ERIC Number: ED221453
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Symbols of Sexual Separation and Androgyny in Myth and Religion.
Although currently expressed in terms of linear and intuitive halves of the brain, the concept of androgyny (the integration of male and female characteristics within each person) is central to ancient myths and religions. Most accounts concern an initial separation of the sexes and subsequent efforts to unite male and female forces. For example, the Chinese polar halves of Yin and Yang were formed from a single fluid, and the Hindus speak of the splitting of the original creative force called the Supreme Self. In Western myths, the creator remains entire and the split transpires within the creature (e.g., Adam and Eve). The Greek version suggests that the gods split people in half to punish them for their conceit. All of these myths express concern for uniting the separation (or dual halves of the psyche) through symbols of androgyny. By combining both linear (male) and intuitive (female) qualities within the individual psyche, one unites the polar forces which represent creation and growth. Thus Eastern icons are often hermaphroditic, as are Christian, Persian, and Hindu-Buddhist angels. Traditional rituals such as marriage and alchemy also portray union of polar opposites. An awareness of these ancient archetypes can lend a more complete understanding to current sex role research. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Women's Studies Association Conference (Arcata, CA, June, 1982).