Sunday, 6 July 2008


The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: “It's a girl”.

Says Shirley Chisholm, and I agree with her. With the label comes the expectations, with the expectations comes the enforced limitations, the glass ceiling, the mapped out future, the expected behaviour, and people will interact according to those labels eventually, in time, the woman will respond to those labels according to type, reinforcing and confirming the stereotype. It’s not just true for women; it’s true for all groups who are pigeon-holed, stereotyped and labelled. In fact, it’s true for all of us. No matter who we are, we have lived in this world for some time and during that time so much will have been placed upon us in psychological terms as well as in emotional, sexual, social and spiritual terms. Those expectations, those imperatives have always been there and they are so hard to escape. They cause us to adapt, to respond accordingly, and as such the process of losing connection with who we really are has its beginning with our physical birth.

I don’t know if this ramble has it’s roots in Paganism or not and as such it’s something that once upon a time I would not have made public for fear of recrimination, but right now I simply don’t care! This has been a week of powerful revelation for me, and this ramble is key to all that I feel has been made clear. Well, it’s clear to me at least!

A phrase that I have used many times since first hearing it is a call to return to “who we were, before name and form.” It struck me the first time I heard it and it’s remained with me ever since. This week it seems to have come home to me in a powerfully clear way. For me, to be who I am before name and form links and overlaps with ‘know thyself.’ This is another phrase that is oft repeated, but what does it actually mean? Is this is call to psychological self awareness? A kind of self actualisation or individuation, or is it something far deeper and more profound than that? I am convinced, after my experiences of this week, that is something far deeper.

I’ve discovered that to be who I was, before name and form, is to journey back and to embrace the true Me, my True Self, and my True Self is free from labels, free from purpose, free from expectation, free from responses, free from inter and intra-actions, free from all those things that cause me to be who I think I should be because others, because situations, because circumstances, tell me that is who I am.

I’ve seen that it’s not about what I do, it’s not about my responses, my needs, my goals, my aspirations, my concerns, my worries, it’s about ME. Anything that is a response is not me, not the true me, it’s a reaction or an intra-action, these things do not define me because the things that cause those said responses often originate from a person with an agenda, or they come from a situation that has the result of placing expectation and duty upon me. The most altruistic of people will have an agenda, and they also have an opinion or an expectation of me – and this triggers a response according to type and when I respond in this way I am not responding from who I really am, I am responding from who I think they think I am. A game springs into motion that has the result of further alienating me from me.

This week I have journeyed back, or within, and have begun to see those labels, those attributes that are not of me, but are born of the expectations and demands of others, or of systems, such as the world of work, or education, all those things that work to breed conformity and control and compliance. Those things that lock one into the mundane and have the effect of sealing off the True Self. All of this keys in with so much that has been happening for me in recent weeks, and all that has been reflected here in my blog. This is a continuation of a process, a process of discovery of Self in Spirit and of coming of spiritual age.

Looking out from the Tor this morning I saw a field of sheep. The sheep thought that they were free, and in a way they were. They had each other, they had food, they had all they needed – but they were contained and constrained. They were fenced in and they were under control. Soon, these beautiful, sentient beings will be slaughtered and served up as Lamb Shank at the bidding of some human being. The freedom that the sheep think they have is an illusion.

True freedom comes from breaking out of the illusion, out of the control of others and from a real embracing of our True Selves – our spiritual Self. It’s about the embracing of our Birthright, our true connection to Nature, our true connection of the Celestial, it’s from seeing ourselves free from purpose, free from any sense of external or internalised control and from seeing the truth of who we really are – Children of the One Divine Life and true Divine Magickal Beings.

At the centre is me and at the centre is you because we are of Spirit. The rest is illusion, the rest are simply hooks that cause us to respond, when the key is to be. This is all part of the continual process of initiation, that continual walk of the labyrinth, moving in and out in continual motion.

From that place of being, anything is possible. As for me, I know that I am at the starting blocks, I’m no expert at all, but I know that this is a new beginning and it’s exciting.


Anonymous said...

Andy, I see what you're saying about repressive stereotyping, but the post-feminist atmosphere in Western society at large makes this generation and those up and coming the first who can effectively negate this sort of pressure.

We don't need to have kids, we don't need to have more than one child if we don't need to, we can choose to live alone or in partnership not marriage; we have our own cash and our own tastes.

With this new atmosphere comes a new culture of personal responsibility; we can choose to be better people or at least different to the perceived norm!

Anonymous said...

andy, i am glad for you. you are standing at the edge of a new world.the journey is going to blow your mind.

Andy said...

Thanks for your comment, GW, I hear what you're saying and wholeheartedly agree that recent legislation makes it possible for people who experience discrimination and oppression to redress the balance, however, the pressure, as you acknowledge, still exists. For example, the issue of equal pay for equal work still remains, with women earning far less than men who perform similar jobs. I was told only the other day that as a gay man life must be much easier for me today. Such comments ignore the very real issues of prejudice and discrimination that exist and trivialise the very real impact such experiences have upon individuals. Yes, I may have better opportunities to seek recourse, but I shouldn't have to resort to that in the first place. Prejudice still exists, and whilst some people may have greater choices and freedom to exercise that choice, this is not the case for everyone. Racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, disability discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief are all alive, and, very unfortunately, doing well within the UK and abroad. A lot of my professional life is spent teaching on equality and diversity, as well as investigating and dealing with such incidences.

However, this was not the main thrust of my post! I was simply trying to provide a parallel for my experiences of the week, the main emphasis I was trying to make was my spiritual journey as I've had quite an exciting week in this respect.

Thanks for your encouraging comment, Anon! I hope I get to know who you are one day!

Anonymous said...

Gay man's life easier today? I imagine that from a certain perspective, that might be true! However, I can see that it's not. I'm sure that's a very frustrating thing to have to hear as a gay man. You are right - this prejudice still exists.