The Prison of the Flesh
Heroes and Graces
`All limitations, external or internal, are prison-walls, and life is a limitation.' , Oscar Wilde.
Gaol a very old word, from which the current word jail derives, defines our soul's imprisonment in it's physical form, the body.
A form, which we did not chose, but which was forced on all of us, soul has no limitations, is without boundaries, an energy, which is forced to manifest itself every so often. Metempsychosis, as the ancient Greek Orphic religion called this concept of reincarnation.
By definition, GENDER, as a specific form of body is a limitation for the soul, we need to get used to it, in order to live in it. From ancient societies until today, humanity has used physical or metaphysical practices to ease it's youth into the acceptance of their given gender, culminating in a rite of passage when sexual maturity arrives.
The need to help children ease into feeling comfortable in their given bodies, and accept the given limitation defined by their gender points to the variability of this acceptance.
All ancient societies knew gender variations, boy-girls and girl-boys as well as boy-boys and girl-girl. Particularly interesting is that Native Americans allowed these variations to play out in the developing adolescent into adulthood and accepted cross-dressing and opposite gender identification, but disallowed same sex relations.
In Jewish mysticism, as expressed in the cabalistic tradition, however, there are the conceptual values attributed to the male-female world, the world of + and - receptiveness and formation. Contrary to Western believe, the male side is characterized as the receptive part and the female as the forming part.
Making something, i.e. physical transformation, shaping a block of marble into a sculpture, needs the female character traits of discipline, endurance and strength. The openness, inspiration, and idea are characterized as male qualities, preluding the formative part. On a side note, this might explain why males are so much more prone to fall for mind altering substances than females. Since ancient times the practitioners of artistic professions have been attributed to have female qualities, and yes indeed, in order to force something into being, one needs the attributes of discipline, endurance and strength. They do need the male characteristics as well, so we are looking in the artist's case at a need to marry both sides into one, manifesting both female and male traits in one human existence.
One could argue, that that is the case in any successfully gender adapted human being, a multifaceted existence in which endless variations and combinations of the two sides manifest themselves. In our times the digital revolution has shown so clearly the incredible possibilities afforded through the endless varieties of the combination of 0 and 1, which is conceptually nothing else than the male - female dichotomy of our known world.