F – Feminine Mysteries and Fertility Worship (PBP Week 11)

photo: wikimedia commons

[Warning:  this post may be a little TMI for some people.  I’ve been trying to be a bit more open about all aspects of my life on this blog, and it occurs to me that this might come as a shock to some…]

I’ve never felt really connected to the feminine mysteries.

Intellectually, I object to people being categorized by their biology when it is only one aspect of our selves. Mainly though, I just never got what was so great about the things we were supposed to be celebrating. OK, yeah, the ability to bring forth life is a Big Deal.  Obviously.  And I’m sure many women find deep meaning in connecting to the cycles of the moon and the fertility of the earth.

It’s all in those pesky details.

Menstruation for me, at least after the first time which was very much a rite of passage, was usually a painful and often disgusting experience.  The fertility is symbolized was completely unwanted. I don’t do well with children.  I am, I think, a great aunt when the kids are tiny, and then again about the time they reach their teen years, but I’ve always known I am not mommy material.

In my mid-twenties I was diagnosed with large uterine cysts,  and I opted for a partial hysterectomy instead of the more dangerous, fertility preserving, cyst removal.  After that, I had the hormones, but no blood.  (And no cramps.  And no regular migraines.)  I completely lost track of my cycle.

So when I recently found myself lying in bed night after night feeling like I was still living in Phoenix and the air conditioning was on the fritz, it took me awhile to figure out that this is most likely due to night sweats and/or hot flashes.

Fertility, or lack there of, had suddenly imposed itself on my life again.

When I was working on my Dedicant Program for ADF, I had to write an essay on Fertility, one of their nine virtues.

I came to the conclusion at the time that, with over 7 billion people on the planet, the idea of literal human fertility as some kind of moral virtue is ridiculous.  In times and cultures where a large family meant survival it was a different story.  Today, in the West, the virtue lies in controlling one’s fertility – not in having a large family, but in nurturing the family that one has.  This can be expanded to taking care of the world around us.  Nurturing each other and the planet.

Of course, there is also creative fertility – a fertile imagination and the hands willing and capable to see those ideas through to fruition.  Even here, it is not simply the birth of ideas, but the willingness to see them to fruition that is a worthy thing.

In my mind it is this aspect of nurturing, of seeing things through rather than simply propagating, that makes any form of fertility a virtue, rather than mere biological fact or imagination run wild.

Nature and/or fertility based paths that focus in this direction tend to be much more inclusive.  Those that are purely biologically based tend to alienate a large number of people who, like myself, just don’t fit into their simple binary categories.  The union of opposites is a beautiful idea, but in practice it always seems to be imposing a black and white framework on  a grey – no, technicolor – world.

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