2024 Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference: Call for Proposals

International Jean Gebser Society

Annual Conference

October 18–20, 2024

Santa Fe NM, Institute of American Indian Arts

Call for Proposals


The Dance of the Sacred Feminine and Masculine—Duality or Polarity?

We are living in a paradoxical and confusing era. It is a time of the “deficient rational” when

people have trouble agreeing on a common set of facts—but it is also a time when the soil is

being tilled and softened in preparation for the integral age to be born.

Will there be a resurgence of sacred feminine energies as part of a rebalancing of consciousness

that has been overly patriarchal? Is this the time the time for men to hand over the baton of

leadership to the womenor is this the time when neither men nor women dominate, and there

will be a rebalancing of sacred feminine and masculine energies within all of us? What can we

do to midwife such a future into existence? How can integral awaring of the energy dynamic

between masculine and feminine inform our actual relations with each other? Can harmonious

relations between masculine and feminine energies be a harbinger of the integral age? To clarify

the latter question, Gebser suggests:

What must happen is a change in attitude by the male, who will have to forego many of

his presumptions such as the arrogance that everything, including wife and child, belongs

to him. He will have to give up his presumption in order that a world can come to be

without maternal or paternal dominance, that is a non-masculinized world where man and

woman together honor the human, and think not merely in terms of the human but of

humankind in its entirety. … In this integral world neither man nor woman, but rather

both in complement as human beings, should exercise sovereignty. … We prefer the term

“integrum” to indicate the integration of woman and man. [Ever-Present Origin 50, 161]

It may be that the exploration of the sacred feminine and masculine is the most important issue

for our times. It affects not only human society but the whole of nature. When there is imbalance

there is uncertainty and peril. It is time openly and honestly to reflect upon the power structures

of the present—all of us together. We must look at what is or isn’t working, what is or isn’t

changing, and listen to each other to learn what we can do. Each of us has a role to play in

facilitating a transformation to a world of greater balance and harmony.2

To clarify the difference between duality and polarity, Gebser says

Duality is characteristic of the mental structure to the same extent that polarity is a

hallmark of the mythical structure. But duality differs in one essential respect from

polarity: in polarity correspondences are valid. Every correspondence is a complement, a

completion of the whole.

Duality is the mental splitting and tearing apart of polarity, and, from the

correspondences of polarity, duality abstracts and quantifies the oppositions or antitheses.

… from duality only a deficient, because unstable, form of unity can be realized as the

unification of opposites in a third aspect. [EPO 85, 86]

The Mythic Age can be roughly divided into two eras, the first being that of goddess worship,

and the second the age of gods and heroes. The feminine age is far longer, dating from

Paleolithic times up until the middle to end of the Bronze Age. As Gebser implies, in the age of

goddess worship, polarity was the norm, and hard and fast opposites of duality had not yet come

into expression. The Great Goddess seamlessly moved from Earth to Heavens, from underworld

to upperworld. The reason she could be both goddess of the world below and heavens above is

that there was no hard line between life and death, which were instead seen as intermingling.

Innana was the goddess of both life and death, similarly to the Indian goddess of destruction and

rebirth, Kali. Only later, in the era of gods and heroes, did the underworld and upperworld

become more dualistic than complementary.

How does all this relate to the era we are in now? What are appropriate ways to navigate our era

in which the mental-rational epoch is deteriorating rapidly? How do we embrace that

disintegration as we experience the dawning of an integral age? How is our consciousness

transmuting and our understanding advancing toward integral consciousness in the following


Polycrises in world life, planetary citizenship, artificial intelligence, novel forms of


Natural sciences, including biology, physics, mathematics [see EPO chapter 5]

Sciences of the mind, including psychology, philosophy [EPO chapter 6]

Social sciences, including jurisprudence, sociology, economics [EPO chapter 7]

Convergences of the above (“transdisciplinarity”) [EPO chapter 8]

Arts, including music, architecture, painting, literature, dance [EPO chapter 9]

Our common purpose is that our time together will be not only informational but also

transformational, as we share a co-creative experiment that can serve as an incubator for birthing

effective practices of masculine/feminine collaboration in all spheres of life.

Further details will be available at www.gebser.org

How to submit your proposal

Please submit in the following form:

*Your name

*Institution (if applicable) Student? If so, where?

We encourage students to submit, to explore Gebser’s ideas and apply them to your field of

interest or embody/manifest them.

Students whose presentations are chosen will be awarded a certificate and entered to win random

prizes, including books and a cash prize of $200.

*Summary/abstract/overview (maximum 500 words)

*Example of artistic expression with proposed elaboration (maximum 250 words + three


*Time allocation requested (specify 15 to 45 minutes)

*A/V requirements (provisions available for PowerPoint)

Submit to jeangebsersociety@gmail.com

Submission deadline July 1 / acceptance notification by August 15


$105 early bird—cut-off July 1

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