Gender Bender

I didn't go to any of the gender workshops at the Donegal gathering. Life, for me, is an ongoing gender workshop; establishing my own and feeling a way around those about me. Gender is not static; predeterinined at birth by our physical sex. It is limitless. I believe it moulds to every relationship and in every action, from cooking to wooding to breathing.

I first wondered about the, progressive nature of the gathering when somebody congratulated me, as a woman, for initiating a talking circle. I was taken aback. It had been a hot day, the circle needed to get going and I was the one to start it. A person, male or female, it should have been irrelevent. But it seems it wasn't. All previous circles had been initiated by men and I was seen as strong to have stepped into the cycle. Perhaps we are all procducts of the society from which we come, but I feel it so very important for gatherings to disapiate any hierarchical structures, any conventional acceptances - to stretch out your identity. Anyone can start a circle, just as anyone can cook, build a bender, or beat a drum. Indeed, so says everyone. Yet when women come out of a sweat lodge talking of the possibility of having a women-only session, I can't help but ask if the balance is out of kilter. The sterile stereotypes of ego and id - as parallels to male and female - leap to mind as I listen to the talking circle's predominant male voice, as I am congratulated on my "strength".

So maybe it's me who's making an issue out of it now, but if Rainbow is about setting our life structures and broadening awareness, then the starting point is with the self. It would be a tragedy if we were all so heavily conditioned to be unable to evolve into a freer state of being, where instinct reigns over rationale. For me, the true consciousness is beyond the limitations of sexual embodiment. Sometimes I feel male, sometimes female, sometimes neither, but I'm always me. Openness to others stems from openness to ourselves. If there is an acknowledgement of our own duality, or rather polyality, then we can accept and hopefully embrace the nebulous potential of all. Free the limitation of all spirits and play with what we find.

Sarah Hymas (Written During Rainbow Gathering, August 1995)

A new race of people will begin to create a new way of life on this beautiful planet as they intended it to be when they came from the stars

Hopi Prophesy

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