Hillary Clinton and the Feminine Archetype: Part I


unknown-2unknown-3“The last fifty years of the twentieth century have witnessed the activation of the feminine archetype . . . Like the magma of the earth’s molten core, the feminine principle has been pushing up from below the level of our conscious lives until at last it is emerging into our awareness, manifesting itself as a call for radical change in our values and our beliefs by inviting us to reconnect with nature, soul and cosmos. As a result, our values and our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with the planet and the cosmos are changing.”~  Anne Baring, “Woman as Custodian of Life”

As an American woman who grew up in the ’50s, I’ve witnessed and experienced enormous benefits from the activation of the feminine archetype. This is why the upcoming election feels so important to me. I hear that many younger women who weren’t around in those early days consider Hillary Clinton to be just another ‘good old boy’ in a woman’s body, but I disagree. I know what she’s been through. Despite her acceptance in the ‘good old boy’ political system she’s managed to develop her feminine side to an unusual degree, and with help from Jungian Analyst, Anne Baring, I hope to convince you of this.

“In its deepest sense, what does the word ‘Feminine’ mean? As I am defining it in my book, “The Dream of the Cosmos,” it does not refer to the female sexual attractiveness that is so promoted in today’s world, nor to the qualities of caring and gentleness usually, though not exclusively identified with women, nor to the feminist agenda of the empowerment of women in a man’s world . . . . Awakening to the Feminine means becoming protective of the whole of creation; dying to all the divisive ways of looking at life and each other; being born into an utterly different vision of reality.” 

“The influence of the feminine principle is responsible for our growing concern for the integrity of the life systems of the planet and the attraction to the mythic, the spiritual, the visionary, the non-rational – all of which nourish the heart and the imagination, inviting new perspectives on life, new ways of living in relationship to body, soul and spirit, generating a new understanding of the psyche. The flood of books now being written by men and women responding to the prompting of their intuition and their feelings would have been inconceivable fifty years ago.” ~Baring, “Awakening to the Feminine.” 

For about 5,000 years, the vision of reality held by most of the world has been one of dominance and control.

“As this process has accelerated, nations have come to be viewed as markets to be exploited for financial gain and, if necessary, brought to their knees by financial traders, without a thought for the millions of helpless people whose livelihoods and lives may be destroyed. Politicians debate the radical cuts in expenditure needed to reduce the towering amounts of national debt, incurred through years of injudicious borrowing and promises made to the electorate in order to ensure their re-election. Decades pass as men argue the pros and cons of climate change and only a small proportion of the funds promised by governments to help protect the rain forests of the world reaches their destination. An Earth Charter, which offers an agenda for a different relationship with the planet exists, but governments and powerful corporations pay little heed to it. All this might be described as a desecration of the Anima-Mundi or Soul of the World. ~Baring, “Awakening to the Feminine.”

Baring describes a feminine vision of reality:

“A response to the Feminine asks that war and the creation of weapons of destruction are relinquished just as racism and conquests in the name of God or any other ideology need to be relinquished. If we can abandon our addiction to weapons and war, directing the trillions saved on feeding, educating and caring for the children of the world, the result will be an infinitely better world and the possibility of our own survival as a species. We need to  challenge the arcane warrior ethos of governments which demands continual preparation for war, selling arms for profit and bringing devastating new weapons into being.”  Baring, “Awakening to the Feminine.”

Those of us who were alive in the ’50s and ’60s—including Hillary Clinton—experienced the chaotic beginnings of this new vision. America struggled with Civil Rights demonstrations, protests against the Viet Nam War, and, with the introduction of the birth control pill, an unprecedented emancipation of women. Initially shocking to many of us, this latter development inspired a new phase of the feminist movement that resulted in greater equality for American women than ever before.

Another benefit of this new vision was improvement in the physical and educational needs of children. In the summer of 1965 I taught in the first Head Start Program in rural northwest Florida. My pre-schoolers came from impoverished families who earned a living selling their catches from the nearby lake. In some families, the older kids took turns staying home from school to take care of the youngest while their parents were fishing. A few kids came to school unwashed, with no breakfast in their bellies, wearing the urine-stained clothes they’d slept in. The Head Start program gave those and future children educational advantages they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

A final example concerns the future of our planet.

“Woman’s age-old instinct to nurture life and man’s instinct to protect and defend it, are being extended to embrace and serve the life of Earth. A planet which has taken over three and a half billion years to evolve an organ of consciousness through which the cosmos can come to know itself on this planet may be under threat; our own survival is uncertain . . . Yet, in response to the extreme peril of this situation we are beginning to recover the lost sense of relationship with a sacred earth and a sacred cosmos. We are drawing together in closer relationship with each other, working towards the goal of rescuing this planet and the lives of future generations from our unconscious and predatory habits of behavior.” ~Baring, “Woman as Custodian of Life”

These and other manifestations of the new vision accompanying the activation of the feminine archetype have been so beneficial to women of my generation that many of us are compelled to pay it forward. Next time I’ll address how Hillary has done that.

Image Credits:  Google Images.

Jean’s newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are also at Amazon as well as KoboBarnes And Noble, and Smashwords.


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34 Responses

  1. Great theory. The issue is the person executing it. Is she the example of the female you want leading this cause? The Republican Party does not have a theory , and maybe not even a cause , therefor Trump fits in…

    1. Thanks, George. I believe she is, and hope to prove it in next week’s post. I can’t think of anyone better qualified to do it! I appreciate this response from you. 🙂

  2. Thank you, thank you …. From a traveller at Lochboisdale, South Uist, Outer Hebrides, resting from being blown about by an Atlantic ‘breeze’. ?

  3. One final note: I read that Trump believes climate change is a farce. Whether he does or not, I don’t know. Perhaps his “gut” tells him that!! I’ve never been as fearful during a national election as I am now. I don’t recall ever being fearful at all. The danger now is so clear and present, and I’m very disappointed to find that so many Americans are Rush-esque. Trish Harris Communications & PR E-mail: TrishHarris15@gmail.com Cell: 407-748-5070 NC Tel: 828-835-3073 Recs: http://www.linkedin.com/in/trishharriscommunications WRITING ~ EDITING ~ MARKETING & PR STRATEGY

    1. Hi Trish, I’m disappointed too. But not completely surprised at the level of discontent and anger being expressed by so any citizens. We have some serious problems and it’s going to take a major shift, not just in the system but in our thinking, to make the necessary changes. I’d far rather see a shift to a more nurturing attitude backed up by a very high level of experience than to one of even more ego, aggression and divisiveness. For me, this is a psychological no-brainer! Pun intended. 🙂

  4. Glad you are continuing the conversation . . . I love Anne Barings work. Her “Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image” (with Jules Cashford) was a real eye-opener for me and a reminder of how little I know of the divine feminine.

    1. I was very tempted to change the subject but my anima and animus wouldn’t let me! 🙂 While each has different reasons, they’re both of the same mind on this one. You’re the second person to mention Myth of the Goddess. Can’t believe I haven’t read it, but it must be excellent. The Dream of the Cosmos blew me away.

  5. I agree with your conversation. Should Trump be elected, he will throw us back into an antiquated male universe… that we are just beginning to break free from. Life has improved for women, provided Trump is not elected.

    1. I wish the younger women of today, especially working women, could spend a day in their mothers’ shoes in pre-sixties America. I think they’d be shocked and indignant at the very least. My generation has been very fortunate to experience the before and after of feminine repression. Of course we know it’s not over yet. Today’s world contains some brutal realities, but now we realize that they can also be changed if women will come together and make their voices heard.

  6. Hi Jean, I too, grew up and came of age in the ’50s and am extraordinarily grateful for the progress of feminine influences as well as the advancement of women in our culture over the last half century. However, I think it is important not to equate Jungian terminology of masculine and feminine with sexual physiology. Both males and females have the potential for honoring their feminine principles. In watching Hillary’s political career over many years, I respectively disagree that because she is female, she embodies the feminine. I agree with you that it is time for our country to have a woman president, but in viewing Hillary’s record and character, if she embodies the famine, I fear she is primarily guided by its shadow side.

    1. Sally, I must respectfully ask you to re-read this and my last post. I do not equate the feminine archetype with physiology and have never said or implied that just because Hillary is female she embodies it. To the contrary. I’ve said repeatedly that males and females are both furnished with the feminine and masculine archetypes and that each can be activated in both genders. What I’m arguing is that the facts show that despite some common misperceptions, her record shows that her feminine archetype is very highly activated. In this post I’ve explained what an activation of the feminine principle looks like; in the next I will show why her record proves this assertion.

  7. This piece gave me a strong sense of pride in my own efforts, as an activist, during the sixties. Those were the people I associated with. We were feminists, both male and female, working for women’s rights. Our work was done through labor unions. Our groups were comprised of socially and politically concerned individuals. I see this as evolution of the androgynous, spiritual soul.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you for writing Marsha. And thank you for your work on behalf of women. I’m proud of your efforts too, and wish I’d been an activist during the sixties. As it was, I was going to college, getting married, and teaching school to support us as my husband worked for his doctorate. I didn’t start to wake up to what was going on until about 1970, but by then I was having children and had little time to get involved. Perhaps I’m unconsciously trying to make up for my slow start by blooming now. 🙂 I also see the integration and equalization of men’s and women’s rights as the evolution of the androgynous, spiritual soul. Well said.

    1. Yes. Thank you for this observation, Fran. It’s the only way this country will be revitalized. Females and males need to form reciprocal creative partnerships every bit as much as do anima and animus. As without, so within.

  8. Hi Jean,
    How about a little levity to lend a break to this heavy political discussion? (These are the times I miss George Carlin and his sage political comments)
    The masculine archetype channeled thru the feminine persona:
    I just met our new neighbors, a gracious couple, he a CPA and her a Teacher. Very nice home and very friendly people. So, I thought I would take a peek at Facebook to learn a little more about them. He has no FB page. But, she sure does. In her profile picture she is posed in front of the American flag holding a semi-automatic pistol! Surely a joke, I thought, but another neighbor, who knows them well, assured me its not a joke. This immediately reminded me of one of my favorite Edinger quotes: “Be very careful not to identify with your subjective thoughts!”
    Three lessons for me: 1)Try not to identify with my subjective thoughts. (impossible??) 2)Be careful what to post on Facebook and 3) Be sure not to spill a drink on her sofa at the next neighborhood party she hosts!
    I am also reminded of a funny story about Edinger from one of his biographies:
    As you know, he was a deeply introverted person (as am I, so I can relate). He was at a crowded family reunion and he asked his favorite nephew to join him outside for some fresh air. While they were talking, the nephew spotted a flask in Ed’s Sport coat pocket. He said “Uncle Ed, why did you bring that? There is way more than enough booze to go around. So, Edinger replied: “Well, one never knows…”.
    Lesson learned: Always bring an extra flask to the family reunion. ?
    Thanks for the great discussions that you are hosting! I look forward to your comments next week about Hillary’s record and character, and I hope these will include both persona and shadow qualities, as I am still undecided whether to cast my vote or sit this one out.
    Dick Jungster

    1. Hi Dick,
      Levity is good. Very good! I see it as a positive sign of growth. Especially if one tends to be intense (as I do.) I have a lot to say about Hillary’s record, but I don’t know if I can add anything about her character to the discussion. It’s a topic that most people seem to feel very strongly about, and I doubt there’s anything I could say that would make a difference either way. Emotion usually has a much stronger hold on us than reason. And as Jung noted, strong emotions always signify the presence of the shadow. Still, I suppose I could try. 🙂 Welcome to the discussion and thank you for joining it.

  9. Thanks Jeanie for this lovely post. Not only because of the devastation we see all around us, the rise of the feminine needs to come urgently to the fore and men can and do respond to the call as well. On my side part of my activism is not having shares in companies that exploit their labourers or the land or that are involved in weapon making. We all know that economies are built to a great extent on the warring machinery that kill and maim. We can also not purchase food stuffs (just about all does) that contain eg palm oil which has led to deforestation and the orang-utan in danger of extinction. We are all complicit in some way – we can minimise this. And we can all shine a little light on the darkness by doing our own work in consciousness and clarity on what the feminine archetype means. It is time for balance. Women can use their masculine traits and men their feminine traits to bring this about for healing. There is wounding that goes soooo far back ….
    I also have Anne Baring’s The Myth of the Goddess. I am ever hopeful in amongst my despair about the world, though sometimes I acknowledge that things may get worse before the wheel turns in the direction of the feminine archetype.

    1. Thank you, Susan, for pointing out these examples of how we can all be ‘passive activists’ simply by being conscious consumers who boycott businesses and products that use unfair practices, exploit people, are destructive to animals and the environment, etc.
      Actually, the solution is simple, really. Healing our world is all about becoming more conscious. When we impact the bottom line of profits, businesses take notice. When we change, people around us change. But then, as you point out, becoming conscious isn’t really simple at all. If it were, we wouldn’t have created this mess. Every child that ever dreams of being a hero someday should be told from the very beginning: true heroism, the spiritual kind that makes a difference, comes with a lifetime commitment to self-knowledge, individuation and love.

  10. Hi Jean,
    Me again. Thanks for your nice reply to my posting. I thought I would clarify my request for your comments relating to Hillary. I have already made the easy decision who not to vote for (hint – first name starts with D). But I have always voted for a candidate that I truly believe in and I am having a tough time getting unbiased information. Our partisan National Press consistently portrays Hillary as devil or angel, but I don’t believe a human being can be that one-sided. Even Hitler liked dogs and Saint Mother Theresa had some well known flaws. So, I am looking for any balanced information and I respect your ideas very much.
    However, it may shortly be a moot issue if the views of Charles Schwab’s political specialists are right. They think that Monday night’s debate outcome may very well spot the winner right away. They are non-partisan, so they don’t have any views on the candidates, but they have some interesting observations about what could happen during the debate. Here’s the link: http://www.schwab.com/insights/market-commentary/what-to-watch-when-clinton-trump-debate?cmp=em-QYD
    Your Tuesday posting should be very interesting.
    Dick Jungster (my Jungian pen name)

    1. Hi Dick,
      Thanks for the clarification. I’ll be glad to share what information I can find. And I might add a few “Jungian” observations as well. We’ll see. It isn’t written yet. Thank you for the link. I’ve just read it and it makes good sense. We’ll see what happens Monday night. Maybe I can sneak in a comment on my post before my 12:01 publication!

  11. Hi Jean,
    I had a vivid and interesting dream last night about the “Great Debate” coming up.
    The debate took place on a farm (somewhere in the Midwest?). Both “The Donald” and Hillary wore overalls, (presumably to appeal to their audience?). The audience consisted of about 200 farmers, evenly split between males and females, with everyone also wearing overalls. Hillary was first up, and surprised everyone by delivering a number of compliments about Donald. Well, he was shocked speechless (this was a dream, remember), and all he could do was mumble a few weak compliments about her. It was clear who came out the winner…
    I doubt that this is a premonition that we will see unfold on the Collective Stage on Monday night. But I do think that there is a very interesting message for us, as individuals, regarding the inner relationship of the feminine and the masculine.
    We are certainly living in interesting times!
    Dick Jungster

    1. I love this dream! I always found it fascinating that in Latin, the word ‘farm’ has a feminine ending, i.e. agricola, with the ‘a’ being feminine, whereas a ‘us’ ending is masculine. My 8th grade Latin teacher explained that this was because farming had to do with the fertility of the earth and Mother Nature.
      So if this were my dream the farm and farmers would symbolize the feminine archetype. This is very fitting, since one would expect a debate in a feminine setting to use feminine communication skills which seek accord and union instead of dominance and separation. The fact that Hillary is the one using a feminine style is essentially irrelevant because men are just as capable of of using it although it’s not very common in most patriarchal settings apart from specifically diplomatic ones…in which she is, of course, very experienced.
      However, Hillary’s long history of listening to women all over the country about their problems and issues does show that this tends to be her preferred communication style when she’s not on a national stage requiring a masculine style, so it is certainly fitting that she would be the one to use it in this dream. I find it fascinating that “my” dream is also telling me this form of communication is actually a strength and a style I am capable of using.
      Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this were also a premonition of things to come on a national stage? Certainly it would be a refreshing correction to the extreme polarization in which our country is now embroiled….
      Thank you for sharing your vision here! It’s given me another point to emphasize in my next post.

  12. Thank you, Jeanie. I look forward to part 2 of this. Hillary Clinton has a powerful humanitarian track record. Yes, she’s made some mistakes.. And it’s nearly impossible to do well in politics if you don’t play footsie with big money. (Bernie Sanders tried, and he came in second.) The big money issue becomes worse and worse. If Trump chooses the next Supreme Court Justices, it will be a long time before we get big money out of politics. There are so many crucial issues at stake. Thanks again.

    1. You’re welcome, Elaine. Thank you for your comment. Feeling better today after last night’s debate! Hillary was extraordinary. If she’s not the picture of healthy leadership, I don’t know what is!

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