In the pre-history of our species our survival depended on hunting. The best hunters were emotionless, task-oriented, focused, and factually precise. These are qualities of the brain’s left-hemisphere. As the human brain evolved, the most successful hunters were those whose left-hemisphere qualities were more highly developed. While this was the necessary next stage in our development, it was not the final stage.
One of the most significant outcomes of the left hemisphere’s development was the emergence of the ego from the maternal matrix of primordial unconsciousness. Until the ego showed up we were unaware of ourselves as a separate species. We struggled to survive like every living thing. We acted on our instincts to mate (the instinct for sex) and find food and protect our young (the instinct for nurturance) like all creatures. We knew how to find and build shelters (the instinct for activity) in the same way foxes know how to dig dens and birds know how to build nests.
The birth of the ego marked the birth of human consciousness. The unique combination of the ego and physical developments like thumbs and the ability to walk upright eventually resulted in the strengthening of two additional instincts: the instinct for reflection and the instinct for creativity. Increasingly our specialization in these two set us apart from other animals.
With the passage of time we developed other capabilities that made us even more different. The ego created words, the basic unit of left-brained logos, and later on, alphabets. Meanwhile, we grew less dependent on symbols, the tools of right-hemisphere mythos, until eventually Judaism, Christianity, then Islam forbade people to create life-like images.
Here’s my point. Our ego creates and uses words to try to understand life’s mysteries, while our unconscious Self naturally and spontaneously creates symbols and images that bring us into a meaningful relationship with the mysteries. Both perspectives are necessary to a complete God-image and a balanced life.
But of what use were symbols to early hunters? To those of our ancestors with dominant left-hemisphere orientations, mythos thinking would have seemed like pointless, impractical nonsense. Personal meaning does not result in the kill. Imagining a web of life and being able to see how our prey fits into it does not put food on the table. What makes a hunter successful is knowing where the prey is and what its characteristics are, plus having the focus and discipline to get the job done. Thus do some left-brained dominant people still profoundly distrust mythos, women, and the “feminine” unconscious.
Luckily, humanity is still evolving. Most of us no longer find complete fulfillment in a survival mentality. We bring moral sensibility to the table. We have questions about who we are and why we’re here. We want our lives to have purpose. We are in search of our souls. To find them we’re engaging the faculties of both sides of our brains.
Thus, is the Western world returning to the Divine Feminine. But with one important difference. What we seek now is a deity of fully integrated masculinity and femininity.
I too have suffered from despair since childhood. It began at the age of 11 when my father died. To this day there are many occasions in my daily life when I cannot get excited about something because I know it will not last and my pleasure will not last and I will die and nobody will care and nothing I have done will make any difference, and so what?