Women in Complimentary Roles
Women in society have definitive roles as defined by either their cultures or societies in which they exist. Thus, this forms the beliefs upon how man and woman are treated in a society. Some societies consider women as inferior to men yet others consider men and women as equal. Moreover, their co-existence is a source of strength as they are able to rely on one another for strength.
In the year 1747 when, The Shakers was formed by Jane and John Wardley, they proclaimed that the return of Christ was going to be soon and that he would return to earth in the form of a woman. During that period, the English society was marked with inequality especially among men and women. The belief that Christ would return as a woman opened up new views regarding how women were viewed as it became clear that man and woman were both made in the image of God hence Christ was to return in the form of either man or woman. When Ann Lee was in a spiritual and physical dilemma following the deaths of her children, she began claiming that she had visions that she was the second incarnation of Christ. This led to her imprisonment for blasphemy. However, after her release from prison, she told of her visions that she had been chosen to be the second Christ.
The followers in the Shakers also told that they had similar visions, which affirmed her claims that she was the second and final incarnation of Christ. In addition, during their voyage to New America to spread the word of God she managed to save the lives of people as she interceded in forces of nature as their boat almost capsized after damage from the rough ocean waters. Ann Lee’s leadership was equal because she considered both men and women as equal in the eyes of God. Hence, she appointed a man to proceed after she left the helm of leadership. Their hierarchy of leadership in the Shakers group was organized in such a way all people had an equal opportunity to lead the group when their time came.
There were claims that the spirits of Ann Lee and her followers who were deceased constantly appeared to the congregation in the form of physical beings in their efforts to communicate laws, hymns, poems and other forms of art that acted as motivation for the followers to continue in their work in spreading the gospel of God. They believed that Second and final incarnation of Christ was a woman who they considered as Ann Lee. They believed that Ann Lee was a co-savior to Jesus because f her ability to perform miracles just as Jesus did in the past. In addition, they considered that Ann Lee was powerful than Jesus because she came to complete the final episode of Jesus’ work on earth which was to save man from sin. The belief that Anan Lee was a co-savior to Jesus affirmed people’s beliefs that she was indeed the messiah in his second coming. This gave women the power that they needed to gain equality in a society that even prohibited women to vote. Moreover, she set out a precedent in her congregation that viewed both men and women as equal in the eyes of people and more so in the eyes of God. Moreover, the Shakers were also of the opinion that there was no need for any sexual unions and ownership to material wealth. Thus, they sought to establish a society that was devoid of inequality brought about by the material wealth that was possessed by people.
The Shakers had a solid view that a man and woman were equal because in their nature, they were created in the image and likeness of God whom they considered as having both female and male attributes. The view that man and woman were equal since the beginning is affirmed by the creation of man and woman in the Garden of Eden. In addition, man and woman were both held liable for the fall of man after they committed sin in the Garden of Eden. The abhorred sexual intercourse because it was the basis upon which man instigated his fall and broken relationship with God. This led the Shakers to form a belief that sex was evil, and thus they became celibate living life without the need for relationships and sexual gratification. Moreover, just as Jesus, Lee was of the view that living a simple life without seeking the earthly treasure would ensure that they lived a fulfilled life devoid of temptations from the world. Question 2
The Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism had a strong emphasis on treatment of women as equals of men. It gave prominence to the feminine symbolism because there were numerous women who were teachers and practitioners of the faith. The women in these religions were able to access and succeed in the path of tantric practice because of various factors that made the journey of becoming tantric practitioners bearable, amidst the prejudicial views against women who sought to practice Tantric Buddhism. The first factor was due to the ability of the woman or yogini, regardless oe whether she was in a marital union or not, was able to seek spiritual accomplishment to become the ‘accomplished one’ just as anyone else in a community or society. The second factor can be attributed to the basic teachings of the Vajrayana insist that women and men were regarded as equal in fundamental human nature.
In the Vajrayana, a man and woman have both male and female psychological traits but these traits are balanced in the physiological make up of an individual. The effect of marriage on women with spiritual aspirations was that such acts suppressed the needs of women to seek their spiritual goals and forced them to pursue all measure to get free from the captivity of marriage. The relentless behavior of the women according to the biographies shows that the women were determined in their quest to seek acceptance in the spiritual realm of the tantric Buddhists. In addition, the determinations depicted by women are similar to that showed by men in their quest for spiritual growth. Thus to become a Tantric practitioner it was the inner traits of an individual that determined the
The deities, which confronted the Siddhas in the course of their training, were clear illustrations of the enlightenment that individuals underwent; these deities were present in both feminine and masculine forms. Some tantric practitioners also needed the presence of either female or male companions to attain ‘fullness’ in order to reach their potential of attaining spiritual growth. Such associations with people from varying castes or classes were a source of challenge to an individual’s spiritual growth and a source of growth in the opinion about people in society from their different upbringings. The communication between men and women in Tantric practice was vital in cultivating spiritual growth between the two thus both were of exceptional value to each other. The presence of both men and women in each others lives acts as a source of spiritual ripening as they both learn from one another new aspects that enhance their views and practices in Tantric practice.
In the Andes, the women are considered as rivers because they are able to remove bad things out of their body and soul. Women obtain their roles in society through lineage as passed from mother to daughter and from father to son. In addition, the presence of women in society is their ability in divine intervention to restore life by conceiving and giving birth at the same time helping their communities and society by household chores and caring for their families. Women in Andes are diviners, and because of their abilities in divinity, they are regarded highly and at times feared because of their roles in spiritual worlds. This is a clear indication that both genders are regarded as equals in their society because of their definitive roles. In the Andes of Bolivia, women use their divine powers to intercede o behalf of people’s fortunes and misfortunes.
Men and women both have roles that intertwine. Each is the same as a river and a mountain whereby the river meanders round the mountain at points of intersection with the foot of the mountain. The role depicted by the women rituals affirms that women have distinctive and important roles that are equal to men’s role in society and determine the overall existence of a community. Both and women complete each other by their roles to make a complete world.