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A Mythology of Man and Woman

There are many stories that tell how this all began, the men and women. I will tell you one such story.

First Man was leaving to go hunting. As he had begun to do more recently, he handed to First Woman his treasures, kept in a small leather bag. He left them with her to hold in trust; to keep safe.

He had discovered that he could go further, capture and kill more game, and accomplish more if he left that small leather bag with First Woman. It slowed him down. The pouch contained compassion, love, tenderness, vulnerability, sorrow and many other emotions. Woman agreed because of many complicated things but, mostly, she loved him and agreed that it made sense for them to have more and to accomplish more.

When First Man first left this with First Woman, he welcomed the return of his treasures but, as time passed, he began leaving them with woman longer and longer. When he took them back, he could feel the weight of them as they settled over his chest. They were an uncomfortable responsibility and he began to see them, not as treasures, but as burdens.

One day, when he returned from his work and travels, he told woman to hold them for him, that he would be leaving again soon enough and would be handing them back to her right away. She held them for him as she had held them for him so often these days but she was growing worried.

“Brother, please take these even if for only a short time.” She implored.

“No, Sister. That makes no sense.” He answered.

While Man was gone, he thought about this and made a decision. When he returned from the hunt the following day, man absolutely refused to accept them back.

“They are yours now,” he said. “You have held them so long, they are no longer mine. They are weak and useless. You have them. You are okay being weak and useless but I am not!”

tas1 reversed“Please take them, Brother.” implored the woman. “They are yours. They are important.”

But Man was having nothing of it. Every time Woman approached him, he derided her more. She wept with the burden of his treasures as well as her own. Her tears just made him more sure that he was correct; that those treasures were bad and would make him weak.

What Woman had thought of as a help had turned out to be wrong and now they would both pay the price. She realized, as he did not, that he would have to receive them back one day and that she would just have to hold them in a sacred trust till that time.

Over the years, a part of Woman forgot why she held the treasures. She forgot what had happened and believed that she was weak and useless for holding them.

And, over the years, a part of Man remembered what he had lost and he longed for but gentler days and the strong, sure weight of his treasures.

Now is the time for that remembering.

The Prehistoric Rock Art of Tassili N'Ajjer, Algeria

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