Sacred Feminine &
Sacred Masculine

Page 5

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Feminine Gender Burden Basket
By WhiteCrow

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.

This 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 barren.

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.

I've 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. Munay

The 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.
Love, Cathy

I'm 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.

Burden Basket: Self-reliance
The Teaching:
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 of fences.

Before 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. A 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 moccasins.

Native 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.

Assistance 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.

If Great 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.

Burden 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 Helpers.

Self-reliance 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.

The Application:]If 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.

The Burden 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.

In all 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.

That 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

It is 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.”

You're 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)

*HUG* right back! To whoever wants one. And White Crow....thanks for the name Sue. I might check it out later it see where it goes.

Thanks (((Cinnamon))) 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'

"Our deepest 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, fabulous?
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 us.
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 liberates others."


I trust you. With Love, Cathy

A lovely quote M2 and so true! Happy holidays to you and yours.

I'm 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 better.

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). Munay

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 yet appreciated.

Okay...back to sitting with this. Munay

You're welcome, Wyn, and I like the idea of using the baskets for you clients like that. Do think of re-reading/reading her work, it’s awesome.

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 anyone... ever.


Crow, 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.

Where 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.

The first 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 and happy.

One just 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.

Then 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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