“Any significant form of consciousness, especially religious, which is not capable of deifying both opposites in any polarity, including that of male and female, is one-sided and, so, pathologizing.”
— John Dourley, The Goddess, the Mother of the Trinity (1990)
There tends to be greater emphasis and attention placed on the Divine Feminine in Neo-Paganism than the Divine Masculine. Mythologically, this is expressed by describing the Neo-Pagan God as the Son or Consort (or sometimes both) of the Goddess. This emphasis on the Divine Feminine is a necessary corrective to the existing imbalance in the patriarchal mainstream religions.
Nevertheless, erotic polarity is an important principle in Neo-Pagan thought. Many Neo-Pagans visualize the universe as moving fluidly between two equal and complementary poles: the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine. These correspond roughly to the concepts of Shakti and Shiva in Indian Tantra and Yin and Yang in Chinese Taoism. In each case, the former is receptive, yielding, and enveloping, while the latter is active, initiating, and penetrating.
The concept of erotic polarity is controversial in Neo-Paganism today, especially since Neo-Paganism attracts significant numbers of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people. British Traditional Wicca insists on a literal gender polarity, a male priest and a female priestess, in its rituals. However, this requirement was largely discarded when Wicca was transformed by the American feminist movement in the 1970s.
As practitioners of a nature religion, Neo-Pagans should be aware that gender can be a fluid thing. Some flowers, for example, have both male and female “genitalia,” and some animals have been known to reproduce asexually in a process called “parthenogenesis.”
It is important to understand that when we speak of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, these are not prescriptions for gender roles. All men and women, of any sexual orientation, have both poles within them. Erotic polarity is not the same thing as gender polarity. Modern Tantrics teach that there is a need for a “ravisher” and a “ravishee” in every erotic encounter, but this does not necessitate a man and a woman, only two people, whatever their gender or sexual orientation. And these roles may shift back and forth between the two people over time and even in the same encounter.