Female hysteria and the sacredness of women
In a nutshell, female ‘hysteria’, along with its treatment, has for eons perpetuated a gross misunderstanding of women, effectively diminishing and ‘mentalising’ the female half of humanity, leaving both sexes out of kilter as a result.
Up until as late as 1952, female hysteria was a ‘cover-all’ medical diagnosis for behaviours and emotions exhibited by women ranging from frustration to excitement, depression to intensity, rudeness to shyness, anxiety, irritation and even loud or timid behaviour –– all states any woman can relate to, yet for over 4000 years these behaviours in women (only) have been recognised as symptoms needing medical attention and even institutionalization .
‘Hystera’ – Greek for ‘Uterus’ or ‘Womb’
The root cause of female hysteria was considered to be an over-active or under-used uterus; ‘hystera’ being from the Greek word for Uterus. The Hippocratic Corpus from the fifth century B.C. includes the necessity of vulvar stimulation as the treatment for hysteria, to release the pent up fluids causing pressure in the womb that resulted in hysteria in its many forms.
Whilst the treatment and thinking behind Female Hysteria controlled women’s behaviour and disempowered them for so long, understanding a woman’s womb to be the centre of her balance, the cradle of her living stillness and the source of a deep, wise, joyful power, was spot on.
Outside of the function of procreation, we have lost our connection to the true sacredness of the womb – a woman’s hystera – and it has affected us ever since.
How can women, for generations, lose our connection to a stillness we carry naturally and innately within us? The how and why is a story for another time, but for now there is something we carry within us that we have been missing for a long time – our sacredness. Re-commencing our connection to the sacredness within bumps us up against all the mental and emotional veils we have layered over our sacredness to dull it and block it out. We live thinking that rushing – not stillness – is the way to get things done, or that hardening up, being tough and pushing through is the way to do life, instead of valuing that our innate delicateness and sensitivity are strong and precious and the stillness they come from is the fuel our bodies, our wellbeing and our lives truly thrive on.
Beyond its physicality, there is more to our womb than childbearing alone. A woman’s womb holds a living quality, an inner stillness that we can feel and foster.
Just allowing ourselves to STOP and focus awareness on this part of our body and how it feels, not under physical touch but within ourselves, can start re-awakening the quality and strength we actually hold as women. There is a living stillness within us to sense, connect with and surrender to – a spaciousness on the inside that is full of graciousness, beauty and wisdom.
As we connect to our inner-most essence or stillness and start feeling its quality, it begins to inform how we live and move, and bit by bit our day to day living starts to become rich, fertile, alive and sacred once again in ways that our rushed, exhausted, anxious, driven, over-run and misunderstood bodies have become strangers to – no matter how ‘female’, pretty, beautiful or ‘have-it-all-together’ we, or our lives, may look on the outside.
In this sense, the behaviours of withdrawal, emotional outbursts, reactiveness, defensiveness, frustration and resentment – labelled as ‘hysteria’ – are understandable by-products or symptoms not of built up fluids in our reproductive organs, but of women going through life day after day disconnected from the inner harmony and stillness their womb holds. Sacredness is within us and we miss it until we connect with it once again.
Trying to live up to our own expectations, to be ‘perfect’, ‘better than’ or ‘good enough’, thinking we need to do or be more than who we are to prove our worth, show our love, or make a place for ourselves in the world, forgoes any connection to our innate worth and value, to the stillness and the reservoir of power within our inner-most selves as we live separate to it and strive instead to be something much less than the greatness we already are.
Our bodies show what our busy, disconnected, minds can’t fathom – that the dis-ease and discomfort of our anxiety and stress, bloating and moodiness, painful periods or sex, breast cancer and female reproductive issues that seemingly randomly ‘attack’ the best of us, are not punishments or misfortunes but signposts inviting us to return to a way of living where we are tuned into the stillness within instead of being at the mercy of the race to survive, endlessly playing out outside of us. Our bodies respond to even the smallest step made towards making space for the space that is alive within us: the sacred space of the womb and its active, grand, stillness – forever at home within every woman’s body.
"A woman's body flows naturally in the stillness of her grace when it is un-imposed by the rigours and onslaughts of our imbalanced world."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 545
Like a bird choosing to run when its nature and design is to fly, we have all learnt to play along with roles and live up to ideals and images about women, and in the process we override and underrate our innate female qualities of nurturing, wisdom and stillness in favour of rushing exhaustively, cramming life in to ‘do it all’ and ‘get it all done’ before we consider it ok to stop. When we see rushing as the only way of being in the world, we end up rejecting our natural flying way and pretend we are rushers, yet as our bodies and the history of “female hysteria” shows, it is an ill-fit, like an invisible corset we pull ever tighter on ourselves – deforming the loveliness in order to conform, to fit in, to re-shape ourselves into whatever is deemed acceptable.
Instead of shaping up to fit the roles, images and ideals about women, when we start to connect with and cherish our own innate sacredness we come to live and move in a way that starts with true appreciation of our own self- worth as women and the light and wisdom that lives within us all equally.
Slipping off the invisible corset, iron chastity belt, apron, baby blanket, power suit, or door mat, we, and the world, begin to once again know and understand the sacredness of women and our bodies from who we truly are, debunking the myth of female hysteria by allowing our hystera to be in all its richness, vibrancy and delicate fullness.
"We must free the woman to allow her to truly be in every way – so that we can benefit from her living stillness."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 522
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The Hippocratic Corpus: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/technology-orgasm
Rachel Maines, The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction (Baltimore: JohnsHopkinsUniversity Press, 2001), 1
Tasca, Cecilia, Mariangela Rapetti, et al. “Women and Hysteria in the History of Mental Health.” Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 8 (2012): 110