Derek, what is the Tao perspective on women?
Authentic teachings of the Tao emphasize the appropriate recognition and reverence for the sacred feminine. In the Tao Te Ching, the word “mother” appears seven times (in chapters 1, 20, 25, 52, and 59), while the word “father” appears not at all. Also, there is one chapter (chapter 6) specifically devoted to the Mystic Female — the universal feminine energy — while its masculine complement is not addressed anywhere in the Tao Te Ching.
This doesn’t mean the ancient Chinese were into male bashing. What it does mean is that they observed the world from an impartial, objective perspective, and came to the realization that the miracle of life could only occur through women. We simply do not live in a universe where male and female creatures share in the task of giving birth equally. Therefore, it must be true that women possess a certain divine power that men do not. This is a stark realization that deals with reality exactly as it is.
The principle of the Mystic Female is reflected everywhere in existence. Yin (the feminine) is associated with the soft, while yang (the masculine) is associated with the hard. When we look around, we can see how the softness of the flowing water wears away unyielding rocks; we can also see that living things are soft and supple while dead things are rigid and brittle. All of these manifestations make perfect sense when we understand and accept the central importance of the sacred feminine.