A few days ago, I came home from a woman's festival celebrating the Goddess at the Where Womyn Gather retreat in Pennsylvania. These precious four days were spent healing wounds, laughing, crying and being present with our authentic selves. By honoring the divine feminine we became spiritually rejuvenated, reconnected with the patterns of nature and better able to trust in our inherent power.
Several times over the long weekend, I talked with women who, while relishing their time in a safe, all-girl environment, felt that the men in their lives could benefit from this type of experience. As we women learn to embrace our power to lead, create a better world and manifest change, the men in our lives are also an integral part of this equation. Fathers, brothers, lovers, husbands and sons; these men are with us on our journeys yet often don't have the opportunity, emotional freedom or interest to allow themselves the benefit of being informed by a spirituality that practices a balance between the feminine and masculine divine.
There are however some men whose lives have been transformed by the divine feminine. Tim Ward, in his book Savage Breast: One Man's Search for the Goddess, wrote:
Through encountering the goddess, and facing my own darkest fears of the feminine, I finally found my own center as a man.
A year ago, I photographed my mother for my book, Goddess on Earth. She chose to embody Meng Po, the Chinese goddess of forgetfulness, a state close to my mother's own. It was clear that although this was to be a portrait of my mother, my father belonged in the image too. Since their early twenties, he has been her beloved life companion. Now however, while she battles dementia, he is also her caretaker, helping and hoping to keep her teathered to an everyday reality. During this painful time, he is in the midst of a transformation through neccessity, cultivating the nuturing Goddess within.
Feminists like to say "the personal is political", thus men who permit themselves to explore the divine feminine will also find themselves helping to restore mankind's disconnect from Mother Earth. The Oxford scholar and author Andrew Harvey wrote in his book The Return of the Mother:
Unless we awaken to the mystery of the sacred feminine, of the feminine as sacred, and allow it to glow into, irradiate, illumine, and penetrate every area of our activity ... we will die out and take nature, or a large part of it, with us.
Goddess on Earth was created to be a visual symphony of the wisdom, courage and personal strength of the female spirit as seen through the lens of my camera, and while there aren't many men in Goddess on Earth there are an important few. In our contemporary, violent world of environmental disasters and human rights violations, shouldn't there be more opportunities for men to cultivate, honor and embrace the divine feminine? When the men in our lives discover the vitality and significance of the Goddess, all of us will have gained so much.
Goddess on Earth, Portraits of the Divine Feminine can be purchased here.
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