Masculine & Feminine
by Adam Gainsburg
In the Soulsign work, there is pictured an intersection of two axial lines to represent the two fundamental conflicts within all humanity: that between the masculine (yang) and feminine (yin), and between Self-Essence and Self-Identity. Where the masculine-feminine domain creates the possibility for all life, all consciousness and all form implicitly and explicitly within all of creation, the Essence-Identity domain creates the basic mechanism for human consciousness to evolve.
Figure 1 – The relationship between the Primal Pair and the Essence-Identity axies. This is but one way to conceptualize their relationship. This version tends to favor an astrological orientation, while others would reposition the four to correlate instead to other frameworks.
Self-Essence & Self-Identity
Soulsign’s strong focus on the Soul-level of being comes from the idea that one’s own source should be one’s compass in life, and knowing that source should be one’s work in life. Soulsign terms this source ‘Self-Essence,’ or the deepest layer of one’s individual nature which does not source from one’s humanity but rather is the source of it. Self-Essence is the essential level of our being animating and guiding all other levels. It is the origin of your identifiable uniqueness, your natural intelligence. It has memory. It can learn.
But it’s housed in a cloak. This cloak, or wrapping, or vehicle, Soulsign terms Self-Identity.
Your Identity is the accumulation of every mechanism you have to know yourself. This provides our understanding of humanity’s vertical conflict: that between Self-Essence and Self-Identity (Figure 1). If we examine this, we find the Soul’s urge – its desire for greater realization of its nature – leads the Identity into the unknown while the Identity’s needs of safety and familiarity strive to keep it in the known.
Masculinity and Femininity
There is a second conflict or energetic argument within not only us but all of life as well. It is the constant encounter between the masculine and feminine urge within all consciousness. The masculine and feminine natures are inextricable from one another.
Together they are called the Primal Pair. All individual manifestation – subtle or gross – is the result of one aspect of their unending ‘Conversation’ striving for new resolution. The Pair’s Dialogue, known as the Primal Dance of Union is an endlessly morphing, ecstatic, intensely creative, uber-archetypal engine which produces the necessary raw energy and directional intent for specific components of consciousness to be made known and ‘resolved’ in creation (personally and collectively). This type of ‘resolution’ is not concerned with producing an ‘answer’ to a ‘question’ or resolving a conflict per se. Rather, their Dialogue seeks stability, a consistency of realization within all expressive forms within the topic of their Dialogue.
When applied to the level of Soul, the conspicuous aspects of the Conversation striving for and working towards greater coherence is termed the Soul’s Desire. You are built to experience the dual nature of yourself (Identity) in order to alchemically produce the realization of yourself as Soul. We might say a tree needs to root as deeply downward as will support its growth upwards, while also requiring the ability to interact with its environment in a balance of give and take. This reflects the model suggested in Figure 1.
Without doubt, humanity has been entrusted with much the same dual task.
Without the masculine, there is no activating principle to ignite life to begin. When we lose touch with our masculine, we lose our Desire; we forget what Desire is.
Without the feminine, there is no creation to be ignited and no form to manifest. When we lose touch with the feminine, we lose our Source; we forget where we come from.
The natural conflict between the Masculine and Feminine impulses reveals itself in the human psyche at the level of our Self-Essence or Soul. Here, we simultaneously desire to move away from our innerness to experience ourselves through outerness (or otherness while also desiring to return to our deep innerness to re-source ourselves. What’s a Soul to do?
A resolution does exist in each and every member of the human species. You are an unprecedented, evolutionary, and coherent being whose existence reflects the Primal Pair’s Desire to experience and thus resolve a unique expression of consciousness. If we return to the image of a tree once more, we can see the harmony of the masculine and feminine urges beautifully. The tree requires its inner conflict to grow: it needs both its deepening roots and its expanding trunk, branch and leaf structure. Only through the action of both does the tree prosper. The same applies to you. You require and are in fact wired to be an expression of countering forces to evolve. Such is the context of this reality known as Earth-living.
Applied to astrological practice, these notions give space for the necessity of duality within and without all things. Duality – and ego – become something not to be avoided or disdained, but to be deeply examined. The more that duality – ego, fear, and habitual patterns as well as heart, intelligence, and freedom – can be explored, the less duality is assumed to be the only reality. Likewise, the more the Soulsign practitioner authentically honors the necessity of the dualistic paradigm, the more s/he is able to guide others in transcending it for themselves. The practitioner becomes an initiator for the client’s Soul-level of being. After all, the Soul only knows itself as this oneness.
The following descriptions do not try to define the masculine and feminine, but to trigger your inner experience of their qualities. The terms ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ themselves do not refer to patriarchy and matriarchy, male and female, or men and women. They instead point to the two underlying principles within all creation. Masculinity and femininity fundamentally exist beyond our ability to conceive of them.
The Masculine principle is the urge to move away from one’s own source, to penetrate into indefinable spaces, and forever seek. It is chaotic in its absence of pattern. It will disrupt and shatter structure, organization and stagnancy. Through the human, the Masculine evolves out of an additive, subjective consciousness into an increasingly reductive, objective consciousness. Masculinity houses the archetype of the individuation impulse, the urge to develop a singular, defining identity in order to reach a state of pure experience of What Is. Its experience exists within a context of singularness, and has a natural antipathy toward being consumed, overwhelmed, or homogenized. It is the Masculine that seeds creation to occur through its instigating, fertilizing, dynamic nature. The Masculine aspect of humanity can be individualistic, inconsistent, eruptive, violent, solipsistic, competitive, hierarchical, and alienating, but also progressively idealistic, non-violent, entrepreneurial, visionary, emotionally powerful, detached, and deeply committed through a service-oriented vision.
The Feminine principle is the source of the impulse to retract, to return, and to move inward; to dissolve uniqueness into a totality of sameness; to draw all with which it is in relationship into itself. Femininity is the origin of the cyclic nature of physical existence; as such it seeks unending involvement with all myriad form. The Feminine part of things is also so ubiquitous as to be both invisible and unknowable. It is both the source of and the final resting place for the essential vitality of creation. Feminine qualities arise from its archetypal predisposition to relate, to contain and to live and die. Feminine humanity can express as jealous, rageful, intensely myopic, parasitic, and both threatenable and fiercely protective. Human Femininity can also give rise to the qualities and archetypes of conceding, harmonizing, accommodating, stabilizing, compassion, receptivity, inclusiveness producing depth insight, essential and unending nurturance, dark balance, and nondifferentiation.