The Mandorla

Represents reconciliation, transformation,and incarnation.

It’s funny how when you are searching for answers, the universe has a way of putting it in your path.  I recently wrote a post about diversity, particularly about what it would feel like to be neither masculine nor feminine.  Then up pops this article about the mandorla.  In The Book of SHE, Sara Avant Stover describes the mandorla as two circles that overlap.  The place where they overlap, shaped like an almond, is the place where masculine and feminine come together. She goes on to talk about how men and women each carry aspects of the other within them.  Women who are out in the work force may feel like they have to deny their feminine side in order to be successful.  Men who chose to be the main home care provider for their children are all of a sudden faced with their feminine side.  What Stover suggests is that we each need to accept this other part of ourselves.


When I first read the words, masculine compassion I thought, “This sounds like an oxymoron.”  Being masculine is a man’s domain, and being compassionate is a woman’s.  Yet when you consider that Stover says that masculine compassion is the part of us that speaks the hard truths about life, and comes from a desire for the other person’s success, it takes on a whole new meaning.  Sometimes it is necessary to look at the hard truths of life in order to be able to move forward:  An unhappy marriage, a drinking problem, a job that no longer excites.  Before we can grow toward a new direction, it is necessary to take a closer look what no longer works in order to see it more clearly.  Then we have to decide how to proceed, even if it means we must begin again.

I find this idea of connecting with the masculine fascinating.  As a newly realized feminist, I have come to believe that the masculine, or patriarch in our society, has prevented women from realizing their full potential.  In other words, this patriarchal thinking is what’s wrong with the world and it is up to me to do all I can to promote the strength that comes from feminine vulnerability.  While I still think that vulnerability is a strength, one that needs to be nurtured in men and women, I never considered that our full potential could only be realized if we allowed this masculine aspect of our nature to come forth.  I’ve always thought of the masculine as controlling and critical, but according to Stover, the masculine can protect the areas in our lives where we’re afraid to speak up for fear of causing conflict.

Mandorla: When two mighty forces become one, there is harmony.

When I first reflected on the people in the world who have no gender, I thought how difficult that must be. I thought that gender defines our place in the world.  But that genderless space where masculine and feminine overlap in the mandorla, is actually the best part of each of us. This seems like such a radical idea. The question is, how do we introduce positive masculine traits into our life?

  • Father Love: develops inspiration toward improvement; aligning with evolution; and knows there is room for change.
  • Mother Love: accepts; is connected to beingness, and values the self and others.

What I see here is, the masculine is about the external, and the feminine is about internal work.  Yet we do need both.  We all have both.  But most of us seem to lean more heavily toward one or the other.  Yet, as you can see, the elements of the masculine: improving the self, changing what doesn’t work, and personal growth, are attributes that women also strive for.  The feminine qualities of acceptance, beingness, and valuing each other can also be found in the male of the species.  We just need to realize and accept this idea and move toward integrating each more fully into our lives.

Women who utilize their masculine energy in the workplace, can still savour their inner feminine whenever they choose to.  Men who have a fully developed feminine side, should not be judged.  It is the way they are a man.

I keep hearing that the world is going through great changes today, not just outwardly, but internally as well.  The internal revolution challenges our thinking about what it means to be a human, despite nationality, race, gender, or sexual orientation.  We cannot go backwards to the way things were, we can only go forward into the future.  It’s up to us whether we fight this natural evolution or go with grace.  Either way, we will end up in the same place.

Categories: Women's Lives

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