Although we tend to assume that men have most of the power in government, business, and even interpersonal relationships, in his last workshop Samuel made the comment that in fact they are to a certain extent disempowered. We used that remark as a starting point to explore the workings of masculine and feminine energy.

It is important to point out that we are not talking here about simple masculine/feminine energy, as in outward-active/inward-creative. That view, which we have talked about over the years, is the broad one, and what I am about to say is a refinement of it. I don’t want anybody just passing this by, thinking, Oh, this is just the usual masculine/feminine energy talk here. It’s more than that.

The second thing that needs to be understood is that this information tends to apply to one of two categories: mass consciousness as a whole or the individuals with whom I work (who, hopefully, are not functioning in the same way as mass consciousness, even though they are functioning within it).

This, then, is an understanding of the effect of masculine and feminine energies in two “worlds,” specifically in the world of mass consciousness and the world of the individual.

The next thing that is important to realize is that I’m talking about a physical-level use of energy, as opposed to a spiritual one. A person’s energy is both masculine and feminine; the gender—the physical expression—can also be masculine or feminine. To mass consciousness, masculine means gender; to spiritual consciousness it means energy. Those two show up together for empowerment. When a male body and masculine energy are combined, that has a stronger effect than a male body with feminine energy, which often creates confusion.

But this planet has both feminine energy and a feminine body. The dirt, the air, the plants, the animals—it’s all a feminine construct. If the planet has a gender, it’s a girl (in contrast to a masculine planet, which would have no life on it, for example the moon, although it is thought of as feminine because the spiritual energy of it is a reflected light source). Feminine energy in a feminine body on a feminine planet is even more empowered.

This society looks like a patriarchal society, where men are in power, and remember that in any pack, any hierarchical situation—be it among dogs, be it in the office, be it any community of individuals—the leader must always defend its position from those who want to move up. The natural state of the human condition is to evolve, to move forward, to change. So, therefore, the natural condition in a society in which there is a lot of upward movement is that those in second place will try to dislodge those in first place. This is what has led to the machinations that created the patriarchal society.

But in the middle of this patriarchal power, what do you have going on right now? An intense women’s movement aimed at putting those who have been knocked off the shelf back on it. Again, it’s that play of power on the physical level. Although the ultimate energy empowerment is female body/feminine energy on the planet’s female body with feminine energy, right now male-masculine has taken over. In society, you’re going to see that competition over and over, because even though it’s easier in a sense for the feminine to prevail on a feminine planet, the male is still a force to be dealt with.

But while masculine understands power as outward—over—feminine energy can be fully empowered in a “secondary” position, which allows masculine energy to think that it’s on top. When this society recognizes that both expressions are empowered, just different, there will be balance that has not been seen to date. Unfortunately, as long as success equals money and power equals rule, that’s going to be hard to come by.

Disempowerment of masculine energy will happen in this society as long as feminine energy is raising the masculine energy, because it is asking the masculine energy to behave under the construct of the feminine energy. Quick example: Typically in this society, women raise the children. Fathers are, to put it kindly, somewhat absent. The natural expression of masculine energy is outward and in the world; with feminine it is inward. Therefore, the mother cuddles the boy child, teaches it inner communication and functioning and love, and the boy child is sort of confused, because that’s not how it naturally tends to express its energy. It wants to be out there, in the world—forgive me, I speak in very broad terms—defending the pack, being seen, being known.

Mother keeps saying, “No, no, no, no. Come back here under this wing. Let me nurture you, protect you, make you strong on the inside.” The male child rebels, doing what is most natural for it, but coming to believe that its natural impulses are wrong. It must therefore prove itself, prove that what it is is right.

And that’s what masculine energy does. It is constantly defending its territory, and in its move into patriarchal dominance, its methods are the very methods that a dog protects its pack with: It defends, it is territorial, it is aggressive, it is willing to injure a pack member to move ahead. That’s called good business, isn’t it?

But a feminine energy has a very hard time functioning that way. So, if the masculine is successful in defending its position, that means the feminine approach must be wrong. In order for the feminine to excel on the same terms, it must behave as the masculine. But if the feminine behaves as the masculine, it is disempowered. If it behaves as the feminine, everybody is functioning as they function best, everybody is empowered, and everybody wins. But since that’s not how it works, it must be a fight for dominance.

Mass consciousness might conclude, logically, that it would be ideal for a family to have both parents present and raising the children so that the male children can get masculine energy and the female children get the feminine energy. Actually, the ideal situation would be for every individual to recognize both their masculine and their feminine sides and be able to put out what is needed at the moment for whom they are dealing with at that moment.

How would men and women express the male and female aspects of themselves in the ideal partnership, and how can we work toward that kind of partnership now?

Primitive man went out of the cave and hunted meat and the woman kept the fires going and told him he was good for doing what he did. All of a sudden you are in a society that does not have that same family foundation. It’s not a foundation based on security issues any more: Where am I going to live?—the security of space; what am I going to eat?—the security of the physical form. It has changed. For one thing, when you go out of the cave to get meat now, you’re not likely to bring home enough to feed the family. The needs are different, the economy is different. You probably need your mate to go out and get meat, too, and the meat that is available might not require the skills you developed. You might be doing some form of work that you see no tangible results from, that causes you, in a masculine sense, to feel frustrated.

On the other hand, feminine energy, which works from the heart rather than the head, that wants to understand what’s inside and nurture and create that, might find itself building a road.

These misalignments result in a sense of loss that can only be filled by something out there; and that creates a society of people who are constantly searching, who are forming relationships with others in order to fill up that need that’s not being met.

What’s needed instead is an acceptance—and here is where the retraining comes in—an acceptance of different versions of power. Until talking it out is as acceptable as stomping it out, talking it out is going to seem the weaker thing to do, and, male or female, you’re not going to acknowledge those areas of “weakness,” as the world would call it. By acknowledging the weaker aspect of yourself, you might give it power, and this world does not want that. In fact, by acknowledging these aspects of yourself, you’re really gaining power, but it’s inside instead of out there.

So what is needed? A revolution in what is considered right. It takes individuals figuring out what it is they’re protecting. Indeed, you’re always protecting what you think isn’t strong in yourself, which is likely to be either the masculine or the feminine, whichever is the least developed within you.

When you can stop protecting that soft secret self as a man and learn to express it, as many of the men’s groups are working to do, and learn to acknowledge and appreciate it as a part of the whole, you have suddenly empowered your full self.

If a woman can learn to appreciate the function of working from within and not need to yell louder to be heard—or, conversely, can learn to accept that “this makes me angry and it’s all right to be angry, to have outward emotional responses,” and by accepting and acknowledging become able to control them—then again it becomes a work of power.

But it’s only going to happen when you are safe enough, not needing to defend your position. Is that an unrealistic goal? No. That is something that in every moment, by observing yourself, you can accomplish. It will happen on a mass scale slowly, but if there are individuals out there who are doing it more quickly, one by one by one, then the masses will find it non-threatening and acceptable, and will then accept it more quickly themselves.

The men’s movement has done a lot over the past few years to focus on some of these issues of disempowerment. Are there important issues they are failing to deal with?

I’m going to answer that by using the illustration of the women’s movement. The women’s movement was the result of a lot of voices saying, “We’re not going to take this anymore. There are more of us than there are of you, and together we can make a difference.” It doesn’t sound so bad, does it? But it was based upon a massive movement motivated by anger. The automatic response to anger in every human being is one of two things. The first response I’m going to have to your anger is an absolute need to defend myself as right, which simply digs me farther into my position. The second one is to dismiss you as wrong and crazy.

It depends on whom you speak with, but I find it absolutely to pattern. Many individuals, men and women both, are so threatened that they cannot see that this can be right and that can be right, that coexistence works.

The attitude that says “If that’s right, then that means I’m wrong, and I’m not wrong” creates a need for a victim and a winner. The women’s movement is based on a desire to make the women the winner, and so the men become the victim. And one of the greatest difficulties I see within the men’s movement right now is just like in the women’s. The motivating factor is “we are victims and it makes us angry, so we will do something about it.”

This is a really unusual statement for me to make, but I like the Christian men’s movement a whole lot because it is based on a commitment to feminine values but in a masculine fashion, putting them forth into the world.

But everything is way out of balance until it finds its way back. At first you hear, “I have a need to talk about just how awful it’s been. Let me learn to express my fears. Let me learn to express my anger,” which probably is a good thing, until you have a whole group of individuals doing that. Then it becomes “Let’s support one another’s anger because it’s the only thing that makes us move,” and I find that very unhealthy. It’s nice to know you’re not alone, but if the only thing that’s bringing you together is the illusion of empowerment that comes from a group, there’s danger there. There’s really danger there.

There are segments of the men’s movement that I find empowering, and that’s what I like to see—men’s empowerment, women’s empowerment. But I find that the focus must be personal empowerment with honesty, with grace, with help, with mentoring. And that’s what I don’t see.

And when you don’t have a mentor, someone who can say, “You’re really being nuts here,” or, “Yes, that’s really good. Let’s work that through,” or, “I fell flat on my face ten times before I could accomplish this. Maybe I can help you with what I know”—somebody literally to parent you as an adult—then the only thing you can do is let the child express your grief, your frustration, your difficulty.