Sometimes, when I lie still in my bed and sleep has not come yet, I have those deep thoughts. Questions, really. One example: “Why is gender equality so important to me?” And when I say “important”, it’s not just like that I say “I stand with women” in opportune moments, or click “like” on social media posts about gender equality. It’s more like that I get upset when I notice inequality, yap back at posters and go down rabbit holes with trolls even though I know it makes no difference. Or does it? It goes so far that I was personally touched, and proud, when a known feminist TV personality started following me on Twitter.
I mean, I am a man, right? A husband, father, boss, assistant soccer coach. For all intents and purposes, I should be happy about being privileged in terms of gender, too (I am also a Caucasian European). So wouldn’t me supporting gender equality be like shooting into my own foot? No, it’s not like that by far, but I do ask myself why.
So much so that, late at night, those darker thoughts and questions pop up, eventually. Thoughts like ‘What’s going on here? Is there something wrong with me? Am I just brown-nosing women? Having ulterior motives? Or am I a weak specimen of my own gender? Or, what if I am subconsciously transgender, want to be a woman and just want to make sure that I wouldn’t lose out if I turned into one, in terms of privileges and money?’
I know, right? Sounds like psych-hypochondria.
Typically, I fall asleep before I find any answer to these questions, though.
But thanks to the Gods, there are two locations and times where answers come to me as easy as pie. In the bathroom, and, believe it or not, on the subway. The revelation about my question at hand came in the latter.
See, I am a modern Druid. So I have an app for Philip Carr-Gomm’s DruidCraft tarot deck on my phone. I use it when I do a tarot reading and need some help interpreting a card (much easier than schlepping the book with me). And, on my morning commute on the subway, I check the “Card of the Day” offered by the app. It helps me memorizing the deck.
So here I sit one morning on the T (as we call the subway in Boston, Massachusetts), rumbling along, and today’s card is XIV of the Major Arcana, the Fferyllt. In standard tarots that would be the Temperance card. And there I read:
The traditional name for [this fourteenth] card [of the Major Arcana] is Temperance, which comes from the Latin temperare, which means to blend and harmonize opposing factors. This process is fundamentally alchemical and touches upon the central theme of DruidCraft, depicted in the alchemical tale of Ceridwen and Taliesin, and ritually enacted within the Great Rite.
[…] You may find that you are in a position to restore harmony among competing factions.
And then, amidst all that shaking an bouncing on the train, the announcements for the next station and the chatter of people riding the T together, it dawns on me. The answer to last nights late contemplative and uncomfortable questions:
Gender equality, for me, is pure alchemy.
Not the alchemy of making gold out of lead. But the much grander alchemy of finding, nay, creating The Balance. Between everything really (race, age, ableness, what have you), and particularly between the masculine and the feminine. And it’s not like that this is just a philosophical quest. No, I need that balance around me, I thrive on it. It is that alchemical equilibrium what makes me feel well embedded in my environment, gives me the sense of a calm and serene surrounding that must not be tempered with. (And if that balance is disturbed, I let people know what I think about it.)
Have I mentioned that I am a Libra?
So for me, and hopefully for many more of my fellow homo sapiens sapiens, restoring that harmony between the genders, that equilibrium that has been out of balance for millennia, is not a mere progressive fad of the day, but a true Druidic calling.
The writer is also the author of the book “Mountain Magic – Celtic Shamanism in the Austrian Alps” on how to weave Alpine lore and customs into your own spiritual practice.