All of us have dark and light sides to our personalities. In ancient times, these were expressed culturally through the worship of goddesses with dual natures.
In the Middle East, the goddess Anat was known as the Storm God. Look at any major archaeological excavation in the region, and you’ll find her presence there in one form or another. The most prevalent worship of her occurred from the Middle Bronze Age (2000–1500 B.C.E.) to the early Iron Age (900–600 C.E.). Ugaritic mythology, from the region of modern-day northern Syria, which closely resembles Hebrew my-thology, describes Anat as spending most of her time on the battlefield. Legend says that she was bloodthirsty and could be easily provoked to violence. Once she began to fight, she’d go berserk, smiting and killing. The stories de-scribe her as fighting with real pleasure.
On the motherly side, despite her immense bloodlust, Anat was said to have been one of the wet nurses of the gods. The stories of Anat share commonality with the story of Sekhmet, who after storming and smit-ing, would be transformed into the mother goddess Hathor.
According to the New World Encyclopedia, the imagery of Anat appears prominently in Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Hebrew cultures. We explore this in my book, Miriam’s Secret – Revealing the Ancient Wisdom of Feminine Leadership.
Shadows Transform Vulnerability into Strength
Whether represented within the Ancient Egyp-tian, Mesopotamian, or Israelite cultures, across them all, Anat clearly represented the shadow side of our feminine nature. When the shadow part of us gets shut off, in my experience we self-destruct. But when we meet those dark parts with compassion, we can midwife the motherly sides of ourselves. We become our own wet-nurses, who suckle the divine side of our natures.
Before I understood the motherly component of the fierce Anat archetype, I used to believe that if I’d get it “just right,” I’d accomplish what my inner guidance was guiding me to do. I would drive myself so hard that I would collapse from exhaustion. With this single-minded focus to “accomplish and achieve” I put my relationships with myself and others at risk.
How? My definition of success was what I “achieved” . . . what I had “accomplished” . . . today . . . and tomorrow (as if that was possible!)! This motivated me to “do” a lot, yet there’d always be one more thing to do, and one more thing, and one more . . . causing me to have a feeling of “never enough.”
All the seemingly great stuff being done, ignored my need just to be. It cut me off from who I AM. It was also a clever way to avoid the dark underbelly of my untidy vulnerability that threatened to blow my “super doer” cover. By not creating space for the untidy truth, I was denying my softness, my allowing, and my ability to receive.
In essence, I was “doing” a lot, but not really achieving much.
Our sense of openness and vulnerability allows us to connect and collaborate with others. Yet we can’t do that without owning our shadow side. We need to be in touch with both sides of our nature. This is what provides us with balance.
The ancient wisdom of feminine leadership is that it cherishes both sides—light and dark—and holds them both as sacred. This wisdom is important for us to embrace today, as the conventional masculine ways of being no longer are serving us well in our complex cul-ture.
To step into a new paradigm of feminine leadership—one that prioritizes ease, abundance, and grace—we must learn to accept the shadow side of ourselves that inadvertently shows up in ways that don’t serve our highest good.
By acknowledging and accepting the untidy shadow side, it can become one of our biggest gifts. One of my clients Elaine Ocasio, a powerful leader and videographer shared in a recent mentoring session on how implementing some feminine power tools at work help her remain focused and balanced.
The way of wisdom is a balance between deep inner listening and trusting your inner voice. From there, you can reach out and share what it is the voice is guiding you to contribute. While it can feel scary to express your tender, vulnerable side, it is also courageous. When feeling the fear and going ahead anyway, you transform your negatives into positives and develop true self-esteem and authentic power.
PS. Miriam’s Secret Book Launch Tour continues in February with Live Events in the Bay Area. It would be great to see you in person!