Forgiveness Between Men and Women

I was recently asked by Magalie Bonneau-Marcil to help design a forgiveness process to promote healing between women and men, as part of the 1 Billion Rising events that she has been organizing in the Bay Area. Over the past month, I have been meeting with Magalie and other colleagues she assembled. What a beautiful opportunity to explore this important subject, especially through the lens of forgiveness.  

I first started thinking about this issue when I read The Chalice and The Blade (1987), one of the most important books I have ever read.  In it, author Riane Eisler beckons us to awaken from thousands of years of patriarchal domination marked by unfathomable violence and suppression not just of women, but of the sacred feminine.  She implores us to move beyond the mentality of “domination” of one sex over the other, towards partnership between men and women and between the masculine and feminine.

More recently, in The Sacred Matrix (2000), Dieter Duhm says we will not have peace on earth until the war between the men and women is ended and healed. This includes ending violence and repression against women, as well as repression of our innate spirituality and sexuality.  He says we must reconnect with the whole of life, including the forces of nature and the feminine and masculine energies that all of us, male or female, embody.

As these writers make clear, it is not just women who suffer under patriarchal domination. When our environment is destroyed, when warfare and violence are prevalent, and when we are taught to suppress our true feelings, all of us suffer. The wounds of the patriarchy are pervasive and deep, and inextricably connected to the wounds we encounter in our own relationships. As Duhm says, the personal is also social and political.

So how can we heal this?  Where do we start? One thing is clear — if the patriarchal era is to end and a new era is to be ushered in, then men and women will need to forgive each other, and themselves. Without forgiveness the future will be no different than the past. This isn’t going to happen overnight, but let us do what we can. Let us begin!

Magalie and team have created a half-day experiential workshop entitled Feminine and Masculine Reconciliation that will be held March 8, 2014 in Corte Madera, CA. I will be co-facilitating with Sandra Fitting, Guillermo Ortiz, Nicola Amadora and Magalie Bonneau-Marcil. I’ve been super impressed with the depth and breadth of experience and wisdom that each of these people brings to the table. This promises to be a very special event and will include invocation, movement, sharing, ceremony and more. If you would like to be part of this evolutionary healing, I encourage you to join us. Click here for details: (

About Eileen Barker

EILEEN BARKER has been writing and speaking on forgiveness, and guiding people who need to either forgive themselves or someone else, for many years. A practicing litigation lawyer who rejected the traditional adversarial role, Eileen has focused her practice on mediation, helping thousands of people resolve disputes outside of court. This work led her into a deep exploration of forgiveness as it relates to resolving conflict and making peace, both with others and oneself.

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