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In contemplating The Divine Feminine, I recall that our Elders emphasized how the Spirits are color-blind and gender-neutral. Cedric Red Feather tells us of the Sweatlodge, “In the darkness of the Holy Lodge, we all look the same to the Spirits. It is the heart they see — not the skin color or gender of a person.”

Likewise, we pray to The Great Spirit, because the Creative Intelligence embodies all things. Male and female appear to be distinctions of polarity consciousness that allow us to experience the illusions of separation and reunion.

Gender, to me, exists as an illusion along a continuum. I, therefore, embrace all who identify as heterosexual, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian or transgendered. Is the person a positive, creative force of light on the planet, true to his or her authentic self? It is only the heart that truly matters.

I sense the energy shifting toward what we have generically considered “feminine,” likely because the balance has been tipped toward the so-called “masculine” energy for so many centuries. Growth appears to accelerate when both are embraced and cherished. For example, The Red Feather Man, a male, followed his Guides in bringing back two traditionally female societies: The Goose Society and the White Buffalo Cow Society. These societies had specific duties to perform and were necessary to the fulfillment of the Mandan Okipa. The Mandan Okipa had gone underground for some 120 years to protect it from unwarranted intrusion. In 2011, we performed it at On-a-Slant Village in North Dakota under the direction of Cedric Red Feather, Mandan Turtle Priest, who had the vision. It took over forty men and women to carry out the dream.

The Red Feather Man is a member of the Blackmouth Soldier Society, which is strictly male in composition. Historically, they were the policemen for the tribe, and all were veterans. It is their special duty to make sure order is maintained during ceremonies. The Red Feather Man is neither rigid nor stuck in the past, recognizing that times have changed, that women now serve bravely in the military and that the Mandans have always been an adaptable Nation — he opened the door to women. Our brave, clever and strong niece, Janet Mandan, an Air Force veteran, became the first female Blackmouth Soldier in 2011, initiated by The Red Feather Man under the direction of his Guides.

I lived in Arcata, Calif., in 1994. There was a ’60s style energetic “happening” there. Parades in the street featured drums, tambourines and barefooted women dancing with jingles on their ankles. I was invited to more than one “moon circle.” When I inquired about the nature of these events, the answer usually involved “a beautiful circle of loving women massaging each other’s shoulders in the moonlight” amid drumming. They all spoke of how they just “really needed to be in a woman’s space.”

Somehow, that just did not resonate with me. If I separate myself from men based upon past abuse and trauma, I will continue to label, separate and distort the reality of the “other” who, in reality, is a part of me — and I will stay wounded. Instead, when I pray, I ask for wisdom and knowledge. I ask for balance in mind, body, emotions and spirit. As I move into wholeness, whatever unique ratio of “masculine-ness” or “feminine-ness” seeks expression within me is brought into harmony. That energy infuses my words, my art, my music and my affection. I will then naturally attract into my sphere men and women who are similarly self-knowing and integrated.

As Cedric reminds me, the ancient teaching of Yin and Yang requires a complement of opposing energies. Male and female together create a third thing: either love, or unity. I cannot be in a place of either/or, because then I will risk losing expression of the unique blend of traits that I represent. I have Spirit Helpers who manifest as male and ones who appear as female. I need them at different times for different purposes. I can’t imagine my life without one or the other.

The Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, for me, are equally Sacred and Holy.

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Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., has taught literature and composition for 18 years at the university, state, tribal and community college levels. She is currently a tenured English Faculty member at Normandale Community College. Janet enjoys her role as Ceremonial Singer for Native American ceremonies, singing traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota. She made a career shift into teaching after serving nearly eight years as a defense litigator in California. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. She welcomes correspondence at JanetRedFeather77@gmail.com.

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