A Healthy Balance with our Feminine and Masculine
Creating a nurturing structure in family and community
“Anything not defined, scientifically proven, and sanctified within the masculine structure and patriarchy is perceived and judged as bad…We can liken this to the Bible’s old testament, the Garden of Eden, and Adam’s crossing of the threshold: The snake of infinite knowledge and intuition tempts Eve with the apple, who in turn pleads with Adam to leave his ignorant state by biting and tasting the apple himself. As Adam searches for and aligns with the feminine and knowledge bearer, he expands his horizons. This action was not indeed an exit from the magical Garden of Eden, but a foray into the world of choices; a horizon of choosing your own garden to live in, and not living in the one designed by someone else.”Chapter 6, Crossing the Threshold – Redefining the Masculine
Last month we discussed the immature masculine archetype and its focus on destruction. The mature, sacred masculine is about sacrificing and freeing ourselves from those boundaries of our youth in order to embrace the feminine.
I am part of a generation that felt entitled to visit Europe. It was a rite of passage in my young adult life, and many accomplished this task by studying abroad. While attending university, I was a member of the crowd that spent a term attending school in London, England.
Part of the curriculum was to embrace the history of the new country and I took a course on the History of London. The way to study the history of a city was to contrast it against another, so I was privileged to learn about the history of Paris as well. The class covered art, architecture, the royal families, famines, disasters, and best of all for me, city design.
London and Paris both have two millennia of history to discover. There are archaeological digs in both cities dating back to before Christ (BC). And, as I say digs, the modern cities we know today did not start taking form until the 13th century, so there are quite a few stories to excavate.
The class I took spent time studying the material indoors, and then took field trips outdoors to the locations we studied. There were trips to the Roman Walls, the Tower Bridge, and the earliest parts of London. We were then encouraged to venture to Paris and compare and contrast, and as a very privileged individual, I (we) did.
The main difference between the two cities is structure and design. Paris was designed by a master planner. The plan was detailed out in concentric circles around the 14th century and took 500 years before the city was full. London, at the start, was a chaotic mess. There are streets in London designed around large piles of garbage left there for decades that people just refused to move. The streets of Paris are straight, wide, and lined with trees. At its core, London streets are tiny, crooked, and darkened due to the height of the buildings blocking sunlight. As a young traveler, I felt safe and free to roam through Paris; I could see all around me and there was constantly music echoing and bouncing off the buildings in the streets. In London, even to this day, I feel the need to hide my wallet and constantly check over my shoulder and see if I am being followed.
There is a definitive argument to be made around Paris having healthy masculine features where safety becomes the obvious feature. London can be argued as more of feminine features where nurturing was the priority; the piles of garbage were actually ruins from fires that the populace felt the need to keep lit as a form of remembrance of the people they lost in the disaster.
I am only currently aware of two cities in the United States that were designed in the details like Paris. Washington D.C. is an epitaph to the French Free Masons who initially designed Paris. The other I have only recently come across, and that is Mill Valley, California.
Michael O’Shaughnessy was the San Francisco City Chief Engineer at the turn of the 20th Century. He was responsible for San Francisco’s water system, the Hetch-Hetchy water system, and Golden Gate Park. He also was a resident of Mill Valley.
In the 1890’s he and fellow residents designed a community that was based in conservation and preservation; he and his compatriots designed a system of pathways, walkways, staircases, and rail cars that kept his commute to downtown San Francisco to less than 45 minutes (he took the ferry from Sausalito). 45 minutes from Mill Valley to downtown SF is just about impossible today.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy may have found the sacred part of the masculine. There are over 300 staircases highlighting the structure of the town. The trails wind and loop all throughout the hills linking every home, and leading back to the downtown center. Cars were not even accessible in town until the 1940s, and there are residents still here today that remember when the redwood trees at the center of town were planted in 1956. The trees were planted at the center of the roundabout recently built in the town center. They were planted to maintain the vision from 60 years earlier of safely balancing the structure to protect and nurture life: The sacred masculine ready to balance with the sacred feminine.