We are who we are as men and women because we were created that way as integral parts of the creative process. We are gods and goddesses. Or if you prefer, we are sons of god and daughters of god or the goddess. We are the Twin Heroes of mythology, the first heroes. We create through the power of our hearts and minds, and the gender of our physical bodies.
Women for the most part, naturally express the qualities of the astrological sign Cancer. Cancer is specifically the mother. It rules nurturing and defense. It rules the house and home, community, land and boundaries, food, agriculture and animal domestication as well as domestication in general. Feminine gender roles are a product of these qualities. Estrogen and feminine hormones tend to predispose most women to the expression of these archetypal qualities.
Regardless of the fact that the horoscope charts of women embrace all of the same archetypes and energies as the charts of men, women in all cultures are mostly drawn to be mothers first, to be nurturing, to enjoy the security of the home and prepare food for her family. Her primary job is to have and raise children. She is supposed to be Cancer as her gender role. While there is divine truth in this, the home has also become a prison that needs to be torn down. The Cancer archetype, ruling community, also revels in the interaction of the community, including business and politics, and in doing and accomplishing the same as men.
Men generally express the qualities of the astrological sign Leo. Leo is the king and the warrior. Leo loves the fight, and the glory that comes from war. It rules the ego, spirit, omniscience and omnipotence. It is a fire sign that fuels creativity, the arts, music, and poetry. Leo rules loyalty. Masculine gender roles arise from these qualities at the same time that testosterone and masculine hormones tend to drive us to the expression of these archetypal qualities.
Men in all cultures see themselves as rulers within their culture. While only one man can rule a nation, all men are kings in their own families and homes. They envision themselves as great warriors, macho fighters, at least in their own minds, and they search for glory or ego glorification in their own lives and careers.
Men are the defenders of their realm, and the women that they like to think belong to them. Unfortunately, more often in developing cultures than the West, they set themselves above women because of their ego, and because of their Leo spiritual quality. Traditional solar religions allow men to worship and take part in the life of the spirit, but keep women on the outside of religious practice.
Prior to 2500 BCE, matriarchy, in the sense that women were elevated in social and religious importance over the masculine rather than as rulers, was the predominant social system throughout the world, from at least the Age of Cancer, 8640 to 6480 BCE, to the Age of Taurus, 4320 to 2160 BCE. Religions were lunar, worshipping the Cancer Moon, and the supreme deity, the Cancer Mother Goddess. With the transition into the masculine Age of Aries at 2160 BCE, a masculine patriarchy rose up and overthrew the matriarchy everywhere.
Taurus rules megalithic or monumental building, permanence, rigidity, money and wealth. Aries is a masculine sign that rules independence, overcoming challenges, and war. The Leo warrior with his love of fighting found in Aries war a perfect combination for this expression. Aries independence fought against the monolithic social hierarchy of matriarchal Taurus, masculine against feminine, and they created a new masculine social structure in the process. Leo solar religions replaced Cancer lunar religions everywhere.
As this happened, men redefined gender roles to their advantage. Leo kingship and warrior aggression were defined as dominance over the feminine. Leo spirit was defined as superior to the soul of women, who supposedly had no spirit. The feminine Cancer rulership of community was taken away from women and assigned to men as the place where kingship and masculine creativity could be engaged. Feminine nurturing was defined as weak, and men were given the rights of kingship over women and all expressions of feminine Cancer.
Redefining Gender Roles
Feminine and masculine qualities, and thus gender roles, can be redefined by taking a deeper look at these qualities. In esoteric thought it is the feminine that rules power. Menstrual blood and the ability to give birth were seen as expressions of that power. Power came from the feminine Deep, a place of night time darkness and mystery that was revealed through the soft light of the Moon.
Masculine expressions of power are really expressions of strength. Economic, political, or military power is based in masculine strength, not in creative power.
In the beginning, according to esoteric wisdom, the quiet feminine Mother of everything wished to express and experience her love. She gave birth to the active masculine that existed within her, who then grew up to become her lover, so that the two together could create passion and a universe filled with all manner of love. The feminine relates to the silent foundation of Cancer. The feminine can be seen as what IS, while the masculine is the active half of creation, birthed so that he can act upon the power of the creative potential of the feminine to create something that both the feminine and masculine want to see in manifest form. We can list feminine and masculine in the following manner.
- Feminine Masculine
- Love Lover
- Creation Creator
- Magic Magician
- Music Musician
- Power Strength
- Life Hero
- Soul Spirit
Creation is a relationship between feminine and masculine. This is the creative aspect of relationship as it manifests within us here on earth and within society. There are a few qualities within our defined gender roles and relationships that need to be looked at and redefined.
Power and Strength
The feminine is power, the heart of creation that carries within her the ability to nurture a fetus and bring it into the light of day. The balance to this is strength, a masculine trait. It requires strength to mold power into something. Power is potentially explosive, spreading out uncontrollably in all directions upon release. Power released in this way also dissipates as it spreads. Strength is focus. Strength wraps its arms around power and focuses it in a single direction. In this way power becomes creative. In this way the cosmic relationship between feminine and masculine becomes the vehicle for creation.
Within this creative dichotomy, men and women come together in various ways to accentuate this creative vehicle. Masculine strength has a fear of weakness as somehow not being masculine, while the power of the feminine is stimulated by vulnerability. Feminine vulnerability may be a powerful way to remain open to the creative forces of life to flow through you.
This connects genders, with the masculine need to show warrior courage in the face of fear balancing the feminine approach that presents love as the anecdote to fear.
Dominance, Aggressor and Defender
Leo is the warrior and as such is aggressive with his love of the fight. Cancer rules defense. In a patriarchal worldview, this sets male/female relationships as a natural battlefield. Men assault women, aggression vs. defense, aggressor tearing down defensive boundaries, and gaining control of the castle. This has led to the incorrect assumption of male dominance in creation and to rape as a natural masculine activity.
This is important! Masculine dominance is not a part of the archetypal structure of masculine and feminine. It is a product of the Leo male ego as well as the Leo quality of warrior kingship. In a competitive environment, these qualities can help push a man to achieve and succeed. But dominance should never be seen within the relationship. Relationships mirror the balance and equality of Cancer and Leo as they sit side-by-side at the bottom of the zodiac. While men compete with each other, Leo vs. Leo and the love of the fight, a man and a woman in an archetypal relationship need to approach their interaction as a dance of equal and intimate partners. The relationship is the primary unit for continued creation, and as such there is a necessary equality between archetypal halves, yin and yang, and working together as a team.
This polarity of aggressor and defender, defined as a battle between genders, goes totally against the Leo role as protector balanced with the Cancer role as nurturer. The masculine role is that of protector to the weak and cast-off as well as women. The feminine role of nurturer is to embrace the weak and cast-off as well as men. In this way gender polarity becomes a dance rather than a battle.
Love and Romance
Love is the natural expression of the feminine. A woman loves through the vehicle of Cancer nurturing and family. She is naturally connected to the emotional dimensions, and therefore the nature of Goddess and Goddess energy. Women love rather easily. On the other hand, research indicates that more men than women “fall in love” and they fall in love more readily than women. This is an interesting finding, because we tend to think of women as being more romantic than men. How do we reconcile this? Astrologically, women are more aligned with love and do not need to “fall” in love. Men exist in their minds more than women, and when they end up in love, it is usually a fall from a safe place of rational equilibrium. In support of this, romance is ruled by Leo, not by Cancer.
Leo also romance reveals a startling new understanding of the masculine gender role. Traditionally, a man romances (or bludgeons) a woman until she agrees to marry him. Once married, the romance usually stops. Is that because the warrior has already conquered his woman and no longer sees the need to continue wooing her?
Romance is the essential Leo connection with the archetypal feminine. As such, it is the driving force behind Leo accomplishment. Woman is the embodiment of the deep and dark mystery of the feminine. The light of the fire sign Leo is the primary vehicle for entering into the feminine and shining the light of understanding on various aspects of her eternal mystery. The water nature of Cancer and her still and deep love is heated up by the fire of Leo and masculine romance, creating steamy passion in a relationship. This is the mythic hero’s journey. What this means is that it is the man’s primary job to continue to learn about and passionately enliven the feminine.
A relationship is the play of ongoing creation through the experience and expression of love. A wife is in touch with the mystery of love just by being herself. Her husband is romantically attracted to that mystery, and it is his job, his reason for being in the relationship, to bring her out into the creative state of passion, to fully bring out her love into the family and the manifest world. Her love can bring happiness to the world. He does this by romancing her, enlivening her heart to express as much love as she can in everything that she does. This romance does not end with the wedding, but continues throughout the life of the marriage. It is not only about getting the woman, but about revealing the powerful depth of the feminine and bringing her love to the world at large.
This is the creative crux of the yin yang division between light and dark. On the one hand the light is the solar connection of the Sun, ruler of Leo, and the dark is the lunar connection of the Moon as ruler of Cancer. Beyond that, deeper than that, the light is the passionate fire created by the romance of the engaged man enlivening the dark depths of his woman. He is the hero engaging the mysterious and potentially dangerous journey into the psyche of creation through his woman.
Boundaries vs. Ego
The ego, ruled by Leo, is a huge distraction in relationships. Cancer rules boundaries. In patriarchal thought, Leo aggression takes on the task of breaking down a woman’s boundaries and takes command of her heart, along with the rest of her possessions. The masculine ego elevates this connection by believing that his reputation rides on his domination of a woman, or all women. The ego sees no boundaries to its expression.
Boundaries for a woman are very important, both for her and for the relationship. Her boundaries, held in revised form even after marriage, help her to retain her sense of mystery and attractiveness. Boundaries allow her to take time for herself and to connect with her creative nature. This allows her to maintain her sense of personal femininity. House and home exist within boundaries; the fence surrounding a yard, a city block, a neighborhood, and a community. Personal boundaries allow a woman to enliven community with power and life. She needs her time and her privacy to engage her silence.
In order to honor a woman’s boundaries, the male ego needs to be pulled back when in the relationship. The ego seeks to expand the male gender role, which often seeks domination and uses violence if the man does not know how to approach his partner. The ego likes to see itself as the authority, the king, the great lover and the bad-ass warrior. The ego does not like to be wrong or inferior, especially to a woman, who is perceived to be weak by Leo standards. The ego makes the assumption that the weakness of the feminine is inferior, and that women need to bow down to male superiority. The ego can be a great help defending the marriage and family from outside dangers, but it is a destructive despot when let loose within your relationship.
How do we deal with the ego? We redefine the heroic goal of the warrior thus giving the ego a new direction to follow. First, within the relationship the warrior needs to redefine himself as the lover, a master of love rather than war. This includes mastery of the heart and not just sexual mastery. The warrior is self-disciplined where the street fighter is uncontrolled, violently expressing his ego and anger at will. The lover has to be self-disciplined as well, with his ego applied very softly and lovingly to his partner. Secondly, the relationship has to be seen as the hero’s quest. It is within the relationship that the hero embraces the perceived monsters within the mystery of the feminine and the creative subconscious. It is here that the ego is refined and cleansed of all of its own monsters. The hero masters his relationship, not his partner. The two are very different.
Spirit versus Soul
Leo rules the spirit, a quality of the masculine fire sign that has been used against women, allowing men to dominate women ostensibly for their own good. Early Christian dogma asserted that men have spirit and women do not, thereby supporting masculine superiority within Christianity.
But women do have soul. Soul has come to be seen as interchangeable with spirit, but there are many who see spirit and soul as being different non-physical aspects of the spiritual. Many psychologists see the soul as darker, perhaps associated with the powerful shadow side of psychology. Psychology literally means “study of the soul”. Soul is seen in many religions as a combination of spirit and body, the physical infused with spirit, love and life. In this respect soul can be seen as intimately connected with Cancer family and a sense of Cancer motherhood nurturing the soul of life.
Soul, then, is the dark feminine aspect of the spiritual that connects with the dark mystery of creation in opposition to the lighter fiery half of the spiritual. Dark is not bad. It is just mysterious. When masculine and feminine divided within the megaverse, so too did the spiritual into a masculine expression of spirit and a feminine expression of soul. Perhaps spirit might be connected with the mental dimensions of wisdom and the Universal Mind, while soul connects with Divine Love and the emotional dimensions.
We need to reconnect the feminine with soul in order to elevate her status within relationship, and allow her to spiritually balance Leo spirit from a position of creative power. This soul is the source of, or connection with creative power. In relationship, Leo spirit enlivens Cancer soul in a highly spiritual and evolutionary way that heals both partners. Spirit combined with soul completes the spiritual energies of relationship thus energizing the creative potential for prosperity and happiness for a couple. Masculine spirit needs feminine soul in order to shine.
Using this information as a power tool, we can then begin to create a new relationship between men and women, and we can begin to see women in a new and more beautiful light. This new relationship starts in the home as the hero’s journey, but it also has powerful ramifications for all of society, and even to our planet earth.