Hey boss babes! This article will put a name to something you know about yourself but may never have been able to put into words.

You know you’re a happening thing. You do your best to take decisive action, stand up for what you believe in, and defend your boundaries. So how do others describe your nature? Are you masculine or feminine? Yin or yang?

Maybe you’ve heard that you’ve got “masculine” qualities, or you’re very “yang,” like this:

gender stereotypes

Look at that guy get his yang on. Do folks say, you’re kinda like him.. but not?

How do you feel if others label you as masculine or yang? Does it seem to suggest you’re borrowing something, or imitating in a way that defies your real nature (whatever that's supposed to mean)?

Here’s how I felt: I got to hate the words "masculine" and "feminine" with a passion because I couldn’t relate to either side. I’m too direct, expressive and impatient to be typically feminine or yin. But I haven’t been trying to be masculine in running my own business, or standing up for what I believe in.

I'm a woman who is something else. Can you relate, my strong decisive sisters?

Well, thankfully, there’s a better way to understand our yin and yang energies.

First, let’s drop the idea that yin and yang energies equate to stereotypes of feminine and masculine. They don’t. OK, done!

Second, let’s drop the idea that there are just these two poles – yin and yang (or masculine and feminine), sitting on opposite sides of a single spectrum.

When it comes to our life force energy, as with gender, there are more than just two flavours of ice cream to choose from. :)

The Four Energies

So let’s try looking at it a different way. Let’s imagine there are four distinct energies, or gender modes.

OK, now we have something to work with! There are two types of masculine and two types of feminine. There’s the outwardly-expressive masculine and feminine – the yang masculine or yang feminine. And there’s the inwardly-expressive masculine and feminine – the yin masculine and yin feminine.

Yang feminine is not the same as yang masculine. These are distinct energies! Likewise, a yin feminine guy (or anyone for that matter) who takes notice of his environment and provides to others is not a “feminine” guy – he’s running masculine energy.

We are a mix of all four of these energies, no matter our biology.

To some degree, the yin feminine and yang masculine energies correspond with traditional gender roles about how women and men should behave. (Although expressing yang masculine energy is usually conflated with “toxic masculinity” today, and men are encouraged to be much more yin masculine).

But these energies are more nuanced in practice - i.e. yang masculine doesn’t have to equate with physical force or violence, and yin feminine doesn’t have to involve childcare.

They’re also just conceptual frameworks, so please use it to empower your self-expression, not put yourself in a box!

The Yang Feminine

This inspired, alive, the-time-has-come side you have? Now you have a new name for it: yang feminine. And it has nothing to do with masculinity or maleness. It is 100% housed in the feminine nature.

It is birthing, it is leaving, it’s being the right hand of the wave of time, pushing, demanding change, leaving the bullshit out in the sun to dry up and blow away while you are channeling the ferocity of transformation. And yeah, it can be a little scary if you didn’t know what time it is!

Being yang feminine doesn’t mean being female. Everyone has some yang feminine. I think Russell Brand is super-charged with yang feminine energy. His work focuses on waking people up. He channels Kali, the destroyer of bullshit, and his message is about the social and personal change whose time has come. He’s not on an abstract quest or adventure as in yang masculine.

Two lines of questions for reflection

How does naming your yang feminine energy make you feel? How often do you allow it out? Where do you shrink it because it’s too loud or too demanding?

And do you notice anywhere your energy is deficient? While we’re all a mixture of these energies, we tend to develop a strong suit with one of them as a coping strategy to get through life, and let the others wither. If you’re a strongly yang feminine woman, how is your yin feminine energy doing, for example? Being able to fully express all four of these energies is the ticket to allowing your real self the permission to be fully embodied.

Many thanks to Elfi Dillon-Shaw and Gary Dillon at the Haven for introducing me to these concepts, drawn from the work of Dr. Rudolph Ballantine and Genia Pauli Haddon.

Further reading:
Dr. Rudolph Ballantine - Kali Rising: Foundational Principles of Tantra for a Transforming Planet
Genia Pauli Haddon - Uniting Sex, Self and Spirit