Links of the site are right at the bottom of the page)
The 36 pages in this Sacred Feminine & Sacred Masculine
section are below.
The basic idea of this is to discuss
the burdens of gender - those gender preconceptions or cultural
expectations that hold us back (from reaching our full balanced
potential) or that just make us feel burdened. The things we
burden ourselves with.
I'd also ask for everyone to read
Cinn's reply here about Native American burden baskets, since
their concept is far more encompassing than my idea is.
I'd also like to add, since we are
coming up to the new year, that it might be a nice place to
not only talk about burdens with carry (or think we carry),
but a good time to let them go - to start fresh in the new year.
To add some ideas. I've recently
discussed (ad nauseum! LOL) the female burden of having to be
"nice" You may have your own word, but they all boil
down to the same cloying sweet suffocating substance.
Today I'm throwing "being nice"
into the fire for the new year. I will hold onto genderless
empathy and compassion and I will try to keep a nicely balanced
fairness. But nice gets the boot!
I know I have more to add, but I
need to get it out of my head and into words that make sense
first. I know I will be back.
is a great idea Crow...and I'll sit with it, and be back. Munay
I thought of something else - the burden of fertility. A
friend of mine is struggling to fall pregnant. It made me think
about how often the role of female is linked to the role of
mother and how much that hurts women who are either single or
I don't want to downplay the miracle
of woman in creation and procreation, but sometimes it becomes
a burden. It's become a burden for my friend. I hope she finds
her way through that. It's a different journey for every woman
- the choices and the things beyond our power to choose or change.
Then there's the entire burden of being fertile when you don't
want to be. No-one thinks a man is odd if he's not keen on being
a father, but it seems as if many think a woman is odd if she
feels the same way.
I need to honor all of that here,
as well as release some of it.
been sitting with what I feel burdened by, by virtue that I
am female, and have drawn a blank so far...but will sit with
it longer, and allow what I need to see to come up and meet
me. I was struck
by your post on fertility, White Crow. I so get what you wrote,
and yet, it was not a burden for me, so it is like being given
the gift of looking at it through a different lens. Thank you.
burden of smoothing things over, of making sure that "everyone"
is okay with a decision or action - that is a female culture
expectation in the U.S. When a woman doesn't do that, or when
a woman forges on a path as a leader without checking in with
others involved, she is labeled as a b**ch. These too are gender
burdens that I carry and that I want to shed. There is middle
ground. There is a time and place for everything. However, I
am having a hard time striking a balance within me, so that
I can accept all of it, and embrace the wholeness of it regardless
of any gender-based culture expectations.
EagleSinging, I've done
the smoothing over with family - it does your brain in when
there are many different points of view you're trying to work
with. Thank you for reminding me that this is a female burden.
Since I only do it with family I had overlooked it, as personal
family thing rather than something others faced as well.
Can I explode?
People suffers. It sucks.
It is nice to know I can blow.
posting this in both the Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine
threads as I feel what Jamie Sams has to say about the Burden
Basket may be helpful to those of you who are responding. I
hope it gives you food for your thoughts.
In our Native American Tradition, there is little use for the
Burden Basket in these modern times. The Traditional Burden
Basket has been replaced by cardboard boxes stacked in the back
of a reservation pickup truck. In looking at the original usage
for the Burden Basket we must travel to the times when our people
still wandered freely across the Earth Mother without the restriction
the Trail of Tears forced the proud Red Race onto reservations,
wood could be gathered by women for their cooking fires or the
Grandmother Fires used to heat the inside of the lodges. These
heating fires received their name because the wood was small
enough for even a Grandmother to carry and was placed in a Burden
Basket leaving the hands free to gather and carry tubers, chokecherries,
or herbs for cooking.
Grandmother Fire was like a twig fire and burned
hot with very little smoke, which might fill the lodge and eventually
the lungs of the inhabitants. A Grandmother Fire heats a lodge
even in winter and provides the needed warmth and light for
nighttime activities such as the evening meal or beading new
women were never asked to bear a burden heavier than their Burden
Baskets could handle. When the Burden Basket was not in use,
it was hung outside the home for another reason. Native American
etiquette is very different from other cultures and demanded
that custom be honored by all Tribal members.
It is obvious
that the flap of a Tipi, Karnee, or Wigwam cannot be knocked
on like a door. To receive permission to enter the Sacred Space
of any Native American home whether Hogan, Tipi, Longhouse,
Cliff Dwelling, or Earth Hut, it was necessary to scratch lightly
upon the door. Since every dwelling was the Sacred Space of
the family, if there was no answer, entry was not permitted
at that time. The family could be eating a meal, having a Family
Council, or just wanting some privacy. The decision was always
honored. No feelings were hurt because the idea of Sacred Space
was understood. If
permission to enter was granted, the Burden Basket was the reminder
to the guest to leave his or her personal complaints or problems
in the Burden Basket before entering another person's Sacred
Space. The custom was honored, or the visitor was barred from
entering that dwelling ever again.
in relief of a burden was sometimes given in the home of Elders.
This practice was an exception to the rule of leaving all burdens
outside the door. To seek counsel, one would go to the Elder,
relative, or Medicine Person and bring a gift of Tobacco, a
trading blanket, a Buffalo Robe or another appropriate gift
depending upon the magnitude of the favor being requested. The
meeting was not usually held in the presence of others and the
person seeking counsel had to wait three days for the decision.
On the fourth day the answer would be given. During the three-day
waiting period the wise person whose counsel was sought would
smoke the answer or dream the solution. Although these wise
ones were not required to say more than yes or no, they usually
used the opportunity to give a teaching through Storytelling
to the seeker.
Mystery had determined that the seeker's burden was to be carried
further in order for a life-lesson to be learned, this was accepted
gracefully, to allow the lesson to build character. Unlike many
seekers in today's world who seek and then refuse advice, the
instructions of a wise person in Native America were sacred
and holy. In
Tribal Law, the burden of finding answers rested on individuals
and their ability to be connected to the Ancestors and their
Medicine Helpers. If a seeker sought counsel, the wisdom given
was honored to the letter.
Baskets served the People in many ways. As utilitarian carriers
for wood, herbs, tubers, Acorns, rushes and berries, the baskets
assisted the women in keeping the lodge or camp in good order.
As the Guardians of the home, the Burden Baskets were a reminder
to respect the happiness and privacy of each family's Sacred
Space. When the Burden Basket was hung outside of any lodge,
it reminded each visitor of the strength of character needed
to set aside personal problems. To enter another's home with
a black cloud of worry or neediness was considered very poor
manners. To be in the present moment and to be willing to be
a welcome guest requires strength of character. If everyone
considered the Sacred Space of others before speaking or acting,
balance would be easily maintained in all communal living situations.
As a symbol of the internal
strength necessary to keep our own counsel and bear our own
burdens without inflicting them upon others, these Burden Baskets
still teach each of us to trust the value of knowing our own
answers through our connection to Great Mystery and the Medicine
is the keynote in all of the Burden Basket teachings. Physical
strength is best supported by using leverage and the body's
appendages to balance the number of baskets we can carry. To
have compassion for the burdens of others, and yet not take
those burdens on as our won, requires a strong heart. Strength
of character is called for in order to keep from adding to the
problems of others through gossip or complaints. Great sensitivity
is necessary for impeccable timing in knowing when and how to
speak to others. Personal balance brings the self-reliance we
need to be in present time. Inner-strength is created through
trusting our personal knowing and only seeking counsel when
we have exhausted all other paths. When the Children of Earth
learn self-reliance and interdependence, our common Burden Basket
will one day be tossed in the Fire of Creation. The smoke rising
from that Fire will signal the answer to all the prayers of
the Fifth World of Peace.
you are carry8ing a Burden Basket today, this card is telling
you to pull from your inner-strength and become self-reliant.
You can conquer the world when you let go of the burdens by
trusting your ability to find your own answers. Problems cease
being burdens when solutions are found.
Basket also teaches us not to drop our woes at the door of another.
Relying on ourselves and our connection to Great Mystery teaches
us to stretch into our potential. If confusion sets in and counsel
is sought, use the advice. Don't waste the precious time of
others if you do not intend to respect the wisdom offered. Know
also that it's not your job to solve the problems of others.
Don't rob others of their right to self-reliance.
cases, we only carry the burdens we wish to carry. If it makes
us feel good or important to have so much to handle, we might
need to look at our ideas of self-importance. The reminder is
that we are all self-reliant and must use our talents to find
our own solutions. The best answer is one shared equally by
all travelers on The Sacred Path.
was an awesome share Cinnamon, and I'm truly grateful for the
wisdom of the First People's use of the Burden Basket. I'll
be adopting some of that into my own way of living my life.
Interestingly, in my office...the burden basket would hold my
stuff....which I leave outside the sacred space I create for
healing for my clients...and they are free to bring their stuff
in with them, so that it can be all about their journey. Such
a great tradition to become aware of, and how it is already
playing out in my life, without my conscious knowledge that
it even existed. Thank you Munay
a beautiful way of BE-ing, Wyn, and in the office setting I
think you're using it appropriately with respect. Those who
come to you come for that purpose so you'd be acting in the
role of the Elder as Jamie pointed out...those people can take
their burdens to. In that light I think you have perhaps
unconsciously applied these teachings. I'm glad you found it
insightful. I felt it would give people a place to begin their
perusals on the topic.
Thank you Cinn. I love
it all, but this bit struck me today... To have compassion
for the burdens of others, and yet not take those burdens on
as our won, requires a strong heart.
welcome, the indigenous ways are so filled with respect and
that aspect is definitely a powerful lesson too.
Xena just lost top spot in the Warrior Princess listings.
maybe it should be MichelangeloTSU(nami)
back! To whoever wants one. And White Crow....thanks for the
name Sue. I might check it out later it see where it goes.
for such helpful words. Oh, I am so grateful we've met! Blessings
on you and your family and all for a wonder filled and joy filled
season. I am doing much better now thank you. I went to an old
Reiki Master who is just one of a kind and I hadn't seen in
over 5 years. He worked miracles and I'll be okay.........slowly.
Turtle slow at times. Turtledove.
I also found this
quote I'd like to share. It belongs everywhere, but my hands
are too sore to do my typing, if you follow.
'Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson'
fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented,
Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within
It's not just in some of us; it's in Everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
I trust you. With
lovely quote M2 and so true! Happy holidays to you and yours.
really quite excited by the symbolism of what you've shared
Cinnamon. I'm going to be redoing my office set up (to give
me an actual office instead of the supply closet I use now)...and
I was thinking that I'll use some of the baskets (I have), in
several places inside the treatment room, and I may come up
with one for the actual outside, if I can think of a way to
do it, that it won't be vandalized.
The ones inside,
will be a bit like the way I use a labyrinth...
There will be
one for me, in which I actually ceremonially place my own burdens...I
do shed them as I enter through the various portals within the
office set up...which now that I think of it, is a bit like
a labyrinth, but now I'll actually have a sacred space in which
to leave them. There will be one for my clients to shed what
they do not want to bring with them into the treatment room...
And there will
be one in the office that will have no bottom, and will connect
directly with the Mother. In that one, they can shed anything
that they wish to leave behind and let the Mother mulch. On
the way out, they will be able to pick up anything they left
outside the treatment room, and are happy to carry with them,
just not into their massage. To many clients, it will just look
like I've decided to decorate with baskets, but a good % of
my clients do do energy work consciously while they are with
me...so they will know how to use the baskets. It will also
give me a place to put the stones I have that clients can take
to use for their own healing. This is just getting better and
Thank you Crow,
for starting the thread.
Thank you Cinnamon
for sharing Jamie's thoughts on this NA tradition. I have her
stuff and never read any of that (that I remember, anyway).
White Crow, Back
to your intent for the particular Gender Based Burden Bundle...I'm
guessing this is more like what I would blow into a stick, and
then set to flame in a sacred fire...something I wish to shed...something
I perceive is holding me back. I've been sitting with that,
and find that my words get in my way, as there are few aspect
of who I am that I would shed. (as an example, in another thread
or two " manipulation" came up, and while there is
a negative connotation to the word, it like all skills or traits
has its place and its uses. ... so I'd be loath to give away
any parts of who I am, ...
However, I'd like
to let go of the way that I sometimes process things... So,
I discovered in our recent journey, that a trait or activity
doesn't bother me so much as it exists, but I get my feathers
ruffled, when the person I am perceiving to have it, is unexpected.
So I was thinking I wanted to let go of Expectation... BUT,
I don't want to let go of Expectation, entirely, because like
everything else, it has its gifts... However, I think...and
I may have to give this more thought...that I'd like to let
go of my attachment to the expectation's manner of manifestation.
Or maybe the easier way to put that is I'd like to let go of
my disappointment or my emotional reaction when my expectations
aren't met. No, even that isn't right, because an uncomfortable
reaction is often my impetus to make corrections... Well, clearly
I still need to sit with this...and I'd be happy for any thoughts
on how it is I want to word this, so that I can hold the intent
clearly. It is funny, it just came to me, that if I don't word
this with clarity, I could easily "bite off my nose to
spite my face". Ask to release some part of the whole of
me, that in fact, has given me great gifts, that I just haven't
sitting with this. Munay
welcome, Wyn, and I like the idea of using the baskets for you
clients like that. Do think of re-reading/reading her work,
I'm adding the burden of
fertility - of being seen first as a the gender of procreation
and then as a human being. Of being judged by the decisions
to have or not have children. And the personal burden of not
being able to have children. Of "failing" and not
being allowed to talk about it. Of family who surround you in
their own children and think it'll somehow fill the hole...
it cannot. Of those who don't want to hear you speak of loss.
And in general, as another female friend said... of having unspoken
dreams for the child that never was that you cannot share with
are those expectations yours or do they belong to others to
carry? (I know you've struggled with not being able to have
a child and it's been so difficult for you but that's your personal
path, not theirs so I'm putting that portion aside for a moment
here.) Sometimes culture and society see the fertility of a
woman as predominant and other societies and cultures don't
so it seems to me that's expectation that is external to us
but put upon us to shoulder as 'their burden' and our share
of it. I don't like that and I don't adhere to it.
comes to child-loss on a personal level I can relate, I've been
there too. And there comes
a time where we either find another way to have a child, be
that through insemination, adoption, small relatives (like your
family surrounding you with their offspring) or a career path
around children in some fashion (teaching, nursing, counseling
etc.)...perhaps others simply choose to walk on accepting they
were not meant to bear them or nurture them. The loss of a child
effects each woman differently and the emotions involved vary
widely. Some are devastated and others move on seemingly easily
but that's where I see the relationship to your expected fertility
burden come into play. I don't see it on a personal level as
expectation, I do see it as a choice as to how we respond or
work through our emotional levels with the loss factors.
child I lost was the hardest, the 7 that followed successively
made it easier until I got to the point where I said to myself
"either it stays or goes" and I had seen it as Spirit's
will by that point. At first I blamed myself and there was a
lot of guilt to work through, I was young at the time, early
20's, and it was over a period of 5 years I had 8 *failed* pregnancies.
The last one nearly claiming my life as I had carried it after
it aborted for another 5 months without knowing that until I
began to hemorrhage in the checkout line at the grocery store.
Emergency room next stop. They wanted to do a radical hysterectomy
on me but I was 25 years old and refused. I was sent home and
pregnant again in about 30 days. By the time River came along
I was at a point where if the pregnancy was to hold through
the first trimester 'then' I'd go to a doctor as all others
had ended by that point. I was in my 5th month before I saw
a doctor, he was shocked I'd waited so long (an osteopath) until
I shared my story. He put me on prenatal vitamins right away,
checked me regularly from that point on, and she was born healthy
never knows for certain the course things will take. Obviously
failing wasn't what I saw happening, acts of God were happening
IMHO, and I kept trying. There's 6 years between my two girls,
and a lot of self-examination that took place in that time,
a state of balance came about when I chose to accept the nature
of things, to continue to try, and success was there. That's
not always the outcome for a given woman, but if it's meant
to be then it will be, and if it's not then we do have the option
of others pseudo choices. That doesn't make a woman any less
a woman in my eyes. Some of the most loving and nurturing women
I've known in my life were fantastic role models to follow and
they were barren of their own children. So childless or not,
the nurturing love and it's capacity to expand beyond the intimate
relationships of family does exist. Women are women across the
board IMHO and it's a matter of choice as you say, as to how
they'll cope and handle that fertility. Is it a burden? I believe
it is if we choose to allow it to be, but I don't believe it
has to be.
Crow, are those expectations
yours or do they belong to others to carry?
I hadn't thought about it. The three
friends I'm dealing with on the topic (so to speak, they each
have their own unique story) have confided their angers and
sorrows to me. It has come all within an 8 month period, so
you could say that the topic has been coming at me from all
sides lately. I suppose I sympathize with each of them more
than empathize. All three stories are very different.
I apologize if by amalgamating four
stories into one I can across as misleading in what I was saying.
There are personal complications to two stories I can't really
go into on a public forum.
I don't see myself as failing. I'm
just being whacked by a lot of grief at the moment, which took
me by surprise. I was fine at the time. So much so that the
doctor was impressed (they made me do these quiz things to check
for depression for about six months after the miscarriage),
but the last year there have been outside complication that
have opened a door I didn't know was there. I'm only now feeling
the grief two years later. And yes, it feels like a burden.
I don't like grief. I'm tired of feeling it. I want it gone.
I've lost my patience with it.
isn't it your choice to let the grief go once and for all? Let
it wash away and the understanding, the compassion for self
and others replace it? That understanding, in whatever form
it takes for you, becomes wisdom and strength, and that becomes
conviction as the path ahead is walked. Clarity allows choice,
but sometimes we get so into the heart of things with others
we do shoulder their burdens, or into the heart of our own issues
making them burdens. IMHO the best way to balance that out is
to step back far enough to see there's more to life for us if
we just get a little distance from those issues, enough to bring
the clarity into perspective for us so we can make our choices....be
they walking with someone to continue to support them through
their burdens or to walk on. Something for you to chew on. (((Heart)))
Thanks Cinn. (((Heart)))
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