Above and Beyond
Once upon a time, goddesses were important. By the time our stories began with ‘Once upon a time’, goddesses had become unimportant. Womankind kinda got hidden from view as man played God, and systematically worked at guiding our mindsets into an oppositional arrangement:
Science over art
Fact over fantasy
Thinking over feeling
Reason over intuition
Light over dark …
These are all offshoots of the primary configuration:
And today, man is mostly still on top.
A lot has changed, but you can’t scrub out an ideology that’s been around for eons, and assumes so many clever disguises.
Even so, when all is said and done, it’s just a man-made social construct. The goddesses may have been overshadowed by this erection, and they might have disappeared from our modern narratives, but girls, take note and take heart: They did not disappear from our psyches; there’s still meat on their primitive bones; they are no shrinking violets!
Man Never Came Before Woman in Mythical Reality
A case in point in the ancient stories is Gaia, the sublime, wide-bosomed earth mother who got it on with Uranus, the sky god. These two produced some very ugly children. Horrid. The Hecatoncheires were fifty-headed, one hundred-handed giants, and the Cyclops were shifty one-eyed monsters with crappy social manners. Still, Gaia loved all her children dearly. Uranus, on the other hand, was ashamed of them. (Really? Like having ‘Uranus’ for a name was something to be proud of?) He was so embarrassed by their looks, he hid them away—the first lot in the depths of earth; the second lot even deeper, in Hell. And he rejoiced in this; had a ball!
Not for long, though …
Sore and Raw
The Mother of All was good and mad. She hatched a plan to avenge her man. Gaia convinced one of her sons, Cronus (only one head, two hands, two eyes—still bloody ugly), to castrate his father. She even made the iron sickle Cronus used to carry out the deed.
Extremes in behaviour, granted, but ancient myths are jam-packed with extremes of everything. They’re our raw, uncut stories representing the roots of the many themes of the human condition (Love, Death, War, Misogyny etc). Just look at myths if you want to understand the deepest patterns of your psyche and what drives you. The characters personify and bring to life all the aspects of it. And in each story, we can pinpoint many archetypes of character. Amongst the possible archetypes in this myth:
- The man with no balls
- The woman who has a man by the balls
- The ball-breaker
- The woman with balls
All, metaphoric in a civilised society. Skip 1, 2, 3. Go to 4.
It takes balls for a woman to forge a path for herself in a society built on patriarchal lines. Gaia had them (not just her husband’s). The primeval mama obviously wasn’t just a fluffy maternal sort. She was an awesome combination of nurturer and fierce protector who didn’t suffer fools or subjugation. And she could teach us a thing or two about (self-)acceptance. She loved all her children equally—‘children’ symbolising all the (often underdeveloped) facets of our innermost nature: the divine and human; the male and female; the good, bad and downright ugly. Complementary, not oppositional.
With that sense of Gaia-empowerment, when you see yourself as a woman with balls—a woman of substance—there’s no need to vie for the upper hand.