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Horrible Adorables - Divine Harmony
Horrible Adorables
D i v i n e    h a r m o n y
Feminine and masculine energy
Horrible Adorables is an artistic duo of toy designers from Cleveland. They create incredibly expressive and detailed creatures by meticulously arranging felt scales on hand-crafted sculptures. I had the chance of capturing them in their true form in New York during the Five Points Festival, at the Brooklyn Expo Center.

Visiting this festival was fantastic for my experiments, as it allowed me to capture many creative specimens from different corners of North America in one single spot, such as Eric Althin, Camilla d’Errico, Mab Graves or Wizard of Barge. The only problem was the location, which didn’t represent the natural habitat of each portrayed subject. For this portrait, we went out of the building to get some better light, so the background of the original photo was the glass window of the Expo Center.

As this setting didn’t match the fantastical appearance of the creatures devised by this creative duo, I had to find a more appropriate background for the portrait.

After exploring different options, I finally came across the perfect location in the walls of a park designed by Jean Nouvel, which windows seem to be gigantic eyes practically covered by vegetation. To increase the magical atmosphere of this environment, I made it semi-symmetrical. Symmetry has the incredible capacity of generating shapes that look like lifeforms. This is due to the fact that living beings have bilateral symmetry. In this case, a beetle appeared in the middle of the image. This could be considered just a randomly-generated image created by the effect of symmetry. But, as we already saw with Peca and Luke Chueh, I believe in synchronicity, which means that all is connected, everything happens for a reason; we just have to pull the strings to discover why.

This top-down view beetle is a perfect depiction of the scarab hieroglyph widely used in Ancient Egypt. The real meaning of this hieroglyph is quite obscure, as so many traditions, beliefs and rituals from Ancient Egypt, which are practically unknown or totally misunderstood in present times. The female scarab places her eggs inside a ball of mud, then the offspring come out of it some days later. This generated the belief among some ancient cultures that scarabs could reproduce without mating. This capacity, called parthenogenesis, is associated with the union of the two genders in one. That is why the scarab, with the two perfectly divided sides of its body covered by a symmetrical shell, was used to represent the two hemispheres of the human brain.

Ancient Egyptians associated the two hemispheres of the brain with the divine feminine and the divine masculine. The right hemisphere, which is associated with subconscious thought, was linked with the divine feminine; while the left hemisphere, which is associated with rational thinking, was linked with the divine masculine. So the scarab hieroglyph is a representation of balance. Egyptian hieroglyphs didn’t represent individual sounds like our letters that have to be put together to make sense, but whole concepts.

The idea of the feminine and masculine sides of the brain still prevails today. While the feminine side is related to creativity, intuition, art, music, emotion and imagination; the masculine side is linked to analysis, logic, mathematics, language, writing and science. The feminine side is believed to give us a more holistic view of the world, while the masculine side is more single-focus oriented, giving us the capacity of concentrating on a specific topic, object or threat. We just have to take a quick look at the amount of time and value we give to each of these fields in our educational system to realize that we live in a heavily masculine dominated society. While rational thinking is rewarded, intuition and critical thinking tend to be penalized in schools. We give our students a heavily specialized education divided in independent subjects without any kind of holistic approach. Instead of teaching our students to think or try to reach conclusions on their own, we instruct them to repeat; we don’t encourage debate. Contradicting the teacher is considered an act of misconduct, instead of an opportunity to start a dialogue.

Think about the evaluation system we use. The teacher explains “facts,” for example: “the pyramids were built by Egyptian slaves as tombs for the pharaons 2500 years before Christ.” Then we evaluate the students by asking them questions such as “When and why were the pyramids built?” expecting them to just repeat these “facts” without any kind of imprecision. The better a student can repeat them, the greater the reward. We encourage repetition while punishing critical thinking or questioning concepts. We lecture our students instead of creating debate. This specialized rational-thinking-based education generates professionals programmed to avoid contradicting the authority, thus perpetuating the accepted convictions without challenging the current belief system; indoctrinating generation after generation of uniform thinkers.

So we can say we live in a society in which people use only one half of their brain. It’s like trying to see the world with one eye closed. It may sound crazy, but if we analyze our recent history and our educational system, we can see this claim has a lot of truth. It’s obvious that our current society lacks the most essential feminine values, such as empathy, compassion, and unconditional love, which are considered signs of weakness. We live in an individualistic, competitive and ultra-specialized system in which each professional stays within the boundaries of their field without looking at the bigger picture, trying to prove they are better than their pairs instead of collaborating with them. 

With Maria Elena Stellato we saw the consequences of the patriarchal system in the way we relate to our planet, with Horrible Adorables we can see the consequences of this system in the way we use our brain. The impact that a lack of balance between the masculine and feminine energies can have in our lives is enormous, both individually and collectively. When we talk about a sexist society, most people think about the discrimination women suffer. But this is only one side of the problem, the effects and consequences of a completely unbalanced society go far beyond, reaching our belief systems and our way of thinking, affecting our relationship with the environment, our educational system, and our collective mindset; to the point that it can be dangerous as it generates an unsustainable way of life. Any unbalance can have a negative effect, but a collective lack of equilibrium lasting millenia on a planetary level is something dangerous for all of us. It is essential to realize that the empowerment of the female energy we are going through and that will continue to grow should not be considered a confrontation or fight against men. It is here to restore the balance and righteously place things where they must be. The final victory of equality will have a positive outcome for all of us as a collective, for the human race.

With Pincho we learned that we don’t know how to breathe, now we just discovered that we only use one half of our energy, one half of our brain. Our collective mentality is so gender-binary that we dress and behave in a different way to clearly state our gender at all times. We even do so with little kids to start constructing gender codification. Have you ever considered why we pierce the ears of girls when they are babies? Or why do we dress girls in pink and boys in blue? Why do we let the hair of girls grow but we cut the hair of boys? It’s not something they ask for, in most cases this is done before they start speaking. It’s something adults do to be able to tell the difference. Our social conduct is so gender-binary that we don’t even know how to communicate with human children if we can’t assign a gender to them. This is something we only do with humans. It can be really hard to differentiate boys from girls when they are children, so, before they learn how to dress in a specific way by themselves, we use these elements of gender codification. We start constructing gender differentiation from the moment they are born. When we talk to a girl, we ask her if she likes dolls or if there is a boy at school she likes. When we talk to a boy, we ask him if he likes football, or cars or if there is any girl in her class he likes. Sex stereotypes are rooted in our brains from our childhood. And we end up thinking that if we don’t fit inside them there must be something wrong with us.

A sane and healthy society wouldn’t need to mark these differences at all times. It should have balance between both sides, allowing all of us to use what each one gives us, to benefit from both. Being able to use rational thinking but without forgetting intuition, feelings and creativity; caring about your own needs but also having empathy towards others. Ancient wisdom links the divine masculine with design, and the divine feminine with creation. The masculine god was considered the “architect,” the mind from which reality arises; while the feminine goddess was considered to be mother nature, the female energy embodied in Gaia, the Earth. The masculine was the eternal immutable mind, while the feminine was the everchanging natural evolution. This is why masculine thinking is related to processing information in a rational way and focusing all attention on a single point; while feminine thinking is linked to managing multiple processes at the same time, taking care of others and feeling compassion and tenderness.

As you can see, the representation of masculinity in this portrait is quite far away from our collective perception of the masculine. It transmits a feeling of kindness and sensitivity, virtues not commonly associated with the male image. We have talked a lot about the feminine archetype and its energy in this PhD, about Gaia and the oblivion in which the female goddess has fallen in our times. Let’s talk now about divine masculine energy. We are living the restoration and empowerment of the feminine, with the feminist movement finally being accepted as a fight for equality and coming strong with the strength and energy derived from knowing to be right. On a collective subconscious level, we all know that the way women have been treated over the last centuries is unacceptable. This fact generates a feeling of guilt on some men, as they consider they are part of the problem, placing themselves in the role of the “abuser.” This problem comes from the fact of positioning yourself as part of the male collective using a binary approach. This generates a dualistic perspective in which you feel confronted with or separated from the female collective. It is essential to understand that all humans have two brain hemispheres and all of us have female and male energy.

At the level of our consciousness there is no gender, nationality or race. All these limiting concepts only exist in the physical and mental planes, they are part of our egoic perception of the self, but they disappear in the higher realms. The patriarchal system is negative for all humans, as it creates a disharmony of our own inner energies, generating distorted patterns of behaviour. The fight for equality is about finding balance inside each one of us, reclaiming the lost value of all feminine virtues, such as empathy, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love or intuition, for all of us. But, at the same time, also reclaiming the right for women to act using those behaviours which are considered to be masculine, such as strength, power or security, which have been denied to them for such a long time. 

In a situation of abuse, we always feel identified with the victim and very rarely analyze the psychological effects it has on the abuser. As the fight for equality slowly brings back things into their right place, empowering women and reclaiming their rights, some men who are trapped into their obsolete egoic view of the “male-self” perceive this change as some kind of attack. They live it as a confrontation from a dualistic mindset, not realizing they can also benefit from it. We can see how the divine feminine power is growing and being restored, but what is the place of the divine masculine now? If we analyze the position of the male collective towards women equality, we can see there is still a big percentage of men who feel threatened by it, acting in a defensive way.

There is still a long way to go to totally restore the divine feminine power, but we have to realize there is an even longer way to go to undo the distortion of the male energy, which is totally disharmonized after centuries of patriarchal absurdity. Only when we all understand that finding balance between the masculine and feminine energies is good for all of us, will we finally be able to move forward in unity. Because change only comes after acceptance and integration. The male collective does not need to apologize, it needs to be able to forgive itself for its own past, to liberate itself from the collective burden. We always talk about forgiving others but we often forget to forgive ourselves. The fight for equality is an inner fight between two parts of ourselves which doesn’t end with one dominating the other, but with the acceptance of both.

The male depicted in this portrait is a representation of the new male, the positive masculine, who has finally accepted and embraced his inner feminine energy, and is not afraid of showing love or tenderness. Balanced, peaceful, without fear, without needing to confront others or be aggressive as he has already confronted and finally accepted himself. It represents a man who has been able to deconstruct the old male archetype and rebuild it from its hashes. Becoming a new man, who accepts the past and can see what has been wrong without self-judgement or guilt, a man able to learn the lessons from the mistakes of history to become a better man.

Only by realizing that all fights are inner fights and finding balance can we be complete, open our mind and connect both sides of our brain, like a scarab opening its shell to finally start buzzing and flying away. This symbiosis represents the perfect balance between the two energies, that’s why she’s wearing an engagement ring representing union and he has a little kid on his shoulder representing the new generations which combine both energies without prejudice. We must remember we are talking about divine energies, not about genders. That’s why the kid has no gender-coding elements. We all have two brain hemispheres, it’s about time we start using them both to be able to see the world as a whole with both eyes open, like the giant forest spirit behind them.
Horrible Adorables - Divine Harmony