The Toxic Feminine
The Toxic Feminine
I am moved to write about the toxic feminine, because I have had several experiences with this energy throughout my life. Many people speak about the toxic masculine; we also need to address the toxic feminine energy which is used to hurt other women, if we are going to truly rise as the Divine feminine.
The energy of which I speak is not the dark feminine; the dark feminine encompasses a vast range of energies stemming from the void, the sacred womb of the Goddess. So dark in this sense is not bad, as it encompasses all that is hidden, unborn, unmanifest; the shadow and also huge amounts of light, love and wisdom.
The toxic feminine stems from wounded consciousness, our scars, our pain, our trauma. If we look inside our hearts, we are probably guilty of expressing this energy at some time in our lives. It includes victim consciousness, and as women we have almost certainly been victims of the masculine energy and the patriarchy at significant points in our lives. However, this does not always come from men. We can be wounded by women, as women have been divided and set up to compete with one another. We have been judged on our looks, youthfulness and beauty. We have been judged on our ability to be masculine and competitive in the work place. We have been judged on our ability to juggle home and career, or be a stay-at-home mum, or not to have children at all. When women view other women as competition, not as sisters, this is where it all goes wrong.
My early experience of the toxic feminine happened when I turned thirteen. It was the time of my menarche, and ideally I should have been welcomed into young womanhood in the arms of my sisters, in a sacred ceremonial Red Tent. Of course, there was no red tent at that time. What I received instead was a gang of girls following me home, verbally abusing me and physically attacking me. The reason? I was an A student in the top set. I had a friendship with a friend of the ringleader, and she was jealous. Jealous that her friend was friends with an A student. Suddenly, I became a threat. I will never forget the day when I was walking through the school grounds with my friend. We saw this girl through a window, and her face lit up when she saw my friend. Then her gaze turned to me, and her face dropped into a look of pure hatred. It burned into my soul.
I remember the feeling of receiving hatred without knowing why. Without any reason. I just wanted to go about my life, and maintain my friendship. Instead, I kept being told, so-and-so wants to beat you up. The concept was alien to me. I would walk through the school grounds, and she and her cronies would call me a slut and a bitch, and pull my hair so hard it came out. They would kick my shins with their pointed toes, and scratch my skin with their jagged nails. Finally one day they followed me home, and dropped a book bag on my head from behind. Then they began attacking me in the street, while my so-called “friend” looked on without saying a word.
How to describe the scars of that experience. I cannot. It ended that day, as they got in big trouble with the head and I am sure it made a blot on their academic careers. But the damage was already done. It damaged my confidence, my trust, my ability to make friends. It damaged my ability to be successful and shine. It took me years and years to heal those wounds. I retreated into intense relationships with my man as my best friend and lover. I didn’t really have good friendships with women for many years. After a long journey of healing, I became a woman who creates circles for other women. I created a Red Tent, I put my heart and soul into it and women loved it. I created healing retreats, and a workshop for healing the divine feminine. I sat in circle with the sisters I never had. I developed my gifts and shared them, and encouraged others to do the same.
When I think about those girls now, I am sure they had experienced some form of bullying, violence or abuse in their lives. It never occurred to me at the time, because I couldn’t see past their hatred. They allowed themselves to act on the feeling of jealousy, and behave like wildcats. So they were simply passing on violence and aggression, spewing it out, and damaging others in the process. This is unconscious behaviour. There is also an idea which is not peculiar to women, that when someone shines bright you have to tear them down. If the schooling system were different, everyone’s gifts would be celebrated. If people were taught to manage their emotions and take responsibility for them, maybe they wouldn’t act in such an unconscious way.
The “toxic” emotions are also known as the poisons. Toxic is an unconscious buzzword currently; it is interesting to unpack it and understand where it comes from. Of course, there is the Christian concept of the seven deadly sins. There is a much older teaching that comes from Tibet, of the five original poisons. As human beings, our true nature is said to be like the sun shining in a clear blue sky. Clouds obscure the light, and appear to be more powerful and dense than the sun. The poisons are what we have to master in our own mind and emotional makeup. The root poison is ignorance, from which all other poisons come. It means, to ignore the light of your true nature. Then comes pride, jealousy, attachment and hatred. Pride refers to false pride, arrogance, ego, and superiority. Jealousy stems from feeling less than, not good enough, insecure, and inferior. Attachment refers to harmful desires, addictions, and attachment to distractions that stop you from realising your light. Hatred is related to anger, revenge and also the victim complex. The five poisons are said to be running through us at any one time, it is up to us whether we choose to attach ourselves to them. When you have perfected your nature, they no longer control you.
Jealousy and hatred are extremely damaging emotions when acted upon. Even jealous thoughts can send bad energy to the person concerned, and, if they don’t have a strong energy field it can hurt them and make them sick. If children were taught to celebrate all of their gifts, and honour and value each other, maybe there would be less cause for jealousy. However, the whole system needs to change, because even when children are praised and celebrated, they can still pick up the idea that they need to compete in the world to succeed. Many parents are terribly competitive and they instil these values into their children. It is time for new values, and a new society of mutual support and cooperation.
At various times in my adult life, I experienced female bosses and leaders who were aggressive, manipulative and toxic in the way they wielded their power. Some of them actually claimed to be working for the divine feminine, or for the ascension! I have realised that they were expressing a twisted masculine energy that was harsh and vindictive. I have heard many women complain about this, and some of them have lost faith in ‘womankind’ altogether, although I never did. I do not believe that women need to act this way to be successful and achieve things. They are certainly not expressing an empowered feminine energy. An empowered female leader is strong but also nurturing and caring. Like a mother, they will care for everyone in their arena, trying to help each one while seeing their faults, without bearing grudges or being vengeful. Of course, it is a spiritual practice to be able to live this way, as it takes great patience, compassion and forgiveness.
I perceive the toxic feminine energy as expressing itself either through a twisted masculine energy that is harsh and aggressive; or traits that are considered to be more ‘feminine’ as they are underhand and covert. The overtly aggressive behaviours stem from competing with men, and trying to be an “Alpha woman” by being more of a man than the men. This is very damaging to other women, and does not create positive role models for success. This is the classic “bitch” archetype that views other women as a threat. The more traditional negative feminine traits stem from the control of the patriarchy. When women were confined to their homes as wives and mothers, with no real power in the world and no choices available to them, they had to resort to underhand methods of covert manipulation. This is why poison was seen as a “woman’s weapon”. All of these behaviours and traits are perverted.
It is time for the true template of woman to emerge. It is time for us to stop gossiping, bitching and backstabbing. It is time to stop harbouring jealousy towards our sisters. It is time for us to stop competing and tearing each other down. It is time to stop feeling like we are not enough: not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not young enough, not wise enough, not powerful enough. It is time. It is enough.
All women are our sisters. Maybe you have sisters, maybe you don’t. Maybe you had a good relationship with your sisters; maybe there was jealousy, bullying and control. Maybe you believe that other women are more attractive than you, thinner than you, more voluptuous than you. Maybe you believe that other women are more intelligent and successful, more educated, more charismatic. Maybe you have been wounded by the toxic feminine. Well the wound is in all of us. As we heal ourselves we heal each other. As we forgive ourselves we forgive each other. It is time to rise up and embrace each other and sit in circles. It is time to celebrate each other’s strengths and nurture each other’s weaknesses. It is time to be mother and daughter and sister once again. It is time to honour the grandmothers.
The toxic feminine is a festering wound. As women, we carry collective wounding in the throat chakra, where our voices have been supressed. We carry collective wounding in the sacral, where we have been controlled. Each of us has individual wounding from this lifetime, from our ancestors, and from our past lives. The poison must be purged and released. It is no good being able to speak with confidence, if your voice is not connected to your heart. It is no good being sexually free, if you have no idea of the sacredness of your body temple and how you may be defiling the Goddess. The chakras must all be connected, and the energy body reclaimed, in order to fully embody the healed and whole divine feminine.
Here’s to you my sisters, may we lift each other up and embrace each other in our healing journeys. Together we rise.