Everywhere you turn, you will find self-help books, magazine articles, memes, and blog posts advocating for women to "play the game", "Lean In", "Think like a Man", and more. Everywhere we are told that there is acceptable behavior for women, and if we do NOT fall into line, then we are OUTSIDE of what is acceptable.
Every culture has these stories. Lilith is banished from the Garden of Eden because she will not submit to her husband. Mary remains chaste throughout the life of her son, who is also the son of God- never getting, or taking, any credit for his Divinity. Amazons must be subdued and mythologized so that Athenian women don't presume they can think for themselves. Malala Yousafsi is shot at point blank range in the face for the crime of wanting to be educated.
Everywhere we look, women are pushed to conform to patriarchal ideals of femininity (chaste, submissive, beautiful, & silent) or be excised from communities that are run by patriarchal ideals.
Women live our entire lives in the shadow of being dominated. Whether we are rich or poor, black, white, or brown, whether we "fit" the ideals of our culture- we are constantly internalizing the judgment of society. This has consequences, but it also has a METHOD of production and reproduction.
Women have tried to graft their experience onto masculine or patriarchal archetypal models. Our stories have been subsumed into the same archetypal journey as men. And as a result, our stories, ambitions, goals, and possibilities have been defined either as a heroine's journey (mapping our stories clumsily onto an ill-fitting pattern) or our stories are not told, because they don't fit the "ideal".
When these archetypal stories are left ambiguous, unnamed... we have nothing to compare ourselves to. And when this happens, women think we have failed on an individual level.
The archetypal journey of women has NOT been codified until now. Codifying the archetypal journey women live, giving it shape, and naming the constituent archetypes gives women the power to define our own destinies.
The archetypal journey for women begins with The Divided Woman, and ends with The United Queen. I discovered this by examining history, movies, myths, novels, sacred literature, television, and everything in between.
It is the journey women take from being subjects to sovereigns.
An individual woman traverses an archetypal path that first cleaves her into pieces, and then sets her up to either be a subject in patriarchy, or ostracized- doomed to live at the edges of it. However, the archetypal path also shows us how individual women can overcome the divide. We can achieve the rare jewel of identity, self-sovereignty.
We see it in the descent of Innana facing her sister Erishkigal. It shows up in the Talmudic origin stories of Eve and Lilith. We even see it in contemporary stories on television and in children’s film- from The Handmaid’s Tale to Frozen.
The Path of the Queen illuminates the archetypal journey of women. Along this path, women experience being cleaved into pieces, being hunted, being ostracized, and having the option of settling for a "Happily Ever After" ending. Only once she recognizes her own power- physical, embodied transcendence- can a woman arrive at self-sovereignty, where she truly owns her Self. She becomes a Queen.
All of our lives, women are kept teeter-tottering between ideals of female behavior. Being caught in the middle, struggling to know which way to lean, is the hallmark of the Divide.
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