Founded in the Fierce Feminine
My name is Akhalita and I speak from a life deeply immersed in nature with my husband, where we live off grid in the remote rainforest of Northern NSW. Here we practice living deeply in tune with the rhythms and cycles of the earth and have students stay with us who come to cultivate consciousness through deepening their connection with spiritual practices in the natural world.
A pivotal point on my path began many moons ago in my early twenties with the story of Bluebeard (or perhaps you know this story as Fitcher’s Bird?). For up until that point I was unconscious of the patriarchy: a fish swimming in her goldfish bowl, oblivious to the medium she was immersed in. That day, as I pulled up in the driveway pondering an aspect of that story, the door of my mind was suddenly flung wide open and I found myself in a moment of deep insight. Suddenly it was crystal clear how deeply I, and the overculture at large, were all fish swimming in those murky waters, beholden to the external authority we didn’t even know existed.
Like a keisaku delivered by the Great Mother, one realisation that immediately struck me was that the hierarchical structure of the martial art that I had been teaching for some years. The founder of Aikido was a deeply spiritual man and he understood the dance of union between Izanami and Izanagi: God and Goddess; that both masculine and feminine energies are to be respected equally for their differences in the creative act of this art. Yet this was not how it played out in practice in the patriarchal culture of Japan: especially after his death. As the founder is reputed to have said in his last years, ‘It saddens me that when I look back no one is following me’.
So I began to bring what I was learning in women’s circles into the dojo and things began to change. It was subtle at first but then my classes started trending towards greater numbers of women, and finally I allowed myself to ask the cardinal question: What would Aikido look like if it had of been born to a matriarchy? I knew this was not the endpoint I wished to reach but I felt that until I knew the answer to that question, I would not find the dance between Izanami and Izanagi. For many moons I journeyed with my exploration, knowing that the deep honouring of both the feminine and masculine sides of our natures needed to be fully restored in order that we would be able to return to life-sustaining ways with the Earth and all her inhabitants once again. I came to understand that the bones of balance that I envisaged involved awakening the Shakti, the ‘bright, burning, vital power of the archetypal feminine: a power that is at once erotic, inexhaustible, captivating, sensual, terrifying and annihilating—the divine female in action.’
So now, many years on from that initial question and a deepening of what a matriarchal approach would bring, I believe an answer has found me. The story begins with women remembering the dance between the masculine and feminine within, and speaks specifically to fierceness as an inherent means to cut through and return to the compost, all that remains of the patriarchy.