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Politics have sunk to a new low with the sophomoric reality show of the current presidential race in America. Trump has been labeled a misogynst/racist, while Hillary is seen as a corrupt establishment politician and war hawk. While both labels hold a degree of truth thus lending to the American tradition of voting for the less of two evils.

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There is something much deeper on display here that very few pundits, experts, or angry voters are talking about. Yes it has to do with gender relationships, but it goes much deeper and healing it is probably central to our survival on the planet. It can’t be conveyed or condensed into a short sound-bite, so take 5 minutes and let yourself consider.

Cultural Shadows

Author and cultural creative, Charles Eisenstein has recently touched on the larger issues currently being played out in his essay the Lid is Off. Describing both Clinton and Trump as avatars of a cultural shadow archetype, he allows us all to look at what is unfolding in a larger historic context regardless of these two individuals or this current election cycle. If politics are any kind of reflection of a culture at large, then we all have good reason to look deeper into this unfolding drama.

“…our current moment of social evolution is calling each of them (Trump, Clinton), in their public roles, to be an avatar of a cultural shadow archetype, presented to us in extreme form so that it cannot be ignored.” -Charles Eisenstein, the Lid is Off

Art by Anneloes Smitsman

Art by Anneloes Smitsman

Misogyny Takes the Spotlight

When Trump made his lewd comments about grabbing women, it caused scorn and outrage across the board. It speaks to the obvious misogyny inherent in patriarchal culture, but beyond that it speaks to a colonial way of life that is built on taking without permission… usually by one who has the power to do so. This non-consensual behavior is reflected in the history of how natives were (and are still being) treated in America, how foreign policy is conducted, how extraction industries operate, how slaves were treated, how minorities are still being treated (economically, and by law enforcement), how the earth is treated, and much more. All of this from a country that prides itself on freedom, democracy, and exceptionalism.

“It is getting harder to keep a secret these days. The collective shadow of our society, once safely relegated to the dark basement of the unmentionable, is now exposed to daylight, forcing us to face our contradictions.” -Charles Eisenstein, the Lid is Off

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With terms like rape culture thrown around so often, it is important to define what is meant by this label and why people want to draw attention to it. Though rape is defined as sexual assault without consent, it is commonly understood that rape can apply to non-sexual exploitation. states, “Rape is forced and unwanted. It’s about power, not sex.”

“So it is that rape culture is allowed to persist. It needs a shadow zone. The locker room conversations that objectify and degrade women and contribute to rape culture need a “locker room” in which to happen, a wall of separation between it and the larger realm of general social acceptability.

This wall of separation is breaking down, thanks in large part to the ubiquity of recording technology and the impossibility of stopping the distribution of the recordings on the Internet. Contradictions, whether personal or social, that could once remain hidden are coming unstoppably to light. It is getting harder to uphold a divided self.” -Charles Eisenstein, the Lid is Off

Where are your walls?

We all have blinders and bias but we can choose to look at them or ignore them. Ignoring them comes at our own peril. Denial is how we create a self divided, honesty about our shadow can bring consciousness and healing to our inherent darkness. Can we see our own self in the reprehensible behavior of others? Can we forgive and have compassion? Absolutely, and this is key to resolving many of the unconscious patterns that threaten to destroy civilization as we know it.

Trumps “locker room talk” is not too different than Hillary’s recently leaked transcripts of Wall Street speeches. Hillary Clinton told top banking executives that she has “both a public and a private position” on Wall Street reform. Many racists also have a public and a private position as well. This dishonesty with one’s self, and with those around us, creates unhealthy and immeasurable suffering in the world. Though we may not be able to change others, we can look at ourselves and become examples through which others may find their way.

Listening to the Feminine

Many spiritual traditions acknowledge that men have a feminine side, and women have a masculine side. If we are divided across genders, we are divided within ourselves. If a man secretly hates women, or vice versa, they are inflicting that hatred upon themselves and also perpetuating a divided world. We live in a culture that exhales physical force without recognizing that there is power in soft, subtle things.

It is fair to say that Mother Nature should be considered an expression of The Sacred Feminine. Power should not be expressed over the weaker and more delicate beauties of this world, it should be used to protect, respect, and honor women, children and nature alike. It gives great hope to see so many diverse expressions of solidarity and resistance to this domination culture from so many distinct people and organizations. As ugly as US politics have become, it is refreshing to see so many people on both sides of the political aisle rejecting outright misogynistic language and behavior.

Listening to Your Enemy

Oppressing others is often a response to having been oppressed ourselves. The pecking-order happens in the macro as well as the micro. The needed change isn’t about good guys or bad guys, it is about compassion, dialogue, and conscious evolution to leave behind elements of our past. We no longer need to be defined or limited by our history.

If you can’t listen to the opinions and feelings of those that you oppose, you are also living in a divided world. Perhaps your resistance to what they have to say is born of your own desire to repress and stay in denial of your own shadow. This is the process of spiritual evolution. Can you hold space for opposing viewpoints? With compassion for one’s self and the other you certainly can. Often those who you disagree with the most are fertile reflections that deserve exploration.

Social media has given us the tools, history has given us the reason, love has given us the passion. In the age of information it is a choice to remain ignorant. We are one people on one planet with many voices and one prayer to make a difference. Please share through Twitter, Facebook and your social networks. Let us find balance in our divided world, this process starts within the individual. It’s time to be the change we want to see, to end the various forms of rape, exploitation, and domination that have harmed our children, communities, and planet. Open to the subtle, wise voice of the feminine, and let your secrets be cleansed by the light of consciousness!

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