Can you explain the difference between the masculine and the feminine heroic?
The masculine side of our nature strives to build, conquer and achieve success in the outer physical world. No one begins writing a new script, for example, and exclaims, “I hope this is going to be average, hopefully, even mediocre.” Even if we don’t all get there, we tend to aim our life toward the possibility of reaching great heights of worldly achievement – to be all we can be; to aim at the stars. This is an essential part of our existence. It is how we’ve built civilizations, conquered the elements and achieved great feats in engineering and medicine. It’s what makes our world tangible and allows us to assert our identity and individuality.
However, we humans are more than makers, we also have an inner life that responds to our outer world trials. This is the feminine side of our nature. While the masculine is out experiencing life, it is the feminine part of us that copes with all of our emotions and feelings. She is the keeper of our hurt, pain, regret, loneliness and sorrow; the guardian of our inner life, the source from which new life is made.
For writers, understanding the principles of both the masculine and feminine are essential. Male or female, we are all called to strive, to face daunting challenges and move with strength and purpose to claim our place in the world. But the feminine heroic is there to give us the courage, to embrace the feelings that are neglected along the way and to process them in a way that makes meaning of our existence.
How does the feminine heroic help us write better stories?
Today’s popular narrative often reduces the human drama to a one-dimensional, hyper-masculine ideal in which good conquers evil, right vanquishes wrong. Such stories not only divide us from each other, but from ourselves because they only tell half the truth.
The feminine realm is where transformation takes place. She holds us through the dark night of the soul, through the sacrifice, death and rebirth process that is our most difficult life work, where we embody our truest heroism.
So, our work with the feminine heroic is not aimed only at women or at making super Zena warrior characters, it’s about making both male and female characters more whole and re-weaving the tattered threads of the masculine and feminine heroic, thus helping to restore the transformative value of narrative.