple by throwing them out of the garden, which represents the fall of humanity from "spirituality" (union with the divine) to "materialism" (duality).
However, there is another tree in the garden called The Tree of Life> (immortality). Whoever eats the fruit of that tree lives forever. Consequently, Adam and Eve did not get the chance to eat its fruit, so their descendants now have to find their way back to the garden (liberation) by choosing the middle path between the pairs of opposites. Otherwise, they remain trapped in the material plane. This middle path is the way of Christ, a path to divinity or reunion of the divided self. Take note that both Adam and Eve had no awareness of their gender before they ate the God's forbidden fruit. It was only after that incident that Adam realized he had something hanging between his legs.
Shakti and Shiva (Hinduism)
Shakti is the Force behind the Universe and the entire Universe is her play and display. The Kundalini is her microcosmic representation. She has been depicted as the Mother Goddess in Pagan religions.
Shiva is the third god of the Hindu trinity, symbolizing the destructive and regenerative aspect of God. He is the masculine aspect of divine creative expression, which in yoga is considered to reside at the crown of the head or the sahasrara chakra.
Shakti also represents Prakriti or energy and Shiva represents Purusha or consciousness. Shakti, in different forms, is present in all creation. Both material and spiritual energy are known as Shakti. When the energy moves outwardly, it is material energy and when it is directed upwards it is spiritual energy. When you practice in the correct way (say, via Kundalini yoga) and you achieve the union between Shakti and Shiva, it has a very positive influence on the development of your spiritual awareness.
Yin and Yang (Taoism)
Taoism is a Chinese religious and philosophical system. It is derived from the root tao which means "way, route, or principle." Where I live, the word tao means “person.” Anyway, Yin is the equivalent of the female principle in Taoism, while Yang is the masculine principle. Yin is dark, passive, feminine, cold, and negative, while Yang is light, active, male, warm, and positive. Similar to the previous concepts, the idea of harmony and balance are also the basis of Yin and Yang. Also, in Taoism, they have what is called Tao Yin, a series of breathing exercises that cultivates Ch'i or "internal energy," which they generally use for healing and other interesting purposes. By the way, despite the variety of esoteric systems that exist in our world, you will find that it is always the feminine principle that holds many fascinating and mysterious qualities.
Anima and Animus (Jungian Psychology)
The Anima is the female aspect present in the collective unconscious of men, and the Animus is the male aspect present in the collective unconscious of women. Jung theorized that the Anima and Animus primarily reside in the unconscious, but if you fail to recognize or integrate them into your personality, you might end up being controlled by these forces.
For example, a man who refuses to recognize his Anima may end up being anima-driven, and thus may act with the worst aspects of the Anima. Alternately, he may intentionally assert the negative aspects of his masculine self to attempt to control his Anima from emerging. Homophobia would be an example of a man desperate to control aspects of his self that he thinks are feminine. Lesbophobia would be the example for women.
Playboy Playmates and Hugh Hefner
In our society, this is how most people look at gender roles today. Men should be successful and rich. If you make it big time while you are still young, that’s great. If you get too old, it doesn’t really matter as long as you have lots of money, a great reputation, and tons of Viagra pills. Women, on the other hand, are members of society that I greatly respect. It’s just sad to see how some, but not all, give in to guys like Hefner. I think it would be better if more women tried to create their own games. The ship is sinking and the captains of the industries are too “stiff” to admit their faults.
Ok, enough with the unexpected rant. Anyway, these are examples of the symbols used to represent the masculine and the feminine principles that are said to exist in the entire Universe and within all of us. These principles or aspects of ourselves are what we generally use to communicate with the unconscious, and it is important to get in touch with them. We are, as an ancient Greek myth suggests, always looking for our other half (what the gods took away from us) in members of the opposite sex. Some people use this idea to explain why when we fall in love at first sight, then we have found someone that "fills" our masculine or feminine aspect particularly well. Nonetheless, you should look no further because your other half has always been and will always be inside you.
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