Continuing this trek exploring the masculine and feminine the time has come to look at the immature and mature feminine. First a caveat: I am not a woman so while it is entirely possible for me to be in my immature or mature feminine it is not how I am wired. Robert Bly writes that there is a 3% difference between the physiology of male and female DNA. This may sound like very little (and in one sense it is) but at the same time the 3% difference is present in every cell of our bodies. Robert Bly continues to write:

Our obligation is to describe the feminine in a way that does not exclude the feminine in men but makes a large string resonate in the woman’s heart. Some string in the man’s heart will resonate as well, but I suspect that in the woman’s heart there is a low string that makes her whole chest tremble when the qualities of the feminine are spoken of in the right way. — Robert Bly, Iron John

Even so it is my experience that as many male bodied persons spend as much time in the immature feminine as female bodied persons. Neither gender has any solitary right or access to any of these qualities.

When talking about the masculine we have our four Jungian archetypes, for the feminine different traditions have suggested different archetypes. The Wiccan and many pagan traditions including shamanism use the trinity of maiden, mother, crone while others have tried to make a corresponding structure to Jungs male archetypes using mother, queen, wise woman and lover.

Whatever the model you use there are mature and and immature feminine qualities. I will use Andrew Barnes list for the qualities here (if you want to read more and deeper please visit Andrew’s web site and buy the book Relationship Tantra or attend one of his workshops).

So the immature feminine can be summarised as:

  • Blaming others
  • Engaging in collusion and gossip
  • Deflecting responsibility
  • Lacking boundaries
  • Manipulating
  • Needy
  • Passive aggressive 
  • Seeking other-esteem
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Victimisation
  • Sexuality to gain power or love 

I am sure you can recognise many of these qualities both in male bodied persons and female bodied persons, which means that the immature feminine is by no means exclusive to women.

The Mature feminine however is:

  • Accountable 
  • Accepting
  • Filled with Awe and bliss
  • Empathic and healing 
  • Instinctive and intuitive
  • Nurturing
  • Seeks intimacy in sexuality
  • Sexually healing 
  • Tender 
  • Unconditionally loving



Again I am convinced that you can see the benefit of these qualities in both women and men, in fact I am convinced that we desperately need to develop the mature feminine in each and everybody.

The mature feminine is more prevalent than the mature masculine in society, probably because the mother is such a well known and widespread archetype and women are encouraged and sometimes coerced into entering this role as they come of age. Coercion is never good but as this is a role that is accepted and encouraged we see more of the mother than we see the father in society. Still there is much room for improvement, to achieve balance we still need more of the mature feminine and masculine rather than less.

The secret super power of the mature feminine is that it has the ability to nurture develop and call forth the mature masculine through it’s unconditional nurturing and accepting love.

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